Betrayal and Abandonment:

  • 2012

Betrayal and Abandonment:

Paris Peace Accords of 1973 & Vietnam and Saigon Evacuations March and April 1975
Arthur Hutchins

The final evacuation from Saigon’s rooftops in 1975 indelibly imprinted iconic images upon the world’s consciousness of helicopters, ladders, and refugees clamoring to escape by clinging to embassy fences and helicopter skids. Thirty years of war came to an abrupt end.

Historians have proposed two very different explanations for the results of the Paris Peace Accords and the sudden end of the country known as South Vietnam. One explanation advanced by Nixon and Kissinger, and shared by orthodox historians, is that “they won the war and Congress lost the peace.” The revisionist explanation of the “decent interval” posits that Kissinger expected that Hanoi would eventually win but he did not want it to happen too quickly.

The Paris Agreement of January 1973 not only resulted in the end of the war for the Americans, but it also later facilitated the collapse of South Vietnam and the abandonment of thousands of at-risk individuals to their North Vietnamese enemy. Plans for the evacuation failed to consider the huge number of possible at-risk individuals left behind.