December 19, 1972 – When the North Vietnamese walked out on the Paris Peace talks on December 13, 1972, then President Nixon told Hanoi to get back to the table “or else.” When they refused, he ordered Operation Linebacker II, a massive bombing campaign of the densely populated areas between Hanoi and the port city of Haiphong to commence on December 18. On December 19th, the Vietnamese call the acts “barbaric” and “insane” and condemnation reigned down on Nixon from around the world calling this the “Christmas Bombing” and deliberately targets civilians. Over the next 11 days, the U.S. dropped over 20,000 tons of bombs in 1700 missions. Approximately 1600 Vietnamese civilians were killed in the largest bombing attack since World War II. On December 26, the North Vietnamese indicated they were willing to return to negotiations, and on December 29, President Nixon ordered the raids stopped. The talks resumed on January 2 and The Paris Peace Accords were finally signed on January 27, 1973. By the time the bombing stopped, 43 Americans were killed with another 49 taken prisoner.
Walk softly and carry a big stick.