Vietnam war

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.[25] 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.[26] 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.[27] 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 After this, U.S. ground forces were withdrawn as part of a policy called Vietnamization.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.[28] 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[29] to more than three million.[30] Some 200,000–300,000 Cambodians,[17][18][19] 20,000–200,000 Laotians, [31][32][33][34][35][36] and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict.[A 2] Contents

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* 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.[37] 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.[38]

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.[39][40][41] 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).[42] 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.[43][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.[43]

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.[45] 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.[46]

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[47] 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).[48] Exploiting the administrative gap[49] 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. [50] Between 75 and 100 warehouses were consequently raided.[51] 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.[49]

In August 1945, the Japanese had been defeated and surrendered

000 in Hanoi. in exchange for French recognition of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as a "free" republic within the French Union. the major allied victors of World War II. The Creator has given us certain inviolable Rights: the right to Life. In French Indochina this created a power vacuum as the French were still interned and the Japanese forces stood down.[57] On March 6. 1946. Ho Chi Minh initially attempted to negotiate with the French who were slowly re-establishing their control across the country. all agreed the area belonged to the French. 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.[51] Following the party line from Moscow. The Việt Minh had recruited more than 600 Japanese soldiers and given them roles to train or command Vietnamese soldiers. he began his speech by paraphrasing the United States Declaration of Independence: All men are created equal. the leader of the Viet Minh.[51] As the French did not have the ships.[51] However.[52] After their defeat in the war. To further help the nationalists. the Viet Minh won elections across central and northern Vietnam. the major powers came to an agreement that British troops would occupy the south while Nationalist Chinese forces would move in from the north. declared the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam before a crowd of 500. the Japanese Army gave weapons to the Vietnamese.[61] British forces departed on 26 March 1946. the Japanese kept Vichy French officials and military officers imprisoned for a month after the surrender.[58][59][60] The French landed in Hanoi by March 1946 and in November of that year they ousted the Viet Minh from the city.unconditionally. leaving Vietnam in the hands of the French.[51] Nationalist Chinese troops entered the country to disarm Japanese troops north of the 16th parallel on September 14.[55] When the British landed in the South. with the specifics of such recognition to be determined by future negotiation.[62] Soon thereafter the Viet Minh began a .[53][54] On 2 September 1945. Ho Chi Minh signed an agreement allowing French forces to replace Nationalist Chinese forces. the United States and the Soviet Union.[51] Into this vacuum. weapons or soldiers to immediately retake Vietnam. 1945. and the right to achieve Happiness. the United Kingdom. the Viet Minh entered and grasped power across Vietnam in the "August Revolution"[51] (in large part supported by the Vietnamese population).[51] In an overture to the Americans. the right to be Free.[56] In January 1946. Ho Chi Minh.

Seventh Fleet carriers. The Viet Minh fight was hampered by a lack of weapons. the United States had supplied 300. 1950–1954 Main articles: First Indochina War and Operation Passage to Freedom In January 1950.[68] By 1954.S. the communist nations. the Cold War began in earnest.[70][71] One version of plan for the proposed Operation Vulture envisioned sending 60 B-29s from U. though how seriously this was considered and by whom are even now vague and contradictory.000 small arms and spent US$1 billion in support of the French military effort and was shouldering 80 percent of the cost of the war. The war spread to Laos and Cambodia where Communists organized the Pathet Lao and the Khmer Serei after the model of the Viet Minh.guerrilla war against the French Union forces. advise on strategy. beginning the First Indochina War.[66] PRC weapons. bases in the region. Non-Communist nations recognized the Frenchbacked State of Vietnam in Saigon led by former Emperor Bảo Đại the following month.[67] In September 1950.S. the United States created a Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) to screen French requests for aid. expertise.[63] Globally.[63] Exit of the French.[65] PRC military advisors began assisting the Viet Minh in July 1950.[64] 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. and train Vietnamese soldiers. led by the People's Republic of China (PRC). recognized the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam as the government of Vietnam. which meant that the rapprochement that existed between the Western powers and the Soviet Union during World War II disintegrated. to bomb Viet . supported by as many as 150 fighters launched from U.[69] There were also talks between the French and Americans in which the possible use of three tactical nuclear weapons was considered. 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. and laborers transformed the Viet Minh from a guerrilla force into a regular army.

Laos. gave this nuclear option his backing. Joint Chiefs of Staff. and reconnaissance flights over Dien Bien Phu were conducted during the negotiations. Of the 12. 1955 Vietnam was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel. a so-called "hawk" on Vietnam. the French Union garrison surrendered.000 French prisoners taken by the Viet Minh only 3000 survived. Admiral Arthur W.S. civilians were to be given the opportunity to move freely between the two provisional states for a 300-day period. PRC support in the Border Campaign of 1950 allowed supplies to come from PRC into Vietnam. Battle of Saigon (1955). and Vietnam. Chairman of the U. and under the terms of the Geneva Convention. convinced that the political risks outweighed the possible benefits. The Viet Minh received crucial support from the Soviet Union and PRC. but London was opposed. Eisenhower was very wary of getting the United States involved in a land war in Asia.S.[75] The Battle of Dien Bien Phu marked the end of French involvement in Indochina.Minh commander Vo Nguyen Giap's positions. and State of Vietnam referendum. suggested that the United States might have to "put American boys in". and B-47s could have executed a nuclear strike.[70] Vice president Richard Nixon.S. carriers sailed to the Gulf of Tonkin.[73] President Eisenhower made American participation contingent on British support. Ba Cut. B-36s. .[72] U. 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. intelligence estimates remained skeptical of French chances of success. U. Throughout the conflict.S. U. The plan included an option to use up to three atomic weapons on the Viet Minh positions.[73] In the end. and on 7 May 1954. The Viet Minh and their mercurial commander Vo Nguyen Giap handed the French a stunning military defeat. B-29s.[76] At the Geneva Conference the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh.[74] As an experienced five-star general. Operation Passage to Freedom. Independence was granted to Cambodia. Transition period Main articles: Geneva Conference (1954). as could carrier aircraft from the Seventh Fleet. Radford. Eisenhower decided against the intervention.

000 Vietnamese civilians moved from south to north.Elections throughout the country were to be held in 1956 to establish a unified government.[66] Around 52. mainly Catholic refugees were meant to give Diem a strong anti-communist constituency. in 1954. former Emperor Bảo Đại's State of Vietnam operated. he said. Diem (against U. with Ngô Đình Diệm (appointed in July 1954) as his prime minister.[77] Around one million northerners. 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.[83] The Viet Minh left roughly 5.S."[84] The last French soldiers were to leave Vietnam in April 1956. fearing persecution by the communists. advice) cleared the decks of any political opposition in the south by launching military operations against the .000 to 10.[80] It is estimated that as many as two million more would have left had they not been stopped by the Viet Minh. funded $93 million relocation program. President Dwight D.[78] following an American propaganda campaign using slogans such as "The Virgin Mary is heading south".[81] The northern.[79] and aided by a U. "How can we expect 'free elections' to be held in the Communist North?" Diem asked.S.S. In June 1955.[89][90] In April–June 1955. experts[88] when he wrote that. up to 130. South Vietnam had rejected the agreement from the beginning and was therefore not bound by it. In addition to the Catholics flowing south. Eisenhower echoed senior U.000 ‘Revolutionary Regroupees’.000 cadres in South Vietnam as a "politico-military substructure within the object of its irredentism. "80 per cent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh" over Emperor Bảo Đại. fled south.[86] 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. went north for "regroupment" expecting to return to the South within 2 years.[67] The PRC completed their withdrawal from North Vietnam at around the same time.[87] In the south.[85] In the north. mainly minority Catholics.[82] Diem later went on to staff his administration's key posts mostly with northern and central Catholics. which included ferrying refugees with the Seventh Fleet. Diem announced that elections would not be held.

[93] The ROV was created largely because of the Eisenhower administration's desire for an anti-communist state in the region. senator. was first proposed as policy by the Eisenhower administration. The . Diem declared the new Republic of Vietnam (ROV). Kennedy. 1955–1963 Main articles: Ngo Dinh Diem and War in Vietnam (1954–1959) President Dwight D. however."[96] As a wealthy Catholic. As broad-based opposition to his harsh tactics mounted.[94] It was. Diem was fervently anti-communist."[95] Rule See also: Ngo Dinh Diem presidential visit to Australia A devout Roman Catholic. The Geneva Conference. which argued that if one country fell to communist forces. that "Diem represented narrow and extremist nationalism coupled with autocracy and nepotism. with himself as president. nationalist and socially conservative. said in a speech to the American Friends of Vietnam: "Burma. the Hoa Hao sect of Ba Cut. Historian Luu Doan Huynh notes.S. John F. however.[91] In a referendum on the future of the State of Vietnam on 23 October. Thailand." Diem.[92] On 26 October 1955. Diem was viewed by many ordinary Vietnamese as part of the elite who had helped the French rule Vietnam. His American advisers had recommended a more modest winning margin of "60 to 70 percent. Diem rigged the poll supervised by his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and was credited with 98. Japan. the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam. Diem increasingly sought to blame the communists.Cao Dai religious sect.[91] Diem era. then a U. commonly hypothesized that it applied to Vietnam. and the Binh Xuyen organized crime group (which was allied with members of the secret police and some military elements). 1954 The Domino theory. then all of the surrounding countries would follow. and is still. Diem had been interior minister in the colonial government. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles greet President Ngo Dinh Diem in Washington. including 133% in Saigon. India. viewed the election as a test of authority.2 percent of the vote.

which had insisted in 1954 that the Viet Minh accept a division of the country. They knew little of the language or long history of the country. President Eisenhower pledged his continued support. which had enjoined them not to start an insurrection. Trường Chinh. about 12. and Diem warned that it was an illusion to believe that blindly copying Western methods would solve Vietnamese problems. North Vietnam's pro-PRC party first secretary. As a measure of the level of political repression. Although Diem was openly praised.[98] In May. tortured. Beginning in the summer of 1955. A parade in New York City was held in his honor. was demoted and Hanoi authorized communists in South Vietnam to begin a low level insurgency in December 1956.[97] Opponents were labeled Viet Cong ("Vietnamese communist") by the regime to degrade their nationalist credentials. but rather engage in a political . and were alarmed by actions such as his dedication of the country to the Virgin Mary. in private Secretary of State John Foster Dulles conceded that he had been selected because there were no better alternatives.majority of Vietnamese people were Buddhist. he launched the "Denounce the Communists" campaign.000 political prisoners had been jailed.[23] This insurgency in the south had begun in response to Diem's Denunciation of Communists campaign. imprisoned. in which thousands of local Viet Minh cadres and supporters had been executed or sent to concentration camps.[64] Insurgency in the South. 1957.[99] Robert McNamara wrote that the new American patrons were almost completely ignorant of Vietnamese culture.000 suspected opponents of Diem were killed in the years 1955–1957 and by the end of 1958 an estimated 40.[64] There was a tendency to assign American motives to Vietnamese actions. Diem instituted a policy of death penalty against any activity deemed communist in August 1956. 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. during which communists and other antigovernment elements were arrested. and was in violation of the Northern Communist party line. Diem undertook a ten-day state visit to the United States.

