Some people will do literally anything to win an election.

Political ambition—or as some might call it when it comes to Richard Nixon, treason—prolonged the war in Vietnam for half a decade. Here’s how it happened.

Vietnam Peace Nixon Kissinger

Nixon (left) and Kissinger (right) meet. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

January 27, 2016, marks the 43rd anniversary of the formal peace in Vietnam. On that day in 1973, representatives of the United States finally reached agreement with North and South Vietnam to cease fire and withdraw the last American combat troops from the country. Two years later, North Vietnam broke the peace by invading South Vietnam and uniting the country by force.

The fall of Saigon isn’t the only tragedy associated with the end of the war: January 27th could have been the 48th anniversary of peace, if it hadn’t been for the ambition of two behind-the-scenes manipulators. During the delicate negotiations for peace in the summer of 1968, then-Special Advisor to the President Henry Kissinger and presidential candidate Richard Nixon worked together, using classified information and covert communications channels, to undermine and frustrate President Johnson’s efforts to end the war—all for temporary political gain.

Richard Stockton
Richard Stockton
Richard Stockton is a freelance science and technology writer from Sacramento, California.
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