The Vietnam War

The Invasion of Cambodia

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A peaceful protest at LSU in May 1970 (1000+ students)
On April 30th of 1970, President Richard Nixon declared to a television audience that the American military troops, accompanied by the South Vietnamese People's Army, were to invade Cambodia. The invasion was under the pretext of disrupting the North Vietnamese supply lines. They also invaded in order to bomb and destroy the Viet Cong base camps, that were backing up the other operations in South Vietnam. Although Nixon officially declared the invasion in April, there had been air raids in Cambodia for the past year, without the American Citizens' knowledge. Basically, Nixon had been ordering bombings Cambodia for months before actually declaring an Invasion. The image of Nixon appeared not only on television sets all over the world, but in the New York Times and on the cover of Time magazine. A journalist from Time wrote "At one point during his television address to the nation last week, Richard Nixon lost his place in the typescript. For four or five seconds he shuffled pages, eyes darting through paragraphs to pick up the trail again. For the nation watching, it was an instant of complex psychology. There was the acute embarrassment and sympathy for the speaker who has fluffed his lines. There was also, for some, an eccentric half hope that if he could not continue, an absurdist, McLuhan logic would apply: 'The U.S. was about to move into Cambodia, but the President lost his place in the script.' The instant passed. Richard Nixon went on."  Many articles similar to this, along with his disclosure of the invasion was spread all over the United States, and the American citizens soon were filled with disbelief and fear. Nixon had promised "Vietnamization", and many of the citizens felt failed by the President they trusted. The relief that the soldiers may have been coming home quickly fled the minds of all of their waiting families. All the people of America became filled with anger and shock. As a result, protests both peaceful and violent erupted across the country. This reaction was significant in the Vietnam War conflict, because it marked the beginning of the large disagreement between the American Citizens and the Military arrangements that Nixon declared. 

President Richard Nixon's Speech Disclosing the Invasion of Cambodia