December 23

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Dec 23, 1972:

Operation Linebacker II continues

The East German Embassy and the Hungarian commercial mission in Hanoi are hit in the eighth day of Operation Linebacker II. Although there were reports that a prisoner of war camp holding American soldiers was hit, the rumor was untrue.

President Nixon initiated the full-scale bombing campaign against North Vietnam on December 18, when the North Vietnamese--who walked out of the peace talks in Paris--refused an ultimatum from Nixon to return to the negotiating table. During the 11 days of the operation, 700 B-52 sorties and more than 1,000 fighter-bomber sorties dropped an estimated 20,000 tons of bombs, mostly over the densely populated area between Hanoi and Haiphong. President Nixon was vilified at home and abroad for ordering the "Christmas bombing," but on December 28, the North Vietnamese did agree to return to the talks in Paris. When the negotiators met again in early January, they quickly arrived at a settlement. The Paris Peace Accords were signed on January 23 and a cease-fire went into effect five days later.

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