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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 After this, U.S. ground forces were withdrawn as part of a policy called Vietnamization.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
In French Indochina this created a power vacuum as the French were still interned and the Japanese forces stood down. the Viet Minh won elections across central and northern Vietnam. However. Soon thereafter the Viet Minh began a . Ho Chi Minh signed an agreement allowing French forces to replace Nationalist Chinese forces. In an overture to the Americans. the major powers came to an agreement that British troops would occupy the south while Nationalist Chinese forces would move in from the north. the major allied victors of World War II. As the French did not have the ships. he began his speech by paraphrasing the United States Declaration of Independence: All men are created equal. Nationalist Chinese troops entered the country to disarm Japanese troops north of the 16th parallel on September 14. with the specifics of such recognition to be determined by future negotiation. British forces departed on 26 March 1946. the Viet Minh entered and grasped power across Vietnam in the "August Revolution" (in large part supported by the Vietnamese population). the leader of the Viet Minh. the United Kingdom.000 in Hanoi. When the British landed in the South. leaving Vietnam in the hands of the French. all agreed the area belonged to the French. the Japanese Army gave weapons to the Vietnamese. Ho Chi Minh. The Creator has given us certain inviolable Rights: the right to Life. 1946. On March 6. 1945. In January 1946. The French landed in Hanoi by March 1946 and in November of that year they ousted the Viet Minh from the city. On 2 September 1945. To further help the nationalists.unconditionally. Into this vacuum. Ho Chi Minh initially attempted to negotiate with the French who were slowly re-establishing their control across the country. The Việt Minh had recruited more than 600 Japanese soldiers and given them roles to train or command Vietnamese soldiers. weapons or soldiers to immediately retake Vietnam. the United States and the Soviet Union. the Japanese kept Vichy French officials and military officers imprisoned for a month after the surrender. Following the party line from Moscow. 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. in exchange for French recognition of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as a "free" republic within the French Union. and the right to achieve Happiness. After their defeat in the war. declared the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam before a crowd of 500. the right to be Free.
The Viet Minh fight was hampered by a lack of weapons. advise on strategy. Non-Communist nations recognized the Frenchbacked State of Vietnam in Saigon led by former Emperor Bảo Đại the following month. bases in the region. the communist nations. There were also talks between the French and Americans in which the possible use of three tactical nuclear weapons was considered. By 1954. 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.S. the Cold War began in earnest. One version of plan for the proposed Operation Vulture envisioned sending 60 B-29s from U. and laborers transformed the Viet Minh from a guerrilla force into a regular army. PRC military advisors began assisting the Viet Minh in July 1950.S. Globally. to bomb Viet . though how seriously this was considered and by whom are even now vague and contradictory. expertise. recognized the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam as the government of Vietnam. 1950–1954 Main articles: First Indochina War and Operation Passage to Freedom In January 1950. the United States had supplied 300. 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. beginning the First Indochina War. PRC weapons. 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. supported by as many as 150 fighters launched from U. Exit of the French.guerrilla war against the French Union forces. the United States created a Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) to screen French requests for aid. led by the People's Republic of China (PRC). In September 1950.000 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.
Independence was granted to Cambodia. Ba Cut. and State of Vietnam referendum. gave this nuclear option his backing.S. The plan included an option to use up to three atomic weapons on the Viet Minh positions. B-29s. civilians were to be given the opportunity to move freely between the two provisional states for a 300-day period. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu marked the end of French involvement in Indochina. Eisenhower was very wary of getting the United States involved in a land war in Asia. and Vietnam. PRC support in the Border Campaign of 1950 allowed supplies to come from PRC into Vietnam. Chairman of the U. 1955 Vietnam was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel. Of the 12. Transition period Main articles: Geneva Conference (1954). the French Union garrison surrendered. Operation Passage to Freedom. The Viet Minh and their mercurial commander Vo Nguyen Giap handed the French a stunning military defeat.S. and under the terms of the Geneva Convention. The Viet Minh received crucial support from the Soviet Union and PRC.Minh commander Vo Nguyen Giap's positions. U. Vice president Richard Nixon. At the Geneva Conference the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh.S. convinced that the political risks outweighed the possible benefits. Laos. but London was opposed. As an experienced five-star general. intelligence estimates remained skeptical of French chances of success. Admiral Arthur W. B-36s. President Eisenhower made American participation contingent on British support. In the end. Eisenhower decided against the intervention.S.000 French prisoners taken by the Viet Minh only 3000 survived. Radford. and B-47s could have executed a nuclear strike. U. Joint Chiefs of Staff. U. a so-called "hawk" on Vietnam. and on 7 May 1954. 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. Battle of Saigon (1955). suggested that the United States might have to "put American boys in". and reconnaissance flights over Dien Bien Phu were conducted during the negotiations. carriers sailed to the Gulf of Tonkin. Throughout the conflict. as could carrier aircraft from the Seventh Fleet. .
experts when he wrote that. fled south.S. Diem later went on to staff his administration's key posts mostly with northern and central Catholics. up to 130. fearing persecution by the communists.000 to 10. following an American propaganda campaign using slogans such as "The Virgin Mary is heading south". In the north. 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. Around one million northerners.000 cadres in South Vietnam as a "politico-military substructure within the object of its irredentism. "How can we expect 'free elections' to be held in the Communist North?" Diem asked. Diem (against U. President Dwight D. The Viet Minh left roughly 5.S." The last French soldiers were to leave Vietnam in April 1956. "80 per cent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh" over Emperor Bảo Đại. he said. In the south. In addition to the Catholics flowing south. and aided by a U. In April–June 1955.S. went north for "regroupment" expecting to return to the South within 2 years. 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.Elections throughout the country were to be held in 1956 to establish a unified government.000 Vietnamese civilians moved from south to north. mainly minority Catholics. former Emperor Bảo Đại's State of Vietnam operated. mainly Catholic refugees were meant to give Diem a strong anti-communist constituency. In June 1955. which included ferrying refugees with the Seventh Fleet. funded $93 million relocation program. Around 52. The PRC completed their withdrawal from North Vietnam at around the same time. South Vietnam had rejected the agreement from the beginning and was therefore not bound by it. Diem announced that elections would not be held. with Ngô Đình Diệm (appointed in July 1954) as his prime minister. The northern. advice) cleared the decks of any political opposition in the south by launching military operations against the .000 ‘Revolutionary Regroupees’. It is estimated that as many as two million more would have left had they not been stopped by the Viet Minh. in 1954. Eisenhower echoed senior U.
the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam. The ROV was created largely because of the Eisenhower administration's desire for an anti-communist state in the region. Historian Luu Doan Huynh notes. 1955–1963 Main articles: Ngo Dinh Diem and War in Vietnam (1954–1959) President Dwight D. 1954 The Domino theory. Kennedy.Cao Dai religious sect. The Geneva Conference. including 133% in Saigon. said in a speech to the American Friends of Vietnam: "Burma. with himself as president. the Hoa Hao sect of Ba Cut. Diem was viewed by many ordinary Vietnamese as part of the elite who had helped the French rule Vietnam. The . viewed the election as a test of authority. then all of the surrounding countries would follow. Diem was fervently anti-communist. On 26 October 1955. India. then a U. senator. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles greet President Ngo Dinh Diem in Washington. Japan.S. however. It was. however. Thailand. that "Diem represented narrow and extremist nationalism coupled with autocracy and nepotism. As broad-based opposition to his harsh tactics mounted.2 percent of the vote. His American advisers had recommended a more modest winning margin of "60 to 70 percent." As a wealthy Catholic. commonly hypothesized that it applied to Vietnam. Diem declared the new Republic of Vietnam (ROV). nationalist and socially conservative. which argued that if one country fell to communist forces. Diem had been interior minister in the colonial government. John F. was first proposed as policy by the Eisenhower administration. Diem era. and the Binh Xuyen organized crime group (which was allied with members of the secret police and some military elements). In a referendum on the future of the State of Vietnam on 23 October. and is still. Diem rigged the poll supervised by his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and was credited with 98." Rule See also: Ngo Dinh Diem presidential visit to Australia A devout Roman Catholic. Diem increasingly sought to blame the communists." Diem.
