Why did the USA
withdraw from Vietnam?

Following the Tet Offensive, opposition to the war grew rapidly in the United States as the number of US troops in Vietnam reached half a million. Anti-war protests, rallies, and demonstrations became more widespread and vocal, with increasing calls for an end to US involvement in Vietnam.

When Richard Nixon became President of the United States in 1969, he announced the policy of "Vietnamization," where US troops would gradually be withdrawn and South Vietnamese forces would have an increased responsibility in the war effort.

When Nixon authorised the US invasion of Cambodia to disrupt Viet Cong supply lines, mass protests and demonstrations were sparked across the United States, including the Kent State shootings where National Guard troops shot and killed four and injured nine students who were rallying against America's Cambodian campaign. 

The Pentagon Papers, a classified study of US involvement in Vietnam, were leaked in 1971 and revealed decades of government deceit, which fueled public distrust of the war effort.

In 1972, North Vietnamese forces launched The Easter Offensive across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and into South Vietnam, eliciting the US to launch Operation Linebacker, a massive bombing campaign against North Vietnam, including Hanoi and Haiphong.

After intense opposition and continued criticism of the US involvement in the Vietnam War, The Paris Peace Accords are signed on 27January 1973, leading to a ceasefire and the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam.

Many believe that the US signed the Treaty to save face. They had been involved in the war for over a decade and despite their superior weaponry, had been largely unsuccessful.

Before the last US troops had left, North Vietnamese forces had already violated the Treaty and the resumption of full-scale war had already begun by early 1974. By the end of 1974, South Vietnam reported that 80,000 soldiers and civilians had been killed. This meant it was the deadliest battle of the Vietnam War.

Timeline of Vietnam War