Fall of Saigon through the eyes of AP photographers

The Fall of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People’s Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (also known as the Viet Cong) on April 30, 1975. The event marked the end of the Vietnam War and the start of a transition period leading to the formal reunification of Vietnam into asocialist republic, governed by the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Trucks and motorbikes, loaded with refugees, roar along the main highway from the old imperial capital of Hue to the port city of Danang about 50 miles south of Hue, March 25, 1975. Hue's 200,000 inhabitants have been streaming southward since the Saigon government?s decision to abandon the city in the face of a heavy North Vietnamese buildup.

Trucks and motorbikes, loaded with refugees, roar along the main highway from the old imperial capital of Hue to the port city of Danang about 50 miles south of Hue, March 25, 1975. Hue’s 200,000 inhabitants have been streaming southward since the Saigon government?s decision to abandon the city in the face of a heavy North Vietnamese buildup.

A group of opposition National Assemblymen use torches to set fire to pictures of South Vietnam's President Nguyen van Thieu during an anti-government protest on steps of the National Assembly building in Saigon, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1975. The protest, held in conjunction with the Tet holiday, on lunar New Year, renewed opposition demands for Thieu's resignation and charges of corrupting in government.

A group of opposition National Assemblymen use torches to set fire to pictures of South Vietnam’s President Nguyen van Thieu during an anti-government protest on steps of the National Assembly building in Saigon, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1975. The protest, held in conjunction with the Tet holiday, on lunar New Year, renewed opposition demands for Thieu’s resignation and charges of corrupting in government.

Opposition deputies and senators stage a 24-our sit-in hunger strike on the steps of the national assembly to protest what they term

Opposition deputies and senators stage a 24-our sit-in hunger strike on the steps of the national assembly to protest what they term “the corrupt, inefficient and oppressive administration of President Nguyen Van Thieu” in Saigon, South Vietnam, Feb. 10, 1975. One senator hoists a placard with defaced photo of Thieu which says: “If Thieu still remains in power, there will still exist war, poverty and starvation. Mr. Thieu must resign.” Banner says: “Opposition deputies ad senators of the national assembly stage a 24-hour hunger strike to pray for peace, think of people who are poor and starving, protest President Thieu oppressing opposition, closing down of newspapers, jailing newsmen.”

Refugees pass South Vietnamese armored vehicle as they flee from the embattled town of Tri Tam which fell to North Vietnamese troops in Vietnam, Wednesday, March 14, 1975. The town is 40 miles northwest of Saigon.

Refugees pass South Vietnamese armored vehicle as they flee from the embattled town of Tri Tam which fell to North Vietnamese troops in Vietnam, Wednesday, March 14, 1975. The town is 40 miles northwest of Saigon.

South Vietnamese Buddhist nun injured in melee between police and about 20 nuns staging demonstration rests on floor at pagoda surrounded by other activist religious in Saigon, Sunday, Jan. 26, 1975. Antigovernment protest and fighting followed political convention. Four nuns were injured, none of them seriously.

South Vietnamese Buddhist nun injured in melee between police and about 20 nuns staging demonstration rests on floor at pagoda surrounded by other activist religious in Saigon, Sunday, Jan. 26, 1975. Antigovernment protest and fighting followed political convention. Four nuns were injured, none of them seriously.

South Vietnamese Buddhist nuns opposed to the regime of President Nguyen Van Thieu and continued fighting in their country stage a demonstration in the shadow of a monument honoring combatants in Saigon, Jan. 27, 1975. The nuns called on Thieu to resign.

South Vietnamese Buddhist nuns opposed to the regime of President Nguyen Van Thieu and continued fighting in their country stage a demonstration in the shadow of a monument honoring combatants in Saigon, Jan. 27, 1975. The nuns called on Thieu to resign.

A little girl in a pedicab, and her driver stare as they pass a demonstration of nine anti-war activists before the United States embassy in Saigon, Friday, Jan. 25, 1975. The activists, led by David Harris, left, of Menlo Park, Calif. former husband of folk singer Joan Baez, passed out leaflets demanding the end of U.S. intervention in South Vietnam.

