On February 21, 1972, United States President Richard Nixon became the first sitting president to visit China.
As most of the world watched, Nixon was given a whirlwind tour through three of China’s cities. It was both symbolic and diplomatically significant. The visit helped break through several decades of hostility between the United States and China. It also launched a new relationship between the two countries that existed until the end of the Cold War.
One of the most famous images from the entirety of the trip was President Nixon’s handshake with Chairman Mao Zedong. Nixon’s visit to China was a pivotal moment in twentieth-century history. Nixon himself called it “the week that changed the world.”