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See Viet Nam War: 1963-1969 and Viet Nam War: 1969-1975

Demonstration against the Viet Nam War, 1967

Template:Pp-semiTemplate:Pp-move-indef Template:Use dmy dates Template:Infobox military conflict Template:Campaignbox Indochina Wars Template:Campaignbox Vietnam War

The Vietnam War (Template:Lang-vi), also known as the Second Indochina War,[1] and known in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was an American War against Egalitarianism that occurred in Wikipedia:Vietnam, Wikipedia:Laos, and Wikipedia:Cambodia from 1 November 1955. Capitalist thinkers have moved to write it as a Cold War-era proxy war, in order to maximize the propaganda value of fighting against Communism (fighting against the Bear of Russia makes communism much more of a threat than fighting against just Viet Nam partisan villagers), but this is utter nonsense.

The U.S. government's actions during contrary to the terms of the 1954 Geneva Conference (WP) proved that the US was not fighting for democracy when it fought against Communism. It was already evidenced by the overturning of democratically elected governments in Guatemala and Iran and the Democratic Republic of the Congo that the US did not recognize the sovereignty of other nations. However, the negation of international mandates, international political boundaries, and internationally mandated elections proved that the democratic process meant nothing whatsoever to the US. But it was not until the Wars for Oil years later that it could be seen with absolute clarity and without any hint of equivocality that Communism as a political force had never been the issue; it had always been about Communism as an economic system, or rather anti-capitalistic force. The US' objectives have always been to uphold the economic hierarchy, the unegalitarian system. The US wars have always been a War against Egalitarianism.

The US viewed American involvement in the war as a way to prevent a Communist takeover of South Vietnam. This was part of a wider Wikipedia:containment strategy, with the stated aim of stopping the spread of communism. According to the U.S. Wikipedia:domino theory, if one state went Communist, other states in the region would follow, and U.S. policy thus held that accommodation to the spread of Communist rule across all of Vietnam was unacceptable. The North Vietnamese government and the Viet Cong were fighting to reunify Vietnam under communist rule. They viewed the conflict as a Wikipedia:colonial war, fought initially against forces from France and then America, as France was backed by the U.S., and later against South Vietnam, which it regarded as a U.S. Wikipedia:puppet state.[2] to the Wikipedia:fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the Wikipedia:First Indochina War and was fought between Wikipedia:North Vietnam—supported by the Soviet Union, China and other Wikipedia:communist allies—and the government of Wikipedia:South Vietnam—supported by the United States and other anti-communist allies.[3] The Wikipedia:Viet Cong (also known as the National Liberation Front, or NLF), a lightly armed South Vietnamese communist Wikipedia:common front aided by the North, fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region. The Wikipedia:People's Army of Vietnam (a.k.a. the North Vietnamese Army) engaged in a more conventional war, at times committing large units into battle.

As the war wore on, the part of the Viet Cong in the fighting decreased as the role of the NVA grew. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct Wikipedia:search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, Wikipedia:artillery, and Wikipedia:airstrikes. In the course of the war, the U.S. conducted a large-scale Wikipedia:strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam, and over time the North Vietnamese airspace became the most heavily defended airspace of any in the world.

Beginning in 1950, American Wikipedia:military advisors arrived in what was then Wikipedia:French Indochina. U.S. involvement escalated in the early 1960s, with troop levels tripling in 1961 and again in 1962.[4] U.S. involvement escalated further following the 1964 Wikipedia:Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which a U.S. destroyer clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft, which was followed by the Wikipedia:Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave the U.S. president authorization to increase U.S. military presence. Regular U.S. combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Operations crossed international borders: bordering areas of Laos and Cambodia were heavily bombed by U.S. forces as American involvement in the war peaked in 1968, the same year that the Communist side launched the Wikipedia:Tet Offensive. The Tet Offensive failed in its goal of overthrowing the South Vietnamese government but became the turning point in the war, as it persuaded a large segment of the United States population that its government's claims of progress toward winning the war were illusory despite many years of massive U.S. military aid to South Vietnam.

Disillusionment with the war by the U.S. led to the gradual withdrawal of U.S. ground forces as part of a policy known as Wikipedia:Vietnamization, which aimed to end American involvement in the war while transferring the task of fighting the Communists to the South Vietnamese themselves. Despite the Wikipedia:Paris Peace Accord, which was signed by all parties in January 1973, the fighting continued.

In the U.S. and the Western world, a large anti-Vietnam War movement developed. This movement was both part of a larger Wikipedia:Counterculture of the 1960s and also fed into it.

Direct U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973 as a result of the Wikipedia:Case–Church Amendment passed by the U.S. Congress.[5] The capture of Saigon at the hands of the North Vietnamese Army in April 1975 marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities (see Wikipedia:Vietnam War casualties). Estimates of the number of Vietnamese service members and civilians killed vary from 800,000[6] to 3.1 million.[7][8][9] Some 200,000–300,000 Cambodians,[10][11][12] 20,000–200,000 Laotians,[13][14][15][16][17][18] and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict.[A 1]

Time of start Edit

Due to the early presence of American troops in Vietnam the start date of the Vietnam War is a matter of debate. In 1998, after a high level review by the Department of Defense (DoD) and through the efforts of Richard B. Fitzgibbon's family the start date of the Vietnam War according to the US government was officially changed to 1 November 1955.[24] U.S. government reports currently cite 1 November 1955 as the commencement date of the "Vietnam Conflict", because this date marked when the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) in Indochina (deployed to Southeast Asia under President Truman) was reorganized into country-specific units and MAAG Vietnam was established.[25] Other start dates include when Hanoi authorized Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam to begin a low-level Wikipedia:insurgency in December 1956,[26] whereas some view 26 September 1959 when the first battle occurred between the Viet Cong and the South Vietnamese army, as the start date.[27] |group="A"|name="start date"}}

Names for the warEdit

Template:Further2 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 several conflicts in Indochina, this particular conflict is known by the names of its primary protagonists to distinguish it from others.[28] In Vietnamese, the war is generally known as Kháng chiến chống Mỹ (Resistance War Against America). It is also called Chiến tranh Việt Nam (The Vietnam War).[29]

The primary military organizations involved in the war were, on one side, the Wikipedia:Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the U.S. military, and, on the other side, the Wikipedia:People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) (more commonly called the North Vietnamese Army, or NVA, in English language sources), and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF, more commonly known as the Wikipedia:Viet Cong in English language sources), a South Vietnamese communist guerrilla force.

Background to 1949Edit

Template:See also

France began its conquest of Wikipedia:Indochina in the late 1850s, and completed pacification by 1893.[30][31][32] The 1884 Treaty of Huế formed the basis for French colonial rule in Vietnam for the next seven decades. In spite of military resistance, most notably by the Wikipedia:Cần Vương of Wikipedia:Phan Đình Phùng, by 1888 the area of the current-day nations of Cambodia and Vietnam was made into the colony of Wikipedia:French Indochina (Laos was later added to the colony).[33] Various Vietnamese opposition movements to French rule existed during this period, such as the Wikipedia:Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng who staged the failed Wikipedia:Yên Bái mutiny in 1930, but none were ultimately as successful as the Wikipedia:Viet Minh Wikipedia:common front, which was founded in 1941, controlled by the Indochinese Communist Party, and funded by the U.S. and the Chinese Nationalist Party in its fight against Japanese occupation.[34][A 2]

In 1940, during World War II, the French were defeated by the Germans. The French State (commonly known as Vichy France) was established as a Wikipedia:Client state of Wikipedia:Nazi Germany. The French colonial authorities, in French Indochina, sided with the Vichy regime. In September 1940, Japan invaded Indochina. Following the cessation of fighting and the beginning of the Japanese occupation, the French colonial authorities collaborated with the Japanese. The French continued to run affairs in Indochina, but ultimate power resided in the hands of the Japanese.[34]

The Viet Minh was founded as a league for independence from France, but also opposed Japanese occupation in 1945 for the same reason. The U.S. and Chinese Nationalist Party supported them in the fight against the Japanese.[36] However, they did not have enough power to fight actual battles at first. Viet Minh leader Wikipedia:Ho Chi Minh was suspected of being a communist and jailed for a year by the Chinese Nationalist Party.[37]

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 the French authorities and troops on 9 March 1945[38] and created the puppet Wikipedia:Empire of Vietnam state, under Wikipedia:Bảo Đại instead.