A little girl in a pedicab, and her driver stare as they pass a demonstration of nine anti-war activists before the United States embassy in Saigon, Friday, Jan. 25, 1975. The activists, led by David Harris, left, of Menlo Park, Calif. former husband of folk singer Joan Baez, passed out leaflets demanding the end of U.S. intervention in South Vietnam.

South Vietnamese refugee deplane at Nha Trang airfield in Vietnam, Thursday, March 27, 1975 following a jet hop from Danang as a U.S. financed airlift, using civilian chartered jets, relocates thousands of former residents of Hue.

South Vietnamese refugee deplane at Nha Trang airfield in Vietnam, Thursday, March 27, 1975 following a jet hop from Danang as a U.S. financed airlift, using civilian chartered jets, relocates thousands of former residents of Hue.

A Saigon student demonstrator hastily flees after a policeman grabbed his antigovernment banner, Thursday, April 9, 1975. About 30 students protested the draft and demanded the ouster of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu. (AP Photo/Dang Van Phuoc )

A Saigon student demonstrator hastily flees after a policeman grabbed his antigovernment banner, Thursday, April 9, 1975. About 30 students protested the draft and demanded the ouster of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu. (AP Photo/Dang Van Phuoc )

A crippled South Vietnamese war veteran limps away on crutch with food looted from abandoned U.S. installations after evacuation of Saigon, April 29, 1975. (AP Photo)

A crippled South Vietnamese war veteran limps away on crutch with food looted from abandoned U.S. installations after evacuation of Saigon, April 29, 1975. (AP Photo)

Saigon youngsters mill around overturned three wheeled minibuses during a demonstration by the vehicle's drivers protesting various economic issues. The protest was one of two which tock place, March 25, 1975 in the South Vietnamese capital Saigon.

Saigon youngsters mill around overturned three wheeled minibuses during a demonstration by the vehicle’s drivers protesting various economic issues. The protest was one of two which tock place, March 25, 1975 in the South Vietnamese capital Saigon.

Father and mother, from front and back, help lift their youngster from ship to dock as the family and hundreds of other refugees arrive at Saigon dock, Friday, March 29, 1975. The arrival of the merchant vessel was one of the first at the capital since the mass exodus of South Vietnamese from the central highlands and Northern provinces. (AP Photo/Phuoc)

Father and mother, from front and back, help lift their youngster from ship to dock as the family and hundreds of other refugees arrive at Saigon dock, Friday, March 29, 1975. The arrival of the merchant vessel was one of the first at the capital since the mass exodus of South Vietnamese from the central highlands and Northern provinces. (AP Photo/Phuoc)

South Vietnamese refugees disembark at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam, Saturday, March 30, 1975 on South Vietnam?s central coast following a voyage from Da Nang, the city which has since fallen to communist forces. Westerner at right is a member of the ship?s crew. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

South Vietnamese refugees disembark at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam, Saturday, March 30, 1975 on South Vietnam?s central coast following a voyage from Da Nang, the city which has since fallen to communist forces. Westerner at right is a member of the ship?s crew. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Teeming frightened humanity crowds the decks of the merchant vassal Pioneer Contender as it docks at Cam Ranh Bay on the central coast of South Vietnam, Friday, March 29, 1975. Ship carried 5,600 South Vietnamese refugees and about 40 Americans out of Danang, a refugee crammed city under the gun. (AP Photo/Huynh Cong/Ut)

Teeming frightened humanity crowds the decks of the merchant vassal Pioneer Contender as it docks at Cam Ranh Bay on the central coast of South Vietnam, Friday, March 29, 1975. Ship carried 5,600 South Vietnamese refugees and about 40 Americans out of Danang, a refugee crammed city under the gun. (AP Photo/Huynh Cong/Ut)

Nowhere to go and nothing to do, South Vietnamese refugees from Hue and the northern provinces pause on the dock waiting for the government to relocate them to the central coastal area at Da Nang in Vietnam, March 28, 1975. (AP Photo/Phuoc)

Nowhere to go and nothing to do, South Vietnamese refugees from Hue and the northern provinces pause on the dock waiting for the government to relocate them to the central coastal area at Da Nang in Vietnam, March 28, 1975. (AP Photo/Phuoc)

Their household goods in a haphazard pile, a South Vietnamese refugee family takes time out for lunch at Da Nang in Vietnam, March 28, 1975, where they are waiting to be relocated after fleeing from the Northern provinces. (AP Photo/Phuoc)

Their household goods in a haphazard pile, a South Vietnamese refugee family takes time out for lunch at Da Nang in Vietnam, March 28, 1975, where they are waiting to be relocated after fleeing from the Northern provinces. (AP Photo/Phuoc)

Rock throwing Saigon middle school students charge police during an anti-draft demonstration in Saigon, Thursday, March 27, 1975. The students were angered by changes in the conscription law, lowering the draft age to 17. The change came about due to the increasingly serious military situation.

