U.S. ground combat troops end two months of operations in Cambodia and return to South Vietnam. Military officials reported 354 Americans had been killed and 1,689 were wounded in the operation. The South Vietnamese reported 866 killed and 3,724 wounded. About 34,000 South Vietnamese troops remained in Cambodia.
U.S. and South Vietnamese forces had launched a limited “incursion” into Cambodia to clear North Vietnamese sanctuaries 20 miles inside the Cambodian border. Some 50,000 South Vietnamese soldiers and 30,000 U.S. troops were involved, making it the largest operation of the war since Operation Junction City in 1967.
The incursion into Cambodia had given the antiwar movement in the United States a new rallying point. News of the crossing into Cambodia set off a wave of antiwar demonstrations, including one at Kent State University that resulted in the killing of four students by Army National Guard troops, and another at Jackson State in Mississippi resulting in the shooting of two students when police opened fire on a women’s dormitory. The incursion also angered many in Congress, who felt that Nixon was illegally widening the scope of the war; this resulted in a series of congressional resolutions and legislative initiatives that would severely limit the executive power of the president.
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