Vietnam War

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Vietnam War
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{{about||a full history of wars in Vietnam|List of wars involving Vietnam|the documentary television series|The Vietnam War (TV series)}}{{pp-semi-indef}}{{pp-move-indef}}{{very long|rps=133|date=January 2019}}{{short description|1955–1975 conflict in Vietnam}}{{Use dmy dates|date=September 2014}}

| partof = the Indochina Wars and the Cold War| image = File:VNWarMontage.png| image_size = 300pxClockwise, from top left: U.S. combat operations in Battle of Ia Drang>Ia Đrăng, Vietnamese Rangers defending Battle of Saigon (1968)>Saigon during the 1968 Tet Offensive, two Douglas A-4 Skyhawk>A-4C Skyhawks after the Gulf of Tonkin incident, ARVN recapture Quảng Trị during the 1972 Easter Offensive, civilians fleeing the 1972 Battle of Quảng Trị, and burial of 300 victims of the 1968 Huế Massacre.month1=11year1=1955day2=30Due to the early presence of U.S. troops in Vietnam the start date of the Vietnam War is a matter of debate. In 1998, after a high level review by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and through the efforts of Richard B. Fitzgibbon, Jr.>Richard B. Fitzgibbon's family the start date of the Vietnam War according to the US government was officially changed to 1 November 1955.{{harvnb1998Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) in Indochina (deployed to Southeast Asia under President Truman) was reorganized into country-specific units and MAAG Vietnam was established.{{Harvnb>Lawrencep=20}}.Other start dates include when Hanoi authorized Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam to begin a low-level insurgency in December 1956,{{Harvnb|Olson|Roberts|2008|p=67}}. whereas some view 26 September 1959, when the first battle occurred between the Viet Cong and the South Vietnamese army, as the start date.Origins of the Insurgency in South Vietnam, 1954–1960, The Pentagon Papers (Gravel Edition), Volume 1, Chapter 5, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), Section 3, pp. 314–46; International Relations Department, Mount Holyoke College.
| group="A"|name="start date"}}The Paris Agreement on Vietnam: Twenty-five Years Later Conference Transcript, The Nixon Center, Washington, DC, April 1998. Reproduced on Accessed 5 September 2012.
South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Kingdom of Cambodia (1953–1970)>Cambodia, Laos, South China Sea, Gulf of ThailandVietnam>Socialist Republic of Vietnam.| result = North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front victory {{clist|bullets=no|title=Supported by:Taiwan}}BrazilBrazilian military government>BrazilWeil, Thomas E. et. al. Area Handbook for Brazil (1975), p. 293Malaysia}}HTTP://STUDENTSREPO.UM.EDU.MY/747/4/BAB3.PDF >TITLE=CHAPTER THREE: 1957–1969 EARLY RELATIONS BETWEEN MALAYSIA AND VIETNAM UNIVERSITY OF MALAYA STUDENT REPOSITORY >ACCESSDATE=17 OCTOBER 2015 PUBLISHER=INSTITUTE OF DIPLOMACY AND FOREIGN RELATIONS (IDFR), MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (MALAYSIA) ACCESSDATE=17 OCTOBER 2015 PAGE=31 ARCHIVEURL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20151016191310/HTTP://WWW.IDFR.GOV.MY/IMAGES/STORIES/PUBLICATION/2008/TUNKU.PDF URL-STATUS=DEAD, }}| combatant1 = {{Plainlist}}
  • {{flag|North Vietnam}}
  • {{flagdeco|Republic of South Vietnam}} Viet Cong and PRG
  • {{flagdeco|Laos}} Pathet Lao
  • {{flagdeco|Cambodia|1973}} GRUNK (1970–1975)
  • {{flagdeco|Cambodia|1975}} Khmer Rouge
  • {{flag|China}}
  • {{flag|Soviet Union|1955}}
  • {{flag|North Korea}}
  • {{flagdeco|South Vietnam}} South Vietnam:850,000 (1968)1,500,000 (1974–75)Le Gro, p. 28.
  • {{flagdeco|United States}} United States:2,709,918 in Vietnam total{{nowrap|Peak: 543,000 (April 1969)BOOK, Tucker, Spencer, The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History, 2nd Edition, ABC-CLIO, 2011, 978-1851099610,weblink xlv, WEB,weblink Archived copy, 26 April 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 2 December 2009, dead, dmy-all, }}
  • {{flagdeco|Cambodia|1970}} Khmer Republic:200,000 (1973)WEB,weblink Cambodia Civil War, 1970s, John, Pike,,
  • {{flagdeco|Laos|1952}} Laos:72,000 (Royal Army and Hmong militia)WEB,weblink The rise of Communism,, 31 May 2018,weblink" title="">weblink 17 November 2010, dead, dmy-all, WEB,weblink Hmong rebellion in Laos,
  • {{flagdeco|South Korea|1949}} South Korea:48,000 per year (1965-1973, 320,000 total)
  • {{flagdeco|Thailand|1939}} Thailand: 32,000 per year (1965-1973)(in VietnamWEB,weblink Vietnam War Allied Troop Levels 1960–73, 2016-08-02, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 August 2016, dmy-all, , accessed 7 Nov 2017 and Laos)WEB,weblink Pathet Lao Uprising, John, Pike,
  • {{flagdeco|Australia}} Australia: 50,190 total(Peak: 7,672 combat troops)
  • {{flagdeco|New Zealand}} New Zealand: 3,500 total(Peak: 552 combat troops)BOOK,weblink The A to Z of the Vietnam War, The Scarecrow Press, 2005, 978-1461719038,
  • {{flagdeco|Philippines|1936}} Philippines: 2,061| strength1 = ≈860,000 (1967)
{{Plainlist}} | commander1 = {{Plainlist}} | casualties2 = {{Plainlist}}
  • {{flagu|South Vietnam}}195,000–430,000 civilian dead{{Harvnb|Lewy|1978|pp=450–53}}.{{Harvnb|Thayer|1985|loc=chap. 12}}.254,256–313,000 military deadClarke, Jeffrey J. (1988), United States Army in Vietnam: Advice and Support: The Final Years, 1965–1973, Washington, D.C: Center of Military History, United States Army, p. 275: "The Army of the Republic of Vietnam suffered 254,256 recorded combat deaths between 1960 and 1974, with the highest number of recorded deaths being in 1972, with 39,587 combat deaths"{{citation |last=Rummel |first=R.J |year=1997 |url= |format=GIF |title=Table 6.1A. Vietnam Democide : Estimates, Sources, and Calculations |work=Freedom, Democracy, Peace; Power, Democide, and War, University of Hawaii System}}1,170,000 woundedTucker, Spencer E. The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History ABC-CLIO. {{ISBN|1851099611}}
  • {{flagu|United States|1960}}58,318 deadPRESS RELEASE, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund,weblink 3 new names added to Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall, 29 May 2017, Associated Press, (1/5 non-combat deaths)"Vietnam War U.S. Military Fatal Casualty Statistics: HOSTILE OR NON-HOSTILE DEATH INDICATOR." U.S. National Archives. April 29, 2008. Accessed July 13, 2019.303,644 wounded (including 150,341 not requiring hospital care){{refn|The figures of 58,220 and 303,644 for U.S. deaths and wounded come from the Department of Defense Statistical Information Analysis Division (SIAD), Defense Manpower Data Center, as well as from a Department of Veterans fact sheet dated May 2010; the total is 153,303 WIA excluding 150,341 persons not requiring hospital careREPORT, America's Wars,weblink Department of Veterans Affairs, May 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 24 January 2014, dmy-all, the CRS (Congressional Research Service) Report for Congress, American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics, dated 26 February 2010,REPORT, 26 February 2010, American War and Military Operations: Casualties: Lists and Statistics,weblink Anne Leland, Mari–Jana "M-J" Oboroceanu, Congressional Research Service, and the book Crucible Vietnam: Memoir of an Infantry Lieutenant.{{Harvnb|Lawrence|2009|pp=65, 107, 154, 217}} Some other sources give different figures (e.g. the 2005/2006 documentary Heart of Darkness: The Vietnam War Chronicles 1945–1975 cited elsewhere in this article gives a figure of 58,159 U.S. deaths,VIDEO, Aaron Ulrich (editor); Edward FeuerHerd (producer and director) (2005, 2006),weblink Heart of Darkness: The Vietnam War Chronicles 1945–1975, Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC, Dolby, Vision Software, Documentary, Koch Vision, 321 minutes, 1417229209, and the 2007 book Vietnam Sons gives a figure of 58,226)Kueter, Dale. Vietnam Sons: For Some, the War Never Ended. AuthorHouse (21 March 2007). {{ISBN|978-1425969318}}|name=USd&w|group=A}}
  • {{flagu|Laos|1952}} 15,000 army deadT. Lomperis, From People's War to People's Rule (1996)
  • {{flagdeco|Cambodia|1970}} Khmer Republic Unknown
  • {{flagu|South Korea|1949}} 5,099 dead; 10,962 wounded; 4 missing
  • {{flagu|Australia}} 521 dead; 3,129 woundedWEB,weblink Australian casualties in the Vietnam War, 1962–72, Australian War Memorial, 29 June 2013,
  • {{flagu|Thailand|1939}} 351 deadBOOK,weblink The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History, 2nd Edition [4 volumes]: A Political, Social, and Military History, Spencer C., Tucker, 2011, ABC-CLIO, 9781851099610,
  • {{flagu|New Zealand}} 37 deadWEB,weblink Overview of the war in Vietnam, New Zealand and the Vietnam War, 16 July 1965, 29 June 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 26 July 2013, dmy-all,
  • {{flagu|Taiwan}} 25 deadWEB,weblink America Wasn't the Only Foreign Power in the Vietnam War, 10 June 2017, 2013-10-02,
  • {{flagu|Philippines|1936}} 9 dead;WEB,weblink Chapter III: The Philippines,, 24 February 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 October 2013, dmy-all, 64 woundedWEB,weblink Asian Allies in Vietnam, Embassy of South Vietnam, March 1970, 18 October 2015,
Total military dead:333,620–392,364Total wounded:≈1,340,000+(excluding FARK and FANK)| casualties1 = {{Plainlist}}
  • {{flagdeco|North Vietnam}}{{flagdeco|Republic of South Vietnam}} North Vietnam & Viet Cong65,000–182,000 civilian deadWEB,weblink Battlefield:Vietnam – Timeline, PBS, 849,018 military dead (per Vietnam; 1/3 non-combat deaths)WEB,weblink Công tác tìm kiếm, quy tập hài cốt liệt sÄ© từ nay đến năm 2020 và những năn tiếp theo, The work of searching and collecting the remains of martyrs from now to 2020 and the next, Ministry of Defence (Vietnam), Ministry of Defence, Government of Vietnam, vi, NEWS,weblink Đời đời nhá»› Æ¡n các anh hùng liệt sÄ©!, Eternal gratitude to the heroes and martyrs!, Communist Party of Vietnam, 2018-06-11, vi, Communist Party of Vietnam, 666,000–950,765 dead{{nowrap|(US estimated 1964–74){{refn|Upper figure initial estimate, later thought to be inflated by at least 30% (lower figure), possibly includes civilians misidentified as combatants, see Vietnam War body count controversy|name=USclaim|group=A}}BOOK, Lewy, Guenter, Guenter Lewy, America in Vietnam, Oxford University Press, 1978, 9780199874231, 450–1, 600,000+ woundedSoames, John. A History of the World, Routledge, 2005.}}
  • {{flagdeco|Cambodia|1975}} Khmer Rouge Unknown
  • {{flagicon|Laos}} Pathet Lao Unknown
  • {{flagu|China|1949}} ~1,100 dead and 4,200 wounded
  • {{nowrap|{{flagu|Soviet Union}} 16 deadBOOK, James F. Dunnigan, Albert A. Nofi, Albert A. Nofi, Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War: Military Information You're Not Supposed to Know,weblink 2000, Macmillan, 978-0-312-25282-3, }}
  • {{flagu|North Korea|1948}} 14 deadNEWS,weblink North Korea fought in Vietnam War, BBC News Online, 31 March 2000, 18 October 2015,
Total military dead:≈667,130–951,895Total military wounded:≈604,200{{nowrap|(excluding GRUNK and Pathet Lao)}}| casualties3 = {{Plainlist}}
