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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 After this, U.S. ground forces were withdrawn as part of a policy called Vietnamization.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
Ho Chi Minh initially attempted to negotiate with the French who were slowly re-establishing their control across the country. declared the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam before a crowd of 500. On March 6. the Viet Minh won elections across central and northern Vietnam. The Creator has given us certain inviolable Rights: the right to Life. Ho Chi Minh signed an agreement allowing French forces to replace Nationalist Chinese forces. Following the party line from Moscow. leaving Vietnam in the hands of the French. However. Ho Chi Minh. the United States and the Soviet Union. the major powers came to an agreement that British troops would occupy the south while Nationalist Chinese forces would move in from the north.unconditionally. the Japanese Army gave weapons to the Vietnamese. The French landed in Hanoi by March 1946 and in November of that year they ousted the Viet Minh from the city. British forces departed on 26 March 1946. In an overture to the Americans. To further help the nationalists. and the right to achieve Happiness. weapons or soldiers to immediately retake Vietnam. the United Kingdom. all agreed the area belonged to the French. The Việt Minh had recruited more than 600 Japanese soldiers and given them roles to train or command Vietnamese soldiers. in exchange for French recognition of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as a "free" republic within the French Union. he began his speech by paraphrasing the United States Declaration of Independence: All men are created equal. 1946. with the specifics of such recognition to be determined by future negotiation. As the French did not have the ships. When the British landed in the South. the major allied victors of World War II. After their defeat in the war. Soon thereafter the Viet Minh began a .000 in Hanoi. In French Indochina this created a power vacuum as the French were still interned and the Japanese forces stood down. 1945. the Japanese kept Vichy French officials and military officers imprisoned for a month after the surrender. On 2 September 1945. In January 1946. the leader of the Viet Minh. 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. Into this vacuum. the right to be Free. the Viet Minh entered and grasped power across Vietnam in the "August Revolution" (in large part supported by the Vietnamese population). Nationalist Chinese troops entered the country to disarm Japanese troops north of the 16th parallel on September 14.
The war spread to Laos and Cambodia where Communists organized the Pathet Lao and the Khmer Serei after the model of the Viet Minh. advise on strategy.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. expertise. though how seriously this was considered and by whom are even now vague and contradictory. 1950–1954 Main articles: First Indochina War and Operation Passage to Freedom In January 1950. supported by as many as 150 fighters launched from U.guerrilla war against the French Union forces. 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. Globally. bases in the region. and train Vietnamese soldiers. the United States had supplied 300. One version of plan for the proposed Operation Vulture envisioned sending 60 B-29s from U. beginning the First Indochina War.S. In September 1950. Seventh Fleet carriers. to bomb Viet . which meant that the rapprochement that existed between the Western powers and the Soviet Union during World War II disintegrated. PRC military advisors began assisting the Viet Minh in July 1950. led by the People's Republic of China (PRC). and laborers transformed the Viet Minh from a guerrilla force into a regular army. the United States created a Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) to screen French requests for aid. 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. There were also talks between the French and Americans in which the possible use of three tactical nuclear weapons was considered. PRC weapons. the communist nations. The Viet Minh fight was hampered by a lack of weapons. By 1954.S. the Cold War began in earnest. Non-Communist nations recognized the Frenchbacked State of Vietnam in Saigon led by former Emperor Bảo Đại the following month. Exit of the French. recognized the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam as the government of Vietnam.
 President Eisenhower made American participation contingent on British support. Battle of Saigon (1955). carriers sailed to the Gulf of Tonkin. and reconnaissance flights over Dien Bien Phu were conducted during the negotiations. PRC support in the Border Campaign of 1950 allowed supplies to come from PRC into Vietnam. . and under the terms of the Geneva Convention.S. Eisenhower decided against the intervention. In the end. At the Geneva Conference the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh.S. convinced that the political risks outweighed the possible benefits. The plan included an option to use up to three atomic weapons on the Viet Minh positions. Radford. but London was opposed. civilians were to be given the opportunity to move freely between the two provisional states for a 300-day period. B-29s. gave this nuclear option his backing. The Viet Minh and their mercurial commander Vo Nguyen Giap handed the French a stunning military defeat. U. suggested that the United States might have to "put American boys in". Transition period Main articles: Geneva Conference (1954). U. Vice president Richard Nixon. Throughout the conflict. a so-called "hawk" on Vietnam.S. The Viet Minh received crucial support from the Soviet Union and PRC. According to Richard Nixon the plan involved the Joint Chiefs of Staff drawing up plans to use 3 small tactical nuclear weapons in support of the French. and State of Vietnam referendum. U. and Vietnam. Operation Passage to Freedom. Admiral Arthur W. Eisenhower was very wary of getting the United States involved in a land war in Asia. as could carrier aircraft from the Seventh Fleet. As an experienced five-star general. Laos. Chairman of the U. Independence was granted to Cambodia. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu marked the end of French involvement in Indochina. and B-47s could have executed a nuclear strike. Of the 12. Joint Chiefs of Staff. and on 7 May 1954. the French Union garrison surrendered. Ba Cut. intelligence estimates remained skeptical of French chances of success. 1955 Vietnam was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel.000 French prisoners taken by the Viet Minh only 3000 survived. B-36s.S.Minh commander Vo Nguyen Giap's positions.
up to 130. 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. In April–June 1955. mainly minority Catholics. mainly Catholic refugees were meant to give Diem a strong anti-communist constituency. President Dwight D.000 to 10. Eisenhower echoed senior U. South Vietnam had rejected the agreement from the beginning and was therefore not bound by it. Around one million northerners. The PRC completed their withdrawal from North Vietnam at around the same time. The northern. Around 52.S.S. went north for "regroupment" expecting to return to the South within 2 years. following an American propaganda campaign using slogans such as "The Virgin Mary is heading south". "How can we expect 'free elections' to be held in the Communist North?" Diem asked. fearing persecution by the communists. Diem later went on to staff his administration's key posts mostly with northern and central Catholics. advice) cleared the decks of any political opposition in the south by launching military operations against the . Diem (against U. which included ferrying refugees with the Seventh Fleet. former Emperor Bảo Đại's State of Vietnam operated.000 cadres in South Vietnam as a "politico-military substructure within the object of its irredentism. he said. "80 per cent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh" over Emperor Bảo Đại.S. and aided by a U.000 Vietnamese civilians moved from south to north. in 1954. fled south.000 ‘Revolutionary Regroupees’. In the north. In addition to the Catholics flowing south. It is estimated that as many as two million more would have left had they not been stopped by the Viet Minh. Diem announced that elections would not be held. In the south.Elections throughout the country were to be held in 1956 to establish a unified government. The Viet Minh left roughly 5. funded $93 million relocation program. experts when he wrote that. with Ngô Đình Diệm (appointed in July 1954) as his prime minister." The last French soldiers were to leave Vietnam in April 1956. In June 1955. 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.
viewed the election as a test of authority. commonly hypothesized that it applied to Vietnam. Diem had been interior minister in the colonial government. John F. It was. Diem declared the new Republic of Vietnam (ROV). and the Binh Xuyen organized crime group (which was allied with members of the secret police and some military elements).S. Diem was viewed by many ordinary Vietnamese as part of the elite who had helped the French rule Vietnam. Diem increasingly sought to blame the communists. said in a speech to the American Friends of Vietnam: "Burma. however. Historian Luu Doan Huynh notes. then all of the surrounding countries would follow.Cao Dai religious sect. and is still. that "Diem represented narrow and extremist nationalism coupled with autocracy and nepotism. India. Diem was fervently anti-communist. the Hoa Hao sect of Ba Cut. senator. In a referendum on the future of the State of Vietnam on 23 October." As a wealthy Catholic. The Geneva Conference. On 26 October 1955. Japan. As broad-based opposition to his harsh tactics mounted. which argued that if one country fell to communist forces. Diem rigged the poll supervised by his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and was credited with 98. Thailand. 1955–1963 Main articles: Ngo Dinh Diem and War in Vietnam (1954–1959) President Dwight D. 1954 The Domino theory. including 133% in Saigon. with himself as president. The . Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles greet President Ngo Dinh Diem in Washington. Kennedy. then a U.2 percent of the vote. Diem era. however." Diem. His American advisers had recommended a more modest winning margin of "60 to 70 percent. nationalist and socially conservative. The ROV was created largely because of the Eisenhower administration's desire for an anti-communist state in the region. was first proposed as policy by the Eisenhower administration." Rule See also: Ngo Dinh Diem presidential visit to Australia A devout Roman Catholic. the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam.
and Diem warned that it was an illusion to believe that blindly copying Western methods would solve Vietnamese problems. 1957. They knew little of the language or long history of the country. Diem instituted a policy of death penalty against any activity deemed communist in August 1956.majority of Vietnamese people were Buddhist. imprisoned. Trường Chinh. Diem undertook a ten-day state visit to the United States. during which communists and other antigovernment elements were arrested. This insurgency in the south had begun in response to Diem's Denunciation of Communists campaign.000 political prisoners had been jailed. North Vietnam's pro-PRC party first secretary. in which thousands of local Viet Minh cadres and supporters had been executed or sent to concentration camps. Insurgency in the South. but rather engage in a political . in private Secretary of State John Foster Dulles conceded that he had been selected because there were no better alternatives. which had insisted in 1954 that the Viet Minh accept a division of the country. and were alarmed by actions such as his dedication of the country to the Virgin Mary. tortured. Beginning in the summer of 1955. and was in violation of the Northern Communist party line. In May. Robert McNamara wrote that the new American patrons were almost completely ignorant of Vietnamese culture. Although Diem was openly praised. about 12. was demoted and Hanoi authorized communists in South Vietnam to begin a low level insurgency in December 1956. which had enjoined them not to start an insurrection. As a measure of the level of political repression. There was a tendency to assign American motives to Vietnamese actions. or executed. 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. Opponents were labeled Viet Cong ("Vietnamese communist") by the regime to degrade their nationalist credentials. he launched the "Denounce the Communists" campaign.000 suspected opponents of Diem were killed in the years 1955–1957 and by the end of 1958 an estimated 40. President Eisenhower pledged his continued support. A parade in New York City was held in his honor.
