On December 18th, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon authorized Operation Linebacker II, the return of 24-hour bombing of Hanoi and the nearby port of Haiphong after peace talks between the United States and North Vietnam in Paris had stalled. Bombing of the North Vietnamese capital had been halted on October 26th when National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger had returned from talks in Paris.

Operation Linebacker II, more commonly known as the Christmas Bombing, was designed to force North Vietnam to lower its demands at the talks, and disuade any attempts to invade South Vietnam. Many people throught the world, however, saw this as a growth in Nixon's confidence following his landslide win in the 1972 election. It was also feared that Nixon might bomb dykes in the Pearl River causing massive casualties and flooding. However, Nixon halts the bombing on December 30th when the North Vietnamese agreed to resume peace talks and a cease-fire is reached on January 27th, 1973.

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