(Re)Collecting the Vietnam War

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The Vietnamese-occupied Cambodian state stages a trial charging Pol Pot and Ieng Sary (Khmer Rouge Foreign Minister) in absentia. On 19 August 1979, the tribunal finds the two leaders guilty of genocide and sentences them to death, but many regard…

On 7 January 1979, Vietnamese troops takeover Phnom Penh, marking the end of the Khmer Rouge reign of terror. Cambodia is renamed “The People’s Republic of Kampuchea” and is under Vietnamese control for the next decade (until 1989).

There were numerous protests in the United States against the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. The most famous protest occurred at Kent State, where on 4 May 1970 the Ohio National Guard opened fire and killed four student protesters.

General Lon Nol, supported by the United States, overthrows Prince Sihanouk via a coup on 18 March 1970 and establishes the short-lived Khmer Republic on 9 October 1970. A vehement anti-communist, General Nol sends military forces to fight North…

The United Nations convenes the Geneva Conference on 20-21 July 1979, resulting in agreements with Southeast Asian countries to provide temporary first asylum to the refugees, Vietnam to promote orderly departures under the ODP rather than permit…

In May 1979, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam sign a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Orderly Departure Program (ODP), which accounts for about 5,000 Vietnamese to come…

The number of Vietnamese refugees leaving the country increases dramatically in September 1978, with more than 50,000 in some months. The numbers are probably higher, since an estimated one-third die in passage. Some escape Việt Nam by land…

China, in support of Cambodia, retaliates and attacks Việt Nam at the northern border, starting the Sino-Vietnamese War (17 February-16 March 1979). China's effort fails and the 300,000 ethnic Chinese living in Việt Nam face persecution. Most…

Việt Nam invades Cambodia on 25 December 1978 to topple Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime and to expand Việt Nam's regional power. This brings on a new and costly cycle of war for Việt Nam. Although fighting largely ends by 8 January 1979, with…

Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) sponsors a bill, H.R. 7769, to change the status of Indochinese refugees from parolees to permanent residents. This is called the 1977 Adjustment of Status Clause and is added to the 1975 Indochina Migration and Refugee…
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