This Week in History

Listen to and learn about events that happened this week in history—including politics, war, crime, inventions, entertainment and fashion. An archive of events that have shaped history — for learners and teachers of English, with vocabulary, audio recordings and quick quizzes.

30 April 1975

The War Ends In Vietnam

The South Vietnamese government surrenders to North Vietnam and the country is unified.

In 1975, the US-backed government of South Vietnam surrendered to North Vietnamese forces as they entered and took over Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). The defeat surprised many as South Vietnam was supported in the war by US forces with their great supremacy in technology and fire-power. The victory of the North Vietnamese forces led to the unification of Vietnam under communist rule.

surrender (verb): give up the fight
backed (adjective): supported
supremacy (noun): extreme power; state of being superior to all others
fire-power (noun): the capability of weapons
unification (noun): the bringing together into one
communist rule (noun): the style of governing where property is publicly owned

Evacuation of American personnel from Saigon
This iconic photo shows the retreat by helicopter of the last remaining American CIA personnel from the rooftop of 22 Gia Long Street in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam, effectively bringing the American War in Vietnam to a close. Image: Hugo van Es

Test your understanding:

During the war in Vietnam, North Vietnamese forces defeated

  1. communist forces throughout Vietnam
  2. communist forces in South Vietnam only
  3. US and South Vietnamese military forces

The fact that North Vietnamese forces defeated the US military surprised many because the US forces had

  1. much better soldiers
  2. much better training
  3. much better equipment

Unification of a country can only occur after it has been

  1. divided into independent states
  2. attacked by a foreign army
  3. under communist rule
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Teacher's Notes - how to use This Week in History in your classes

Contributor: Matt Errey. Matt is the author of several books including 1000 Phrasal Verbs in Context and Common English Idioms for learners, and Matt's ESL Games and Quizzes for teachers. He is also creator of WORD UP, the world's #1 EFL board game.