Vietnam: A Television History (1983): S01E10 – Peace is at Hand (1968-1973)


Vietnam: A Television History (1983) is a 13-part American documentary and television mini-series about the Vietnam War (1955-1975) from the perspective of the United States.

It was produced for public television by WGBH-TV in Boston, and it was originally broadcast on PBS between 04 October and 20 December 1983.


By early 1968, the US had dropped nearly 3 million tons of bombs on Vietnam. After the Tet offensive, President Johnson ordered a stop to the bombing and peace talks began in Paris. Some thought the negotiations would be swift but there was little of the give and take that you would normally expect. Nixon had won the 1968 election by a narrow margin and 500,000 American troops were still in Vietnam at that point. After Tet, fighting had again shifted to the countryside and in the first half of 1969, 200 Americans were killed and 800 wounded every week. Nixon introduced the policy of Vietnamising the war, that is transferring the ground and air war to the Vietnamese themselves. By April 1970, US forces in Vietnam had been reduced by more than 100,000, well ahead of schedule. Campus protests however reached a peak in 1970 with 4 students being killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State university in Ohio. National polls showed that a majority of Americans still supported the administration. Nixon proposed a ceasefire but Hanoi’s leaders did not respond. Unknown to everyone, including the South Vietnamese, was that Henry Kissinger was in secret talks with the North since 1969. The North launched a major attack on 31 March 1972 across the DMZ and as a result, Nixon stepped up the bombing of the North and mined Haiphong harbour. A breakthrough was reached at the Paris peace negotiations in October 1972 when the North dropped its demand that the Thieu government resign. A draft treaty was soon agreed to but rejected by Thieu. The Christmas 1972 bombings of the North led to a final agreement, one with little difference from the October version. Former President Johnson died the day before the agreement was signed on 27 January 1973.

Vietnam: A Television History Series

You can find a full index and overview of Vietnam: A Television History here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 29 November 1983.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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