In a televised speech, President Nixon pledges to withdraw 150,000 more U.S. troops over the next year “based entirely on the progress” of the Vietnamization program. His program, which had first been announced in June 1969, included three parts. First, the United States would step up its effort to improve the combat capability of the South Vietnamese armed forces so that they could assume responsibility for the war against the North Vietnamese. As the South Vietnamese became more capable, U.S. forces would be withdrawn from South Vietnam. At the same time, U.S. negotiators would continue to try to reach a negotiated settlement to the war with the communists at the Paris peace talks. Nixon’s new strategy and the continuing U.S. troop withdrawals represented a significant change in the nature of the American commitment to the war, as the primary responsibility for the fighting was transferred to the South Vietnamese armed forces. The first U.S. soldiers were withdrawn in the fall of 1969 and the withdrawals continued periodically through 1972. The remaining U.S. troops were withdrawn from South Vietnam in March 1973 as part of the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords.
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