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End of the Vietnam War and Effects on America

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Essay title: End of the Vietnam War and Effects on America

U.S. Withdrawal

U.S. President Lyndon Johnson's decision not to seek reelection in 1968 prompted serious negotiations to end the war to began. Between 1968 and 1969, contacts in Paris between North Vietnam and the United States were expanded to include South Vietnam and the NLF. Under the leadership of President Richard M Nixon, the United States changed its tactics to combine U.S. troop withdrawals with intensified bombing and the invasion of Communist sanctuaries in Cambodia .

Due to the length of the war, the high number of U.S. casualties, and the exposure of U.S. involvement in war crimes such as the massacre at My Lai, the United States began to turn against war. Politically, the movement was led by Senators James William Fulbright, Robert F. Kennedy, Eugene J. McCarthy and George S. McGovern, and there were also huge public demonstrations in Washington, D.C., along with many other cities and college campuses in the United States.

Peace talks in Paris progressed, even as the war continued, with Henry Kissinger as U.S. negotiator. The talks were not thrown off track, even as a break in negotiations, followed by U.S. saturation bombing of North Vietnam. A peace agreement was reached and signed by the United States, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the NFL's provisional revolutionary government on Jan. 27, 1973. The written agreement provided for the end of hostilities, the withdrawal of U.S. and allied troops (several Southeast Asia Treaty Organization countries had sent token forces), the return of prisoners of war, and the formation of a four-nation international control commission to ensure peace.

The End of the War

Fighting between South Vietnamese and Communists continued despite the peace agreement until North Vietnam launched an offensive in early 1975. South Vietnam's requests for aid were denied by the U.S. Congress, and after Thieu abandoned the northern half of the country to the advancing Communists, a panic ensued. South Vietnamese resistance collapsed, and North Vietnamese troops marched into Saigon Apr. 30, 1975. Vietnam was formally reunified in July, 1976, and Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. U.S. casualties in Vietnam during the era of direct U.S. involvement (1961–72) were more than 50,000 dead; South Vietnamese dead were estimated at more than 400,000, and Viet Cong and North Vietnamese at over 900,000.

The last U.S. troops left Vietnam on March 29, 1973. Immediately, problems arose, primarily over separation of two separate zones, as required by the agreement, and the supposed mutual withdrawal of troops to these respective zones. In an effort to keep the United States out of Vietnam, northerners in the Lao Dong leadership wanted to keep hostilities to a minimum. The problem was, southerners refused to give up the fight. Soon, Thieu expressed that he had no desire to honor the terms of the treaty. In his view, the continued presence of North Vietnamese soldiers in South Vietnam made him exempt from honoring the cease-fire agreement. He immediately began offensives against PRG villages, and he issued an order to the ARVN: "If Communists come into your village…shoot them in the head." In October 1973, southern Communists were authorized by Hanoi to strike back against ARVN troops.

In the meantime, the South Vietnam economy was collapsing due to the withdrawal of United States personal. Millions of the people in Vietnam had become dependent on the money from the U.S. troops. Thieu's government was badly equipped to help with the increasing poverty and the large amounts of unemployment. Morale was collapsing despite the fact that the ARVN was twice the size as the Communist forces and was still received $700 million from the U.S. Congress. Over than 200,000 soldiers decided to desert the ARVN in 1974 in order to be with their families.

Hanoi began to believe that he could win control over the south due to the obvious weakening of South Vietnam. He believed this could be done by a massive conventional invasion, and it set 1975 as the year to mount a final offensive. The offense was expected to last at least two years; meaning that the rapid collapse of the ARVN was a surprise, even to them. After the first attack in the Central Highlands just northeast of Saigon on January 7 by the North Vietnamese, the ARVN immediately began to fall apart. On March 25 the ancient imperial city of Hue fell, followed by the Da Nang on March 29, which was the site of the former U.S. Marines headquarters. Thieu resigned on April 20, accusing the United States of betrayal. His successor was Dong Van Minh, who had been among those who overthrew Diem in 1963. On Minh issued his unconditional surrender on April 30 to the PRG. Almost 30 years after Ho Chi Minh's declaration

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