Forty years ago, on January 23, 1973, President Richard Nixon addressed the nation and announced an agreement "to end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam." The agreement had been finalized earlier that day by Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho. Both men received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for "arranging the ceasefire after negotiating for nearly four years."
A few days later, representatives from the United States, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), and the Provisional Revolutionary Government formally signed the "Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam," in Paris on January 27, 1973.
Provisions of the Paris Peace Accords included an immediate ceasefire beginning at the end of that day, January 27, with all American forces to be withdrawn from South Vietnam within sixty days. Additionally—and also within sixty days—all prisoners of war were to be released and a full accounting of those missing in action was to be made. Also, negotiations were to continue between the three Vietnamese entities to provide a peaceful solution to reunify Vietnam.
The war in Vietnam began in 1955 and, while it ended for the United States with the Paris Peace Accords, the issues regarding prisoners of war, those missing in action, and the return of remains were contentious and controversial, dragging on for decades, and perhaps still not totally resolved today. North and South Vietnam had agreed to begin negotiations to peacefully settle their differences, yet fighting continued until the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. It wasn't until 1976 that North and South Vietnam were united as one nation.
150th Anniversary (1863–2013) This Month in the Civil War: The Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation, one of the most pivotal documents of the Civil War, was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. Earlier, on September 22, 1862, Lincoln had issued a preliminary proclamation that if fighting did not end and the South did not return to the Union by January 1, 1863, that all slaves in those Confederate states would be free. This was the first time that the war was officially defined as a fight against slavery.
In addition to freeing slaves in states and parts of states supporting the Confederacy, Lincoln, as commander in chief, proclaimed that "such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service," opening the way to blacks serving in the military. (Explore the Service Records of U.S. Colored Troops on Fold3.)
The National Archives, one of Fold3's publication partners, has created a free eBook in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Meaning and Making of Emancipation can be downloaded from this page.
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