It is too easy to kill innocent bystanders with guns and bombs. and accidental killing of the innocent bystanders will alienate peasants from the revolution. Emphasize nationalism rather than communism. use a knife. [105] Village chiefs were Diem appointees from outside the villages and were hated by the peasantry for their corruption and abuse. Do not take land from a peasant.[100] Hồ Chí Minh stated. not a rifle or grenade. and the violence gradually increased. Do not antagonize anyone if you can avoid it. effectively replacing Trường. a communist leader who had been working in the South."[101] Soon afterward.[109] Observing the increasing unpopularity of the Diem regime. make sure peasants know why the killing occurred. that will lead to defeat. which made political violence punishable by death and property confiscation.[102][103] health workers.campaign. on 12 December 1960.[108] In January 1959.[107] The insurgency sought to completely destroy government control in South Vietnam's rural villages and replace it with a shadow government. Hanoi authorized the creation of the National Liberation Front as a . 20 percent of South Vietnam's village chiefs had been assassinated by the insurgents by 1958. Lê Duẩn. Once an assassination has taken place. South Vietnam enacted Law 10/59. such as schoolteachers. "Do not engage in military operations. Duẩn urged a military line and advocated increased assistance to the insurgency. North Vietnam supplied troops and supplies in earnest. If an assassination is necessary. This authorized the southern communists to begin large-scale operations against the South Vietnamese military. the North's Central Committee issued a secret resolution authorizing an "armed struggle". Four hundred government officials were assassinated in 1957 alone. returned to Hanoi to accept the position of acting first secretary. While the terror was originally aimed at local government officials. and the infiltration of men and weapons from the north began along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In May. Be selective in your violence. agitating for a free all-Vietnam election in accordance with the Geneva accords. it soon broadened to include other symbols of the status quo." This strategy was referred to as "armed propaganda.[104] and agricultural officials.)[106] According to one estimate.

"[112] In his inaugural address. As Kennedy took over.S. Lieutenant General Lionel C. Although Kennedy stressed long-range missile parity with the Soviets. Kennedy bitterly disagreed with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev when they met in Vienna over key U. support any friend.S. Europe and Latin America "loomed larger than Asia on his sights. 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. as Robert McNamara and others have noted. Successive American administrations. in order to assure the survival and success of liberty. a "significant part" of the population in the south supported the communists."[113] In June 1961. presidential election. meet any hardship.common front controlled by the communist party in the South. repression.[111] The communists thus had a degree of popular support for their campaign to bring down Diem and reunify the country. The aftermath of the Korean War created the idea of a limited war. John F.S. Kennedy's administration. McGarr. military advisory team. Although they were originally intended for use behind front lines after a conventional invasion of Europe. bear any burden.[64] Diem's paranoia. one major issue Kennedy raised was whether the Soviet space and missile programs had surpassed those of the United States. despite warnings from Eisenhower about Laos and Vietnam. Kennedy won the 1960 U.[110] According to a November 1960 report by the head of the U. Kennedy made the ambitious pledge to "pay any price. and incompetence progressively angered large segments of the population of South Vietnam. The Kennedy administration remained essentially committed to the Cold War .-Soviet issues. he was also interested in using special forces for counterinsurgency warfare in Third World countries threatened by communist insurgencies. 1961–1963 Main articles: Strategic Hamlet Program and Pham Ngoc Thao When John F. overestimated the control that Hanoi had over the NLF. During John F. oppose any foe.

adverse military consequences. in the long run. While Hanoi's support for the NLF played a role. corruption. would almost certainly lead to adverse political and. Kennedy determined to "draw a line in the sand" and prevent a communist victory in Vietnam."[117] Asked why he had made the comment. "Diem's the only boy we got out there. South Vietnamese governmental incompetence was at the core of the crisis. Vice President Lyndon B. Kennedy rejected the idea but increased military assistance yet again.S.000 troops based in Korea.[114] 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. Bad leadership. the construction of the Berlin Wall."[118] South Vietnam. forces in large numbers there today. had 50.[115][116] In May 1961. In 1961. Johnson replied."[99] Johnson assured Diem of more aid in molding a fighting force that could resist the communists. and political promotions all played a part in emasculating the ARVN. the U.foreign policy inherited from the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. The frequency of guerrilla attacks rose as the insurgency gathered steam. "Now we have a problem making our power credible and Vietnam looks like the place". troops be sent to South Vietnam disguised as flood relief workers.S. to James Reston of The New York Times immediately after meeting Khrushchev in Vienna.S. John Kenneth Galbraith warned Kennedy of the "danger we shall replace the . In April 1962. Kennedy's policy toward South Vietnam rested on the assumption that Diem and his forces must ultimately defeat the guerrillas on their own. [119] Kennedy advisers Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow recommended that U.S. 1967 The quality of the South Vietnamese military. Military Regions. credibility with its allies and his own reputation. and Kennedy faced a threepart crisis—the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. remained poor. Johnson visited Saigon and enthusiastically declared Diem the "Winston Churchill of Asia. while it might have an initially favorable military impact. and a negotiated settlement between the pro-Western government of Laos and the Pathet Lao communist movement. saying. however. He was against the deployment of American combat troops and observed that "to introduce U.

signed an agreement promising the neutrality of Laos. This joint U. 1960 South Vietnamese coup attempt. including the People's Republic of China.000 American military personnel in South Vietnam. Corruption dogged the program and intensified opposition. Huế Phật Đản shootings and Xa Loi Pagoda raids Main articles: Cable 243. 1963 South Vietnamese coup. 1962 South Vietnamese Independence Palace bombing. and strengthen the government's hold over the countryside. were quickly infiltrated by the guerrillas. The Strategic Hamlets.[121] The Strategic Hamlet Program had been initiated in 1961.[122] Coup and assassinations See also: Kennedy's role. Arrest and assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem. The government refused to undertake land reform. there were 16.French as a colonial force in the area and bleed as the French did. North Vietnam and the United States. In part.South Vietnamese program attempted to resettle the rural population into fortified camps. South Vietnam. up from Eisenhower's 900 advisors."[120] By 1963. Krulak Mendenhall mission. Buddhist crisis. this was because Colonel Pham Ngoc Thao. fourteen nations. in which a small band of Viet Cong beat off a much larger and better equipped South . The aim was to isolate the population from the insurgents. a Diem favourite who was instrumental in running the program. The peasants resented being uprooted from their ancestral villages. 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. On 23 July 1962. however. provide education and health care. McNamara Taylor mission. the Soviet Union.S. was in fact a communist agent who used his Catholicism to gain influential posts and damage the ROV from the inside. which left farmers paying high rents to a few wealthy landlords.

many of whose officers seemed reluctant even to engage in combat. The United States Department of State was generally in favor of encouraging a coup. Kennedy noted. and whose main job was to preserve his forces to stave off coups. "Diem wouldn't make even the slightest concessions. U. He seemed concerned only with fending off coups. 1962. encouragement. . and a Catholic who had been promoted due to religion and fidelity rather than skill. embassy in Saigon in Cable 243.S. and had become more paranoid after attempts in 1960. Ngo Dinh Diem after being shot and killed in the 1963 coup. He was difficult to reason with. officials began discussing the possibility of a regime change during the middle of 1963."[124] 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. 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. There had also been reports of Buddhist pagodas being demolished by Catholic paramilitaries throughout Diem's rule. the ARVN Special Forces of Colonel Le Quang Tung. Thuc's anniversary celebrations shortly before Vesak had been bankrolled by the government and Vatican flags were displayed prominently. while the Defense Department favored Diem. Diem's elder brother Ngo Dinh Thuc was the Archbishop of Huế and aggressively blurred the separation between church and state. commander of the IV Corps. the Buddha's birthday. This proposal was conveyed to the U.S. Diem refused to make concessions to the Buddhist majority or take responsibility for the deaths. As Robert F.[123] The ARVN were led in that battle by Diem's most trusted General Huynh Van Cao. causing widespread damage and destruction and leaving a death toll estimated to range into the hundreds.. On 21 August 1963.Vietnamese force.. Chief among the proposed changes was the removal of Diem's younger brother Nhu.S. 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. This resulted in mass protests against discriminatory policies that gave privileges to the Catholic Church and its adherents. raided pagodas across Vietnam. which he partly attributed to U. Cao had earlier vomited during a communist attack. loyal to Diem's younger brother Ngo Dinh Nhu.

