- Unelected Republican Gerald Ford is still President.
- National Clean Air Coalition (NCAC) is organized under the leadership of Richard Ayres.
- China's population is 924.2 million.
- A Boy and His Dog is released.
- Jaws is released.
- Israeli Knesset decress that the Ethiopian Falashas are indeed Jews because they are the descendants of the Tribe of Dan.
- Plurality decision of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in Zweibon v. Mitchell (516 F.2d. 594) holds that a warrant was constitutionally required in a wiretap case involving a domestic organization that is not the agent of or working with a foreign power that poses a national security threat. The wiretap target was the Jewish Defense League or JDL.
- January 4: U.S. Pres. Gerald Ford issues Executive Order No. 11828 on CIA Activities within the U.S.
- January 8: Judge John J. Sirica orders release of Watergate figures John W. Dean III, Herbert W. Kalmbach and Jeb Stuart Magruder from prison.
- January 16: House Democratic Caucus votes out Texas Representative W.R. Poage as incumbent chair of the House Agriculture Committee by 146 to 141 and votes out Louisiana Representative F. Edward Hebert as incumbent chair of the House Armed Services Committee by 152 to 133.
- January 17: Another cease-fire in Northern Ireland ends.
- January 23: U.S. Department of Defense announces that Israel will buy 200 Lance missiles, armed with conventional warheads but capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
- January 27: U.S. Senate begins investigation of FBI and CIA illegal activities began. Commitee report released on November 20.
- February 8: Unification Church in South Korea conducts mass wedding for 1,800.
- February 11: Margaret Thatcher is elected leader of the British Conservative Party.
- February 12: Darwin Day
- March 4: Queen Elizabeth knights Charlie Chaplin.
- March 13: Start of Spring Offensive in Vietnam. Nguyen Van Thieu decides to abandon the Central Highlands and panic ensues across South Vietnam.
- March 26: The 1971 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Priduction, and Stickpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and their Destruction enters into force.
- April 30: North Vietnamese troops enter Saigon.
- April: Lebanese Civil War begins.
- April 10: 800 U.S. Embassy employees and assorted others in Phnom Penh are airlifted to Thailand
- April 12: U.S. Ambassador and acting President of Cambodia,Gen. Saukham Khoy, are arilifted to U.S. Navy ships off the coast of Cambodia.
- April 17: Khmer Rouge troops take Phnom Penh.
- April 29-30: Operation Frequent Wind chaotic evacuation of last few U.S. personnel from Saigon.
- April 30: The government in Saigon surrenders to the North Vietnamese Army and National Liberation Front, thus ending the Vietnam War.
- May 7: U.S. Pres. Gerald Ford pretentiously declares an end to the "Vietnam era." By this typically conservative fraud he means that none of those responsible wil be held politically accountable.
- May 7: Reunified Vietnam stages celebration of victory in Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon.
- May 8: Anti-aparthied lawyer Bram Fischer dies.
- May 12: Mayaguez Incident begins when the Kmer Rouge seize the container ship Mayaguez and its 39 crew members captive. The Republican Ford adminsitration overreacts by using military force and ends up with 41 dead and 50 wounded Americans.
- July 2: Proclamation of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Saigon is renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
- August: Ethiopian government of the Derg announces the death of former Emperor Haile Selassie by "natural causes." The natural cause was being strangled to death while under anesthetic.
- Vietnam joins the United Nations.
- September 5: Lynete "Squeaky" Fromme, Charles Manson family follower, attempts to assassinate Republican U.S. President Gerald R. Ford in Sacramento, California. Her .45 caliber handgun misfired.
- September 22: Unemployed bookkeeper Sara Jane Moore attempts to assassinate Republican U.S. President Gerald R. Ford in San Francisco, California. She fires a single shot from .38 caliber revolver but misses.
- November 15: Ronald Reagan telephones Gerlad Ford to inform him that he planned to run for the Republican nomination for president.
- November 20: Dictator Francisco Franco dies after a long illness, and Spain is transformed into a constitutional monarchy. For weeks afterward Saturday Night Live continues to report in its paradody news program that "General Francisco Franco is still dead."
- December: U.S. allied Indonesian Army invades East Timor. The U.S. government winks at the invasion. Over the next 15 years they kill 690,000 East Timorese or one-fourth of the 1975 population.