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January 8, 1973

North Vietnam and the United States resume peace talks in Paris.
January 27, 1973

All warring parties in the Vietnam War sign a cease fire.
Henry Kissenger's initials on the Cease Fire
March 1973

The last American combat soldiers leave South Vietnam, though military advisors and Marines, who are protecting U.S. installations, remain. For the United States, the war is officially over. Of the more than 3 million Americans who have served in the war, almost 58,000 are dead, and over 1,000 are missing in action. Some 150,000 Americans were seriously wounded.

January 1974

Though they are still too weak to launch a full-scale offensive, the North Vietnamese have rebuilt their divisions in the South, and have captured key areas.
North Vietnamese resupply and fortify their forces
August 9, 1974

President Richard M. Nixon resigns, leaving South Vietnam without its strongest advocate.
December 26, 1974

The 7th North Vietnamese Army division captures Dong Xoai.

January 6, 1975

In a disastrous loss for the South Vietnamese, the NVA take Phuoc Long city and the surrounding province. The attack, a blatant violation of the Paris peace agreement, produces no retaliation from the United States.
The North Vietnamese flag flies over Phouc Long
March 1, 1975

A powerful NVA offensive is unleashed in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam. The resulting South Vietnamese retreat is chaotic and costly, with nearly 60,000 troops dead or missing.
During March

Another NVA offensive sends 100,000 soldiers against the major cities of Quang Tri, Hue and Da Nang. Backed by powerful armored forces and eight full regiments of artillery, they quickly succeed in capturing Quang Tri province.
North Vietnamese armored forces
March 25, 1975

Hue, South Vietnam's third largest city, falls to the North Vietnamese Army.
Early April 1975

Five weeks into its campaign, the North Vietnamese Army has made stunning gains. Twelve provinces and more than eight million people are under its control. The South Vietnamese Army has lost its best units, over a third of its men, and almost half its weapons.
April 29, 1975

U.S. Marines and Air Force helicopters, flying from carriers off-shore, begin a massive airlift. In 18 hours, over 1,000 American civilians and almost 7,000 South Vietnamese refugees are flown out of Saigon.
A helicopter lifts off from inside the U.S. Embassy grounds
April 30, 1975

At 4:03 a.m., two U.S. Marines are killed in a rocket attack at Saigon's Tan Son Nhut airport. They are the last Americans to die in the Vietnam War. At dawn, the last Marines of the force guarding the U.S. embassy lift off. Only hours later, looters ransack the embassy, and North Vietnamese tanks role into Saigon, ending the war. In 15 years, nearly a million NVA and Vietcong troops and a quarter of a million South Vietnamese soldiers have died. Hundreds of thousands of civilians had been killed.