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The Vietnam War[A 3] was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955[A 1] to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of South Vietnam, supported by the United States and other anticommunist nations. The Viet Cong, a lightly armed South Vietnamese communist-controlled common front, largely fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region. The Vietnam People's Army (North Vietnamese Army) engaged in a more conventional war, at times committing large units into battle. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery and airstrikes.
The U.S. government viewed involvement in the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam as part of their wider strategy of containment. The North Vietnamese government viewed the war as a colonial war, fought initially against France, backed by the U.S., and later against South Vietnam, which it regarded as a U.S. puppet state. U.S. military advisors arrived beginning in 1950. U.S. involvement escalated in the early 1960s, with U.S. troop levels tripling in 1961 and tripling again in 1962. U.S. combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Operations spanned borders, with Laos and Cambodia heavily bombed. Involvement peaked in 1968 at the time of the Tet Offensive. After this, U.S. ground forces were withdrawn as part of a policy called Vietnamization. Despite the Paris Peace Accords, signed by all parties in January 1973, fighting continued.
U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973 as a result of the Case– Church Amendment passed by the U.S. Congress. The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese army in April 1975 marked the end of the Vietnam War. North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities (See: Vietnam War casualties). Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from less than one million to more than three million. Some 200,000–300,000 Cambodians, 20,000–200,000 Laotians,  and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict.[A 2] Contents
* 1 Names for the War * 2 Background to 1949 * 3 Exit of the French, 1950–1954 * 4 Transition period * 5 Diem era, 1955–1963 o 5.1 Rule o 5.2 Insurgency in the South, 1956–1960 * 6 During John F. Kennedy's administration, 1961–1963 o 6.1 Coup and assassinations * 7 Lyndon B. Johnson escalates the war, 1963–1969 o 7.1 Escalation and ground war o 7.2 Tet Offensive * 8 Vietnamization, 1969–1972 o 8.1 Nixon Doctrine / Vietnamization o 8.2 Operation Menu: the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos o 8.3 1972 election and Paris Peace Accords * 9 Opposition to the Vietnam War: 1962–1975 * 10 Exit of the Americans: 1973–1975 o 10.1 Campaign 275 o 10.2 Final North Vietnamese offensive o 10.3 Fall of Saigon * 11 Other countries' involvement o 11.1 Pro-Hanoi + 11.1.1 People's Republic of China
+ 11.1.2 Soviet Union + 11.1.3 North Korea + 11.1.4 Cuba o 11.2 Pro-Saigon + 11.2.1 South Korea + 11.2.2 Australia and New Zealand + 11.2.3 Philippines + 11.2.4 Thailand + 11.2.5 Republic of China (Taiwan) o 11.3 Canada and the ICC * 12 Women in Vietnam o 12.1 American nurses o 12.2 Vietnamese women * 13 Weapons * 14 Aftermath o 14.1 Events in Southeast Asia o 14.2 Effect on the United States o 14.3 Chemical defoliation o 14.4 Casualties * 15 Popular culture * 16 See also * 17 Annotations * 18 Notes * 19 References o 19.1 Secondary sources o 19.2 Primary sources
o 19.3 Historiography * 20 External links
Names for the War Further information: Terminology of the Vietnam War
Various names have been applied to the conflict. Vietnam War is the most commonly used name in English. It has also been called the Second Indochina War, and the Vietnam Conflict.
As there have been so many conflicts in Indochina, this conflict is known by the name of their chief opponent to distinguish it from the others. Thus, in Vietnamese, the war is known as Chiến tranh Việt Nam (The Vietnam War), or as Kháng chiến chống Mỹ (Resistance War Against America), loosely translated as the American War.
The main military organizations involved in the war were, on one side, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the U.S. military, and, on the other side, the Vietnam People's Army (VPA), or North Vietnamese Army (NVA), and the Viet Cong, or National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF), a South Vietnamese communist army. Background to 1949 See also: History of Vietnam, Cochinchina Campaign, Can Vuong, Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang, and Yen Bai mutiny
France began its conquest of Indochina in the late 1850s, and completed pacification by 1893. The Treaty of Huế, concluded in 1884, formed the basis for French colonial rule in Vietnam for the next seven decades. In spite of military resistance, most notable by the Can Vuong of Phan Dinh Phung, by 1888, the area of the current-day nations of Cambodia and Vietnam was made into the colony of French Indochina (Laos was added later). Various Vietnamese opposition movements to the French rule existed during this period, such as the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang who staged the failed Yen Bai mutiny in 1930, but none were ultimately as successful as
the Viet Minh common front, controlled by the Communist Party of Vietnam, founded in 1941 and funded by U.S. and Chinese Nationalist Party in its fight against Japanese occupation.[A 4]
During World War II, the French were defeated by the Germans in 1940. For French Indochina, this meant that the colonial authorities became Vichy French, allies of the German-Italian Axis powers. In turn this meant that the French collaborated with the Japanese forces after their invasion of French Indochina during 1940. The French continued to run affairs in the colony, but ultimate power resided in the hands of the Japanese.
On May 1941, the Viet Minh was founded as a league for the independence from France. The Viet Minh also opposed Japanese occupation in 1945 for the same reason. The U.S. and Chinese national party supported them in the fight against the Japanese. However, they did not have enough power to fight actual battles at first. Ho Chi Minh was suspected of being a communist and jailed for a year by the Chinese national party.
Double occupation by France and Japan continued until the German forces were expelled from France and the French Indochina colonial authorities started holding secret talks with the Free French. Fearing that they could no longer trust the French authorities the Japanese army interned them all on 9 March 1945 and assumed direct control themselves through their puppet state of the Empire of Vietnam under Bảo Đại.
During 1944–1945, a deep famine struck northern Vietnam due to a combination of poor weather and French/Japanese exploitation. 1 million people died of starvation (out of a population of 10 million in the affected area). Exploiting the administrative gap that the internment of the French had created, the Viet Minh in March 1945 urged the population to ransack rice warehouses and refuse to pay their taxes.  Between 75 and 100 warehouses were consequently raided. This rebellion against the effects of the famine and the authorities that were partially responsible for it bolstered the Viet Minh's popularity and they recruited many members during this period.
In August 1945, the Japanese had been defeated and surrendered
 British forces departed on 26 March 1946. he began his speech by paraphrasing the United States Declaration of Independence: All men are created equal. the Viet Minh entered and grasped power across Vietnam in the "August Revolution" (in large part supported by the Vietnamese population).000 in Hanoi. the Japanese kept Vichy French officials and military officers imprisoned for a month after the surrender.unconditionally. To further help the nationalists. In an overture to the Americans. The Việt Minh had recruited more than 600 Japanese soldiers and given them roles to train or command Vietnamese soldiers. Nationalist Chinese troops entered the country to disarm Japanese troops north of the 16th parallel on September 14. As the French did not have the ships. Ho Chi Minh signed an agreement allowing French forces to replace Nationalist Chinese forces. they rearmed the interned French forces as well as parts of the surrendered Japanese forces to aid them in retaking southern Vietnam as they did not have enough troops to do this themselves. However. the United Kingdom. with the specifics of such recognition to be determined by future negotiation. On March 6. and the right to achieve Happiness. When the British landed in the South. Into this vacuum. the Viet Minh won elections across central and northern Vietnam. 1945. the major allied victors of World War II. In French Indochina this created a power vacuum as the French were still interned and the Japanese forces stood down. In January 1946. Ho Chi Minh. 1946. On 2 September 1945. the major powers came to an agreement that British troops would occupy the south while Nationalist Chinese forces would move in from the north. After their defeat in the war. declared the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam before a crowd of 500. The Creator has given us certain inviolable Rights: the right to Life. the leader of the Viet Minh. The French landed in Hanoi by March 1946 and in November of that year they ousted the Viet Minh from the city. all agreed the area belonged to the French. Ho Chi Minh initially attempted to negotiate with the French who were slowly re-establishing their control across the country. Following the party line from Moscow. the Japanese Army gave weapons to the Vietnamese. weapons or soldiers to immediately retake Vietnam. the right to be Free. leaving Vietnam in the hands of the French. the United States and the Soviet Union. Soon thereafter the Viet Minh began a . in exchange for French recognition of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as a "free" republic within the French Union.
 PRC weapons. this situation changed by 1949 when the Chinese Communists had largely won the Chinese Civil War and were free to provide arms to their Vietnamese allies. expertise.guerrilla war against the French Union forces. The war spread to Laos and Cambodia where Communists organized the Pathet Lao and the Khmer Serei after the model of the Viet Minh. and train Vietnamese soldiers. Seventh Fleet carriers. bases in the region. the United States created a Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) to screen French requests for aid. supported by as many as 150 fighters launched from U. The Viet Minh fight was hampered by a lack of weapons.S. beginning the First Indochina War. which meant that the rapprochement that existed between the Western powers and the Soviet Union during World War II disintegrated. The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 convinced many Washington policymakers that the war in Indochina was an example of communist expansionism directed by the Kremlin.S. the communist nations. One version of plan for the proposed Operation Vulture envisioned sending 60 B-29s from U. led by the People's Republic of China (PRC). to bomb Viet . In September 1950. Exit of the French. Non-Communist nations recognized the Frenchbacked State of Vietnam in Saigon led by former Emperor Bảo Đại the following month. PRC military advisors began assisting the Viet Minh in July 1950. and laborers transformed the Viet Minh from a guerrilla force into a regular army. 1950–1954 Main articles: First Indochina War and Operation Passage to Freedom In January 1950. Globally. recognized the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam as the government of Vietnam. By 1954. There were also talks between the French and Americans in which the possible use of three tactical nuclear weapons was considered. advise on strategy. the United States had supplied 300.000 small arms and spent US$1 billion in support of the French military effort and was shouldering 80 percent of the cost of the war. the Cold War began in earnest. though how seriously this was considered and by whom are even now vague and contradictory.
 At the Geneva Conference the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh. Battle of Saigon (1955). Eisenhower was very wary of getting the United States involved in a land war in Asia.000 French prisoners taken by the Viet Minh only 3000 survived. but London was opposed. According to Richard Nixon the plan involved the Joint Chiefs of Staff drawing up plans to use 3 small tactical nuclear weapons in support of the French. and reconnaissance flights over Dien Bien Phu were conducted during the negotiations. U. Ba Cut. Chairman of the U. Radford. Transition period Main articles: Geneva Conference (1954). civilians were to be given the opportunity to move freely between the two provisional states for a 300-day period. Of the 12. U. intelligence estimates remained skeptical of French chances of success.Minh commander Vo Nguyen Giap's positions.S. and on 7 May 1954. and B-47s could have executed a nuclear strike. The Viet Minh and their mercurial commander Vo Nguyen Giap handed the French a stunning military defeat. Throughout the conflict. Admiral Arthur W. Operation Passage to Freedom. the French Union garrison surrendered. As an experienced five-star general.S. suggested that the United States might have to "put American boys in". B-29s. B-36s. PRC support in the Border Campaign of 1950 allowed supplies to come from PRC into Vietnam. .S. President Eisenhower made American participation contingent on British support. convinced that the political risks outweighed the possible benefits. The plan included an option to use up to three atomic weapons on the Viet Minh positions. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu marked the end of French involvement in Indochina. U. and State of Vietnam referendum. and under the terms of the Geneva Convention. 1955 Vietnam was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel. Independence was granted to Cambodia. Eisenhower decided against the intervention. and Vietnam. Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the end. gave this nuclear option his backing. as could carrier aircraft from the Seventh Fleet. The Viet Minh received crucial support from the Soviet Union and PRC. a so-called "hawk" on Vietnam. Laos. carriers sailed to the Gulf of Tonkin. Vice president Richard Nixon.S.
