Richard Nixon ran for president in 1968 with the promise of ending the war in Vietnam. By this point, the war was perceived by many in the United States as being overly costly, bloody, and unwinnable. Nixon told voters that he had a special, secret plan to bring the long...
Richard Nixon ran for president in 1968 with the promise of ending the war in Vietnam. By this point, the war was perceived by many in the United States as being overly costly, bloody, and unwinnable. Nixon told voters that he had a special, secret plan to bring the long war to an honorable end. Just what he might have been referring to was unclear, and it would be another seven years before the end of hostilities. While it is true that the Vietnam War eventually ended under the Nixon administration, it would go through a serious escalation first.
Once in office, Nixon began a process he called Vietnamization. This referred to the gradual practice of withdrawing American forces from Vietnam and transitioning the role of defense to the South Vietnamese military.
However, American involvement continued at high levels. During the first year of Nixon's term in office, American troop levels in Vietnam reached their highest levels at over half a million in April of 1969. In fact, Nixon further escalated the war by sending American GIs into the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia to pursue Vietcong forces that had previously used these countries as safe havens.
Meanwhile, the United States pursued what was called the Nixon Doctrine. This included ramping up attacks on North Vietnam in order to pressure them to make peace on terms favorable to the interests of South Vietnam and the United States. In an attempt to achieve this, the United States heavily bombed North Vietnam.
By 1972, the United States began gradually withdrawing troops from Vietnam. The war was extremely unpopular at home, and it was becoming clear that negotiations with North Vietnam were going nowhere. In 1973, Nixon signed the Paris Peace Accord and withdrew nearly all US troops from Southeast Asia. The United States continued to support South Vietnam with advisors and supplies for the next two years.