Diem undertook a ten-day state visit to the United States. Trường Chinh. in private Secretary of State John Foster Dulles conceded that he had been selected because there were no better alternatives. 1957. Beginning in the summer of 1955. imprisoned. but rather engage in a political .000 suspected opponents of Diem were killed in the years 1955–1957 and by the end of 1958 an estimated 40. in which thousands of local Viet Minh cadres and supporters had been executed or sent to concentration camps. and was in violation of the Northern Communist party line. and Diem warned that it was an illusion to believe that blindly copying Western methods would solve Vietnamese problems. he launched the "Denounce the Communists" campaign.000 political prisoners had been jailed. They knew little of the language or long history of the country. Opponents were labeled Viet Cong ("Vietnamese communist") by the regime to degrade their nationalist credentials. which had insisted in 1954 that the Viet Minh accept a division of the country. Robert McNamara wrote that the new American patrons were almost completely ignorant of Vietnamese culture. A parade in New York City was held in his honor. Diem instituted a policy of death penalty against any activity deemed communist in August 1956. about 12. In May. President Eisenhower pledged his continued support. or executed. during which communists and other antigovernment elements were arrested. was demoted and Hanoi authorized communists in South Vietnam to begin a low level insurgency in December 1956. tortured.majority of Vietnamese people were Buddhist. North Vietnam's pro-PRC party first secretary. Although Diem was openly praised. As a measure of the level of political repression. There was a tendency to assign American motives to Vietnamese actions. which had enjoined them not to start an insurrection. 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. This insurgency in the south had begun in response to Diem's Denunciation of Communists campaign. Insurgency in the South. and were alarmed by actions such as his dedication of the country to the Virgin Mary.
 and agricultural officials. make sure peasants know why the killing occurred. "Do not engage in military operations. Duẩn urged a military line and advocated increased assistance to the insurgency. returned to Hanoi to accept the position of acting first secretary. that will lead to defeat. While the terror was originally aimed at local government officials. Do not take land from a peasant. Four hundred government officials were assassinated in 1957 alone." This strategy was referred to as "armed propaganda. Be selective in your violence. on 12 December 1960. such as schoolteachers. which made political violence punishable by death and property confiscation. In May." Soon afterward. not a rifle or grenade. South Vietnam enacted Law 10/59. The insurgency sought to completely destroy government control in South Vietnam's rural villages and replace it with a shadow government. and the violence gradually increased. Hanoi authorized the creation of the National Liberation Front as a . Do not antagonize anyone if you can avoid it. In January 1959. effectively replacing Trường. health workers. If an assassination is necessary. Emphasize nationalism rather than communism. it soon broadened to include other symbols of the status quo.) According to one estimate. agitating for a free all-Vietnam election in accordance with the Geneva accords. use a knife. and the infiltration of men and weapons from the north began along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. North Vietnam supplied troops and supplies in earnest. 20 percent of South Vietnam's village chiefs had been assassinated by the insurgents by 1958. Hồ Chí Minh stated. Observing the increasing unpopularity of the Diem regime. and accidental killing of the innocent bystanders will alienate peasants from the revolution.  Village chiefs were Diem appointees from outside the villages and were hated by the peasantry for their corruption and abuse. Once an assassination has taken place. the North's Central Committee issued a secret resolution authorizing an "armed struggle". This authorized the southern communists to begin large-scale operations against the South Vietnamese military. It is too easy to kill innocent bystanders with guns and bombs. a communist leader who had been working in the South.campaign. Lê Duẩn.
repression. During John F. military advisory team. McGarr. Diem's paranoia. meet any hardship. According to a November 1960 report by the head of the U. despite warnings from Eisenhower about Laos and Vietnam." In June 1961. Kennedy made the ambitious pledge to "pay any price. support any friend. 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. and incompetence progressively angered large segments of the population of South Vietnam.common front controlled by the communist party in the South. a "significant part" of the population in the south supported the communists. John F." In his inaugural address. The communists thus had a degree of popular support for their campaign to bring down Diem and reunify the country. Although Kennedy stressed long-range missile parity with the Soviets.-Soviet issues. Kennedy bitterly disagreed with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev when they met in Vienna over key U. Europe and Latin America "loomed larger than Asia on his sights. as Robert McNamara and others have noted. overestimated the control that Hanoi had over the NLF. in order to assure the survival and success of liberty. Lieutenant General Lionel C.S. presidential election. Although they were originally intended for use behind front lines after a conventional invasion of Europe.S. bear any burden. oppose any foe. Successive American administrations. Kennedy won the 1960 U. As Kennedy took over. 1961–1963 Main articles: Strategic Hamlet Program and Pham Ngoc Thao When John F. Kennedy's administration. The Kennedy administration remained essentially committed to the Cold War . The aftermath of the Korean War created the idea of a limited war. one major issue Kennedy raised was whether the Soviet space and missile programs had surpassed those of the United States. he was also interested in using special forces for counterinsurgency warfare in Third World countries threatened by communist insurgencies.S.
 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. however. "Diem's the only boy we got out there. Bad leadership. credibility with its allies and his own reputation.S. while it might have an initially favorable military impact. He was against the deployment of American combat troops and observed that "to introduce U. Vice President Lyndon B.S." Asked why he had made the comment.S. the U. troops be sent to South Vietnam disguised as flood relief workers. and Kennedy faced a threepart crisis—the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion." South Vietnam. had 50. In 1961. remained poor. would almost certainly lead to adverse political and.  Kennedy advisers Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow recommended that U. Military Regions. Johnson replied." Johnson assured Diem of more aid in molding a fighting force that could resist the communists. In May 1961. South Vietnamese governmental incompetence was at the core of the crisis. and political promotions all played a part in emasculating the ARVN. The frequency of guerrilla attacks rose as the insurgency gathered steam. and a negotiated settlement between the pro-Western government of Laos and the Pathet Lao communist movement. Kennedy rejected the idea but increased military assistance yet again. John Kenneth Galbraith warned Kennedy of the "danger we shall replace the . forces in large numbers there today. "Now we have a problem making our power credible and Vietnam looks like the place".foreign policy inherited from the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. adverse military consequences. Kennedy determined to "draw a line in the sand" and prevent a communist victory in Vietnam. Johnson visited Saigon and enthusiastically declared Diem the "Winston Churchill of Asia. to James Reston of The New York Times immediately after meeting Khrushchev in Vienna. While Hanoi's support for the NLF played a role. in the long run.000 troops based in Korea. In April 1962. 1967 The quality of the South Vietnamese military. the construction of the Berlin Wall. corruption.S. Kennedy's policy toward South Vietnam rested on the assumption that Diem and his forces must ultimately defeat the guerrillas on their own. saying.
Arrest and assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem. was in fact a communist agent who used his Catholicism to gain influential posts and damage the ROV from the inside. including the People's Republic of China. in which a small band of Viet Cong beat off a much larger and better equipped South . The peasants resented being uprooted from their ancestral villages.S." By 1963. 1963 South Vietnamese coup. this was because Colonel Pham Ngoc Thao. Coup and assassinations See also: Kennedy's role. The Strategic Hamlets. Huế Phật Đản shootings and Xa Loi Pagoda raids Main articles: Cable 243. 1960 South Vietnamese coup attempt. North Vietnam and the United States. McNamara Taylor mission. 1962 South Vietnamese Independence Palace bombing. up from Eisenhower's 900 advisors. The government refused to undertake land reform. Corruption dogged the program and intensified opposition. signed an agreement promising the neutrality of Laos. were quickly infiltrated by the guerrillas. which left farmers paying high rents to a few wealthy landlords. there were 16. a Diem favourite who was instrumental in running the program.South Vietnamese program attempted to resettle the rural population into fortified camps. On 23 July 1962. The aim was to isolate the population from the insurgents. and strengthen the government's hold over the countryside. the Soviet Union. The Strategic Hamlet Program had been initiated in 1961. Buddhist crisis. In part. 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. This joint U. South Vietnam. provide education and health care. however. fourteen nations. Krulak Mendenhall mission.000 American military personnel in South Vietnam.French as a colonial force in the area and bleed as the French did.
the Buddha's birthday. 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.. . raided pagodas across Vietnam..Vietnamese force. Thuc's anniversary celebrations shortly before Vesak had been bankrolled by the government and Vatican flags were displayed prominently. The United States Department of State was generally in favor of encouraging a coup. This resulted in mass protests against discriminatory policies that gave privileges to the Catholic Church and its adherents. while the Defense Department favored Diem. The ARVN were led in that battle by Diem's most trusted General Huynh Van Cao. encouragement. Diem's elder brother Ngo Dinh Thuc was the Archbishop of Huế and aggressively blurred the separation between church and state. He was difficult to reason with. officials began discussing the possibility of a regime change during the middle of 1963. 1962. commander of the IV Corps. "Diem wouldn't make even the slightest concessions. which he partly attributed to U. There had also been reports of Buddhist pagodas being demolished by Catholic paramilitaries throughout Diem's rule. and a Catholic who had been promoted due to religion and fidelity rather than skill. loyal to Diem's younger brother Ngo Dinh Nhu. Cao had earlier vomited during a communist attack. Diem refused to make concessions to the Buddhist majority or take responsibility for the deaths. many of whose officers seemed reluctant even to engage in combat. and whose main job was to preserve his forces to stave off coups. 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. and had become more paranoid after attempts in 1960. the ARVN Special Forces of Colonel Le Quang Tung. As Robert F." 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. causing widespread damage and destruction and leaving a death toll estimated to range into the hundreds.S. Chief among the proposed changes was the removal of Diem's younger brother Nhu. U. This proposal was conveyed to the U.S. embassy in Saigon in Cable 243.S. Kennedy noted. Ngo Dinh Diem after being shot and killed in the 1963 coup. He seemed concerned only with fending off coups. On 21 August 1963.