 In April–June 1955. which included ferrying refugees with the Seventh Fleet. with Ngô Đình Diệm (appointed in July 1954) as his prime minister. mainly Catholic refugees were meant to give Diem a strong anti-communist constituency. went north for "regroupment" expecting to return to the South within 2 years. The Viet Minh left roughly 5.000 to 10. Diem later went on to staff his administration's key posts mostly with northern and central Catholics. In the north. The PRC completed their withdrawal from North Vietnam at around the same time. In 1956 the Communist Party leaders of Hanoi admitted to "excesses" in implementing this program and restored a large amount of the land to the original owners. he said. Eisenhower echoed senior U.S.000 ‘Revolutionary Regroupees’." The last French soldiers were to leave Vietnam in April 1956. President Dwight D. Diem (against U. Around one million northerners. fearing persecution by the communists.S. "How can we expect 'free elections' to be held in the Communist North?" Diem asked. In addition to the Catholics flowing south. mainly minority Catholics. "80 per cent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh" over Emperor Bảo Đại. In the south. the Viet Minh ruled as the DRV and engaged in a drastic land reform program in which an estimated eight thousand perceived "class enemies" were executed. The northern. South Vietnam had rejected the agreement from the beginning and was therefore not bound by it. It is estimated that as many as two million more would have left had they not been stopped by the Viet Minh. following an American propaganda campaign using slogans such as "The Virgin Mary is heading south". funded $93 million relocation program. in 1954.000 Vietnamese civilians moved from south to north. Diem announced that elections would not be held.000 cadres in South Vietnam as a "politico-military substructure within the object of its irredentism. experts when he wrote that.Elections throughout the country were to be held in 1956 to establish a unified government. advice) cleared the decks of any political opposition in the south by launching military operations against the .S. fled south. Around 52. In June 1955. former Emperor Bảo Đại's State of Vietnam operated. up to 130. and aided by a U.
commonly hypothesized that it applied to Vietnam. Kennedy. The Geneva Conference. India. however. 1954 The Domino theory. including 133% in Saigon. Historian Luu Doan Huynh notes." Rule See also: Ngo Dinh Diem presidential visit to Australia A devout Roman Catholic. On 26 October 1955. John F. then all of the surrounding countries would follow. The ROV was created largely because of the Eisenhower administration's desire for an anti-communist state in the region. however. The . which argued that if one country fell to communist forces. Thailand. As broad-based opposition to his harsh tactics mounted. with himself as president.S. 1955–1963 Main articles: Ngo Dinh Diem and War in Vietnam (1954–1959) President Dwight D. Diem era. the Hoa Hao sect of Ba Cut. Diem had been interior minister in the colonial government. the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam.Cao Dai religious sect. Diem rigged the poll supervised by his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and was credited with 98. viewed the election as a test of authority. In a referendum on the future of the State of Vietnam on 23 October. was first proposed as policy by the Eisenhower administration. Diem declared the new Republic of Vietnam (ROV). then a U. and the Binh Xuyen organized crime group (which was allied with members of the secret police and some military elements). Diem was fervently anti-communist. that "Diem represented narrow and extremist nationalism coupled with autocracy and nepotism. Diem was viewed by many ordinary Vietnamese as part of the elite who had helped the French rule Vietnam. senator. His American advisers had recommended a more modest winning margin of "60 to 70 percent." As a wealthy Catholic. nationalist and socially conservative. and is still. Japan. said in a speech to the American Friends of Vietnam: "Burma. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles greet President Ngo Dinh Diem in Washington.2 percent of the vote. It was." Diem. Diem increasingly sought to blame the communists.
and Diem warned that it was an illusion to believe that blindly copying Western methods would solve Vietnamese problems. As a measure of the level of political repression. They knew little of the language or long history of the country. which had enjoined them not to start an insurrection. Although Diem was openly praised. about 12. in which thousands of local Viet Minh cadres and supporters had been executed or sent to concentration camps.majority of Vietnamese people were Buddhist. 1956–1960 Main articles: Viet Cong and War in Vietnam (1959–1963) The Sino-Soviet split led to a reduction in the influence of the PRC. imprisoned. during which communists and other antigovernment elements were arrested. he launched the "Denounce the Communists" campaign. North Vietnam's pro-PRC party first secretary.000 suspected opponents of Diem were killed in the years 1955–1957 and by the end of 1958 an estimated 40. Opponents were labeled Viet Cong ("Vietnamese communist") by the regime to degrade their nationalist credentials. Trường Chinh. Diem instituted a policy of death penalty against any activity deemed communist in August 1956. Insurgency in the South. In May. A parade in New York City was held in his honor. or executed. Robert McNamara wrote that the new American patrons were almost completely ignorant of Vietnamese culture.000 political prisoners had been jailed. Diem undertook a ten-day state visit to the United States. and was in violation of the Northern Communist party line. Beginning in the summer of 1955. This insurgency in the south had begun in response to Diem's Denunciation of Communists campaign. in private Secretary of State John Foster Dulles conceded that he had been selected because there were no better alternatives. There was a tendency to assign American motives to Vietnamese actions. and were alarmed by actions such as his dedication of the country to the Virgin Mary. tortured. 1957. which had insisted in 1954 that the Viet Minh accept a division of the country. but rather engage in a political . President Eisenhower pledged his continued support. was demoted and Hanoi authorized communists in South Vietnam to begin a low level insurgency in December 1956.
Emphasize nationalism rather than communism. a communist leader who had been working in the South. use a knife. Be selective in your violence. agitating for a free all-Vietnam election in accordance with the Geneva accords.  Village chiefs were Diem appointees from outside the villages and were hated by the peasantry for their corruption and abuse. 20 percent of South Vietnam's village chiefs had been assassinated by the insurgents by 1958. it soon broadened to include other symbols of the status quo. not a rifle or grenade.campaign. Hanoi authorized the creation of the National Liberation Front as a .) According to one estimate. such as schoolteachers. health workers. that will lead to defeat." Soon afterward. It is too easy to kill innocent bystanders with guns and bombs. "Do not engage in military operations. This authorized the southern communists to begin large-scale operations against the South Vietnamese military. Do not take land from a peasant. While the terror was originally aimed at local government officials. In May. make sure peasants know why the killing occurred. If an assassination is necessary. North Vietnam supplied troops and supplies in earnest. effectively replacing Trường. In January 1959. The insurgency sought to completely destroy government control in South Vietnam's rural villages and replace it with a shadow government. which made political violence punishable by death and property confiscation. on 12 December 1960. Observing the increasing unpopularity of the Diem regime. Once an assassination has taken place. returned to Hanoi to accept the position of acting first secretary." This strategy was referred to as "armed propaganda. Lê Duẩn. and accidental killing of the innocent bystanders will alienate peasants from the revolution. South Vietnam enacted Law 10/59. the North's Central Committee issued a secret resolution authorizing an "armed struggle". Duẩn urged a military line and advocated increased assistance to the insurgency. Do not antagonize anyone if you can avoid it. and the violence gradually increased. Four hundred government officials were assassinated in 1957 alone. Hồ Chí Minh stated. and the infiltration of men and weapons from the north began along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. and agricultural officials.
and incompetence progressively angered large segments of the population of South Vietnam. Kennedy won the 1960 U. McGarr. in order to assure the survival and success of liberty. The aftermath of the Korean War created the idea of a limited war. Kennedy's administration. support any friend. repression. Kennedy bitterly disagreed with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev when they met in Vienna over key U. he was also interested in using special forces for counterinsurgency warfare in Third World countries threatened by communist insurgencies. Successive American administrations. Kennedy made the ambitious pledge to "pay any price.S. According to a November 1960 report by the head of the U. as Robert McNamara and others have noted.common front controlled by the communist party in the South. 1961–1963 Main articles: Strategic Hamlet Program and Pham Ngoc Thao When John F." In his inaugural address. presidential election. Although Kennedy stressed long-range missile parity with the Soviets.S.S. one major issue Kennedy raised was whether the Soviet space and missile programs had surpassed those of the United States. John F. overestimated the control that Hanoi had over the NLF. oppose any foe. military advisory team. The Kennedy administration remained essentially committed to the Cold War . Although they were originally intended for use behind front lines after a conventional invasion of Europe." In June 1961. As Kennedy took over. a "significant part" of the population in the south supported the communists. Lieutenant General Lionel C. bear any burden.-Soviet issues. meet any hardship. Europe and Latin America "loomed larger than Asia on his sights. despite warnings from Eisenhower about Laos and Vietnam. Kennedy believed that the guerrilla tactics employed by special forces such as the Green Berets would be effective in a "brush fire" war in Vietnam. The communists thus had a degree of popular support for their campaign to bring down Diem and reunify the country. Diem's paranoia. During John F.
Vice President Lyndon B. These made Kennedy believe that another failure on the part of the United States to gain control and stop communist expansion would fatally damage U. Military Regions.S. credibility with its allies and his own reputation. John Kenneth Galbraith warned Kennedy of the "danger we shall replace the . In April 1962. The frequency of guerrilla attacks rose as the insurgency gathered steam. Johnson replied. troops be sent to South Vietnam disguised as flood relief workers. remained poor. adverse military consequences. saying. and political promotions all played a part in emasculating the ARVN. 1967 The quality of the South Vietnamese military. while it might have an initially favorable military impact.foreign policy inherited from the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. the U. While Hanoi's support for the NLF played a role.  Kennedy advisers Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow recommended that U.S. Johnson visited Saigon and enthusiastically declared Diem the "Winston Churchill of Asia. "Diem's the only boy we got out there. in the long run. had 50. "Now we have a problem making our power credible and Vietnam looks like the place"." Johnson assured Diem of more aid in molding a fighting force that could resist the communists.S." South Vietnam. Bad leadership. Kennedy determined to "draw a line in the sand" and prevent a communist victory in Vietnam. In 1961. to James Reston of The New York Times immediately after meeting Khrushchev in Vienna. Kennedy rejected the idea but increased military assistance yet again. and Kennedy faced a threepart crisis—the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. In May 1961. corruption. South Vietnamese governmental incompetence was at the core of the crisis.S. the construction of the Berlin Wall. and a negotiated settlement between the pro-Western government of Laos and the Pathet Lao communist movement. forces in large numbers there today." Asked why he had made the comment. He was against the deployment of American combat troops and observed that "to introduce U. Kennedy's policy toward South Vietnam rested on the assumption that Diem and his forces must ultimately defeat the guerrillas on their own. however. would almost certainly lead to adverse political and.000 troops based in Korea.
