President Nixon’s address to the nation on November 3, 1969 is now widely acknowledged to be among the handful of presidential speeches that affected the course of history.
In this speech, which was entirely written by the President himself, he outlined the situation he had inherited when he became President ten months earlier (with 540,000 Americans in Vietnam), and presented his plan for withdrawing American troops and achieving a peace with honor. He asked for support from “the great silent majority of my fellow Americans” — a phrase that has entered the lexicon of American politics.
To mark the 50th anniversary of this historic speech, the Nixon Foundation has produced a short documentary video covering its context, content, and consequences.
The video shows excerpts from the many handwritten yellow pad notes and drafts that the President made as he wrote the speech at the White House and Camp David. It is narrated by Nixon White House aide Dwight Chapin.
Mr. Chapin describes the crucial role he played regarding the Western Union telegrams that were stacked on the President’s Oval Office desk the next morning. The photograph of those telegrams was seen on TV screens and front pages across America and around the world.