Peace in Vietnam, Britain’s commitment to Europe, and the death of a well-known author were all hitting the headlines in 1975. We take a look back at the news this week that year.
This week in 1975, the war in Vietnam came to an end as the government in Saigon announced its unconditional surrender to North Vietnamese forces.
President Duong Van Minh addressed the nation in a radio broadcast, asking his forces to lay down their names and calling on the North Vietnamese Army and Vietcong to immediately cease hostilities.
In a direct appeal to the Communist forces, Van Minh – who had been in office for just three days following the resignation of president Nguyen Van Thieu – said: “We are here to hand over the power to you in order to avoid bloodshed.”
Shortly after the announcement, North Vietnamese troops arrived. The army’s entrance was virtually unopposed as the front line of tanks smashed through the gates of the presidential palace within minutes, bringing decades of war to an end. Saigon was immediately renamed Ho Chi Minh City. North and South Vietnam were reunified under communist rule in 1976. A decade later, the government relaxed its regime – allowing elements of market forces and private enterprise to flourish.
Back on home soil, Labour voted to leave the European Economic Community (EEC) – the precursor to the European Union. A one-day conference held by the Labour Party to debate Britain’s membership voted by almost 2:1 to leave the EEC. The debate was organised as a set-piece event ahead of the referendum campaign. Opening the conference, the Prime Minister Harold Wilson, said his position was not one of principle, but one of pragmatism.
“My judgement is that it is now best for the future of Britain, best for the Commonwealth, best for the developing world, best for the wider world, that we remain in the Community,” he said.
In the end, the pro-EEC lobby carried the day and the referendum returned a vote for continued membership.
Also in 1975, English star footballer David Beckham, who played for the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy, was born.
The same year, English author and humorist PG Wodehouse died, aged 93, in New York. Over his career, he published more than 90 books, 40 plays, 200 short stories and created the well-known comic characters Bertie Wooster and his faithful butler Jeeves.
Time magazine instead of a single Person of the Year for 1975, declared “American women” took the title and featured on its front cover, a selection of its top women of the year.
BMX was added as a word in the dictionary.
American romantic comedy drama, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore – directed by Martin Scorcese – was named BAFTA Best Film.
The top 20 selling singles in 1975 were:
1. Bye Bye Baby _ Bay City Rollers
2. Sailing – Rod Stewart
3. Can’t Give You Anythign (But My Love) – The Sylitstics
4. Whispering Grass – Windsor Davies and Don Estelle
5. Stand By Your Man – Tammy Winette
6. Give A Little Love – Bay City Rollers
7. Hold Me Close – David Essex
8. The Last Farewell – Roger Whittaker
9. I Only Have Eyes For You – Art Garfunkel
10. Tears on My Pillow – Johnny Nash
11. I’m Not In Love – 10CC
12. Barbados – typically Tropical
13. If – Telly Savales
14. There Goes My First Love – the Drifters
15. Three Steps to Heaven – Showaddywaddy
16. The Hustle – Van McCoy
17. Space Oddity – David Bowie
18. January – Pilot
19. Funky Moped/ the Magic Roundabout – Jasper Carrott
20. Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) – Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel