Manual Last Flight from Saigon: The Ending of the Vietnam War

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Henry Kissenger's initials on the Cease Fire. March The last American combat soldiers leave South Vietnam, though military advisors and Marines, who are protecting U. For the United States, the war is officially over. Of the more than 3 million Americans who have served in the war, almost 58, are dead, and over 1, are missing in action. Some , Americans were seriously wounded. Though they are still too weak to launch a full-scale offensive, the North Vietnamese have rebuilt their divisions in the South, and have captured key areas.

North Vietnamese resupply and fortify their forces. August 9, President Richard M. Nixon resigns, leaving South Vietnam without its strongest advocate.

The Vietnam War Background: Fight Against Communism

December 26, The attack, a blatant violation of the Paris peace agreement, produces no retaliation from the United States. The policy failed.

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Eventually, Diem began to persecute Buddhists. On May 8, in the City of Hue, nine unarmed Buddhists peacefully protesting a ban on the Buddhist flag were shot and killed by Diem security forces.

Diem refused to make concessions to the Buddhist majority or take responsibility for the deaths. Fearing that the U. She arrived on October 7, , where she refused all pleas from U. A CIA agent told these generals the United States would not oppose a coup nor punish the generals by cutting off aid. When rebels surrounded the presidential palace, Diem phoned U. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge and requested help.

Battlefield:Vietnam | Timeline

Lodge declined, but offered Diem asylum at the U. Diem refused and instead fled with his brother Nhu to a church in a nearby suburb.

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They were caught the next morning and executed in the back of a personnel carrier that was supposed to bring them to Saigon. President Kennedy was shocked at the murder of Diem, but accepted that a change in leadership had been necessary. Madame Nhu was still in the United States when news broke of the murders of her Loading She went on to predict a bleak future for Vietnam and said that by being involved in the coup the troubles of the United States in Vietnam were just beginning.

They consolidated power in via rigged elections, but eventually Thieu outmaneuvered Ky and became the sole South Vietnamese leader, a position he maintained until Almost South Vietnamese were killed or wounded and three American advisors died. President Kennedy continued to increase the number of U. At the time of his death there were 16, American military personnel in South Vietnam, compared to when he took office.

Johnson spoke reassuring words on Vietnam. Some advisors recommended sending combat troops to Vietnam immediately. On the other side of the debate was the U. In late the Viet Cong, who by now had formed organized combat units, went on the offensive, striking government outposts and villages throughout South Vietnam. On Christmas Eve a bomb blew up in a Saigon hotel, killing 2 Americans. Ambassador Taylor switched sides and urged the President to bomb North Vietnam, but still Johnson hesitated.

A short distance away was Camp Holloway, where about U. On the night of February 6 the Viet Cong attacked the camp. In the five minute assault, using only small arms and mortars, eight U.

Vietnam War Timeline

He immediately authorized a 3-stage bombing campaign against North Vietnam. At the time President Johnson downplayed the situation in Vietnam. He said the bombings were only a response to the attack on Pleiku and denied they represented a change in U. In part, Johnson did not want to provoke Soviet or Chinese intervention, but it meant the country was slipping deeper into war without few Americans even realizing it. Less than a week after the bombing campaign began, Johnson dispatched 3, U.

Although a defensive mission, they were authorized to undertake offensive operations. In doing so, Johnson did not fully inform the American people, or even Congress. Full disclosure was only made by an accidental press release several months later. Sure enough, General Westmoreland requested additional troops almost immediately.

Two more Marine battalions were sent in early April. Soon they were patrolling the countryside, searching for Viet Cong. This meant the threat to South Vietnam was much greater than the Johnson administration had realized. By summer Ky and Thieu had come to power in Saigon, somewhat stabilizing the government, but the ARVN had suffered two major defeats at the hands of the Viet Cong in open, conventional warfare.

ARVN morale dropped and desertions increased.

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This time, General Westmoreland made a watershed recommendation. In order to turn the tide, U. They would initiate contact to destroy guerrilla forces, wearing them down and driving them from populated areas. If necessary, a second phase would destroy the enemy in remote areas. President Johnson approved the plan.

Along with American troops and military power came American products. Virtually all the comforts of home to which Americans had become accustomed were imported, transforming the South Vietnamese society and dramatically increasing corruption.

If the American government understood little about Vietnamese nationalism, the American people understood far less. But when told that Vietnam was about the Cold War, plain and simple—that they understood. Johnson felt betrayed and replaced McNamara with Clark Clifford. But privately, the president began to have his own doubts. Johnson feared further American escalation would provoke Chinese intervention, as it had in Korea in Publicly Johnson and his policy supporters continued their optimistic message.

The Tet Offensive Meanwhile, the communists were planning an all-out offensive for Their objectives were to break the stalemate the war had settled into, to test the remaining strength of American resources, and to demonstrate to the South Vietnamese that the United States was not all-powerful. To that end, symbolic targets were chosen, including the American embassy in Saigon. General Westmoreland had evidence that something was in the works, but he assumed it would take place in the north, so he diverted resources there.

They smuggled weapons in wagons and carts, even used fake funeral processions. Possibly as a diversionary tactic, the NVA began to surround an isolated Marine outpost near the North Vietnamese border. January 30 marked the beginning of the Vietnamese New Year. It was traditionally a time of celebration, and a prior agreement had been made with the communists to observe a cease-fire.

On that night, however, some 80, Viet Cong attacked 36 of the 44 provincial capitals, 64 district towns, numerous villages, and 12 American bases. Around 4, Viet Cong attacked Saigon. In most instances the Viet Cong were quickly crushed. Some 50, were killed, virtually ending them as a significant threat for the rest of the war. But the imagery of the offensive clashed so dramatically with the optimistic pictures being painted by the administration that it severely shocked and polarized the American people.