The Strategic Hamlets. Coup and assassinations See also: Kennedy's role.French as a colonial force in the area and bleed as the French did. which left farmers paying high rents to a few wealthy landlords. Krulak Mendenhall mission. were quickly infiltrated by the guerrillas.S. The Strategic Hamlet Program had been initiated in 1961. fourteen nations. provide education and health care. including the People's Republic of China. there were 16. The aim was to isolate the population from the insurgents. Buddhist crisis. 1963 South Vietnamese coup. was in fact a communist agent who used his Catholicism to gain influential posts and damage the ROV from the inside. 1962 South Vietnamese Independence Palace bombing. however.South Vietnamese program attempted to resettle the rural population into fortified camps. In part. The peasants resented being uprooted from their ancestral villages. in which a small band of Viet Cong beat off a much larger and better equipped South . a Diem favourite who was instrumental in running the program. On 23 July 1962. McNamara Taylor mission. North Vietnam and the United States. Corruption dogged the program and intensified opposition. 1960 South Vietnamese coup attempt. Huế Phật Đản shootings and Xa Loi Pagoda raids Main articles: Cable 243.000 American military personnel in South Vietnam. this was because Colonel Pham Ngoc Thao. and Reaction to the 1963 South Vietnamese coup The inept performance of the South Vietnamese army was exemplified by failed actions such as the Battle of Ap Bac on 2 January 1963. and strengthen the government's hold over the countryside. This joint U. South Vietnam. signed an agreement promising the neutrality of Laos. The government refused to undertake land reform. the Soviet Union. Arrest and assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem. up from Eisenhower's 900 advisors." By 1963.
Vietnamese force. encouragement. . He was difficult to reason with. Chief among the proposed changes was the removal of Diem's younger brother Nhu.S. commander of the IV Corps. Some policymakers in Washington began to conclude that Diem was incapable of defeating the communists and might even make a deal with Ho Chi Minh. the Buddha's birthday. and had become more paranoid after attempts in 1960.S. This resulted in mass protests against discriminatory policies that gave privileges to the Catholic Church and its adherents.. loyal to Diem's younger brother Ngo Dinh Nhu. who controlled the secret police and special forces was seen as the man behind the Buddhist repression and more generally the architect of the Ngo family's rule. U. Ngo Dinh Diem after being shot and killed in the 1963 coup.. Diem's elder brother Ngo Dinh Thuc was the Archbishop of Huế and aggressively blurred the separation between church and state. causing widespread damage and destruction and leaving a death toll estimated to range into the hundreds. many of whose officers seemed reluctant even to engage in combat. As Robert F. Cao had earlier vomited during a communist attack. He seemed concerned only with fending off coups. raided pagodas across Vietnam. There had also been reports of Buddhist pagodas being demolished by Catholic paramilitaries throughout Diem's rule. Diem refused to make concessions to the Buddhist majority or take responsibility for the deaths. officials began discussing the possibility of a regime change during the middle of 1963. Kennedy noted." Discontent with Diem's policies exploded following the Huế Phật Đản shootings of majority Buddhists who were protesting against the ban on the Buddhist flag on Vesak. embassy in Saigon in Cable 243. On 21 August 1963. The ARVN were led in that battle by Diem's most trusted General Huynh Van Cao. This proposal was conveyed to the U. and whose main job was to preserve his forces to stave off coups. Thuc's anniversary celebrations shortly before Vesak had been bankrolled by the government and Vatican flags were displayed prominently. which he partly attributed to U. The United States Department of State was generally in favor of encouraging a coup. and a Catholic who had been promoted due to religion and fidelity rather than skill. while the Defense Department favored Diem. "Diem wouldn't make even the slightest concessions.S. 1962. the ARVN Special Forces of Colonel Le Quang Tung.
They were.S. President Diem was overthrown and executed. his credentials as a nationalist (as Robert McNamara later reflected) had been impeccable. The Kennedy administration sought to refocus U. chaos ensued.The CIA was in contact with generals planning to remove Diem. The CIA also ran the Phoenix Program and participation Military Assistance Command. the commander of U. When he was informed. on 2 November 1963. U. however. warning that "the Viet Cong by and large retain de facto control of much of the countryside and have steadily increased the overall intensity of the effort". advisers other than conventional troop training. invited the coup leaders to the embassy and congratulated them. The indigenous forces numbered in the tens of thousands and they conducted direct action missions.S. . Increasingly. Ambassador Lodge informed Kennedy that "the prospects now are for a shorter war". Following the coup. was hostile to any role for U. Maxwell Taylor remembered that Kennedy "rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face. forces in South Vietnam. as one military government toppled another in quick succession. however. The insurgency was a political power struggle. but was changed for cover purposes. almost completely ignorant of the political nature of the insurgency. Hanoi took advantage of the situation and increased its support for the guerrillas. which was originally named the Special Operations Group. The U. in which military engagements were not the main goal. Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MAC-V SOG). They were told that the United States would not oppose such a move nor punish the generals by cutting off aid. The CIA was less optimistic." He had not approved Diem's murder. along with his brother. whatever the failings of Diem.S.S. Henry Cabot Lodge.S military advisers were embedded at every level of the South Vietnamese armed forces. efforts on pacification and "winning over the hearts and minds" of the population. General Paul Harkins. South Vietnam entered a period of extreme political instability. confidently predicted victory by Christmas 1963. ambassador to South Vietnam. The military leadership in Washington. however. against the Communist Pathet Lao forces and their North Vietnamese supporters. Paramilitary officers from the CIA's Special Activities Division trained and led Hmong tribesmen in Laos and into Vietnam. led by paramilitary officers. each new regime was viewed as a puppet of the Americans.
later recalled as "a model of lethargy. was made up of 12 members headed by General Duong Van Minh—whom Stanley Karnow. We hardly discussed it because it was not worth discussing." Lodge.Lyndon B.. The military revolutionary council. Johnson said. there was persistent instability in the military as several coups—not all successful—occurred in a short space of time. with his own NSAM 273 (26 Nov. because of the recent coup against Diem. involvement in the Vietnam War. must be joined." On 24 November 1963. Johnson had reversed Kennedy's disengagement policy from Vietnam in withdrawing 1. meeting in lieu of a strong South Vietnamese leader. Johnson escalates the war. 1964 South Vietnamese coup.).000 troops by the end of 1963 (NSAM 263 on 11 Oct. . September 1964 South Vietnamese coup attempt.) to expand the war. However.S. B-66 Destroyer and four F-105 Thunderchiefs dropping bombs on North Vietnam Main article: Joint warfare in South Vietnam 1963–1969 Further information: Role of United States in the Vietnam War: Americanization See also: Opposition to the U.. Gulf of Tonkin incident. frustrated by the end of the year. 1963–1969 A U. especially in places like the Mekong Delta." The pledge came at a time when Vietnam was deteriorating. "the battle against communism. with strength and determination. Presidential aide Jack Valenti recalls.. and 1965 South Vietnamese coup Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ). December 1964 South Vietnamese coup. cabled home about Minh: "Will he be strong enough to get on top of things?" His regime was overthrown in January 1964 by General Nguyen Khanh.. a journalist on the ground. "Vietnam at the time was no bigger than a man's fist on the horizon. as he took over the presidency after the death of Kennedy.S. initially did not consider Vietnam a priority and was more concerned with his "Great Society" and progressive social programs.
however. 3rd Marines. A Marine from 1st Battalion. A second attack was reported two days later on the USS Turner Joy and Maddox in the same area. writes Louise Gerdes. On 2 August 1964. allegedly fired upon and damaged several torpedo boats that had been stalking it in the Gulf of Tonkin.000 in 1961. 2. captured during an attack on an American outpost near the Cambodian border.. It had already been called into question long before this. committing American boys to fighting a war that I think ought to be fought by the boys of Asia to help protect their own land.Between 1961 and 1964 the Army's strength rose from about 850. that McNamara and the Pentagon "did not knowingly lie about the alleged attacks. "is an oft-cited example of the way in which Johnson misled the American people to gain support for his foreign policy in Vietnam.S. Johnson pledged that he was not ".." The numbers for U. but they were obviously in a mood to retaliate and they seem to have selected from the evidence available to them those parts that confirmed what they wanted to believe.. revealed that there was no attack on 4 August.000 to nearly a million men." "From a strength of approximately 5. moves an alleged NLF activist to the rear during a search and clear operation held by the battalion 15 miles (24 . Herring argues.An alleged NLF activist. troops deployed to Vietnam during the same period were quite different.. The circumstances of the attack were murky." The second attack led to retaliatory air strikes. rising rapidly to 16.000 at the start of 1959 the Viet Cong's ranks grew to about 100. prompted Congress to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution." George C.000 at the end of 1964. Lyndon Johnson commented to Undersecretary of State George Ball that "those sailors out there may have been shooting at flying fish. and gave the president power to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without declaring war. is interrogated. In the same month. on an intelligence mission along North Vietnam's coast. however. "Gulf of Tonkin incident". the USS Maddox.500 in 1964." An undated NSA publication declassified in 2005.
500 U.S. 3." The Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Curtis LeMay. Bombing was not restricted to North Vietnam. U. Between March 1965 and November 1968. "Rolling Thunder" deluged the north with a million tons of missiles.S. The objective of forcing North Vietnam to stop its support for the NLF. These included the Ho Chi Minh trail. On 8 March 1965. Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam.S. The worst is an airplane. was intended to force North Vietnam to cease its support for the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF) by threatening to destroy North Vietnam's air defenses and industrial infrastructure. however. 1965 Peasants suspected of being Vietcong under detention of U. Air Force bases needed more protection. army. The bombing campaign.km) west of Da Nang Air Base. The South Vietnamese military seemed incapable of providing security. which ultimately lasted three years. such as Operation Commando Hunt.S. As well..S. which ran through Laos and Cambodia.ogv Play video Universal Newsreel film about an attack on U. . This marked the beginning of the American ground war. targeted different parts of the NLF and VPA infrastructure. Marine barracks at Pleiku. response. it was decided that U.. As one officer noted "this is a political war and it calls for discriminate killing. however. would be a knife. Operation Rolling Thunder and Operation Arc Light commenced.. it was aimed at bolstering the morale of the South Vietnamese.S.. The best weapon. rockets and bombs. was never reached. Escalation and ground war 1965-02-08 Showdown in Vietnam. The National Security Council recommended a three-stage escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam. following an attack on a U. Operation Flaming Dart (initiated when Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin was at a state visit to North Vietnam). air bases and the U.S. 1966 After several attacks upon them. had long advocated saturation bombing in Vietnam and wrote of the Communists that "we're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age". Other aerial campaigns. On 2 March 1965.