  • Vietnamese civilian dead: 627,000–2,000,000NEWS, 20 Years After Victory, Vietnamese Communists Ponder How to Celebrate, Philip, Shenon,weblink 23 April 1995, The New York Times, 24 February 2011, The Vietnamese government officially claimed a rough estimate of 2 million civilian deaths, but it did not divide these deaths between those of North and South Vietnam., JOURNAL, Fifty years of violent war deaths from Vietnam to Bosnia: analysis of data from the world health survey programme,weblink Ziad, Obermeyer, Christopher J L, Murray, Emmanuela, Gakidou, British Medical Journal, 336, 7659, 1482–1486, 10.1136/bmj.a137, 18566045, 2440905, 23 April 2008, 5 January 2013, From 1955 to 2002, data from the surveys indicated an estimated 5.4 million violent war deaths ... 3.8 million in Vietnam,
  • Vietnamese total dead: 966,000–3,812,000{{Harvnb|Obermeyer|Murray|Gakidou|2008}}.
  • Cambodian Civil War dead: 275,000–310,000BOOK, Sliwinski, Marek, Le Génocide Khmer Rouge: Une Analyse Démographique, The Khmer Rouge genocide: A demographic analysis, Paris, L'Harmattan, 1995, 978-2738435255, 42–43, 48,
  • Laotian Civil War dead: 20,000–62,000
  • Non-Indochinese military dead: 65,494
  • Total dead: 1,326,494–4,249,494
  • For more information see Vietnam War casualties and Aircraft losses of the Vietnam War
| campaignbox = {{Campaignbox Indochina Wars}}{{Campaignbox Vietnam War}}{{Campaignbox Vietnam War massacres}}}}The Vietnam War (), also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America () or simply the American War, was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies.ENCYCLOPEDIA, Encyclopædia Britannica, Vietnam War, Meanwhile, the United States, its military demoralized and its civilian electorate deeply divided, began a process of coming to terms with defeat in its longest and most controversial war,weblink 5 March 2008, WEB,weblink Allies of the Republic of Vietnam, Friedman, Herbert, 5/1/19, The war, considered a Cold War-era proxy war by some,NEWS,weblink Vietnam, The Necessary War: A Reinterpretation of America's Most Disastrous Military Conflict, Lind, Michael, The New York Times, 1999, 17 January 2014, lasted 19 years, with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, which ended with all three countries becoming communist in 1975.The conflict emerged from the First Indochina War against the communist-led Viet Minh.Major General George S. Eckhardt, Vietnam Studies Command and Control 1950–1969, Department of the Army, Washington, DC (1991), p. 6The Military Assistance Advisory Group, Indochina (with an authorized strength of 128 men) was set up in September 1950 with a mission to oversee the use and distribution of US military equipment by the French and their allies. Most of the funding for the French war effort was provided by the U.S.NEWS,weblink Could Vietnam have been nuked in 1954?, 5 May 2014,, BBC News, After the French quit Indochina in 1954, the US assumed financial and military support for the South Vietnamese state. The Việt Cá»™ng, also known as or NLF (the National Liberation Front), a South Vietnamese common front under the direction of North Vietnam, initiated a guerrilla war in the south. North Vietnam had also invaded Laos in the mid-1950s in support of insurgents, establishing the Ho Chi Minh trail to supply and reinforce the Việt Cá»™ng. U.S. involvement escalated under President John F. Kennedy through the MAAG program from just under a thousand in 1959 to 16,000 in 1963.WEB,weblink Vietnam War Allied Troop Levels 1960–73,, 2018-06-01,weblink" title="">weblink 2 August 2016, dead, dmy-all, Vietnam War Statistics and Facts 1, 25th Aviation Battalion website. By 1963, the North Vietnamese had sent 40,000 soldiers to fight in South Vietnam. North Vietnam was heavily backed by the USSR and the People's Republic of China. China also sent hundreds of PLA servicemen to North Vietnam to serve in air-defense and support roles.BOOK, Bajwa, Jiti S., Modernisation of the PLA: Gauging Its Latent Future Potential,weblink 2002, Lancer Publishers, 978-81-7062-224-6, 351, BOOK, Li, Xiaobing, Voices from the Vietnam War: Stories from American, Asian, and Russian Veterans,weblink 2010, University Press of Kentucky, 0-8131-7386-8, 85, By 1964, there were 23,000 US advisors in South Vietnam. In August, the Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred, in which a U.S. destroyer was alleged to have clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft. in response, the U.S Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving President Lyndon B. Johnson broad authorization to increase U.S. military presence. He ordered the deployment of combat units for the first time and increased troop levels to 184,000. Past this point, the People's Army of Vietnam (known also as the NVA) engaged in more conventional warfare with U.S and South Vietnamese forces. Every year onward, there was significant build-up of U.S forces, despite little progress. U.S Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, one of the principal architects of the war, began expressing doubts of victory by the end of 1966.NEWS,weblink McNamara becomes Vietnam War skeptic, Oct. 14, 1966, Politico, 2018-06-01, U.S. and South Vietnam forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, and airstrikes. The U.S. also conducted a large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam and Laos.The Tet Offensive of 1968 showed the lack of progress with these doctrines. With the NLF and PAVN mounting large-scale urban offensives throughout 1968, U.S domestic support for the war began fading. The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) expanded following a period of neglect after Tet and was modeled after U.S doctrine. The NLF sustained heavy losses during the Tet Offensive, losing over half its strength in a matter of months,WEB,weblink Vietnam Veterans for Academic Reform, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2009-02-26, which combined with subsequent U.S.-ARVN operations in the rest of 1968, nearly wiped out the southern insurgency. The CIA's Phoenix Program further degraded the NLF's membership and capabilities. By the end of the year, the NLF insurgents held almost no territory in South Vietnam, and their recruitment dropped by over 80% in 1969, signifying a drastic reduction in guerrilla operations, necessitating increased use of NVA regular soldiers from the north.Victory in Vietnam, p. 247, 249. In 1969, North Vietnam declared a Provisional Revolutionary Government in South Vietnam in an attempt to give the reduced NLF a more international stature, but the southern guerrillas from then on were sidelined as PAVN forces begun more conventional Combined arms warfare. Operations crossed national borders: Laos was invaded by North Vietnam early on, while Cambodia was used by North Vietnam as a supply route starting in 1967; the route through Cambodia began to be bombed by the U.S. in 1969, while the Laos route had been heavily bombed since 1964. The deposing of the monarch Norodom Sihanouk by the Cambodian National Assembly resulted in a PAVN invasion of the country at the request of the Khmer Rouge, escalating the Cambodian Civil War and resulting in a U.S.-RVN counter-invasion.In 1968, following the election of U.S President Richard Nixon, a policy of "Vietnamization" began, which saw the conflict fought by an expanded ARVN, with U.S. forces sidelined and increasingly demoralized by domestic opposition and reduced recruitment. U.S. ground forces withdrew by late 1971 and support was limited to air support, artillery support, advisers, and materiel shipments. The ARVN, buttressed by said U.S. support, stopped the largest and first mechanized PAVN offensive to date during the Easter Offensive of 1972, which had sustained heavy casualties on both sides but failed to recapture all territory, leaving its military situation difficult. The Paris Peace Accords saw all U.S forces withdrawn; the Case–Church Amendment, passed by the U.S Congress on 15 August 1973, ended direct U.S military involvement.{{Harvnb|Kolko|1985|pp=457, 461ff}}. The Peace Accords were broken almost immediately, and fighting continued for two more years. The 1975 Spring Offensive saw the capture of Saigon by the PAVN in April; this marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.The scale of fighting was enormous: by 1970 the ARVN was the world's fourth largest army, with the PAVN being similar in size at around a million regular soldiers.BOOK,weblink Heroes, Pilger, John, 2001, South End Press, 9780896086661, en, Spencer Tucker, Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History, ABC-CLIO, 1998, p 770. 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 966,000Charles Hirschman et al., "Vietnamese Casualties During the American War: A New Estimate", Population and Development Review, December 1995. to 3.8 million. Some 275,000–310,000 Cambodians,BOOK, Heuveline, Patrick, The Demographic Analysis of Mortality Crises: The Case of Cambodia, 1970–1979, Forced Migration and Mortality, National Academies Press, 2001, 102–04, 120, 124, 978-0309073349, As best as can now be estimated, over two million Cambodians died during the 1970s because of the political events of the decade, the vast majority of them during the mere four years of the 'Khmer Rouge' regime. ... Subsequent reevaluations of the demographic data situated the death toll for the [civil war] in the order of 300,000 or less., BOOK, Banister, Judith, Johnson, E. Paige, After the Nightmare: The Population of Cambodia, Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia: The Khmer Rouge, the United Nations and the International Community, Yale University Southeast Asia Studies, 1993, 87, 978-0938692492, An estimated 275,000 excess deaths. We have modeled the highest mortality that we can justify for the early 1970s.,weblink 20,000–62,000 Laotians, and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict, and a further 1,626 remain missing in action.The Sino-Soviet split re-emerged following the lull during the Vietnam War. Conflict between North Vietnam and its Cambodian allies in the Royal Government of the National Union of Kampuchea, and the newly-formed Democratic Kampuchea begun almost immediately in a series of border raids by the Khmer Rouge, eventually escalating into the Cambodian–Vietnamese War. Chinese forces directly invaded Vietnam in the Sino-Vietnamese War, with subsequent border conflicts lasting until 1991. Insurgencies were fought by the unified Vietnam in all three countries. The end of the war and resumption of the Third Indochina War would precipitate the Vietnamese boat people and the larger Indochina refugee crisis, which saw millions of refugees leave Indochina (mainly southern Vietnam), with an estimated 250,000 of whom perished at sea. Within the U.S, the war gave rise to what was referred to as Vietnam Syndrome, a public aversion to American overseas military involvements,WEB, Kalb, Marvin,weblink It's Called the Vietnam Syndrome, and It's Back, Brookings Institution, 22 January 2013, 12 June 2015, which together with the Watergate scandal contributed to the crisis of confidence that affected America throughout the 1970s.BOOK, Horne, Alistair, Kissinger's Year: 1973, Phoenix Press, 2010, 978-0-7538-2700-0, 370–371,


