In this week’s research, I discovered two newspaper articles that depicted the months leading up to the fall of Saigon. The first article discussed the issues the U.S. went through when trying to find places to send the evacuating Vietnamese. This proved to be very difficult, as countries such as the Philippines refused evacuees entrance into their country. Many South Vietnamese were denied passports by their government, but after a strong urging by the United States, were able to receive “laissez passer”, which means let pass in English. This allowed them into the U.S. However, they would soon come to the sad reality that many Vietnamese were held in what was called detention, until they could figure out what to do with them.
When the U.S. defense officials became suspicious of another offensive by the North Vietnamese, they were very concerned. The South Vietnam’s ammunition supply was already running dry. It was questioned whether or not the South could handle an all out offensive. Nearing the Fall of Saigon, it was being estimated that approximately twice as many North Vietnamese soldiers were entering South Vietnam as opposed to the previous year.
Throughout the month of March in 1973, the U.S. troops were fighting their last battles in conjunction with the South Vietnamese. On March 29th 1973, the Americans would be completely withdrawn from the war instead of providing added assistance which the South Vietnamese were requesting. This would lead to the collapse of Saigon and the South in general, as the North would overpower the South Vietnamese in relatively quick fashion.
My second article will be very helpful to my paper because until now, I did not have good information on the final battle of Vietnam. This article explained that the North Vietnamese attacked the central highlands in March 1975 and succeeded by an unexpected margin. This final attack sent the South Vietnamese crawling backwards as they were in fear of the inevitable takeover of the North. General Van Tien Dung, who was believed by many to be the chief of staff in command of the last battles of the Vietnam War, was quoted in a North Vietnamese newspaper in this time frame saying, “The Ban Me Thout (the final attacks) campaign (was) a regional attack with limited goals”. The newspaper described that following this marginal win over the South, the North was unaware of how catastrophic the defeat was at the time. The North Vietnamese were planning to conduct a series of attacks in the future that kept the South Vietnamese from a proper recovery. However, once the North Vietnamese recognized the exponential retreat of the South Vietnamese, they began to seize their opportunity for victory of the Vietnam War.