The initial deployment of 3. that the situation was critical. Pacific forces.S. ARVN forces suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Bình Giã.S. The policy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) was not to topple other noncommunist governments in South East Asia. Tellingly. Commitment of U. (and other free world) forces necessary to halt the losing trend by the end of 1965. Grant Sharp. In December..500 in March was increased to nearly 200. troops with their energy. If they want to make peace. commanders were institutionally and psychologically unsuited to a defensive mission. at the Battle of Đồng Xoài. The U. By ignoring ARVN units. * Phase 2. U.S. The Marines' assignment was defensive. we shall make peace and invite them to afternoon tea.S. South Vietnamese forces were again defeated in June. Regardless of political policies. commander of U. U.S.000 by December.S.public opinion overwhelmingly supported the deployment. commitment became open-ended. Westmoreland was advocating an aggressive departure from America's defensive posture and the sidelining of the South Vietnamese. General William Westmoreland informed Admiral U.S. military had long been schooled in offensive warfare. the primary goal of the war was to reunify Vietnam and secure its independence. U." As former First Deputy Foreign Minister Tran Quang Co has noted." With this recommendation. "I am convinced that U. and allied forces mount major offensive actions to seize the . and morale plummeted. Previously communist forces had utilized hit-and-run guerrilla tactics. soldiers searching a village for NLF Desertion rates were increasing. the U. He said. Westmoreland outlined a three-point plan to win the war: * Phase 1.S. however at Binh Gia they had successfully defeated a strong ARVN force in conventional warfare. mobility.S. Ho Chi Minh warned that if the Americans "want to make war for twenty years then we shall make war for twenty years. in a battle that both sides viewed as a watershed. In a statement similar to that made to the French almost two decades earlier. and firepower can successfully take the fight to the NLF [National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam]. Jr.
"the main PX [Post Exchange]. The change in U.S." The American buildup transformed the economy and had a profound effect on South Vietnamese society.S. located in the Saigon suburb of Cholon. New Zealand. Attleboro. The one-year tour of duty deprived units of experienced leadership. 1967 Washington encouraged its SEATO allies to contribute troops. Major allies. and its allies mounted complex operations. Thailand. and the Philippines all agreed to send troops.. however. The idea that the government of South Vietnam could manage its own affairs was shelved. however. This phase would end when the enemy had been worn down. If the enemy persisted. Instead he emphasized continuity. The opponents were locked in a cycle of escalation. The plan was approved by Johnson and marked a profound departure from the previous administration's insistence that the government of South Vietnam was responsible for defeating the guerrillas. The U. President Lyndon B. a period of twelve to eighteen months following Phase 2 would be required for the final destruction of enemy forces remaining in remote base areas. declined Washington's troop requests. notably NATO nations Canada and the United Kingdom. . Westmoreland predicted victory by the end of 1967. As one observer noted "we were not in Vietnam for 10 years. Johnson did not.S. training programs were shortened. Australia. Johnson at the Glassboro Summit Conference where the two representatives discussed the possibilities of a peace settlement. A huge surge in corruption was witnessed. Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin with U. South Vietnam was inundated with manufactured goods. such as operations Masher." As a result. was only slightly smaller than the New York Bloomingdale's. policy depended on matching the North Vietnamese and the NLF in a contest of attrition and morale..initiative to destroy guerrilla and organized enemy forces. The Ho Chi Minh Trail running through Laos. communicate this change in strategy to the media. * Phase 3. the Republic of Korea. and driven back from major populated areas. thrown on the defensive. As Stanley Karnow writes. but for one year 10 times.
Thieu. Thieu became president with Ky as his deputy. Although the U. Throughout the offensive. they responded quickly and effectively. and South Vietnamese forces were initially taken aback by the scale of the urban offensive.Cedar Falls. after rigged elections. having won a one-man election in 1971. the NVA and NLF broke the truce that had traditionally accompanied the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday. the American forces employed massive firepower.S. the combined NLF and VPA troops captured the Imperial Citadel and much of the city. the communist insurgents remained elusive and demonstrated great tactical flexibility. Over 100 cities were attacked. decimating the ranks of the NLF. in mid 1965 at the head of a military junta. remained president until 1975. Military information officers sought to manage media coverage by emphasizing stories that portrayed progress in the war. This ended a series of coups that had happened more than once a year. As the media's coverage of the war and that of the Pentagon diverged. Over time. Meanwhile. Saigon.S. In 1967. Although they were nominally a civilian government. In the former capital city of Huế. in Huế where the battle was the fiercest. They launched the surprise Tet Offensive in the hope of sparking a national uprising. with assaults on General Westmoreland's headquarters and the U. Thieu outmanoevred and sidelined Ky by filling the ranks with generals from his faction. General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. mistrustful and indecisive. However. in January 1968. Embassy. this policy damaged the public trust in official pronouncements. Thieu was also accused of murdering Ky loyalists through contrived military accidents. Ky was supposed to maintain real power through a behind-the-scenes military body. and Junction City. which led to the Battle of Huế. the political situation in South Vietnam began to stabilize with the coming to power of Prime Minister Air Marshal Nguyễn Cao Kỳ and figurehead Chief of State. Tet Offensive Main article: Tet Offensive Having lured General Westmoreland's forces into the hinterland at Khe Sanh in Quảng Trị Province. . a socalled credibility gap developed. However. The Johnson administration employed a "policy of minimum candor" in its dealings with the media.
 Time described him as "the sinewy personification of the American fighting man. Johnson. Marines fighting in Huế In November 1967 Westmoreland spearheaded a public relations drive for the Johnson administration to bolster flagging public support.. unintended consequence. According to one source.. Journalist Peter Arnett quoted an unnamed officer. It had a profound impact on domestic support for the conflict. indeed. firepower) that "it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it" (though the authenticity of this quote is disputed). He was featured on the cover of Time magazine three times and was named 1965's Man of the Year. and infused the." The Tet Offensive was the turning point in America's involvement in the Vietnam War. In a speech before the National Press Club he said that a point in the war had been reached "where the end comes into view. caused grave damage to NLF forces. Johnson's approval rating slumped from 48 to 36 percent.that firepower left 80% of the city in ruins. General Westmoreland had become the public face of the war. men under him with his own idealistic view of U. who declined to run for re-election." Thus. efforts. North Vietnamese officials acknowledged that the Tet Offensive had. the Tet Offensive became a political victory and ended the career of President Lyndon B.000). the public was shocked and confused when Westmoreland's predictions were trumped by Tet. (who) directed the historic buildup.S. After the war. But the offensive had another. which had been largely supportive of U.S. The American media. saying of Bến Tre (laid to rubble by U. rounded on the Johnson administration for what had become an increasing credibility gap. aims and responsibilities.S.. Despite its military failure.S.. As James Witz noted. made by the Johnson administration and the military. this quote was attributed to Major Booris of 9th Infantry Division. the communist insurgent occupying forces massacred several thousand unarmed Huế civilians (estimates vary up to a high of 6. Tet "contradicted the claims of progress.  ... drew up the battle plans." U. During the interim between the capture of the Citadel and end of the "Battle of Huế". The offensive constituted an intelligence failure on the scale of Pearl Harbor.
"the dangerous illusion of victory by the United States was therefore dead. was running against Republican former vice president Richard Nixon. The policy became known as "Vietnamization". cost 30. peace talks began between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.000 additional troops had been leaked to the media.S. "Lyndon Johnson's escalation of the war in Vietnam divided Americans into warring camps. 1969–1972 Nixon Doctrine / Vietnamization Propaganda leaflet urging the defection of NLF and North Vietnamese to the side of the Republic of Vietnam For more details on this topic. air force personnel during an attack on the perimeter of Tan Son Nhut Air Base during the Tet Offensive Westmoreland became Chief of Staff of the Army in March. The move was technically a promotion. a commander less inclined to public media pronouncements.. his position had become untenable because of the offensive and because his request for 200. troops to Vietnam was seen as Johnson's admission that the war was lost. despite low expectations. (and) destroyed Johnson's presidency. so that they could take over the defense of South Vietnam." His refusal to send more U. Westmoreland was succeeded by his deputy Creighton Abrams. His plan. Negotiations stagnated for five months. It can be seen that the refusal was a tacit admission that the war could not be won by escalation. As historian Robert Dallek writes. Vice President Hubert Humphrey. As Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara noted. at least not at a cost acceptable to the American people. Severe communist losses during the Tet Offensive allowed U.S. see Role of the United States in the Vietnam War#Vietnamization. On 10 May 1968._1969–1975 and #Vietnamization. called the Nixon Doctrine.NLF/NVA killed by U.000 American lives by the time he left office. President Richard Nixon to begin troop withdrawals.S. 1969–1974.. Vietnamization had . until Johnson gave orders to halt the bombing of North Vietnam. However." Vietnamization... The Democratic candidate. was to build up the ARVN. just as all resistance was finally subdued.
Kevin Buckley writing in Newsweek estimated that perhaps 5. The anti-war movement was gaining strength in the United States. Nixon ordered a squadron of 18 B-52s loaded with nuclear weapons to race to the border of Soviet airspace to convince the Soviet Union that he was capable of anything to end the Vietnam War.S. he attempted to limit the scope of the conflict. aimed at communist logistics. Ho Chi Minh died at age seventynine.000 of the Vietnamese dead were civilians. This will bring a total reduction of 265. with better use of firepower and more cooperation with the ARVN. including the 5th Special Forces Group Commander were arrested for the murder of a suspected double agent provoked national and international outrage. Nixon also pursued negotiations. Army platoon raped and killed civilians. Nixon appealed to the "silent majority" of Americans to support the war. While Kennedy insisted that the South Vietnamese fight the war themselves. "I am tonight announcing plans for the withdrawal of an additional 150.much in common with the policies of the Kennedy administration. Theater commander Creighton Abrams shifted to smaller operations. and the 1969 "Green Beret Affair" where eight Special Forces soldiers." On 10 October 1969. remained. One important difference. forces concluded Operation Speedy Express with a claimed bodycount of 10.889 Communist guerillas with only 40 U. in which a U. Détente led to nuclear arms reduction on the part of both superpowers.000 American troops to be completed during the spring of next year.S. But Nixon was disappointed that the PRC and the Soviet Union continued to supply the North Vietnamese with aid. . This policy helped to decrease global tensions. In September 1969. But revelations of the My Lai Massacre. The civilian cost of the war was again questioned when U. Nixon also began to pursue détente with the Soviet Union and rapprochement with the People's Republic of China. losses.500 men in our armed forces in Vietnam below the level that existed when we took office 15 months ago. however. Nixon said in an announcement.S.