such as schoolteachers.campaign." This strategy was referred to as "armed propaganda. If an assassination is necessary. agitating for a free all-Vietnam election in accordance with the Geneva accords. that will lead to defeat. it soon broadened to include other symbols of the status quo. returned to Hanoi to accept the position of acting first secretary. and the infiltration of men and weapons from the north began along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. health workers. Hồ Chí Minh stated. Hanoi authorized the creation of the National Liberation Front as a . The insurgency sought to completely destroy government control in South Vietnam's rural villages and replace it with a shadow government. "Do not engage in military operations. Do not take land from a peasant. Observing the increasing unpopularity of the Diem regime. Once an assassination has taken place. and agricultural officials. on 12 December 1960. and accidental killing of the innocent bystanders will alienate peasants from the revolution. Emphasize nationalism rather than communism. In January 1959. a communist leader who had been working in the South. the North's Central Committee issued a secret resolution authorizing an "armed struggle".) According to one estimate. South Vietnam enacted Law 10/59. Lê Duẩn. use a knife. Four hundred government officials were assassinated in 1957 alone." Soon afterward. In May. Do not antagonize anyone if you can avoid it. which made political violence punishable by death and property confiscation. effectively replacing Trường. make sure peasants know why the killing occurred. Duẩn urged a military line and advocated increased assistance to the insurgency. 20 percent of South Vietnam's village chiefs had been assassinated by the insurgents by 1958. and the violence gradually increased. While the terror was originally aimed at local government officials. It is too easy to kill innocent bystanders with guns and bombs. not a rifle or grenade. Be selective in your violence.  Village chiefs were Diem appointees from outside the villages and were hated by the peasantry for their corruption and abuse. This authorized the southern communists to begin large-scale operations against the South Vietnamese military. North Vietnam supplied troops and supplies in earnest.
despite warnings from Eisenhower about Laos and Vietnam. support any friend. The aftermath of the Korean War created the idea of a limited war. and incompetence progressively angered large segments of the population of South Vietnam. The communists thus had a degree of popular support for their campaign to bring down Diem and reunify the country. meet any hardship.-Soviet issues. Although Kennedy stressed long-range missile parity with the Soviets. As Kennedy took over.S. in order to assure the survival and success of liberty. Lieutenant General Lionel C. oppose any foe. Successive American administrations. Kennedy bitterly disagreed with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev when they met in Vienna over key U. During John F. McGarr. 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." In June 1961. he was also interested in using special forces for counterinsurgency warfare in Third World countries threatened by communist insurgencies.S. John F. bear any burden. presidential election. Kennedy's administration. Diem's paranoia. overestimated the control that Hanoi had over the NLF. Although they were originally intended for use behind front lines after a conventional invasion of Europe. Kennedy made the ambitious pledge to "pay any price. Europe and Latin America "loomed larger than Asia on his sights. Kennedy won the 1960 U. 1961–1963 Main articles: Strategic Hamlet Program and Pham Ngoc Thao When John F. The Kennedy administration remained essentially committed to the Cold War . military advisory team." In his inaugural address. a "significant part" of the population in the south supported the communists. According to a November 1960 report by the head of the U.common front controlled by the communist party in the South. one major issue Kennedy raised was whether the Soviet space and missile programs had surpassed those of the United States. as Robert McNamara and others have noted.S. repression.
and political promotions all played a part in emasculating the ARVN. In April 1962.S." South Vietnam. Vice President Lyndon B. Military Regions. Kennedy rejected the idea but increased military assistance yet again. saying. South Vietnamese governmental incompetence was at the core of the crisis. credibility with its allies and his own reputation. Kennedy's policy toward South Vietnam rested on the assumption that Diem and his forces must ultimately defeat the guerrillas on their own.  Kennedy advisers Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow recommended that U. "Diem's the only boy we got out there. In May 1961. corruption. had 50. the construction of the Berlin Wall. the U." Johnson assured Diem of more aid in molding a fighting force that could resist the communists. forces in large numbers there today. adverse military consequences. would almost certainly lead to adverse political and.foreign policy inherited from the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. and a negotiated settlement between the pro-Western government of Laos and the Pathet Lao communist movement. John Kenneth Galbraith warned Kennedy of the "danger we shall replace the . while it might have an initially favorable military impact. Bad leadership. Kennedy determined to "draw a line in the sand" and prevent a communist victory in Vietnam.S.000 troops based in Korea. 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.S. remained poor. in the long run. In 1961. The frequency of guerrilla attacks rose as the insurgency gathered steam. 1967 The quality of the South Vietnamese military. While Hanoi's support for the NLF played a role. He was against the deployment of American combat troops and observed that "to introduce U.S." Asked why he had made the comment. Johnson visited Saigon and enthusiastically declared Diem the "Winston Churchill of Asia. 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. Johnson replied. however. to James Reston of The New York Times immediately after meeting Khrushchev in Vienna. "Now we have a problem making our power credible and Vietnam looks like the place".
" By 1963. provide education and health care. The Strategic Hamlets. and strengthen the government's hold over the countryside. signed an agreement promising the neutrality of Laos. Huế Phật Đản shootings and Xa Loi Pagoda raids Main articles: Cable 243. The Strategic Hamlet Program had been initiated in 1961. Arrest and assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem. 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. In part. there were 16. Krulak Mendenhall mission. which left farmers paying high rents to a few wealthy landlords. South Vietnam. the Soviet Union. On 23 July 1962. Buddhist crisis. The aim was to isolate the population from the insurgents. in which a small band of Viet Cong beat off a much larger and better equipped South . were quickly infiltrated by the guerrillas. was in fact a communist agent who used his Catholicism to gain influential posts and damage the ROV from the inside. The government refused to undertake land reform. McNamara Taylor mission.S. including the People's Republic of China. fourteen nations.South Vietnamese program attempted to resettle the rural population into fortified camps. The peasants resented being uprooted from their ancestral villages. North Vietnam and the United States. a Diem favourite who was instrumental in running the program. 1963 South Vietnamese coup. 1960 South Vietnamese coup attempt. however.French as a colonial force in the area and bleed as the French did.000 American military personnel in South Vietnam. Corruption dogged the program and intensified opposition. 1962 South Vietnamese Independence Palace bombing. This joint U. up from Eisenhower's 900 advisors. this was because Colonel Pham Ngoc Thao. Coup and assassinations See also: Kennedy's role.
Ngo Dinh Diem after being shot and killed in the 1963 coup.. He was difficult to reason with. On 21 August 1963.. and a Catholic who had been promoted due to religion and fidelity rather than skill. many of whose officers seemed reluctant even to engage in combat. Cao had earlier vomited during a communist attack. officials began discussing the possibility of a regime change during the middle of 1963. while the Defense Department favored Diem. the ARVN Special Forces of Colonel Le Quang Tung. encouragement. There had also been reports of Buddhist pagodas being demolished by Catholic paramilitaries throughout Diem's rule. . 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. "Diem wouldn't make even the slightest concessions. 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. He seemed concerned only with fending off coups. The ARVN were led in that battle by Diem's most trusted General Huynh Van Cao. raided pagodas across Vietnam. The United States Department of State was generally in favor of encouraging a coup." 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. the Buddha's birthday. U. causing widespread damage and destruction and leaving a death toll estimated to range into the hundreds. and had become more paranoid after attempts in 1960.S. Chief among the proposed changes was the removal of Diem's younger brother Nhu. Diem's elder brother Ngo Dinh Thuc was the Archbishop of Huế and aggressively blurred the separation between church and state.S. 1962.S.Vietnamese force. commander of the IV Corps. This resulted in mass protests against discriminatory policies that gave privileges to the Catholic Church and its adherents. As Robert F. Thuc's anniversary celebrations shortly before Vesak had been bankrolled by the government and Vatican flags were displayed prominently. loyal to Diem's younger brother Ngo Dinh Nhu. and whose main job was to preserve his forces to stave off coups. Kennedy noted. Diem refused to make concessions to the Buddhist majority or take responsibility for the deaths. which he partly attributed to U. embassy in Saigon in Cable 243. This proposal was conveyed to the U.
