Northern Ireland Clashes, Nigeria's War Ends

Published: 1970
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NYP99060905 - 09 JUNE 1999 - NEW YORK, NEW YORK,USA: England former Prime Minister Edward Heath (right) shares a laugh with reknown Canadian born jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, June 9, at the "Praemium Imperiale" ceremonies held in New York City to introduce the 1999 winners of the award given annually by the Japan Art Association. Peterson won for music . ep/ Ezio Petersen UPI

Announcer: Well, for communist China, the East maybe red, but not as red as the faces of some British pollsters who predicted a win for the incumbent Labor party candidate in the British parliamentary elections. Conservative Edward Heath won the election by beating out Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Heath naturally predicted his victory the night before the elections.

Edward Heath: "Labor has been taking the housewives of this country for granted, because they don’t appear to have got a loud voice by other sections of the community. In the privacy of the polling booth, the women of this country are going to show Mr. Wilson and his colleagues what they have been dying to tell them for a long, long time. They have had a vote now for 50 years, they will show him how they can use it."

Announcer: In Northern Ireland, 1970 saw new outbreaks of clashes between Roman Catholics and Protestants. Rioting on May 10th lasted 16 hours in the troubled city of Belfast. At the end of June, five persons were shot to death, 240 persons seriously wounded. The riots were promulgated by the jailing for six months of Bernadette Devlin, the young Catholic female member of the British parliament. The violence continued sporadically during the summer.

If you were in Belfast during the rioting, this is what you would have heard.

Announcer: While fighting in Northern Ireland was a fact of life in 1970, one small country ended a war; a war that had lasted two-and-a-half years, the country, Nigeria.

Yakubu Gowon: “The tragic chapter of violence is just ended. We are at the dawn of national reconciliation. Once again we have an opportunity to build a new nation. My dear compatriots, we must pay homage to the fallen, to the heroes who have made the supreme sacrifice that we may be able to build a nation, great in justice, fair trade, and industry.”

Announcer: That was the Nigerian Chief of State, Major General Yakubu Gowon, whose government forces defeated the breakaway rebels in that country's civil war.

So one war ended, but other military actions continued. In the Middle East, where violations of a ceasefire agreement perpetuated distrust on both sides, and in Vietnam, where American GIs found themselves fighting in neighboring Cambodia. These stories and others next on 1970 In Review.

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