President Nixon hints that the United States might intervene again in Vietnam to prevent communist violations of the truce. A cease-fire under the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords had gone into effect on January 27, 1973, but was quickly and repeatedly violated by both sides as they jockeyed for control of territory in South Vietnam. Very quickly, both sides resumed heavy fighting in what came to be called the “cease-fire war.”
Nixon had been instrumental in convincing the reluctant South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to sign the peace treaty, promising him repeatedly that, “We will respond with full force should the settlements be violated by North Vietnam.” As the fighting continued throughout 1973 and into 1974, Thieu appealed to Nixon to make good on his promises. For his part, Nixon was increasingly embroiled in the developing Watergate scandal, and resigned from office in August 1974. His successor, Gerald Ford, was unable to persuade a hostile Congress to provide the promised support to South Vietnam. The United States did nothing when the North Vietnamese launched their final offensive in the spring of 1975. South Vietnam was defeated in less than 55 days, surrendering unconditionally to the North Vietnamese on April 30.