 The CIA also ran the Phoenix Program and participation Military Assistance Command. The indigenous forces numbered in the tens of thousands and they conducted direct action missions. however. warning that "the Viet Cong by and large retain de facto control of much of the countryside and have steadily increased the overall intensity of the effort". chaos ensued. however. Maxwell Taylor remembered that Kennedy "rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face. The CIA was less optimistic. was hostile to any role for U. in which military engagements were not the main goal. forces in South Vietnam. as one military government toppled another in quick succession. The insurgency was a political power struggle. U. General Paul Harkins. ambassador to South Vietnam. which was originally named the Special Operations Group. Ambassador Lodge informed Kennedy that "the prospects now are for a shorter war". but was changed for cover purposes. They were. Hanoi took advantage of the situation and increased its support for the guerrillas. whatever the failings of Diem. Henry Cabot Lodge.S. efforts on pacification and "winning over the hearts and minds" of the population.The CIA was in contact with generals planning to remove Diem. almost completely ignorant of the political nature of the insurgency. President Diem was overthrown and executed.S military advisers were embedded at every level of the South Vietnamese armed forces.S. Paramilitary officers from the CIA's Special Activities Division trained and led Hmong tribesmen in Laos and into Vietnam. against the Communist Pathet Lao forces and their North Vietnamese supporters.S. the commander of U. The Kennedy administration sought to refocus U. each new regime was viewed as a puppet of the Americans. The military leadership in Washington. however. . The U." He had not approved Diem's murder. Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MAC-V SOG). along with his brother. advisers other than conventional troop training. invited the coup leaders to the embassy and congratulated them. confidently predicted victory by Christmas 1963. led by paramilitary officers. on 2 November 1963. Following the coup. They were told that the United States would not oppose such a move nor punish the generals by cutting off aid. his credentials as a nationalist (as Robert McNamara later reflected) had been impeccable. South Vietnam entered a period of extreme political instability. Increasingly. When he was informed.S.
." Lodge. there was persistent instability in the military as several coups—not all successful—occurred in a short space of time. 1964 South Vietnamese coup. September 1964 South Vietnamese coup attempt.) to expand the war. because of the recent coup against Diem. later recalled as "a model of lethargy. was made up of 12 members headed by General Duong Van Minh—whom Stanley Karnow." On 24 November 1963. "Vietnam at the time was no bigger than a man's fist on the horizon. Johnson (LBJ).S. Johnson had reversed Kennedy's disengagement policy from Vietnam in withdrawing 1. involvement in the Vietnam War." The pledge came at a time when Vietnam was deteriorating.. However. a journalist on the ground.. 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.000 troops by the end of 1963 (NSAM 263 on 11 Oct.). Gulf of Tonkin incident. especially in places like the Mekong Delta. as he took over the presidency after the death of Kennedy. with his own NSAM 273 (26 Nov. initially did not consider Vietnam a priority and was more concerned with his "Great Society" and progressive social programs. December 1964 South Vietnamese coup.Lyndon B. and 1965 South Vietnamese coup Lyndon B. Presidential aide Jack Valenti recalls. The military revolutionary council. frustrated by the end of the year. . 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. 1963–1969 A U..S. We hardly discussed it because it was not worth discussing. meeting in lieu of a strong South Vietnamese leader. Johnson said. with strength and determination. must be joined. Johnson escalates the war. "the battle against communism.
revealed that there was no attack on 4 August.500 in 1964." George C. 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 at the end of 1964. Johnson pledged that he was not ". rising rapidly to 16. however.. The circumstances of the attack were murky." The second attack led to retaliatory air strikes. writes Louise Gerdes. In the same month.An alleged NLF activist. It had already been called into question long before this. Lyndon Johnson commented to Undersecretary of State George Ball that "those sailors out there may have been shooting at flying fish.000 to nearly a million men. On 2 August 1964. A Marine from 1st Battalion...Between 1961 and 1964 the Army's strength rose from about 850. is interrogated. A second attack was reported two days later on the USS Turner Joy and Maddox in the same area. moves an alleged NLF activist to the rear during a search and clear operation held by the battalion 15 miles (24 ." The numbers for U. prompted Congress to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution." "From a strength of approximately 5. 3rd Marines.000 at the start of 1959 the Viet Cong's ranks grew to about 100. Herring argues. allegedly fired upon and damaged several torpedo boats that had been stalking it in the Gulf of Tonkin.000 in 1961. however. that McNamara and the Pentagon "did not knowingly lie about the alleged attacks. the USS Maddox. on an intelligence mission along North Vietnam's coast. 2.S. and gave the president power to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without declaring war. 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. captured during an attack on an American outpost near the Cambodian border.. troops deployed to Vietnam during the same period were quite different. "is an oft-cited example of the way in which Johnson misled the American people to gain support for his foreign policy in Vietnam. "Gulf of Tonkin incident"." An undated NSA publication declassified in 2005.
rockets and bombs.S. The worst is an airplane. As one officer noted "this is a political war and it calls for discriminate killing." The Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Curtis LeMay.. targeted different parts of the NLF and VPA infrastructure. Between March 1965 and November 1968.. army. response. Marine barracks at Pleiku.S. however. Other aerial campaigns. "Rolling Thunder" deluged the north with a million tons of missiles. The South Vietnamese military seemed incapable of providing security. This marked the beginning of the American ground war. These included the Ho Chi Minh trail. 3. The objective of forcing North Vietnam to stop its support for the NLF.. 1966 After several attacks upon them. air bases and the U.S. however. it was aimed at bolstering the morale of the South Vietnamese. Operation Flaming Dart (initiated when Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin was at a state visit to North Vietnam). Escalation and ground war 1965-02-08 Showdown in Vietnam. The best weapon. which ran through Laos and Cambodia. On 8 March 1965. 1965 Peasants suspected of being Vietcong under detention of U. 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. . As well. Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam. it was decided that U. On 2 March 1965.S. such as Operation Commando Hunt. which ultimately lasted three years..S. had long advocated saturation bombing in Vietnam and wrote of the Communists that "we're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age".km) west of Da Nang Air Base. The bombing campaign.ogv Play video Universal Newsreel film about an attack on U. following an attack on a U. Bombing was not restricted to North Vietnam. was never reached. U.S. The National Security Council recommended a three-stage escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam.S. Operation Rolling Thunder and Operation Arc Light commenced. Air Force bases needed more protection. would be a knife.500 U.
ARVN forces suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Bình Giã. we shall make peace and invite them to afternoon tea.public opinion overwhelmingly supported the deployment. that the situation was critical. troops with their energy. commander of U. the U. The U. however at Binh Gia they had successfully defeated a strong ARVN force in conventional warfare.S. If they want to make peace.500 in March was increased to nearly 200. Grant Sharp.S.S. Ho Chi Minh warned that if the Americans "want to make war for twenty years then we shall make war for twenty years. Jr. at the Battle of Đồng Xoài. Pacific forces. Commitment of U. Tellingly.S.. (and other free world) forces necessary to halt the losing trend by the end of 1965.S.S. Previously communist forces had utilized hit-and-run guerrilla tactics. The initial deployment of 3. military had long been schooled in offensive warfare.S. The policy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) was not to topple other noncommunist governments in South East Asia. in a battle that both sides viewed as a watershed. the primary goal of the war was to reunify Vietnam and secure its independence. Regardless of political policies. commanders were institutionally and psychologically unsuited to a defensive mission. General William Westmoreland informed Admiral U. The Marines' assignment was defensive." As former First Deputy Foreign Minister Tran Quang Co has noted. U. commitment became open-ended. "I am convinced that U. South Vietnamese forces were again defeated in June. By ignoring ARVN units.000 by December." With this recommendation. and firepower can successfully take the fight to the NLF [National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam]. and morale plummeted.S.S. U. U. In December. soldiers searching a village for NLF Desertion rates were increasing. He said. * Phase 2. In a statement similar to that made to the French almost two decades earlier. mobility. and allied forces mount major offensive actions to seize the . Westmoreland outlined a three-point plan to win the war: * Phase 1. Westmoreland was advocating an aggressive departure from America's defensive posture and the sidelining of the South Vietnamese.
and the Philippines all agreed to send troops. Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin with U. notably NATO nations Canada and the United Kingdom. New Zealand. 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." As a result. * Phase 3. As Stanley Karnow writes. however.. the Republic of Korea. If the enemy persisted. communicate this change in strategy to the media.S. but for one year 10 times. Attleboro. A huge surge in corruption was witnessed. however. training programs were shortened.S. The Ho Chi Minh Trail running through Laos." The American buildup transformed the economy and had a profound effect on South Vietnamese society.initiative to destroy guerrilla and organized enemy forces. This phase would end when the enemy had been worn down. The change in U. 1967 Washington encouraged its SEATO allies to contribute troops. "the main PX [Post Exchange]. The one-year tour of duty deprived units of experienced leadership. declined Washington's troop requests. Westmoreland predicted victory by the end of 1967. As one observer noted "we were not in Vietnam for 10 years. 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. Thailand. The opponents were locked in a cycle of escalation. . South Vietnam was inundated with manufactured goods. such as operations Masher. The idea that the government of South Vietnam could manage its own affairs was shelved. and driven back from major populated areas. located in the Saigon suburb of Cholon. Major allies. The U. Australia. Johnson at the Glassboro Summit Conference where the two representatives discussed the possibilities of a peace settlement. Johnson did not. Instead he emphasized continuity. and its allies mounted complex operations. President Lyndon B. policy depended on matching the North Vietnamese and the NLF in a contest of attrition and morale. was only slightly smaller than the New York Bloomingdale's.S.. thrown on the defensive.
decimating the ranks of the NLF. and South Vietnamese forces were initially taken aback by the scale of the urban offensive. the NVA and NLF broke the truce that had traditionally accompanied the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.S. mistrustful and indecisive. Although the U. in Huế where the battle was the fiercest. In the former capital city of Huế.S. Thieu. They launched the surprise Tet Offensive in the hope of sparking a national uprising. which led to the Battle of Huế. the combined NLF and VPA troops captured the Imperial Citadel and much of the city. Although they were nominally a civilian government. Tet Offensive Main article: Tet Offensive Having lured General Westmoreland's forces into the hinterland at Khe Sanh in Quảng Trị Province. after rigged elections. This ended a series of coups that had happened more than once a year. Ky was supposed to maintain real power through a behind-the-scenes military body. they responded quickly and effectively. a socalled credibility gap developed. the communist insurgents remained elusive and demonstrated great tactical flexibility. and Junction City. this policy damaged the public trust in official pronouncements. having won a one-man election in 1971. In 1967. . Thieu outmanoevred and sidelined Ky by filling the ranks with generals from his faction. As the media's coverage of the war and that of the Pentagon diverged. in January 1968. Thieu was also accused of murdering Ky loyalists through contrived military accidents. The Johnson administration employed a "policy of minimum candor" in its dealings with the media. remained president until 1975. Over 100 cities were attacked. Embassy. with assaults on General Westmoreland's headquarters and the U. Thieu became president with Ky as his deputy. Military information officers sought to manage media coverage by emphasizing stories that portrayed progress in the war. However. in mid 1965 at the head of a military junta.Cedar Falls. the American forces employed massive firepower. 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. Meanwhile. Throughout the offensive. However. Over time. General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. Saigon.
