George Stanley McGovern was an American historian, author, U.S. representative, U.S. senator, and the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1972 presidential election.
McGovern grew up in Mitchell, South Dakota, where he was a renowned debater. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Forces upon the country's entry into World War II and as a B-24 Liberator pilot flew 35 missions over German-occupied Europe from a base in Italy. Among the medals bestowed upon him was a Distinguished Flying Cross for making a hazardous emergency landing of his badly damaged plane and saving his crew. After the war he earned degrees from Dakota Wesleyan University and Northwestern University, culminating in a PhD, and was a history professor. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1956 and re-elected in 1958. After a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 1960, he was a successful candidate in 1962.
As a senator, McGovern was an example of modern American liberalism. He became most known for his outspoken opposition to the growing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. He staged a brief nomination run in the 1968 presidential election as a stand-in for the assassinated Robert F. Kennedy.