{{Further|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 WarWEB, Factasy,weblink The Vietnam War or Second Indochina War, PRLog, 29 June 2013, and the Vietnam Conflict.Given that there have been several conflicts in Indochina, this particular conflict is known by the names of its primary protagonists, in order to distinguish it from others.Moore, Harold G., and Joseph L. Galloway We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam (p. 57). In Vietnamese, the war is generally known as Kháng chiến chống Mỹ (Resistance War Against America),BOOK,weblink Unforgettable Vietnam War: The American War in Vietnam – War in the Jungle, Meaker, Scott S.F., 2015-11-04, but less formally as 'Cuộc chiến tranh Mỹ' (The American War). It is also called Chiến tranh Việt Nam (The Vietnam War).WEB, Asian-Nation: Asian American History, Demographics, & Issues:: The American / Viet Nam War, The Viet Nam War is also called 'The American War' by the Vietnamese,weblink 18 August 2008,


{{See also|History of Vietnam|Cochinchina Campaign|Cần Vương|Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng|Yên Bái mutiny|Vietnam during World War II|War in Vietnam (1945–46)|1940–46 in the Vietnam War|1947–50 in the Vietnam War|First Indochina War|Operation Vulture|Operation Passage to Freedom|1954 in the Vietnam War}}The primary military organizations involved in the war were as follows: One side consisted of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the United States armed forces, while the other side consisted of the 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 Viet Cong in English language sources), a South Vietnamese communist guerrilla force.Tucker, Spencer C. (2011) The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History ABC-CLIO. {{ISBN|1851099611}}, p. xliDaniel Ellsberg contends that U.S. participation in Vietnam had begun in 1945 when it gave support to a French effort to reconquer its colony in Vietnam, a nation which had just declared independence in August 1945.WEB, Ellsberg, Daniel, The doomsday machine – Talks at Google (February 2018),weblink Talks at google, Google / Daniel Ellsberg, 1 June 2018, 2018-02-02, Indochina was a French colony during the 19th century. When the Japanese invaded during World War II, the Viet Minh opposed them with support from the US, the Soviet Union and China. They received some Japanese arms when Japan surrendered. The Viet Minh, a Communist-led common front under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, then initiated an insurgency against French rule. Hostilities escalated into the First Indochina War (beginning in December 1946). By the 1950s, the conflict had become entwined with the Cold War. In January 1950, China and the Soviet Union recognized the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam, based in Hanoi, as the legitimate government of Vietnam. The following month the United States and Great Britain recognized the French-backed State of Vietnam in Saigon, led by former Emperor Bảo Đại, as the legitimate Vietnamese government.{{Harvnb|McNamara|1999|pp=377–79}}.WEB, The Vietnam War Seeds of Conflict 1945–1960,weblink The History Place, 13 May 2013, 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 Soviet Union.Pentagon Papers, Gravel, ed, Chapter 2, 'U.S. Involvement in the Franco-Viet Minh War', p. 54.Military advisors from the People's Republic of China (PRC) began assisting the Viet Minh in July 1950.Ang, Cheng Guan, The Vietnam War from the Other Side, p. 14. Routledge (2002). PRC weapons, expertise, and laborers transformed the Viet Minh from a guerrilla force into a regular army.WEB,weblink The History Place – Vietnam War 1945–1960, 11 June 2008, 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.{{Harvnb|Herring|2001|p=18}}. By 1954, the United States had spent US$1 billion in support of the French military effort, shouldering 80 percent of the cost of the war.Zinn, A People's History of the United States, p. 471.During the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, U.S. carriers sailed to the Gulf of Tonkin and the U.S. conducted reconnaissance flights. There were also talks between the French and Americans in which the possible use of three tactical nuclear weapons was considered, though reports of how seriously this was considered and by whom are vague and contradictory.Vietnam The Ten Thousand Day War, Thames 1981, Michael Maclear, p. 57.Vietnam at War: The History: 1946–1975, {{ISBN|978-0195067927}}, p. 263. According to U.S. vice president 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. Nixon, a so-called "hawk" on Vietnam, suggested that the United States might have to "put American boys in".{{Harvnb|Tucker|1999|p=76}} U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower made American participation contingent on British support, but the British were opposed. Eisenhower decided against U.S. military intervention, being wary of getting the United States involved in a land war in Asia.The U.S. Navy: a history, Naval Institute Press, 1997, Nathan Miller, {{ISBN|978-1557505958}}, pp. 67–68. Throughout the conflict, U.S. intelligence estimates remained skeptical of French chances of success.The Pentagon Papers. Gravel, ed. vol. 1, pp. 391–404.On 7 May 1954, the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu surrendered. The defeat marked the end of French military involvement in Indochina. At the Geneva Conference, the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh, and independence was granted to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Transition period

File:Gen-commons.jpg|thumb|The Geneva Conference, 1954]]At the 1954 Geneva peace conference, Vietnam was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel. Ho Chi Minh had wished to continue the war in the south, but was restrained by his Chinese allies who convinced him that he could win control by electoral means.NEWS,weblink China Contributed Substantially to Vietnam War Victory, Claims Scholar, 2001-01-01, Wilson Center, 2018-05-20, en, WEB,weblink Echoes from the Past: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Vietnam War – Armstrong Undergraduate Journal of History,, en, 2018-05-20, 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.Press release by the Embassy of the Republic of Vietnam, quoted from the Washington, DC press and Information Service, vol I. no. 18 (22 July 1955) and no. 20 (18 August 1955), in Chapter 19 of Gettleman, Franklin and Young, Vietnam and America: A Documented History, pp. 103–05. Around one million northerners, mainly minority Catholics, fled south, fearing persecution by the communists.Jacobs, pp. 45–55. This followed an American psychological warfare campaign, designed by Edward Lansdale for the CIA, which exaggerated anti-Catholic sentiment among the Viet Minh and which falsely claimed the US was about to drop atomic bombs on Hanoi.BOOK,weblink The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War, Kinzer, Stephen, Macmillan, 2013, 978-1429953528, 195–96, en, THESIS, Patrick, Johnson, David, Selling "Operation Passage to Freedom": Dr. Thomas Dooley and the Religious Overtones of Early American Involvement in Vietnam, 2009, University of New Orleans,weblink en, {{Harvnb|Fall|1967|p={{page needed|date=September 2013}}}}. The exodus was coordinated by a U.S.-funded $93 million relocation program, which included the use of the Seventh Fleet to ferry refugees.Vietnam Divided by B.S.N. Murti, Asian Publishing House, 1964. The northern, mainly Catholic refugees gave the later Ngô Đình Diệm regime a strong anti-communist constituency.{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=238}}. Diệm staffed his government'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.{{Harvnb|Kolko|1985|p=98}}. The Viet Minh left roughly 5,000 to 10,000 cadres in the south as a base for future insurgency.1 Pentagon Papers (The Senator Gravel Edition), 247, 328 (Boston, Beacon Press, 1971). The last French soldiers were to leave Vietnam in April 1956. The PRC completed its withdrawal from North Vietnam at around the same time. Around 52,000 Vietnamese civilians moved from south to north.John Prados,WEB,weblink The Numbers Game: How Many Vietnamese Fled South In 1954?, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 May 2006, The VVA Veteran (January/February 2005), 11 May 2017, Between 1953 and 1956, the North Vietnamese government instituted various agrarian reforms, including "rent reduction" and "land reform", which resulted in significant political oppression. During the land reform, testimony from North Vietnamese witnesses suggested a ratio of one execution for every 160 village residents, which extrapolated nationwide would indicate nearly 100,000 executions. Because the campaign was concentrated mainly in the Red River Delta area, a lower estimate of 50,000 executions became widely accepted by scholars at the time.{{sfn|Turner|1975|p=143}}JOURNAL, 3024603, Communist Land Policy in North Viet Nam, Far Eastern Survey, 28, 8, 113–126, Gittinger, J. Price, 1959, 10.2307/3024603, BOOK, Courtois, Stephane, Werth, Nicolas, Panne, Jean-Louis, Paczkowski, Andrzej, Bartosek, Karel, Margolin, Jean-Louis, The Black Book of Communism, Harvard University Press, 1997, 978-0674076082, 569, 1, The Black Book of Communism, Dommen, Arthur J. (2001), The Indochinese Experience of the French and the Americans, Indiana University Press, p. 340, gives a lower estimate of 32,000 executions. However, declassified documents from the Vietnamese and Hungarian archives indicate that the number of executions was much lower than reported at the time, although likely greater than 13,500.WEB,weblink Newly released documents on the land reform, Vietnam Studies Group, 2016-07-15, Vu Tuong: There is no reason to expect, and no evidence that I have seen to demonstrate, that the actual executions were less than planned; in fact the executions perhaps exceeded the plan if we consider two following factors. First, this decree was issued in 1953 for the rent and interest reduction campaign that preceded the far more radical land redistribution and party rectification campaigns (or waves) that followed during 1954–1956. Second, the decree was meant to apply to free areas (under the control of the Viet Minh government), not to the areas under French control that would be liberated in 1954–1955 and that would experience a far more violent struggle. Thus the number of 13,500 executed people seems to be a low-end estimate of the real number. This is corroborated by Edwin Moise in his recent paper "Land Reform in North Vietnam, 1953–1956" presented at the 18th Annual Conference on SE Asian Studies, Center for SE Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley (February 2001). In this paper Moise (7–9) modified his earlier estimate in his 1983 book (which was 5,000) and accepted an estimate close to 15,000 executions. Moise made the case based on Hungarian reports provided by Balazs, but the document I cited above offers more direct evidence for his revised estimate. This document also suggests that the total number should be adjusted up some more, taking into consideration the later radical phase of the campaign, the unauthorized killings at the local level, and the suicides following arrest and torture (the central government bore less direct responsibility for these cases, however)., dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 April 2011, dmy-all, cf. JOURNAL, Szalontai, Balazs, Political and Economic Crisis in North Vietnam, 1955–56, Cold War History (journal), Cold War History, 5, 4, November 2005, 395–426, 10.1080/14682740500284630, cf. BOOK, Vu, Tuong,weblink Paths to Development in Asia: South Korea, Vietnam, China, and Indonesia, Cambridge University Press, 2010, 978-1139489010, 103, Clearly Vietnamese socialism followed a moderate path relative to China. ... Yet the Vietnamese 'land reform' campaign ... testified that Vietnamese communists could be as radical and murderous as their comrades elsewhere., In 1956, leaders in Hanoi admitted to "excesses" in implementing this program and restored a large amount of the land to the original owners.{{Harvnb|Appy|2006|pp=46–47}}.The south, meanwhile, constituted the State of Vietnam, with Bảo Đại as Emperor and 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 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 Phạm Văn Đồng,The Pentagon Papers (1971), Beacon Press, vol. 3, p. 134. who proposed that Vietnam eventually be united by elections under the supervision of "local commissions".The Pentagon Papers (1971), Beacon Press, vol. 3, p. 119. The United States countered with what became known as the "American Plan", with the support of South Vietnam and the United Kingdom.The Pentagon Papers (1971), Beacon Press, vol. 3, p. 140. It provided for unification elections under the supervision of the United Nations, but was rejected by the Soviet delegation. The United States said, "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".The Pentagon Papers (1971), Beacon Press, vol. 3, pp. 570–71.U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote in 1954,File:Ba Cut Trial.jpg|thumb|upright=0.9|left|Ba Cut in Can Tho Military Court 1956, commander of religious movement the Hòa Hảo, which had fought against the Việt Minh, Vietnamese National Army and Cao Dai movement throughout the first war]]According to the Pentagon Papers, however, from 1954 to 1956 "Ngô Đình Diệm really did accomplish miracles" in South Vietnam: "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."BOOK, Turner, Robert F.,weblink Myths and Realities in the Vietnam Debate, The Vietnam Debate: A Fresh Look at the Arguments, University Press of America, 1990, 978-0819174161, In 1957, independent observers from India, Poland, and Canada representing the 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.{{harvnb|Woodruff|2005|p=6}} states: "The elections were not held. South Vietnam, which had not signed the Geneva Accords, did not believe the Communists in North Vietnam would allow a fair election. In January 1957, the International Control Commission (ICC), comprising observers from India, Poland, and Canada, agreed with this perception, reporting that neither South nor North Vietnam had honored the armistice agreement. With the French gone, a return to the traditional power struggle between north and south had begun again."From April to June 1955, Diệm eliminated any political opposition in the south by launching military operations against two religious groups: the Cao Đài and Hòa Hảo of Ba Cụt. The campaign also focused on the Bình Xuyên organized crime group, which was allied with members of the communist party secret police and had some military elements. As broad-based opposition to his harsh tactics mounted, Diệm increasingly sought to blame the communists.File:Bảy Viá»…n 9.jpg|thumb|Originating as a bandit group, the Bình Xuyên was a crime syndicate briefly aligned with the Việt Minh before allying with the French in exchange for control over large parts of Saigon. Headed by Bảy Viá»…n, it was defeated during the Battle of Saigon in 1955.]]In a referendum on the future of the State of Vietnam on 23 October 1955, Diệm rigged the poll supervised by his brother 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.{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=224}}. Three days later, he declared South Vietnam to be an independent state under the name Republic of Vietnam (ROV), with himself as president.Gerdes (ed.) Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War p. 19. Likewise, Ho Chi Minh and other communist officials always won at least 99% of the vote in North Vietnamese "elections".{{Harvnb|Turner|1975|pp=193–94, 202–03, 215–17}}The 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.{{Harvnb|McNamara|1999|p=19}}. John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. senator, said in a speech to the 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."John F. Kennedy. "America's Stakes in Vietnam". Speech to the American Friends of Vietnam, June 1956. {{webarchive |url= |date=26 June 2012}}

Diệm era, 1954–63


{{See also|Ngô Đình Diệm presidential visit to Australia}}(File:Vietnam war 1957 to 1960 map es.svg|thumb|left|Map of insurgency and "disturbances", 1957 to 1960)A devout 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 nepotism."{{Harvnb|McNamara|1999|pp=200–01}}. The majority of Vietnamese people were Buddhist, and were alarmed by actions such as Diệm's dedication of the country to the Virgin Mary.Beginning in the summer of 1955, Diệm launched the "Denounce the Communists" campaign, during which suspected 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.WEB,weblink The Pentagon Papers Gravel Edition Volume 1, Chapter 5, "Origins of the Insurgency in South Vietnam, 1954–1960",, 31 October 2011, About 12,000 suspected opponents of Diệm were killed between 1955 and 1957, and by the end of 1958, an estimated 40,000 political prisoners had been jailed.{{Harvnb|Kolko|1985|p=89}}.File:Ngo Dinh Diem at Washington - ARC 542189.jpg|thumb|U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles greet President Ngô Đình Diệm of South VietnamSouth VietnamIn 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, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles conceded in private that Diệm had been selected because there were no better alternatives.{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=230}}.

