No matter the level of your knowledge of the Vietnam War, you would agree that when it was over a truly heinous period is world history came to a close.  On January 27, 1973, the United States, South Vietnam, Viet Cong, and North Vietnam formally sign “An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam” in Paris.
U.S. Representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese Le Duc Tho

U.S. Representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese Le Duc Tho

For Lt. Col. William B. Nolde, the cease fire came 11 hours too late.  He was the last U.S. serviceman to be killed in Vietnam.  He was killed by an artillery shell at An Loc, 60 miles northwest of Saigon, only 11 hours before the truce went into effect.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Lt. Col. William B. Nolde

As to the peace accord, due to South Vietnam’s unwillingness to recognize the Viet Cong’s Provisional Revolutionary Government, all references to it were confined to a two-party version of the document signed by North Vietnam and the United States—the South Vietnamese were presented with a separate document that did not make reference to the Viet Cong government. This was part of Saigon’s long-time refusal to recognize the Viet Cong as a legitimate participant in the discussions to end the war.

The settlement:

  • a cease-fire throughout Vietnam.
  • the United States agreed to the withdrawal of all U.S. troops and advisors (totalling about 23,700).
  • the dismantling of all U.S. bases within 60 days.
Newspaper account during the peace talks

Newspaper account during the peace talks

  • the North Vietnamese agreed to release all U.S. and other prisoners of war.
A now famous photograph

A now famous photograph

  • Both sides agreed to the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Laos and Cambodia and the prohibition of bases in and troop movements through these countries.
  • It was agreed that the DMZ at the 17th Parallel would remain a provisional dividing line, with eventual reunification of the country “through peaceful means.”
The DMZ

The DMZ

  • An international control commission would be established made up of Canadians, Hungarians, Poles, and Indonesians, with 1,160 inspectors to supervise the agreement.
  • According to the agreement, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu would continue in office pending elections.
  • Agreeing to “the South Vietnamese People’s right to self-determination,” the North Vietnamese said they would not initiate military movement across the DMZ and that there would be no use of force to reunify the country.

 

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