The Vietnam War Questions and Answers

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How did Richard Nixon both escalate the war in Vietnam and wind it down?

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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...

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