Insurgency in the South, 1954–60

File:Vietcong Guerrilla Patrols.jpg|thumb|Viet Cong with automatic weapons use leafy camouflage as they patrol a portion of the Saigon RiverSaigon RiverBetween 1954 and 1957, there was large-scale but disorganized dissidence in the countryside, which the Diệm government succeeded in quelling. In early 1957, South Vietnam enjoyed its first peace in over a decade. Incidents of political violence began to occur in mid-1957, 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 had come to regard the (increasingly frequent) disorders as an organized campaign and implemented Law 10/59, which made political violence punishable by death and property confiscation.Excerpts from Law 10/59, 6 May 1959 {{webarchive|url= |date=23 July 2008 }} 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.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. It was formed in Memot, Cambodia, and directed through a central office known as COSVN. 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 coalition government and the neutralization of Vietnam." The identities of the leaders of the organization often were kept secret.Support for the NLF was driven by peasant resentment of Diem's reversal of land reforms in the countryside. The vast majority of the population lived in villages in the countryside, where a key demand was for land reform. In areas they controlled, the Viet Minh had confiscated large private landholdings, reduced rents and debts, and leased communal lands, mostly to the poorer peasants. Diem brought the landlords back to the villages. People who were farming land they had 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".Marilyn Young, The Vietnam Wars: 1945–1990 (New York: Harper Perennial, 1991), p. 73

North Vietnamese involvement

{{See also|North Vietnamese invasion of Laos|Ho Chi Minh trail}}File:HoCMT.png|thumb|upright=0.9|The Ho Chi Minh trailHo Chi Minh trailSources disagree on whether North Vietnam played a direct role in aiding and organizing South Vietnamese rebels prior to 1960. Kahin and Lewis assert:Similarly, historian 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".(File:Ho chi minh trail.jpg|thumb|upright=0.9|left|The Ho Chi Minh trail required, on average, four months of rough-terrain travel for combatants from North Vietnam destined for the Southern battlefields.)By contrast, James Olson and Randy Roberts assert that North Vietnam authorized a low-level insurgency in December 1956. To counter the accusation that North Vietnam was violating the Geneva Accord, the independence of the Viet Cong was stressed in communist propaganda.BOOK, Cheng Guan, Ang, The Vietnam War from the Other Side,weblink 2002, RoutledgeCurzon, 978-0700716159, 16, 58, 76, In March 1956, southern communist leader Lê Duẩn presented a plan to revive the insurgency entitled "The Road to the South" to the other members of the Politburo in Hanoi; however, as both China and the Soviets opposed confrontation at this time, Lê Duẩn's plan was rejected. Despite this, the North Vietnamese leadership approved tentative measures to revive the southern insurgency in December 1956.This decision was made at the 11th Plenary Session of the Lao Dong Central Committee. Communist forces were under a single command structure set up in 1958.Military History Institute of Vietnam,(2002) Victory in Vietnam: The Official History of the People's Army of Vietnam, 1954–1975, translated by Merle L. Pribbenow. University Press of Kansas. p. 68. {{ISBN|0700611754}}. The North Vietnamese Communist Party approved a "people's war" on the South at a session in January 1959,WEB, The History Place â€“ Vietnam War 1945–1960,weblink 11 June 2008, and, in May, Group 559 was established to maintain and upgrade the 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.Victory in Vietnam, p. xi. The first arms delivery via the trail was completed in August 1959.{{Harvnb|Prados|2006}}. About 40,000 communist soldiers infiltrated the south from 1961 to 1963.

Kennedy's escalation, 1961–63

{{See also|Phạm Ngọc Thảo}}(File:The President's News Conference, 23 March 1961.jpg|thumb|President Kennedy's news conference of 23 March 1961)In the 1960 U.S. presidential election, Senator John F. Kennedy defeated incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon. Although Eisenhower warned Kennedy about Laos and Vietnam, Europe and Latin America "loomed larger than Asia on his sights."{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=264}}. In June 1961, he bitterly disagreed with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev when they met in Vienna to discuss key U.S.–Soviet issues. Only 16 months later, the Cuban Missile Crisis (16–28 October 1962) played out on television worldwide. It was the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war, and the U.S. raised the readiness level of Strategic Air Command (SAC) forces to DEFCON 2.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 South Korea, and Kennedy faced four crisis situations: the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion that he had approved on April 4thIt’s Time to Stop Saying that JFK Inherited the Bay of Pigs Operation from Ike | History News Network | 12-5-2015, settlement negotiations between the pro-Western government of Laos and the Pathet Lao communist movement in May,{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=265}}: "Kennedy sidestepped Laos, whose rugged terrain was no battleground for American soldiers." the construction of the Berlin Wall in August, and the Cuban Missile Crisis in October. 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 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."The case of John F. Kennedy and Vietnam Presidential Studies Quarterly.Mann, Robert. A Grand Delusion, Basic Books, 2002.File:South Vietnam Map.jpg|thumb|left|South VietnamSouth VietnamKennedy'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."{{Harvnb|VTF|1969|loc=IV. B. 4., pp. 1–2}} 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 (formally Army of the Republic of Vietnam or 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.{{Harvnb|McNamara|1999|p=369}}.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 special forces for 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.File:President meets with Secretary of Defense. President Kennedy, Secretary McNamara. White House, Cabinet Room - NARA - 194244.jpg|thumb|Kennedy and McNamara ]]Kennedy advisors Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow recommended that U.S. troops be sent to South Vietnam disguised as flood relief workers.NEWS,weblink A Special Supplement: Kennedy's Private War, Stavins, Ralph L., 1971-07-22, The New York Review of Books, 2017-12-02, 0028-7504, Kennedy rejected the idea but increased military assistance yet again. In April 1962, 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."John Kenneth Galbraith. "Memorandum to President Kennedy from John Kenneth Galbraith on Vietnam, 4 April 1962." The Pentagon Papers. Gravel. ed. Boston, Massachusetts Beacon Press, 1971, vol. 2. pp. 669–71. By November 1963, there were 16,000 American military personnel in South Vietnam, up from Eisenhower's 900 advisors.WEB,weblink Vietnam War, Swarthmore College Peace Collection, harv, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 August 2016, dmy-all, The Strategic Hamlet Program was initiated in late 1961. This joint U.S.–South Vietnamese program attempted to resettle the rural population into fortified camps. It was implemented in early 1962 and involved some forced relocation, village internment, and segregation of rural South Vietnamese into new communities where the peasantry would be isolated from Communist insurgents. It was hoped these new communities would provide security for the peasants and strengthen the tie between them and the central government. However, by November 1963 the program had waned, and it officially ended in 1964.{{sfn|Tucker|2011|p=1070}}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.

Ousting and assassination of Ngô Đình Diệm

{{See also|Role of the United States in the Vietnam War#John F. Kennedy (1961–1963)|1960 South Vietnamese coup attempt|1962 South Vietnamese Independence Palace bombing|Huế Phật Đản shootings|Xá Lợi Pagoda raids}}The inept performance of the South Vietnamese army was exemplified by failed actions such as the Battle of Ap Bac on 2 January 1963, in which a small band of Viet Cong won a battle against a much larger and better-equipped South Vietnamese force, many of whose officers seemed reluctant even to engage in combat.{{Harvnb|Sheehan|1989|pp=201–66}}. During the Battle of Ap Bac South Vietnamese had lost 83 soldiers, 5 US war helicopters that had been shot down by Vietcong forces, while the Vietcong forces had lost only 18 soldiers. The Army of the Republic of Vietnam forces were led by Diệm's most trusted general, 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 coup attempts; 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 Robert F. Kennedy noted, "Diệm wouldn't make even the slightest concessions. He was difficult to reason with ..."Live interview by John Bartlow Martin. Was Kennedy Planning to Pull out of Vietnam? New York City. John F. Kennedy Library, 1964, Tape V, Reel 1. Historian James Gibson summed up the situation:(File:Arvncapture.jpg|thumb|upright|ARVN forces capture a Viet Cong.)Discontent with Diệm's policies exploded in May 1963 following the Huế Phật Đản shootings of nine unarmed Buddhists who were protesting against the ban on displaying the Buddhist flag on Vesak, the Buddha's birthday. This resulted in mass protests against discriminatory policies that gave privileges to the Catholic Church and its adherents over the Buddhist majority. 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 Lê Quang Tung, loyal to Diệm's younger brother Ngô Đình Nhu, raided pagodas across Vietnam, causing widespread damage and destruction and leaving a death toll estimated to range into the hundreds.U.S. officials began discussing the possibility of a regime change during the middle of 1963. The 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, and 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 Cable 243.File:Corpse of Ngô Đình Diệm in the 1963 coup.jpg|thumb|left|Ngô Đình DiệmNgô Đình DiệmThe 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 Kennedy was informed, Maxwell Taylor remembered that he "rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face."{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=326}}. Kennedy had not anticipated 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".{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=327}}. Kennedy wrote Lodge a letter congratulating him for "a fine job".FRUS, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Vol. IV, Vietnam, August–December 1863, Document 304Following 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.{{Harvnb|McNamara|1999|p=328}}.(File:Viet Cong002.jpg|thumb|Viet Cong fighters crossing a river)U.S. military advisors were embedded at every level of the South Vietnamese armed forces. They were however criticized for ignoring the political nature of the insurgency.{{Harvnb|Demma|1989}}. 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.{{Harvnb|Blaufarb|1977|p=119}}. General Paul Harkins, the commander of U.S. forces in South Vietnam, confidently predicted victory by Christmas 1963.{{Harvnb|Herring|2001|p=103}}. 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".{{Harvnb|Schandler|2009|p=36}}Paramilitary officers from the CIA's 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.U.S. Special Forces: A Guide to America's Special Operations Units: the World's Most Elite Fighting Force, By Samuel A. Southworth, Stephen Tanner, Published by Da Capo Press, 2002, {{ISBN|978-0306811654}}. The CIA also ran the Phoenix Program and participated in 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.Shooting at the Moon by Roger Warner – The history of CIA/IAD'S 15-year involvement in conducting the secret war in Laos, 1960–1975, and the career of CIA PMCO (paramilitary case officer) Bill Lair.

Johnson's escalation, 1963–69

{{Further|Role of the United States in the Vietnam War#Americanization}}{{See also|1964 South Vietnamese coup|September 1964 South Vietnamese coup attempt|December 1964 South Vietnamese coup|1965 South Vietnamese coup}}President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson had not been heavily involved with policy toward Vietnam;{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|pp=336–39}}.Johnson viewed many members that he inherited from Kennedy's cabinet with distrust because he had never penetrated their circle during Kennedy's presidency; to Johnson's mind, those like W. Averell Harriman and Dean Acheson spoke a different language.Shortly after the assassination of Kennedy, when McGeorge Bundy called LBJ on the phone, LBJ responded: "Goddammit, Bundy. I've told you that when I want you I'll call you." Brian VanDeMark, Into the Quagmire (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 13. however, upon becoming president, Johnson immediately focused on the war. On 24 November 1963, he said, "the battle against communism ... must be joined ... with strength and determination."{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=339}}.Before a small group, including Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., the new president also said, "We should stop playing cops and robbers [a reference to Diệm's failed leadership] and get back to… winning the war ... tell the generals in Saigon that Lyndon Johnson intends to stand by our word…[to] win the contest against the externally directed and supported Communist conspiracy." Johnson knew he had inherited a rapidly deteriorating situation in South Vietnam,{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=339}}: "At a place called Hoa Phu, for example, the strategic hamlet built during the previous summer now looked like it had been hit by a hurricane. ... Speaking through an interpreter, a local guard explained to me that a handful of Viet Cong agents had entered the hamlet one night and told the peasants to tear it down and return to their native villages. The peasants complied without question." but he adhered to the widely accepted domino theory argument for defending the South: Should they retreat or appease, either action would imperil other nations beyond the conflict.BOOK, The World Transformed – 1945 to the Present, Hunt, Michael, Oxford, 2016, 978-0199371020, New York, 169–71, The military revolutionary council, meeting in lieu of a strong South Vietnamese leader, was made up of 12 members. This council was headed by General DÆ°Æ¡ng Văn Minh, whom Stanley Karnow, a journalist on the ground, later recalled as "a model of lethargy".{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=340}}. Lodge, frustrated by the end of the year, cabled home about Minh: "Will he be strong enough to get on top of things?" Minh's regime was overthrown in January 1964 by General Nguyá»…n Khánh.{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=341}}. There was also persistent instability in the military, however, as several coups—not all successful—occurred in a short period of time.In a statement similar to that made to the French almost two decades earlier, Ho Chi Minh warned that if the Americans "want to make war for twenty years then we shall make war for twenty years. If they want to make peace, we shall make peace and invite them to afternoon tea."{{Harvnb|Young|1991|p=172}}. Some have argued that the policy of North Vietnam was not to topple other non-communist governments in South East Asia.{{Harvnb|McNamara|1999|p=48}}.