forces in South Vietnam. confidently predicted victory by Christmas 1963. The indigenous forces numbered in the tens of thousands and they conducted direct action missions. however.S military advisers were embedded at every level of the South Vietnamese armed forces.The CIA was in contact with generals planning to remove Diem.S. whatever the failings of Diem. in which military engagements were not the main goal. chaos ensued.S. however. President Diem was overthrown and executed. They were. When he was informed. against the Communist Pathet Lao forces and their North Vietnamese supporters. was hostile to any role for U. on 2 November 1963. Increasingly. The military leadership in Washington. ambassador to South Vietnam. South Vietnam entered a period of extreme political instability. 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".S.S. They were told that the United States would not oppose such a move nor punish the generals by cutting off aid. led by paramilitary officers.[130] The CIA was less optimistic. almost completely ignorant of the political nature of the insurgency.[127] U. which was originally named the Special Operations Group. advisers other than conventional troop training."[125] He had not approved Diem's murder. Hanoi took advantage of the situation and increased its support for the guerrillas. however. The insurgency was a political power struggle.[133] . The U. the commander of U.[129] General Paul Harkins. but was changed for cover purposes. as one military government toppled another in quick succession. his credentials as a nationalist (as Robert McNamara later reflected) had been impeccable. along with his brother.[131] Paramilitary officers from the CIA's Special Activities Division trained and led Hmong tribesmen in Laos and into Vietnam. Maxwell Taylor remembered that Kennedy "rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face. efforts on pacification and "winning over the hearts and minds" of the population. Ambassador Lodge informed Kennedy that "the prospects now are for a shorter war".[132] The CIA also ran the Phoenix Program and participation Military Assistance Command. Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MAC-V SOG).[126] Following the coup. Henry Cabot Lodge. each new regime was viewed as a puppet of the Americans.[128] The Kennedy administration sought to refocus U. invited the coup leaders to the embassy and congratulated them.

a journalist on the ground. The military revolutionary council.. 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. 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. "the battle against communism. 1963–1969 A U."[134][135] On 24 November 1963. . Presidential aide Jack Valenti recalls. there was persistent instability in the military as several coups—not all successful—occurred in a short space of time..[137] Johnson had reversed Kennedy's disengagement policy from Vietnam in withdrawing 1..[138] with his own NSAM 273 (26 Nov. later recalled as "a model of lethargy. Gulf of Tonkin incident. especially in places like the Mekong Delta.)[139][140] to expand the war. involvement in the Vietnam War. Johnson said. meeting in lieu of a strong South Vietnamese leader.. September 1964 South Vietnamese coup attempt.[142] However.S."[136] The pledge came at a time when Vietnam was deteriorating."[141] Lodge.S. Johnson (LBJ). frustrated by the end of the year. We hardly discussed it because it was not worth discussing.Lyndon B. 1964 South Vietnamese coup. December 1964 South Vietnamese coup. with strength and determination. because of the recent coup against Diem. must be joined. as he took over the presidency after the death of Kennedy. was made up of 12 members headed by General Duong Van Minh—whom Stanley Karnow.). "Vietnam at the time was no bigger than a man's fist on the horizon. initially did not consider Vietnam a priority and was more concerned with his "Great Society" and progressive social programs. and 1965 South Vietnamese coup Lyndon B. Johnson escalates the war.

"[148] "From a strength of approximately 5. is interrogated.[146] It had already been called into question long before this. "Gulf of Tonkin incident".. that McNamara and the Pentagon "did not knowingly lie about the alleged attacks.000 to nearly a million men. "is an oft-cited example of the way in which Johnson misled the American people to gain support for his foreign policy in Vietnam.000 in 1961. however. 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. however. on an intelligence mission along North Vietnam's coast. 2. troops deployed to Vietnam during the same period were quite different."[144] The second attack led to retaliatory air strikes. 3rd Marines. captured during an attack on an American outpost near the Cambodian border."[145] An undated NSA publication declassified in 2005."[147] George C.An alleged NLF activist. The circumstances of the attack were murky. the USS Maddox.[149] A Marine from 1st Battalion. Lyndon Johnson commented to Undersecretary of State George Ball that "those sailors out there may have been shooting at flying fish.. moves an alleged NLF activist to the rear during a search and clear operation held by the battalion 15 miles (24 . Herring argues.. writes Louise Gerdes.S. rising rapidly to 16. Johnson pledged that he was not ".000 at the start of 1959 the Viet Cong's ranks grew to about 100. and gave the president power to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without declaring war. In the same month. On 2 August 1964. 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.[143] A second attack was reported two days later on the USS Turner Joy and Maddox in the same area."[128] The numbers for U.500 in 1964. prompted Congress to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.Between 1961 and 1964 the Army's strength rose from about 850.. allegedly fired upon and damaged several torpedo boats that had been stalking it in the Gulf of Tonkin.000 at the end of 1964. revealed that there was no attack on 4 August.

1965 Peasants suspected of being Vietcong under detention of U.500 U. following an attack on a U.S. U. As well. which ultimately lasted three years.[150] Operation Flaming Dart (initiated when Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin was at a state visit to North Vietnam). On 2 March 1965.ogv Play video Universal Newsreel film about an attack on U. was never reached..S. rockets and bombs.S. it was aimed at bolstering the morale of the South Vietnamese. which ran through Laos and Cambodia. however. it was decided that U. The National Security Council recommended a three-stage escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam.. army. Air Force bases needed more protection. 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.S. The worst is an airplane. .[151] The bombing campaign. Marine barracks at Pleiku. Operation Rolling Thunder and Operation Arc Light commenced.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". The objective of forcing North Vietnam to stop its support for the NLF. This marked the beginning of the American ground war. The best weapon. Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam. On 8 March 1965.km) west of Da Nang Air Base..[153] Bombing was not restricted to North Vietnam. 3."[154] The Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Curtis LeMay. These included the Ho Chi Minh trail. response.. air bases and the U. such as Operation Commando Hunt.[155] Escalation and ground war 1965-02-08 Showdown in Vietnam. The South Vietnamese military seemed incapable of providing security.[152] Between March 1965 and November 1968.S. would be a knife. however. "Rolling Thunder" deluged the north with a million tons of missiles.S. As one officer noted "this is a political war and it calls for discriminate killing. 1966 After several attacks upon them. targeted different parts of the NLF and VPA infrastructure. Other aerial campaigns.

"I am convinced that U. military had long been schooled in offensive warfare.public opinion overwhelmingly supported the deployment.S.[159] In December. The initial deployment of 3.[162] U. Commitment of U. South Vietnamese forces were again defeated in June. commitment became open-ended. U. at the Battle of Đồng Xoài.S. troops with their energy.S. soldiers searching a village for NLF Desertion rates were increasing. Grant Sharp.S. If they want to make peace. commanders were institutionally and psychologically unsuited to a defensive mission. The policy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) was not to topple other noncommunist governments in South East Asia. By ignoring ARVN units.S. ARVN forces suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Bình Giã. however at Binh Gia they had successfully defeated a strong ARVN force in conventional warfare."[157] As former First Deputy Foreign Minister Tran Quang Co has noted.S. Pacific forces. Ho Chi Minh warned that if the Americans "want to make war for twenty years then we shall make war for twenty years.[156] In a statement similar to that made to the French almost two decades earlier. the U. U.[159] The U. mobility.[158] The Marines' assignment was defensive.[161] Tellingly. commander of U. and allied forces mount major offensive actions to seize the . (and other free world) forces necessary to halt the losing trend by the end of 1965.S. Westmoreland was advocating an aggressive departure from America's defensive posture and the sidelining of the South Vietnamese.[164] Westmoreland outlined a three-point plan to win the war: * Phase 1."[163] With this recommendation.[159] He said.. we shall make peace and invite them to afternoon tea. * Phase 2.S. and firepower can successfully take the fight to the NLF [National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam].500 in March was increased to nearly 200. and morale plummeted. that the situation was critical. the primary goal of the war was to reunify Vietnam and secure its independence. General William Westmoreland informed Admiral U. Jr.S.000 by December. Previously communist forces had utilized hit-and-run guerrilla tactics.[160] in a battle that both sides viewed as a watershed. Regardless of political policies.

"the main PX [Post Exchange]. South Vietnam was inundated with manufactured goods. however. This phase would end when the enemy had been worn down. The Ho Chi Minh Trail running through Laos. Thailand. A huge surge in corruption was witnessed. As Stanley Karnow writes. declined Washington's troop requests. * Phase 3. New Zealand."[169] The American buildup transformed the economy and had a profound effect on South Vietnamese society. and its allies mounted complex operations. and driven back from major populated areas.[165] 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. Attleboro. 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. notably NATO nations Canada and the United Kingdom. communicate this change in strategy to the media. the Republic of Korea. such as operations Masher.. Instead he emphasized continuity. Major allies. If the enemy persisted. The opponents were locked in a cycle of escalation. and the Philippines[170] all agreed to send troops.S.. The one-year tour of duty deprived units of experienced leadership. 1967 Washington encouraged its SEATO allies to contribute troops.[171] The U. thrown on the defensive. located in the Saigon suburb of Cholon. As one observer noted "we were not in Vietnam for 10 years. President Lyndon B.[166] Johnson did not. Australia. Westmoreland predicted victory by the end of 1967. training programs were shortened.[167] The change in U. however."[154] As a result.[168] Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin with U. but for one year 10 times.[168] The idea that the government of South Vietnam could manage its own affairs was shelved.initiative to destroy guerrilla and organized enemy forces.S. . was only slightly smaller than the New York Bloomingdale's.S. policy depended on matching the North Vietnamese and the NLF in a contest of attrition and morale. Johnson at the Glassboro Summit Conference where the two representatives discussed the possibilities of a peace settlement.

