Wednesday, 23 January 2013

On This Day: End Of the Vietnam War

Exactly 40 years ago on this day President Richard Nixon proudly announced the whole world that the peace deal with Northern Vietnam has been signed. At that point American troops have been involved in Vietnam for over a decade, with over 500,000 deployed at the height in 1967. The peace treaty didn't last long as there were frequent violations of it until 1975, when a full-fledged war between the North and the South started. Unsurprisingly, it was the North that came on top with Ho Chi Minh proclaiming himself the ruler of the finally united and independent Vietnam.

Bad news Dick, the latest polls suggest that you are in fact a crook

Ironically, the war could have finished way before. In 1968, United States were going through a presidential election. Hubert Humphrey, the vice-President of Lyndon B. Johnson (Democrat) was running against Richard Nixon (Republican). Nixon was winning pre-election polls by large, but Humphrey made-up fast by rapidly progressing the Paris Peace talks to stop the Vietnam War. A few days before the election, Humphrey actually brokered a temporary ceasefire, and it seemed that the war was about to end and Humphrey was about to be elected the new president. However, things changed rapidly one day before the elections, when the South Vietnamese (American Allies) suddenly withdrew from the talks. It seems highly suspicious that the American allies withdrew from the talks one day before the elections, and as it later turned out, it was Johnson aides who convinced the South Vietnamese that they were being tricked and would be sold out right after the elections.
The result of this whole thing was that Nixon became the newly elected president, and the war dragged on for another 5 years and cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

Read the original 1973 article about the Nixon announcement here

Lyndon Johnson explains what happened in a tapped phone conversation


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