On the eve on Tuesday of President Nixon's announcement that agreement had been reached to end the war in Vietnam, Saigon seemed in optimistic mood.
On the eve on Tuesday of President Nixon's announcement that agreement had been reached to end the war in Vietnam, Saigon seemed in optimistic mood. Rumours had been circulating for some time past that agreement would be reached by today, and these by contrast to previous rumours proved well founded.
The war has had world-wide repercussions, ranging far beyond the confines of the Indochina battlefield in both human and material terms. More than a million people, including uncounted numbers of civilians on both sides, have died in the conflict, while millions of tons of bombs and shells have devastated the countryside. Saigon itself was the frequent victim of Viet Cong guerrilla rocket and shell attacks.
The involvement of the United States, reaching back even beyond the Nineteen Fifty-Four agreement that split Vietnam into north and south, hindered American relations with the Communist giants and had an explosive domestic impact.
The so-called 'limited' Asian war, in which nearly 46,000 United States servicemen died, probably divided American more tragically than their own civil war, a century ago.
But it has been the Vietnamese themselves who have suffered most. Many can remember only conflict, dating back to opposition to the Japanese invaders in World War Two and the anti-colonial struggle against France from 1946 to 1954.