forces and ARVN launched incursions into Cambodia to attack VPA/NLF bases and buy time for South Vietnam. President Nixon took the opportunity to launch a massive secret bombing campaign. The Vietnamese communists were no longer welcome. The Supreme Court ruled that its publication was legal. . while U.S. because he wished to avoid being drawn into a wider regional conflict. American troops were being taken away from border areas where much more killing took place.S.S." In 1970. which provoked public outrage in the United States. he changed this policy in 1969. called Operation Menu.Beginning in 1970. In 1971 the Pentagon Papers were leaked to The New York Times. neutrality and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia. but the communists used Cambodian soil as a base and Sihanouk tolerated their presence. however. which is one reason why casualties in 1970 were less than half of 1969's totals.. Under pressure from Washington. and instead put along the coast and interior. detailed a long series of public deceptions. commissioned by the Department of Defense. against their sanctuaries along the Cambodia/Vietnam border. The reaction to the incident by the Nixon administration was seen as callous and indifferent. Four students were killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State University during a protest in Ohio. This violated a long succession of pronouncements from Washington supporting Cambodian neutrality. The topsecret history of U. Richard Nixon wrote to Prince Sihanouk in April 1969 assuring him that the United States respected "the sovereignty. involvement in Vietnam.. The country's borders were closed. Prince Sihanouk was deposed by his pro-American prime minister Lon Nol. The invasion of Cambodia sparked nationwide U. protests. providing additional impetus for the anti-war movement. Operation Menu: the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos Main article: Operation Menu Prince Norodom Sihanouk had proclaimed Cambodia neutral since 1955.
troop withdrawals continued. ARVN forces retreated in a confused rout. center. to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. The Nguyen Hue Offensive. Half of the invading ARVN troops were either captured or killed. aircraft had to destroy abandoned equipment. However. After meeting resistance. As Karnow noted "the blunders were monumental. Many ARVN soldiers clung to helicopter skids in a desperate attempt to save themselves. 1972. on 8 June 1972." In 1971 Australia and New Zealand withdrew their soldiers. U. The VPA and NLF quickly overran the northern provinces and in coordination with other forces attacked from Cambodia. The last remaining American ground troops were withdrawn in August. running down a road near Trảng Bàng. They fled along roads littered with their own dead. and the offensive was halted. The (South Vietnamese) government's top officers had been tutored by the Americans for ten or fifteen years. with a deadline to remove another 45. soldiers abandoned their vehicles and attempted to barge their way on to American helicopters sent to evacuate the wounded. threatening to cut the country in half.S. 1972 election and Paris Peace Accords Phan Thị Kim Phúc. The ostensibly neutral Laos had long been the scene of a secret war. it became clear that without American airpower South Vietnam could not survive. As peace protests spread across the United States. Vietnam. The operation was a fiasco and represented a clear failure of Vietnamization. aimed at cutting the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos.S. yet they had learned little. after a napalm bomb was dropped on the village of Trảng Bàng by a plane of the Vietnam Air Force Photo: Nick Ut / The Associated Press . The U.700. a massive conventional invasion of South Vietnam.000 troops by February 1972.The ARVN launched Operation Lam Son 719 in February 1971. part of the Easter Offensive Vietnamization was again tested by the Easter Offensive of 1972.. When they ran out of fuel. troop count was further reduced to 196. disillusionment and ill-discipline grew in the ranks. including tanks.. But American airpower came to the rescue with Operation Linebacker. U. many at training schools in the United States.S.
When North Vietnam went public with the agreement's details.. Simultaneously Nixon pressured Thieu to accept the terms of the agreement. U. like the Geneva Conference of 1954. a massive bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong 18–29 December 1972. The negotiations became deadlocked. campaigned on a platform of withdrawal from Vietnam. "proved. However. forces. Operation Linebacker II. to be the only one of the Paris Agreements which was fully carried out. The agreement guaranteed the territorial integrity of Vietnam and. Hanoi demanded new changes. The war was the central issue of the 1972 presidential election. December 1972 To show his support for South Vietnam and force Hanoi back to the negotiating table. The Paris Peace Accords stipulated a sixty-day period for the total withdrawal of U. The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. The offensive destroyed much of the remaining economic and industrial capacity of North Vietnam. In October 1972. called for national elections in the North and South. continued secret negotiations with North Vietnam's Lê Ðức Thọ.. "This article"." Opposition to the Vietnam War: 1962–1975 Globe icon. George McGovern.S. Please improve this article and discuss the . On 15 January 1973. they reached an agreement. involvement in the Vietnam War. Nixon announced the suspension of offensive action against North Vietnam.S. The Paris Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam" were signed on 27 January 1973. Nixon's National Security Adviser. Nixon ordered Operation Linebacker II. the Nixon administration claimed that the North was attempting to embarrass the President. threatening to conclude a bilateral peace deal and cut off American aid. Henry Kissinger.S. POWs were released. Nixon's opponent.. officially ending direct U. noted Peter Church. South Vietnamese President Thieu demanded massive changes to the peace accord. A cease-fire was declared across North and South Vietnam.
Antiwar protests ended with the final withdrawal of troops after the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973.  After explosive news reports of American military abuses. for those involved with the New Left such as the Catholic Worker Movement.S.S. opposed involvement in Vietnam.S. such as Norman Morrison emulating the actions of Thích Quảng Đức. Opposition to the Vietnam War tended to unite groups opposed to U.issue on the talk page. Early opposition to U. anticommunism. political opinion. involvement in Vietnam was centered around the Geneva conference of 1954. Advocates of U. (April 2010) U. Others. involvement in the Vietnam War Some advocates within the peace movement advocated a unilateral withdrawal of U. American support of Diem in refusing elections was thought to be thwarting the very democracy that America claimed to be supporting.S. and they called their opponents "hawks". imperialism and colonialism and. while Senator. the Vietnam Moratorium attracted millions of Americans. brought new attention and support to the anti-war movement. Many South Vietnamese subsequently fled to the United States. withdrawal were generally known as "doves". High-profile opposition to the Vietnam War turned to street protests in an effort to turn U. . Riots broke out at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. These critics advocated U.S. some veterans joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War.S. forces remain until all threats from the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army had been eliminated. withdrawal predicted that it would not contribute to peace but rather vastly increase bloodshed. John Kennedy. Some wanted to show solidarity with the people of Vietnam. such as Stephen Spiro opposed the war based on the theory of Just War. Some critics of U. One reason given for the withdrawal is that it would contribute to a lessening of tensions in the region and thus less human bloodshed. The fatal shooting of four anti-war protesters at Kent State University led to nation-wide university protests.S. On 15 October 1969. forces from Vietnam. following nomenclature dating back to the War of 1812. South Vietnam was left to defend itself alone when the fighting resumed. capitalism itself. such as the 1968 My Lai Massacre. Navy riverboat deploying napalm during the Vietnam War Main article: Opposition to the U.S.S.
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. bolstered by a surge of U. Many U. projected for the 1975–76 dry season. . George McGovern's 1972 Presidential Campaign lost 49 of 50 states to Richard Nixon. North Vietnam was allowed to continue supplying communist troops in the South. Later that year the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Kissinger and Thọ. Trà calculated that this date would be Hanoi's last opportunity to strike before Saigon's army could be fully trained. began to roll back the Vietcong.Victims of the My Lai Massacre Exit of the Americans: 1973–1975 The United States began drastically reducing their troop support in South Vietnam during the final years of "Vietnamization". North Carolina.S. showing Nixon's victories in 49 states (red) over McGovern. Calling for immediate withdrawal of U. With U. but the Vietnamese negotiator declined it saying that a true peace did not yet exist. Logistics would be upgraded until the North was in a position to launch a massive invasion of the South.S.S. which was the first American unit deployed to South Vietnam. forces from Vietnam. to its former base in Fort Bragg. The communist leaders had expected that the ceasefire terms would favor their side. The communists responded with a new strategy hammered out in a series of meetings in Hanoi in March 1973. troops were removed from the region. U. between North Vietnamese Foreign Minister Lê Ðức Thọ and U.S. Trà participated in several of these meetings. according to the memoirs of Trần Văn Trà. Map of the United States. bombings suspended. military forces withdrew from South Vietnam and prisoners were exchanged.  As the Vietcong's top commander. aid received just before the ceasefire went into effect. But Saigon.S. the United States returned the 5th Special Forces Group.S. and reluctantly signed by South Vietnamese President Thiệu. but only to the extent of replacing materials that were consumed. work on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and other logistical structures could proceed unimpeded. and on 5 March 1971. [A 5] Under the Paris Peace Accords.
S. Schlesinger stated that he would recommend resumption of U. the U.S. Martin was a second stringer compared to previous U.1-100% Democratic 60. returning a Democratic majority to both houses of Congress. who was re-elected U. On 4 June 1973. bombing in North Vietnam if North Vietnam launched a major offensive against South Vietnam. ambassador to Vietnam.1-80% Democratic up to 60% Republican up to 60% Democratic In the November 1972 Election. This map shows the House seats by party holding plurality in state 80. President Richard Nixon implied that the United States would intervene militarily if the communist side violated the ceasefire. After two clashes that left 55 South .In the 1972 Congressional Election.S. The oil price shock of October 1973 caused significant damage to the South Vietnamese economy. Secretary of Defense James R. McGovern lost 49 of 50 states to Richard Nixon. ambassadors and his appointment was an early signal that Washington had given up on Vietnam.1-100% Republican 80. the majority of Americans voted for Democratic Congressmen.S.1-80% Republican 60. Senate passed the Case-Church Amendment to prohibit such intervention. The Vietcong resumed offensive operations when dry season began and by January 1974 it had recaptured the territory it lost during the previous dry season.S. many American voters split their tickets. U. On 15 March 1973. During his confirmation hearings in June 1973. president. Despite supporting Nixon over McGovern.S. Public and congressional reaction to Nixon's trial balloon was unfavorable and in April Nixon appointed Graham Martin as U.
