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|Digital History ID 3466|
On the morning of April 30, 1975, a column of seven North Vietnamese tanks rolled down Saigon's deserted streets and crashed through the gates of South Vietnam's presidential palace. A soldier leapt from the lead tank and raised a red, blue, and yellow flag. The Vietnam War was over.
Tens of thousands of South Vietnamese massed at the dock of Saigon harbor, crowding into fishing boats.
In the fall of 1974, President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam abruptly ordered his commanders to pull out of the central highlands and northern coast. His intention was to consolidate his forces in a more defensible territory. However, the order was given so hastily, with so little preparation or planning, that the retreat turned into an uncontrollable panic. Consequently, North Vietnamese forces were able to advance against little resistance. On April 30, 1975, North Vietnamese soldiers captured Saigon, bringing the Vietnam War to an end.