The Economy Stagnates in the 1970s
Following the economic boom in America during the 1950s and 1960s, the economy of
the 1970s was declining. A large part of the decline was caused by more women and
teens entering the works force; these groups typically were less skilled and made less
money than males. Deteriorating machinery and new regulations also hindered growth.
Former President Lyndon B. Johnson's
lavish spending on the
and on his
also depleted the U.S. Treasury, giving citizens too much money and cre-
ating too great a demand for too few products.
As the United States lacked advancement, countries such as Japan and Germany leaped
forward in the production of steel, automobiles, and consumer electronics.
Nixon "Vietnamizes" the War
brought to the White House his broad knowledge and thoughtful expert-
ise in foreign affairs. He applied himself to putting America's foreign-policy in order.
President Nixon's announced policy, called "
," was to withdraw the
540,000 U.S. troops in South Vietnam over an extended period. The South Vietnamese,
with American money, weapons, training, and advice, would then gradually take over the
proclaimed that the United States would honor its existing defense
commitments but in the future, Asians and others would have to fight their own wars
without the support of large numbers of American troops.
On November 3, 1969, Nixon delivered a televised speech to the "
presumably supported the war; he hoped to gain supporters.
Cambodianizing the Vietnam War
For several years, the North Vietnamese and the VC had been using Cambodia as a
springboard for troops, weapons, and supplies. On
April 29, 1970
, President Nixon
widened the war when he ordered American forces to join with the South Vietnamese in
cleaning out the enemy in officially neutral
. The United States fell into tur-
moil as protests turned violent. Nixon withdrew the troops from Cambodia on
, although the bitterness between the "
" and the "
was passed, lowering the voting age to 18.
In the spring of 1971, mass rallies and marches erupted again all over the country as anti-
war sentiment grew.
Nixon's Détente with Beijing (Peking) and Moscow
The two great communist powers, the
, were clashing bitterly
over their rival interpretations of Marxism. Nixon perceived that the Chinese-Soviet ten-
sion gave the United States an opportunity to play off one antagonist against the other
and to enlist the aid of both in pressuring North Vietnam into peace.
Dr. Henry A. Kissinger
reinforced Nixon's thinking. In
, Kissinger had begun meet-
ing secretly with North Vietnamese officials in Paris to negotiate an end to the war in Vi-