Fall of Saigon, End of Vietnam War

On April 30, 1975, the North Vietnamese Army conquered important sectors of Saigon in South Vietnam, ultimately taking over the capital and ending the Vietnam War when they raised their flag in the South Vietnamese palace.

The takeover was a surprise to the South Vietnamese and the American military who were informed by the CIA that they could hold out at least until 1976.

It didn’t take long for the South Vietnamese to surrender.

Saigon was later renamed Ho Chi Minh City after the communist North Vietnamese leader.

Prior to the city’s fall, American civilians and military personnel were evacuated by helicopter, Operation Frequent Wind — one of the largest helicopter evacuations in history.


  1. The 35th anniversary of the fall of Saigon is high time to dispel the myth that Congress lost the Vietnam War.
    The stabbed-in-the-back myth started with Richard Nixon, who needed a scapegoat for the consequences of his own “decent interval” exit strategy. Nixon realized his own settlement terms, which left more than 140,000 North Vietnamese troops in the South after he withdraw U.S. ground forces, would lead to a Communist military victory.
    Briefed on Nixon’s settlement proposal in early October 1972, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu said it would “culminate in the ultimate collapse of the government of South Vietnam.” In the Oval Office, National Security Adviser Henry A. Kissinger told Nixon, “I also think that Thieu is right, that our terms will eventually destroy him.”
    The North accepted Nixon’s settlement terms for the same reason that the South rejected them. Both knew they’d lead the Saigon government’s overthrow.
    Yet Kissinger stood before the TV cameras less than two weeks before Election Day and said, “We believe peace is at hand.” He knew it wasn’t peace. It wasn’t “at hand,” either, because Saigon refused to sign onto a deal that meant its destruction.
    Nixon ultimately forced the South to by threatening a cutoff of American aid. A cutoff would destroy Saigon faster than Nixon’s “decent interval” deal, so Thieu accepted the lesser of two evils.
    In recent years, Mel Laird, Nixon’s defense secretary, has popularized the myth that Congress actually cut off aid to Saigon. That simply didn’t happen. In fact, Congress gave Saigon $700 million in its final year.
    Find the facts behind the legends of the fall of Saigon at http://is.gd/bM52N
    Ken Hughes
    Presidential Recordings Program
    Miller Center of Public Affairs
    University of Virginia

  2. Thank you for providing our readers with this additional information. If you would like to write up a guest post about the matter for the blog, please send us an email.

  3. I’m reading a picture book with The Girl about the fall of Saigon. We probably should get around to finishing it.

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