Upon taking office in 1969, U.S. President Richard Nixon (1913-94) introduced a new strategy called Vietnamization that was aimed at ending American involvement in the Vietnam War (1954-75) by transferring all military responsibilities to South Vietnam. The increasingly unpopular war had created deep divisions in American society. Nixon believed his Vietnamization strategy, which involved building up South Vietnam’s military strength in order to facilitate a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops, would prepare the South Vietnamese to take responsibility for their own defense against a Communist takeover and allow the U.S. to leave the conflict with its honor intact. In 1973, the U.S. negotiated a treaty with the North Vietnamese, withdrew American combat troops and declared the Vietnamization process complete. However, in 1975, South Vietnam fell to Communist forces.