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Saturday, May 01, 2010

U.S. attacks inside Cambodia, escalates Vietnam war: The Plain Dealer front page 40 years ago today

By Dave Davis

President Richard Nixon addressed the nation on April 30, 1970, with news that U.S. troops had just launched an attack inside Cambodia, an escalation of the Vietnam war that sparked widespread protests in the days to come.

See the coverage by The Plain Dealer and read the text of Nixon's address to the nation below:

U.S. Starts Cambodia Attack

WASHINGTON--President Nixon dramatically announced last night that American ground troops have attacked -- at his order -- a Communist base extending 20 miles inside Cambodia.

Nixon told a nationwide radio and television audience that he would stand by his order, certain to provoke controversy, even at the risk of becoming a one-term President.

"This is not an invasion of Cambodia," he asserted. 'The areas in which these attacks will be launched are completely occupied and controlled by North Vietnamese forces. Our purpose is not to occupy the areas. Once enemy forces are driven out of these sanctuaries and their military supplies destroyed, we will withdraw."

The attack, commanded by American officers and augmented by units of the South Vietnamese army, began about 7 p.m. EDT, about two hours before Nixon address the nation and about one hour before he met with Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress to discuss his decision.

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