Don Graham: How The Pentagon Papers Gave Us Watergate

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Why you should care

Because there wouldn’t have been a Watergate without the Pentagon Papers, and there wouldn’t have been the Pentagon Papers without the brave businesswoman who ran the Washington Post.

GO DEEP Katharine Graham was a pioneer right from the start, taking over the Washington Post in 1963 and then becoming the only woman leading a Fortune 1000 company. But as her son Don Graham told OZY, it wasn’t until 1971 that his mother faced perhaps her greatest test: whether to publish the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret accounting of the Vietnam War. It was a bold move on its own, but it turns out the stakes were even higher, says Don Graham, who served as the Post’s publisher for more than 30 years until recently. Her decision not only solidified her status as one of the nation’s gutsiest publishers, but also gave her the confidence a few years later to make Watergate a defining moment in American history.

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