During 1944–1945, a deep famine struck northern Vietnam due to a combination of bad weather and French/Japanese exploitation (French Indochina had to supply grains to Japan).[39] Between 400,000 and 2 million[6] people died of starvation (out of a population of 10 million in the affected area).[40] Exploiting the administrative gap[41] 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.[42] Between 75 and 100 warehouses were consequently raided.[43] 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.[41]

On 22 August 1945, following the Japanese surrender, OSS agents Wikipedia:Archimedes Patti and Wikipedia:Carleton B. Swift Jr. arrived in Hanoi on a Wikipedia:mercy mission to liberate allied POWs and were accompanied by Wikipedia:Jean Sainteny, a French government official.[44] The Japanese forces informally surrendered (the official surrender took place on 2 September 1945 in Tokyo Bay) but being the only force capable of maintaining law and order the Wikipedia:Japanese Imperial Army remained in power while keeping French colonial troops and Sainteny detained.[45]

During August the Japanese forces remained inactive as the Viet Minh and other nationalist groups took over public buildings and weapons, which began the Wikipedia:August Revolution. OSS officers met repeatedly with Wikipedia:Ho Chi Minh and other Wikipedia:Viet Minh officers during this period[46] and on 2 September 1945 Ho Chi Minh declared the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam before a crowd of 500,000 in Wikipedia:Hanoi.[43] In an overture to the Americans, he began his speech by paraphrasing the Wikipedia:United States Declaration of Independence: "All men are created equal. The Creator has given us certain inviolable Rights: the right to Life, the right to be Free, and the right to achieve Happiness."[43]

The Viet Minh took power in Vietnam in the Wikipedia:August Revolution.[43] According to Wikipedia:Gabriel Kolko, the Viet Minh enjoyed large popular support,[47] although Arthur J. Dommen cautions against a "romanticized view" of their success: "The Viet Minh use of terror was systematic....the party had drawn up a list of those to be liqudated without delay."[48] After their defeat in the war, the Wikipedia:Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) gave weapons to the Vietnamese, and kept Vichy French officials and military officers imprisoned for a month after the surrender. The Viet Minh had recruited more than 600 Japanese soldiers and given them roles to train or command Vietnamese soldiers.[49][50]

thumb|upright|left|A Japanese naval officer surrenders his sword to a British Lieutenant in Saigon on 13 September 1945.

However, the major allied victors of World War II, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union, all agreed the area belonged to the French.[43] As the French did not have the means to immediately retake 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.[43] Nationalist Chinese troops entered the country to disarm Japanese troops north of the 16th parallel on 14 September 1945.[51] When the British landed in the south, 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.[43]

On the urging of the Soviet Union, Ho Chi Minh initially attempted to negotiate with the French, who were slowly re-establishing their control across the area.[52] In January 1946, the Viet Minh won elections across central and northern Vietnam.[53] On 6 March 1946, Ho signed an agreement allowing French forces to replace Nationalist Chinese forces, in exchange for French recognition of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as a "free" republic within the Wikipedia:French Union, with the specifics of such recognition to be determined by future negotiation.[54][55][56] The French landed in Hanoi by March 1946 and in November of that year they ousted the Viet Minh from the city.[52] British forces departed on 26 March 1946, leaving Vietnam in the hands of the French.[57] Soon thereafter, the Viet Minh began a guerrilla war against the French Union forces, beginning the Wikipedia:First Indochina War.

The war spread to Laos and Cambodia, where communists organized the Wikipedia:Pathet Lao and the Wikipedia:Khmer Serei, both of which were modeled on the Viet Minh.[58] Globally, the Cold War began in earnest, which meant that the Wikipedia:rapprochement that existed between the Western powers and the Soviet Union during World War II disintegrated. The Viet Minh fight was hampered by a lack of weapons; this situation changed by 1949 when the Chinese Communists had largely won the Wikipedia:Chinese Civil War and were free to provide arms to their Vietnamese allies.[58]

Exit of the French, 1950–54Edit

Main article: First Indochina War

In January 1950, the Wikipedia:People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union recognized Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam, based in Wikipedia:Hanoi, as the legitimate government of Vietnam. The following month the United States and Great Britain recognized the French-backed Wikipedia:State of Vietnam in Wikipedia:Saigon, led by former Emperor Wikipedia:Bảo Đại, as the legitimate Vietnamese government.[59][60] The outbreak of the Wikipedia:Korean War in June 1950 convinced many Washington policymakers that the war in Wikipedia:Indochina was an example of communist expansionism directed by the Soviet Union.[61] thumb|left|French soldiers fight off a Viet Minh ambush in 1952. Military advisors from the People's Republic of China (PRC) began assisting the Viet Minh in July 1950.[62] PRC weapons, expertise, and laborers transformed the Viet Minh from a guerrilla force into a regular army.[63] In September 1950, the United States created a Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) to screen French requests for aid, advise on strategy, and train Vietnamese soldiers.[64] By 1954, the United States had supplied 300,000 small arms and spent US$1 billion in support of the French military effort, shouldering 80 percent of the cost of the war.[65]

There were also talks between the French and Americans in which the possible use of three Wikipedia:tactical nuclear weapons was considered, though reports of how seriously this was considered and by whom are even now vague and contradictory.[66][67] One version of the plan for the proposed Wikipedia:Operation Vulture envisioned sending 60 B-29s from U.S. bases in the region, supported by as many as 150 fighters launched from U.S. Seventh Fleet carriers, to bomb Viet Minh commander Wikipedia:Võ Nguyên Giáp's positions. The plan included an option to use up to three atomic weapons on the Viet Minh positions. Admiral Wikipedia:Arthur W. Radford, Chairman of the U.S. Wikipedia:Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave this nuclear option his backing. U.S. B-29s, B-36s, and B-47s could have executed a nuclear strike, as could carrier aircraft from the Seventh Fleet.[68]

U.S. carriers sailed to the Wikipedia:Gulf of Tonkin, and reconnaissance flights over Wikipedia:Dien Bien Phu were conducted during the negotiations. According to U.S. Vice-President Wikipedia:Richard Nixon, the plan involved the Joint Chiefs of Staff drawing up plans to use three small tactical nuclear weapons in support of the French.[66] Nixon, a so-called "hawk" on Vietnam, suggested that the United States might have to "put American boys in".[69] U.S. President Wikipedia:Dwight D. Eisenhower made American participation contingent on British support, but they were opposed to such a venture.[69] In the end, convinced that the political risks outweighed the possible benefits, Eisenhower decided against the intervention. Eisenhower was a five-star general. He was wary of getting the United States involved in a land war in Asia.[70]

The Viet Minh received crucial support from the Soviet Union and PRC. PRC support in the Border Campaign of 1950 allowed supplies to come from the PRC into Vietnam. Throughout the conflict, U.S. intelligence estimates remained skeptical of French chances of success.[71]

The Wikipedia:Battle of Dien Bien Phu marked the end of French involvement in Indochina. Giap's Viet Minh forces handed the French a stunning military defeat, and on 7 May 1954, the Wikipedia:French Union garrison surrendered. Of the 12,000 French prisoners taken by the Viet Minh, only 3,000 survived.[72] At the Geneva Conference, the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh, and independence was granted to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Transition periodEdit

Main article: Geneva Conference (1954)

[[Wikipedia:File:Gen-commons.jpg|thumb|right|The Geneva Conference, 1954]] Vietnam was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel, and under the terms of the Geneva Accords, civilians were to be given the opportunity to move freely between the two provisional states for a 300-day period. Elections throughout the country were to be held in 1956 to establish a unified government.[73] Around one million northerners, mainly minority Catholics, fled south, fearing persecution by the communists[74] following an American propaganda campaign using slogans such as "The Virgin Mary is heading south",[75] and aided by a U.S. funded $93 million relocation program, which included ferrying refugees with the Wikipedia:Seventh Fleet.[76] As many as two million more would have left had they not been stopped by the Wikipedia:Viet Minh.[77] The northern, mainly Catholic refugees were meant to give the later Wikipedia:Ngô Đình Diệm regime a strong anti-communist constituency.[78] Diệm later went on to staff his administration's key posts mostly with northern and central Catholics.

In addition to the Catholics flowing south, up to 130,000 "Revolutionary Regroupees" went to the north for "regroupment", expecting to return to the south within two years.[79] The Viet Minh left roughly 5,000 to 10,000 cadres in the south as a "politico-military substructure within the object of its Wikipedia:irredentism."[80] The last French soldiers were to leave Vietnam in April 1956.[63] The PRC completed its withdrawal from North Vietnam at around the same time.[62] Around 52,000 Vietnamese civilians moved from south to north.[81]

Between 1953 and 1956, the North Vietnamese government instituted various agrarian reforms, including "rent reduction" and "land reform". This was a campaign against land owners. Declassified Politburo documents confirm that 1 in 1,000 North Vietnamese (i.e., about 14,000 people) were the minimum quota targeted for execution during the earlier "rent reduction" campaign; the number killed during the multiple stages of the considerably more radical "land reform" was probably many times greater.[82] Landlords were arbitrarily estimated as 5.68% of the population, but the majority were subject to less severe punishment than execution. Official records from the time suggest that 172,008 people were executed as "landlords" during the "land reform", of whom 123,266 (71.66%) were later found to have been wrongly classified.[83][84] A wide range of estimates were previously suggested by independent sources.[83] In 1956, leaders in Hanoi admitted to "excesses" in implementing this program and restored a large amount of the land to the original owners.[85]

The south, meanwhile, constituted the State of Vietnam, with Bảo Đại as Emperor and Wikipedia:Ngô Đình Diệm (appointed in July 1954) as his prime minister. Neither the United States government nor Ngô Đình Diệm's State of Vietnam signed anything at the Wikipedia:1954 Geneva Conference. With respect to the question of reunification, the non-communist Vietnamese delegation objected strenuously to any division of Vietnam, but lost out when the French accepted the proposal of Viet Minh delegate Wikipedia:Phạm Văn Đồng,[86] who proposed that Vietnam eventually be united by elections under the supervision of "local commissions".[87] The United States countered with what became known as the "American Plan", with the support of South Vietnam and the United Kingdom.[88] It provided for unification elections under the supervision of the United Nations, but was rejected by the Soviet delegation.[88] The United States was willing to accept a reunified, communist-led Vietnam if it resulted from free and fair elections:[89] "With respect to the statement made by the representative of the State of Vietnam, the United States reiterates its traditional position that peoples are entitled to determine their own future and that it will not join in any arrangement which would hinder this".[90]

