On June 8, 1969, President Richard Nixon met with South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu at Midway Island in the Pacific and announced that 25,000 U.S. troops would be withdrawn by the end of August. Thus began the gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops, theoretically to be replaced by ARVN troops. Labeled “Vietnamization” by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, the policy sought to reverse the Americanization of the war, notwithstanding the fact that there was no possibility of the South Vietnamese winning the war on their own. The shift in policy may be attributed to domestic opposition to the war – a political reality – rather than to any military strategy for winning the war or even achieving a stalemate. According to Department of Defense statistics, U.S. troop levels fell from 539,000 in June 1969 to 415,000 in June 1970; 239,000 in June 1971; 47,000 in June 1972; and 21,500 in January 1973.
With stories of despair, heavy drinking by both Richard Nixon and his wife Pat, and talking to portraits of former presidents, Nixon was shown at the end of his emotional tether. “Fascinating, macabre, mordant, melancholy, frightening,” said the Los Angeles Times, though The New York Times said, “Mr. Nixon emerges as a tragic figure weathering a catastrophic ordeal . . . and weathering it with considerable courage and dignity.”
President Richard Nixon, like his arch-rival President John F
“There’s more to the story of Nixon,” said Alexander Butterfield, the former aide to President Richard Nixon who disclosed the secret White House taping system on July 13, 1973.