End of the Vietnam War U.S. History 11
Nixon pulls out troops • Peace talks began in 1968, but made little headway • Nixon was committed to the policy of “peace with honor” • Began and gradual pullout of troops, Believing the arvn troops could handle things alone • Known as “Vietnamization” • Also secretly planned bombing raids of the ho chi minh trail in Cambodia
Cambodia • By 1970, Nixon wanted to speed up the process of ending the war and get aid the pro-American troops in Cambodia • The American public was outraged that Nixon was now expanding the war • Lead to more violent protests (i.e.- Kent State) • News of the my lai massacre and the leak of the pentagon papers, made the war even more unpopular
Finally ends • Vietnamization was failing and dissent at home was increasing • To win re-election in 1972, Nixon had to end the war • October 1972- u.s. and north Vietnam finally came to a peace settlement • In January 1973- U.s., North Vietnam, and the Vietcong signed the Paris peace accords • Agreed to a cease-fire and u.s. troop withdrawal • POW’s would be exchanged, but n. Vietnamese troops would remain in s. Vietnam
The fall of Saigon • For the U.S. the war was over, but fighting continued in Vietnam • Neither the north or south honored the cease-fire • 1975- minor fighting escalated • Without U.S. aid or ground support, the arvn were no match for the Soviet supplied n. Vietnamese troops • By April 1975- Saigon had fallen to communism • Vietnam was officially united under one flag
Lasting impacts of Vietnam • Approximately 58,000 American soldiers died during the war • 300,000 American soldiers were wounded • The Vietnamese losses approximate over 2 million • Communism spreads to Laos and Cambodia • Cambodian genocide- 1975-1979- ~2 million Cambodians were executed or died in camps • War raged between Vietnam and the Cambodian ruler- Khmer Rouge • Cambodia was supported by the Chinese, who were also supported by the U.S.
Lasting impacts of Vietnam • American soldiers returned to a divided country • Some believed we never should have gotten involved in the war, felt betrayed by the leaders • Others felt that the U.S. had betrayed s. Vietnam in the ongoing struggle against communism • Few Vietnam veterans came home to parades and adulation- mostly to indifference • Many also suffered from physical and psychological ailments • These troops were not recognized for their bravery and sacrifice until nearly a decade later • 1982- Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.c.
Lasting impacts of Vietnam • Economics- money went to guns rather than textbooks • American policy changes: • 1973 War Powers Act- restricted the president’s war making powers, by requiring the consultation of Congress within 48 hours of committing American forces to a foreign conflict • A check on presidential power • Fear of “another Vietnam” in conflicts to come- i.e.- Central America, Africa, the Balkans and the middle east