A look back at the Vietnam War
Accord that officially ended conflict signed 40 years ago
Jan. 23, 2012
[ CBC Archives. ]
The Paris Peace Accords, signed 40 years ago on Jan. 27, 1973, marked the beginning of the end of the long-running Vietnam War. The agreement, which established a temporary ceasefire, was negotiated by then-U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese statesman Le Duc Tho. Under the plan, the U.S. would no longer be directly involved in the war and would pull its troops and close its bases within 60 days. North and South Vietnam would also agree to reunification through peaceful means. Both Kissinger and Tho would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts — although Tho declined the award, saying the peace agreement had not yet truly been reached. Kissinger later tried to return his award.
Read more: CBC ARCHIVES - Canada's Secret War
The last U.S. military unit left Vietnam on March 29, 1973.
"Tonight, the day we have all worked and prayed for has finally come. For the first time in 12 years, no American military forces are in Vietnam. All of our American POW's are on their way home," said U.S. President Richard Nixon in address to the nation.
But the peace did not stand and fighting continued until the fall of Saigon in April 1975.
By the numbers
21: number of years the war raged.
2 million: number of civilians killed in Vietnam
1.1 million: number of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters killed
58,242: number of U.S. armed forces killed in the war. This breaks down as follows:
· 38,224 Army
· 14,844 Marines
· 2,586 Air Force
· 26 Merchant Marines
· 7 Coast Guard
30,000 Canadians who volunteered to fight in the war. Canadians who wanted to volunteer had to lie and say they were born in the U.S.
1,698 U.S. military personnel were still unaccounted for as of 2010.
240: Number of days per year the average U.S. infantry-man spent in combat in Vietnam. By comparison men spent about 40 days in combat annually during the Second World War.
About 16,000 American men crossed the border into Canada between the years of 1966 and 1972. Draft dodgers faced a maximum fine of $10,000 and a five-year sentence in a federal penitentiary.
Notable Americans who came to Canada include: children's entertainer Eric Nagler, musician Jesse Winchester, former CBC Radio host Andy Barrie and sports writer Jack Todd. Writer and activist Jane Jacobs moved to Toronto so her sons could avoid the draft.
In 1977, Jimmy Carter pardoned those who peacefully evaded the draft.
Read more - CBC ARCHIVES: Draft Dodgers
The Living Room War
Field reports from Vietnam, often depicting the violent realities of war, played a crucial role in shaping public opinion at home. Journalist Michael Arlen created the term "the living room war", referring to the coverage and the effect it had on the nation's psyche. Powerful field reports coupled with stunning and raw images divided support for the war movement. Notable reporters who covered the war included Canadians Morley Safer, Joe Schlesinger, Knowlton Nash and David Halton. Journalist David Halberstam earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his reporting from Vietnam.