- February 11 - Hans D Jensen, German physicist.
- September 23 - Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet.
- JRR Tolkien, British author.
- W. H. Auden, English poet.
- January 1 - Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark enter the European Economic Community
- January 22 - United States Supreme Court rules on Roe vs. Wade
- January 27 - Vietnam War ends with the signing of peace pacts
- February 11 - First release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam takes place
- June 1 - Greek military junta abolishes the monarchy and proclaims a republic
- August 15 - The U.S. bombing of Cambodia ends, marking the official halt to 12 years of combat activity in Southeast Asia.
- September 11 - Chile's demacratically elected government is overthrown in bloody military coup staged by the United States over state expropriation of copper mines. President Salvador Allende is killed. Dictatorship installed. General Agusto Pinochet
- September 15 - Swedens king Gustav VI Adolf dies. Carl XVI Gustav becomes king
- October 6 - Fourth and largest Arab-Israeli conflict begins as Egyptian and Syrian forces attack Israel as Jews mark Yom Kippur.
- October 10 - Spiro T. Agnew resigns as vice president of the United States and then, in federal court in Baltimore, pleads no contest to charges of evasion of income taxes on $29,500 he received in 1967 while he was governor of Maryland. He is fined $10,000 and put on three years' probation.
- November 11 - Egypt and Israel sign a U.S.-sponsored cease-fire accord
- December Chile breaks diplomatic contacts with Sweden.