Thieu. and South Vietnamese forces were initially taken aback by the scale of the urban offensive. the American forces employed massive firepower. However. In the former capital city of Huế. in mid 1965 at the head of a military junta.S. Although the U. In 1967. which led to the Battle of Huế. decimating the ranks of the NLF. . Thieu became president with Ky as his deputy. after rigged elections. Ky was supposed to maintain real power through a behind-the-scenes military body. Throughout the offensive. However. having won a one-man election in 1971.[173] Tet Offensive Main article: Tet Offensive Having lured General Westmoreland's forces into the hinterland at Khe Sanh in Quảng Trị Province. As the media's coverage of the war and that of the Pentagon diverged. They launched the surprise Tet Offensive in the hope of sparking a national uprising. a socalled credibility gap developed. the communist insurgents remained elusive and demonstrated great tactical flexibility. Embassy. 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. in Huế where the battle was the fiercest. Over 100 cities were attacked. Thieu was also accused of murdering Ky loyalists through contrived military accidents. with assaults on General Westmoreland's headquarters and the U.S. remained president until 1975. Thieu outmanoevred and sidelined Ky by filling the ranks with generals from his faction. the combined NLF and VPA troops captured the Imperial Citadel and much of the city.Cedar Falls. General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu. mistrustful and indecisive.[172] The Johnson administration employed a "policy of minimum candor"[173] in its dealings with the media. this policy damaged the public trust in official pronouncements. and Junction City. Military information officers sought to manage media coverage by emphasizing stories that portrayed progress in the war. This ended a series of coups that had happened more than once a year. Saigon. they responded quickly and effectively.[174] in January 1968. Over time. the NVA and NLF broke the truce that had traditionally accompanied the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday. Although they were nominally a civilian government.

. The offensive constituted an intelligence failure on the scale of Pearl Harbor. this quote was attributed to Major Booris of 9th Infantry Division. After the war.S. Johnson. caused grave damage to NLF forces. Johnson's approval rating slumped from 48 to 36 percent.."[176] U.[170][179] 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. (who) directed the historic buildup. He was featured on the cover of Time magazine three times and was named 1965's Man of the Year. drew up the battle plans.[176] Time described him as "the sinewy personification of the American fighting man. Marines fighting in Huế In November 1967 Westmoreland spearheaded a public relations drive for the Johnson administration to bolster flagging public support.[181] According to one source.[177] 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.[177] As James Witz noted."[177] The Tet Offensive was the turning point in America's involvement in the Vietnam War. men under him with his own idealistic view of U. It had a profound impact on domestic support for the conflict. the Tet Offensive became a political victory and ended the career of President Lyndon B. firepower)[180] that "it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it" (though the authenticity of this quote is disputed).000). [182] ."[178] Thus.. who declined to run for re-election. saying of Bến Tre (laid to rubble by U. aims and responsibilities.[177] The American media.S. North Vietnamese officials acknowledged that the Tet Offensive had. rounded on the Johnson administration for what had become an increasing credibility gap. But the offensive had another. General Westmoreland had become the public face of the war. the public was shocked and confused when Westmoreland's predictions were trumped by Tet. efforts. and infused the.. unintended consequence.[175] During the interim between the capture of the Citadel and end of the "Battle of Huế". made by the Johnson administration and the military. indeed.. Despite its military failure.that firepower left 80% of the city in ruins. Tet "contradicted the claims of progress. which had been largely supportive of U..S.S.

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. As historian Robert Dallek writes. President Richard Nixon to begin troop withdrawals.S.. until Johnson gave orders to halt the bombing of North Vietnam.000 additional troops had been leaked to the media.[183] On 10 May 1968.NLF/NVA killed by U. Negotiations stagnated for five months. 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. at least not at a cost acceptable to the American people."[186] Vietnamization. Westmoreland was succeeded by his deputy Creighton Abrams.[185] It can be seen that the refusal was a tacit admission that the war could not be won by escalation. cost 30. his position had become untenable because of the offensive and because his request for 200. Vietnamization had ... The policy became known as "Vietnamization". peace talks began between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. called the Nixon Doctrine.S.S._1969–1975 and #Vietnamization. However.[185] As Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara noted. The move was technically a promotion. His plan. just as all resistance was finally subdued. Severe communist losses during the Tet Offensive allowed U."[184] His refusal to send more U. troops to Vietnam was seen as Johnson's admission that the war was lost. so that they could take over the defense of South Vietnam. was to build up the ARVN. was running against Republican former vice president Richard Nixon.. "Lyndon Johnson's escalation of the war in Vietnam divided Americans into warring camps. despite low expectations. (and) destroyed Johnson's presidency.000 American lives by the time he left office. "the dangerous illusion of victory by the United States was therefore dead. see Role of the United States in the Vietnam War#Vietnamization. The Democratic candidate. Vice President Hubert Humphrey. 1969–1974. a commander less inclined to public media pronouncements.

including the 5th Special Forces Group Commander were arrested for the murder[189] of a suspected double agent[190] provoked national and international outrage. One important difference. losses.S.much in common with the policies of the Kennedy administration. aimed at communist logistics. In September 1969."[187] On 10 October 1969. Nixon said in an announcement. The civilian cost of the war was again questioned when U. 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. however.000 of the Vietnamese dead were civilians. and the 1969 "Green Beret Affair" where eight Special Forces soldiers.[188] The anti-war movement was gaining strength in the United States. Theater commander Creighton Abrams shifted to smaller operations.[191] .889 Communist guerillas with only 40 U. Nixon also began to pursue détente with the Soviet Union and rapprochement with the People's Republic of China. This policy helped to decrease global tensions. Kevin Buckley writing in Newsweek estimated that perhaps 5. he attempted to limit the scope of the conflict. "I am tonight announcing plans for the withdrawal of an additional 150. While Kennedy insisted that the South Vietnamese fight the war themselves. Détente led to nuclear arms reduction on the part of both superpowers.S. But Nixon was disappointed that the PRC and the Soviet Union continued to supply the North Vietnamese with aid. forces concluded Operation Speedy Express with a claimed bodycount of 10. But revelations of the My Lai Massacre. in which a U. Nixon appealed to the "silent majority" of Americans to support the war. Nixon also pursued negotiations. Army platoon raped and killed civilians.500 men in our armed forces in Vietnam below the level that existed when we took office 15 months ago. with better use of firepower and more cooperation with the ARVN.S. This will bring a total reduction of 265. Ho Chi Minh died at age seventynine. remained.000 American troops to be completed during the spring of next year.

[194] In 1971 the Pentagon Papers were leaked to The New York Times.[187] Operation Menu: the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos Main article: Operation Menu Prince Norodom Sihanouk had proclaimed Cambodia neutral since 1955. The reaction to the incident by the Nixon administration was seen as callous and indifferent.. detailed a long series of public deceptions. The invasion of Cambodia sparked nationwide U.S. American troops were being taken away from border areas where much more killing took place. The Supreme Court ruled that its publication was legal.S.S. called Operation Menu. This violated a long succession of pronouncements from Washington supporting Cambodian neutrality. which provoked public outrage in the United States. and instead put along the coast and interior. Richard Nixon wrote to Prince Sihanouk in April 1969 assuring him that the United States respected "the sovereignty. which is one reason why casualties in 1970 were less than half of 1969's totals. against their sanctuaries along the Cambodia/Vietnam border. protests. Under pressure from Washington.[195] . neutrality and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The country's borders were closed."[193] In 1970. forces and ARVN launched incursions into Cambodia to attack VPA/NLF bases and buy time for South Vietnam.Beginning in 1970. President Nixon took the opportunity to launch a massive secret bombing campaign. however. The Vietnamese communists were no longer welcome. he changed this policy in 1969. providing additional impetus for the anti-war movement. commissioned by the Department of Defense. while U. The topsecret history of U. involvement in Vietnam. Prince Sihanouk was deposed by his pro-American prime minister Lon Nol. Four students were killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State University during a protest in Ohio.[192] but the communists used Cambodian soil as a base and Sihanouk tolerated their presence. because he wished to avoid being drawn into a wider regional conflict..

a massive conventional invasion of South Vietnam. But American airpower came to the rescue with Operation Linebacker. As peace protests spread across the United States. with a deadline to remove another 45. disillusionment and ill-discipline grew in the ranks. The last remaining American ground troops were withdrawn in August."[196] In 1971 Australia and New Zealand withdrew their soldiers. yet they had learned little. aimed at cutting the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos. 1972 election and Paris Peace Accords Phan Thị Kim Phúc. 1972.S. many at training schools in the United States. troop count was further reduced to 196. Many ARVN soldiers clung to helicopter skids in a desperate attempt to save themselves.S. soldiers abandoned their vehicles and attempted to barge their way on to American helicopters sent to evacuate the wounded. As Karnow noted "the blunders were monumental. The operation was a fiasco and represented a clear failure of Vietnamization. and the offensive was halted. to prevent them from falling into enemy hands.. troop withdrawals continued. The VPA and NLF quickly overran the northern provinces and in coordination with other forces attacked from Cambodia. after a napalm bomb was dropped on the village of Trảng Bàng by a plane of the Vietnam Air Force Photo: Nick Ut / The Associated Press . U. threatening to cut the country in half. aircraft had to destroy abandoned equipment. However.[122] The ostensibly neutral Laos had long been the scene of a secret war. Half of the invading ARVN troops were either captured or killed. running down a road near Trảng Bàng. The U.000 troops by February 1972. The (South Vietnamese) government's top officers had been tutored by the Americans for ten or fifteen years. After meeting resistance.. They fled along roads littered with their own dead. it became clear that without American airpower South Vietnam could not survive. including tanks. When they ran out of fuel.[197] The Nguyen Hue Offensive.700. U. ARVN forces retreated in a confused rout. Vietnam. center. on 8 June 1972. part of the Easter Offensive Vietnamization was again tested by the Easter Offensive of 1972.S.The ARVN launched Operation Lam Son 719 in February 1971.