Gulf of Tonkin incident

{{Further|Credibility gap}}On 2 August 1964, {{USS|Maddox|DD-731|6}}, on an intelligence mission along North Vietnam's coast, allegedly fired upon and damaged several torpedo boats that had been stalking it in the Gulf of Tonkin.{{Harvnb|Kolko|1985|p=124}}. A second attack was reported two days later on {{USS|Turner Joy|DD-951|6}} and Maddox in the same area. The circumstances of the attacks were murky.BOOK, Isserman, Maurice, Kenan, William, Kazin, Michael, America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s,weblink 2000, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-509190-8, 114, Lyndon Johnson commented to Undersecretary of State George Ball that "those sailors out there may have been shooting at flying fish."{{Harvnb|Kutler|1996|p=249}}. An undated NSA publication declassified in 2005 revealed that there was no attack on 4 August.NEWS, Scott Shane, 31 October 2005, Vietnam Study, Casting Doubts, Remains Secret,weblink The New York Times, 13 September 2013, File:1965-02-08 Showdown in Vietnam.ogv|thumb|left|Universal NewsreelUniversal NewsreelThe second "attack" led to retaliatory air strikes, and prompted Congress to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on 7 August 1964.{{Harvnb|Moïse|1996|p=78}}.{{harvnb|Healy|2009|p=91}}. Although most congressmen at the time denied that this was a full-scale war declaration, the Tonkin Resolution granted the president unilateral power to launch any military actions he deemed necessary. In the same month, Johnson pledged that he was not "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".{{Harvnb|Palmer|1978|p=882}}.File:Bombing in Vietnam.jpg|thumb|upright|A U.S. B-66 Destroyer and four F-105 Thunderchiefs dropping bombs on North Vietnam during Operation Rolling ThunderOperation Rolling ThunderThe National Security Council recommended a three-stage escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam. Following an attack on a U.S. Army base in Pleiku on 7 February 1965,WEB, Simon, Dennis M., The War in Vietnam, 1965–1968, August 2002,weblink 7 May 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 26 April 2009, a series of air strikes was initiated, Operation Flaming Dart, while Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin was on a state visit to North Vietnam. Operation Rolling Thunder and Operation Arc Light expanded aerial bombardment and ground support operations.Nalty 1998, pp. 97, 261. The bombing campaign, which ultimately lasted three years, was intended to force North Vietnam to cease its support for the Viet Cong by threatening to destroy North Vietnamese air defenses and industrial infrastructure. It was additionally aimed at bolstering the morale of the South Vietnamese.Earl L. Tilford, Setup: What the Air Force did in Vietnam and Why. Maxwell Air Force Base AL: Air University Press, 1991, p. 89. Between March 1965 and November 1968, "Rolling Thunder" deluged the north with a million tons of missiles, rockets and bombs.{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=468}}.

Bombing of Laos

File:Nguyenvancoc.jpg|thumb|upright|Ho Chi Minh awards a medal to Nguyễn Văn CốcNguyễn Văn CốcBombing was not restricted to North Vietnam. Other aerial campaigns, such as Operation Barrel Roll, targeted different parts of the Viet Cong and NVA infrastructure. These included the Ho Chi Minh trail supply route, which ran through Laos and Cambodia. The ostensibly neutral Laos had become the scene of a civil war, pitting the Laotian government backed by the US against the Pathet Lao and its North Vietnamese allies.Massive aerial bombardment against the Pathet Lao and People's Army of Vietnam forces were carried out by the US to prevent the collapse of the Royal central government, and to deny the use of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos, nearly equal to the 2.1 million tons of bombs the U.S. dropped on Europe and Asia during all of World War II, making Laos the most heavily bombed country in history relative to the size of its population.WEB, Ben Kiernan, Kiernan, Ben, Owen, Taylor,weblink Making More Enemies than We Kill? Calculating U.S. Bomb Tonnages Dropped on Laos and Cambodia, and Weighing Their Implications, The Asia-Pacific Journal, 26 April 2015, 18 September 2016, The objective of stopping North Vietnam and the Viet Cong was never reached. The Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Curtis LeMay, however, had long advocated saturation bombing in Vietnam and wrote of the communists that "we're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age".Gen. Curtis E LeMay.

The 1964 Offensive

File:DongXoaiHuey-65a.JPG|thumb|left|ARVN Forces and a US Advisor inspect a downed helicopter, Battle of Dong XoaiBattle of Dong XoaiFollowing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Hanoi anticipated the arrival of US troops and began expanding the Viet Cong, as well as sending increasing numbers of North Vietnamese personnel southwards. At this phase they were outfitting the Viet Cong forces and standardising their equipment with AK-47 rifles and other supplies, as well as forming the 9th Division.BOOK,weblink Vietnam War After Action Reports, BACM Research, en, "From a strength of approximately 5,000 at the start of 1959 the Viet Cong's ranks grew to about 100,000 at the end of 1964 ... Between 1961 and 1964 the Army's strength rose from about 850,000 to nearly a million men." The numbers for U.S. troops deployed to Vietnam during the same period were much lower: 2,000 in 1961, rising rapidly to 16,500 in 1964.The United States in Vietnam: An analysis in depth of the history of America's involvement in Vietnam by George McTurnan Kahin and John W. Lewis, Delta Books, 1967. During this phase, the use of captured equipment decreased, while greater numbers of ammunition and supplies were required to maintained regular units. Group 559 was tasked with expanding the Ho Chi Minh Trail, in light of the near constant bombardment by US warplanes. The war had begun to shift into the final, conventional warfare phase of Hanoi's three-stage protracted warfare model. The Viet Cong was now tasked with destroying the ARVN and capturing and holding areas; however, the Viet Cong was not yet strong enough to assault major towns and cities.In December 1964, ARVN forces had suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Bình Giã,{{Harvnb|Moyar|2006|p=339}} in a battle that both sides viewed as a watershed. Previously, communist forces had utilised hit-and-run guerrilla tactics. At Binh Gia, however, they had defeated a strong ARVN force in a conventional battle and remained in the field for four days.{{Harvnb|McNeill|1993|p=58}}. Tellingly, South Vietnamese forces were again defeated in June 1965 at the Battle of Đồng Xoài.{{Harvnb|McNeill|1993|p=94}}.

American ground war

File:Vietcongsuspect.jpg|thumb|A Marine from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, moves a suspected Viet Cong during a search and clear operation held by the battalion {{convert|15|mi|km|0}} west of Da Nang Air BaseDa Nang Air BaseOn 8 March 1965, 3,500 U.S. Marines were unilaterally dispatched to South Vietnam.WEB,weblink Vietnam: A Television History; Vietnamizing the War (1968–1973); Interview with Bui Diem [1], 1981,, en, 2018-06-17, This marked the beginning of the American ground war. U.S. public opinion overwhelmingly supported the deployment.JOURNAL, October 2002, Generations Divide Over Military Action in Iraq,weblink Pew Research Center, harv, The Marines' initial assignment was defensive. The first deployment of 3,500 in March 1965 was increased to nearly 200,000 by December.{{Harvnb|McNamara|1999|pp=349–51}}. The U.S. military had long been schooled in offensive warfare. Regardless of political policies, U.S. commanders were institutionally and psychologically unsuited to a defensive mission.General William Westmoreland informed Admiral U. S. Grant Sharp Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific forces, that the situation was critical. He said, "I am convinced that U.S. troops with their energy, mobility, and firepower can successfully take the fight to the NLF (Viet Cong)".U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.–Vietnam Relations vol. 4, p. 7. With this recommendation, Westmoreland was advocating an aggressive departure from America's defensive posture and the sidelining of the South Vietnamese. By ignoring ARVN units, the U.S. commitment became open-ended.{{Harvnb|McNamara|1999|p=353}}. Westmoreland outlined a three-point plan to win the war:
  • Phase 1. Commitment of U.S. (and other free world) forces necessary to halt the losing trend by the end of 1965.
  • Phase 2. U.S. and allied forces mount major offensive actions to seize the initiative to destroy guerrilla and organized enemy forces. This phase would end when the enemy had been worn down, thrown on the defensive, and driven back from major populated areas.
  • Phase 3. If the enemy persisted, 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.U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.–Vietnam Relations vol. 5, pp. 8–9.
(File:Vietnamese villagers suspected of being communists by the US Army - 1966.jpg|thumb|left|upright|Peasants suspected of being Viet Cong under detention of U.S. Army, 1966)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. Westmoreland predicted victory by the end of 1967.U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.-Vietnam Relations vol. 4, pp. 117–19. and vol. 5, pp. 8–12. Johnson did not, however, communicate this change in strategy to the media. Instead he emphasized continuity.Public Papers of the Presidents, 1965. Washington, DC Government Printing Office, 1966, vol. 2, pp. 794–99. The change in U.S. policy depended on matching the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong in a contest of attrition and morale. The opponents were locked in a cycle of escalation.{{Harvnb|McNamara|1999|pp=353–54}}. The idea that the government of South Vietnam could manage its own affairs was shelved. Westmoreland and McNamara furthermore touted the body count system for gauging victory, a metric that would later prove to be flawed.NEWS,weblink McNamara on Record, Reluctantly, on Vietnam, Charles, Mohr, The American buildup transformed the South Vietnamese economy and had a profound effect on society. South Vietnam was inundated with manufactured goods. Stanley Karnow noted that "the main PX [Post Exchange], located in the Saigon suburb of Cholon, was only slightly smaller than the New York Bloomingdale's ..."{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=453}}. A huge surge in corruption was witnessed. Meanwhile, the one-year tour of duty of American soldiers deprived units of experienced leadership. As one observer noted "we were not in Vietnam for 10 years, but for one year 10 times."Courtwright (2005) {{page needed|date=November 2018}}{{Verify source|date=February 2019}} As a result, training programs were shortened.(File:VNC Female.jpg|thumb|upright|Heavily bandaged woman burned by napalm, with a tag attached to her arm which reads "VNC Female" meaning Vietnamese civilian)Washington encouraged its SEATO allies to contribute troops. Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and the Philippines{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=556}}. all agreed to send troops. South Korea would later ask to join the Many Flags program in return for economic compensation. Major allies, however, notably NATO nations Canada and the United Kingdom, declined Washington's troop requests.Peter Church. ed. A Short History of South-East Asia. Singapore, John Wiley & Sons, 2006, p. 193.The U.S. and its allies mounted complex search and destroy operations, designed to find enemy forces, destroy them, and then withdraw, typically using helicopters. In November 1965, the U.S. engaged in its first major battle with the North Vietnamese Army, the Battle of Ia Drang.WEB, Joseph Galloway,weblink Ia Drang – The Battle That Convinced Ho Chi Minh He Could Win, May 2, 2016, Historynet, 2010-10-18, The operation was the first large scale helicopter air assault by the U.S., and first to employ Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers in a tactical support role. These tactics continued in 1966–67 with operations such as Masher, Thayer, Attleboro, Cedar Falls, and Junction City. However, the communist insurgents remained elusive and demonstrated great tactical flexibility. By 1967, these operations had generated large-scale internal refugees, numbering nearly 2.1 million in South Vietnam, with 125,000 people evacuated and rendered homeless during Operation Masher alone, which was the largest search and destroy operation in the war up to that point.NEWS,weblink The Terrible Violence of 'Pacification', Elliott, Mai, 2018, The New York Times, 2018-06-08, en-US, 0362-4331, Operation Masher would have negligible impact, however, as the NVA/VC returned to the province just four months after the operation ended.BOOK,weblink The Vietnam War: An Intimate History, Ward, Geoffrey C., Alfred A. Knopf, 2017, 9780307700254, 153–56, en, Despite the continual conductance of major operations, which the Viet Cong and NVA would typically evade, the war was characterised by smaller-unit contacts or engagements.WEB,weblink The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 4, Chapter 2, "US Ground Strategy and Force Deployments, 1965–1968, pp. 277–604, 4th section,, 2018-06-12, Up to the war's end, the Viet Cong and NVA would initiate 90% of large firefights, of which 80% were clear and well-planned operations, and thus the NVA/Viet Cong would retain strategic initiative despite overwhelming US force and fire-power deployment. The NVA/Viet Cong had furthermore developed strategies capable of countering U.S. military doctrines and tactics (see NLF and PAVN battle tactics).(File:Checking house during patrol.jpg|thumb|left|U.S. soldiers searching a village for potential Viet Cong)Meanwhile, the political situation in South Vietnam began to stabilise with the coming to power of prime minister Air Marshal Nguyá»…n Cao Kỳ and figurehead chief of state, General Nguyá»…n Văn Thiệu, in mid-1965 at the head of a military junta. This ended a series of coups that had happened more than once a year. In 1967, Thieu became president with Ky as his deputy, after rigged elections. Although they were nominally a civilian government, Ky was supposed to maintain real power through a behind-the-scenes military body. However, Thieu outmanoeuvred and sidelined Ky by filling the ranks with generals from his faction. Thieu was also accused of murdering Ky loyalists through contrived military accidents. Thieu, mistrustful and indecisive, remained president until 1975, having won a one-candidate election in 1971.{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=706}}.BOOK, Jewett, Russell, Northern I Corps-Vietnam: A Corpsman's Story, 2014, Blurb, Ft Bragg, CA, File:Sgt. Ronald H. Payne Tunnel Rat Vietnam War 1967.jpg|thumb|A US "tunnel rattunnel ratThe Johnson administration employed a "policy of minimum candor"{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=18}}. in its dealings with the media. Military information officers sought to manage media coverage by emphasizing stories that portrayed progress in the war. Over time, this policy damaged the public trust in official pronouncements. As the media's coverage of the war and that of the Pentagon diverged, a so-called credibility gap developed. Despite Johnson and Westmoreland publicly proclaiming victory was being achieved, with Westmoreland divulging that the "end is coming into view",NEWS,weblink TWE Remembers: General Westmoreland Says the "End Begins to Come Into View" in Vietnam, Council on Foreign Relations, 2018-06-12, en, internal reports in the Pentagon Papers indicate that Viet Cong forces still retained strategic initiative, and were able to control their losses widely, with 30% of all engagements being Viet Cong attacks against static US positions, 23% being a VC/NVA ambush and encirclement, and just 5% of engagements being US forces attacking a Viet Cong emplacement and 9% being a US ambush against Viet Cong/NVA forces.{| class="wikitable"|+Types of Engagements, From Department of Defence Study 1967!TYPE OF ENGAGEMENTS IN COMBAT NARRATIVES!Percentage ofTotal Engagements!Notes|Hot Landing Zone. VC/NVA Attacks U.S. Troops As They Deploy|12.5%Planned VC/NVA AttacksAre 66.2% Of All Engagements|Planned VC/NVA Attack Against US Defensive Perimeter|30.4%|VC/NVA Ambushes or Encircles A Moving US Unit|23.3%|Unplanned US Attacks On A VC/NVA Defensive Perimeter,Engagement A Virtual Surprise To US Commanders|12.5%|Defensive Posts Being Well Concealedor VC-NVA Alerted or Anticipated|Planned US Attack Against KnownVC/NVA Defensive Perimeter|5.4%Planned US Attacks AgainstVC/NVA Represent 14.3%Of All Engagements|US Forces Ambushes Moving VC/NVA Units|8.9%|Chance Engagement, Neither Side Planned|7.1%|

