US and Vietnam War
Signed at the International Conference Center in Paris on January 27, 1973, the agreement served as little more than a protocol for the return of American prisoners of war and military disengagement.
The final contingent of the U.S. commitment departed Vietnam 60 days after the signing, but the level of violence between Vietnamese adversaries did not significantly decline; no peace came to Vietnam.
In the United States, Watergate was changing from amber to red, and as his presidency unraveled in 1973, President Richard Nixon's secret commitments to South Vietnam's President Nguyen Van Thieu were rendered meaningless. Less than two years later, faced with funding a $722 million budget supplement, the U.S. Congress showed little interest in providing military equipment or financial support to America's longtime ally, South Vietnam. On April 30, 1975, South Vietnam ceased to exist.
For most Americans, the last images of the war were of the dazed U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin carrying a folded American flag under his arm during the final evacuation from the U.S. Embassy; or perhaps the chaos surrounding the evacuation of U.S. personnel and Vietnamese families from the Embassy rooftop.
No one seemed interested in such critical questions as the nature of the war, why the United States chose to fight the way it did, how North Vietnam had prevailed, the relationship of political objectives to military strategy, or the lessons that could be derived from the public diplomacy and secret negotiations that had characterized so much of the conflict. ...