" Thus. Johnson's approval rating slumped from 48 to 36 percent." U. Johnson. It had a profound impact on domestic support for the conflict. firepower) that "it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it" (though the authenticity of this quote is disputed). and infused the.S. Tet "contradicted the claims of progress.. The offensive constituted an intelligence failure on the scale of Pearl Harbor.. saying of Bến Tre (laid to rubble by U. Marines fighting in Huế In November 1967 Westmoreland spearheaded a public relations drive for the Johnson administration to bolster flagging public support. which had been largely supportive of U.S. But the offensive had another. aims and responsibilities. unintended consequence.. rounded on the Johnson administration for what had become an increasing credibility gap. (who) directed the historic buildup.000). drew up the battle plans. efforts. this quote was attributed to Major Booris of 9th Infantry Division. the public was shocked and confused when Westmoreland's predictions were trumped by Tet. The American media. North Vietnamese officials acknowledged that the Tet Offensive had. indeed. who declined to run for re-election. men under him with his own idealistic view of U.S. 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. the Tet Offensive became a political victory and ended the career of President Lyndon B. Time described him as "the sinewy personification of the American fighting man. As James Witz noted. made by the Johnson administration and the military.. caused grave damage to NLF forces. Despite its military failure... He was featured on the cover of Time magazine three times and was named 1965's Man of the Year. After the war. During the interim between the capture of the Citadel and end of the "Battle of Huế".  ." The Tet Offensive was the turning point in America's involvement in the Vietnam War.that firepower left 80% of the city in ruins. According to one source. General Westmoreland had become the public face of the war.S. Journalist Peter Arnett quoted an unnamed officer. the communist insurgent occupying forces massacred several thousand unarmed Huế civilians (estimates vary up to a high of 6.
The Democratic candidate." Vietnamization. despite low expectations. As Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara noted.. (and) destroyed Johnson's presidency. his position had become untenable because of the offensive and because his request for 200." His refusal to send more U.000 additional troops had been leaked to the media. 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.000 American lives by the time he left office. On 10 May 1968. As historian Robert Dallek writes. It can be seen that the refusal was a tacit admission that the war could not be won by escalation..NLF/NVA killed by U. "Lyndon Johnson's escalation of the war in Vietnam divided Americans into warring camps. until Johnson gave orders to halt the bombing of North Vietnam. so that they could take over the defense of South Vietnam. Negotiations stagnated for five months. Vietnamization had . was to build up the ARVN. The move was technically a promotion. "the dangerous illusion of victory by the United States was therefore dead. 1969–1974. However.S. a commander less inclined to public media pronouncements. cost 30..S. His plan. Vice President Hubert Humphrey. called the Nixon Doctrine._1969–1975 and #Vietnamization. Westmoreland was succeeded by his deputy Creighton Abrams. air force personnel during an attack on the perimeter of Tan Son Nhut Air Base during the Tet Offensive Westmoreland became Chief of Staff of the Army in March. The policy became known as "Vietnamization".. Severe communist losses during the Tet Offensive allowed U. see Role of the United States in the Vietnam War#Vietnamization. President Richard Nixon to begin troop withdrawals.S. peace talks began between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. was running against Republican former vice president Richard Nixon. just as all resistance was finally subdued. troops to Vietnam was seen as Johnson's admission that the war was lost. at least not at a cost acceptable to the American people.
But revelations of the My Lai Massacre.S.much in common with the policies of the Kennedy administration. The civilian cost of the war was again questioned when U. "I am tonight announcing plans for the withdrawal of an additional 150. with better use of firepower and more cooperation with the ARVN. Kevin Buckley writing in Newsweek estimated that perhaps 5. Nixon also pursued negotiations. remained. he attempted to limit the scope of the conflict.S. Ho Chi Minh died at age seventynine.889 Communist guerillas with only 40 U.500 men in our armed forces in Vietnam below the level that existed when we took office 15 months ago. . Army platoon raped and killed civilians. losses.S.000 American troops to be completed during the spring of next year. This policy helped to decrease global tensions. While Kennedy insisted that the South Vietnamese fight the war themselves. Theater commander Creighton Abrams shifted to smaller operations. and the 1969 "Green Beret Affair" where eight Special Forces soldiers. One important difference. however. But Nixon was disappointed that the PRC and the Soviet Union continued to supply the North Vietnamese with aid.000 of the Vietnamese dead were civilians. 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. forces concluded Operation Speedy Express with a claimed bodycount of 10. Nixon said in an announcement. In September 1969. in which a U. Nixon also began to pursue détente with the Soviet Union and rapprochement with the People's Republic of China. The anti-war movement was gaining strength in the United States. including the 5th Special Forces Group Commander were arrested for the murder of a suspected double agent provoked national and international outrage. This will bring a total reduction of 265. aimed at communist logistics." On 10 October 1969. Détente led to nuclear arms reduction on the part of both superpowers. Nixon appealed to the "silent majority" of Americans to support the war.
S.. The country's borders were closed." In 1970.S. The topsecret history of U. American troops were being taken away from border areas where much more killing took place. Prince Sihanouk was deposed by his pro-American prime minister Lon Nol. which provoked public outrage in the United States. Four students were killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State University during a protest in Ohio. neutrality and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Under pressure from Washington. Operation Menu: the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos Main article: Operation Menu Prince Norodom Sihanouk had proclaimed Cambodia neutral since 1955. and instead put along the coast and interior. involvement in Vietnam. called Operation Menu. detailed a long series of public deceptions. .. forces and ARVN launched incursions into Cambodia to attack VPA/NLF bases and buy time for South Vietnam. providing additional impetus for the anti-war movement. Richard Nixon wrote to Prince Sihanouk in April 1969 assuring him that the United States respected "the sovereignty. This violated a long succession of pronouncements from Washington supporting Cambodian neutrality. while U. The invasion of Cambodia sparked nationwide U. In 1971 the Pentagon Papers were leaked to The New York Times. The Supreme Court ruled that its publication was legal. President Nixon took the opportunity to launch a massive secret bombing campaign. but the communists used Cambodian soil as a base and Sihanouk tolerated their presence. protests. because he wished to avoid being drawn into a wider regional conflict. which is one reason why casualties in 1970 were less than half of 1969's totals. The reaction to the incident by the Nixon administration was seen as callous and indifferent. however. The Vietnamese communists were no longer welcome. he changed this policy in 1969. commissioned by the Department of Defense.Beginning in 1970. against their sanctuaries along the Cambodia/Vietnam border.S.
S. Half of the invading ARVN troops were either captured or killed. 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 ..S. on 8 June 1972. U. with a deadline to remove another 45. center. After meeting resistance. They fled along roads littered with their own dead." In 1971 Australia and New Zealand withdrew their soldiers. soldiers abandoned their vehicles and attempted to barge their way on to American helicopters sent to evacuate the wounded. yet they had learned little. The VPA and NLF quickly overran the northern provinces and in coordination with other forces attacked from Cambodia. aircraft had to destroy abandoned equipment.The ARVN launched Operation Lam Son 719 in February 1971. The ostensibly neutral Laos had long been the scene of a secret war. As peace protests spread across the United States. including tanks. The (South Vietnamese) government's top officers had been tutored by the Americans for ten or fifteen years.. part of the Easter Offensive Vietnamization was again tested by the Easter Offensive of 1972. running down a road near Trảng Bàng. threatening to cut the country in half. troop withdrawals continued. The Nguyen Hue Offensive. many at training schools in the United States. U. it became clear that without American airpower South Vietnam could not survive. 1972 election and Paris Peace Accords Phan Thị Kim Phúc. As Karnow noted "the blunders were monumental.700. aimed at cutting the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos. When they ran out of fuel.000 troops by February 1972. But American airpower came to the rescue with Operation Linebacker. The last remaining American ground troops were withdrawn in August. Vietnam. disillusionment and ill-discipline grew in the ranks. The U. to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. a massive conventional invasion of South Vietnam. However. troop count was further reduced to 196. 1972. and the offensive was halted. Many ARVN soldiers clung to helicopter skids in a desperate attempt to save themselves. The operation was a fiasco and represented a clear failure of Vietnamization. ARVN forces retreated in a confused rout.S.