continued secret negotiations with North Vietnam's Lê Ðức Thọ. The offensive destroyed much of the remaining economic and industrial capacity of North Vietnam. to be the only one of the Paris Agreements which was fully carried out.S. Nixon ordered Operation Linebacker II. called for national elections in the North and South. On 15 January 1973. like the Geneva Conference of 1954. The war was the central issue of the 1972 presidential election. Nixon's opponent. noted Peter Church.S. the Nixon administration claimed that the North was attempting to embarrass the President. Nixon announced the suspension of offensive action against North Vietnam. Simultaneously Nixon pressured Thieu to accept the terms of the agreement. forces. Please improve this article and discuss the . The agreement guaranteed the territorial integrity of Vietnam and. Nixon's National Security Adviser. involvement in the Vietnam War. threatening to conclude a bilateral peace deal and cut off American aid. The Paris Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam" were signed on 27 January 1973.."[198] Opposition to the Vietnam War: 1962–1975 Globe icon. Hanoi demanded new changes. The Paris Peace Accords stipulated a sixty-day period for the total withdrawal of U. a massive bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong 18–29 December 1972.. When North Vietnam went public with the agreement's details. U. A cease-fire was declared across North and South Vietnam. Operation Linebacker II. The negotiations became deadlocked.. In October 1972. officially ending direct U. they reached an agreement. "This article".S. "proved. However. POWs were released. Henry Kissinger. South Vietnamese President Thieu demanded massive changes to the peace accord. December 1972 To show his support for South Vietnam and force Hanoi back to the negotiating table. George McGovern. The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. campaigned on a platform of withdrawal from Vietnam.

issue on the talk page.S. Advocates of U. withdrawal were generally known as "doves". the Vietnam Moratorium attracted millions of Americans. Many South Vietnamese subsequently fled to the United States. South Vietnam was left to defend itself alone when the fighting resumed. capitalism itself.[199] The fatal shooting of four anti-war protesters at Kent State University led to nation-wide university protests. brought new attention and support to the anti-war movement. involvement in Vietnam was centered around the Geneva conference of 1954. John Kennedy. Antiwar protests ended with the final withdrawal of troops after the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973. Some critics of U. Some wanted to show solidarity with the people of Vietnam. following nomenclature dating back to the War of 1812. American support of Diem in refusing elections was thought to be thwarting the very democracy that America claimed to be supporting.S. anticommunism.S.S.[202] . such as Norman Morrison emulating the actions of Thích Quảng Đức.S. Others. such as the 1968 My Lai Massacre. forces from Vietnam. involvement in the Vietnam War Some advocates within the peace movement advocated a unilateral withdrawal of U. On 15 October 1969.S.S. High-profile opposition to the Vietnam War turned to street protests in an effort to turn U. imperialism and colonialism and.S. political opinion. while Senator. for those involved with the New Left such as the Catholic Worker Movement. withdrawal predicted that it would not contribute to peace but rather vastly increase bloodshed. opposed involvement in Vietnam. (April 2010) U.[200] Riots broke out at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.[149] Opposition to the Vietnam War tended to unite groups opposed to U. One reason given for the withdrawal is that it would contribute to a lessening of tensions in the region and thus less human bloodshed. forces remain until all threats from the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army had been eliminated.S. and they called their opponents "hawks". [201] After explosive news reports of American military abuses. These critics advocated U. such as Stephen Spiro opposed the war based on the theory of Just War. Navy riverboat deploying napalm during the Vietnam War Main article: Opposition to the U. Early opposition to U. some veterans joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

which was the first American unit deployed to South Vietnam. Later that year the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Kissinger and Thọ.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". bolstered by a surge of U. forces from Vietnam. began to roll back the Vietcong. [206] As the Vietcong's top commander.[206] Map of the United States. showing Nixon's victories in 49 states (red) over McGovern.[203] [A 5] Under the Paris Peace Accords. the United States returned the 5th Special Forces Group. Trà participated in several of these meetings.S. troops were removed from the region. But Saigon. but only to the extent of replacing materials that were consumed. With U. and reluctantly signed by South Vietnamese President Thiệu. The communist leaders had expected that the ceasefire terms would favor their side. bombings suspended.S. George McGovern's 1972 Presidential Campaign lost 49 of 50 states to Richard Nixon. Calling for immediate withdrawal of U. Logistics would be upgraded until the North was in a position to launch a massive invasion of the South. .S. according to the memoirs of Trần Văn Trà. Trà calculated that this date would be Hanoi's last opportunity to strike before Saigon's army could be fully trained. but the Vietnamese negotiator declined it saying that a true peace did not yet exist. military forces withdrew from South Vietnam and prisoners were exchanged.S.S. North Carolina. Many U. and on 5 March 1971. between North Vietnamese Foreign Minister Lê Ðức Thọ and U. projected for the 1975–76 dry season. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. work on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and other logistical structures could proceed unimpeded. aid received just before the ceasefire went into effect. U. to its former base in Fort Bragg.S. North Vietnam was allowed to continue supplying communist troops in the South. The communists responded with a new strategy hammered out in a series of meetings in Hanoi in March 1973.

Despite supporting Nixon over McGovern. On 15 March 1973.S. Public and congressional reaction to Nixon's trial balloon was unfavorable and in April Nixon appointed Graham Martin as U.1-80% Republican 60. Martin was a second stringer compared to previous U.In the 1972 Congressional Election.1-100% Republican 80.S. President Richard Nixon implied that the United States would intervene militarily if the communist side violated the ceasefire. Secretary of Defense James R.S. the U. ambassador to Vietnam. ambassadors and his appointment was an early signal that Washington had given up on Vietnam. Schlesinger stated that he would recommend resumption of U.S. After two clashes that left 55 South . many American voters split their tickets. returning a Democratic majority to both houses of Congress.1-100% Democratic 60.S. On 4 June 1973. president.S. During his confirmation hearings in June 1973. Senate passed the Case-Church Amendment to prohibit such intervention. bombing in North Vietnam if North Vietnam launched a major offensive against South Vietnam. 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. the majority of Americans voted for Democratic Congressmen.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.[207] The oil price shock of October 1973 caused significant damage to the South Vietnamese economy. U. McGovern lost 49 of 50 states to Richard Nixon. who was re-elected U.

midterm elections in 1974 brought in a new Congress dominated by Democrats who were even more determined to confront the president on the war. A larger offensive might provoke a U. gauge the reaction of South Vietnamese forces. would return to the fray. Trà could travel on a drivable highway with regular fueling stops. Congress refused. reaction and interfere with the big push planned for 1976. Trà appealed over Giáp's head to first secretary Lê Duẩn. Congress cut financial aid to South Vietnam from $1 billion a year to $700 million.Vietnamese soldiers dead. The speed of this success led the Politburo to reassess its strategy.S.[209] Giáp.000 South Vietnamese casualties during the ceasefire period. The U.S.[208] Gerald Ford took over as U. This time. There had been over 25. At this time.S. The strike was designed to solve local logistical problems. It was decided that operations in the Central Highlands would be turned over to General Văn Tiến Dũng and that Pleiku should be seized.S. Before . North Vietnamese forces attacked Route 14 in Phuoc Long Province. president on 9 August 1974 after President Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal. Ford desperately asked Congress for funds to assist and re-supply the South before it was overrun. if possible. On 13 December 1974. Congress immediately voted in restrictions on funding and military activities to be phased in through 1975 and to culminate in a total cutoff of funding in 1976. the provincial capital. who approved of the operation. The fall of Phuoc Binh and the lack of an American response left the South Vietnamese elite demoralized. a vast change from the days when the Ho Chi Minh Trail was a dangerous mountain trek. the North Vietnamese defense minister. Trà's plan called for a limited offensive from Cambodia into Phuoc Long Province. Phuoc Binh. fell on 6 January 1975. was reluctant to approve Trà's plan. 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. President Thiệu announced on 4 January that the war had restarted and that the Paris Peace Accord was no longer in effect. and determine whether U.

in Đắk Lắk Province. Dung now urged the Politburo to allow him to seize Pleiku immediately and then turn his attention to Kon Tum. Thieu ordered a retreat. Much of the North's material and financial support came from the communist bloc. The president declared this to be a "lighten the top and keep the bottom" strategy. supported by tanks and heavy artillery.S. there was increasing chaos.he left for the South. troops. a former general. Within South Vietnam. Once again. ARVN General Phu . the provincial capital of Pleiku and the road to the coast would be exposed for a planned campaign in 1976. But in what appeared to be a repeat of Operation Lam Son 719. The ARVN proved incapable of resisting the onslaught. They faced a well-organized. Their abandonment by the American military had compromised an economy dependent on U. Dũng was addressed by Lê Duẩn: "Never have we had military and political conditions so perfect or a strategic advantage as great as we have now. the South Vietnamese had three times as much artillery and twice the number of tanks and armoured cars as the opposition. South Vietnam suffered from the global recession that followed the Arab oil embargo. highly determined and well-funded North Vietnam. a limited offensive into the Central Highlands. the withdrawal soon turned into a bloody rout. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. isolated units fought desperately. Hanoi was surprised by the speed of their success. He argued that with two months of good weather remaining until the onset of the monsoon. and its forces collapsed on 11 March. was fearful that his forces would be cut off in the north by the attacking communists. it would be irresponsible to not take advantage of the situation. President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu."[210] At the start of 1975. The target was Buôn Ma Thuột. General Dung launched Campaign 275. Campaign 275 This section needs additional citations for verification.S. If the town could be taken. the rising oil prices meant that much of this could not be used. (May 2008) On 10 March 1975.400 aircraft and a two-to-one numerical superiority in combat troops over their Communist enemies. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. financial support and the presence of a large number of U. While the bulk of ARVN forces attempted to flee. They also had 1.[211] However.

