Archive Resources on Saigon: April 30, 1975

About Saigon: April 30, 1975

For many in America, the Vietnam War ended in 1973 with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords and the subsequent withdrawal of the US military from Vietnam a few months later. The United States’ involvement in South Vietnam, however, lasted for two more years. Many believed that with continued American financial support and guidance, South Vietnam could maintain its status as an independent state. A token force of U.S. Marines and military officers remained behind to secure the embassy and Consul General’s offices and to staff the newly created Defense Attache Office (DAO), which monitored the situation in Vietnam and provided support to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).

The new status quo held in Vietnam until the end of 1974 when economic hardship, rising petroleum prices and the end of the Nixon presidency changed the political atmosphere in the United States. The American people no longer wanted to support a war that had supposedly ended in 1973. Soon Congress cut the amount of aid promised to South Vietnam, which hampered the ARVNs ability to hold off the North Vietnamese army. In January of 1975, the North Vietnamese began a major campaign into South Vietnam’s territory, a push that the South Vietnamese were unable to repel. Most of the southern provinces fell in the spring of 1975 until the communist ended up camped around Saigon in April, poised to take over the capital. The Americans realized what was happening and organized a massive evacuation of Vietnamese refugees, third country nationals and American citizens. The evacuation ended on April 30, 1975 when a helicopter rescued the last Americans remaining in Vietnam, U. S. Marines from the embassy’s guard, from a rooftop at 7:53 a.m. Soon after, the communists entered Saigon and their victory was complete. The dramatic images from the evacuation were seen all over the world in newspapers and newscasts of the events. These images are still familiar today.

About This Subject Guide

This subject guide is intended to give the user a broad overview of the collections most relevant to research concerning the events of April 30, 1975. More collections may be available inside the Virtual Vietnam Archive. Click on the links to the moving images, photographs or oral histories to view the material through the subject guide. Clicking on a finding aid will send you to a document describing an entire collection with either a box or folder level listing of the collection's contents. The finding aid will give you a general idea of what is contained in the collection.

Many of our documents are scanned and available online. You can find the individual documents by searching the virtual archive. Below is a list of keyword combinations that you can use in the Advanced Search module to find individual documents.


  • "Fall of Saigon" (use quotes around the words)
  • Liberation of Saigon
  • Operation Frequent Wind
  • Operation Talon Vise
  • Operation Eagle Pull
  • Operation Babylift
  • Operation New Life

Saigon: April 30, 1975 Resources by Media Type