S. The offensive destroyed much of the remaining economic and industrial capacity of North Vietnam.S. campaigned on a platform of withdrawal from Vietnam. Simultaneously Nixon pressured Thieu to accept the terms of the agreement. Nixon ordered Operation Linebacker II. forces. like the Geneva Conference of 1954.. involvement in the Vietnam War. A cease-fire was declared across North and South Vietnam. George McGovern. Please improve this article and discuss the . On 15 January 1973. The Paris Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam" were signed on 27 January 1973. Nixon announced the suspension of offensive action against North Vietnam. noted Peter Church. "proved. The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. December 1972 To show his support for South Vietnam and force Hanoi back to the negotiating table. Hanoi demanded new changes. However. officially ending direct U. a massive bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong 18–29 December 1972. South Vietnamese President Thieu demanded massive changes to the peace accord. The negotiations became deadlocked. In October 1972. The war was the central issue of the 1972 presidential election. Operation Linebacker II. continued secret negotiations with North Vietnam's Lê Ðức Thọ. The agreement guaranteed the territorial integrity of Vietnam and. Nixon's National Security Adviser. The Paris Peace Accords stipulated a sixty-day period for the total withdrawal of U. threatening to conclude a bilateral peace deal and cut off American aid. the Nixon administration claimed that the North was attempting to embarrass the President. they reached an agreement.. to be the only one of the Paris Agreements which was fully carried out. POWs were released. Henry Kissinger. U..S. When North Vietnam went public with the agreement's details. Nixon's opponent. called for national elections in the North and South. "This article"." Opposition to the Vietnam War: 1962–1975 Globe icon.
(April 2010) U.S. One reason given for the withdrawal is that it would contribute to a lessening of tensions in the region and thus less human bloodshed.S. Many South Vietnamese subsequently fled to the United States. such as the 1968 My Lai Massacre. involvement in the Vietnam War Some advocates within the peace movement advocated a unilateral withdrawal of U. political opinion.issue on the talk page.S. The fatal shooting of four anti-war protesters at Kent State University led to nation-wide university protests. anticommunism. Riots broke out at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.S. Advocates of U. On 15 October 1969. South Vietnam was left to defend itself alone when the fighting resumed. capitalism itself. High-profile opposition to the Vietnam War turned to street protests in an effort to turn U. while Senator. Navy riverboat deploying napalm during the Vietnam War Main article: Opposition to the U. Some critics of U. some veterans joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War. withdrawal were generally known as "doves". the Vietnam Moratorium attracted millions of Americans. . brought new attention and support to the anti-war movement. Others. forces from Vietnam. withdrawal predicted that it would not contribute to peace but rather vastly increase bloodshed.S. John Kennedy. imperialism and colonialism and. forces remain until all threats from the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army had been eliminated. for those involved with the New Left such as the Catholic Worker Movement. Early opposition to U. opposed involvement in Vietnam. involvement in Vietnam was centered around the Geneva conference of 1954. Some wanted to show solidarity with the people of Vietnam. Antiwar protests ended with the final withdrawal of troops after the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973.S.S. These critics advocated U. American support of Diem in refusing elections was thought to be thwarting the very democracy that America claimed to be supporting. following nomenclature dating back to the War of 1812. Opposition to the Vietnam War tended to unite groups opposed to U. such as Stephen Spiro opposed the war based on the theory of Just War. and they called their opponents "hawks".S.  After explosive news reports of American military abuses.S. such as Norman Morrison emulating the actions of Thích Quảng Đức.
aid received just before the ceasefire went into effect. forces from Vietnam. Logistics would be upgraded until the North was in a position to launch a massive invasion of the South. [A 5] Under the Paris Peace Accords. bombings suspended. George McGovern's 1972 Presidential Campaign lost 49 of 50 states to Richard Nixon. which was the first American unit deployed to South Vietnam. But Saigon. military forces withdrew from South Vietnam and prisoners were exchanged. to its former base in Fort Bragg. North Vietnam was allowed to continue supplying communist troops in the South. With U. between North Vietnamese Foreign Minister Lê Ðức Thọ and U. Many U.S. according to the memoirs of Trần Văn Trà. U.S. troops were removed from the region.S. projected for the 1975–76 dry season.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". the United States returned the 5th Special Forces Group. Trà participated in several of these meetings.S. The communist leaders had expected that the ceasefire terms would favor their side. Map of the United States. but the Vietnamese negotiator declined it saying that a true peace did not yet exist. and reluctantly signed by South Vietnamese President Thiệu. work on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and other logistical structures could proceed unimpeded. . showing Nixon's victories in 49 states (red) over McGovern. North Carolina. Trà calculated that this date would be Hanoi's last opportunity to strike before Saigon's army could be fully trained.S. Calling for immediate withdrawal of U. The communists responded with a new strategy hammered out in a series of meetings in Hanoi in March 1973. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Later that year the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Kissinger and Thọ. and on 5 March 1971. but only to the extent of replacing materials that were consumed.S. began to roll back the Vietcong.  As the Vietcong's top commander. bolstered by a surge of U.
1-100% Republican 80. During his confirmation hearings in June 1973. the majority of Americans voted for Democratic Congressmen. ambassador to Vietnam. Public and congressional reaction to Nixon's trial balloon was unfavorable and in April Nixon appointed Graham Martin as U. ambassadors and his appointment was an early signal that Washington had given up on Vietnam. On 4 June 1973.S. president. 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. Despite supporting Nixon over McGovern.S. U. Schlesinger stated that he would recommend resumption of U. President Richard Nixon implied that the United States would intervene militarily if the communist side violated the ceasefire. Senate passed the Case-Church Amendment to prohibit such intervention. After two clashes that left 55 South . On 15 March 1973.1-80% Republican 60.S.In the 1972 Congressional Election. McGovern lost 49 of 50 states to Richard Nixon. many American voters split their tickets. The oil price shock of October 1973 caused significant damage to the South Vietnamese economy.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. the U.1-100% Democratic 60.S.S. Martin was a second stringer compared to previous U. Secretary of Defense James R. who was re-elected U.S. returning a Democratic majority to both houses of Congress. bombing in North Vietnam if North Vietnam launched a major offensive against South Vietnam.
gauge the reaction of South Vietnamese forces.S. Before . There had been over 25. 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. and determine whether U. Trà appealed over Giáp's head to first secretary Lê Duẩn. fell on 6 January 1975. the North Vietnamese defense minister. who approved of the operation. Congress cut financial aid to South Vietnam from $1 billion a year to $700 million. Congress refused. Ford desperately asked Congress for funds to assist and re-supply the South before it was overrun.S. President Thiệu announced on 4 January that the war had restarted and that the Paris Peace Accord was no longer in effect. On 13 December 1974.Vietnamese soldiers dead. Giáp. This time. reaction and interfere with the big push planned for 1976. Trà could travel on a drivable highway with regular fueling stops. Phuoc Binh. a vast change from the days when the Ho Chi Minh Trail was a dangerous mountain trek. At this time. The strike was designed to solve local logistical problems. Gerald Ford took over as U. would return to the fray.S. North Vietnamese forces attacked Route 14 in Phuoc Long Province. A larger offensive might provoke a U. The U. The fall of Phuoc Binh and the lack of an American response left the South Vietnamese elite demoralized.S. was reluctant to approve Trà's plan. midterm elections in 1974 brought in a new Congress dominated by Democrats who were even more determined to confront the president on the war. the provincial capital. 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.000 South Vietnamese casualties during the ceasefire period. It was decided that operations in the Central Highlands would be turned over to General Văn Tiến Dũng and that Pleiku should be seized. The speed of this success led the Politburo to reassess its strategy. Trà's plan called for a limited offensive from Cambodia into Phuoc Long Province. if possible. president on 9 August 1974 after President Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal.
troops. Much of the North's material and financial support came from the communist bloc. isolated units fought desperately. Thieu ordered a retreat. He argued that with two months of good weather remaining until the onset of the monsoon. Hanoi was surprised by the speed of their success.400 aircraft and a two-to-one numerical superiority in combat troops over their Communist enemies. However. and its forces collapsed on 11 March. If the town could be taken. the rising oil prices meant that much of this could not be used. The ARVN proved incapable of resisting the onslaught. it would be irresponsible to not take advantage of the situation.S. highly determined and well-funded North Vietnam. (May 2008) On 10 March 1975. the provincial capital of Pleiku and the road to the coast would be exposed for a planned campaign in 1976. They also had 1. The target was Buôn Ma Thuột. ARVN General Phu . South Vietnam suffered from the global recession that followed the Arab oil embargo." At the start of 1975. Campaign 275 This section needs additional citations for verification.S. financial support and the presence of a large number of U. While the bulk of ARVN forces attempted to flee. a former general. 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. But in what appeared to be a repeat of Operation Lam Son 719. a limited offensive into the Central Highlands. President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. there was increasing chaos. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.he left for the South. Once again. supported by tanks and heavy artillery. They faced a well-organized. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Within South Vietnam. was fearful that his forces would be cut off in the north by the attacking communists. the withdrawal soon turned into a bloody rout. Their abandonment by the American military had compromised an economy dependent on U. in Đắk Lắk Province. The president declared this to be a "lighten the top and keep the bottom" strategy. General Dung launched Campaign 275. Dung now urged the Politburo to allow him to seize Pleiku immediately and then turn his attention to Kon Tum. the South Vietnamese had three times as much artillery and twice the number of tanks and armoured cars as the opposition.