be held at all costs. Northern forces. refugees mixed in with the line of retreat. panic set in. the soldiers and civilians were shelled incessantly.abandoned Pleiku and Kon Tum and retreated toward the coast. in what became known as the "column of tears".000 VPA troops were poised to attack the suburbs. Hanoi wished to avoid the coming monsoon and prevent any redeployment of ARVN forces defending the capital. damaged by years of conflict and neglect. The operational plan for the Ho Chi Minh Campaign called for the capture of Saigon before 1 May. see Ho Chi Minh Campaign. and then changed his policy several times. Often abandoned by the officers. the defense of the Central Highlands and Northern provinces came to an end.000 leaderless ARVN troops surrendered as the VPA marched victoriously through Da Nang. As the North Vietnamese forces approached. slowed Phu's column. The retreat degenerated into a desperate scramble for the coast. routed ARVN soldiers fired on civilians to make way for their retreat. As the North Vietnamese launched their attack. after a three-day battle. By 1 April the "column of tears" was all but annihilated. and ARVN resistance withered. With the fall of the city. The poor condition of roads and bridges. Civilians flooded the airport and the docks hoping for any mode of escape. panic set in. the VPA opened the siege of Huế. With the northern half of the country under their control. Final North Vietnamese offensive For more details on the final North Vietnamese offensive. As the ARVN tried to disengage from the enemy. As resistance in Huế collapsed. By 30 March 100. rolled on. Vietnam's thirdlargest city. Thieu reversed himself and ordered Huế. On 22 March. their morale boosted by their recent victories. North Vietnamese rockets rained down on Da Nang and its airport. the Politburo ordered General Dung to launch the final offensive against Saigon. On 20 March. Thieu's contradictory orders confused and demoralized his officer corps. Some even swam out to sea to reach boats and barges anchored offshore. On 25 March. Huế fell. By 28 March. taking Nha . 35. In the confusion.

An embittered and tearful President Thieu resigned on the same day. Ambassador Graham Martin's belief that Saigon could be held and that a political settlement could be reached. The city was defended by about 30. who were outnumbered six to one.. By the end of April. Martial law was declared. . U. On 27 April 100. At the same time. Cam Ranh. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had tricked him into signing the Paris peace agreement two years ago. and foreign nationals from various parts of the city and from the U.S.S. brushing aside isolated ARVN units along the way. promising military aid that failed to materialise. American helicopters began evacuating South Vietnamese. The North Vietnamese met fierce resistance at Xuan Loc from the ARVN 18th Division. he suggested U. Operation Frequent Wind had been delayed until the last possible moment. embassy compound. North Vietnamese tanks had reached Bien Hoa and turned toward Saigon.S. severe fighting raged as the ARVN defenders made a last stand to try to block the North Vietnamese advance.Trang. Fall of Saigon Main articles: Fall of Saigon and Operation Frequent Wind Chaos. ahead of the main communist onslaught. three North Vietnamese divisions attacked Xuan Loc. Having transferred power to Tran Van Huong. On 7 April. In a scathing attack. Thousand of refugees streamed southward. By 21 April. large numbers of civilians found that they had no way out. he left for Taiwan on 25 April. unrest. because of U. the ARVN had collapsed on all fronts except in the Mekong Delta. declaring that the United States had betrayed South Vietnam.S. To hasten a collapse and foment panic. 40 miles (64 km) east of Saigon. and panic broke out as hysterical South Vietnamese officials and civilians scrambled to leave Saigon. the exhausted garrison were ordered to withdraw towards Saigon. With the air exit closed. and Da Lat.000 North Vietnamese troops encircled Saigon. however. For two bloody weeks. the VPA shelled the airport and forced its closure.000 ARVN troops.

President Gerald Ford had given a televised speech on 23 April. On 30 April 1975. and America. and civilian personnel. fearing U. It began on 29 April. local time the NLF flag was raised above it. His surrender marked the end of 116 years of Vietnamese involvement in conflict either alongside or against various countries.S. But American public opinion had soured on this conflict. Martin pleaded with Washington to dispatch $700 million in emergency aid to bolster the regime and help it mobilize fresh military reserves. Victorious NVA troops at the Presidential Palace. Japan. aid. The first draft of the 1954 Geneva Accords was negotiated by French Prime Minister Pierre Mendès France and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai who. declaring an end to the Vietnam War and all U. In the United States.S.m. quickly capturing key buildings and installations. the People's Republic of China extended diplomatic recognition to the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam and sent weapons. military. VPA troops overcame all resistance. as hysterical crowds of Vietnamese vied for limited space. as civilians swamped the perimeter and poured into the grounds. who had succeeded Huong two days earlier. Saigon. diplomatic.S. in an atmosphere of desperation.Schlesinger announced early in the morning of 29 April 1975 the evacuation from Saigon by helicopter of the last U. and at 11:30 a. Britain. Marines evacuated the embassy by helicopter.[213] . Frequent Wind was arguably the largest helicopter evacuation in history. President Duong Van Minh. intervention. as North Vietnamese tanks breached defenses on the outskirts of Saigon.[212] Other countries' involvement Pro-Hanoi People's Republic of China In 1950. China. South Vietnam was perceived as doomed. as well as military advisors led by Luo Guibo to assist the Viet Minh in its war with the French. primarily France. urged the Viet Minh to accept a partition at the 17th parallel.S. A tank crashed through the gates of the Independence Palace. the last U. Frequent Wind continued around the clock. Many of them had been employed by the Americans and were left to their fate. surrendered. In the early morning hours of 30 April.

In the summer of 1962. which occurred at Zhenbao Island in March 1969. In October. China provided material and technical support to the Vietnamese communists worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Chinese-supplied rice allowed North Vietnam to pull military-age men from the paddies and to impose a universal draft beginning in 1960. and to perform other engineering works. Sino-Soviet relations soured after the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968. The Soviet intelligence ships would pick up American B-52 bombers flying from Okinawa and Guam. the Chinese demanded North Vietnam cut relations with Moscow. rebuild roads and railroads. a divided Vietnam posed less of a threat to China." These advance warning gave them . Mao Zedong agreed to supply Hanoi with 90. Their airspeed and direction would be noted and then relayed to COSVN headquarters.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. Vietnam responded with an invasion that toppled the Khmer Rouge. Starting in 1965. punitive invasion of Vietnam in 1979. 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.[215] The Khmer Rouge launched ferocious raids into Vietnam in 1975–1978. The Chinese also began financing the Khmer Rouge as a counterweight to the Vietnamese communists at this time. This freed North Vietnamese army units for combat in the South. In response.[214] The Chinese began to withdraw in November 1968 in preparation for a clash with the Soviets.000 rifles and guns free of charge. COSVN using airspeed and direction would calculate the bombing target and tell any assets to move "perpendicularly to the attack trajectory. China's withdrawal from Vietnam was completed in July 1970. China launched a brief. Moreover. but Hanoi refused. China sent anti-aircraft units and engineering battalions to North Vietnam to repair the damage caused by American bombing.

7. ammunition and two million sets of uniforms to their comrades in North Vietnam.[220] Kim Il-sung is reported to have told his pilots to "fight in the war as if the Vietnamese sky were their own".000 artillery guns.[216] The Soviet Union supplied North Vietnam with medical supplies. tanks. over 5. They stayed through 1968. planes. helicopters. [219] In addition. arms.[217] Some Russian sources give more specific numbers: the hardware donated by the USSR included 2.000 anti-aircraft guns.500 officers and generals. and 200 pilots were reported to have served. Over the course of the war the Soviet money donated to the Vietnamese cause was equal to 2 million dollars a day. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment.000 tanks.time to move out of the way of the bombers and while the bombing runs caused extensive damage. Russian officials acknowledged that the Soviet Union had stationed up to 3. 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.500 soldiers and sergeants of the Soviet Armed Forces. 158 surface-to-air rocket launchers. because of the early warnings from 1968–1970 they did not kill a single military or civilian leader in the headquarter complexes. as well as more than 4. Fewer than a dozen Soviet citizens lost their lives in this conflict.[218] North Korea As a result of a decision of the Korean Workers' Party in October 1966. In addition.000 troops in Vietnam during the war. fighting in Vietnam was attended by some 6. North Korea also sent weapons. military schools and academies of the USSR began training Vietnamese soldiers — more than 10 thousand people. artillery. From July 1965 to the end of 1974.[221] Cuba . at least two anti-aircraft artillery regiments were sent as well. which were the first raiders shot down over Hanoi. Soviet crews fired USSR-made surface-to-air missiles at the B-52 bombers.

