Photograph of President Gerald Ford Meeting with Brent Scowcroft, Graham Martin, General Frederick Weyand, and Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office to Discuss the Situation in Vietnam
This photograph was taken in the Oval Office of the White House. Pictured with President Ford are Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs; Graham Martin, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Vietnam; Army Chief of Staff General Frederick Weyand; and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.
Gerald Ford has his back to the camera. Brent Scowcroft is partially obscured.
Gerald R. Ford White House Photographs
Beginning in 1950, American military advisors arrived in what was then French Indochina. U.S. involvement escalated in the early 1960s, with troop levels tripling in 1961 and again in 1962. U.S. involvement escalated further following the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which a U.S. destroyer clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft, which was followed by the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave the U.S. president authorization to increase U.S. military presence. Regular U.S. combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Operations crossed international borders: bordering areas of Laos and Cambodia were heavily bombed by U.S. forces as American involvement in the war peaked in 1968, the same year that the communist side launched the Tet Offensive. The Tet Offensive failed in its goal of overthrowing the South Vietnamese government, but became the turning point in the war, as it persuaded a large segment of the U.S. population that its government's claims of progress toward winning the war were illusory despite many years of massive U.S. military aid to South Vietnam. Gradual withdrawal of U.S. ground forces began as part of "Vietnamization", which aimed to end American involvement in the war while transferring the task of fighting the Communists to the South Vietnamese themselves. Despite the Paris Peace Accord, which was signed by all parties in January 1973, the fighting continued. In the U.S. and the Western world, a large anti-Vietnam War movement developed as part of a larger counterculture. The war changed the dynamics between the Eastern and Western Blocs, and altered North–South relations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War Direct U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973. The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese Army in April 1975 marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities (see Vietnam War casualties). Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from 800,000 to 3.1 million. Some 200,000–300,000 Cambodians, 20,000–200,000 Laotians, and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict, with a further 1,626 missing in action.
Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. (July 14, 1913 – December 26, 2006) served as the 38th President of the United States from 1974 to 1977. He is the only person to have served as both Vice President and President of the United States without being elected to either office. As he was appointed to fill a vacancy and then succeeded to the presidency, Ford also earned the distinction of being the only person in American history to neither begin nor finish either a presidential or vice presidential term on the date of a regularly-scheduled inauguration. Before vice-presidency, Ford served 25 years as Representative from Michigan's 5th congressional district, the final 9 of them as the House Minority Leader. Ford's reputation for integrity and openness had made him popular during his 25 years in Congress. When Gerald R. Ford took the oath of office on August 9, 1974, he declared, "I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances.... This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts." As President, Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, marking a move toward détente in the Cold War. With the conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam nine months into his presidency, U.S. involvement in Vietnam essentially ended. Ford acted vigorously to maintain U. S. power and prestige after the collapse of Cambodia and South Vietnam. Domestically, Ford presided over the worst economy in the four decades since the Great Depression, with growing inflation and a recession during his tenure. He granted a presidential pardon to President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal. In the GOP presidential primary campaign of 1976, Ford defeated then-former California Governor Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination. He narrowly lost the presidential election to the Democratic challenger, then-former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, on November 2. Following his years as President, Ford remained active in the Republican Party. He died on December 26, 2006 and lived longer than any other U.S. president, 93 years and 165 days. "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our constitution works."