panic set in. With the northern half of the country under their control. the Politburo ordered General Dung to launch the final offensive against Saigon. and ARVN resistance withered. Final North Vietnamese offensive For more details on the final North Vietnamese offensive. Often abandoned by the officers. Civilians flooded the airport and the docks hoping for any mode of escape. As the North Vietnamese forces approached. in what became known as the "column of tears". see Ho Chi Minh Campaign. 35. The poor condition of roads and bridges. Thieu's contradictory orders confused and demoralized his officer corps. taking Nha . the soldiers and civilians were shelled incessantly. On 25 March. Vietnam's thirdlargest city. In the confusion. Hanoi wished to avoid the coming monsoon and prevent any redeployment of ARVN forces defending the capital. damaged by years of conflict and neglect. Some even swam out to sea to reach boats and barges anchored offshore. after a three-day battle. The operational plan for the Ho Chi Minh Campaign called for the capture of Saigon before 1 May. Northern forces. their morale boosted by their recent victories. As the ARVN tried to disengage from the enemy. the defense of the Central Highlands and Northern provinces came to an end. panic set in. refugees mixed in with the line of retreat. As resistance in Huế collapsed. As the North Vietnamese launched their attack.abandoned Pleiku and Kon Tum and retreated toward the coast.000 VPA troops were poised to attack the suburbs. On 22 March. and then changed his policy several times. rolled on. By 30 March 100. slowed Phu's column. be held at all costs. North Vietnamese rockets rained down on Da Nang and its airport. Thieu reversed himself and ordered Huế. On 20 March.000 leaderless ARVN troops surrendered as the VPA marched victoriously through Da Nang. By 1 April the "column of tears" was all but annihilated. By 28 March. the VPA opened the siege of Huế. With the fall of the city. The retreat degenerated into a desperate scramble for the coast. Huế fell. routed ARVN soldiers fired on civilians to make way for their retreat.
Fall of Saigon Main articles: Fall of Saigon and Operation Frequent Wind Chaos. U. who were outnumbered six to one. By 21 April. At the same time. the ARVN had collapsed on all fronts except in the Mekong Delta. severe fighting raged as the ARVN defenders made a last stand to try to block the North Vietnamese advance. unrest..S. With the air exit closed. Martial law was declared. Cam Ranh. and Da Lat. three North Vietnamese divisions attacked Xuan Loc. embassy compound. Thousand of refugees streamed southward. and panic broke out as hysterical South Vietnamese officials and civilians scrambled to leave Saigon.000 ARVN troops.Trang.S. promising military aid that failed to materialise. the exhausted garrison were ordered to withdraw towards Saigon. On 7 April. . Having transferred power to Tran Van Huong.S. and foreign nationals from various parts of the city and from the U.S. declaring that the United States had betrayed South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese met fierce resistance at Xuan Loc from the ARVN 18th Division. Operation Frequent Wind had been delayed until the last possible moment. The city was defended by about 30. To hasten a collapse and foment panic. he left for Taiwan on 25 April. large numbers of civilians found that they had no way out.000 North Vietnamese troops encircled Saigon. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had tricked him into signing the Paris peace agreement two years ago. he suggested U. For two bloody weeks. because of U. 40 miles (64 km) east of Saigon. An embittered and tearful President Thieu resigned on the same day. ahead of the main communist onslaught. the VPA shelled the airport and forced its closure. On 27 April 100. By the end of April. Ambassador Graham Martin's belief that Saigon could be held and that a political settlement could be reached. however. brushing aside isolated ARVN units along the way. North Vietnamese tanks had reached Bien Hoa and turned toward Saigon. In a scathing attack. American helicopters began evacuating South Vietnamese.
in an atmosphere of desperation. surrendered. as hysterical crowds of Vietnamese vied for limited space. as North Vietnamese tanks breached defenses on the outskirts of Saigon. urged the Viet Minh to accept a partition at the 17th parallel. South Vietnam was perceived as doomed.S. diplomatic. It began on 29 April. and at 11:30 a. Frequent Wind was arguably the largest helicopter evacuation in history. as civilians swamped the perimeter and poured into the grounds. primarily France. His surrender marked the end of 116 years of Vietnamese involvement in conflict either alongside or against various countries. But American public opinion had soured on this conflict. A tank crashed through the gates of the Independence Palace. and America. Saigon.Schlesinger announced early in the morning of 29 April 1975 the evacuation from Saigon by helicopter of the last U. In the early morning hours of 30 April. Britain. VPA troops overcame all resistance. Japan. the People's Republic of China extended diplomatic recognition to the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam and sent weapons. Marines evacuated the embassy by helicopter. China. fearing U. Other countries' involvement Pro-Hanoi People's Republic of China In 1950. intervention. Frequent Wind continued around the clock. Many of them had been employed by the Americans and were left to their fate. local time the NLF flag was raised above it. President Duong Van Minh. . quickly capturing key buildings and installations. aid. declaring an end to the Vietnam War and all U. who had succeeded Huong two days earlier. In the United States. and civilian personnel. Martin pleaded with Washington to dispatch $700 million in emergency aid to bolster the regime and help it mobilize fresh military reserves. The first draft of the 1954 Geneva Accords was negotiated by French Prime Minister Pierre Mendès France and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai who. the last U. as well as military advisors led by Luo Guibo to assist the Viet Minh in its war with the French.m. President Gerald Ford had given a televised speech on 23 April.S. military.S. Victorious NVA troops at the Presidential Palace. On 30 April 1975.S.
In the summer of 1962. and to perform other engineering works. China provided material and technical support to the Vietnamese communists worth hundreds of millions of dollars. the Chinese demanded North Vietnam cut relations with Moscow. This freed North Vietnamese army units for combat in the South. Chinese-supplied rice allowed North Vietnam to pull military-age men from the paddies and to impose a universal draft beginning in 1960. 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." These advance warning gave them . Moreover. The Soviet intelligence ships would pick up American B-52 bombers flying from Okinawa and Guam. COSVN using airspeed and direction would calculate the bombing target and tell any assets to move "perpendicularly to the attack trajectory.000 rifles and guns free of charge. China sent anti-aircraft units and engineering battalions to North Vietnam to repair the damage caused by American bombing. Their airspeed and direction would be noted and then relayed to COSVN headquarters. which occurred at Zhenbao Island in March 1969.China's ability to aid the Viet Minh declined when Soviet aid to China was reduced following the end of the Korean War in 1953. The Chinese also began financing the Khmer Rouge as a counterweight to the Vietnamese communists at this time. but Hanoi refused. China's withdrawal from Vietnam was completed in July 1970. Sino-Soviet relations soured after the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Starting in 1965. Vietnam responded with an invasion that toppled the Khmer Rouge. The Chinese began to withdraw in November 1968 in preparation for a clash with the Soviets. rebuild roads and railroads. In October. China launched a brief. Mao Zedong agreed to supply Hanoi with 90. a divided Vietnam posed less of a threat to China. The Khmer Rouge launched ferocious raids into Vietnam in 1975–1978. In response. punitive invasion of Vietnam in 1979.
artillery. They stayed through 1968. From July 1965 to the end of 1974. as well as more than 4. North Korea As a result of a decision of the Korean Workers' Party in October 1966. at least two anti-aircraft artillery regiments were sent as well. North Korea also sent weapons.500 officers and generals. 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. Over the course of the war the Soviet money donated to the Vietnamese cause was equal to 2 million dollars a day. ammunition and two million sets of uniforms to their comrades in North Vietnam. The Soviet Union supplied North Vietnam with medical supplies. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Fewer than a dozen Soviet citizens lost their lives in this conflict. Russian officials acknowledged that the Soviet Union had stationed up to 3. military schools and academies of the USSR began training Vietnamese soldiers — more than 10 thousand people.000 tanks. anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment. which were the first raiders shot down over Hanoi. arms.500 soldiers and sergeants of the Soviet Armed Forces.000 artillery guns. Some Russian sources give more specific numbers: the hardware donated by the USSR included 2.000 anti-aircraft guns. over 5. Kim Il-sung is reported to have told his pilots to "fight in the war as if the Vietnamese sky were their own". tanks. planes. and 200 pilots were reported to have served. because of the early warnings from 1968–1970 they did not kill a single military or civilian leader in the headquarter complexes.000 troops in Vietnam during the war.time to move out of the way of the bombers and while the bombing runs caused extensive damage.  In addition. fighting in Vietnam was attended by some 6. In addition. helicopters. Soviet crews fired USSR-made surface-to-air missiles at the B-52 bombers. 158 surface-to-air rocket launchers. Cuba . 7.
000 South Koreans were killed and 11.000 Viet Congs.560. Tiger Division. The first South Korean troops began arriving in 1964 and large combat battalions began arriving a year later. Indeed arguably. That there was at least a small contingent of Cuban military advisors present in North Vietnam during the war is without question. notably Vietnam War POW/MIA issue advocates. in what is known as the "Cuba Program". the communist Vietnamese and Cuban governments have not divulged any information on this matter. 1964 Lyndon Johnson requested South Korean participation. prisoners of war that Cuban military personnel were present at North Vietnamese prison facilities during the war. Some. however all were withdrawn by 1973.000 were injured during the war. and that they participated in torture activities.  Witnesses to this include Senator John McCain. South Korea had the second-largest contingent of foreign troops in South Vietnam after the United States. In November 1961. Presidential candidate and former Vietnam prisoner of war.000 dollars for their service in Vietnam. Australia and New Zealand .S. Pro-Saigon South Korea Further information: Republic of Korea Marine Corps#Vietnam War. and South Korean GNP increased five times during the war. and White Horse (military) On the anti-communist side. Maximum troop levels peaked at 50. is still a matter of debate. each serving a one year tour of duty.  Approximately 320. 2008 U.000 South Korean soldiers were sent to Vietnam. Park Chung Hee proposed South Korean participation in the war to John F. Kennedy. according to his 1999 book Faith of My Fathers. with the South Koreans soon developing a reputation for effectiveness. South Korea killed 41. There are numerous reports by former U. but Kennedy disagreed. 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. Then and since. United States paid South Korean soldiers 235. they conducted counterinsurgency operations so well that American commanders felt that Korean area of responsibility was the safest. Blue Dragon (military unit).000 in 1968. About 5. On May 1.S. under Fidel Castro.