Congress refused. and determine whether U. midterm elections in 1974 brought in a new Congress dominated by Democrats who were even more determined to confront the president on the war. Phuoc Binh. Congress cut financial aid to South Vietnam from $1 billion a year to $700 million. gauge the reaction of South Vietnamese forces. was reluctant to approve Trà's plan. There had been over 25. The strike was designed to solve local logistical problems. Giáp. would return to the fray. Trà's plan called for a limited offensive from Cambodia into Phuoc Long Province.S. Gerald Ford took over as U.S. This time. It was decided that operations in the Central Highlands would be turned over to General Văn Tiến Dũng and that Pleiku should be seized. On 13 December 1974. who approved of the operation. The U.000 South Vietnamese casualties during the ceasefire period. Trà appealed over Giáp's head to first secretary Lê Duẩn. if possible. A larger offensive might provoke a U. The speed of this success led the Politburo to reassess its strategy. President Thiệu announced on 4 January that the war had restarted and that the Paris Peace Accord was no longer in effect. North Vietnamese forces attacked Route 14 in Phuoc Long Province. president on 9 August 1974 after President Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal.Vietnamese soldiers dead. Before . The fall of Phuoc Binh and the lack of an American response left the South Vietnamese elite demoralized. Congress immediately voted in restrictions on funding and military activities to be phased in through 1975 and to culminate in a total cutoff of funding in 1976. the North Vietnamese defense minister.S. fell on 6 January 1975. the provincial capital.S. The success of the 1973–74 dry season offensive inspired Trà to return to Hanoi in October 1974 and plead for a larger offensive in the next dry season. Trà could travel on a drivable highway with regular fueling stops. a vast change from the days when the Ho Chi Minh Trail was a dangerous mountain trek. Ford desperately asked Congress for funds to assist and re-supply the South before it was overrun. At this time. reaction and interfere with the big push planned for 1976.
highly determined and well-funded North Vietnam. troops. Thieu ordered a retreat. Hanoi was surprised by the speed of their success. Campaign 275 This section needs additional citations for verification. and its forces collapsed on 11 March. financial support and the presence of a large number of U." At the start of 1975. was fearful that his forces would be cut off in the north by the attacking communists. isolated units fought desperately. The president declared this to be a "lighten the top and keep the bottom" strategy. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. a former general. However.S. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. If the town could be taken. Their abandonment by the American military had compromised an economy dependent on U. The ARVN proved incapable of resisting the onslaught. there was increasing chaos. Within South Vietnam.he left for the South. But in what appeared to be a repeat of Operation Lam Son 719. Dung now urged the Politburo to allow him to seize Pleiku immediately and then turn his attention to Kon Tum. They also had 1. Dũng was addressed by Lê Duẩn: "Never have we had military and political conditions so perfect or a strategic advantage as great as we have now. (May 2008) On 10 March 1975. He argued that with two months of good weather remaining until the onset of the monsoon. Once again. the rising oil prices meant that much of this could not be used. a limited offensive into the Central Highlands. supported by tanks and heavy artillery. They faced a well-organized. President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. ARVN General Phu . Much of the North's material and financial support came from the communist bloc. the withdrawal soon turned into a bloody rout. in Đắk Lắk Province.S. South Vietnam suffered from the global recession that followed the Arab oil embargo.400 aircraft and a two-to-one numerical superiority in combat troops over their Communist enemies. The target was Buôn Ma Thuột. the provincial capital of Pleiku and the road to the coast would be exposed for a planned campaign in 1976. the South Vietnamese had three times as much artillery and twice the number of tanks and armoured cars as the opposition. General Dung launched Campaign 275. While the bulk of ARVN forces attempted to flee. it would be irresponsible to not take advantage of the situation.
On 20 March. In the confusion. Vietnam's thirdlargest city. The retreat degenerated into a desperate scramble for the coast. North Vietnamese rockets rained down on Da Nang and its airport. and ARVN resistance withered. the Politburo ordered General Dung to launch the final offensive against Saigon. On 25 March. Thieu reversed himself and ordered Huế. With the northern half of the country under their control. Huế fell. The poor condition of roads and bridges. On 22 March. panic set in. damaged by years of conflict and neglect. Northern forces. refugees mixed in with the line of retreat. As the North Vietnamese launched their attack. Often abandoned by the officers. Thieu's contradictory orders confused and demoralized his officer corps. 35. The operational plan for the Ho Chi Minh Campaign called for the capture of Saigon before 1 May. taking Nha . Hanoi wished to avoid the coming monsoon and prevent any redeployment of ARVN forces defending the capital. be held at all costs. As the ARVN tried to disengage from the enemy. By 1 April the "column of tears" was all but annihilated. With the fall of the city. Some even swam out to sea to reach boats and barges anchored offshore. Civilians flooded the airport and the docks hoping for any mode of escape. As resistance in Huế collapsed.abandoned Pleiku and Kon Tum and retreated toward the coast. By 30 March 100. By 28 March. panic set in. slowed Phu's column. and then changed his policy several times. the soldiers and civilians were shelled incessantly. see Ho Chi Minh Campaign. As the North Vietnamese forces approached. after a three-day battle. Final North Vietnamese offensive For more details on the final North Vietnamese offensive. the defense of the Central Highlands and Northern provinces came to an end. routed ARVN soldiers fired on civilians to make way for their retreat. rolled on. the VPA opened the siege of Huế.000 VPA troops were poised to attack the suburbs. in what became known as the "column of tears". their morale boosted by their recent victories.000 leaderless ARVN troops surrendered as the VPA marched victoriously through Da Nang.
brushing aside isolated ARVN units along the way. the exhausted garrison were ordered to withdraw towards Saigon. At the same time. On 27 April 100. because of U. The city was defended by about 30. Thousand of refugees streamed southward. 40 miles (64 km) east of Saigon. With the air exit closed. The North Vietnamese met fierce resistance at Xuan Loc from the ARVN 18th Division. On 7 April. Having transferred power to Tran Van Huong.S. . however. and panic broke out as hysterical South Vietnamese officials and civilians scrambled to leave Saigon. declaring that the United States had betrayed South Vietnam. embassy compound. U. promising military aid that failed to materialise. and Da Lat. the ARVN had collapsed on all fronts except in the Mekong Delta. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had tricked him into signing the Paris peace agreement two years ago.Trang. American helicopters began evacuating South Vietnamese. who were outnumbered six to one. unrest. By 21 April.S. severe fighting raged as the ARVN defenders made a last stand to try to block the North Vietnamese advance. To hasten a collapse and foment panic. North Vietnamese tanks had reached Bien Hoa and turned toward Saigon.000 North Vietnamese troops encircled Saigon. the VPA shelled the airport and forced its closure.S. In a scathing attack. Martial law was declared. large numbers of civilians found that they had no way out..S. Fall of Saigon Main articles: Fall of Saigon and Operation Frequent Wind Chaos. ahead of the main communist onslaught. Cam Ranh. three North Vietnamese divisions attacked Xuan Loc. By the end of April. Operation Frequent Wind had been delayed until the last possible moment. he left for Taiwan on 25 April. and foreign nationals from various parts of the city and from the U.000 ARVN troops. he suggested U. Ambassador Graham Martin's belief that Saigon could be held and that a political settlement could be reached. For two bloody weeks. An embittered and tearful President Thieu resigned on the same day.
Britain. Frequent Wind continued around the clock. as hysterical crowds of Vietnamese vied for limited space. as civilians swamped the perimeter and poured into the grounds. fearing U.S. intervention. In the United States. Martin pleaded with Washington to dispatch $700 million in emergency aid to bolster the regime and help it mobilize fresh military reserves. surrendered. In the early morning hours of 30 April. as North Vietnamese tanks breached defenses on the outskirts of Saigon.S. Japan. declaring an end to the Vietnam War and all U.Schlesinger announced early in the morning of 29 April 1975 the evacuation from Saigon by helicopter of the last U. The first draft of the 1954 Geneva Accords was negotiated by French Prime Minister Pierre Mendès France and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai who. China. military. urged the Viet Minh to accept a partition at the 17th parallel. diplomatic. Marines evacuated the embassy by helicopter. Many of them had been employed by the Americans and were left to their fate. and civilian personnel. in an atmosphere of desperation. Saigon. But American public opinion had soured on this conflict. . and at 11:30 a. and America. quickly capturing key buildings and installations. VPA troops overcame all resistance.S. who had succeeded Huong two days earlier. aid. On 30 April 1975. President Duong Van Minh. Other countries' involvement Pro-Hanoi People's Republic of China In 1950. local time the NLF flag was raised above it.m. as well as military advisors led by Luo Guibo to assist the Viet Minh in its war with the French. the last U. His surrender marked the end of 116 years of Vietnamese involvement in conflict either alongside or against various countries. South Vietnam was perceived as doomed.S. the People's Republic of China extended diplomatic recognition to the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam and sent weapons. primarily France. President Gerald Ford had given a televised speech on 23 April. A tank crashed through the gates of the Independence Palace. Frequent Wind was arguably the largest helicopter evacuation in history. Victorious NVA troops at the Presidential Palace. It began on 29 April.
COSVN using airspeed and direction would calculate the bombing target and tell any assets to move "perpendicularly to the attack trajectory. Chinese-supplied rice allowed North Vietnam to pull military-age men from the paddies and to impose a universal draft beginning in 1960. China's withdrawal from Vietnam was completed in July 1970. In the summer of 1962. Their airspeed and direction would be noted and then relayed to COSVN headquarters. Moreover. China provided material and technical support to the Vietnamese communists worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev was the leader of the Soviet Union during the second half of the Vietnam War Soviet ships in the South China Sea gave vital early warnings to NLF forces in South Vietnam. and to perform other engineering works. The Soviet intelligence ships would pick up American B-52 bombers flying from Okinawa and Guam. China sent anti-aircraft units and engineering battalions to North Vietnam to repair the damage caused by American bombing. Vietnam responded with an invasion that toppled the Khmer Rouge. In response.000 rifles and guns free of charge. the Chinese demanded North Vietnam cut relations with Moscow. punitive invasion of Vietnam in 1979. Mao Zedong agreed to supply Hanoi with 90. In October. Starting in 1965." These advance warning gave them . The Chinese also began financing the Khmer Rouge as a counterweight to the Vietnamese communists at this time. rebuild roads and railroads. The Chinese began to withdraw in November 1968 in preparation for a clash with the Soviets. which occurred at Zhenbao Island in March 1969.China's ability to aid the Viet Minh declined when Soviet aid to China was reduced following the end of the Korean War in 1953. Sino-Soviet relations soured after the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968. The Khmer Rouge launched ferocious raids into Vietnam in 1975–1978. a divided Vietnam posed less of a threat to China. China launched a brief. This freed North Vietnamese army units for combat in the South. but Hanoi refused.
 The Soviet Union supplied North Vietnam with medical supplies. Cuba . 158 surface-to-air rocket launchers. fighting in Vietnam was attended by some 6. North Korea also sent weapons.000 tanks. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. at least two anti-aircraft artillery regiments were sent as well. which were the first raiders shot down over Hanoi.  In addition. as well as more than 4. In addition. North Korea As a result of a decision of the Korean Workers' Party in October 1966.time to move out of the way of the bombers and while the bombing runs caused extensive damage. They stayed through 1968. ammunition and two million sets of uniforms to their comrades in North Vietnam.000 artillery guns.000 anti-aircraft guns. 7. Over the course of the war the Soviet money donated to the Vietnamese cause was equal to 2 million dollars a day. military schools and academies of the USSR began training Vietnamese soldiers — more than 10 thousand people. tanks. because of the early warnings from 1968–1970 they did not kill a single military or civilian leader in the headquarter complexes. artillery. Soviet crews fired USSR-made surface-to-air missiles at the B-52 bombers. Russian officials acknowledged that the Soviet Union had stationed up to 3. planes.500 officers and generals. From July 1965 to the end of 1974.000 troops in Vietnam during the war. Kim Il-sung is reported to have told his pilots to "fight in the war as if the Vietnamese sky were their own". arms. over 5. anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment.500 soldiers and sergeants of the Soviet Armed Forces. in early 1967 North Korea sent a fighter squadron to North Vietnam to back up the North Vietnamese 921st and 923rd fighter squadrons defending Hanoi. Fewer than a dozen Soviet citizens lost their lives in this conflict. helicopters. Some Russian sources give more specific numbers: the hardware donated by the USSR included 2. and 200 pilots were reported to have served.
