January 13 – Elvis Presley steps into American Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, recording "Long Black Limousine" thus beginning the recording of what becomes his landmark comeback sessions for the albums "From Elvis In Memphis" and "Back in Memphis." The sessions yield the popular and critically acclaimed singles "Suspicious Minds," "In the Ghetto" and "Kentucky Rain."
June 18–22 – The National Convention of the Students for a Democratic Society, held in Chicago, collapses, and the Weatherman faction seizes control of the SDS National Office. Thereafter, any activity run from the National Office or bearing the name of SDS is Weatherman-controlled.
July 25 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard Nixon declares the Nixon Doctrine, stating that the United States now expects its Asian allies to take care of their own military defense. This starts the "Vietnamization" of the war.
August 4 – Vietnam War: At the apartment of French intermediary Jean Sainteny in Paris, U.S. representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuan Thuy begin secret peace negotiations. They eventually fail since both sides cannot agree to any terms.
August 17 – Category 5 Hurricane Camille, the most powerful tropical cyclonic system at landfall in history, hits the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing US$1.5 billion in damage (1969 dollars).
October 2 – A 1.2 megaton thermonuclear device is tested at Amchitka Island, Alaska. This test is code-named Project Milrow, the 11th test of the Operation Mandrel 1969–1970 underground nuclear test series. This test is known as a "calibration shot" to test if the island is fit for larger underground nuclear detonations.
November 3 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon addresses the nation on television and radio, asking the "silent majority" to join him in solidarity with the Vietnam War effort, and to support his policies. Vice President Spiro T. Agnew denounces the President's critics as 'an effete corps of impudent snobs' and 'nattering nabobs of negativism'.
November 15 – Vietnam War: In Washington, DC, 250,000–500,000 protesters stage a peaceful demonstration against the war, including a symbolic "March Against Death".
November 15 – Dave Thomas opens his first restaurant in a former steakhouse on a cold, snowy Saturday in downtown Columbus, Ohio. He names the chain Wendy's after his 8-year-old daughter Melinda Lou (nicknamed Wendy by her siblings).
November 17 – Cold War: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States meet in Helsinki, to begin the SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.
November 21 – U.S. President Richard Nixon and Japanese Premier Eisaku Sato agree in Washington, D.C. to the return of Okinawa to Japanese control in 1972. Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. retains rights to military bases on the island, but they must be nuclear-free.
December 6 – The Altamont Free Concert is held at the Altamont Speedway in northern California. Hosted by the Rolling Stones, it is an attempt at a "Woodstock West" and is best known for the uproar of violence that occurred. It is viewed by many as the "end of the sixties."
December 12 – The Piazza Fontana bombing in Italy (Strage di Piazza Fontana) takes place. A U.S. Navy officer and C.I.A. agent called David Carrett is later investigated for possible involvement.