Communist Victory in Indochina

The Cold War in Asia

East Asia 1975.1202

Communist Victory in Indochina

Korean War, Indochina War, Vietnam War, Invasion of Tibet, Mao Zedong (2 December 1975)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

Only months after the Paris Peace Accords, Nixon became embroiled in the Watergate scandal, which ultimately ended his presidency. With the US distracted by the scandal and unlikely to further intervene, North Vietnam launched a full scale invasion and conquest of the South. Communist revolutionaries in the rest of Indochina followed suit, with the Khmer Rouge seizing control of Cambodia and the Pathet Lao taking over Laos.

Main Events

Battle of the Paracel Islands

A South Vietnamese patrol inspecting the disputed Paracel Islands discovered the Chinese had occupied Drummond Island, prompting both sides to send forces to the islands. On 19 January, South Vietnamese soldiers landing on Duncan Island were repelled by Chinese troops, with opposing support warships fighting a naval battle later that morning. The next day, the Chinese bombed the islands and landed more troops, forcing the remaining South Vietnamese garrison to surrender.

Nixon resigns

Following the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon became the first United States President to resign.

Spring Offensive

North Vietnam launched probing attacks into South Vietnam, capturing Phước Long by early January 1975. With it now clear that there would be no US intervention, the North Vietnamese invaded the Central Highlands in March, decisively defeating the South Vietnamese at Ban Me Thuot. On 30 April, the People's Army of Vietnam and Viet Cong forces entered Saigon, bringing the war in Vietnam to an end.

Khmer Rouge captures Phnom Penh

Forces of the Khmer Rouge capture Phnom Penh, capital of the Khmer Republic

Independence of Papua New Guinea

The Territory of Papua New Guinea was granted independence by the Commonwealth of Australia, becoming the independent state of Papua New Guinea with Chief Minister Michael Somare as Prime Minister. The country joined the United Nations on 10 October 1975.

End of Portuguese rule in Timor

After winning elections in July 1975 and defeating a pro-Indonesian coup attempt in August, the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) unilaterally declared the independence of East Timor from Portugal. The Portuguese, whose new liberal government had scheduled Timor's independence for 1978, had already fled Dili in response to the August violence.

Fall of Vientiane

Over May and June 1975, Pathēt Lao forces gained control of much of Kingdom of Laos, facing minimal resistance. On 2 December they captured Vientiane, capital of Laos, forcing the abdication of King Savang Vatthana and leading to the declaration of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

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