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When Cambodia's capital, Phnompenh, was overtaken by the Communist Khmer Rouge in April 1975, the government of Lon Nol was replaced by that of Pol Pot. After five years of fighting, the Khmer Rouge had succeeded in defeating the government army, and soon began to act out a policy of evacuation and execution of their own countrymen. Phnompenh, along with other cities, was emptied as citizens were resettled in concentration camp-like agricultural "communities" where re-education could begin.
The capital of South Vietnam, and the seat of official U.S. power in the country, Saigon was overrun by North Vietnamese Communist troops on April 30, 1975. As a Communist victory became certain, a massive evacuation began. In just 19 hours, 81 helicopters carried more than 1,000 Americans and 6,000 Vietnamese out of the city-under-siege and to the safety of aircraft carriers waiting offshore. For every Vietnamese who successfully fled the city, however, dozens more were denied transport.