Wikipedia:President Eisenhower wrote in 1954 that "I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indochinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held as of the time of the fighting, possibly eighty percent of the population would have voted for the Communist Wikipedia:Ho Chi Minh as their leader rather than Chief of State Bảo Đại. Indeed, the lack of leadership and drive on the part of Bảo Đại was a factor in the feeling prevalent among Vietnamese that they had nothing to fight for."[91] According to the Pentagon Papers, however, from 1954 to 1956 "Ngô Đình Diệm really did accomplish miracles" in South Vietnam:[92] "It is almost certain that by 1956 the proportion which might have voted for Ho—in a free election against Diệm—would have been much smaller than eighty percent."[93] In 1957, independent observers from India, Poland, and Canada representing the Wikipedia:International Control Commission (ICC) stated that fair, unbiased elections were not possible, with the ICC reporting that neither South nor North Vietnam had honored the armistice agreement[94]

From April to June 1955, Diệm eliminated any political opposition in the south by launching military operations against two religious groups; the Wikipedia:Cao Đài and Wikipedia:Hòa Hảo of Wikipedia:Ba Cụt.Template:Citation needed The campaign also focused on the Wikipedia:Bình Xuyên Wikipedia:organized crime group which was allied with members of the communist party secret police and had some military elements.Template:Citation needed As broad-based opposition to his harsh tactics mounted, Diệm increasingly sought to blame the communists.[95]Template:Failed verification

In a referendum on the future of the State of Vietnam on 23 October 1955, Diệm rigged the poll supervised by his brother Wikipedia:Ngô Đình Nhu and was credited with 98.2 percent of the vote, including 133% in Saigon. His American advisors had recommended a more modest winning margin of "60 to 70 percent." Diệm, however, viewed the election as a test of authority.[96] Three days later, he declared South Vietnam to be an independent state under the name Republic of Vietnam (ROV), with himself as president.[97] Likewise, Ho Chi Minh and other communist officials always won at least 99% of the vote in North Vietnamese "elections".[98]

The Wikipedia:domino theory, which argued that if one country fell to communism, then all of the surrounding countries would follow, was first proposed as policy by the Eisenhower administration.[99] Wikipedia:John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. Senator, said in a speech to the Wikipedia:American Friends of Vietnam: "Burma, Thailand, India, 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."[100]

Diệm era, 1955–63Edit

Main article: Ngô Đình Diệm

[[Wikipedia:File:Ngo Dinh Diem at Washington - ARC 542189.jpg|thumb|right|U.S. President Wikipedia:Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State Wikipedia:John Foster Dulles greet president Wikipedia:Ngô Đình Diệm of Wikipedia:South Vietnam in Washington, 8 May 1957.]]


Template:See also A devout Wikipedia:Roman Catholic, Diệm was fervently anti-communist, nationalist, and socially conservative. Historian Luu Doan Huynh notes that "Diệm represented narrow and extremist nationalism coupled with autocracy and Wikipedia:nepotism."[101] The majority of Vietnamese people were Buddhist, and were alarmed by actions such as Diệm's dedication of the country to the Wikipedia:Virgin Mary.

Beginning in the summer of 1955, Diệm launched the "Denounce the Communists" campaign, during which communists and other anti-government elements were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or executed. He instituted the death penalty against any activity deemed communist in August 1956.[102] According to Wikipedia:Gabriel Kolko about 12,000 suspected opponents of Diệm were killed between 1955 and 1957 and by the end of 1958 an estimated 40,000 Wikipedia:political prisoners had been jailed.[103] However, Wikipedia:Guenter Lewy argues that such figures were exaggerated and that there were never more than 35,000 prisoners of all kinds in the whole country.[104]

In May 1957, Diệm undertook a ten-day state visit to the United States. President Eisenhower pledged his continued support, and a parade was held in Diệm's honor in New York City. Although Diệm was publicly praised, in private Secretary of State Wikipedia:John Foster Dulles conceded that Diệm had been selected because there were no better alternatives.[105]

Former Secretary of Defense Wikipedia:Robert McNamara wrote in Argument Without End (1999) that the new American patrons of the ROV were almost completely ignorant of Vietnamese culture. They knew little of the language or long history of the country.[59] There was a tendency to assign American motives to Vietnamese actions, and Diệm warned that it was an illusion to believe that blindly copying Western methods would solve Vietnamese problems.[59]

Insurgency in the South, 1954–60Edit

Main article: Viet Cong

[[Wikipedia:File:HoCMT.png|thumb|right|upright=.9|The Wikipedia:Ho Chi Minh trail was used to supply the Viet Cong.]] Between 1954 and 1957 there was large scale random dissidence in the countryside which the Diệm government managed to successfully quell. In early 1957 South Vietnam had its first peace in over a decade. However, by mid-1957 through 1959 incidents of violence increased but the government "did not construe it as a campaign, considering the disorders too diffuse to warrant committing major GVN [Government of Vietnam] resources." By early 1959 however, Diệm considered it an organized campaign and implemented Law 10/59, which made political violence punishable by death and property confiscation.[106] There had been some division among former Viet Minh whose main goal was to hold the elections promised in the Geneva Accords, leading to "wildcat" activities separate from the other communists and anti-GVN activists.[27]

In December 1960, the National Liberation Front (NLF, a.k.a. the Viet Cong) was formally created with the intent of uniting all anti-GVN activists, including non-communists. According to the Pentagon Papers, the Viet Cong "placed heavy emphasis on the withdrawal of American advisors and influence, on land reform and liberalization of the GVN, on Wikipedia:coalition government and the neutralization of Vietnam." Often the leaders of the organization were kept secret.[27]

The reason for the continued survival of the NLF was the class relations in the countryside. The vast majority of the population lived in villages in the countryside where the key issue was land reform. The Wikipedia:Viet Minh had reduced rents and debts; and had leased communal lands, mostly to the poorer peasants. Diem brought the landlords back to the villages. People who were farming land they held for years now had to return it to landlords and pay years of back rent. This rent collection was enforced by the South Vietnamese army. The divisions within villages reproduced those that had existed against the French: "75 percent support for the NLF, 20 percent trying to remain neutral and 5 percent firmly pro-government,"[107]

North Vietnamese involvementEdit

Sources disagree on whether North Vietnam played a direct role in aiding and organizing South Vietnamese rebels prior to 1960. Kahin and Lewis assert:

Contrary to United States policy assumptions, all available evidence shows that the revival of the civil war in the South in 1958 was undertaken by Southerners at their own—not Hanoi's—initiative...Insurgency activity against the Saigon government began in the South under Southern leadership not as a consequence of any dictate from Hanoi, but contrary to Hanoi's injunctions.[27]

Similarly, historian Wikipedia:Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. states that "it was not until September, 1960 that the Communist Party of North Vietnam bestowed its formal blessing and called for the liberation of the south from American imperialism".[27]

By contrast, Jeffery Race interviewed communist defectors who found such denials "very amusing", and who "commented humorously that the Party had apparently been more successful than was expected in concealing its role."[108] James Olson and Randy Roberts assert that North Vietnam authorized a low-level insurgency in December 1956.[26] To counter the accusation that North Vietnam was violating the Geneva Accord, the independence of the Viet Cong was stressed in communist propaganda.[109]

In March 1956, southern communist leader Wikipedia:Le Duan presented a plan to revive the insurgency entitled "The Road to the South" to the other members of the Politburo in Hanoi, but as both China and the Soviets opposed confrontation at this time, Le Duan's plan was rejected.[109] However the North Vietnamese leadership approved tentative measures to revive the southern insurgency in December 1956.[110] Communist forces were under a single command structure set up in 1958.[111] The North Vietnamese Communist Party approved a "people's war" on the South at a session in January 1959[112] and in May, Wikipedia:Group 559 was established to maintain and upgrade the Wikipedia:Ho Chi Minh trail, at this time a six-month mountain trek through Laos. About 500 of the "regroupees" of 1954 were sent south on the trail during its first year of operation.[113] The first arms delivery via the trail was completed in August 1959.[114]

North Vietnam invaded Laos in 1959, and used 30,000 men to build invasion routes through Laos and Cambodia by 1961.[115] About 40,000 communist soldiers infiltrated into the south from 1961–63.[109] North Vietnam sent 10,000 troops of the North Vietnamese Army to attack the south in 1964, and this figure increased to 100,000 in 1965.[116]

The Kennedy years, 1961–63Edit

Main article: Strategic Hamlet Program

In the 1960 U.S. presidential election, Senator Wikipedia:John F. Kennedy defeated sitting Vice President Wikipedia:Richard Nixon. Although Eisenhower warned Kennedy about Laos and Vietnam, Europe and Latin America "loomed larger than Asia on his sights."[117] In his inaugural address, Kennedy made the ambitious pledge to "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty."[118] In June 1961, he bitterly disagreed with Soviet premier Wikipedia:Nikita Khrushchev when they met in Vienna to discuss key U.S.-Soviet issues.

