Vietnam War Years

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1968 The Tet Offensive

Tet Offensive occurred in early . U.S. troops murdered hundreds of civilians in My Lai in March. Peace talks would begin in Paris. In July General Creighton Abrams replaced General William Westmoreland to command the U.S troops in Vietnam. Operation Rolling Thunder was halted after 3 and a half years on November 1. By the end of December, 1968, U.S. troops in Vietnam topped 540,000.

1969: The ‘Vietnamization’ policy

Peace negotiations began in Paris in January. Nixon ordered secret bombings of Cambodia in an attempt to destroy Communist supply routes for 14 months. In June, President Nixon carried out the Vietnamization strategy withdrawing the first U.S. troops from Vietnam. Communist revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh died at age of 79. The My Lai massacre reached the U.S. public in November which caused massive anti-war protests in Washington D.C. There were 480,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam.

1970: Cambodia Invasion

U.S. President Nixon announced on TV that U.S. troops had attacked the Viet Cong in Cambodia. Four students were shot dead in protests at Kent State University, leading to mass anti-war demonstrations countrywide. There were 420,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam.

1971: Publication of the Pentagon Papers

Only Second Lieutenant William Calley was convicted of murder at My Lai and jailed for life. Portions of Pentagon Papers containing top secret information about the U.S. involvement in Vietnam were published in The New York Times. Thieu was re-elected. South Vietnam invaded Laos with the U.S. support.

1972: The Easter Offensive

The Easter Offensive took place as the North Vietnamese crossed the demilitarized zone (DMZ) at the 17th parallel to attack South Vietnam. President Nixon ordered massive bombing of North Vietnam in response. Presidential adviser Dr. Henry Kissinger said “Peace is at hand in Vietnam” in a White House news conference.

1973: The Paris Peace Accords

The Paris Peace Accords were signed in which an immediate cease-fire was established. As per the treaty, North Vietnam released nearly 600 American POWs. The last U.S. troops  left Vietnam at the end of March. Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho won the Nobel Peace Prize although the latter declined the award.

1975: The Fall of Saigon & South Vietnam

Hue fell to the Communist North. North Vietnam launched massive assaults on South Vietnam in March. Last Americans evacuated as Saigon fell on April 30. Khmer Rouge captured Cambodia.

July 2, 1976: Vietnam was unified as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

November 13, 1982: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was unveiled in Washington DC.

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