Forty years ago today, on June 17, 1972, five men were arrested during a burglary at The Democratic Party HQ, in the Watergate building, in Washington DC, four and a half months before the U.S. Presidential Election that led to the re-election of President Richard Nixon for a second term.
The burglary was scarcely noticed by the media, amidst the drama and excitement of the campaign between Nixon and Democratic candidate George McGovern. However, two young local Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, doggedly pursued the story, despite the many obstacles placed in their path. The trail eventually led to President Nixon himself, as it became increasingly clear that, whether or not the burglary had been ordered at his behest, he had driven the attempt to cover up the crime. Nixon was forced to resign the presidency (the only time in US history that this has happened) on August 9, 1974, just over two years after the arrest of the Watergate burglars.