VARIOUS LOCATIONS, VIETNAM, EUROPE & MALAYSIA It was just ten years ago, on January 27, 1973, that the war in Vietnam came to an end officially with the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements.
London, UK; January 1973:
GV & MVs Anti-Vietnam demonstrators in Trafalgar Square.
GVs & SVs Torchlight procession.
The Hague Netherlands:
TV PAN TILT UP SV Flag at US Embassy.
SV PAN TV Marchers throwing leaflets. Police outside Embassy.
SVs & GVs Marchers and police at Place de la Concorde. Police chasing crowd. (8 SHOTS) 1.00
Quang Duc Province, South Vietnam, December 1973:
GVs Troops advancing through jungle.
LV Shells exploding.
SV Machinegun mounted on helicopter firing.
SV Soldier firing rocket launcher.
SV PAN FROM Soldier firing rocket TO explosion in distance.
PAN TO Explosion near cameraman. (7 SHOTS) 1.23
Saigon (Now Ho Chi Minh City); April , 1975: GVs Tanks and troops carriers through gates of Presidential Palace. Troops follow with flags.
Background: VARIOUS LOCATIONS, VIETNAM, EUROPE & MALAYSIA It was just ten years ago, on January 27, 1973, that the war in Vietnam came to an end officially with the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements. In the preceding 12 years, since 1961, the United States had suffered almost 46,000 combat deaths and more than 10,000 deaths from other causes. During that period, well over a million Vietnamese on both sides were killed. By the end of April 1975, the Americans had withdrawn and paved the way for the communist take-over. Since then, the country has forged strong ties with the Soviet Union, but tensions remain with China and Kampuchea.
SYNOPSIS: Saturday, January 27, 1973 -- and more than a decade of fighting in Vietnam is brought officially to an end in Paris. No words were exchanged in the formal 20-minute signing ceremony by representatives from the United States, North and South Vietnam and the Viet Cong. Outside the conference centre, a crowd of about two thousand -- mostly pro-communist demonstrators -- voiced their protests. The Paris agreement provided for complete withdrawal of all US troops, together with the return of US prisoners-of-war by the end of March 1973.
The peace agreement was forged after a growing wave of protests in both the US and Europe about US involvement in Vietnam. These demonstrations in London, the Hague and Paris were staged to coincide with the inauguration of President Nixon for his second term of office. Undoubtedly, the intensifying criticism brought pressure on the US administration to withdraw from a war which had cost the lives of so many of its citizens.
Not that the ceasefire meant an end to fighting. Immediately after it was signed a total of 378 battles took place in the following 24 hours -- a record for the war. The following December, this was the scene in the southern province of Quang Duc near the border with Kampuchea. By the beginning of 1975, the forces of President Thieu were in retreat. By the end of March, Communist forces controlled Hue and Da Nang and were advancing on Saigon.
On April 30, the forces that drew their inspiration from the revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh took complete control of Saigon. The city was later re-named Ho Chi Minh City. The Americans sent their helicopters and force of Marines to pull out the last US citizens -- mostly diplomats and their families -- and leading Vietnamese who had worked with them.
In November 1975, a reunification congress was held in Ho Chi Minh city, presided over by Truong Chinh representing the North, and Pham Hung representing the South. Officially, ideological partition was ended but there remained strong cultural and social differences between the two parts of the country.
The struggling economy needed aid for industrial development. Prime Minister Pham Van Dong met French Prime Minister Raymond Barre in 1977 for talks. The following year, Communist leader Le Duan met Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev. Since then, Vietnam has become heavily dependent on Soviet aid, with Russian the principal language taught in schools.
Trouble at the border with Kampuchea (then Cambodia) flared in 1978. the Vietnamese released this film, saying the Kampucheans struck at night without warning.
Later, the Vietnamese overthrew the regime of Pol Pot, and enabled a pro-Vietnamese government under Heng Samrin to takeover. But Kampuchea remains a problem for Vietnam, with a reported 200,000 troops still stationed there.
One of the saddest aspects of all the fighting has been the number of refugees fleeing the country. The flood of refugees reached crisis proportions in 1979. Vietnamese policy towards Chinese residents (known as "Hoa" people) became so severe that vast numbers of them were departing by ship and land. By the middle of he year, it was estimated 200,000 such refugees had entered China, and another 200,000 had reached other countries in South East Asia. The plight of the co-called boat people focussed world attention on the continuing disaster. Many arrived in Malaysia -- only a few days away from Vietnam. Housed in primitive camps like this, they posed a major problem for the authorities.
Following Vietnam's invasion of Kampuchea, the Chinese invaded Vietnam in 1979, and fierce fighting lasted a month. The Chinese were dissatisfied with Vietnam's orientation towards Moscow, and with its treatment of Chinese residents. After capturing the town of Lang-Son, the Chinese withdrew, but tensions remain high between the two countries.
Hanoi is a city of shortages. Everywhere in Vietnam, there are reminders of the war which, on and off, lasted for more than thirty years. There is still resentment in the south, where poverty, unemployment and food shortages have taken their toll. Northern officials have rounded up people accused of plotting an corruption in Ho Chi Minh City. Ten years after the peace treaty was signed massive this is a period of comparative peace.
Source: REUTERS LIBRARY