whatever the failings of Diem. ambassador to South Vietnam. President Diem was overthrown and executed. in which military engagements were not the main goal. The Kennedy administration sought to refocus U.S military advisers were embedded at every level of the South Vietnamese armed forces. advisers other than conventional troop training. on 2 November 1963. Henry Cabot Lodge. Hanoi took advantage of the situation and increased its support for the guerrillas. The U. along with his brother. invited the coup leaders to the embassy and congratulated them.S. confidently predicted victory by Christmas 1963. The military leadership in Washington.S. Increasingly. as one military government toppled another in quick succession. The indigenous forces numbered in the tens of thousands and they conducted direct action missions. almost completely ignorant of the political nature of the insurgency. Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MAC-V SOG).The CIA was in contact with generals planning to remove Diem. was hostile to any role for U. 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". U. however. chaos ensued.S. however. however. but was changed for cover purposes. They were. which was originally named the Special Operations Group. General Paul Harkins. The CIA also ran the Phoenix Program and participation Military Assistance Command.S. South Vietnam entered a period of extreme political instability. Maxwell Taylor remembered that Kennedy "rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face. against the Communist Pathet Lao forces and their North Vietnamese supporters. Following the coup. forces in South Vietnam. . When he was informed. Paramilitary officers from the CIA's Special Activities Division trained and led Hmong tribesmen in Laos and into Vietnam. efforts on pacification and "winning over the hearts and minds" of the population. Ambassador Lodge informed Kennedy that "the prospects now are for a shorter war". his credentials as a nationalist (as Robert McNamara later reflected) had been impeccable. They were told that the United States would not oppose such a move nor punish the generals by cutting off aid. led by paramilitary officers. The insurgency was a political power struggle. The CIA was less optimistic." He had not approved Diem's murder. each new regime was viewed as a puppet of the Americans. the commander of U.
was made up of 12 members headed by General Duong Van Minh—whom Stanley Karnow. with strength and determination. because of the recent coup against Diem. 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. . Johnson escalates the war. "the battle against communism. as he took over the presidency after the death of Kennedy. Johnson (LBJ). there was persistent instability in the military as several coups—not all successful—occurred in a short space of time. frustrated by the end of the year.. a journalist on the ground.Lyndon B. September 1964 South Vietnamese coup attempt. with his own NSAM 273 (26 Nov..S. involvement in the Vietnam War.. especially in places like the Mekong Delta. Gulf of Tonkin incident.)." The pledge came at a time when Vietnam was deteriorating." On 24 November 1963. 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. 1964 South Vietnamese coup. Johnson said.. December 1964 South Vietnamese coup.S. Presidential aide Jack Valenti recalls.) to expand the war." Lodge.000 troops by the end of 1963 (NSAM 263 on 11 Oct. and 1965 South Vietnamese coup Lyndon B. Johnson had reversed Kennedy's disengagement policy from Vietnam in withdrawing 1. The military revolutionary council. We hardly discussed it because it was not worth discussing. later recalled as "a model of lethargy. However. must be joined. meeting in lieu of a strong South Vietnamese leader. "Vietnam at the time was no bigger than a man's fist on the horizon. 1963–1969 A U. initially did not consider Vietnam a priority and was more concerned with his "Great Society" and progressive social programs.
troops deployed to Vietnam during the same period were quite different. "Gulf of Tonkin incident".000 at the end of 1964. prompted Congress to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution." George C. is interrogated.An alleged NLF activist. the USS Maddox. 2. rising rapidly to 16. 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.000 to nearly a million men." "From a strength of approximately 5. captured during an attack on an American outpost near the Cambodian border.. "is an oft-cited example of the way in which Johnson misled the American people to gain support for his foreign policy in Vietnam. revealed that there was no attack on 4 August." An undated NSA publication declassified in 2005. It had already been called into question long before this. Johnson pledged that he was not ". Lyndon Johnson commented to Undersecretary of State George Ball that "those sailors out there may have been shooting at flying fish. 3rd Marines. moves an alleged NLF activist to the rear during a search and clear operation held by the battalion 15 miles (24 .000 in 1961. A second attack was reported two days later on the USS Turner Joy and Maddox in the same area. on an intelligence mission along North Vietnam's coast. Herring argues. however.S. 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. however. In the same month.. that McNamara and the Pentagon "did not knowingly lie about the alleged attacks. The circumstances of the attack were murky.000 at the start of 1959 the Viet Cong's ranks grew to about 100." The second attack led to retaliatory air strikes." The numbers for U.500 in 1964. and gave the president power to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without declaring war. writes Louise Gerdes..Between 1961 and 1964 the Army's strength rose from about 850. A Marine from 1st Battalion. On 2 August 1964. allegedly fired upon and damaged several torpedo boats that had been stalking it in the Gulf of Tonkin..
Operation Rolling Thunder and Operation Arc Light commenced. The bombing campaign. The National Security Council recommended a three-stage escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam. would be a knife. On 2 March 1965. it was aimed at bolstering the morale of the South Vietnamese. 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. "Rolling Thunder" deluged the north with a million tons of missiles. The objective of forcing North Vietnam to stop its support for the NLF. The worst is an airplane. U. On 8 March 1965..km) west of Da Nang Air Base. response. Air Force bases needed more protection. army.. Escalation and ground war 1965-02-08 Showdown in Vietnam.S. Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam. The South Vietnamese military seemed incapable of providing security. had long advocated saturation bombing in Vietnam and wrote of the Communists that "we're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age". targeted different parts of the NLF and VPA infrastructure. Between March 1965 and November 1968. Bombing was not restricted to North Vietnam." The Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Curtis LeMay.S. which ultimately lasted three years. however. was never reached. The best weapon.S.500 U. Marine barracks at Pleiku. 1965 Peasants suspected of being Vietcong under detention of U. .S. following an attack on a U. however. rockets and bombs. As well. air bases and the U.S.ogv Play video Universal Newsreel film about an attack on U. Other aerial campaigns. 3.S. which ran through Laos and Cambodia. such as Operation Commando Hunt..S. it was decided that U.. 1966 After several attacks upon them. Operation Flaming Dart (initiated when Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin was at a state visit to North Vietnam). As one officer noted "this is a political war and it calls for discriminate killing. This marked the beginning of the American ground war. These included the Ho Chi Minh trail.
Westmoreland was advocating an aggressive departure from America's defensive posture and the sidelining of the South Vietnamese.S. The initial deployment of 3. that the situation was critical. and allied forces mount major offensive actions to seize the .S.500 in March was increased to nearly 200. In a statement similar to that made to the French almost two decades earlier." With this recommendation. Jr. The U. By ignoring ARVN units. soldiers searching a village for NLF Desertion rates were increasing. U." As former First Deputy Foreign Minister Tran Quang Co has noted. the primary goal of the war was to reunify Vietnam and secure its independence. Westmoreland outlined a three-point plan to win the war: * Phase 1. and morale plummeted. Regardless of political policies.public opinion overwhelmingly supported the deployment. General William Westmoreland informed Admiral U. in a battle that both sides viewed as a watershed. He said. Previously communist forces had utilized hit-and-run guerrilla tactics. commanders were institutionally and psychologically unsuited to a defensive mission.S. If they want to make peace. U. and firepower can successfully take the fight to the NLF [National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam]. The Marines' assignment was defensive. the U.S. "I am convinced that U. however at Binh Gia they had successfully defeated a strong ARVN force in conventional warfare. mobility. troops with their energy.S. * Phase 2. The policy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) was not to topple other noncommunist governments in South East Asia. commitment became open-ended.S. U. In December. we shall make peace and invite them to afternoon tea. Grant Sharp. at the Battle of Đồng Xoài. (and other free world) forces necessary to halt the losing trend by the end of 1965.S. commander of U.S. Ho Chi Minh warned that if the Americans "want to make war for twenty years then we shall make war for twenty years. Commitment of U. Pacific forces. ARVN forces suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Bình Giã. South Vietnamese forces were again defeated in June..S. Tellingly.000 by December. military had long been schooled in offensive warfare.
" As a result. and the Philippines all agreed to send troops. such as operations Masher. The Ho Chi Minh Trail running through Laos. the Republic of Korea. located in the Saigon suburb of Cholon. Australia. . A huge surge in corruption was witnessed. policy depended on matching the North Vietnamese and the NLF in a contest of attrition and morale. * Phase 3. Thailand." The American buildup transformed the economy and had a profound effect on South Vietnamese society. As Stanley Karnow writes. 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. South Vietnam was inundated with manufactured goods.S. notably NATO nations Canada and the United Kingdom. The opponents were locked in a cycle of escalation. was only slightly smaller than the New York Bloomingdale's. The one-year tour of duty deprived units of experienced leadership. communicate this change in strategy to the media. Major allies. The change in U. but for one year 10 times. and its allies mounted complex operations. Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin with U. As one observer noted "we were not in Vietnam for 10 years. If the enemy persisted. Attleboro.S. The U. Westmoreland predicted victory by the end of 1967. thrown on the defensive. 1967 Washington encouraged its SEATO allies to contribute troops.initiative to destroy guerrilla and organized enemy forces. declined Washington's troop requests. New Zealand.. Johnson at the Glassboro Summit Conference where the two representatives discussed the possibilities of a peace settlement. however. "the main PX [Post Exchange]. Instead he emphasized continuity.. The idea that the government of South Vietnam could manage its own affairs was shelved. President Lyndon B. Johnson did not. training programs were shortened. This phase would end when the enemy had been worn down. however.S. 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. and driven back from major populated areas.