Then and since. In November 1961.  Witnesses to this include Senator John McCain. Park Chung Hee proposed South Korean participation in the war to John F.S.000 South Korean soldiers were sent to Vietnam. under Fidel Castro. That there was at least a small contingent of Cuban military advisors present in North Vietnam during the war is without question. South Korea had the second-largest contingent of foreign troops in South Vietnam after the United States. claim evidence that Cuba's military and non-military involvement may have run into the "thousands" of personnel.The extent of manpower contributions to North Vietnam by the communist Republic of Cuba. Pro-Saigon South Korea Further information: Republic of Korea Marine Corps#Vietnam War.000 in 1968. notably Vietnam War POW/MIA issue advocates. in what is known as the "Cuba Program".  Approximately 320. they conducted counterinsurgency operations so well that American commanders felt that Korean area of responsibility was the safest. 1964 Lyndon Johnson requested South Korean participation. South Korea killed 41. United States paid South Korean soldiers 235. 2008 U. Blue Dragon (military unit). Maximum troop levels peaked at 50. according to his 1999 book Faith of My Fathers. and South Korean GNP increased five times during the war. each serving a one year tour of duty. but Kennedy disagreed. however all were withdrawn by 1973. Some.560. Presidential candidate and former Vietnam prisoner of war. The first South Korean troops began arriving in 1964 and large combat battalions began arriving a year later.000 South Koreans were killed and 11. On May 1. the communist Vietnamese and Cuban governments have not divulged any information on this matter. and White Horse (military) On the anti-communist side.000 Viet Congs. prisoners of war that Cuban military personnel were present at North Vietnamese prison facilities during the war. is still a matter of debate. and that they participated in torture activities. Australia and New Zealand .000 were injured during the war. There are numerous reports by former U. Indeed arguably. with the South Koreans soon developing a reputation for effectiveness.000 dollars for their service in Vietnam. About 5. Tiger Division.S. Kennedy.
000 New Zealanders served in Vietnam. Thailand Thai Army formations. More than 60. though Thai regular formations there were heavily outnumbered by the irregular "volunteers" of the CIA-sponsored Police Aerial Reconnaissance Units or PARU.000 wounded. They were primarily engaged in medical and other civilian pacification projects.000 Australian personnel were involved during the course of the war. Australia began by sending advisors to Vietnam in 1962. Most Australians and New Zealanders served in the 1st Australian Task Force in Phước Tuy province. including the "Queen's Cobra" battalion. Australia's peak commitment was 7. close allies of the United States and members of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the ANZUS military cooperation treaty. Thai forces saw much more action in the covert war in Laos between 1964 and 1972.450 Filipino troops were dispatched to South Vietnam. Republic of China (Taiwan) Main article: Republic of China in the Vietnam War . sent ground troops to Vietnam. Philippines Some 10.672 combat troops and New Zealand's 552. losing 37 killed and 187 wounded. Both nations had gained experience in counterinsurgency and jungle warfare during the Malayan Emergency and World War II. Approximately 3. of which 521 were killed and more than 3. Their governments subscribed to the Domino theory. and then started sending special forces and regular infantry which were attached to Australian formations.An Australian soldier in Vietnam Main articles: Military history of Australia during the Vietnam War and New Zealand in the Vietnam War Australia and New Zealand. and combat troops were committed in 1965. saw action in South Vietnam between 1965 and 1971. These forces operated under the designation PHLCAG-V or Philippine Civic Action Group-Vietnam. New Zealand began by sending a detachment of engineers and an artillery battery. who carried out reconnaissance activities on the western side of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
India and Poland comprised the International Control Commission. 1st Lieutenant Sharon Lane was the only female military nurse to be killed by enemy gunfire during the war. Officially. Victor Levant suggested otherwise in his book "Quiet Complicity: Canadian Involvement in the Vietnam War" (1986). six days per week and often suffered from exhaustion. but with the war came opportunity for the expansion of . nurses usually worked twelve-hour shifts. women served on active duty doing a variety of jobs. it was commonly thought that American women had no place in the military. Canada and the ICC Main article: Canada and the Vietnam War Canada. the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) launched Operation Nightingale. The majority of these women were white Catholics and Protestants. Early in 1963. many nurses underwent a concentrated four-month training program before being deployed to Vietnam in the ANC  Due to the shortage of staff. Taiwan also provided military training units for the South Vietnamese diving units. Women in Vietnam American nurses During the Vietnam War. Canada did not have partisan involvement in the Vietnam War and diplomatically it was "non-belligerent". In addition to the diving trainers there were several hundred military personnel. Military commandos from Taiwan were captured by communist forces three times trying to infiltrate North Vietnam. the Republic of China (Taiwan) secretly operated a cargo transport detachment to assist the United States and the ROV. an intensive effort to recruit nurses to serve in Vietnam. which was supposed to monitor the 1954 ceasefire agreement. Because the need for medical aid was great. She died on June 8. 1969. Most nurses who volunteered to serve in Vietnam came from predominantly working or middle class families with histories of military service. At the start of the Vietnam War. Their traditional place had been in the domestic sphere. later known as the Lien Doi Nguoi Nhai (LDMN) or Frogman unit in English.Since November 1967.
Vietnamese women Unlike the American women who went to Vietnam.gender roles.” (26) This effort to highlight the positive aspects of a nursing career reflected the ideas of second-wave feminism that occurred during the 1960s-1970s in the United States. many men reported that having women in the field with them boosted their morale. By 1973. (334) However. by contrast. Although female military nurses lived in a heavily male environment.  Although a small number of women were assigned to combat zones. While this high male to female ratio was often uncomfortable for women. or judged them to be women of questionable moral character who enlisted for the sole purpose of seducing men. In 2008. Although this was not the women’s purpose. the military lifted the prohibition on women entering the armed forces. professional and well protected. Vietnamese women fought in the combat zone as well as provided manual labor to keep the Ho Chi Minh . approximately 7. This does not mean that harassment never occurred. Many Americans either considered female in Vietnam mannish for living under the army discipline. approximately one-third of women in the military felt that they had been sexually harassed compared with one-third of men.500 women had served in Vietnam in the Southeast Asian theater. They faced a plethora of challenges. the ANC released advertisements portraying women in the ANC as “proper. Living in a male-dominated environment created tensions between the sexes. In Vietnam. However. there are few cases that have been officially documented by the military. it was not until 1993 that Congress allowed women to serve in combat units in the air force. it was one positive result of the their service. and by the end of 1978. Women in the army today are still prohibited from serving in combat positions. In that same year. one of which was the relatively small number of female soldiers. American women serving in Vietnam were subject to societal stereotypes. To address this problem. the Coast Guard removed all limitations on assignments based on sex. they were never allowed directly in the field of battle. The women who served in the military were solely volunteers. women were gradually granted greater mobility within the military. very few cases of sexual harassment were ever reported. rather. women held a variety of jobs which included operating complex data processing equipment and serving as stenographers.
the highest ranking combat position held by a woman during the war. They played an important role in infantry support though there were few actual tank versus tank battles. the . the jamming was caused primarily by a change in gunpowder which was done without adequate testing and reflected a decision for which the safety of soldiers was a secondary consideration. According to a congressional report. she became a deputy commander of the Viet Cong. Nguyen Thi Dinh was an example of a woman who had fought most of her adult life against foreign forces in her country. Weapons Communist forces were principally armed with Chinese and Soviet weaponry though some Viet Cong guerrilla units were equipped with Western infantry weapons either captured from French stocks during the first Indochina war or from ARVN units or requisitioned through illicit purchase.Trail open. She was a member of the Vietminh fighting against the French and was imprisoned in the 1940s but on her release continued to fight and led a revolt in 1945 in Ben Tre and also in 1960 against Diems government. The M67A1 flamethrower tank (nicknamed the Zippo) was an M48 variant used in Vietnam. Artillery was used extensively by both sides but the Americans were able to ferry the lightweight 105mm M102 howitzer by helicopter to remote locations on quick notice. at the time her own daughter was training in the militia. which replaced the M14.” which meant that a spent cartridge case remained lodged in the chamber after a bullet flew out the muzzle. who would later go on to be an actress-director. In the mid 1960s. 90mm M48A3 Patton tank tank saw extensive action during the Vietnam War and over 600 were deployed with US Forces. also joined the fight at a young age and would later become a guerrilla fighter against the Americans. special forces with captured AK-47s. With its 17-mile (27 km) range. was considered more accurate and was lighter than the AK-47 but was prone to jamming. Nguyen Thi Duc Hoan. Women were enlisted in both the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the VietCong guerrilla force in South Vietnam. they also worked in the rice fields to provide food for their families and the war effort.S. Oftentimes the gun suffered from a jamming flaw known as “failure to extract.  The ubiquitous Soviet AK-47 was widely regarded as the best assault rifle of the war and it was not uncommon to see U. The American M16. The heavily armored.
Centurion (Australian Army). M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle. A-7 Corsair. M107 Self-Propelled Gun. M1954 field gun M109 self-propelled howitzer. ZSU-57-2. A-6 Intruder. using aircraft carriers as platforms for offshore strikes and other naval vessels for offshore artillery support. double and quad barreled variants) MIM-23 Hawk. providing accurate fire in support of the U.S. It was countered by the long-range. and PT-76 tanks. M551 Sheridan. CH-53. Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. the U. was outfitted with a variety of armaments including M60 machineguns. F-4 Phantom II. RPG-7. MiG-17 A-4 Skyhawk. RPK. Type North Vietnam. counter-offensive to retake the city. U. RPD.62mm Gatling guns and unguided air-to-surface rockets. & ARVN) Douglas A-1 Skyraider (U. RPG-2. multi-barreled 7. M110 selfpropelled howitzer.S.. ZPU 14.S. Douglas AC-47 Spooky. B-10 recoilless rifle and B-11 recoilless rifle M14. M48A3 Patton tank. BTR-152. M114 155 mm howitzer Aircraft MiG-21. the "Huey" as it became affectionately known.2 and 4 (numbers corresponding to single. V-100 Commando (Army Military Police / USAF Security Police) APCs/IFVs BTR-40. B-57 Canberra (RAAF). M16. M55 Quad 50 (dual use weapon for AA as well as for engaging ground targets) Infantry weapons MAT-49. Australia AFVs T-34/85. M1939 (61-K) 37mm. Offshore naval fire played a pivotal role in the Battle for the city of Hue. Lockheed AC-130.5mm models 1. AK-47. A-37 Dragonfly (U. DShK HMG. & ARVN) Helicopters Mi-6. T-54. Bell UH-1 Iroquois.S. T-55. twin 57mm. The United States had air superiority though many aircraft were lost to surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery. The Hueys were also successfully used in MEDEVAC and search and rescue roles.Soviet 130mm M-46 towed field gun was a highly regarded weapon and used to good effect by the NVA. M50 Ontos. M79 grenade . At sea. The Bell UH-1 Iroquois was used extensively in counter-guerilla operations both as a troop carrier and a gunship. Strela 2. Navy had the run of the coastline. SA-2 Guideline.S. M41 Walker Bulldog (ARVN). CH-54 Skycrane CH-47 Chinook.S. F-105 Thunderchief. South Vietnam. BM-21. Bell AH-1 AAW SA-3 Goa. D-30 (2A18) Howitzer. SKS. Viet Cong U. MiG-19. M102 105mm howitzer. Mi-8 Cobra. The Vietnam War was the first conflict that saw wide scale tactical deployment of helicopters. F-100 Super Sabre. BTR-50. BTR-60 APC's & BMP 1 IFV's M113 Artillery M1937 Howitzer. In the latter role. air power was credited with breaking the siege of Khe Sanh and blunting the 1972 Communist offensive against South Vietnam. American 175mm M107 Self-Propelled Gun.
