It’s been 40 years since the harrowing rooftop helicopter evacuations of Saigon, then the capital of South Vietnam, which marked the end of America’s military involvement in a conflict that left roughly 58,000 Americans dead, sharply divided the country, and damaged America’s self-confidence until the 1990s.
The Vietnamese suffered far more casualties, with estimates ranging from 1 million to 3 million. This paper suggests that the best estimate is that roughly 1 million North Vietnamese combatants were killed, along with 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers. The number of civilians killed in both the north and the south remains unknown.
On April 30, 1975, the North Vietnamese tanks rolled into the Presidential Palace—today Reunification Palace—and the South Vietnamese government surrendered that day, bringing two decades of conflict to a close.
Understandably it took a long time for relations between Vietnam and the US to get anywhere close to warm. The US didn’t take steps to…
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