Saigon.Cedar Falls. In the former capital city of Huế. Although the U. Thieu was also accused of murdering Ky loyalists through contrived military accidents. decimating the ranks of the NLF. in Huế where the battle was the fiercest. the communist insurgents remained elusive and demonstrated great tactical flexibility.S. after rigged elections. the NVA and NLF broke the truce that had traditionally accompanied the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday. in January 1968. Embassy. Military information officers sought to manage media coverage by emphasizing stories that portrayed progress in the war. However. They launched the surprise Tet Offensive in the hope of sparking a national uprising. Ky was supposed to maintain real power through a behind-the-scenes military body. Thieu became president with Ky as his deputy. having won a one-man election in 1971.S. Over time. they responded quickly and effectively. and Junction City. a socalled credibility gap developed. which led to the Battle of Huế. this policy damaged the public trust in official pronouncements. Thieu outmanoevred and sidelined Ky by filling the ranks with generals from his faction. Thieu. Tet Offensive Main article: Tet Offensive Having lured General Westmoreland's forces into the hinterland at Khe Sanh in Quảng Trị Province. 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. As the media's coverage of the war and that of the Pentagon diverged. remained president until 1975. and South Vietnamese forces were initially taken aback by the scale of the urban offensive. Throughout the offensive. in mid 1965 at the head of a military junta. General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. However. The Johnson administration employed a "policy of minimum candor" in its dealings with the media. Although they were nominally a civilian government. Meanwhile. . This ended a series of coups that had happened more than once a year. mistrustful and indecisive. In 1967. the combined NLF and VPA troops captured the Imperial Citadel and much of the city. Over 100 cities were attacked. the American forces employed massive firepower. with assaults on General Westmoreland's headquarters and the U.
men under him with his own idealistic view of U. Johnson. Despite its military failure. Tet "contradicted the claims of progress. As James Witz noted..000)... the communist insurgent occupying forces massacred several thousand unarmed Huế civilians (estimates vary up to a high of 6." The Tet Offensive was the turning point in America's involvement in the Vietnam War. It had a profound impact on domestic support for the conflict. and infused the. caused grave damage to NLF forces. 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.." Thus. According to one source. firepower) that "it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it" (though the authenticity of this quote is disputed). the Tet Offensive became a political victory and ended the career of President Lyndon B.S.  . After the war. General Westmoreland had become the public face of the war.that firepower left 80% of the city in ruins. drew up the battle plans. During the interim between the capture of the Citadel and end of the "Battle of Huế". (who) directed the historic buildup. Journalist Peter Arnett quoted an unnamed officer.S. unintended consequence. the public was shocked and confused when Westmoreland's predictions were trumped by Tet. made by the Johnson administration and the military.. which had been largely supportive of U." U. The American media.S. rounded on the Johnson administration for what had become an increasing credibility gap. efforts. saying of Bến Tre (laid to rubble by U. indeed. aims and responsibilities. But the offensive had another. Time described him as "the sinewy personification of the American fighting man.S. Johnson's approval rating slumped from 48 to 36 percent. He was featured on the cover of Time magazine three times and was named 1965's Man of the Year. this quote was attributed to Major Booris of 9th Infantry Division.. North Vietnamese officials acknowledged that the Tet Offensive had. The offensive constituted an intelligence failure on the scale of Pearl Harbor. who declined to run for re-election. Marines fighting in Huế In November 1967 Westmoreland spearheaded a public relations drive for the Johnson administration to bolster flagging public support.
His plan. "the dangerous illusion of victory by the United States was therefore dead.000 American lives by the time he left office. On 10 May 1968.S.. Severe communist losses during the Tet Offensive allowed U. until Johnson gave orders to halt the bombing of North Vietnam.000 additional troops had been leaked to the media.NLF/NVA killed by U. As Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara noted. The policy became known as "Vietnamization". cost 30. at least not at a cost acceptable to the American people.. peace talks began between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. was running against Republican former vice president Richard Nixon._1969–1975 and #Vietnamization. despite low expectations. see Role of the United States in the Vietnam War#Vietnamization. "Lyndon Johnson's escalation of the war in Vietnam divided Americans into warring camps. just as all resistance was finally subdued. called the Nixon Doctrine. troops to Vietnam was seen as Johnson's admission that the war was lost. 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. As historian Robert Dallek writes. Westmoreland was succeeded by his deputy Creighton Abrams. his position had become untenable because of the offensive and because his request for 200. The move was technically a promotion. Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Negotiations stagnated for five months. was to build up the ARVN." His refusal to send more U. It can be seen that the refusal was a tacit admission that the war could not be won by escalation. The Democratic candidate. (and) destroyed Johnson's presidency.S. Vietnamization had . President Richard Nixon to begin troop withdrawals.S. 1969–1974." Vietnamization.. 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. a commander less inclined to public media pronouncements. However. so that they could take over the defense of South Vietnam..
The civilian cost of the war was again questioned when U. forces concluded Operation Speedy Express with a claimed bodycount of 10. however. While Kennedy insisted that the South Vietnamese fight the war themselves. losses. Kevin Buckley writing in Newsweek estimated that perhaps 5.S. Nixon also pursued negotiations.much in common with the policies of the Kennedy administration. 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. The anti-war movement was gaining strength in the United States. in which a U. Theater commander Creighton Abrams shifted to smaller operations. and the 1969 "Green Beret Affair" where eight Special Forces soldiers.000 American troops to be completed during the spring of next year. Army platoon raped and killed civilians." On 10 October 1969. Ho Chi Minh died at age seventynine. including the 5th Special Forces Group Commander were arrested for the murder of a suspected double agent provoked national and international outrage. Nixon also began to pursue détente with the Soviet Union and rapprochement with the People's Republic of China.500 men in our armed forces in Vietnam below the level that existed when we took office 15 months ago. "I am tonight announcing plans for the withdrawal of an additional 150. This policy helped to decrease global tensions. Nixon said in an announcement. aimed at communist logistics. with better use of firepower and more cooperation with the ARVN.S. Détente led to nuclear arms reduction on the part of both superpowers. he attempted to limit the scope of the conflict. But revelations of the My Lai Massacre. In September 1969. But Nixon was disappointed that the PRC and the Soviet Union continued to supply the North Vietnamese with aid. One important difference.889 Communist guerillas with only 40 U. This will bring a total reduction of 265. . remained.000 of the Vietnamese dead were civilians.S. Nixon appealed to the "silent majority" of Americans to support the war.
commissioned by the Department of Defense. The reaction to the incident by the Nixon administration was seen as callous and indifferent. while U. called Operation Menu. against their sanctuaries along the Cambodia/Vietnam border. . American troops were being taken away from border areas where much more killing took place. neutrality and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia.. The country's borders were closed. President Nixon took the opportunity to launch a massive secret bombing campaign. because he wished to avoid being drawn into a wider regional conflict.. The Vietnamese communists were no longer welcome. and instead put along the coast and interior. Richard Nixon wrote to Prince Sihanouk in April 1969 assuring him that the United States respected "the sovereignty. but the communists used Cambodian soil as a base and Sihanouk tolerated their presence. Operation Menu: the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos Main article: Operation Menu Prince Norodom Sihanouk had proclaimed Cambodia neutral since 1955. providing additional impetus for the anti-war movement. This violated a long succession of pronouncements from Washington supporting Cambodian neutrality. protests.Beginning in 1970. In 1971 the Pentagon Papers were leaked to The New York Times. forces and ARVN launched incursions into Cambodia to attack VPA/NLF bases and buy time for South Vietnam. which provoked public outrage in the United States. Under pressure from Washington. The topsecret history of U. detailed a long series of public deceptions." In 1970. which is one reason why casualties in 1970 were less than half of 1969's totals. he changed this policy in 1969. The Supreme Court ruled that its publication was legal. Prince Sihanouk was deposed by his pro-American prime minister Lon Nol. Four students were killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State University during a protest in Ohio. involvement in Vietnam. The invasion of Cambodia sparked nationwide U.S.S.S. however.
" In 1971 Australia and New Zealand withdrew their soldiers. with a deadline to remove another 45. troop count was further reduced to 196. They fled along roads littered with their own dead. U. a massive conventional invasion of South Vietnam.000 troops by February 1972. center. and the offensive was halted. troop withdrawals continued. including tanks. After meeting resistance. to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. Half of the invading ARVN troops were either captured or killed. The Nguyen Hue Offensive. Many ARVN soldiers clung to helicopter skids in a desperate attempt to save themselves. running down a road near Trảng Bàng. As Karnow noted "the blunders were monumental.700. ARVN forces retreated in a confused rout. When they ran out of fuel.S.. 1972. The last remaining American ground troops were withdrawn in August. 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 . U. The VPA and NLF quickly overran the northern provinces and in coordination with other forces attacked from Cambodia. But American airpower came to the rescue with Operation Linebacker. aimed at cutting the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos.The ARVN launched Operation Lam Son 719 in February 1971. 1972 election and Paris Peace Accords Phan Thị Kim Phúc. The (South Vietnamese) government's top officers had been tutored by the Americans for ten or fifteen years. soldiers abandoned their vehicles and attempted to barge their way on to American helicopters sent to evacuate the wounded. part of the Easter Offensive Vietnamization was again tested by the Easter Offensive of 1972.S. As peace protests spread across the United States. yet they had learned little. many at training schools in the United States. The operation was a fiasco and represented a clear failure of Vietnamization. However. The U.S. on 8 June 1972. disillusionment and ill-discipline grew in the ranks. threatening to cut the country in half. 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.. aircraft had to destroy abandoned equipment. Vietnam.
