The Selective Service announces the end to the draft and institutes an all-volunteer military.
North Vietnam returns 591 American prisoners of war (including future U.S. Senator and presidential candidate, John McCain) in what is known as Operation Homecoming.
President Nixon signs the Paris Peace Accords, ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The North Vietnamese accept a cease fire. But as U.S. troops depart Vietnam, North Vietnamese military officials continue plotting to overtake South Vietnam.
Paris Peace Accords
President Nixon resigns in the face of likely impeachment after the Watergate Scandal is revealed. Gerald R. Ford becomes president.
President Ford rules out any further U.S. military involvement in Vietnam.
In the Fall of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam is seized by communist forces and the government of South Vietnam surrenders. U.S. Marine and Air Force helicopters transport more than 1,000 American civilians and nearly 7,000 South Vietnamese refugees out of Saigon in an 18-hour mass evacuation effort. For the first time, people back home began to resist the draft, and demonstrations against the war became a regular occurrence. Many Vietnam veterans also took part in the efforts to stop the war.
Fall of Saigon
North and South Vietnam are formally unified as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam under hardline communist rule.
By the end of the war, more than 58,000 Americans lose their lives. Vietnam would later release estimates that 1.1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters were killed, up to 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died and more than 2 million civilians were killed on both sides of the war.