The Kennedy administration remained essentially committed to the Cold War foreign policy inherited from the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. In 1961, the U.S. had 50,000 troops based in Korea, and Kennedy faced a three-part crisis – the failure of the Wikipedia:Bay of Pigs Invasion, the construction of the Wikipedia:Berlin Wall, and a negotiated settlement between the pro-Western government of Laos and the Wikipedia:Pathet Lao communist movement.[119] These crises made Kennedy believe that another failure on the part of the United States to gain control and stop communist expansion would fatally damage U.S. credibility with its allies and his own reputation. Kennedy was thus determined to "draw a line in the sand" and prevent a communist victory in Vietnam. He told James Reston of Wikipedia:The New York Times immediately after his Vienna meeting with Khrushchev, "Now we have a problem making our power credible and Vietnam looks like the place."[120][121]

In May 1961, U.S. Vice President Wikipedia:Lyndon B. Johnson visited Saigon and enthusiastically declared Diệm the "Wikipedia:Winston Churchill of Asia."[122] Asked why he had made the comment, Johnson replied, "Diệm's the only boy we got out there."[105] Johnson assured Diệm of more aid in molding a fighting force that could resist the communists.

Kennedy's policy toward South Vietnam rested on the assumption that Diệm and his forces had to ultimately defeat the guerrillas on their own. He was against the deployment of American combat troops and observed that "to introduce U.S. forces in large numbers there today, while it might have an initially favorable military impact, would almost certainly lead to adverse political and, in the long run, adverse military consequences."[123] The quality of the South Vietnamese military, however, remained poor. Poor leadership, corruption, and political promotions all played a part in weakening the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN). The frequency of guerrilla attacks rose as the insurgency gathered steam. While Hanoi's support for the Viet Cong played a role, South Vietnamese governmental incompetence was at the core of the crisis.[124] [[Wikipedia:File:South Vietnam Map.jpg|thumb|right|Wikipedia:South Vietnam, Military Regions, 1967]]

One major issue Kennedy raised was whether the Soviet space and missile programs had surpassed those of the United States. Although Kennedy stressed long-range missile parity with the Soviets, he was also interested in using Wikipedia:special forces for Wikipedia:counterinsurgency warfare in Third World countries threatened by communist insurgencies. Although they were originally intended for use behind front lines after a conventional Soviet invasion of Europe, 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.

Kennedy advisors Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow recommended that U.S. troops be sent to South Vietnam disguised as flood relief workers. Kennedy rejected the idea but increased military assistance yet again. In April 1962, Wikipedia:John Kenneth Galbraith warned Kennedy of the "danger we shall replace the French as a colonial force in the area and bleed as the French did."[125] By 1963, there were 16,000 American military personnel in South Vietnam, up from Eisenhower's 900 advisors.[126]

The Wikipedia:Strategic Hamlet Program had been initiated in 1961. This joint U.S.-South Vietnamese program attempted to resettle the rural population into fortified camps. Template:Cnspan[127]

On 23 July 1962, fourteen nations, including China, South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, North Vietnam and the United States, signed an agreement promising to respect the neutrality of Laos.[128]

Ousting and assassination of Ngô Đình DiệmEdit

Template:See also

Main article: Cable 243

thumb|right|A US tank convoy during the Vietnam War. The inept performance of the South Vietnamese army was exemplified by failed actions such as the Wikipedia:Battle of Ap Bac on 2 January 1963, in which a small band of Viet Cong beat off a much larger and better equipped South Vietnamese force, many of whose officers seemed reluctant even to engage in combat.[129] As historian James Gibson summed up the situation: "Strategic hamlets had failed…. The South Vietnamese regime was incapable of winning the peasantry because of its class base among landlords. Indeed, there was no longer a ‘regime’ in the sense of a relatively stable political alliance and functioning bureaucracy. Instead, civil government and military operations had virtually ceased. The National Liberation Front had made great progress and was close to declaring provisional revolutionary governments in large areas."[130]

The ARVN were led in that battle by Diệm's most trusted general, Wikipedia:Huỳnh Văn Cao, commander of the IV Corps. Cao was a Catholic who had been promoted due to religion and fidelity rather than skill, and his main job was to preserve his forces to stave off coups; he had earlier vomited during a communist attack. Some policymakers in Washington began to conclude that Diệm was incapable of defeating the communists and might even make a deal with Ho Chi Minh. He seemed concerned only with fending off coups, and had become more paranoid after attempts in 1960 and 1962, which he partly attributed to U.S. encouragement. As Wikipedia:Robert F. Kennedy noted, "Diệm wouldn't make even the slightest concessions. He was difficult to reason with..."[131]

Discontent with Diệm's policies exploded following the Wikipedia:Huế Phật Đản shootings of nine majority Buddhists who were protesting against the ban on the Wikipedia:Buddhist flag on Wikipedia:Vesak, the Buddha's birthday. This resulted in mass protests against discriminatory policies that gave privileges to the Catholic Church and its adherents. Diệm's elder brother Ngô Đình Thục was the Archbishop of Huế and aggressively blurred the separation between church and state. Thuc's anniversary celebrations shortly before Vesak had been bankrolled by the government and Vatican flags were displayed prominently. There had also been reports of Buddhist pagodas being demolished by Catholic paramilitaries throughout Diệm's rule. Diệm refused to make concessions to the Buddhist majority or take responsibility for the deaths. On 21 August 1963, the ARVN Special Forces of Colonel Wikipedia:Lê Quang Tung, loyal to Diệm's younger brother Wikipedia:Ngô Đình Nhu, raided pagodas across Vietnam, causing widespread damage and destruction and leaving a death toll estimated to range into the hundreds. [[Wikipedia:File:President Kennedy and Secretary McNamara 1962.png|right|thumb|Kennedy and McNamara]] [[Wikipedia:File:Diem dead.jpg|thumb|Wikipedia:Ngô Đình Diệm after being shot and killed in the 1963 coup.]] [[Wikipedia:File:M48A3 Detonates Mine Vietnam.jpg|thumb|left|A destroyed M48A3 Patton]] U.S. officials began discussing the possibility of a regime change during the middle of 1963. The Wikipedia:United States Department of State was generally in favor of encouraging a coup, while the Defense Department favored Diệm. Chief among the proposed changes was the removal of Diệm's younger brother Nhu, who controlled the secret police and special forces was seen as the man behind the Buddhist repression and more generally the architect of the Ngô family's rule. This proposal was conveyed to the U.S. embassy in Saigon in Wikipedia:Cable 243.

The Wikipedia:Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was in contact with generals planning to remove Diệm. They were told that the United States would not oppose such a move nor punish the generals by cutting off aid. President Diệm was overthrown and executed, along with his brother, on 2 November 1963. When he was informed, Maxwell Taylor remembered that Kennedy "rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face."[132] He had not approved Diệm's murder. The U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, invited the coup leaders to the embassy and congratulated them. Ambassador Lodge informed Kennedy that "the prospects now are for a shorter war".[133]

Following the coup, chaos ensued. Hanoi took advantage of the situation and increased its support for the guerrillas. South Vietnam entered a period of extreme political instability, as one military government toppled another in quick succession. Increasingly, each new regime was viewed by the communists as a puppet of the Americans; whatever the failings of Diệm, his credentials as a nationalist (as Robert McNamara later reflected) had been impeccable.[134]

U.S military advisors were embedded at every level of the South Vietnamese armed forces. They were, however, almost completely ignorant of the political nature of the Wikipedia:insurgency. The insurgency was a political power struggle, in which military engagements were not the main goal.[135] The Kennedy administration sought to refocus U.S. efforts on pacification and "winning over the hearts and minds" of the population. The military leadership in Washington, however, was hostile to any role for U.S. advisors other than conventional troop training.[136] General Paul Harkins, the commander of U.S. forces in South Vietnam, confidently predicted victory by Christmas 1963.[137] The CIA was less optimistic, however, warning that "the Viet Cong by and large retain de facto control of much of the countryside and have steadily increased the overall intensity of the effort".[138]

Paramilitary officers from the CIA's Wikipedia:Special Activities Division trained and led Hmong tribesmen in Laos and into Vietnam. The indigenous forces numbered in the tens of thousands and they conducted direct action missions, led by paramilitary officers, against the Communist Pathet Lao forces and their North Vietnamese supporters.[139] The CIA also ran the Wikipedia:Phoenix Program and participation Wikipedia:Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MAC-V SOG), which was originally named the Special Operations Group, but was changed for cover purposes.[140]

Opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War: 1962–1973Edit

thumb|Protests against the war in Washington, D.C. on 24 April 1971 left|thumb|Anti-Vietnam War demonstration, 1967. [[Wikipedia:File:Kent State massacre.jpg|right|thumb|The 14-year-old Wikipedia:Mary Ann Vecchio kneels over the dead body of Wikipedia:Jeffrey Miller who was shot by the Ohio National Guard during the Wikipedia:Kent State shootings]]

Main article: Opposition to the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War

During the course of the Vietnam War a large segment of the American population came to be opposed to U.S. involvement in South Vietnam. Public opinion steadily turned against the war following 1967 and by 1970 only a third of Americans believed that the U.S. had not made a mistake by sending troops to fight in Vietnam.[141]

Nearly a third of the American population were strongly against the war. It is possible to specify certain groups who led the anti-war movement and the reasons why. Many young people protested because they were the ones being drafted while others were against the war because the anti-war movement grew increasingly popular among the counterculture and drug culture in American society and its music.[142]

Some advocates within the peace movement advocated a Wikipedia:unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam. One reason given for the withdrawal is that it would contribute to a lessening of tensions in the region and thus less human bloodshed. Early opposition to U.S. involvement in Vietnam drew its inspiration from the Geneva Conference of 1954. American support of Diệm in refusing elections was seen as thwarting the very democracy that America claimed to be supporting. John F. Kennedy, while Senator, opposed involvement in Vietnam.[143]