Simultaneously Nixon pressured Thieu to accept the terms of the agreement. When North Vietnam went public with the agreement's details. "This article". However. On 15 January 1973. threatening to conclude a bilateral peace deal and cut off American aid. In October 1972. "proved. continued secret negotiations with North Vietnam's Lê Ðức Thọ. to be the only one of the Paris Agreements which was fully carried out. forces. involvement in the Vietnam War. a massive bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong 18–29 December 1972.S. The war was the central issue of the 1972 presidential election. The negotiations became deadlocked. called for national elections in the North and South. campaigned on a platform of withdrawal from Vietnam. officially ending direct U. The agreement guaranteed the territorial integrity of Vietnam and.. Henry Kissinger. POWs were released. noted Peter Church. Hanoi demanded new changes. A cease-fire was declared across North and South Vietnam. Nixon announced the suspension of offensive action against North Vietnam. Nixon ordered Operation Linebacker II. Operation Linebacker II. they reached an agreement.. The Paris Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam" were signed on 27 January 1973. George McGovern. Nixon's opponent. the Nixon administration claimed that the North was attempting to embarrass the President.S. The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. The Paris Peace Accords stipulated a sixty-day period for the total withdrawal of U." Opposition to the Vietnam War: 1962–1975 Globe icon. Please improve this article and discuss the . like the Geneva Conference of 1954.. The offensive destroyed much of the remaining economic and industrial capacity of North Vietnam.S. U. Nixon's National Security Adviser. December 1972 To show his support for South Vietnam and force Hanoi back to the negotiating table. South Vietnamese President Thieu demanded massive changes to the peace accord.
 Riots broke out at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. involvement in the Vietnam War Some advocates within the peace movement advocated a unilateral withdrawal of U. On 15 October 1969. forces from Vietnam. following nomenclature dating back to the War of 1812. some veterans joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War. and they called their opponents "hawks". involvement in Vietnam was centered around the Geneva conference of 1954. (April 2010) U. withdrawal predicted that it would not contribute to peace but rather vastly increase bloodshed. such as the 1968 My Lai Massacre. The fatal shooting of four anti-war protesters at Kent State University led to nation-wide university protests. South Vietnam was left to defend itself alone when the fighting resumed. such as Norman Morrison emulating the actions of Thích Quảng Đức. while Senator. Navy riverboat deploying napalm during the Vietnam War Main article: Opposition to the U.S. Many South Vietnamese subsequently fled to the United States. Early opposition to U.issue on the talk page.S.S. political opinion. brought new attention and support to the anti-war movement. anticommunism. . the Vietnam Moratorium attracted millions of Americans. One reason given for the withdrawal is that it would contribute to a lessening of tensions in the region and thus less human bloodshed. Others.S. Antiwar protests ended with the final withdrawal of troops after the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973. Advocates of U. John Kennedy.  After explosive news reports of American military abuses. High-profile opposition to the Vietnam War turned to street protests in an effort to turn U. Some critics of U.S. capitalism itself.S. forces remain until all threats from the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army had been eliminated. These critics advocated U.S. withdrawal were generally known as "doves".S. such as Stephen Spiro opposed the war based on the theory of Just War. for those involved with the New Left such as the Catholic Worker Movement. Some wanted to show solidarity with the people of Vietnam. opposed involvement in Vietnam. imperialism and colonialism and.S. American support of Diem in refusing elections was thought to be thwarting the very democracy that America claimed to be supporting. Opposition to the Vietnam War tended to unite groups opposed to U.
U. Map of the United States. and on 5 March 1971.S. work on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and other logistical structures could proceed unimpeded.S. bombings suspended. North Vietnam was allowed to continue supplying communist troops in the South. bolstered by a surge of U. which was the first American unit deployed to South Vietnam. Trà participated in several of these meetings. Calling for immediate withdrawal of U. [A 5] Under the Paris Peace Accords.S. according to the memoirs of Trần Văn Trà.S. With U. troops were removed from the region. Logistics would be upgraded until the North was in a position to launch a massive invasion of the South. The communists responded with a new strategy hammered out in a series of meetings in Hanoi in March 1973. . the United States returned the 5th Special Forces Group. forces from Vietnam.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". but the Vietnamese negotiator declined it saying that a true peace did not yet exist. and reluctantly signed by South Vietnamese President Thiệu.  As the Vietcong's top commander. George McGovern's 1972 Presidential Campaign lost 49 of 50 states to Richard Nixon. aid received just before the ceasefire went into effect. Many U.S. Trà calculated that this date would be Hanoi's last opportunity to strike before Saigon's army could be fully trained.S. North Carolina. projected for the 1975–76 dry season. Later that year the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Kissinger and Thọ. but only to the extent of replacing materials that were consumed. between North Vietnamese Foreign Minister Lê Ðức Thọ and U. to its former base in Fort Bragg. began to roll back the Vietcong. showing Nixon's victories in 49 states (red) over McGovern. The communist leaders had expected that the ceasefire terms would favor their side. But Saigon. military forces withdrew from South Vietnam and prisoners were exchanged. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
many American voters split their tickets.1-100% Republican 80. Martin was a second stringer compared to previous U. the U.S. Schlesinger stated that he would recommend resumption of U. The oil price shock of October 1973 caused significant damage to the South Vietnamese economy. Public and congressional reaction to Nixon's trial balloon was unfavorable and in April Nixon appointed Graham Martin as U. On 4 June 1973.In the 1972 Congressional Election. McGovern lost 49 of 50 states to Richard Nixon. returning a Democratic majority to both houses of Congress. On 15 March 1973.S.S.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. ambassador to Vietnam.S.1-100% Democratic 60. president.1-80% Republican 60. Senate passed the Case-Church Amendment to prohibit such intervention. After two clashes that left 55 South . bombing in North Vietnam if North Vietnam launched a major offensive against South Vietnam. who was re-elected U. U. 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. Secretary of Defense James R. ambassadors and his appointment was an early signal that Washington had given up on Vietnam. During his confirmation hearings in June 1973. President Richard Nixon implied that the United States would intervene militarily if the communist side violated the ceasefire. the majority of Americans voted for Democratic Congressmen.S.S. Despite supporting Nixon over McGovern.
and determine whether U. The fall of Phuoc Binh and the lack of an American response left the South Vietnamese elite demoralized. Giáp. the provincial capital. The speed of this success led the Politburo to reassess its strategy.Vietnamese soldiers dead. The strike was designed to solve local logistical problems. the North Vietnamese defense minister. President Thiệu announced on 4 January that the war had restarted and that the Paris Peace Accord was no longer in effect. Trà's plan called for a limited offensive from Cambodia into Phuoc Long Province. Trà could travel on a drivable highway with regular fueling stops. At this time. Congress refused. 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 appealed over Giáp's head to first secretary Lê Duẩn. A larger offensive might provoke a U. The U.000 South Vietnamese casualties during the ceasefire period.S. reaction and interfere with the big push planned for 1976. fell on 6 January 1975. Before . a vast change from the days when the Ho Chi Minh Trail was a dangerous mountain trek. It was decided that operations in the Central Highlands would be turned over to General Văn Tiến Dũng and that Pleiku should be seized. would return to the fray. Gerald Ford took over as U. Congress cut financial aid to South Vietnam from $1 billion a year to $700 million. if possible. president on 9 August 1974 after President Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal. who approved of the operation. was reluctant to approve Trà's plan. Ford desperately asked Congress for funds to assist and re-supply the South before it was overrun. North Vietnamese forces attacked Route 14 in Phuoc Long Province.S. Phuoc Binh. gauge the reaction of South Vietnamese forces.S. This time. There had been over 25.S. 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. midterm elections in 1974 brought in a new Congress dominated by Democrats who were even more determined to confront the president on the war. On 13 December 1974.
the withdrawal soon turned into a bloody rout. there was increasing chaos. in Đắk Lắk Province. (May 2008) On 10 March 1975. a limited offensive into the Central Highlands. South Vietnam suffered from the global recession that followed the Arab oil embargo. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. the rising oil prices meant that much of this could not be used. highly determined and well-funded North Vietnam. Hanoi was surprised by the speed of their success. Campaign 275 This section needs additional citations for verification. However.S. He argued that with two months of good weather remaining until the onset of the monsoon. 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. the provincial capital of Pleiku and the road to the coast would be exposed for a planned campaign in 1976. If the town could be taken. and its forces collapsed on 11 March.he left for the South. financial support and the presence of a large number of U. They faced a well-organized. While the bulk of ARVN forces attempted to flee. The ARVN proved incapable of resisting the onslaught. a former general. Much of the North's material and financial support came from the communist bloc. Thieu ordered a retreat. General Dung launched Campaign 275.S. But in what appeared to be a repeat of Operation Lam Son 719. Once again. Their abandonment by the American military had compromised an economy dependent on U. The president declared this to be a "lighten the top and keep the bottom" strategy.400 aircraft and a two-to-one numerical superiority in combat troops over their Communist enemies. The target was Buôn Ma Thuột. They also had 1. supported by tanks and heavy artillery. troops. President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Within South Vietnam. the South Vietnamese had three times as much artillery and twice the number of tanks and armoured cars as the opposition. isolated units fought desperately." At the start of 1975. it would be irresponsible to not take advantage of the situation. Dung now urged the Politburo to allow him to seize Pleiku immediately and then turn his attention to Kon Tum. ARVN General Phu . was fearful that his forces would be cut off in the north by the attacking communists.