S. [230] Approximately 320.560.000 dollars for their service in Vietnam. the communist Vietnamese and Cuban governments have not divulged any information on this matter. Presidential candidate and former Vietnam prisoner of war. notably Vietnam War POW/MIA issue advocates. Some. South Korea killed 41. Blue Dragon (military unit). Maximum troop levels peaked at 50. however all were withdrawn by 1973.[231] and South Korean GNP increased five times during the war.S. South Korea had the second-largest contingent of foreign troops in South Vietnam after the United States. Then and since. but Kennedy disagreed.The extent of manpower contributions to North Vietnam by the communist Republic of Cuba. prisoners of war that Cuban military personnel were present at North Vietnamese prison facilities during the war.[231] each serving a one year tour of duty.000 in 1968. with the South Koreans soon developing a reputation for effectiveness.[231] Australia and New Zealand . under Fidel Castro.[222][223][224] [225][226] Witnesses to this include Senator John McCain. according to his 1999 book Faith of My Fathers. 1964 Lyndon Johnson requested South Korean participation. Indeed arguably.[229] On May 1. claim evidence that Cuba's military and non-military involvement may have run into the "thousands" of personnel.[227] That there was at least a small contingent of Cuban military advisors present in North Vietnam during the war is without question. is still a matter of debate.000 were injured during the war. in what is known as the "Cuba Program". and White Horse (military) On the anti-communist side.000 South Koreans were killed and 11. 2008 U. Kennedy. There are numerous reports by former U.[228] Pro-Saigon South Korea Further information: Republic of Korea Marine Corps#Vietnam War. Park Chung Hee proposed South Korean participation in the war to John F.000 South Korean soldiers were sent to Vietnam.[232] About 5.000 Viet Congs. and that they participated in torture activities. In November 1961.[231] United States paid South Korean soldiers 235.[229] The first South Korean troops began arriving in 1964 and large combat battalions began arriving a year later. they conducted counterinsurgency operations so well that American commanders felt that Korean area of responsibility was the safest. Tiger Division.

of which 521 were killed and more than 3. and combat troops were committed in 1965. More than 60.000 Australian personnel were involved during the course of the war.000 New Zealanders served in Vietnam. Thai forces saw much more action in the covert war in Laos between 1964 and 1972.450 Filipino troops were dispatched to South Vietnam.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.000 wounded.[235] Approximately 3. including the "Queen's Cobra" battalion. and then started sending special forces and regular infantry which were attached to Australian formations. Australia began by sending advisors to Vietnam in 1962. 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. These forces operated under the designation PHLCAG-V or Philippine Civic Action Group-Vietnam.[233] Philippines Some 10. losing 37 killed and 187 wounded.[236] Most Australians and New Zealanders served in the 1st Australian Task Force in Phước Tuy province. sent ground troops to Vietnam. Their governments subscribed to the Domino theory. saw action in South Vietnam between 1965 and 1971. Thailand Thai Army formations. though Thai regular formations there were heavily outnumbered by the irregular "volunteers" of the CIA-sponsored Police Aerial Reconnaissance Units or PARU.672 combat troops and New Zealand's 552. who carried out reconnaissance activities on the western side of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.[234] Australia's peak commitment was 7.[233] New Zealand began by sending a detachment of engineers and an artillery battery. Republic of China (Taiwan) Main article: Republic of China in the Vietnam War . close allies of the United States and members of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the ANZUS military cooperation treaty.

She died on June 8. Taiwan also provided military training units for the South Vietnamese diving units. an intensive effort to recruit nurses to serve in Vietnam. Victor Levant suggested otherwise in his book "Quiet Complicity: Canadian Involvement in the Vietnam War" (1986). the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) launched Operation Nightingale.[241] Because the need for medical aid was great. India and Poland comprised the International Control Commission.[237] Military commandos from Taiwan were captured by communist forces three times trying to infiltrate North Vietnam. the Republic of China (Taiwan) secretly operated a cargo transport detachment to assist the United States and the ROV. women served on active duty doing a variety of jobs.[237] In addition to the diving trainers there were several hundred military personnel.[238] Officially. it was commonly thought that American women had no place in the military. The majority of these women were white Catholics and Protestants. 1969. many nurses underwent a concentrated four-month training program before being deployed to Vietnam in the ANC [242] Due to the shortage of staff. 1st Lieutenant Sharon Lane was the only female military nurse to be killed by enemy gunfire during the war. nurses usually worked twelve-hour shifts. but with the war came opportunity for the expansion of . Their traditional place had been in the domestic sphere. later known as the Lien Doi Nguoi Nhai (LDMN) or Frogman unit in English. Early in 1963.[237] Canada and the ICC Main article: Canada and the Vietnam War Canada.[239][240] Women in Vietnam American nurses During the Vietnam War.[243] At the start of the Vietnam War. which was supposed to monitor the 1954 ceasefire agreement.Since November 1967. 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". six days per week and often suffered from exhaustion.

Vietnamese women Unlike the American women who went to Vietnam. They faced a plethora of challenges. one of which was the relatively small number of female soldiers. professional and well protected. However. In 2008. and by the end of 1978. it was not until 1993 that Congress allowed women to serve in combat units in the air force.[245] Although this was not the women’s purpose.” (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.[246] In that same year. the ANC released advertisements portraying women in the ANC as “proper. By 1973. approximately one-third of women in the military felt that they had been sexually harassed compared with one-third of men. approximately 7. (334) However. In Vietnam. they were never allowed directly in the field of battle. the Coast Guard removed all limitations on assignments based on sex. Vietnamese women fought in the combat zone as well as provided manual labor to keep the Ho Chi Minh . or judged them to be women of questionable moral character who enlisted for the sole purpose of seducing men. it was one positive result of the their service. American women serving in Vietnam were subject to societal stereotypes. Although female military nurses lived in a heavily male environment. many men reported that having women in the field with them boosted their morale. The women who served in the military were solely volunteers. Living in a male-dominated environment created tensions between the sexes. women were gradually granted greater mobility within the military. there are few cases that have been officially documented by the military. Women in the army today are still prohibited from serving in combat positions. Many Americans either considered female in Vietnam mannish for living under the army discipline. the military lifted the prohibition on women entering the armed forces.[247] To address this problem.500 women had served in Vietnam in the Southeast Asian theater.[248] This does not mean that harassment never occurred. [244] Although a small number of women were assigned to combat zones. by contrast. rather. While this high male to female ratio was often uncomfortable for women.gender roles. women held a variety of jobs which included operating complex data processing equipment and serving as stenographers. very few cases of sexual harassment were ever reported.

The M67A1 flamethrower tank (nicknamed the Zippo) was an M48 variant used in Vietnam. In the mid 1960s. Women were enlisted in both the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the VietCong guerrilla force in South Vietnam. The American M16.” which meant that a spent cartridge case remained lodged in the chamber after a bullet flew out the muzzle. the jamming was caused primarily by a change in gunpowder which was done without adequate testing and reflected a decision for which the safety of soldiers was a secondary consideration. She 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. special forces with captured AK-47s. also joined the fight at a young age and would later become a guerrilla fighter against the Americans. They played an important role in infantry support though there were few actual tank versus tank battles. was considered more accurate and was lighter than the AK-47 but was prone to jamming. she became a deputy commander of the Viet Cong.Trail open.[249] Nguyen Thi Duc Hoan.[255] The heavily armored. the highest ranking combat position held by a woman during the war. they also worked in the rice fields to provide food for their families and the war effort. [253] The ubiquitous Soviet AK-47 was widely regarded as the best assault rifle of the war and it was not uncommon to see U.[256][257] With its 17-mile (27 km) range. at the time her own daughter was training in the militia. which replaced the M14. Oftentimes the gun suffered from a jamming flaw known as “failure to extract. the . 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.[250] Weapons Communist forces were principally armed with Chinese[251] and Soviet weaponry[252] 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.S.[254] According to a congressional report. who would later go on to be an actress-director. Nguyen Thi Dinh was an example of a woman who had fought most of her adult life against foreign forces in her country. 90mm M48A3 Patton tank tank saw extensive action during the Vietnam War and over 600 were deployed with US Forces.

twin 57mm.S.[257] Type North Vietnam. RPD. Offshore naval fire played a pivotal role in the Battle for the city of Hue. Bell UH-1 Iroquois. counter-offensive to retake the city.S.[257] In the latter role.. M16. was outfitted with a variety of armaments including M60 machineguns. BTR-152. the U.5mm models 1. M55 Quad 50 (dual use weapon for AA as well as for engaging ground targets)[261] Infantry weapons MAT-49. Centurion (Australian Army). & ARVN) Helicopters Mi-6. T-55.[258] The United States had air superiority though many aircraft were lost to surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery. SA-2 Guideline. A-6 Intruder.[257] The Hueys were also successfully used in MEDEVAC and search and rescue roles. RPG-7. Australia AFVs T-34/85. M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle. ZPU 14. F-105 Thunderchief. AK-47. South Vietnam. M48A3 Patton tank. B-57 Canberra (RAAF). CH-54 Skycrane CH-47 Chinook. M1939 (61-K) 37mm.Soviet 130mm M-46 towed field gun was a highly regarded weapon and used to good effect by the NVA. RPK. the "Huey" as it became affectionately known. ZSU-57-2. F-4 Phantom II. CH-53. air power was credited with breaking the siege of Khe Sanh and blunting the 1972 Communist offensive against South Vietnam. M110 selfpropelled howitzer. Mi-8 Cobra. RPG-2. BTR-50. and PT-76 tanks. B-10 recoilless rifle and B-11 recoilless rifle M14. MiG-17 A-4 Skyhawk. D-30 (2A18) Howitzer. M114 155 mm howitzer Aircraft MiG-21. SKS. Bell AH-1 AAW SA-3 Goa. M1954 field gun M109 self-propelled howitzer.2 and 4 (numbers corresponding to single. using aircraft carriers as platforms for offshore strikes and other naval vessels for offshore artillery support. U.S. It was countered by the long-range. At sea.[259] The Vietnam War was the first conflict that saw wide scale tactical deployment of helicopters. & ARVN) Douglas A-1 Skyraider (U.S. Douglas AC-47 Spooky. Strela 2. M79 grenade .62mm Gatling guns and unguided air-to-surface rockets. BTR-60 APC's & BMP 1 IFV's M113 Artillery M1937 Howitzer. A-7 Corsair. multi-barreled 7. Navy had the run of the coastline. M551 Sheridan. M50 Ontos.S. M41 Walker Bulldog (ARVN). MiG-19. M107 Self-Propelled Gun. T-54. Lockheed AC-130. providing accurate fire in support of the U.S. American 175mm M107 Self-Propelled Gun. F-100 Super Sabre. DShK HMG. Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. Viet Cong U. double and quad barreled variants) MIM-23 Hawk.[260] The Bell UH-1 Iroquois was used extensively in counter-guerilla operations both as a troop carrier and a gunship. A-37 Dragonfly (U. V-100 Commando (Army Military Police / USAF Security Police) APCs/IFVs BTR-40. BM-21. M102 105mm howitzer.