Tet Offensive

File:ARVN in action HD-SN-99-02062.JPEG|thumb|ARVN forces assault a stronghold in the Mekong DeltaMekong Delta(File:T4 Vietcong Tet Offensive.jpg|thumb|Viet Cong before departing to participate in the Tet Offensive around Saigon-Gia Dinh)In late 1967, the NVA lured American forces into the hinterlands at Đắk Tô and at the Marine Khe Sanh combat base in Quảng Trị Province, where the U.S. engaged in a series of battles known as The Hill Fights. These actions were part of a diversionary strategy meant to draw US forces towards the Central Highlands.WEB,weblink Interview with NVA General Tran Van Tra {{!, HistoryNet||language=en-US|access-date=2018-06-01|date=2006-06-12}} Preparations were underway for the General Offensive, General Uprising, known as Tet Mau Than, or the Tet Offensive, with the intention of Văn Tiến Dũng for forces to launch "direct attacks on the American and puppet nerve centers—Saigon, Hue, Danang, all the cities, towns and main bases..."NEWS,weblink The Urban Movement and the Planning and Execution of the Tet Offensive, 2014-10-20, Wilson Center, 2018-06-01, en, Hanoi sought to placate critics of the ongoing stalemate by planning a decisive victory.BOOK,weblink Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam, Nguyen, Lien-Hang T., Univ of North Carolina Press, 2012, 978-0807882696, 90–94, en, They reasoned that this could be achieved through sparking a general uprising within the towns and cities,BOOK,weblink Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam, Nguyen, Lien-Hang T., 2012, Univ of North Carolina Press, 978-0807882696, 148, en, along with mass defections among ARVN units, who were on holiday leave during the truce period.NEWS,weblink Opinion {{!, The Tet Offensive Was Not About Americans|last=Wiest|first=Andrew|date=2018-03-01|work=The New York Times|access-date=2018-06-01|language=en-US|issn=0362-4331}}The Tet Offensive began on 30 January 1968, as over 100 cities were attacked by over 85,000 enemy troops, including assaults on key military installations, headquarters, and government buildings and offices, including the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.{{Harvnb|McNamara|1999|pp=363–65}}. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces were initially shocked by the scale, intensity and deliberative planning of the urban offensive, as infiltration of personnel and weapons into the cities was accomplished covertly; the offensive constituted an intelligence failure on the scale of Pearl Harbor.Harold P. Ford. CIA and the Vietnam Policymakers pp. 104–23. Most cities were recaptured within weeks, except the former capital city of Huế in which NVA and Viet Cong troops captured most of the city and citadel except the headquarters of the 1st Division and held on in the fighting for 26 days.JOURNAL,weblink The Cat From Hue: A Vietnam War Story, Foreign Affairs, 28 January 2009, May/June 2002,, WEB,weblink hue1968, hue1968, During that time, they had executed approximately 2,800 unarmed Huế civilians and foreigners they considered to be enemy's spies.Stephen T. Hosmer (1970), Viet Cong Repression and its Implications for the Future (Rand Corporation), pp. 72–78. In the following Battle of Huế American forces employed massive firepower that left 80 percent of the city in ruins.{{Harvnb|Kolko|1985|pp=308–09}}. Further north, at Quảng Trị City, the ARVN Airborne Division, the 1st Division and a regiment of the US 1st Cavalry Division had managed to hold out and overcome an assault intended to capture the city.Villard, Erik B., The 1968 Tet Offensive Battles of Quang Tri City and Hue, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, DC, (2008)Ankony, Robert C., Lurps: A Ranger's Diary of Tet, Khe Sanh, A Shau, and Quang Tri, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Landham, MD, (2009): p. 104 In Saigon, Viet Cong/NVA fighters had captured areas in and around the city, attacking key installations and the neighbourhood of Cholon before members of the ARVN Rangers dislodged them after three weeks.WEB,weblink The Vietnam Center and Archive: Exhibits – The Tet Offensive,, en, 2018-06-01, During one battle, Peter ArnettBOOK, The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When, Keyes, Ralph, St. Martin's Griffin, 2006, 978-0312340049,weblink reported an infantry commander saying of Bến Tre (laid to rubble by U.S. attacks) that "it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."Survivors Hunt Dead of Bentre, Turned to Rubble in Allied Raids|left|thumb|North Vietnamese regular army forces)(File:Cholon after Tet Offensive operations 1968.jpg|left|thumb|The ruins of a section of Saigon, in the Cholon neighborhood, following fierce fighting between ARVN forces and Viet Cong Main Force battalions)During the first month of the offensive, 1,100 Americans and other allied troops, 2,100 ARVN, and 14,000 civilians were killed.JOURNAL, Triều, Họ Trung, 2017-06-05, Lực lượng chính trị và đấu tranh chính trị ở thị xã Nha Trang trong cuộc Tổng tiến công và nổi dậy Tết Mậu Thân 1968, Hue University Journal of Science: Social Sciences and Humanities, 126, 6, 10.26459/hujos-ssh.v126i6.3770, 2588-1213, By the end of the first offensive, after two months, nearly 5,000 ARVN and over 4,000 U.S. forces had been killed, with total wounded of 45,820 and an unknown number of NVA/Viet Cong casualties, with some U.S. authors claiming the NVA and Viet Cong suffered 17,000 KIA and 32,000 total casualties including wounded.Villard, Erik B., The 1968 Tet Offensive Battles of Quang Tri City and Hue, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Washington, DC, (2008): p. 82 A month later a second offensive known as the Phase II/May Offensive was launched; although less widespread, it demonstrated the Viet Cong were still capable of carrying out orchestrated nationwide offensives.WEB,weblink Vietnam: The Vietnam War {{!, Mass Atrocity Endings||language=en-US|access-date=2018-06-01}} Two months later a third offensive was launched, the Phase III/August Offensive. The NVA's own official records of their losses across all three offensives was 45,267 killed and 111,179 total casualties.NEWS,weblink Tết Mậu Thân 1968 qua những số liệu, 2018-06-01, vi-VN, JOURNAL, Eyraud, Henri, March 1987, Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience. By Kolko Gabriel. [New York: Pantheon Books, 1985. 628 pp.], The China Quarterly, 109, 135, 10.1017/s0305741000017653, 0305-7410, By then it had become the bloodiest year of the war up to that point. The failure to spark a general uprising, and the fact that no units within the ARVN defected, meant both war goals of Hanoi had fallen flat at enormous costs.BOOK,weblink Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam, Nguyen, Lien-Hang T., 2012, Univ of North Carolina Press, 978-0807882696, 148–49, en, Prior to Tet, in November 1967, Westmoreland had spearheaded a public relations drive for the Johnson administration to bolster flagging public support.Witz The Tet Offensive: Intelligence Failure in War pp. 1–2. In a speech before the National Press Club he said a point in the war had been reached "where the end comes into view."Larry Berman. Lyndon Johnson's War. New York, W.W. Norton, 1991, p. 116. Thus, the public was shocked and confused when Westmoreland's predictions were trumped by the Tet Offensive. Public approval of his overall performance dropped from 48 percent to 36 percent, and endorsement for the war effort fell from 40 percent to 26 percent."Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (New York: Penguin, 1986), p. 546 The American public and media began to turn against Johnson as the three offensives contradicted claims of progress made by the Johnson administration and the military.At one point in 1968, Westmoreland considered the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam in a contingency plan codenamed Fracture Jaw, which was abandoned when it became known to the White House.NEWS,weblink U.S. General Considered Nuclear Response in Vietnam War, Cables Show, Sanger, David E., October 6, 2018, The New York Times, 2018-10-08, en, Westmoreland requested 200,000 additional troops, which was leaked to the media, and the subsequent fallout combined with intelligence failures caused him to be removed from command in March 1968, succeeded by his deputy Creighton Abrams.Sorely 1999, pp. 11–16.File:Glassboro-meeting1967.jpg|thumb|Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin with U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson at the Glassboro Summit ConferenceGlassboro Summit ConferenceOn 10 May 1968, peace talks began between the United States and North Vietnam in Paris. Negotiations stagnated for five months, until Johnson gave orders to halt the bombing of North Vietnam. At the same time, Hanoi realized it could not achieve a "total victory" and employed a strategy known as "talking while fighting, fighting while talking", in which military offensives would occur concurrently with negotiations.NEWS,weblink North Vietnam's "Talk-Fight" Strategy and the 1968 Peace Negotiations with the United States, 2012-04-16, Wilson Center, 2018-06-01, en, President Lyndon B. Johnson declined to run for re-election as his approval rating slumped from 48 to 36 percent. His escalation of the war in Vietnam divided Americans into warring camps, cost 30,000 American lives by that point and was regarded to have destroyed his presidency.Gerdes (ed.) Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War p. 27. Refusal to send more U.S. troops to Vietnam was also seen as Johnson's admission that the war was lost.Command Magazine Issue 18, p. 15. As Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara noted, "the dangerous illusion of victory by the United States was therefore dead."{{Harvnb|McNamara|1999|pp=366–67}}.Vietnam was a major political issue during the United States presidential election in 1968. The election was won by Republican party candidate Richard Nixon.