On 25 March. taking Nha . Northern forces. In the confusion.000 VPA troops were poised to attack the suburbs. With the northern half of the country under their control. after a three-day battle. As the ARVN tried to disengage from the enemy. With the fall of the city. the soldiers and civilians were shelled incessantly. By 1 April the "column of tears" was all but annihilated. Hanoi wished to avoid the coming monsoon and prevent any redeployment of ARVN forces defending the capital. be held at all costs. Civilians flooded the airport and the docks hoping for any mode of escape. damaged by years of conflict and neglect. the VPA opened the siege of Huế. As the North Vietnamese launched their attack. As resistance in Huế collapsed. see Ho Chi Minh Campaign. the defense of the Central Highlands and Northern provinces came to an end. their morale boosted by their recent victories. By 30 March 100. slowed Phu's column. On 20 March. and then changed his policy several times. and ARVN resistance withered. The poor condition of roads and bridges. the Politburo ordered General Dung to launch the final offensive against Saigon. The retreat degenerated into a desperate scramble for the coast. in what became known as the "column of tears". On 22 March. Vietnam's thirdlargest city. refugees mixed in with the line of retreat. North Vietnamese rockets rained down on Da Nang and its airport. The operational plan for the Ho Chi Minh Campaign called for the capture of Saigon before 1 May. Thieu's contradictory orders confused and demoralized his officer corps. 35. panic set in.abandoned Pleiku and Kon Tum and retreated toward the coast. Huế fell. rolled on. routed ARVN soldiers fired on civilians to make way for their retreat. panic set in. By 28 March. Often abandoned by the officers. As the North Vietnamese forces approached. Final North Vietnamese offensive For more details on the final North Vietnamese offensive. Some even swam out to sea to reach boats and barges anchored offshore.000 leaderless ARVN troops surrendered as the VPA marched victoriously through Da Nang. Thieu reversed himself and ordered Huế.
000 ARVN troops. By 21 April. Martial law was declared.000 North Vietnamese troops encircled Saigon. embassy compound. Thousand of refugees streamed southward. he suggested U. . Cam Ranh. promising military aid that failed to materialise. the exhausted garrison were ordered to withdraw towards Saigon.S. large numbers of civilians found that they had no way out.S. In a scathing attack. Having transferred power to Tran Van Huong..S. U. By the end of April. ahead of the main communist onslaught. American helicopters began evacuating South Vietnamese. At the same time. The city was defended by about 30. North Vietnamese tanks had reached Bien Hoa and turned toward Saigon. who were outnumbered six to one. three North Vietnamese divisions attacked Xuan Loc. however. The North Vietnamese met fierce resistance at Xuan Loc from the ARVN 18th Division. unrest. the ARVN had collapsed on all fronts except in the Mekong Delta. Fall of Saigon Main articles: Fall of Saigon and Operation Frequent Wind Chaos. Ambassador Graham Martin's belief that Saigon could be held and that a political settlement could be reached. because of U. severe fighting raged as the ARVN defenders made a last stand to try to block the North Vietnamese advance. and panic broke out as hysterical South Vietnamese officials and civilians scrambled to leave Saigon.S. For two bloody weeks. Operation Frequent Wind had been delayed until the last possible moment. To hasten a collapse and foment panic. the VPA shelled the airport and forced its closure. he left for Taiwan on 25 April. and foreign nationals from various parts of the city and from the U. declaring that the United States had betrayed South Vietnam. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had tricked him into signing the Paris peace agreement two years ago. On 7 April. With the air exit closed. and Da Lat. An embittered and tearful President Thieu resigned on the same day. On 27 April 100. brushing aside isolated ARVN units along the way. 40 miles (64 km) east of Saigon.Trang.
fearing U. the last U. In the early morning hours of 30 April. On 30 April 1975. and civilian personnel. quickly capturing key buildings and installations.S. . VPA troops overcame all resistance.S. intervention.S. aid. and America. as well as military advisors led by Luo Guibo to assist the Viet Minh in its war with the French. and at 11:30 a. diplomatic. surrendered. as North Vietnamese tanks breached defenses on the outskirts of Saigon. declaring an end to the Vietnam War and all U. in an atmosphere of desperation. as hysterical crowds of Vietnamese vied for limited space. primarily France. Many of them had been employed by the Americans and were left to their fate. military. the People's Republic of China extended diplomatic recognition to the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam and sent weapons. Victorious NVA troops at the Presidential Palace. as civilians swamped the perimeter and poured into the grounds. His surrender marked the end of 116 years of Vietnamese involvement in conflict either alongside or against various countries. local time the NLF flag was raised above it. South Vietnam was perceived as doomed.S. President Duong Van Minh. Britain. urged the Viet Minh to accept a partition at the 17th parallel. China. A tank crashed through the gates of the Independence Palace. President Gerald Ford had given a televised speech on 23 April. who had succeeded Huong two days earlier. Marines evacuated the embassy by helicopter. Saigon. Japan. Frequent Wind was arguably the largest helicopter evacuation in history. Frequent Wind continued around the clock. It began on 29 April.m.Schlesinger announced early in the morning of 29 April 1975 the evacuation from Saigon by helicopter of the last U. Other countries' involvement Pro-Hanoi People's Republic of China In 1950. The first draft of the 1954 Geneva Accords was negotiated by French Prime Minister Pierre Mendès France and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai who. Martin pleaded with Washington to dispatch $700 million in emergency aid to bolster the regime and help it mobilize fresh military reserves. In the United States. But American public opinion had soured on this conflict.
Vietnam responded with an invasion that toppled the Khmer Rouge. Their airspeed and direction would be noted and then relayed to COSVN headquarters. China launched a brief. Starting in 1965.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. punitive invasion of Vietnam in 1979. The Chinese began to withdraw in November 1968 in preparation for a clash with the Soviets. and to perform other engineering works. 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. In the summer of 1962. China provided material and technical support to the Vietnamese communists worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In October. a divided Vietnam posed less of a threat to China. The Khmer Rouge launched ferocious raids into Vietnam in 1975–1978. which occurred at Zhenbao Island in March 1969. Sino-Soviet relations soured after the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968. China sent anti-aircraft units and engineering battalions to North Vietnam to repair the damage caused by American bombing." These advance warning gave them . COSVN using airspeed and direction would calculate the bombing target and tell any assets to move "perpendicularly to the attack trajectory. In response. Chinese-supplied rice allowed North Vietnam to pull military-age men from the paddies and to impose a universal draft beginning in 1960. The Soviet intelligence ships would pick up American B-52 bombers flying from Okinawa and Guam. the Chinese demanded North Vietnam cut relations with Moscow. China's withdrawal from Vietnam was completed in July 1970.000 rifles and guns free of charge. but Hanoi refused. The Chinese also began financing the Khmer Rouge as a counterweight to the Vietnamese communists at this time. Mao Zedong agreed to supply Hanoi with 90. This freed North Vietnamese army units for combat in the South. rebuild roads and railroads. Moreover.
000 troops in Vietnam during the war. arms. The Soviet Union supplied North Vietnam with medical supplies. which were the first raiders shot down over Hanoi. military schools and academies of the USSR began training Vietnamese soldiers — more than 10 thousand people. 158 surface-to-air rocket launchers.  In addition. tanks. over 5. planes.time to move out of the way of the bombers and while the bombing runs caused extensive damage. Fewer than a dozen Soviet citizens lost their lives in this conflict.000 anti-aircraft guns. 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. From July 1965 to the end of 1974. ammunition and two million sets of uniforms to their comrades in North Vietnam. Kim Il-sung is reported to have told his pilots to "fight in the war as if the Vietnamese sky were their own". because of the early warnings from 1968–1970 they did not kill a single military or civilian leader in the headquarter complexes. North Korea As a result of a decision of the Korean Workers' Party in October 1966. Over the course of the war the Soviet money donated to the Vietnamese cause was equal to 2 million dollars a day.000 artillery guns. Russian officials acknowledged that the Soviet Union had stationed up to 3. Soviet crews fired USSR-made surface-to-air missiles at the B-52 bombers. They stayed through 1968.000 tanks.500 soldiers and sergeants of the Soviet Armed Forces. at least two anti-aircraft artillery regiments were sent as well. anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment.500 officers and generals. Cuba . 7. and 200 pilots were reported to have served. as well as more than 4. helicopters. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. fighting in Vietnam was attended by some 6. artillery. In addition. North Korea also sent weapons. Some Russian sources give more specific numbers: the hardware donated by the USSR included 2.
in what is known as the "Cuba Program". There are numerous reports by former U.000 South Korean soldiers were sent to Vietnam.  Witnesses to this include Senator John McCain. 1964 Lyndon Johnson requested South Korean participation. South Korea killed 41. Maximum troop levels peaked at 50.000 Viet Congs. The first South Korean troops began arriving in 1964 and large combat battalions began arriving a year later. 2008 U. prisoners of war that Cuban military personnel were present at North Vietnamese prison facilities during the war. and White Horse (military) On the anti-communist side.S. according to his 1999 book Faith of My Fathers. That there was at least a small contingent of Cuban military advisors present in North Vietnam during the war is without question. Pro-Saigon South Korea Further information: Republic of Korea Marine Corps#Vietnam War.000 South Koreans were killed and 11. About 5. 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.S. under Fidel Castro. however all were withdrawn by 1973. and that they participated in torture activities.000 in 1968. each serving a one year tour of duty. but Kennedy disagreed.000 were injured during the war. Blue Dragon (military unit).  Approximately 320. with the South Koreans soon developing a reputation for effectiveness. Presidential candidate and former Vietnam prisoner of war. United States paid South Korean soldiers 235. Australia and New Zealand . notably Vietnam War POW/MIA issue advocates. and South Korean GNP increased five times during the war. On May 1. Kennedy. Then and since. Tiger Division.560. the communist Vietnamese and Cuban governments have not divulged any information on this matter. they conducted counterinsurgency operations so well that American commanders felt that Korean area of responsibility was the safest. Indeed arguably. is still a matter of debate.000 dollars for their service in Vietnam. Park Chung Hee proposed South Korean participation in the war to John F. South Korea had the second-largest contingent of foreign troops in South Vietnam after the United States. Some. In November 1961.