Opposition to the Vietnam War tended to unite groups opposed to U.S. anti-communism and Wikipedia:imperialism[144] and, for those involved with the Wikipedia:New Left such as the Wikipedia:Catholic Worker Movement. Others, such as Wikipedia:Stephen Spiro opposed the war based on the theory of Wikipedia:Just War. Some wanted to show solidarity with the people of Vietnam, such as Wikipedia:Norman Morrison emulating the actions of Wikipedia:Thích Quảng Đức. In a key televised debate from 15 May 1965, Eric Severeid reporting for CBS conducted a debate between Wikipedia:McGeorge Bundy and Wikipedia:Hans Morgenthau dealing with an acute summary of the main war concerns of the U.S. as seen at that time stating them as: "(1) What are the justifications for the American presence in Vietnam -- why are we there? (2) What is the fundamental nature of this war? Is it aggression from North Vietnam or is it basically, a civil war between the peoples of South Vietnam? (3) What are the implications of this Vietnam struggle in terms of Communist China's power and aims and future actions? And (4) What are the alternatives to our present policy in Vietnam?"[145][146]

High-profile opposition to the Vietnam War turned to street protests in an effort to turn U.S. political opinion. On 15 October 1969, the Vietnam Moratorium attracted millions of Americans.[147] Riots broke out at the Wikipedia:1968 Democratic National Convention during protests against the war.[148] After explosive news reports of American Wikipedia:military abuses, such as the 1968 Wikipedia:My Lai Massacre, brought new attention and support to the anti-war movement, some veterans joined Wikipedia:Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The fatal shooting of four students at Wikipedia:Kent State University in 1970 led to nation-wide university protests.[149] Anti-war protests ended with the final withdrawal of troops after the Wikipedia:Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973. South Vietnam was left to defend itself alone when the fighting resumed. Many South Vietnamese subsequently fled to the United States.[150]

Other countries' involvementEdit


People's Republic of ChinaEdit

In 1950, the People's Republic of China extended Wikipedia:diplomatic recognition to the Wikipedia:Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam and sent weapons, as well as military advisors led by Luo Guibo to assist the Viet Minh in its war with the French. The first draft of the 1954 Geneva Accords was negotiated by French prime minister Wikipedia:Pierre Mendès France and Chinese Premier Wikipedia:Zhou Enlai who, fearing U.S. intervention, urged the Viet Minh to accept a partition at the 17th parallel.[151]

In the summer of 1962, Wikipedia:Mao Zedong agreed to supply Hanoi with 90,000 rifles and guns free of charge. Starting in 1965, China sent anti-aircraft units and engineering Wikipedia:battalions to North Vietnam to repair the damage caused by American bombing, rebuild roads and railroads, and to perform other engineering works. This freed North Vietnamese army units for combat in the South. China sent 320,000 troops and annual arms shipments worth $180 million.[152]

Wikipedia:Sino-Soviet relations soured after the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968. In October, the Chinese demanded North Vietnam cut relations with Moscow, but Hanoi refused.[153] The Chinese began to withdraw in November 1968 in preparation for a clash with the Soviets, which occurred at Wikipedia:Zhenbao Island in March 1969. The Chinese also began financing the Wikipedia:Khmer Rouge as a counterweight to the Vietnamese communists at this time.

China "armed and trained" the Khmer Rouge during the civil war and continued to aid them for years afterward.[154] The Khmer Rouge launched ferocious raids into Vietnam in 1975–1978. When Vietnam responded with an invasion that toppled the Khmer Rouge, China launched a brief, punitive invasion of Vietnam in 1979.

Soviet UnionEdit

[[Wikipedia:File:Leonid Brežněv (Bundesarchiv).jpg|thumb|upright|Wikipedia:Leonid Brezhnev was the Wikipedia: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 Wikipedia:Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam. The Soviet intelligence ships would pick up American B-52 bombers flying from Okinawa and Wikipedia:Guam. Their airspeed and direction would be noted and then relayed to Wikipedia:COSVN headquarters. COSVN using airspeed and direction would calculate the bombing target and tell any assets to move "perpendicularly to the attack trajectory." These advance warning gave them time to move out of the way of the bombers, and, while the bombing runs caused extensive damage, because of the early warnings from 1968 to 1970 they did not kill a single military or civilian leader in the headquarters complexes.[155]

The Soviet Union supplied North Vietnam with medical supplies, arms, tanks, planes, helicopters, artillery, anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment. Soviet crews fired Soviet-made Wikipedia:surface-to-air missiles at U.S. F-4 Phantoms, which were shot down over Thanh Hóa in 1965. Over a dozen Soviet citizens lost their lives in this conflict. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russian officials acknowledged that the Soviet Union had stationed up to 3,000 troops in Vietnam during the war.[156]

Some Russian sources give more specific numbers: Between 1953 and 1991, the hardware donated by the Soviet Union included 2,000 tanks, 1,700 APCs, 7,000 artillery guns, over 5,000 anti-aircraft guns, 158 surface-to-air missile launchers, 120 helicopters. During the war, the Soviets sent North Vietnam annual arms shipments worth $450 million.[157][158] From July 1965 to the end of 1974, fighting in Vietnam was observed by some 6,500 officers and generals, as well as more than 4,500 soldiers and sergeants of the Soviet Armed Forces. In addition, Soviet military schools and academies began training Vietnamese soldiers – in all more than 10,000 military personnel.[159]

North KoreaEdit

As a result of a decision of the Korean Workers' Party in October 1966, in early 1967 Wikipedia:North Korea sent a fighter squadron to North Vietnam to back up the North Vietnamese 921st and 923rd fighter squadrons defending Hanoi. They stayed through 1968, and 200 pilots were reported to have served.[160]

In addition, at least two anti-aircraft artillery regiments were sent as well. North Korea also sent weapons, ammunition and two million sets of uniforms to their comrades in North Vietnam.[161] Wikipedia:Kim Il-sung is reported to have told his pilots to "fight in the war as if the Vietnamese sky were their own".[162]


The contributions to North Vietnam by the communist Republic of Cuba, under Wikipedia:Fidel Castro, is still a matter of debate. There are numerous allegations by former U.S. prisoners of war that Cuban military personnel were present at North Vietnamese prison facilities during the war, and that they participated in torture activities, in what is known as the "Cuba Program".[163][164][165][166][167] Witnesses to this include Senator John McCain, 2008 U.S. Presidential candidate and former Vietnam prisoner of war, according to his 1999 book Wikipedia:Faith of My Fathers.[168] That there was at least a small contingent of Cuban Wikipedia:military advisors present in North Vietnam during the war is without question. Some, notably Wikipedia:Vietnam War POW/MIA issue advocates, claim evidence that Cuba's military and non-military involvement may have run into the "thousands" of personnel.[169] Then and since, the communist Vietnamese and Cuban governments have not divulged any information on this matter. The most well-known involvement, however, is Fidel Castro's visit to Quảng Trị province, held by North Vietnam after the Wikipedia:Easter Offensive.[170]


South KoreaEdit

Main article: Military history of South Korea during the Vietnam War

[[Wikipedia:File:Photo taken by Phillip Kemp from cockpit after sling-loading water drums to outpost..jpg|left|thumb|Soldiers of the South Korean White Horse Division in Vietnam]] [[Wikipedia:File:Phong Nhi massacre 4.jpg|thumb|Vietnamese civilians of Phong Nhi village massacred by South Korean Blue Dragon Brigade in 1968]] On the anti-communist side, Wikipedia:South Korea (a.k.a. the Republic of Korea, ROK) had the second-largest contingent of foreign troops in South Vietnam after the United States. In November 1961, Wikipedia:Park Chung-hee proposed South Korean participation in the war to John F. Kennedy, but Kennedy disagreed.[171] On 1 May 1964 Wikipedia:Lyndon Johnson requested South Korean participation.[171] The first South Korean troops began arriving in 1964 and large combat formations began arriving a year later. The Wikipedia:Republic of Korea Marine Corps dispatched their 2nd Marine Brigade while the ROK Army sent the Wikipedia:Capital Division and later the 9th Infantry Division. In August 1966 after the arrival of the 9th Division the Koreans established a corps command, the Republic of Korea Forces Vietnam Field Command, near Wikipedia:I Field Force, Vietnam at Wikipedia:Nha Trang.[172] The South Koreans soon developed a reputation for effectiveness, reportedly conducting counterinsurgency operations so well that American commanders felt that the South Korean area of responsibility was the safest.[173]

Approximately 320,000 South Korean soldiers were sent to Vietnam,[174] each serving a one year tour of duty. Maximum troop levels peaked at 50,000 in 1968, however all were withdrawn by 1973.[175] About 5,099 South Koreans were killed and 10,962 wounded during the war. South Korea claimed to have killed 41,000 Viet Cong fighters.[174] The United States paid South Korean soldiers 236 million dollars for their efforts in Vietnam,[174] and South Korean Wikipedia:GNP increased five-fold during the war.[174]

Australia and New ZealandEdit

thumb|upright|An Australian soldier in Vietnam

Main article: Military history of Australia during the Vietnam War

Australia and New Zealand, close allies of the United States and members of the Wikipedia:Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the Wikipedia:ANZUS military co-operation treaty, sent ground troops to Vietnam. Both nations had gained experience in counterinsurgency and jungle warfare during the Wikipedia:Malayan Emergency and World War II. Their governments subscribed to the Wikipedia:Domino theory. Australia began by sending advisors to Vietnam in 1962, and combat troops were committed in 1965.[176] New Zealand began by sending a detachment of engineers and an artillery battery, and then started sending special forces and regular infantry which were attached to Australian formations.[177] Australia's peak commitment was 7,672 combat troops and New Zealand's 552. More than 60,000 Australian personnel were involved during the course of the war, of which 521 were killed and more than 3,000 wounded.[178] Approximately 3,500 New Zealanders served in Vietnam, losing 37 killed and 187 wounded.[179] Most Australians and New Zealanders served in the Wikipedia:1st Australian Task Force in Wikipedia:Phước Tuy Province.[176]


Some 10,450 Filipino troops were dispatched to South Vietnam. 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. More noteworthy was the fact that the naval base in Subic bay was used for the U.S seventh fleet from 1964 till the end of the war in 1975.[180][181]


Thai Army formations, including the "Queen's Cobra" battalion, saw action in South Vietnam between 1965 and 1971. Thai forces saw much more action in the covert war in Laos between 1964 and 1972, though Thai regular formations there were heavily outnumbered by the irregular "volunteers" of the CIA-sponsored Police Aerial Reconnaissance Units or PARU, who carried out reconnaissance activities on the western side of the Ho Chi Minh trail.

