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End of the Vietnam War

Richard Nixon

End of the Vietnam War: Richard Nixon was the 37th American President who served in office from January 20, 1969 to August 9, 1974. One of the important events during his presidency was the End of the Vietnam War.

Definition and Summary of the End of the Vietnam War
Summary and definition:
The Vietnam War officially ended on April 30, 1975 although direct U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973. The End of the Vietnam War began with secret peace talks led at first by Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and then by Henry Kissinger.

The Paris Peace Accords was signed on January 27, 1973 and included a ceasefire agreement ending US Involvement in the Vietnam War. No sooner had the U.S. troops withdrawn, the ceasefire agreement collapsed and the North Vietnamese Army launched a full scale invasion of South Vietnam. The Fall of Saigon occured on April 30, 1975 when South Vietnamese government surrendered to the Communists, marking the final end of the Vietnam War.

When was the End of the Vietnam War? The End of the Vietnam War officially ended on April 30, 1975 although direct U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973.

Who was president at the End of the Vietnam War? Richard Nixon was the U.S. president at the end of the Vietnam War.

What treaty was signed to End of the Vietnam War? The Paris Peace Accords of January 27, 1973 were intended to establish peace in Vietnam. It led to a Ceasefire agreement and the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Vietnam.

The End of the Vietnam War: Terms of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords
The terms of the Paris Peace Accords of January 27, 1973 were as follows:

  • North Vietnamese, the Vietcong, and South Vietnamese soldiers would stop fighting and retain all territory occupied at the time of the cease-fire

  • American troops would leave South Vietnam

  • It was agreed that North Vietnamese troops could stay in South Vietnam

  • American Prisoners of War (POWs) would be returned when United States troops left Vietnam

  • The government of South Vietnam would allow a commission consisting of North and South Vietnamese to prepare for a democratic election

  • The newly elected government would take over and run Vietnam

What caused the End of the Vietnam War?
There were many reasons for the End of the Vietnam War. These included:

  • The failure of the high-tech war fought by the Americans against the guerilla warfare waged by the communist North Vietnamese forces and the Viet Cong in the impenetrable terrain of the jungles of Vietnam

  • The anti-war movement, protests and demonstrations which had rapidly increased in the United States due to the number of deaths and injuries

  • The unrelenting media coverage of the Vietnam War, via the newspapers and television, that horrified the American public

  • The cover-up and attempted whitewash of the My Lai Massacre

  • Intense opposition to the draft, and the opposition of the Youth Movement with the Hippie counterculture of love and peace

  • The Tet Offensive in which the North Vietnamese communists gained a psychological and political victory and contradicted the optimistic claims made by the U.S. government that the Vietnam War was all but over

  • The protests against the  U.S. invasion of Cambodia and expansion of the Vietnam War effort led to the Kent State University Shooting by Ohio National Guardsmen

  • The Pentagon Papers leak revealing that the US government had been dishonest and had used "incredible deception" about the U.S. political and military involvement in Vietnam

  • The undeclared military action in Laos and Cambodia which was taken without the support of Congress or the American people

  • Mounting skepticism about the Vietnam War and the U.S. government in general, particularly the "credibility gap" between what the government said and what it actually did

  • The failure of Nixon's policy of Vietnamization

  • By the end of 1971 opinion polls showed that 66% of all Americans wanted the Vietnam War to end as quickly as possible.

Facts about End of the Vietnam War
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on End of the Vietnam War.

In 1969 President Nixon abandoned the idea of a "purely military victory" and authorized secret  negotiations with the communist North Vietnamese. He appointed Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.  as “Ambassador to head the United States Delegation at the Paris Meetings on Vietnam

Nixon adopted the strategy of 'Vietnamization' to equip and train South Vietnamese forces so that they could take over more military responsibilities against the communists allowing the United States to disengage combat forces without appearing to abandon South Vietnam.

In June 1969, the first 25,000 U.S. troops were withdrawn from Vietnam and a further 60,000 troops followed by the end of the year.

In August 1969, Henry Kissinger, the National Security Advisor, met secretly in Paris with Le Duc Tho, his North Vietnamese counterpart, but little progress was made.

Nixon adopted a get-tough policy to force an agreement on his terms and ordered negotiator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. to stage staging a walk-out on the peace talks on October 23, 1969.

On November 3, 1969, President Nixon announced the strategy of 'Vietnamization' to the American people in a broadcast speech.  His plan was to end the Vietnam War with "the complete withdrawal of all U.S. combat ground forces, and their replacement by South Vietnamese forces on an orderly scheduled timetable.”

News of the My Lai massacre broke in America on November 12, 1969, to the horror of the nation.

On December 8, 1969 Chief US negotiator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., and his deputy resigned, expressing pessimism concerning the negotiations with the North Vietnamese and seeing no role remaining for a peace negotiator. The only official, public negotiations to end the Vietnam War were over, never to resume.

Henry Kissinger met his counterpart again in February 1970. The talks were so secret that President Nixon's Secretary of State, William Rogers, did not even know they were being held.

A Vietnam Moratorium Day was organized to take place on October 15, 1969. An estimated one million Americans across the US, including 50 members of Congress, participated in the 'Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam' with anti-war demonstrations, teach-ins, protest rallies and peace vigils.  In a peace rally across from the White House the protestors were led by Pete Seeger singing a rendition John Lennon's song "Give Peace A Chance"

News of increased US involvement in Laos and Cambodia surfaced in April 1970 when 1969 Senate transcripts were made public. On May 2, 1970 - Senators McGovern, Goodell, Hughes, Cranston, and Hatfield announced they planned to introduce an "end the war" amendment to suspend funds for military operations in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

News of the invasion of Cambodia led to protests by enraged anti-war demonstrators. On May 4, 1970, 4 student protestors were shot dead and 9 other students were wounded during the Kent State University Shooting by Ohio National Guardsmen

The secret Paris Peace Talks remained at stalemate throughout this period.

On April 18, 1971 - 2,300 Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) camped near the Capitol, and threw away their military medals and ribbons in protest against the continuance of the war.

It wasn't until January 25, 1972 that President Nixon announced that Henry Kissinger had been secretly negotiating with the communist North Vietnamese aimed at achieving "peace with honor" in the Vietnam War.

The North Vietnamese launched a major offensive and in retaliation, and on 30 March 30, 1972 Nixon ordered the bombing of the Hanoi and Haiphong areas.

The Paris Peace talks resumed on April 27, 1972, but still no settlement was reached

The situation changed in October 1972 when North Vietnam proposed an ‘in place’ cease fire, allowing North Vietnamese troops to remain in South Vietnam dropping their insistence that the South Vietnamese government be disbanded..

During the period of the ceasefire it was agreed that the South and the North Vietnamese would arrange for a new government to supervise free elections which would determine the future of South Vietnam.

The presidential elections were only a few weeks away and Nixon agreed to back the ceasefire "to end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam and S.E. Asia."

The Paris Peace Accords of January 27, 1973 were intended to establish peace in Vietnam and led to a Ceasefire agreement and the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Vietnam.

Direct U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973.

No sooner had the American troops withdrawn, the ceasefire agreement collapsed and the North Vietnamese Army launched a full scale invasion of the south.

Saigon was captured on April 30, 1975 and renamed as Ho Chi Minh city. President Nguyen Van Theu's South Vietnamese government surrendered to the Communists, marking the end of the Vietnam War.

In May 1975 the Battle on Koh Tang in Cambodia was officially the last American battle of the Vietnam War. It was the only time Americans battled against the Khmer Rouge.

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