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. Approximately 3.450 Filipino troops were dispatched to South Vietnam.000 wounded. Republic of China (Taiwan) Main article: Republic of China in the Vietnam War .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. They were primarily engaged in medical and other civilian pacification projects. Most Australians and New Zealanders served in the 1st Australian Task Force in Phước Tuy province. Thai forces saw much more action in the covert war in Laos between 1964 and 1972. Australia's peak commitment was 7. Philippines Some 10.000 Australian personnel were involved during the course of the war. Both nations had gained experience in counterinsurgency and jungle warfare during the Malayan Emergency and World War II. losing 37 killed and 187 wounded.000 New Zealanders served in Vietnam. who carried out reconnaissance activities on the western side of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. New Zealand began by sending a detachment of engineers and an artillery battery. These forces operated under the designation PHLCAG-V or Philippine Civic Action Group-Vietnam. close allies of the United States and members of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the ANZUS military cooperation treaty. sent ground troops to Vietnam. Australia began by sending advisors to Vietnam in 1962. though Thai regular formations there were heavily outnumbered by the irregular "volunteers" of the CIA-sponsored Police Aerial Reconnaissance Units or PARU. saw action in South Vietnam between 1965 and 1971. including the "Queen's Cobra" battalion. Thailand Thai Army formations.672 combat troops and New Zealand's 552. More than 60.
The majority of these women were white Catholics and Protestants. but with the war came opportunity for the expansion of . the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) launched Operation Nightingale. 1969. 1st Lieutenant Sharon Lane was the only female military nurse to be killed by enemy gunfire during the war. Taiwan also provided military training units for the South Vietnamese diving units. Canada did not have partisan involvement in the Vietnam War and diplomatically it was "non-belligerent". many nurses underwent a concentrated four-month training program before being deployed to Vietnam in the ANC  Due to the shortage of staff. Their traditional place had been in the domestic sphere. Women in Vietnam American nurses During the Vietnam War. Canada and the ICC Main article: Canada and the Vietnam War Canada. later known as the Lien Doi Nguoi Nhai (LDMN) or Frogman unit in English. Military commandos from Taiwan were captured by communist forces three times trying to infiltrate North Vietnam. six days per week and often suffered from exhaustion. Officially. nurses usually worked twelve-hour shifts. an intensive effort to recruit nurses to serve in Vietnam. Early in 1963.Since November 1967. it was commonly thought that American women had no place in the military. the Republic of China (Taiwan) secretly operated a cargo transport detachment to assist the United States and the ROV. which was supposed to monitor the 1954 ceasefire agreement. women served on active duty doing a variety of jobs. In addition to the diving trainers there were several hundred military personnel. India and Poland comprised the International Control Commission. She died on June 8. Victor Levant suggested otherwise in his book "Quiet Complicity: Canadian Involvement in the Vietnam War" (1986). Most nurses who volunteered to serve in Vietnam came from predominantly working or middle class families with histories of military service. Because the need for medical aid was great. At the start of the Vietnam War.
or judged them to be women of questionable moral character who enlisted for the sole purpose of seducing men. the Coast Guard removed all limitations on assignments based on sex. very few cases of sexual harassment were ever reported. Vietnamese women Unlike the American women who went to Vietnam. (334) However. In 2008. many men reported that having women in the field with them boosted their morale. To address this problem. Vietnamese women fought in the combat zone as well as provided manual labor to keep the Ho Chi Minh . By 1973. Although this was not the women’s purpose.gender roles. the ANC released advertisements portraying women in the ANC as “proper. rather. they were never allowed directly in the field of battle. approximately one-third of women in the military felt that they had been sexually harassed compared with one-third of men. it was one positive result of the their service. Many Americans either considered female in Vietnam mannish for living under the army discipline. professional and well protected. While this high male to female ratio was often uncomfortable for women. women were gradually granted greater mobility within the military. This does not mean that harassment never occurred. one of which was the relatively small number of female soldiers. and by the end of 1978.500 women had served in Vietnam in the Southeast Asian theater. The women who served in the military were solely volunteers.” (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. Although female military nurses lived in a heavily male environment. American women serving in Vietnam were subject to societal stereotypes. They faced a plethora of challenges. it was not until 1993 that Congress allowed women to serve in combat units in the air force. there are few cases that have been officially documented by the military. Women in the army today are still prohibited from serving in combat positions. by contrast. women held a variety of jobs which included operating complex data processing equipment and serving as stenographers. Living in a male-dominated environment created tensions between the sexes. approximately 7. the military lifted the prohibition on women entering the armed forces. In Vietnam.  Although a small number of women were assigned to combat zones. In that same year. However.
S.  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. In the mid 1960s. was considered more accurate and was lighter than the AK-47 but was prone to jamming. special forces with captured AK-47s. According to a congressional report. 90mm M48A3 Patton tank tank saw extensive action during the Vietnam War and over 600 were deployed with US Forces. who would later go on to be an actress-director. which replaced the M14.” which meant that a spent cartridge case remained lodged in the chamber after a bullet flew out the muzzle. Nguyen Thi Dinh was an example of a woman who had fought most of her adult life against foreign forces in her country. With its 17-mile (27 km) range. at the time her own daughter was training in the militia. 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. The M67A1 flamethrower tank (nicknamed the Zippo) was an M48 variant used in Vietnam.Trail open. Nguyen Thi Duc Hoan. Women were enlisted in both the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the VietCong guerrilla force in South Vietnam. also joined the fight at a young age and would later become a guerrilla fighter against the Americans. 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. 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. Oftentimes the gun suffered from a jamming flaw known as “failure to extract. the . they also worked in the rice fields to provide food for their families and the war effort. They played an important role in infantry support though there were few actual tank versus tank battles. the highest ranking combat position held by a woman during the war. 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. she became a deputy commander of the Viet Cong.
& ARVN) Helicopters Mi-6. F-4 Phantom II.. T-54.62mm Gatling guns and unguided air-to-surface rockets. SKS. Lockheed AC-130. M79 grenade . MiG-19. M107 Self-Propelled Gun. B-57 Canberra (RAAF). and PT-76 tanks. was outfitted with a variety of armaments including M60 machineguns.S. the "Huey" as it became affectionately known. BM-21. F-100 Super Sabre. BTR-60 APC's & BMP 1 IFV's M113 Artillery M1937 Howitzer. Centurion (Australian Army). Type North Vietnam. The Bell UH-1 Iroquois was used extensively in counter-guerilla operations both as a troop carrier and a gunship. A-37 Dragonfly (U. The Vietnam War was the first conflict that saw wide scale tactical deployment of helicopters. D-30 (2A18) Howitzer. BTR-50.S. DShK HMG. U. AK-47. twin 57mm. M102 105mm howitzer.2 and 4 (numbers corresponding to single. It was countered by the long-range. The United States had air superiority though many aircraft were lost to surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery. Offshore naval fire played a pivotal role in the Battle for the city of Hue. counter-offensive to retake the city. RPG-2.Soviet 130mm M-46 towed field gun was a highly regarded weapon and used to good effect by the NVA. South Vietnam. CH-53. The Hueys were also successfully used in MEDEVAC and search and rescue roles. A-7 Corsair. M48A3 Patton tank. multi-barreled 7. MiG-17 A-4 Skyhawk. T-55. Douglas AC-47 Spooky. Viet Cong U. M551 Sheridan. ZPU 14. RPD.5mm models 1. M16.S. Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. M110 selfpropelled howitzer. M50 Ontos. using aircraft carriers as platforms for offshore strikes and other naval vessels for offshore artillery support.S. Australia AFVs T-34/85. American 175mm M107 Self-Propelled Gun. & ARVN) Douglas A-1 Skyraider (U. Navy had the run of the coastline. Bell UH-1 Iroquois. V-100 Commando (Army Military Police / USAF Security Police) APCs/IFVs BTR-40. M1939 (61-K) 37mm. F-105 Thunderchief. At sea. M41 Walker Bulldog (ARVN). double and quad barreled variants) MIM-23 Hawk. RPG-7. B-10 recoilless rifle and B-11 recoilless rifle M14. M55 Quad 50 (dual use weapon for AA as well as for engaging ground targets) Infantry weapons MAT-49. A-6 Intruder. M114 155 mm howitzer Aircraft MiG-21. Bell AH-1 AAW SA-3 Goa.S. Strela 2. Mi-8 Cobra.S. SA-2 Guideline. the U. RPK. M1954 field gun M109 self-propelled howitzer. BTR-152. air power was credited with breaking the siege of Khe Sanh and blunting the 1972 Communist offensive against South Vietnam. CH-54 Skycrane CH-47 Chinook. providing accurate fire in support of the U. M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle. In the latter role. ZSU-57-2.
