This Day in History

Dec. 18, 1972: Christmas Bombing of Vietnam

Time Periods: 1961
Themes: Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, World History/Global Studies
Hanoi's Hospital | Zinn Education Project

Hanoi’s main hospital in Vietnam.

On Dec. 18, 1972, Richard Nixon initiated a massive “carpet bombing” campaign in Northern Vietnam (mainly Hanoi) that was officially called “Operation Linebacker II” and also became known as the Christmas bombing campaign. It lasted for 11 days.

More than 20,000 tons of explosives were dropped, including on civilians. As seen in the photo, Hanoi’s main hospital (Bach Mai) was hit.

Given the parallels to U.S. military actions today, we highly recommend this interview in Truthout with Greg Grandin called “Millions Died Because Kissinger Prolonged the Vietnam War for Years After Betraying Peace Treaty.”

For teachers, the Zinn Education Project offers a free downloadable guide, “Teaching the Vietnam War: Beyond the Headlines.”