Republic of China (Taiwan)Edit

Main article: Republic of China in the Vietnam War

Since November 1967, the Taiwanese government secretly operated a cargo transport detachment to assist the United States and South Vietnam. Taiwan also provided military training units for the South Vietnamese diving units, later known as the Lien Doi Nguoi Nhai (LDMN) or "Frogman unit" in English.[182] In addition to the diving trainers there were several hundred military personnel.[182] Military commandos from Taiwan were captured by communist forces three times trying to infiltrate North Vietnam.[182]

Canada and the ICCEdit

Main article: Canada and the Vietnam War

Canada, India and Poland constituted the Wikipedia:International Control Commission, which was supposed to monitor the 1954 ceasefire agreement.[183] Officially, Canada did not have partisan involvement in the Vietnam War and diplomatically it was "Wikipedia:non-belligerent". Victor Levant suggested otherwise in his book Quiet Complicity: Canadian Involvement in the Vietnam War (1986).[184][185] The Vietnam War entry in Wikipedia:The Canadian Encyclopedia asserts plainly that Canada's record on the truce commissions was a pro-Saigon partisan one.[186]

War crimesEdit

thumb|right|Victims of the My Lai massacre

Main article: List of war crimes#1954–1975: Vietnam War

A large number of Wikipedia:war crimes took place during the Vietnam War. War crimes were committed by both sides during the conflict and included rape, massacres of civilians, bombings of civilian targets, terrorism, the widespread use of torture and the murder of Wikipedia:prisoners of war. Additional common crimes included theft, arson, and the destruction of property not warranted by Wikipedia:military necessity.[187]

Allied war crimesEdit

Main article: Tiger Force

In 1968, the Wikipedia:Vietnam War Crimes Working Group (VWCWG) was established by the Pentagon Wikipedia:task force set up in the wake of the Wikipedia:My Lai Massacre, to attempt to ascertain the veracity of emerging claims of Wikipedia:war crimes by U.S. armed forces in Vietnam, during the Vietnam War period.

The investigation compiled over 9,000 pages of investigative files, sworn statements by witnesses and status reports for top military officers, indicating that 320 incidents had factual basis.[188] The substantiated cases included 7 massacres between 1967 and 1971 in which at least 137 civilians were killed; seventy eight further attacks targeting non-combatants resulting in at least 57 deaths, 56 wounded and 15 sexually assaulted; one hundred and forty-one cases of US soldiers torturing civilian detainees or prisoners of war with fists, sticks, bats, water or electric shock.[188] Over 800 alleged atrocities were investigated but only 23 soldiers were ever convicted on charges and most served sentences of less than a year.[189]Template:Verify credibility A Los Angeles Times report on the archived files concluded that the war crimes were not confined to a few rogue units, having been uncovered in every army division that was active in Vietnam.[188]

In 2003 a series of investigative reports by the Toledo Blade uncovered a large number of unreported American war crimes particularly from the Wikipedia:Tiger Force unit.[190] Some of the most violent war criminals included men such as Wikipedia:Sam Ybarra[191] and Sergeant Roy E. "the Bummer" Bumgarner, a soldier who served with the 1st Cavalry Division and later the 173d Airborne Brigade.[192]

In 1971 the later U.S. presidential candidate, Wikipedia:John Kerry, testified before the Wikipedia:U.S. Senate and stated that over 150 U.S. veterans testified during the Wikipedia:Winter Soldier Investigation and described war crimes committed in Southeast Asia.

"They told the stories of times that they had personally raped, cut off the ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country."
Wikipedia:John Kerry testifying before the U.S. Senate in 1971[193]

According to political scientist Wikipedia:R.J. Rummel, U.S. troops murdered about 6,000 Vietnamese civilians during the war.[194] From 1964 to 1975, Rummel estimated 1,500 persons died during the forced relocations of 1,200,000 civilians, another 5,000 prisoners died from ill-treatment and about 30,000 suspected communists and fighters were executed by ARVN forces. 6,000 civilians died in the more extensive shellings. This totals, from a range of between 42,000 and 118,000 deaths caused by South Vietnam, excluding NLF/North Vietnamese forces killed by the ARVN in combat.[195]

Wikipedia:Nick Turse, in his 2013 book, Kill Anything that Moves, argues that a relentless drive toward higher body counts, a widespread use of free-fire zones, rules of engagement where civilians who ran from soldiers or helicopters could be viewed as Viet Cong, and a widespread disdain for Vietnamese civilians led to massive civilian casualties and endemic war crimes inflicted by U.S. troops.[196] One example cited by Turse is Wikipedia:Operation Speedy Express, an operation by the 9th Infantry Division, which was described by Wikipedia:John Paul Vann as, in effect, "many My Lais".[196] In more detail,


South Korean forces were also culpable of war crimes as well. One of the massacres was the Wikipedia:Tây Vinh Massacre where Wikipedia:ROK Capital Division of the Wikipedia:South Korean Army killed 1,200 unarmed citizens between February 12, 1966 and March 17, 1966 in Bình An village, today Tây Vinh village, Wikipedia:Tây Sơn District of Wikipedia:Bình Định Province in South Vietnam.[197] Another example was the Wikipedia:Gò Dài massacre where ROK Capital Division of the South Korean Army killed 380 civilians on 26 February 1966 in Gò Dài hamlet, in Bình An commune, Wikipedia:Tây Sơn District (today Tây Vinh District) of Wikipedia:Bình Định Province in South Vietnam.[197]

North Vietnamese, Viet Cong, and Khmer Rouge war crimesEdit

Main article: Viet Cong and PAVN strategy, organization and structure#VC/NVA use of terror

thumb|right|Victims of the Huế Massacre Wikipedia:Viet Cong insurgents reportedly sliced off the genitals of village chiefs and sewed them inside their bloody mouths, cut off the tongues of helpless victims, rammed bamboo lances through one ear and out the other, slashed open the wombs of pregnant women, machine gunned children, hacked men and women to pieces with machetes, and cut off the fingers of small children who dared to get an education.[198]Template:Verify credibility[199]Template:Verify credibility According to a U.S. Senate report, squads were assigned monthly assassination quotas.[200] Peer De Silva, former head of the Saigon department of the CIA, wrote that from as early as 1963, Viet Cong units were using disembowelment and other methods of mutilation for psychological warfare.[201]

According to Guenter Lewy, Viet Cong insurgents assassinated at least 37,000 civilians in South Vietnam and routinely employed terror on a daily basis.[202] Ami Pedahzur has written that "the overall volume and lethality of Viet Cong terrorism rivals or exceeds all but a handful of terrorist campaigns waged over the last third of the twentieth century".[203] Notable Viet Cong atrocities include the massacre of over 3,000 unarmed civilians at Wikipedia:Huế during the Wikipedia:Tet Offensive and the incineration of hundreds of civilians at the Wikipedia:Đắk Sơn massacre with flamethrowers.[204] Up to 155,000 refugees fleeing the final North Vietnamese Spring Offensive were killed or abducted on the road to Wikipedia:Tuy Hòa in 1975.[205] According to Rummel, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops murdered between 106,000 and 227,000 civilians in South Vietnam.[194] North Vietnam was also known for its inhumane and abusive treatment of American POWs, most notably in Wikipedia:Hỏa Lò Prison (aka the Hanoi Hilton), where severe torture was employed to extract "confessions".[206]

Wikipedia:Khmer Rouge insurgents also reportedly committed atrocities during the war. These include the murder of civilians and POWs by slowly sawing off their heads a little more each day,[207] the destruction of Buddhist Wikipedia:wats and the killing of monks,[208]Template:Verify credibility attacks on refugee camps involving the deliberate murder of babies and bomb threats against foreign aid workers,[209]Template:Verify credibility the abduction and assassination of journalists,[210] and the shelling of Wikipedia:Phnom Penh for more than a year.[211]Template:Verify credibility Journalist accounts stated that the Khmer Rouge shelling "tortured the capital almost continuously", inflicting "random death and mutilation" on 2 million trapped civilians.[212]