Over the next four years. M60 machine gun.000 Hmong. The Pathet Lao overthrew the royalist government of Laos in December 1975. AGM-62 Walleye. including 130. Democratic Kampuchea. the United States resettled some 250. Since 1975. Reeducation camp.000 Lao refugees from Thailand. and boat people IEDs BLU-82 Daisy Cutter. Owen Gun (ADF) Air-to-Air Missiles Vympel K-13 AIM-9 Sidewinder. Most Asian countries were unwilling to accept refugees. Zuni rocket Specialized weapons bombs. Napalm Aftermath Events in Southeast Asia Main articles: Mayaguez incident. the Khmer Rouge enacted a genocidal policy that killed over one-fifth of all Cambodians. SinoVietnamese War. From 1978 to 1979. Laos. Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) and ousted the Khmer Rouge in the Cambodian– Vietnamese War. and M40 recoilless rifle. Laser-guided Phnom Penh. AIM-7 Sparrow Air-to-Surface Missiles AGM-45 Shrike anti radiation missile. AGM-12 Bullpup. commonly known as the Khmer Rouge. M2 Browning. on 17 April 1975. an estimated 1.  After repeated border clashes in 1978. They established the Lao People's Democratic Republic. many as "boat people". M18 Claymore antipersonnel mines. TOW. From 1975 to 1996. fell to followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. the capital of Cambodia. Vietnam. or more than a million people. In response.launcher. China invaded Vietnam in 1979.000 ethnic Chinese left Vietnam by boat as refugees or were expelled across the land border with China. and Cambodia.4 million refugees from Vietnam and other . LAW. More than 3 million people fled from Vietnam. known as the Third Indochina War or the Sino-Vietnamese War. The two countries fought a brief border war. L1A1 SLR (ADF). some 450. AGM-78 Standard ARM.
Vietnam War. but with those in Congress. one of the principal architects of the war. Even the Special Forces who had been designed for it could not prevail. bitter war in Vietnam. until we know the enemy and know our allies and know ourselves.S. and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of allies." Alternatively.legacy may be the lesson that unique historical. Australia. forces in Vietnam was indeed a dangerous illusion. political." Even Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara concluded that "the achievement of a military victory by U.." Some have suggested that "the responsibility for the ultimate failure of this policy [America's withdrawal from Vietnam] lies not with the men who fought. we'd better keep out of this kind of dirty business. strategies.. Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of the military intervention.Southeast Asian countries have been resettled to the United States. but this was a different country. October 1967 In the post-war era. understanding the enemy's strategy.. the official history of the United States Army noted that "tactics have often seemed to exist apart from larger issues. And we knew less about North Vietnam.. A new humility and a new sophistication may form the best parts of a complex heritage left to the Army by the long.. and social factors always impinge on the military. Yet in Vietnam the Army experienced tactical success and strategic failure. The. As ...000. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote in a secret memo to President Gerald Ford that "in terms of military tactics. We thought that we were going into another Korean War. while Canada. noted "first. and France resettled over 500.Success rests not only on military progress but on correctly analyzing the nature of the particular conflict. cultural.. Who was Ho Chi Minh? Nobody really knew. Effect on the United States Vietnam War protests at the Pentagon." Doubts surfaced as to the effectiveness of large-scale.S. we cannot help draw the conclusion that our armed forces are not suited to this kind of war. Secondly. It's very dangerous." U. So.. we didn't know our South Vietnamese allies.. we didn't know ourselves... As General Maxwell Taylor. and objectives. sustained bombing.
S. doubts surfaced about the ability of the military to train foreign forces. and their tenacity as both nationalists and communists was formidable. the United States spent $111 billion on the war ($686 billion in FY2008 dollars)." 2/5 Marine gets his wounds treated during operations in Hue City.[A 2] more than 150." Even General William Westmoreland admitted that the bombing had been ineffective. 12. Between 1965 and 1975. but only 80..000 were considered combat troops. As he remarked. According to Dale Kueter. some 1. "if anything came out of Vietnam. Westheider wrote that "At the height of American involvement in 1968. "I still doubt that the North Vietnamese would have relented. Of those killed in combat. 1968 The Vietnam War called into question the U. 86.220 soldiers were killed. for example.S. The North's leadership was composed of hardened communists who had been fighting for independence for thirty years. it was that air power couldn't do the job. James E." As well. They had defeated the French.5 million of whom actually saw combat in Vietnam.. 58. miscalculation." By war's end.000 were permanently disabled. calling it "wasteful of American lives. This resulted in a large federal budget deficit." The inability to bomb Hanoi to the bargaining table also illustrated another U." Conscription in the United States had been controlled by the President since World War II. with small likelihood of a successful outcome. Ho Chi Minh is quoted as saying.Army Chief of Staff Harold Keith Johnson noted..000 were wounded. but ended in 1973.3 percent were white. "Sixty-one percent of those killed were age 21 or younger.. Krulak heavily criticised Westmoreland's attrition strategy. More than 3 million Americans served in the Vietnam War.5 percent were black and . Army doctrine. and at least 21. there were 543.000 American military personnel in Vietnam.But even at these odds you will lose and I will win. "You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. Marine Corps General Victor H.
the remainder from other races. the U.000 L) of concentrated herbicides . which were distributed in drums marked with color-coded bands. cause diseases and birth defects. This was especially true of growth surrounding bases (both large and small) in what became known as Operation Ranch Hand. a useful first step might be to defoliate certain areas. concerning the fate of U. United States President Jimmy Carter granted a full.S.000 Americans fled to Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft. and poison the food chain. These chemicals continue to change the landscape.700. The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue. An estimated 125. A prime area of Ranch Hand operations was in the Mekong Delta.000 American servicemen deserted. where the U.S. gallons (75. included the "Rainbow Herbicides"—Agent Pink.S. Corporations like Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto were given the task of developing herbicides for this purpose.000 Vietnam veterans suffered symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. The defoliants. Between 1961 and 1967. which included dioxin as a by-product of its manufacture. Agent Orange. Agent White. most famously. Agent Blue." Approximately 830.S. In 1977. and. They were used to defoliate large parts of the countryside. Early in the American military effort it was decided that since the enemy were hiding their activities under triple-canopy jungle. persisted for many years after the war's conclusion. Agent Green. Navy patrol boats were vulnerable to attack from the undergrowth at the water's edge. About 12 million gallons (45.000 L) of Agent Orange were sprayed over Southeast Asia during the American involvement. Air Force sprayed 20 million U.000. service personnel listed as missing in action. Agent Purple. and approximately 50. U.S. military effort in Southeast Asia was the widespread use of chemical defoliants between 1961 and 1971.S. the Kennedy administration authorized the use of chemicals to destroy rice crops. South Vietnam In 1961 and 1962. helicopter spraying chemical defoliants in the Mekong Delta. complete and unconditional pardon to all Vietnam-era Draft dodgers. Chemical defoliation One of the most controversial aspects of the U.
B-cell lymphomas. 25th Infantry Division. peripheral neuropathy.over 6 million acres (24.ogg Play video Selection from a U.S. thousands of Laotian and Thai irregulars. soldiers putting 'ace of spades' playing cards into mouths of dead Viet Cong The number of military and civilian deaths from 1955 to 1975 is debated. the defoliants were not considered weapons. Although there has been much discussion over whether the use of these defoliants constituted a violation of the laws of war. . or Laotian civilians who all perished in the conflict. In 1965. Diabetes mellitus type 2. since exposure to them did not lead to immediate death or incapacitation. affecting an estimated 13% of South Vietnam's land. or the fate of Laotian Royals and civilians after the Pathet Lao assumed complete power in Laos. selection shows U. or the Royal Lao Armed Forces. They do not include the tens of thousands of Cambodians killed during the civil war or the estimated one and one-half to two million that perished in the genocide that followed Khmer Rouge victory. multiple myeloma. Some reports fail to include the members of South Vietnamese forces killed in the final campaign. 42% of all herbicide was sprayed over food crops. In some areas of southern Vietnam dioxin levels remain at over 100 times the accepted international standard. respiratory cancers.000 victims of dioxin poisoning in Vietnam. Veterans Administration has listed prostate cancer. As of 2006. Another purpose of herbicide use was to drive civilian populations into RVN-controlled areas. and spina bifida in children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Army footage from 'Operation Baker' action by the 3rd BDE.S. porphyria cutanea tarda. Casualties Main article: Vietnam War casualties OperationBaker1967Vietcongaceofspades. softtissue sarcoma.000.000 km2) of crops and trees. chloracne.S. the Vietnamese government estimates that there are over 4. The U. although the United States government denies any conclusive scientific links between Agent Orange and the Vietnamese victims of dioxin poisoning.
 Hanoi concealed the figures during the war to avoid demoralizing the population.000 wounded during Hanoi's conflict with the United States.000 and 250. and literature in the participant countries. suffered 1. the Vietnamese government reported that its military forces. Civilian deaths were put at two million in the North and South. The band Country Joe and the Fish recorded "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" / The "Fish" Cheer in 1965.000 to 182. including the NLF. and it became one of the most influential anti-Vietnam protest anthems. and War in popular culture The Vietnam War has been featured heavily in television. military has estimated that between 200. video games.In 1995.000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war. film.000. and economic reparations were demanded. . Popular culture See also: Vietnam War in film.  The U. The war also influenced a generation of musicians and songwriters in Vietnam and the United States.S. Trinh Cong Son was a South Vietnamese songwriter famous for his anti-war songs.1 million dead and 600. Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American bombing in Operation Rolling Thunder range from 52. both anti-war and pro/anti-communist. Vietnam War in games.