May 9

This Day in History

Vietnam War

May 9, 1974:

House votes to initiate impeachment proceedings

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opens impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon, voting to impeach him on three counts on July 30.

The impeachment was the result of the scandal involving the bungled burglary of the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C., on June 23, 1972. Eventually, it was learned that there was a criminal cover-up that went all the way to the White House. Nixon, facing the impeachment proceedings, resigned the presidency on August 8, 1974. His resignation had a major impact on the situation in Vietnam. Nixon had convinced South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to consent to the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords by personally promising (on more than 30 occasions) that the United States would re-enter the conflict if the North Vietnamese violated the peace agreement. However, when Nixon resigned, his successor, Gerald R. Ford, was not able to keep Nixon's promises. Ford could not, despite Thieu's desperate pleas for help, get Congress to appropriate significant funds to help the South Vietnamese. Having lost its sole source of aid and support, South Vietnam fell to the North Vietnamese in April 1975.

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