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April 21
1975: Vietnam's President Thieu resigns
[ 2009-04-21 09:22 ]

April 21
The President of South Vietnam has been forced to resign accusing the United States of betrayal
1975: Vietnam's President Thieu resigns

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The President of South Vietnam has been forced to resign accusing the United States of betrayal.

In a TV and radio address, outgoing President Nguyen Van Thieu said his forces had failed to stop the advance of the Vietcong because of lack of funds promised to him by the Americans.

In ascathingattack on the US, he suggested US Secretary of State Dr Henry Kissinger had tricked him into signing the Paris peace agreement two years ago, promising military aid which then failed to materialise.

"At the time of the peace agreement the United States agreed to replace equipment on a one-by-one basis," he said. "But the United States did not keep its word. Is an American's word reliable these days?"

He continued: "The United States did not keep its promise to help us fight for freedom and it was in the same fight that the United States lost 50,000 of its young men."

Pressure to go

The general - a fervent anti-Communist - first came to power in 1965 having helped overthrow the government of President Diem in 1963 with US support.

But the appetite for war has gradually waned in the US and at the same time, Thieu has stripped South Vietnam of many of its democratic institutions.

The pressure for him to resign has been intense - from politicians in Saigon as well as from peace negotiators representing North Vietnam who will not have any dealings with a man they regard as a dictator.

In the last few months, the communist Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) has said President Thieu must step down before any peace talks with Saigon could begin.

President Thieu's departure means peace talks will now be able to move forward.

US President Gerald Ford, however, denied his government had asked President Thieu to relinquish power. "There was no pressure by me or anybody lese form here. He made the decision all on his own," he said in a TV interview.

North Vietnamese troops have surrounded Saigon and military expert are predicting the city will fall within weeks if not days.

Five divisions of South Vietnamese infantry troops, a division of US Rangers and two brigades of US Marines in position around Saigon are outnumbered by more than two to one.

April 21
Soldiers celebrate the fall of Berlin by hoisting the Red Flag over the ruined Reichstag

1945: Red Army enters outskirts of Berlin

Artificially 1969:
The Russian troops have captured some outlying suburbs of Berlin at the beginning of what promises to be a bitter battle for control of the city.

The Red Army approached the German capital from three directions, north, east and south-east. The northeastern suburb of Weissensee is the closest to the centre being only three miles away.

The Nazi minister of propaganda, Josef Goebbels, has issued a statement saying Berlin will be defended to the last.

He said anyone who showed cowardice, hoisted the white flag or attempted sabotage would be treated as outlaws.

The Russians were advancing and all POW camps were being evacuated.

People's War memories

The Germans are understood to be terrified of what might happen to them if Berlin falls into Soviet hands. Since 1941 Nazi forces have laid waste to large parts of the Soviet Union.

The Soviet troops under Marshal Georgi Zhukov are pushing towards Berlin from the north and east and Marshal Ivan Konev and his forces from the south. They are both keen to achieve the honour of capturing Berlin, the heart of the Nazi movement.

American forces are also pushing towards Berlin from the west and are now said to be only hours away from joining up with Russian troops.

Reports from Berlin say shells have begun to fall in the centre of the city. Correspondents say they have been fired from southern positions taking the Germans by surprise. They had been expecting Marshal Konev's forces to press on towards Prague and Dresden.

The Russian advance has been supported by its air force. Although the weather has been poor it has not stopped its low-level attack aircraft, the Stormoviks, sweeping the enemy lines and the improved Sovietdive-bombersare also halting counter-attacks.

The final assault on Berlin began on the night of 15/16 April when Soviet forces launched a powerful artillery barrage against the German forces dug in west of the Oder River and to the east of the city in an area known as the Seelow Heights.

A German military spokesman said they were attacking under what he called a permanent "air umbrella" with "fresh Soviet troops coming forward as though on a conveyor belt."

After two days of fighting and failing to make any significant breakthrough at Seelow, however, Marshal Konev's forces were ordered south and Marshal Zhukov's to the north thus bypassing the German 9th Army at Seelow and surrounding Berlin.

Hitler is reported to have celebrated his birthday yesterday in his undergroundbunkerin the city, cut off from the reality of the fighting above his head.

Reports say Marshal Konev's forces to the south of Berlin have taken more than 10,000 prisoners in the past four days. They also claim to have captured 96 aircraft and more than 150 tanks and self-propelled guns.

Marshal Zhukov's troops, heading from the north and east, claim to have taken more than 13,000 prisoners. They have captured 60 aircraft and more than 100 tanks and self-propelled guns. But in their haste to capture Berlin many Soviet soldiers have also been killed and tanks lost.


scathing: bitterly denunciatory(严厉的)

dive bomber: 俯冲轰炸机

bunker: 掩体,碉堡

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