29 Mar 2022


The United States and the Exit from the Vietnam War

Format: Chicago

Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 853

Pages: 3

Downloads: 0

The negotiations to end the Vietnam War began after President Lyndon Johnsons decided not to seek another presidential term in 1968. Engagement between North Vietnamese administration and the US were expanded with the signing of treaties in Paris in the year 1968. These contacts gained motion to include the Southern Vietnam government and the NFL. Under the leadership of President Richard Nixon, the US government altered tactics into the war to include functions of withdrawal of the US troops coupled with intensive bombings and invasion of the sanctuaries of the communists in Cambodia. Some of the factors that contributed to the US exit in the Vietnam War included the escalated numbers of US military casualties, the discovery of the US military involvement in crime against humanity like the massacre at My Lai, which worked to turn the spirit of US involvement in the war. 

Political involvement in the war also worked as a significant factor in the US exit and consequent participation in the Vietnam War. The political movement was led by Fulbright, Robert Kennedy and McGovern among other senators, who sort to respond to the increased public demonstrations in the capital Washington, DC alongside other cities. It is imperative to note that even as the war proceeded, advocacy and talks for peace progressed in Paris, where Henry Kissinger was the lead negotiator of the US 1 . In the wake of the talks, there was a break in the negotiations coupled with the US saturated bombings in the Northern parts of Vietnam, although these actions did not derail the peace talks in any way. Despite the setbacks marveled by the saturation in bombings in the Northern part of Vietnam, a peace agreement was reached and put in signatory on January 27th, 1973 involving the US, the South and the North Vietnam and the NFL’s revolutionary government that was provisional to the NFL. 

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In the accord, there was common agreement of ending the hostilities and the withdrawal of both the US and the allied forces, the release of the prisoners who had been arrested during the war and the formation of a four-nation international control commission that could oversee achievement of the pacts of the treaties. There was a setback to this accord since fighting escalated between the South Vietnamese and the Communists up to the time when the North Vietnamese government had to launch an offensive in January 1975. The US congress additionally denied the South Vietnam government requests for aid, which implied that there was, increased suffering from lack of relief, medication and other basic commodities for both the military and the citizens. 

Tighter situations ensued in the northern part of Vietnam especially with the Thieu’s resolution to abandon half of the northern part to the communists who were at this point in time advancing. It is also evident that the resistance in the southern part of Vietnam collapsed, where the Vietnamese troops in the north advanced to Saigon in 1975 making a significant move towards the unification of Vietnam as a country, while the Saigon was renamed Chi Minh City.

In his declaration of exit of the US troops in the Vietnamese war, President Nixon came up with a program that could see South Vietnamese forces reformed so that they could be able to assume responsibility for the war. The reformation process would make the southern forces more capable to tackle the situation of the advancing communists and the aggression from the North. As the forces could be more capable in dealing with the situation of the war, the US could begin withdrawing its forces from combat. President Nixon made orders that could see the withdrawal of 60,000 U.S troops 2 . 

In the reformation program for the southern US troops, Nixon gave orders for provision of more sophisticated and modern artillery equipment to the Southern Vietnam troops coupled with the advisory effort in what was to become the “Vietnamization” program. During the press conference that could fuel the program, the less second brigade began departing out of the Vietnam soil. However, his proclamations of that the war was ending proved to be premature as he had to expand the war by giving orders to the US and Vietnamese troops to attack the advancing communist sanctuaries in Cambodia. This attack led to a worldwide outcry, which sparked demonstrations across the major cities in the US. This led to the call for peace negotiations.

The Vietnam authorities made announcements that 80,000 soldiers and civilians had died as a result of the war. The escalated number of casualties led to the general outcry, where the parties concerned had to respond proactive moves to end the war. The US government had conceded to defeat in some parts of the endeavors within the war. In 1975, the US government enabled lifting of its troops who had remained on the Vietnamese soil back to the US. This happened in the wake of Saigon city falling into the forces of the communists. 

The Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin of the North conceded defeat, while his surrender marked a significant move in the withdrawal of forces of all participating countries including the US. In this regard, the Vietnamese war was the fight where the US suffered the highest number of casualties ever in its history, which was the factor that contributed to the exit of the troops. 


Wagner, Sarah E. "A Curious Trade: The Recovery and Repatriation of US Missing In Action from the Vietnam War." Comparative Studies in Society and History 57, no. 01 (2015): 161-190.

Thayer, Thomas. War without fronts: The American experience in Vietnam . Naval Institute Press, 2016.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). The United States and the Exit from the Vietnam War.


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