Black April: The Fall of South Vietnam, 1973-75

Black April: The Fall of South Vietnam, 1973-75

by George J Veith

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The defeat of South Vietnam was arguably America’s worst foreign policy disaster of the 20th Century. Yet a complete understanding of the endgame—from the 27 January 1973 signing of the Paris Peace Accords to South Vietnam’s surrender on 30 April 1975—has eluded us.

Black April addresses that deficit. A culmination of exhaustive research in three distinct areas: primary source documents from American archives, North Vietnamese publications containing primary and secondary source material, and dozens of articles and numerous interviews with key South Vietnamese participants, this book represents one of the largest Vietnamese translation projects ever accomplished, including almost one hundred rarely or never seen before North Vietnamese unit histories, battle studies, and memoirs. Most important, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of South Vietnam’s conquest, the leaders in Hanoi released several compendiums of formerly highly classified cables and memorandum between the Politburo and its military commanders in the south. This treasure trove of primary source materials provides the most complete insight into North Vietnamese decision-making ever complied. While South Vietnamese deliberations remain less clear, enough material exists to provide a decent overview.

Ultimately, whatever errors occurred on the American and South Vietnamese side, the simple fact remains that the country was conquered by a North Vietnamese military invasion despite written pledges by Hanoi’s leadership against such action. Hanoi’s momentous choice to destroy the Paris Peace Accords and militarily end the war sent a generation of South Vietnamese into exile, and exacerbated a societal trauma in America over our long Vietnam involvement that reverberates to this day. How that transpired deserves deeper scrutiny.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594037054
Publisher: Encounter Books
Publication date: 09/10/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 624
Sales rank: 1,144,740
File size: 10 MB

About the Author

George J Veith: George J. Veith is the author of Code-Name Bright Light: The Untold Story of U.S. POW Rescue Efforts During the Vietnam War, published by The Free Press in December 1997. Code-Name Bright Light was Book of the Month for the Military Book Club in January 1998. Mr. Veith has also published Leave No Man Behind: Bill Bell and the Search for American POW/MIAs from the Vietnam War in March 2004. He has published many symposium papers, various newspaper articles, and a well-received article on the battle for Xuan Loc in April 1975 that appeared in the January 2004 issue of the "Journal of Military History," along with. He presented papers at the following major conferences, including the October 2005 Australian War College symposium "Entangling Alliances: Coalition Warfare in the Twentieth Century," in 2006 to the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency at Fort Belvoir, VA, at the May 2008 conference in Paris on “War, Diplomacy, and Public Opinion: The Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam and the End of the Vietnam War (1968-1975),” and at the 2009 Society for Military History Conference. Most recently, he helped organize a conference held in Washington, DC in April 2010 on “35-Year Retrospective Look on Vietnam.” He has appeared on Fox News and other radio and TV stations, and testified twice on the POW/MIA issue before the U.S. House of Representatives. He has been invited to speak at the American Legion National Conference, the National League of POW/MIA Families and National Alliance of Families annual meetings, and many other venues.

Table of Contents

Maps ix

Acknowledgments xi

List of Abbreviations xv

List of Persons xvii

Military Forces xxi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 "The U.S. will react vigorously": Signing the Paris Peace Accords 17

Chapter 2 "South Vietnam will have both peace and war": The Collapse of the Accords 35

Chapter 3 "Enough to make the angels weep": Trading Blood for Ammunition 53

Chapter 4 "A rainy season like no other": The War Resumes 71

Chapter 5 "Even the gods weep for Phuoc Long": The Beginning of the End 91

Chapter 6 "How can the free world abandon us?": Preparing for the Strategic Blow 115

Chapter 7 "Goodbye for now, Ban Me Thuot": Beginning the "Great Spring Offensive" 141

Chapter 8 "Light at the top, heavy at the bottom": Decisions That Destroyed a Nation 171

Chapter 9 "The Road of Blood and Tears": The Retreat from the Highlands 203

Chapter 10 "Chaos and disintegration": Surrounding Saigon 235

Chapter 11 "How could I abandon this rocky soil?": Fighting to Save Hue 263

Chapter 12 "The hours of hell": The Collapse of I Corps 299

Chapter 13 "The sea is our only hope": The Battle for the Coastal Cities 331

Chapter 14 "Lightning speed, daring, surprise, certain victory": PAVN Surrounds Saigon 357

Chapter 15 "Hold fast the remaining land": The South Vietnamese Fight Back 383

Chapter 16 "No matter what happens, do not stop your attack": Capturing Phan Rang 415

Chapter 17 "I will knock them down!": ARVN Holds at Xuan Loc 435

Chapter 18 "Do not come home until victory is won": The Fall of Saigon 463

Notes 501

Selected Bibliography 541

Index 557

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