Rock throwing Saigon middle school students charge police during an anti-draft demonstration in Saigon, Thursday, March 27, 1975. The students were angered by changes in the conscription law, lowering the draft age to 17. The change came about due to the increasingly serious military situation.

Youthful demonstrators toss sticks and rocks at South Vietnamese riot police in Saigon, Thursday, April 4, 1975 during brief confrontation. Clash grew out of rallies sponsored by mainly Catholic anti-corruption movement. Tense situation in Saigon resulted in curfew change from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. (AP Photo/Lo Vinh)

Youthful demonstrators toss sticks and rocks at South Vietnamese riot police in Saigon, Thursday, April 4, 1975 during brief confrontation. Clash grew out of rallies sponsored by mainly Catholic anti-corruption movement. Tense situation in Saigon resulted in curfew change from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. (AP Photo/Lo Vinh)

Injured victims of a road accident in the panicky flight from Hue stand over a dead woman in Hai Van Pass, March 21, 1975. Fatal accidents and injuries were common among the thousands of refugees who fled advancing North Vietnamese, and attempted to find refuge in the coastal city of Da Nang.

Injured victims of a road accident in the panicky flight from Hue stand over a dead woman in Hai Van Pass, March 21, 1975. Fatal accidents and injuries were common among the thousands of refugees who fled advancing North Vietnamese, and attempted to find refuge in the coastal city of Da Nang.

Hundreds of vehicles of all sports fill an empty area as the refugees fleeing in the vehicles pause near Tuy Hoa in the central coastal region of South Vietnam, Saturday, March 23, 1975 following the evacuation of Banmethuout and other population centers in the highlands to the west.

Hundreds of vehicles of all sports fill an empty area as the refugees fleeing in the vehicles pause near Tuy Hoa in the central coastal region of South Vietnam, Saturday, March 23, 1975 following the evacuation of Banmethuout and other population centers in the highlands to the west.

Two stick-wielding plainclothes policemen fight South Vietnamese Buddhist nuns in Saigon, Sunday, Jan. 26, 1975 during anti government demonstration. Officer (left) warns comrade that nun (background) is about to hit him with sandal. Melee occurred following political convention at pagoda.

Two stick-wielding plainclothes policemen fight South Vietnamese Buddhist nuns in Saigon, Sunday, Jan. 26, 1975 during anti government demonstration. Officer (left) warns comrade that nun (background) is about to hit him with sandal. Melee occurred following political convention at pagoda.

Anticommunist demonstrator kicks burning effigy of Viet Cong soldier during unruly protest outside Saigon headquarters of International Commission of Control and Supervision in Saigon, Jan. 6, 1975. About a hundred demonstrators protested fierce fighting in Phuoc Long province in violation of the Paris peace agreement, which the ICCS is charged with enforcing.

Anticommunist demonstrator kicks burning effigy of Viet Cong soldier during unruly protest outside Saigon headquarters of International Commission of Control and Supervision in Saigon, Jan. 6, 1975. About a hundred demonstrators protested fierce fighting in Phuoc Long province in violation of the Paris peace agreement, which the ICCS is charged with enforcing.

A Roman Catholic priest aids an elderly villager to brave the windy rotor blast from a government helicopter as they run to board it from west of Tuy Hoa in Vietnam, Wednesday, March 27, 1975. They were among thousands of refugees from the Central Highlands who were picked up along the central coast.

A Roman Catholic priest aids an elderly villager to brave the windy rotor blast from a government helicopter as they run to board it from west of Tuy Hoa in Vietnam, Wednesday, March 27, 1975. They were among thousands of refugees from the Central Highlands who were picked up along the central coast.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/saigon-658005-through-eyes.html

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