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U.S. Ends Involvement in Vietnam . 1968 - 1975. Nixon elected in 1968. Johnson does not run Public increasingly anti-war Nixon has secret plan for getting us out of Vietnam Represented the “Silent Majority”

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nixon elected in 1968
Nixon elected in 1968
  • Johnson does not run
  • Public increasingly anti-war
  • Nixon has secret plan for getting us out of Vietnam
  • Represented the “Silent Majority”
  • Declared he could restore law and order May 1969 Nixon reveals plan for Vietnamization
  • U.S. will train & equip S.Vietnamese soldiers to continue the fight
  • U.S. soldiers will begin coming home
the nixon doctrine
The Nixon Doctrine
  • Redefines role of U.S. in Asia
  • U.S. will no longer step in militarily to protect Asian allies from Communist threats
  • Will continue to give aid and weapons
  • Break from the Nixon of the early 60’s who was staunchly anti-communist
  • (this begins a new direction in relations with China)
paris peace talks
Paris Peace Talks
  • Begun in 1968 w/ little result
  • Neither GVN/US side nor DRV/Viet Cong will compromise
  • US wants withdrawal of DRV & Thieu remains
  • DRV wants withdrawal of US and a coalition gov’t including VC in South
ethical dilemma
Ethical Dilemma?
  • Sends Henry Kissinger, the Nat’l Security Adviser to negotiate secretly w/ DRV (North Vietnam)
  • Kissinger & Nixon kept foreign policy negotiations secret (inc. cabinet!) to avoid conflict
  • Led to the idea of the “Secret War”
the secret war
The Secret War
  • Consisted of the secret bombing of Cambodia, Laos & N. Vietnam in 1969
  • Failed to cut supply lines to South
  • BUT, it spread the war to Laos & Cambodia
  • 3,600+ bombing missions
Nixon announces bombings to public 4/30/1970 –
  • Sec of Defense Laird and Sec. Of State Rogers privately opposed bombing
  • Public Outcry against actions – Nixon and Kissinger insisted on the future success of their strategy
  • Kent State May 4, 1970
public debate continues
“In asking the American people to support the expansion of the Vietnam war to Cambodia, as he has already expanded it to Laos, [Nixon] asks them to believe the same false promises which have repeatedly betrayed them against their will into ever deeper involvement on the Mainland of Asia.

They are asked to seek peace by making war; to seek withdrawal of our troops by enlarging the arena of combat; to diminish American casualties by sending more young men to their death.”

-- Editorial Page from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 3, 1970

Public Debate Continues….
in his own words the crime
In his own words, the “crime” --
  • On the evening of October 1, 1969, I walked out past the guards' desk at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, carrying a briefcase filled with Top Secret documents, which I planned to photocopy that night. The documents were part of a 7,000-page Top Secret study of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam, later known as the Pentagon Papers. The rest of the study was in a safe in my office. I had decided to copy it all and make it public: perhaps through Senate hearings, or the press if necessary. I believed this course, especially the latter possibility, would probably put me in prison for the rest of my life.
vietnamization proves unsuccessful
Vietnamization proves unsuccessful
  • Despite aid and training of S. Vietnamese troops, they do not prove successful
  • S. Vietnamese attempt at cutting supplies in Laos ends in defeat 1971
  • October 1972 talks re-open in Paris
peace is at hand kissinger 1972
Oct 1972 Peace Agreement negotiated

Falls apart when Thieu refuses to sign

Nixon continues bombing N. Vietnam to push Hanoi into negotiations

January 1973 N.Viet returns to bargaining table

Same conditions are agreed upon but this time w/ US pressure Thieu signs

Why was this not negotiated in 1968 – the first time around?

“Peace is at Hand”– Kissinger 1972
peace agreement conditions results
Peace Agreement Conditions & Results
  • N. Vietnam drops their demand to have a coalition gov’t replace Thieu
  • US allows N. Vietnamese troops to stay in S. Vietnam
  • US allows Viet Cong to play role in new S. Vietnamese gov’t
  • Cease-fire agreement & withdrawal of all U.S. troops and return of all POW’s
leaving vietnam
Leaving Vietnam….
  • Last American troops leave in March 1973
  • Peace agreement does not bring peace – fighting continues between N. & S.
  • April 1975 Communist troops take Saigon while S. Viet. try to escape via US helicopter
  • 4/30/1975 Saigon Falls
  • Now named Ho Chi Minh


costs of war
Costs of War
  • 58,000 Americans dead
  • 300,000 Am. Wounded
  • $150 billion +
  • Emotional/Societal/ Political Costs?