Thailand Thai Army formations. saw action in South Vietnam between 1965 and 1971.450 Filipino troops were dispatched to South Vietnam. Both nations had gained experience in counterinsurgency and jungle warfare during the Malayan Emergency and World War II. They were primarily engaged in medical and other civilian pacification projects. Their governments subscribed to the Domino theory. These forces operated under the designation PHLCAG-V or Philippine Civic Action Group-Vietnam. and then started sending special forces and regular infantry which were attached to Australian formations. including the "Queen's Cobra" battalion. Philippines Some 10.000 wounded. of which 521 were killed and more than 3. losing 37 killed and 187 wounded.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. New Zealand began by sending a detachment of engineers and an artillery battery. More than 60. Approximately 3. Australia's peak commitment was 7.000 Australian personnel were involved during the course of the war. close allies of the United States and members of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the ANZUS military cooperation treaty.000 New Zealanders served in Vietnam. and combat troops were committed in 1965. who carried out reconnaissance activities on the western side of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. sent ground troops to Vietnam.672 combat troops and New Zealand's 552. Most Australians and New Zealanders served in the 1st Australian Task Force in Phước Tuy province. Australia began by sending advisors to Vietnam in 1962. Republic of China (Taiwan) Main article: Republic of China in the Vietnam War . Thai forces saw much more action in the covert war in Laos between 1964 and 1972. though Thai regular formations there were heavily outnumbered by the irregular "volunteers" of the CIA-sponsored Police Aerial Reconnaissance Units or PARU.
six days per week and often suffered from exhaustion. Canada and the ICC Main article: Canada and the Vietnam War Canada. At the start of the Vietnam War. Because the need for medical aid was great. Early in 1963. later known as the Lien Doi Nguoi Nhai (LDMN) or Frogman unit in English. which was supposed to monitor the 1954 ceasefire agreement. She died on June 8. women served on active duty doing a variety of jobs. Most nurses who volunteered to serve in Vietnam came from predominantly working or middle class families with histories of military service. Canada did not have partisan involvement in the Vietnam War and diplomatically it was "non-belligerent".Since November 1967. 1st Lieutenant Sharon Lane was the only female military nurse to be killed by enemy gunfire during the war. 1969. the Republic of China (Taiwan) secretly operated a cargo transport detachment to assist the United States and the ROV. Victor Levant suggested otherwise in his book "Quiet Complicity: Canadian Involvement in the Vietnam War" (1986). an intensive effort to recruit nurses to serve in Vietnam. it was commonly thought that American women had no place in the military. many nurses underwent a concentrated four-month training program before being deployed to Vietnam in the ANC  Due to the shortage of staff. but with the war came opportunity for the expansion of . the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) launched Operation Nightingale. In addition to the diving trainers there were several hundred military personnel. Military commandos from Taiwan were captured by communist forces three times trying to infiltrate North Vietnam. The majority of these women were white Catholics and Protestants. Women in Vietnam American nurses During the Vietnam War. Officially. Their traditional place had been in the domestic sphere. India and Poland comprised the International Control Commission. Taiwan also provided military training units for the South Vietnamese diving units. nurses usually worked twelve-hour shifts.
 Although a small number of women were assigned to combat zones.gender roles. Although this was not the women’s purpose. In Vietnam. women held a variety of jobs which included operating complex data processing equipment and serving as stenographers. They faced a plethora of challenges. Many Americans either considered female in Vietnam mannish for living under the army discipline. it was one positive result of the their service. (334) However. the Coast Guard removed all limitations on assignments based on sex. they were never allowed directly in the field of battle. approximately 7.500 women had served in Vietnam in the Southeast Asian theater.” (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. Vietnamese women fought in the combat zone as well as provided manual labor to keep the Ho Chi Minh . approximately one-third of women in the military felt that they had been sexually harassed compared with one-third of men. professional and well protected. and by the end of 1978. the ANC released advertisements portraying women in the ANC as “proper. While this high male to female ratio was often uncomfortable for women. Although female military nurses lived in a heavily male environment. In 2008. Vietnamese women Unlike the American women who went to Vietnam. very few cases of sexual harassment were ever reported. or judged them to be women of questionable moral character who enlisted for the sole purpose of seducing men. it was not until 1993 that Congress allowed women to serve in combat units in the air force. By 1973. Living in a male-dominated environment created tensions between the sexes. the military lifted the prohibition on women entering the armed forces. there are few cases that have been officially documented by the military. However. rather. women were gradually granted greater mobility within the military. To address this problem. In that same year. by contrast. one of which was the relatively small number of female soldiers. many men reported that having women in the field with them boosted their morale. The women who served in the military were solely volunteers. This does not mean that harassment never occurred. American women serving in Vietnam were subject to societal stereotypes. Women in the army today are still prohibited from serving in combat positions.
” which meant that a spent cartridge case remained lodged in the chamber after a bullet flew out the muzzle. Women were enlisted in both the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the VietCong guerrilla force in South Vietnam. With its 17-mile (27 km) range.Trail open. the . They played an important role in infantry support though there were few actual tank versus tank battles. Nguyen Thi Duc Hoan.S. The American M16. 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. 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. In the mid 1960s. 90mm M48A3 Patton tank tank saw extensive action during the Vietnam War and over 600 were deployed with US Forces. also joined the fight at a young age and would later become a guerrilla fighter against the Americans. Nguyen Thi Dinh was an example of a woman who had fought most of her adult life against foreign forces in her country. 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. the highest ranking combat position held by a woman during the war. The heavily armored.  The ubiquitous Soviet AK-47 was widely regarded as the best assault rifle of the war and it was not uncommon to see U. 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. they also worked in the rice fields to provide food for their families and the war effort. special forces with captured AK-47s. was considered more accurate and was lighter than the AK-47 but was prone to jamming. According to a congressional report. The M67A1 flamethrower tank (nicknamed the Zippo) was an M48 variant used in Vietnam. Oftentimes the gun suffered from a jamming flaw known as “failure to extract. which replaced the M14. who would later go on to be an actress-director. she became a deputy commander of the Viet Cong.
providing accurate fire in support of the U. Navy had the run of the coastline. B-10 recoilless rifle and B-11 recoilless rifle M14. It was countered by the long-range. A-6 Intruder. M1954 field gun M109 self-propelled howitzer. M551 Sheridan. The Vietnam War was the first conflict that saw wide scale tactical deployment of helicopters. air power was credited with breaking the siege of Khe Sanh and blunting the 1972 Communist offensive against South Vietnam. RPG-2. BTR-50. F-4 Phantom II. BM-21. multi-barreled 7.. MiG-17 A-4 Skyhawk. The Bell UH-1 Iroquois was used extensively in counter-guerilla operations both as a troop carrier and a gunship. Type North Vietnam. M50 Ontos. Strela 2. double and quad barreled variants) MIM-23 Hawk. In the latter role. M16. ZPU 14. V-100 Commando (Army Military Police / USAF Security Police) APCs/IFVs BTR-40. SKS. ZSU-57-2. the "Huey" as it became affectionately known. T-55. counter-offensive to retake the city. BTR-152. A-37 Dragonfly (U. M102 105mm howitzer. T-54. was outfitted with a variety of armaments including M60 machineguns. South Vietnam.5mm models 1. M41 Walker Bulldog (ARVN).S.S. M114 155 mm howitzer Aircraft MiG-21. F-105 Thunderchief. At sea. RPK. twin 57mm. M107 Self-Propelled Gun. & ARVN) Helicopters Mi-6.S. RPD. B-57 Canberra (RAAF). M55 Quad 50 (dual use weapon for AA as well as for engaging ground targets) Infantry weapons MAT-49.S. The United States had air superiority though many aircraft were lost to surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery. Centurion (Australian Army). Douglas AC-47 Spooky. F-100 Super Sabre. Viet Cong U. Mi-8 Cobra. using aircraft carriers as platforms for offshore strikes and other naval vessels for offshore artillery support. DShK HMG.S.S. & ARVN) Douglas A-1 Skyraider (U. U. M110 selfpropelled howitzer. BTR-60 APC's & BMP 1 IFV's M113 Artillery M1937 Howitzer. AK-47. Australia AFVs T-34/85. the U. and PT-76 tanks. D-30 (2A18) Howitzer.2 and 4 (numbers corresponding to single. Lockheed AC-130. Bell AH-1 AAW SA-3 Goa. SA-2 Guideline. Offshore naval fire played a pivotal role in the Battle for the city of Hue. Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. American 175mm M107 Self-Propelled Gun. MiG-19. The Hueys were also successfully used in MEDEVAC and search and rescue roles. A-7 Corsair. M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle. CH-54 Skycrane CH-47 Chinook. M1939 (61-K) 37mm. Bell UH-1 Iroquois.62mm Gatling guns and unguided air-to-surface rockets. RPG-7. CH-53. M79 grenade . M48A3 Patton tank.Soviet 130mm M-46 towed field gun was a highly regarded weapon and used to good effect by the NVA.
