On April 30, 1975, North Vietnamese tanks rolled into the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon, marking the end of a decades-long conflict that left millions dead.
With North Vietnamese troops approaching Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh, the U.S. scrambled to pull back its last personnel in the city. The photos below show frantic scenes as the U.S. attempted to evacuate thousands of government personnel, civilians and South Vietnamese residents.
To quote myself (based upon a listening of Michael Medved’s “3 Big Lies of the Vietnam War”):
The Vietnam anti-war/peace movement should be more properly and accurately scarlet-lettered an anti-draft movement. By the end of 1971, under Nixon, the draft ended. Major peace protests happened throughout 1968 through ’71. The largest, most intense bombing of the war occurred in Christmas of ’72 [Operation Linebacker II]. Any protests? Any peace movement marches? Not a peep. Because those protesting the war knew that they would no longer be called up to serve. Yet we’re to believe that the “peace” movement were anti-war out of altruistic good conscience on behalf of the Vietnam people. No: many were motivated by selfish interests. After the draft ended under Nixon, so too did the majority support for these idiotic marches, which only fueled more violence; not less.
It should also be noted that the candidate who ran as the peace movement candidate was McGovern (wasn’t his campaign slogan something like “Come home, America”?). Between the “Peace without honor” candidate and the “peace with honor” candidate, gee….which choice do you think America opted for? McGovern got crushed in the biggest landslide in history: Nixon carried 49 states, including McGovern’s native South Dakota. I believe there were polls conducted that showed America might have been disapproving of the war, at this point, but they wanted to win it, not lose. And I question whether or not the anti-war protesters were ever popular with the American mainstream majority. And as we discussed a bit before, Richard Nixon committed himself when he became president to the idea of “Vietnamization”, which was to train more and more South Vietnamese troops to become self-sufficient; and consequently, part of the plan was the steady troop withdrawal and intensified bombing. In ’72, when Nixon was running for re-election, and after Operation Linebacker II, he finally got the North Vietnamese onboard with the Paris Peace Accords. Part of the package included two secret agreements: one was billions of dollars in reparations, after the war. But the North did not get it, because they had broken their agreement by invading the South. The 2nd secret agreement was with the South Vietnamese. He gave them a solemn pledge, in writing, that if the North broke agreements, and invaded the South, America would get back in, and provide whatever aid the South needed; even troop support. Unfortunately for the South Vietnamese, Nixon was driven from office by the Watergate scandal (Arthur loves it when I characterize it this way). When the North Vietnamese invaded the South, an unelected President in the form of Gerald Ford pleaded with Congress to enforce our agreements and honor our pledge to our South Vietnamese allies. In 1975, more than one million innocent Vietnamese fled in terror from a massive invasion by the North. Congress and the anti-war movement did nothing to alleviate the suffering.
As a constant reminder of what President Ford deemed to be his failure, he kept the U.S. Embassy (Saigon) stairs in his library. It wasn’t President Ford’s failure: It was America’s failure.