On January 27th, 1973, the Paris Peace Accord was signed basically ending the Vietnam War. Sunday January 27th, 2013 marks the 40th Anniversary of that signing.
The announcement of the accord came several days earlier and printed in the New York Times:
Washington, Jan. 23 (1973)-- President Nixon said tonight that Henry A. Kissinger and North Vietnam's chief negotiator, Le Duc Tho, had initialed an agreement in Paris today "to end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam and Southeast Asia."
In a televised report to the nation, a few hours after Mr. Kissinger returned to Washington, Mr. Nixon said a cease-fire in Vietnam would go into effect on Saturday at 7 P. M., Eastern standard time.
Simultaneous announcements were made in Hanoi and Saigon.
Mr. Nixon said that under the terms of the accord- which will be formally signed on Saturday- all American prisoners of war would be released and the remaining 23,700-man American force in South Vietnam would be withdrawn within 60 days.
Article 15 of the agreement reads:
The reunification of Viet-Nam shall be carried out step by step through peaceful means on the basis of discussions and agreements between North and South Viet-Nam, without coercion or annexation by either party, and without foreign interference. The time for reunification will be agreed upon by North and South Viet-Nam. Pending reunification:
(a)The military demarcation line between the two zones at the 17th parallel is only provisional and not a political or territorial boundary, as provided for in paragraph 6 of the Final Declaration of the 1954 Geneva Conference.
(b)North and South Viet-Nam shall respect the Demilitarized Zone on either side of the Provisional Military Demarcation Line.
(c) North and South Viet-Nam shall promptly start negotiations with a view to reestablishing normal relations in various fields. Among the questions to be negotiated are the modalities of civilian movement across the Provisional Military Demarcation Line.
(d) North and South Viet-Nam shall not join any military alliance or military bloc and shall not allow foreign powers to maintain military bases, troops, military advisers, and military personnel on their respective territories, as stipulated in the 1954 Geneva Agreements on Viet-Nam....
Yet , even though the agreement called for separate nations with a move towards normality, that agreement was not adhered to by the North and in 1975, communist troops stormed the south and captured Saigon on April 30, ending a war that killed more than 58,000 Americans and an estimated three million Vietnamese.
On 25th April 1976, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (South) was renamed into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, which governs both northern and southern parts in its territory. After the fall on April 30, 1975, hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese men, from former officers in the armed forces to religious leaders, to employees of the Americans or the old government, were rounded up in reeducation camps to "learn about the ways of the new government." They were never tried or convicted of any crime. Many South Vietnamese men chose to flee on boats, but others had established lives in Vietnam, so did not flee but entered these camps in hopes of quickly reconciling with the new government and continuing their lives. They were considered to be institutions where rehabilitation was accomplished through education and socially constructive labor. Only those who "deserved rehabilitation" (as opposed to those who deserved jail) were sent to the camps, where their political attitudes, work production records, and general behavior were closely monitored.
Some sources believe that these re-education camps existed into the early 21st century, but that claim has yet to be verified.
With “Peace” now achieved, here are some statistics from one of America’s longest and unpopular war:
(Please note that statistics vary from source to source and the source of the following is from http://www.mrfa.org/vnstats.htm)
9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era (5 August 1965-7 May 1975)
8,744,000 personnel were on active duty during the war (5 August 1964-28 March 1973)
2,594,000 personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam ( I January 1965 - 28 March 1973)
Another 50,000 men served in Vietnam between 1960 and 1964
Of the 2.6 million, between 1 and 1.6 million (40-60%) either fought in combat, provided close combat support or were at least fairly regularly exposed to enemy attack.
7,484 women served in Vietnam, of whom 6,250 or 83.5% were nurses.
Peak troop strength in Vietnam was 543,482, on 30 April 1969.
Hostile deaths: 47,359
Non-hostile deaths: 10,797
Total: 58,156 (this number has increased)
Highest state death rate: West Virginia--84.1. (The national average death rate for males in 1970 was 58.9 per 100,000).
WIA: 303,704 - 153,329 required hospitalization, 50,375 who did not.
MIA: 2,338 (This number has decreased with increased search activity in Vietnam)
POW: 766, of whom 114 died in captivity.
Draftees vs. volunteers: 25% (648,500) of total forces in country were draftees. (66% of U.S. armed forces members were drafted during WWII)
Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.
Reservists KIA: 5,977
National Guard: 6,140 served; 101 died.
88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian, 10.6%
(275,000) were black, 1.0% belonged to other races
86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (including Hispanics)
12.5% (7,241) were black.
1.2% belonged to other races
170,000 Hispanics served in Vietnam; 3,070 (5.2%) of whom died there.
Age & Honorable Service:
The average age of the G.I. in 'Nam was 19 (26 for WWII) 97% of Vietnam era vets were honorably discharged.
Pride in Service:
91% of veterans of actual combat and 90% of those who saw heavy combat are proud to have served their country. 66% of Viet vets say they would serve again, if called upon. 87% of the public now holds Viet vets in high esteem.
Helicopter crew deaths accounted for 10% of ALL Vietnam deaths. Helicopter losses during Lam Son 719 (a mere two months) accounted for 10% of all helicopter losses from 1961-1975.