and M40 recoilless rifle. M2 Browning. The two countries fought a brief border war. Zuni rocket Specialized weapons bombs. fell to followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. SinoVietnamese War. Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) and ousted the Khmer Rouge in the Cambodian– Vietnamese War. and Cambodia.000 Hmong. The Pathet Lao overthrew the royalist government of Laos in December 1975. AGM-78 Standard ARM. Most Asian countries were unwilling to accept refugees. From 1978 to 1979. including 130. the United States resettled some 250. the capital of Cambodia. AGM-12 Bullpup. More than 3 million people fled from Vietnam. commonly known as the Khmer Rouge. TOW. many as "boat people". M18 Claymore antipersonnel mines.launcher. Since 1975. AGM-62 Walleye. From 1975 to 1996. known as the Third Indochina War or the Sino-Vietnamese War. an estimated 1.  After repeated border clashes in 1978. LAW. Over the next four years.000 Lao refugees from Thailand. the Khmer Rouge enacted a genocidal policy that killed over one-fifth of all Cambodians.4 million refugees from Vietnam and other . Laser-guided Phnom Penh. Vietnam. Napalm Aftermath Events in Southeast Asia Main articles: Mayaguez incident. some 450. Reeducation camp. or more than a million people. China invaded Vietnam in 1979. Owen Gun (ADF) Air-to-Air Missiles Vympel K-13 AIM-9 Sidewinder. and boat people IEDs BLU-82 Daisy Cutter. Laos. In response. on 17 April 1975. L1A1 SLR (ADF).000 ethnic Chinese left Vietnam by boat as refugees or were expelled across the land border with China. M60 machine gun. AIM-7 Sparrow Air-to-Surface Missiles AGM-45 Shrike anti radiation missile. They established the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Democratic Kampuchea.
. Yet in Vietnam the Army experienced tactical success and strategic failure.. we didn't know our South Vietnamese allies." 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. political." Even Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara concluded that "the achievement of a military victory by U... noted "first.. And we knew less about North Vietnam. We thought that we were going into another Korean War.S. one of the principal architects of the war.S. the official history of the United States Army noted that "tactics have often seemed to exist apart from larger issues. The. cultural. October 1967 In the post-war era. but with those in Congress. A new humility and a new sophistication may form the best parts of a complex heritage left to the Army by the long. Even the Special Forces who had been designed for it could not prevail. As . and objectives." U. Australia. and France resettled over 500...000..Vietnam War. It's very dangerous.Southeast Asian countries have been resettled to the United States. As General Maxwell Taylor. we cannot help draw the conclusion that our armed forces are not suited to this kind of war. and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of allies." Doubts surfaced as to the effectiveness of large-scale.." Alternatively. while Canada. So. Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of the military intervention. we didn't know ourselves.. bitter war in Vietnam. and social factors always impinge on the military. Secondly..Success rests not only on military progress but on correctly analyzing the nature of the particular conflict. forces in Vietnam was indeed a dangerous illusion.. strategies. we'd better keep out of this kind of dirty business. Effect on the United States Vietnam War protests at the Pentagon. understanding the enemy's strategy. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote in a secret memo to President Gerald Ford that "in terms of military tactics. sustained bombing. until we know the enemy and know our allies and know ourselves. Who was Ho Chi Minh? Nobody really knew.legacy may be the lesson that unique historical. but this was a different country.
3 percent were white. Marine Corps General Victor H. According to Dale Kueter. the United States spent $111 billion on the war ($686 billion in FY2008 dollars). "Sixty-one percent of those killed were age 21 or younger. with small likelihood of a successful outcome.. James E. Westheider wrote that "At the height of American involvement in 1968." As well." The inability to bomb Hanoi to the bargaining table also illustrated another U." Even General William Westmoreland admitted that the bombing had been ineffective. and their tenacity as both nationalists and communists was formidable. They had defeated the French. 12.S. More than 3 million Americans served in the Vietnam War.. for example. Between 1965 and 1975.5 million of whom actually saw combat in Vietnam. Army doctrine. it was that air power couldn't do the job. Krulak heavily criticised Westmoreland's attrition strategy. but ended in 1973. miscalculation. "if anything came out of Vietnam." Conscription in the United States had been controlled by the President since World War II.000 American military personnel in Vietnam. some 1. This resulted in a large federal budget deficit.. doubts surfaced about the ability of the military to train foreign forces. Ho Chi Minh is quoted as saying.But even at these odds you will lose and I will win.000 were considered combat troops. calling it "wasteful of American lives.000 were permanently disabled. "I still doubt that the North Vietnamese would have relented.5 percent were black and ." 2/5 Marine gets his wounds treated during operations in Hue City." By war's end. but only 80.[A 2] more than 150.000 were wounded. Of those killed in combat. The North's leadership was composed of hardened communists who had been fighting for independence for thirty years.. and at least 21. 58. "You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. As he remarked. 86. 1968 The Vietnam War called into question the U.220 soldiers were killed.S. there were 543.Army Chief of Staff Harold Keith Johnson noted.
These chemicals continue to change the landscape.S.000 American servicemen deserted.700. In 1977. service personnel listed as missing in action.the remainder from other races. Between 1961 and 1967. complete and unconditional pardon to all Vietnam-era Draft dodgers. The defoliants. Agent Green. United States President Jimmy Carter granted a full. and. Early in the American military effort it was decided that since the enemy were hiding their activities under triple-canopy jungle.000 L) of concentrated herbicides . About 12 million gallons (45. Agent Purple. and poison the food chain.S." Approximately 830. South Vietnam In 1961 and 1962.S. The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue. the U. the Kennedy administration authorized the use of chemicals to destroy rice crops.S. Navy patrol boats were vulnerable to attack from the undergrowth at the water's edge. where the U.000 L) of Agent Orange were sprayed over Southeast Asia during the American involvement.000. Air Force sprayed 20 million U. a useful first step might be to defoliate certain areas. Chemical defoliation One of the most controversial aspects of the U. which were distributed in drums marked with color-coded bands. most famously.000 Americans fled to Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft. helicopter spraying chemical defoliants in the Mekong Delta. They were used to defoliate large parts of the countryside. Agent Blue. U. gallons (75. which included dioxin as a by-product of its manufacture. This was especially true of growth surrounding bases (both large and small) in what became known as Operation Ranch Hand. persisted for many years after the war's conclusion. Corporations like Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto were given the task of developing herbicides for this purpose. cause diseases and birth defects. concerning the fate of U.S. Agent Orange. and approximately 50. A prime area of Ranch Hand operations was in the Mekong Delta. included the "Rainbow Herbicides"—Agent Pink. military effort in Southeast Asia was the widespread use of chemical defoliants between 1961 and 1971.000 Vietnam veterans suffered symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. Agent White.S. An estimated 125.
chloracne.000. 42% of all herbicide was sprayed over food crops.over 6 million acres (24.000 victims of dioxin poisoning in Vietnam. Although there has been much discussion over whether the use of these defoliants constituted a violation of the laws of war. the defoliants were not considered weapons. and spina bifida in children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Diabetes mellitus type 2.S. respiratory cancers. since exposure to them did not lead to immediate death or incapacitation. selection shows U. porphyria cutanea tarda. or the Royal Lao Armed Forces. Some reports fail to include the members of South Vietnamese forces killed in the final campaign. 25th Infantry Division. softtissue sarcoma. Another purpose of herbicide use was to drive civilian populations into RVN-controlled areas.ogg Play video Selection from a U. Army footage from 'Operation Baker' action by the 3rd BDE. multiple myeloma. Casualties Main article: Vietnam War casualties OperationBaker1967Vietcongaceofspades. or Laotian civilians who all perished in the conflict. Veterans Administration has listed prostate cancer. 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. or the fate of Laotian Royals and civilians after the Pathet Lao assumed complete power in Laos. thousands of Laotian and Thai irregulars. In some areas of southern Vietnam dioxin levels remain at over 100 times the accepted international standard. peripheral neuropathy. the Vietnamese government estimates that there are over 4.S. . 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. affecting an estimated 13% of South Vietnam's land. although the United States government denies any conclusive scientific links between Agent Orange and the Vietnamese victims of dioxin poisoning.S. The U. As of 2006. B-cell lymphomas. In 1965.000 km2) of crops and trees.
film. military has estimated that between 200. The band Country Joe and the Fish recorded "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" / The "Fish" Cheer in 1965. both anti-war and pro/anti-communist. Trinh Cong Son was a South Vietnamese songwriter famous for his anti-war songs.000 and 250. . Vietnam War in games. suffered 1. Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American bombing in Operation Rolling Thunder range from 52. Popular culture See also: Vietnam War in film. and War in popular culture The Vietnam War has been featured heavily in television. video games. The war also influenced a generation of musicians and songwriters in Vietnam and the United States.In 1995. the Vietnamese government reported that its military forces.  The U.000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war. including the NLF. Hanoi concealed the figures during the war to avoid demoralizing the population. and it became one of the most influential anti-Vietnam protest anthems. Civilian deaths were put at two million in the North and South.S.000 to 182. and economic reparations were demanded.000. and literature in the participant countries.000 wounded during Hanoi's conflict with the United States.1 million dead and 600.
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