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Americans react to 1973 Vietnam ceasefire

Vietnam may have been America's war but Canada was heavily involved — for and against. Canada harboured American draft dodgers and helped supervise ceasefires. But at the same time, about 30,000 Canadians volunteered to fight in southeast Asia. And there was Canada's involvement in secret missions, weapons testing and arms production. CBC Archives looks at Canada's role in the Vietnam War.

It's the war that has come daily into the living rooms of Americans and sent home damaged young soldiers. And it may finally be over. Now that President Nixon has signed the Paris Peace Accords, CBC Weekend reporters talk to three outspoken critics of the Vietnam war, and conduct on-the-street interviews with U.S. citizens about their expectations. To wrap up, CBC reporter Joe Schlesinger talks by telephone to Weekend host Jim Eayrs about the heavy fighting he has witnessed more than a day after the ceasefire went into effect on Jan. 27, 1973.

• Daniel Ellsberg, seen in this clip, was born in 1931. In 1967 he worked on a study of the U.S. in Vietnam which became known as the Pentagon Papers and distributed the top-secret documents to several U.S. newspapers four years later. He was put on trial, but the charges against him were dismissed. 

• Dick Gregory, the hunger striker seen in this clip, is an American comedian, actor and writer who first came to prominence in the 1960s after Hugh Hefner hired him to work at the Playboy Club. He was a civil rights activist and went to North Vietnam in 1966 to entertain American prisoners of war. "I'm just going to entertain the prisoners," he told The Village Voice "I don't entertain killers on either side. These prisoners are without a government, they are paying their debt for the war like North Vietnam captors are paying theirs. I wouldn't entertain anyone who is engaged in killing his fellow man."

• Rev. Philip Berrigan, interviewed in this clip, was one of the Catonsville Nine, a group of anti-war protesters who broke into a recruitment office near Baltimore, removed hundreds of draft records, and set fire to them in the parking lot.  He was, with his brother Daniel, (also a Roman Catholic priest), dedicated throughout his life to the cause of peace, and civil rights.  Berrigan, who died in Dec. 2002, was sentenced to 30 months in jail for breaking into a U.S. air force base in 1999 and hammering two warplanes - he was released in December of 2001.

Medium: Television
Broadcast Date: Jan. 28, 1973
Program: Weekend
Hosts: Jim Eayrs, Charlotte Gobeil
Duration: 20:07

Last updated: January 28, 2013

Page consulted on December 20, 2013

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