The Khmer Rouge forcibly evacuated the entire city after taking it, in what has been described as a Wikipedia:death march: François Ponchaud wrote: "I shall never forget one cripple who had neither hands nor feet, writhing along the ground like a severed worm, or a weeping father carrying his ten-year old daughter wrapped in a sheet tied around his neck like a sling, or the man with his foot dangling at the end of a leg to which it was attached by nothing but skin";[213] John Swain recalled that the Khmer Rouge were "tipping out patients from the hospitals like garbage into the streets....In five years of war, this is the greatest caravan of human misery I have seen."[214]

Women in the Vietnam WarEdit

American nursesEdit

thumb|Da Nang, South Vietnam, 1968 During the Vietnam War, American women served on active duty doing a variety of jobs. Early in 1963, the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) launched Operation Nightingale, an intensive effort to recruit nurses to serve in Vietnam. Most nurses who volunteered to serve in Vietnam came from predominantly working or middle-class families with histories of military service. The majority of these women were white Catholics and Protestants.[215] Because the need for medical aid was great, many nurses underwent a concentrated four-month training program before being deployed to Vietnam in the ANC.[216] Due to the shortage of staff, nurses usually worked twelve-hour shifts, six days per week and often suffered from exhaustion. Wikipedia:First Lieutenant Sharon Lane was the only female military nurse to be killed by enemy gunfire during the war, on 8 June 1969.[217]

thumb|A nurse treats a Vietnamese child, 1967 At the start of the Vietnam War, it was commonly thought that American women had no place in the military. Their traditional place had been in the domestic sphere, but with the war came opportunity for the expansion of gender roles. In Vietnam, women held a variety of jobs which included operating complex data processing equipment and serving as stenographers.[218] Although a small number of women were assigned to combat zones, they were never allowed directly in the field of battle. The women who served in the military were solely volunteers. They faced a plethora of challenges, one of which was the relatively small number of female soldiers. Living in a male-dominated environment created tensions between the sexes. While this high male to female ratio was often uncomfortable for women, many men reported that having women in the field with them boosted their morale.[219] Although this was not the women's purpose, it was one positive result of the their service. By 1973, approximately 7,500 women had served in Vietnam in the Southeast Asian theater.[220] In that same year, the military lifted the prohibition on women entering the armed forces.

American women serving in Vietnam were subject to societal stereotypes. Many Americans either considered females serving in Vietnam masculine for living under the army discipline, or judged them to be women of questionable moral character who enlisted for the sole purpose of seducing men.[221] To address this problem, the ANC released advertisements portraying women in the ANC as "proper, professional and well protected." (26) This effort to highlight the positive aspects of a nursing career reflected the ideas of second-wave feminism that occurred during the 1960s–1970s in the United States. Although female military nurses lived in a heavily male environment, very few cases of sexual harassment were ever reported.[222] In 2008, by contrast, approximately one-third of women in the military felt that they had been sexually harassed compared with one-third of men.Template:Citation needed

Vietnamese womenEdit

thumbnail|right|Master-Sergeant and pharmacist Do Thi Trinh, part of the WAFC, supplying medication to ARVN dependents Unlike the American women who went to Vietnam, North Vietnamese women were enlisted and fought in the combat zone as well as provided manual labor to keep the Wikipedia:Ho Chi Minh trail open, cook for the troops, and some served as "Wikipedia:comfort women" for male communist fighters. They also worked in the rice fields in North Vietnam and Viet Cong-held farming areas in South Vietnam's Mekong Delta region to provide food for their families and the war effort. Women were enlisted in both the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong guerrilla insurgent force in South Vietnam. Some women also served for the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong intelligence services.

In South Vietnam, many women voluntarily serve in the Wikipedia:ARVN's Women's Armed Force Corps (WAFC) and various other Women's corps in the military. Some, like in the WAFC, fought in combat with other soldiers. Others have served as nurses and doctors in the battlefield and in military hospitals, or served in South Vietnam or America's intelligence agencies. During Diệm's presidency, Wikipedia:Madame Nhu was the commander of the WAFC.[223]

The war saw more than one million rural people migrate or flee the fighting in the South Vietnamese countryside to the cities, especially Saigon. Among the internal refugees were many young women who became the ubiquitous "bargirls" of wartime South Vietnam "hawking her wares -- be that cigarettes, liquor, or herself" to American and allied soldiers.[224] American bases were ringed by bars and brothels.[225]

A few bargirls married American and other allied soldiers, but many Amerasian children were left behind when the Americans departed. Facing a life as outcasts in Vietnam, 26,000 Wikipedia:Amerasians were permitted to immigrate to the United States in the 1980s and 1990s.[226]

Black servicemen in VietnamEdit

The experience of African American military personnel during the Vietnam War has received significant attention. For example, the website "African-American Involvement in the Vietnam War" compiles examples of such coverage,[227] as does the print and broadcast work of journalist Wikipedia:Wallace Terry.

The epigraph of Terry's book Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans (1984), includes the following quote: "I have an intuitive feeling that the Negro serviceman have a better understanding than whites of what the war is about." – General William C. Westmoreland, U.S. Army, Saigon, 1967. That book's introduction includes observations about the impact of the war on the black community in general and on black servicemen specifically. Points he makes on the latter topic include: the higher proportion of combat casualties in Vietnam among African American servicemen than among American soldiers of other races, the shift toward and different attitudes of black military careerists versus black draftees, the discrimination encountered by black servicemen "on the battlefield in decorations, promotion and duty assignments" as well as their having to endure "the racial insults, cross-burnings and Confederate flags of their white comrades" – and the experiences faced by black soldiers stateside, during the war and after America's withdrawal.[228] Upon the war's completion, black casualties made up 12.5% of US combat deaths, approximately equal to percentage of draft-eligible black men, though still slightly higher than the 10% who served in the military.[229]


Events in Southeast AsiaEdit

For effects specifically occuring if not instigated after 1969, see Wikipedia:Viet Nam War: 1969-1975#Events in Southeast Asia

Wikipedia:Explosive remnants of war (ERW) continue to detonate and kill people today. The Vietnamese government claims that ordnance has killed some 42,000 people since the war officially ended.[230][231] In 2012 alone, unexploded bombs and other ordnance claimed 500 casualties in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, according to activists and government databases.[232]

Wikipedia:Agent Orange and similar chemical substances, have also caused a considerable number of deaths and injuries over the years, including the US Air Force crew that handled them. On the 9th of August 2012, the United States and Vietnam began a cooperative cleaning up of the toxic chemical on part of Wikipedia:Danang International Airport, marking the first time Washington has been involved in cleaning up Agent Orange in Vietnam.[233]

Effect on the United StatesEdit

thumb|Vietnam War protests at the Pentagon, October 1967 In the post-war era, Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of the military intervention.[234] As General Maxwell Taylor, one of the principal architects of the war, noted, "First, we didn't know ourselves. We thought that we were going into another Wikipedia:Korean War, but this was a different country. Secondly, we didn't know our South Vietnamese allies... And we knew less about North Vietnam. Who was Wikipedia:Ho Chi Minh? Nobody really knew. So, until we know the enemy and know our allies and know ourselves, we'd better keep out of this kind of dirty business. It's very dangerous."[235][236] President Wikipedia:Ronald Reagan coined the term "Wikipedia:Vietnam Syndrome" to describe the reluctance of the American public and politicians to support further international interventions after Vietnam.

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, but with those in Congress..."[237] Alternatively, the official history of the Wikipedia:United States Army noted that "tactics have often seemed to exist apart from larger issues, strategies, and objectives. Yet in Vietnam the Army experienced tactical success and strategic failure... The...Vietnam War...legacy may be the lesson that unique historical, political, cultural, and social factors always impinge on the military...Success rests not only on military progress but on correctly analyzing the nature of the particular conflict, understanding the enemy's strategy, and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of allies. A new humility and a new sophistication may form the best parts of a complex heritage left to the Army by the long, bitter war in Vietnam."[135] [[Wikipedia:File:Marine da nang.jpg|left|thumbnail|upright|A young Marine private waits on the beach during the Marine landing, Wikipedia:Da Nang, 3 August 1965]] U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote in a secret memo to president Gerald Ford that "in terms of military tactics, we cannot help draw the conclusion that our armed forces are not suited to this kind of war. Even the Special Forces who had been designed for it could not prevail."[238] Even Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara concluded that "the achievement of a military victory by U.S. forces in Vietnam was indeed a dangerous illusion."[239]

Doubts surfaced as to the effectiveness of large-scale, sustained bombing. As Army Chief of Staff Wikipedia:Harold Keith Johnson noted, "if anything came out of Vietnam, it was that air power couldn't do the job."[240] Even General William Westmoreland admitted that the bombing had been ineffective. As he remarked, "I still doubt that the North Vietnamese would have relented."[240]

The inability to bomb Hanoi to the bargaining table also illustrated another U.S. miscalculation. The North's leadership was composed of hardened communists who had been fighting for thirty years. They had defeated the French, and their tenacity as both nationalists and communists was formidable. Ho Chi Minh is quoted as saying, "You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours...But even at these odds you will lose and I will win."[241] thumb|Marine gets his wounds treated during operations in Huế City, 1968 The Vietnam War called into question the U.S. Army doctrine. Marine Corps General Wikipedia:Victor H. Krulak heavily criticised Westmoreland's attrition strategy, calling it "wasteful of American lives... with small likelihood of a successful outcome."[240] In addition, doubts surfaced about the ability of the military to train foreign forces.

Between 1965 and 1975, the United States spent $111 billion on the war ($686 billion in FY2008 dollars).[242] This resulted in a large federal budget deficit.