Nixon Doctrine and Vietnamization, 1969–72

Nuclear threats and diplomacy

U.S. president Richard Nixon began troop withdrawals in 1969. His plan, called the Nixon Doctrine, was to build up the ARVN so that it could take over the defense of South Vietnam. The policy became known as "Vietnamization". Theater commander Creighton Abrams shifted to smaller operations, aimed at disrupting logistics, with better use of firepower and more cooperation with the ARVN.{{Citation needed|date=June 2018}} On 27 October 1969, Nixon had ordered a squadron of 18 B-52s loaded with nuclear weapons to race to the border of Soviet airspace to convince the Soviet Union, in accord with the madman theory, that he was capable of anything to end the Vietnam War ("Operation Giant Lance").JOURNAL, Sagan, Scott Douglas, Suri, Jeremi, 2003-06-16, The Madman Nuclear Alert: Secrecy, Signaling, and Safety in October 1969,weblink International Security, en, 27, 4, 150–83, 1531-4804, 10.1162/016228803321951126, WEB,weblink Nixon's Nuclear Ploy, Evans, Michael,, 2018-02-08, Nixon had also sought détente with the Soviet Union and rapprochement with China, which decreased global tensions and led to nuclear arms reduction on the part of both superpowers; however, there was disappointment when both sides continued to supply the North Vietnamese with aid.{{Citation needed|date=June 2018}}

Hanoi's war strategy

(File:Vietnampropaganda.png|thumb|upright|Propaganda leaflet urging the defection of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese to the side of the Republic of Vietnam)In September 1969, Ho Chi Minh died at age seventy-nine.NEWS, Ho Chi Minh Dies of Heart Attack in Hanoi, 4 September 1969, The Times, 1, The failure of Tet in sparking a popular uprising caused a shift in Hanoi's war strategy, and the Giáp-Chinh "Northern-First" faction regained control over military affairs from the Lê Duẩn-Hoàng Văn Thái "Southern-First" faction.BOOK,weblink Victory at Any Cost: The Genius of Viet Nam's Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, Currey, Cecil B., Potomac Books, Inc., 2005, 978-1574887426, 272–74, en, An unconventional victory was sidelined in favor of a strategy built on conventional victory through conquest.BOOK,weblink Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam, Nguyen, Lien-Hang T., 2012, Univ of North Carolina Press, 978-0807882696, 196–205, en, Large-scale offensives were rolled back in favour of small-unit and sapper attacks as well as targeting the pacification and Vietnamization strategy. In the two-year period following Tet, the NVA had begun its transformation from a fine light-infantry, limited mobility force into a high-mobile and mechanised combined arms force.BOOK,weblink Victory at Any Cost: The Genius of Viet Nam's Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, Currey, Cecil B., 2005, Potomac Books, Inc., 978-1574887426, 189, en,

U.S. domestic controversies

The anti-war movement was gaining strength in the United States. Nixon appealed to the "silent majority" of Americans who he said supported the war without showing it in public. But revelations of the My Lai Massacre, in which a U.S. Army platoon raped and killed civilians, and the 1969 "Green Beret Affair", where eight Special Forces soldiers, including the 5th Special Forces Group Commander, were arrested for the murderJeff Stein, Murder in Wartime: The Untold Spy Story that Changed the Course of the Vietnam War. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992) 60–62. of a suspected double agent,Seals, Bob (2007) The "Green Beret Affair": A Brief Introduction. provoked national and international outrage.In 1971, the Pentagon Papers were leaked to The New York Times. The top-secret history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, commissioned by the Department of Defense, detailed a long series of public deceptions on the part of the U.S. government. The Supreme Court ruled that its publication was legal.JOURNAL,, February 1997, The Pentagon Papers Case, eJournal USA, 2, 1,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 12 January 2008, 27 April 2010, harv, dead, dmy-all,

Collapsing U.S. morale

Following the Tet Offensive and the decreasing support among the U.S. public for the war, U.S. forces began a period of morale collapse, disillusionment and disobedience.BOOK,weblink American Military History, Volume II, The United states Army in a Global Era, 1917–2003, United States Army Center of Military History, 349–50, 11. The U.S. Army in Vietnam from Tet to the Final Withdrawal, 1968–1975, harv,weblink BOOK,weblink Withdrawal: Reassessing America's Final Years in Vietnam, Daddis, Gregory A., 2017, Oxford University Press, 978-0190691103, 166–175, en, At home, desertion rates quadrupled from 1966 levels.JOURNAL, Heinl, Jr., Robert D., 7 June 1971, The Collapse of the Armed Forces,weblink Armed Forces Journal, Among the enlisted, only 2.5% chose infantry combat positions in 1969–1970. ROTC enrollment decreased from 191,749 in 1966 to 72,459 by 1971,BOOK,weblink The American Experience in Vietnam: A Reader, Sevy, Grace, 1991, University of Oklahoma Press, 978-0806123905, 172, en, and reached an all-time low of 33,220 in 1974,NEWS,weblink R.O.T.C. Booming as Memories of Vietnam Fade, Times, Richard Halloran and Special To the New York, 2018-06-14, en, depriving U.S. forces of much-needed military leadership.Open refusal to engage in patrols or carry out orders and disobedience began to emerge during this period,BOOK,weblink LIFE, Inc, Time, 1970, Time Inc, en, with one notable case of an entire company refusing orders to engage or carry out operations.NEWS,weblink General Won't Punish G.I.'s for Refusing Orders, Press, The Associated, 2018-06-13, en, Unit cohesion began to dissipate and focused on minimising contact with Viet Cong and NVA troops. A practice known as "sand-bagging" started occurring, where units ordered to go on patrol would go into the country-side, find a site out of view from superiors and rest while radioing in false coordinates and unit reports.BOOK,weblink The Vietnam War: An Intimate History, Ward, Geoffrey C., Burns, Ken, 2017, Alfred A. Knopf, 978-0307700254, 407–11, en, Drug usage increased rapidly among U.S. forces during this period, as 30% of U.S. troops engaged in regular usage of marijuana, while a House subcommittee found 10-15% of U.S. troops in Vietnam regularly used high-grade heroin.WEB,weblink Vietnam War (1954–75), Ronald H. Spector, Encyclopædia Britannica Online,weblink" title="">weblink 20 May 2014, dead, 20 May 2014, Ronald H. Spector, From 1969 on, search-and-destroy operations became referred to as "search and evade" or "search and avoid" operations, falsifying battle reports while avoiding guerrilla fighters.JOURNAL, Robert, Graham, Vietnam: An Infantryman's View of Our Failure,weblink Military Affairs, 48, 3 (Jul., 1984), 133–39, 10.2307/1987487, 1987487, 1984, A total of 900 fragging and suspected fragging incidents were investigated, most occurring between 1969 and 1971. In 1969 field-performance of the U.S. Forces was characterised by lowered morale, lack of motivation, and poor leadership.BOOK,weblink The Rise and Fall of an American Army: U.S. Ground Forces in Vietnam, 1963–1973, Stanton, Shelby L., Random House Publishing Group, 2007, 9780307417343, 331, en, The significant decline in U.S. morale was demonstrated by the Battle of FSB Mary Ann, one of the final engagements in which a sapper attack had rampaged and destroyed the base, relatively unchallenged.BOOK,weblink The Rise and Fall of an American Army: U.S. Ground Forces in Vietnam, 1963–1973, Stanton, Shelby L., Random House Publishing Group, 2007, 978-0307417343, 357, en, William Westmoreland, no longer in command but tasked with investigation of the failure, cited a clear dereliction of duty, lax defensive postures and lack of officers in charge as its cause.On the collapse of U.S. morale, historian Shelby Stanton wrote:}}

ARVN taking the lead and U.S. ground-force withdrawal

(File:ARVN and US Special Forces.jpg|thumb|ARVN and US Special Forces, September 1968)Beginning in 1970, American troops were withdrawn from border areas where most of the fighting took place and instead redeployed along the coast and interior. US casualties in 1970 were less than half of 1969 casualties after being relegated to less active combat. At the same time that US forces were redeployed, the ARVN took over combat operations throughout the country, with casualties double US casualties in 1969, and more than triple US ones in 1970.BOOK,weblink Vietnam's Forgotten Army: Heroism and Betrayal in the ARVN, Wiest, Andrew, NYU Press, 2007, 978-0814794517, 124–40, en, In the post-Tet environment, membership in the South Vietnamese Regional Force and Popular Force militias grew, and they were now more capable of providing village security, which the Americans had not accomplished under Westmoreland.BOOK,weblink Vietnam's Forgotten Army: Heroism and Betrayal in the ARVN, Wiest, Andrew, 2007, NYU Press, 978-0814794517, en, In 1970 Nixon announced the withdrawal of an additional 150,000 American troops, reducing the number of Americans to 265,500.WEB,weblink Vietnamization: 1970 Year in Review,, 27 October 2011, 31 October 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 31 August 2011, By 1970 Viet Cong forces were no longer southern-majority, as nearly 70% of units were northerners.BOOK,weblink Vietnam: The Politics of Bureaucratic Socialism, Porter, Gareth, 1993, 978-0801421686, 26, Between 1969 and 1971 the Viet Cong and some NVA units had reverted to small unit tactics typical of 1967 and prior instead of nationwide grand offensives. In 1971 Australia and New Zealand withdrew their soldiers, and U.S. troop count was further reduced to 196,700, with a deadline to remove another 45,000 troops by February 1972. The United States also reduced support troops, and in March 1971 the 5th Special Forces Group, the first American unit deployed to South Vietnam, withdrew to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.{{harvnb|Stanton|2003|p=240}}{{refn|On 8 March 1965 the first American combat troops, the Third Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division, began landing in Vietnam to protect the Da Nang airport.{{Harvnb|Willbanks|2009| p =110}}WEB, harv, 2010,weblink Facts about the Vietnam Veterans memorial collection, National Park Service,, 26 April 2010, |group="A"}}


File:Cambodian Civil War-era T-54 or Type 59.jpg|thumb|left|A memorial of a T-54/Type 59 tank in Siem Reap, Cambodia, commemorating the overthrow of US/RVN-backed Lon Nol and the end of the civil war by the NVA and GRUNKGRUNKPrince Norodom Sihanouk had proclaimed Cambodia neutral since 1955,JOURNAL, Sihanouk, Prince Norodom, Cambodia Neutral: The Dictates of Necessity, Foreign Affairs, 1958, 582–83, but permitted the NVA/Viet Cong to use Cambodia as a staging ground for the Sihanouk Trail. In March 1969 Nixon launched a massive bombing campaign, called Operation Menu, against communist sanctuaries along the Cambodia/Vietnam border. Only five high-ranking congressional officials were informed of Operation Menu.They were: Senators John C. Stennis (MS) and Richard B. Russell Jr. (GA) and Representatives Lucius Mendel Rivers (SC), Gerald R. Ford (MI), and Leslie C. Arends (IL). Arends and Ford were leaders of the Republican minority and the other three were Democrats on either the Armed Services or Appropriations committees.In March 1970, Prince Sihanouk was deposed by his pro-American prime minister Lon Nol, who demanded that North Vietnamese troops leave Cambodia or face military action.Sutsakhan, Lt. Gen. S., The Khmer Republic at War and the Final Collapse {{Webarchive|url= |date=12 April 2019 }}, Washington DC: United States Army Center of Military History, 1987, Part 1, p. 42. See also Part 1 {{Webarchive|url= |date=12 April 2019 }} Part 2 {{Webarchive|url= |date=21 February 2007 }} Part 3 {{Webarchive|url= |date=21 February 2007 }}. North Vietnam invaded Cambodia at the request of the Khmer Rouge following negotiations with deputy leader Nuon Chea.Dmitry Mosyakov, "The Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese Communists: A History of Their Relations as Told in the Soviet Archives", in Susan E. Cook, ed., Genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda (Yale Genocide Studies Program Monograph Series No. 1, 2004), p. 54 ff. Available online at: "In April–May 1970, many North Vietnamese forces entered Cambodia in response to the call for help addressed to Vietnam not by Pol Pot, but by his deputy Nuon Chea. Nguyen Co Thach recalls: "Nuon Chea has asked for help and we have liberated five provinces of Cambodia in ten days." A series of military operations in Cambodia by the South Vietnamese alongside Lon Nol's FANK was the closest that the entire leadership of the Viet Cong came to being captured, a goal that US/RVN Intelligence failed to achieve for nearly a decade. Lon Nol began rounding up Vietnamese civilians in Cambodia into internment camps and massacring them, provoking harsh reactions from both the North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese government.BOOK, Fighting for time, Samuel., Lipsman, 1983, Boston Pub. Co, Doyle, Edward, 1949–, Boston Publishing Company, 978-0939526079, Boston, MA, 145, 10261213,weblink A month after COSVN's escape, U.S. and ARVN forces launched a second invasion into Cambodia to attack NVA and Viet Cong bases. A counter-offensive later that year as part of Operation Chenla II by the NVA would recapture most of the border areas and decimate most of Lon Nol's forces.(File:Vietconginterrogation.jpg|thumb|upright|An alleged Viet Cong captured during an attack on an American outpost near the Cambodian border is interrogated.)The invasion of Cambodia sparked nationwide U.S. protests as Nixon had promised to deescalate the American involvement. Four students were killed by National Guardsmen in May 1970 during a protest at Kent State University in Ohio, which provoked further public outrage in the United States. The reaction to the incident by the Nixon administration was seen as callous and indifferent, providing additional impetus for the anti-war movement.Joe Angio. Nixon a Presidency Revealed. Television Documentary, The History Channel, 15 February 2007. The U.S. Air Force continued to heavily bomb Cambodia in support of the Cambodian government as part of Operation Freedom Deal.


