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Vietnam Peace Treaty Agreed To In Paris

By Patrick Mondout

On January 23, 1971, the U.S. and North Vietnam jointly announced from Paris that the terms of a cease-fire agreement had been accepted by both sides.

The nine-point cease-fire agreement, negotiated between Henry Kissinger and North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho, was signed in Paris on January 27, 1973, to become effective on January 28. It called for the U.S. to remove all of its forces from South Vietnam and for all POWs to be returned within 60 days.

Peace With Honor

President Nixon hailed the agreement as meeting "the goals that we considered essential for peace with honor." Nixon ran for president in 1968 on a pledge of bringing the war to an end, but only by achieving what he called "peace with honor." He was unable to achieve it in his first term but then settled with the North Vietnamese on terms that were exactly the same as the Johnson Administration had negotiated shortly before the election in 1968.

On February 12, the first group of American POWs were released at an airfield near Hanoi. On Valentine's Day, 1973, the first former POWs arrived in California. On March 28th, 1973, the last U.S. military personnel departed South Vietnam.

By 1975, 57,000 Americans and untold numbers of Vietnamese had died in Vietnam. The United States had spent $155 billion in Southeast Asia since 1950. The war eroded Americans' faith in their government.

Paris Peace Talks

After years of arguing over such things as the size of the table they would negotiate at, both sides finally came to an agreement they could live with and the cease fire agreement was signed on January 27, 1973.

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As the war escalated in the mid to late 1960's, its critics became more outspoken. University students and teachers began holding teach-ins in 1965. Hundreds of young men escaped the draft by fleeing to Canada. Protest marches happened across the country. Those opposing the war argued that the war cost too much--both in lives and dollars--and couldn't be won. Soon after the tragedy at Kent State in 1970, the majority of Americans opposed the war.



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President Nixon meets with Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office after the return of U.S. POWs.

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