Laos.000 Hmong. L1A1 SLR (ADF). on 17 April 1975.[266] More than 3 million people fled from Vietnam. the capital of Cambodia.4 million refugees from Vietnam and other . including 130. Owen Gun (ADF) Air-to-Air Missiles Vympel K-13 AIM-9 Sidewinder. M60 machine gun.launcher. China invaded Vietnam in 1979. Reeducation camp. TOW. and boat people IEDs[262] BLU-82 Daisy Cutter. Laser-guided Phnom Penh.[265] From 1975 to 1996. LAW.[264] The Pathet Lao overthrew the royalist government of Laos in December 1975. SinoVietnamese War. the United States resettled some 250. M2 Browning. From 1978 to 1979. M18 Claymore antipersonnel mines. In response. AGM-62 Walleye. fell to followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. AGM-78 Standard ARM. Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) and ousted the Khmer Rouge in the Cambodian– Vietnamese War. and M40 recoilless rifle.000 ethnic Chinese left Vietnam by boat as refugees or were expelled across the land border with China. known as the Third Indochina War or the Sino-Vietnamese War. and Cambodia. commonly known as the Khmer Rouge. The two countries fought a brief border war. or more than a million people. Vietnam. Democratic Kampuchea.000 Lao refugees from Thailand. AGM-12 Bullpup. They established the Lao People's Democratic Republic. AIM-7 Sparrow Air-to-Surface Missiles AGM-45 Shrike anti radiation missile. the Khmer Rouge enacted a genocidal policy that killed over one-fifth of all Cambodians. many as "boat people". Most Asian countries were unwilling to accept refugees. Over the next four years. Napalm Aftermath Events in Southeast Asia Main articles: Mayaguez incident. [263] After repeated border clashes in 1978.[267] Since 1975. an estimated 1. Zuni rocket Specialized weapons bombs. some 450.

Who was Ho Chi Minh? Nobody really knew.. And we knew less about North Vietnam... but this was a different country.Southeast Asian countries have been resettled to the United States."[276] Doubts surfaced as to the effectiveness of large-scale. strategies... A new humility and a new sophistication may form the best parts of a complex heritage left to the Army by the long.Vietnam War.000. cultural. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote in a secret memo to President Gerald Ford that "in terms of military tactics. sustained bombing. Secondly. one of the principal architects of the war. political..S.. bitter war in Vietnam. and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of allies. and France resettled over 500. The. we didn't know our South Vietnamese allies."[273] Alternatively. forces in Vietnam was indeed a dangerous illusion..[269] Effect on the United States Vietnam War protests at the Pentagon. we'd better keep out of this kind of dirty business. but with those in Congress. We thought that we were going into another Korean War.[270] As General Maxwell Taylor.Success rests not only on military progress but on correctly analyzing the nature of the particular conflict.legacy may be the lesson that unique historical. we didn't know ourselves. Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of the military intervention. and objectives. noted "first. understanding the enemy's strategy. Yet in Vietnam the Army experienced tactical success and strategic failure... until we know the enemy and know our allies and know ourselves. Even the Special Forces who had been designed for it could not prevail. October 1967 In the post-war era. and social factors always impinge on the military."[275] Even Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara concluded that "the achievement of a military victory by U."[274] U. the official history of the United States Army noted that "tactics have often seemed to exist apart from larger issues."[271][272] 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. As ..S. we cannot help draw the conclusion that our armed forces are not suited to this kind of war. So. It's very dangerous. Australia..[268] while Canada.

The North's leadership was composed of hardened communists who had been fighting for independence for thirty years. miscalculation. for example. calling it "wasteful of American lives.000 were considered combat troops.[282] According to Dale Kueter. Ho Chi Minh is quoted as saying..[279] This resulted in a large federal budget deficit."[277] Even General William Westmoreland admitted that the bombing had been ineffective..S. Krulak heavily criticised Westmoreland's attrition strategy. Army doctrine.000 were permanently disabled. it was that air power couldn't do the job. More than 3 million Americans served in the Vietnam War."[278] 2/5 Marine gets his wounds treated during operations in Hue City.But even at these odds you will lose and I will win.220 soldiers were killed. 1968 The Vietnam War called into question the U. Marine Corps General Victor H. As he remarked.000 were wounded. "if anything came out of Vietnam." By war's end. Westheider wrote that "At the height of American involvement in 1968. there were 543.Army Chief of Staff Harold Keith Johnson noted.3 percent were white. 86. Between 1965 and 1975. 12.. "I still doubt that the North Vietnamese would have relented. "You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. 58.[A 2] more than 150. but ended in 1973. the United States spent $111 billion on the war ($686 billion in FY2008 dollars)."[281] Conscription in the United States had been controlled by the President since World War II.[280] James E.000 American military personnel in Vietnam..5 million of whom actually saw combat in Vietnam. and their tenacity as both nationalists and communists was formidable.S. some 1. with small likelihood of a successful outcome. They had defeated the French. Of those killed in combat.5 percent were black and ."[277] As well. but only 80. doubts surfaced about the ability of the military to train foreign forces. and at least 21. "Sixty-one percent of those killed were age 21 or younger."[277] The inability to bomb Hanoi to the bargaining table also illustrated another U.

S. Air Force sprayed 20 million U. cause diseases and birth defects.the remainder from other races. Agent Green. concerning the fate of U. included the "Rainbow Herbicides"—Agent Pink. About 12 million gallons (45. the Kennedy administration authorized the use of chemicals to destroy rice crops. This was especially true of growth surrounding bases (both large and small) in what became known as Operation Ranch Hand. The defoliants. a useful first step might be to defoliate certain areas.S. Navy patrol boats were vulnerable to attack from the undergrowth at the water's edge.[284] In 1977. Agent White.000 L) of concentrated herbicides . They were used to defoliate large parts of the countryside.700. the U. United States President Jimmy Carter granted a full. Between 1961 and 1967. service personnel listed as missing in action. military effort in Southeast Asia was the widespread use of chemical defoliants between 1961 and 1971. These chemicals continue to change the landscape.S. where the U. Agent Orange.[285] The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue. most famously.000 Vietnam veterans suffered symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.[283] and approximately 50. persisted for many years after the war's conclusion. A prime area of Ranch Hand operations was in the Mekong Delta.S.000 L) of Agent Orange were sprayed over Southeast Asia during the American involvement.000 American servicemen deserted. Agent Purple. gallons (75.S. South Vietnam In 1961 and 1962.000 Americans fled to Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft.S. which were distributed in drums marked with color-coded bands."[11] Approximately 830. helicopter spraying chemical defoliants in the Mekong Delta. Agent Blue. An estimated 125.[286] Early in the American military effort it was decided that since the enemy were hiding their activities under triple-canopy jungle.000. U. Chemical defoliation One of the most controversial aspects of the U. and poison the food chain. Corporations like Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto were given the task of developing herbicides for this purpose. complete and unconditional pardon to all Vietnam-era Draft dodgers. which included dioxin as a by-product of its manufacture. and.

Although there has been much discussion over whether the use of these defoliants constituted a violation of the laws of war. 42% of all herbicide was sprayed over food crops. peripheral neuropathy. Casualties Main article: Vietnam War casualties OperationBaker1967Vietcongaceofspades. or the Royal Lao Armed Forces. porphyria cutanea tarda. Another purpose of herbicide use was to drive civilian populations into RVN-controlled areas.ogg Play video Selection from a U. In some areas of southern Vietnam dioxin levels remain at over 100 times the accepted international standard.S. 25th Infantry Division. affecting an estimated 13% of South Vietnam's land. .S. the Vietnamese government estimates that there are over 4. or the fate of Laotian Royals and civilians after the Pathet Lao assumed complete power in Laos.S. In 1965. Army footage from 'Operation Baker' action by the 3rd BDE. since exposure to them did not lead to immediate death or incapacitation. chloracne. although the United States government denies any conclusive scientific links between Agent Orange and the Vietnamese victims of dioxin poisoning.000 km2) of crops and trees. selection shows U. multiple myeloma.000. and spina bifida in children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange.[288] The U. thousands of Laotian and Thai irregulars. 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.[287] As of 2006. Diabetes mellitus type 2.over 6 million acres (24. or Laotian civilians who all perished in the conflict. Some reports fail to include the members of South Vietnamese forces killed in the final campaign. the defoliants were not considered weapons. 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. B-cell lymphomas.000 victims of dioxin poisoning in Vietnam. respiratory cancers. Veterans Administration has listed prostate cancer.

Civilian deaths were put at two million in the North and South.S. video games.000 and 250.000[290] to 182. The band Country Joe and the Fish recorded "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" / The "Fish" Cheer in 1965. and it became one of the most influential anti-Vietnam protest anthems.000. including the NLF.1 million dead and 600. [291] The U. and economic reparations were demanded. both anti-war and pro/anti-communist. The war also influenced a generation of musicians and songwriters in Vietnam and the United States. suffered 1. Trinh Cong Son was a South Vietnamese songwriter famous for his anti-war songs. and War in popular culture The Vietnam War has been featured heavily in television.In 1995.[citation needed] Hanoi concealed the figures during the war to avoid demoralizing the population.000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war.000 wounded during Hanoi's conflict with the United States. and literature in the participant countries. film. Vietnam War in games.[289] Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American bombing in Operation Rolling Thunder range from 52. . military has estimated that between 200.[292] Popular culture See also: Vietnam War in film. the Vietnamese government reported that its military forces.