The Fall of Saigon III

Lead: Given all the broken promises it is surprising that South Vietnam survived as long as it did.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1969 newly elected President Richard Nixon faced a decision. Over a half million U.S. troops were involved in Vietnam. The war was not winnable. Absent an invasion of the North or the unlikely chance that North Vietnam would give up its attempt to absorb the South, America would continue to use up men and materiel hopelessly shoring up a regime in the South many considered hardly better than the one seeking to replace it. At home the war was unpopular. Some were opposed to the fighting on general terms, but most Americans were frustrated at the continuing hemorrhage of blood and treasure in a conflict that was going nowhere. Democracies are capable of great sacrifices in wartime, but continuing public support requires that the purposes of the war be very clear and the ultimate goal be to win. The sooner the better. Nixon knew he could not deliver a victory and therefore was going to have to break America's promises to Vietnam and pull out the troops.

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The Fall of Saigon II

Lead: In 1975, Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam fell to the North Vietnamese Army. It was the
culmination of two decades of failed, flawed, but good intentions.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After the Geneva Conference divided Vietnam in the mid-1950s Indochina enjoyed a restless peace. The North however, would not give up. Ho Chi Minh, now the symbol of Vietnamese independence, was determined to rule a united Vietnam. His government organized the Viet Cong in the South and slowly began to put pressure on the Saigon regime.

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The Fall of Saigon I

Lead: In the wee morning hours of April 30, 1975, the second Vietnamese War came to an end.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the great mistakes made first by the French and then by the United States during the various stages of the Vietnam Conflict was the failure to understand it as a civil war. In 1945 the Vietnamese were divided. Probably most people in Vietnam wanted to be left alone to live out their lives with ancient habits undisturbed. Others were attached to the colonial French and welcomed their return after the defeat of Japan. Others were nationalists, wishing to be rid of the French, but desiring to adopt western patterns of democracy and market economics. A very small minority, led by Ho Chi Minh, were also nationalists, but were attracted to Communist system. Where would Vietnam go?

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Cambodia under Pol Pot II

Lead: With the end of the war in Vietnam in 1975, Cambodia too was seized by a communist regime, a very brutal one.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Pol Pot was born into a peasant family and then began preparations for the Buddhist clergy. He dropped out, tried his hand at carpentry and then joined Ho Chi Minh anti-French resistance in the 1940s. On a technical scholarship he studied in Paris, but spent most of his time on revolutionary activities and had to return to Cambodia when he failed his exams and his funds were cut off.

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Cambodia under Pol Pot I

Lead: In 1975, Cambodia came under the control of one of history's most notorious dictators. Under Pol Pot the land endured four years of disruption and genocide.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: At the heart of the Indochinese land mass is the gentle land of Cambodia. Once the seat of the Angkor or Khmer Empire, one of the most advanced and powerful civilizations of ancient Southeast Asia, Cambodia was rule by a French colonial government from 1863 until the nation's independence in the 1950s. Tropical monsoons bring flooding to the rice fields of the Mekong River Valley during half the year.

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Quest for Mt. Everest III

Lead: After repeated pre-war attempts, in the early 1950s Mt. Everest finally bent to repeated assaults. The mountain was scaled by New Zealand beekeeper, Edmund Hillary, and Sherpa guide, Tensing Norgay.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: After World War II, Communist China invaded Tibet and blocked exploration of Everest from the North. The southern approaches were taken through Nepal and a reconnaissance expedition was mounted by that route in 1951 by the Brits. The following year two strong Swiss teams attempted to scale the mountain in the Spring and Fall but were stopped by severe weather both times just short of the summit.

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Quest for Mt. Everest II

Lead: The challenge of Mt. Everest was clear from the time its height was determined in the 1800s, but attempts to reach the summit are not known to have begun until the 1920s.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The peak of Mt. Everest is one of earth’s most hostile places. The air is thin. No crops can be grown there. No domestic animals can live there. Any attempt on the summit would require taking along those things necessary to sustain life. Long months of adaptation to the high altitude, supplementary oxygen in tanks, food and water would have to be dragged up nearly impassible terrain which, in the early days, no one had ever crossed. The key to the eventual success of the assault on Everest was a nomadic people, Tibetan-speaking clans who struggled for survival on the lower slopes of the mountain by trading and herding livestock. These are the Sherpa. They were capable of carrying the large loads of supplies that made the climb possible.

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Quest for Mt. Everest I

Lead: The highest point on earth is the peak of Mt. Everest, part of a geologic eruption along the crest of the Himalayas on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Until 1953 no one had been able to go up there.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It is known as Chomolungma, Goddess Mother of the World, and it towers 29,035 feet above sea level, dwarfing the glaciers that wrap themselves around its base. Until 1852 when its true height was determined at a distance by an India surveyor, the mountain was known simply as Peak 15. In 1865, it was named for Sir George Everest, previously Surveyor General of India.

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