Laser-guided Phnom Penh. the Khmer Rouge enacted a genocidal policy that killed over one-fifth of all Cambodians.000 Lao refugees from Thailand. Over the next four years. Most Asian countries were unwilling to accept refugees.000 Hmong. fell to followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. Napalm Aftermath Events in Southeast Asia Main articles: Mayaguez incident. and boat people IEDs BLU-82 Daisy Cutter. and M40 recoilless rifle. commonly known as the Khmer Rouge. AGM-62 Walleye. AGM-12 Bullpup. L1A1 SLR (ADF). The two countries fought a brief border war. Owen Gun (ADF) Air-to-Air Missiles Vympel K-13 AIM-9 Sidewinder. In response. TOW. M60 machine gun. the capital of Cambodia. SinoVietnamese War. M2 Browning. AGM-78 Standard ARM. Vietnam. many as "boat people".000 ethnic Chinese left Vietnam by boat as refugees or were expelled across the land border with China. or more than a million people. and Cambodia. They established the Lao People's Democratic Republic. including 130.4 million refugees from Vietnam and other . on 17 April 1975. Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) and ousted the Khmer Rouge in the Cambodian– Vietnamese War. More than 3 million people fled from Vietnam. From 1975 to 1996. Zuni rocket Specialized weapons bombs.launcher. Democratic Kampuchea. some 450. From 1978 to 1979. China invaded Vietnam in 1979. Since 1975. The Pathet Lao overthrew the royalist government of Laos in December 1975. LAW. an estimated 1. Reeducation camp. the United States resettled some 250. known as the Third Indochina War or the Sino-Vietnamese War.  After repeated border clashes in 1978. AIM-7 Sparrow Air-to-Surface Missiles AGM-45 Shrike anti radiation missile. Laos. M18 Claymore antipersonnel mines.
but this was a different country.. but with those in Congress.Vietnam War. and objectives. strategies." Alternatively. while Canada. until we know the enemy and know our allies and know ourselves..S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote in a secret memo to President Gerald Ford that "in terms of military tactics. October 1967 In the post-war era.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... noted "first. It's very dangerous. Secondly. and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of allies. So. cultural... The.. We thought that we were going into another Korean War. A new humility and a new sophistication may form the best parts of a complex heritage left to the Army by the long. Yet in Vietnam the Army experienced tactical success and strategic failure. sustained bombing." 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." Doubts surfaced as to the effectiveness of large-scale. political. As General Maxwell Taylor. Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of the military intervention. the official history of the United States Army noted that "tactics have often seemed to exist apart from larger issues. and France resettled over 500. Effect on the United States Vietnam War protests at the Pentagon. and social factors always impinge on the military.. Who was Ho Chi Minh? Nobody really knew.. As .legacy may be the lesson that unique historical. And we knew less about North Vietnam. Australia.. understanding the enemy's strategy.." Even Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara concluded that "the achievement of a military victory by U." U. we'd better keep out of this kind of dirty business. we didn't know our South Vietnamese allies. bitter war in Vietnam.S.Southeast Asian countries have been resettled to the United States.000.. we cannot help draw the conclusion that our armed forces are not suited to this kind of war. one of the principal architects of the war. Even the Special Forces who had been designed for it could not prevail. we didn't know ourselves.
" As well. Krulak heavily criticised Westmoreland's attrition strategy. for example." Conscription in the United States had been controlled by the President since World War II.220 soldiers were killed. Ho Chi Minh is quoted as saying. there were 543." 2/5 Marine gets his wounds treated during operations in Hue City. The North's leadership was composed of hardened communists who had been fighting for independence for thirty years. 58.S.[A 2] more than 150. and their tenacity as both nationalists and communists was formidable. 1968 The Vietnam War called into question the U. "You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. James E. 86.000 American military personnel in Vietnam. Of those killed in combat.Army Chief of Staff Harold Keith Johnson noted.But even at these odds you will lose and I will win. some 1. "Sixty-one percent of those killed were age 21 or younger. with small likelihood of a successful outcome. They had defeated the French. Between 1965 and 1975. and at least 21." By war's end." Even General William Westmoreland admitted that the bombing had been ineffective. doubts surfaced about the ability of the military to train foreign forces.. calling it "wasteful of American lives.000 were permanently disabled. Army doctrine. More than 3 million Americans served in the Vietnam War. the United States spent $111 billion on the war ($686 billion in FY2008 dollars). it was that air power couldn't do the job. Westheider wrote that "At the height of American involvement in 1968.5 percent were black and . Marine Corps General Victor H.5 million of whom actually saw combat in Vietnam. "if anything came out of Vietnam. miscalculation.000 were considered combat troops. but only 80...3 percent were white. As he remarked." The inability to bomb Hanoi to the bargaining table also illustrated another U. 12..000 were wounded.S. but ended in 1973. "I still doubt that the North Vietnamese would have relented. According to Dale Kueter. This resulted in a large federal budget deficit.
United States President Jimmy Carter granted a full. most famously." Approximately 830.000 Vietnam veterans suffered symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. An estimated 125. Early in the American military effort it was decided that since the enemy were hiding their activities under triple-canopy jungle. the U. and approximately 50.000.S.000 Americans fled to Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft. Agent Purple. helicopter spraying chemical defoliants in the Mekong Delta. Air Force sprayed 20 million U.700. Between 1961 and 1967. the Kennedy administration authorized the use of chemicals to destroy rice crops. which were distributed in drums marked with color-coded bands. U.S. A prime area of Ranch Hand operations was in the Mekong Delta. military effort in Southeast Asia was the widespread use of chemical defoliants between 1961 and 1971. Corporations like Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto were given the task of developing herbicides for this purpose. service personnel listed as missing in action.S.000 L) of Agent Orange were sprayed over Southeast Asia during the American involvement.000 L) of concentrated herbicides . They were used to defoliate large parts of the countryside. These chemicals continue to change the landscape. Agent Green. which included dioxin as a by-product of its manufacture. The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue. About 12 million gallons (45.S. This was especially true of growth surrounding bases (both large and small) in what became known as Operation Ranch Hand.the remainder from other races. The defoliants. and. included the "Rainbow Herbicides"—Agent Pink. Chemical defoliation One of the most controversial aspects of the U. South Vietnam In 1961 and 1962. complete and unconditional pardon to all Vietnam-era Draft dodgers. Agent White.S. cause diseases and birth defects. and poison the food chain. a useful first step might be to defoliate certain areas.000 American servicemen deserted. where the U. In 1977. Agent Blue. Navy patrol boats were vulnerable to attack from the undergrowth at the water's edge. persisted for many years after the war's conclusion. gallons (75.S. concerning the fate of U. Agent Orange.
 The U. In 1965. respiratory cancers.000 km2) of crops and trees. As of 2006. Diabetes mellitus type 2. multiple myeloma. and spina bifida in children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange. thousands of Laotian and Thai irregulars.S. In some areas of southern Vietnam dioxin levels remain at over 100 times the accepted international standard.S. peripheral neuropathy.000. although the United States government denies any conclusive scientific links between Agent Orange and the Vietnamese victims of dioxin poisoning.ogg Play video Selection from a U. Army footage from 'Operation Baker' action by the 3rd BDE. 42% of all herbicide was sprayed over food crops. affecting an estimated 13% of South Vietnam's land. chloracne. porphyria cutanea tarda. or the Royal Lao Armed Forces. the defoliants were not considered weapons. since exposure to them did not lead to immediate death or incapacitation. selection shows U. or the fate of Laotian Royals and civilians after the Pathet Lao assumed complete power in Laos. Casualties Main article: Vietnam War casualties OperationBaker1967Vietcongaceofspades. B-cell lymphomas. or Laotian civilians who all perished in the conflict. Veterans Administration has listed prostate cancer. Some reports fail to include the members of South Vietnamese forces killed in the final campaign. .000 victims of dioxin poisoning in Vietnam. Another purpose of herbicide use was to drive civilian populations into RVN-controlled areas.S. Although there has been much discussion over whether the use of these defoliants constituted a violation of the laws of war. 25th Infantry Division.over 6 million acres (24. the Vietnamese government estimates that there are over 4. 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. softtissue sarcoma. 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.
suffered 1.000. The band Country Joe and the Fish recorded "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" / The "Fish" Cheer in 1965.000 wounded during Hanoi's conflict with the United States. Trinh Cong Son was a South Vietnamese songwriter famous for his anti-war songs. including the NLF. and War in popular culture The Vietnam War has been featured heavily in television.1 million dead and 600.In 1995.  The U. . video games. the Vietnamese government reported that its military forces. and economic reparations were demanded. and it became one of the most influential anti-Vietnam protest anthems. Vietnam War in games. Civilian deaths were put at two million in the North and South.000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war. Hanoi concealed the figures during the war to avoid demoralizing the population.S.000 to 182. Popular culture See also: Vietnam War in film. both anti-war and pro/anti-communist. film. The war also influenced a generation of musicians and songwriters in Vietnam and the United States.000 and 250. Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American bombing in Operation Rolling Thunder range from 52. and literature in the participant countries. military has estimated that between 200.