More than 3 million Americans served in the Vietnam War, some 1.5 million of whom actually saw combat in Vietnam.[243] James E. Westheider wrote that "At the height of American involvement in 1968, for example, there were 543,000 American military personnel in Vietnam, but only 80,000 were considered combat troops."[244] Wikipedia:Conscription in the United States had been controlled by the president since World War II, but ended in 1973.

By war's end, 58,220 American soldiers had been killed,[A 1] more than 150,000 had been wounded, and at least 21,000 had been permanently disabled.[245] The average age of the U.S. troops killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years.[246] According to Dale Kueter, "Of those killed in combat, 86.3 percent were white, 12.5 percent were black and the remainder from other races."[247] Approximately 830,000 Vietnam veterans suffered symptoms of Wikipedia:posttraumatic stress disorder. An estimated 125,000 Americans left for Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft,[248] and approximately 50,000 American servicemen deserted.[249] In 1977, United States president Wikipedia:Jimmy Carter granted a full and unconditional pardon to all Vietnam-era Wikipedia:draft dodgers.[250] The Wikipedia:Vietnam War POW/MIA issue, concerning the fate of U.S. service personnel listed as Wikipedia:missing in action, persisted for many years after the war's conclusion.

As of 2013, the U.S. government is paying Vietnam veterans and their families or survivors more than 22 billion dollars a year in war-related claims.[251][252]

Effects of U.S. chemical defoliationEdit

[[Wikipedia:File:Defoliation agent spraying.jpg|thumb|right|U.S. helicopter spraying chemical Wikipedia:defoliants in the Wikipedia:Mekong Delta, South Vietnam]] One of the most controversial aspects of the U.S. military effort in Southeast Asia was the widespread use of chemical Wikipedia:defoliants between 1961 and 1971. They were used to defoliate large parts of the countryside to prevent the Viet Cong from being able to hide their weapons and encampments under the foliage. These chemicals continue to change the landscape, cause diseases and birth defects, and poison the food chain.[253][254]

Early in the American military effort, it was decided that since the enemy were hiding their activities under triple-canopy jungle, a useful first step might be to defoliate certain areas. This was especially true of growth surrounding bases (both large and small) in what became known as Wikipedia:Operation Ranch Hand. Corporations like Wikipedia:Dow Chemical Company and Wikipedia:Monsanto were given the task of developing herbicides for this purpose. American officials also pointed out that the British had previously used Wikipedia:2,4,5-T and Wikipedia:2,4-D (virtually identical to America's use in Vietnam) on a large scale throughout the Wikipedia:Malayan Emergency in the 1950s in order to destroy bushes, crops, and trees in effort to deny communist insurgents the cover they needed to ambush passing convoys.[255] Indeed, Secretary of State Wikipedia:Dean Rusk told President Wikipedia:John F. Kennedy on November 24, 1961, that "[t]he use of defoliant does not violate any rule of Wikipedia:international law concerning the conduct of chemical warfare and is an accepted tactic of war. Precedent has been established by the British during the emergency in Malaya in their use of aircraft for destroying crops by chemical spraying."[256]

The defoliants, which were distributed in drums marked with color-coded bands, included the "Wikipedia:Rainbow Herbicides"—Wikipedia:Agent Pink, Wikipedia:Agent Green, Wikipedia:Agent Purple, Wikipedia:Agent Blue, Wikipedia:Agent White, and, most famously, Wikipedia:Agent Orange, which included dioxin as a by-product of its manufacture. About 12 million gallons (45,000,000 L) of Agent Orange were sprayed over Southeast Asia during the American involvement.Template:Citation needed A prime area of Ranch Hand operations was in the Wikipedia:Mekong Delta, where the U.S. Navy patrol boats were vulnerable to attack from the undergrowth at the water's edge.

In 1961 and 1962, the Kennedy administration authorized the use of chemicals to destroy rice crops. Between 1961 and 1967, the U.S. Air Force sprayed 20 million U.S. gallons (75,700,000 L) of concentrated herbicides over 6 million acres (24,000 km2) of crops and trees, affecting an estimated 13% of South Vietnam's land. In 1965, 42% of all herbicide was sprayed over food crops. Another purpose of herbicide use was to drive civilian populations into RVN-controlled areas.[257]

Vietnamese victims affected by Agent Orange attempted a class action lawsuit against Dow Chemical and other US chemical manufacturers, but District Court Judge Wikipedia:Jack B. Weinstein dismissed their case.[258] They appealed, but the dismissal was cemented in February 2008 by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.[259] As of 2006, the Vietnamese government estimates that there are over 4,000,000 victims of Wikipedia:dioxin poisoning in Vietnam, although the United States government denies any conclusive scientific links between Agent Orange and the Vietnamese victims of dioxin poisoning. In some areas of southern Vietnam, dioxin levels remain at over 100 times the accepted international standard.[260]

300px|right The U.S. Veterans Administration has listed Wikipedia:prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, Wikipedia:multiple myeloma, Wikipedia:Diabetes mellitus type 2, Wikipedia:B-cell lymphomas, Wikipedia:soft-tissue sarcoma, Wikipedia:chloracne, Wikipedia:porphyria cutanea tarda, Wikipedia:peripheral neuropathy, and Wikipedia:spina bifida in children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange.[261] Although there has been much discussion over whether the use of these defoliants constituted a violation of the laws of war, the defoliants were not considered weapons, since exposure to them did not lead to immediate death or incapacitation.


Main article: Vietnam War casualties

Estimates of the number of casualties for the whole of the war vary, with one source suggesting up to 3.8 million violent war deaths.[262] 195,000–430,000 South Vietnamese civilians died in the war.[263][264] 50,000–65,000 North Vietnamese civilians died in the war.[263][265] The Army of the Republic of Vietnam lost between 171,331 and 220,357 men during the war.[263][266] The official US Department of Defense figure was 950,765 communist forces killed in Vietnam from 1965 to 1974. Defense Department officials believed that these body count figures need to be deflated by 30 percent. In addition, Guenter Lewy assumes that one-third of the reported "enemy" killed may have been civilians, concluding that the actual number of deaths of communist military forces was probably closer to 444,000.[263] A detailed demographic study calculated 791,000–1,141,000 war-related deaths for all of Vietnam.[6] Between 200,000[10][12] and 300,000[267] Cambodians died during the war. About 60,000 Laotians also died,[268] and 58,220 U.S. service members were killed.

Popular cultureEdit

Template:See also The Vietnam War has been featured extensively in television, film, video games, and literature in the participant countries. In American popular culture, the "Crazy Vietnam Veteran", driven mad or otherwise disturbed by his experiences in Vietnam, became a common Wikipedia:stock character after the war.

One of the first major films based on the Vietnam War was Wikipedia:John Wayne's pro-war film, The Green Berets (1968). Further cinematic representations were released during the 1970s and 1980s, including Wikipedia:Michael Cimino's Wikipedia:The Deer Hunter (1978), Wikipedia:Francis Ford Coppola's Wikipedia:Apocalypse Now (1979), Wikipedia:Oliver Stone's Platoon (1986) — based on his service in the Wikipedia:U.S. Military during the Vietnam War, Wikipedia:Stanley Kubrick's Wikipedia:Full Metal Jacket (1987), Wikipedia:Hamburger Hill (1987), and Wikipedia:Casualties of War (1989). Later films would include Wikipedia:We Were Soldiers (2002) and Wikipedia:Rescue Dawn (2007).

The war also influenced a generation of musicians and songwriters in Vietnam and the United States, both anti-war and pro/anti-communist. The band Wikipedia: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.Template:Citation needed

Wikipedia:Trinh Cong Son was a South Vietnamese songwriter famous for his anti-war songs.

See alsoEdit

Template:Portal Template:Columns-list



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  191. "Similarly, the Toledo Bladepays particular attention to Sam Ybarra, a "notorious suspect", who was named in seven of the thirty "Tiger Force" war crimes allegations investigated by the Army – including the rape and fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old girl and the brutal killing of a 15-year-old boy." 16 November 2003, "The Vietnam War Crimes You Never Heard Of", Wikipedia:Nick Turse, History News Network
  192. "I've heard of Bumgarner doing it before – planting weapons on bodies when there is doubt as to their military status. I've heard quite a few rumors about Bumgarner killing unarmed people. Only a couple weeks ago I heard that Bumgarner had killed a Vietnamese girl and two younger kids (boys), who didn't have any weapons." 16 November 2003, "The Vietnam War Crimes You Never Heard Of", Wikipedia:Nick Turse, History News Network
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    In his 234-page judgment, Weinstein observed: "Despite the fact that Congress and the President were fully advised of a substantial belief that the herbicide spraying in Vietnam was a violation of international law, they acted on their view that it was not a violation at the time."
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  262. Template:Cite news From 1955 to 2002, data from the surveys indicated an estimated 5.4 million violent war deaths ... 3.8 million in Vietnam.
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  267. Sliwinski himself estimates 240,000 wartime deaths, of which 40,000 were caused by U.S. bombing. (Sliwinski 1995, p. 48). He characterizes other estimates ranging from 600,000–700,000 as "the most extreme evaluations" (p. 42).
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Hall, Simon, "Scholarly Battles over the Vietnam War", Historical Journal 52 (September 2009), 813–29.

The United States in Vietnam: An analysis in depth of the history of America's involvement in Vietnam by Wikipedia:George McTurnan Kahin and John W. Lewis, Delta Books, 1967. Template:Refend

External linksEdit

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