File:Vientianne1973.jpg|thumb|left|Pathet Lao soldiers in VientianeVientianeBuilding up on the success of ARVN units in Cambodia, and further testing the Vietnamization program, the ARVN were tasked to launch Operation Lam Son 719 in February 1971, the first major operation aimed directly at occupying the Ho Chi Minh trail by attacking the major crossroad of Tchperone. This offensive would also be the first time the NVA would field-test its combined arms force. The first few days were considered a success but the momentum had slowed after fierce resistance. Nguyễn Văn Thiệu had halted the general advance, leaving armoured divisions able to surround them.BOOK,weblink A Raid Too Far: Operation Lam Son 719 and Vietnamization in Laos, Willbanks, James H., 2014, Texas A&M University Press, 978-1623491178, English, Thieu had ordered air assault troops to capture Tchepone and withdraw, despite facing four-times larger numbers. During the withdrawal the NVA counterattack had forced a panicked rout. Half of the ARVN troops involved were either captured or killed, half of the ARVN/US support helicopters were downed by anti-aircraft fire and the operation was considered a fiasco, demonstrating operational deficiencies still present within the ARVN.{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|pp=644–45}}. Richard Nixon and President Thieu had sought to use this event to show-case victory simply by capturing Tchepone, and it was spun off as an "operational success".

Easter Offensive and Paris Peace Accords, 1972

Vietnamization was again tested by the Easter Offensive of 1972, a massive conventional NVA invasion of South Vietnam. The NVA and Viet Cong quickly overran the northern provinces and in coordination with other forces attacked from Cambodia, threatening to cut the country in half. U.S. troop withdrawals continued, but American airpower responded, beginning Operation Linebacker, and the offensive was halted.(File:СВС у обломков сбитого Б-52 в окрестностях Ханоя 23.12.1972 (1).jpg|thumb|Russian advisers inspecting the debris of a B-52 downed in the vicinity of Hanoi)The war was central to the 1972 U.S. presidential election as Nixon's opponent, George McGovern, campaigned on immediate withdrawal. Nixon's National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, had continued secret negotiations with North Vietnam's Lê Đức Thọ and on October 1972 reached an agreement. President Thieu demanded changes to the peace accord upon its discovery, and when North Vietnam went public with the agreement's details, the Nixon administration claimed they were attempting to embarrass the president. The negotiations became deadlocked when Hanoi demanded new changes. To show his support for South Vietnam and force Hanoi back to the negotiating table, Nixon ordered Operation Linebacker II, a massive bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong 18–29 December 1972. Nixon pressured Thieu to accept the terms of the agreement, threatening to conclude a bilateral peace deal and cut off American aid while promising an air-response in case of invasion.On 15 January 1973, all U.S. combat activities were suspended. Lê Đức Thọ and Henry Kissinger, along with the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG, the Viet Cong's government) Foreign Minister Nguyễn Thị Bình and a reluctant President Thiệu, signed the Paris Peace Accords on 27 January 1973.BOOK,weblink The Vietnam War: An Intimate History, Ward, Geoffrey C., Burns, Ken, 2017, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 978-1524733100, 508–13, en, This officially ended direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, created a ceasefire between North Vietnam/PRG and South Vietnam, guaranteed the territorial integrity of Vietnam under the Geneva Conference of 1954, called for elections or a political settlement between the PRG and South Vietnam, allowed 200,000 communist troops to remain in the south, and agreed to a POW exchange. There was a sixty-day period for the total withdrawal of U.S. forces. "This article", noted Peter Church, "proved… to be the only one of the Paris Agreements which was fully carried out."Peter Church, ed. A Short History of South-East Asia. Singapore. John Wiley & Sons, 2006, pp. 193–94. All US forces personnel were completely withdrawn by March 1973.G. Herring, America's Longest War (2nd ed., 1986), p. 260.

U.S. exit and final campaigns, 1973–75

File:Viet Cong soldier DD-ST-99-04298.jpg|thumb|left|upright|Viet Cong soldier stands beneath a Viet Cong flag carrying his AK-47 rifle. He was participating in the exchange of POWs by the International Commission of Control and SupervisionInternational Commission of Control and SupervisionIn the lead-up to the ceasefire on 28 January, both sides attempted to maximize the land and population under their control in a campaign known as the War of the flags, fighting continued after the ceasefire, this time without US participation and continued throughout the year. North Vietnam was allowed to continue supplying troops in the South but only to the extent of replacing expended material. Later that year the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Kissinger and Thọ, but the North Vietnamese negotiator declined it saying that a true peace did not yet exist.On 15 March 1973, Nixon implied the US would intervene again militarily if the North launched a full offensive, and Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger re-affirmed this position during his June 1973 confirmation hearings. Public and congressional reaction to Nixon's statement was unfavorable, prompting the U.S. Senate to pass the Case–Church Amendment to prohibit an intervention.{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|pp=670–72}}.(File:Hanoi-taxi-march1973.jpg|thumb|American POWs recently released from North Vietnamese prison camps, 1973|alt=)NVA/VC leaders expected the ceasefire terms would favor their side, but Saigon, bolstered by a surge of U.S. aid received just before the ceasefire went into effect, began to roll back the Viet Cong. The communists responded with a new strategy hammered out in a series of meetings in Hanoi in March 1973, according to the memoirs of Trần Văn Trà.{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|pp=672–74}}. With U.S. bombings suspended, work on the Ho Chi Minh trail and other logistical structures could proceed unimpeded. Logistics would be upgraded until the North was in a position to launch a massive invasion of the South, projected for the 1975–76 dry season. Tra calculated that this date would be Hanoi's last opportunity to strike before Saigon's army could be fully trained. The Viet Cong resumed offensive operations when the dry season began in 1973, and by January 1974 had recaptured territory it lost during the previous dry season.Within South Vietnam, there was increasing chaos as the departure of the US military and the global recession that followed the Arab oil embargo compromised an economy partly dependent on U.S. financial support and troop presence. After two clashes that left 55 South Vietnamese soldiers dead, President Thieu announced on 4 January 1974, that the war had restarted and that the Paris Peace Accord was no longer in effect. This was despite there being over 25,000 South Vietnamese casualties during the ceasefire period.WEB,weblink This Day in History 1974: Thieu announces war has resumed,, 17 October 2009,weblink" title="">weblink 20 January 2013, dead, File:Vietcong people.jpg|thumb|left|Civilians in a NVA/Viet Cong controlled zone. Civilians were required to show appropriate flags, during the War of the flagsWar of the flagsThe success of the 1973–74 dry season offensive inspired Trà to return to Hanoi in October 1974 and plead for a larger offensive the next dry season. This time, Trà could travel on a drivable highway with regular fueling stops, a vast change from the days when the Ho Chi Minh trail was a dangerous mountain trek.{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=676}}. Giáp, the North Vietnamese defence minister, was reluctant to approve of Trà's plan since a larger offensive might provoke U.S. reaction and interfere with the big push planned for 1976. Trà appealed over Giáp's head to first secretary Lê Duẩn, who approved of the operation. Trà's plan called for a limited offensive from Cambodia into Phước Long Province. The strike was designed to solve local logistical problems, gauge the reaction of South Vietnamese forces, and determine whether U.S. would return.File:Victory Central Highlands.JPG|thumb|upright|Memorial commemorating the 1974 Buon Me Thuot campaign, depicting a Montagnard of the Central Highlands, a NVA soldier and a T-54 tank ]]At the start of 1975, the South Vietnamese had three times as much artillery and twice the number of tanks and armoured cars as the opposition. They also had 1,400 aircraft and a two-to-one numerical superiority in combat troops over their Communist enemies.The End of the Vietnam War, 30 Years Ago {{webarchive|url=|date=12 October 2007}} by Gabriel Kolko, CounterPunch 30 April / 1 May 2005. However, the rising oil prices meant that much of this could not be used, and the rushed nature of Vietnamization, intended to cover the US retreat, saw a lack of spare parts, ground-crew and maintenance personnel, rendering most of the equipment given inoperable.WEB,weblink Chapter 11: American Military History, Volume II,, 362–66,weblink" title="">weblink 2007-12-14, dead, 2018-06-22, Gerald Ford took over as U.S. president on 9 August 1974 after President Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal and Congress cut financial aid to South Vietnam from $1 billion a year to $700 million. Congress also voted in further restrictions on funding to be phased in through 1975 and to culminate in a total cutoff in 1976.On 13 December 1974, North Vietnamese forces attacked Route 14 in Phước Long Province. Phuoc Binh, the provincial capital, fell on 6 January 1975. Ford desperately asked Congress for funds to assist and re-supply the South before it was overrun.NEWS,weblink, Ford asks for additional aid, 11 August 2018,weblink 11 August 2018, dead, Congress refused. The fall of Phuoc Binh and the lack of an American response left the South Vietnamese elite demoralized.The speed of this success led the Politburo to reassess its strategy. It was decided that operations in the Central Highlands would be turned over to General Văn Tiến Dũng and that Pleiku should be seized, if possible. Before he left for the South, 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."Clark Dougan, David Fulgham et al., The Fall of the South. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1985, p. 22.

Campaign 275

{{See also|1975 Spring Offensive|Battle of Ban Me Thuot|Hue–Da Nang Campaign}}(File:PAVN Captures Hue, Vietnam.jpg|thumb|left|The capture of Hue, March 1975)On 10 March 1975, General Dung launched Campaign 275, a limited offensive into the Central Highlands, supported by tanks and heavy artillery. The target was Buôn Ma Thuột, in Đắk Lắk Province. If the town could be taken, the provincial capital of Pleiku and the road to the coast would be exposed for a planned campaign in 1976. The ARVN proved incapable of resisting the onslaught, and its forces collapsed on 11 March. Once again, Hanoi was surprised by the speed of their success. Dung now urged the Politburo to allow him to seize Pleiku immediately and then turn his attention to Kon Tum. He argued that with two months of good weather remaining until the onset of the monsoon, it would be irresponsible to not take advantage of the situation.President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, a former general, was fearful that his forces would be cut off in the north by the attacking communists; Thieu ordered a retreat, which soon turned into a bloody rout. While the bulk of ARVN forces attempted to flee, isolated units fought desperately. ARVN general Phu abandoned Pleiku and Kon Tum and retreated toward the coast, in what became known as the "column of tears".On 20 March, Thieu reversed himself and ordered Huế, Vietnam's third-largest city, be held at all costs, and then changed his policy several times. As the North Vietnamese launched their attack, panic set in, and ARVN resistance withered. On 22 March, the NVA opened the siege of Huế. Civilians flooded the airport and the docks hoping for any mode of escape. As resistance in Huế collapsed, North Vietnamese rockets rained down on Da Nang and its airport. By 28 March 35,000 NVA troops were poised to attack the suburbs. By 30 March 100,000 leaderless ARVN troops surrendered as the NVA marched victoriously through Da Nang. With the fall of the city, the defense of the Central Highlands and Northern provinces came to an end.

Final North Vietnamese offensive

{{details|topic=the final North Vietnamese offensive|Ho Chi Minh Campaign}}File:Xuanloc 18th.jpg|thumb|upright|Lê Minh Đảo and remnants of the 18th Division and surviving units made a last stand at the Battle of Xuân Lá»™cBattle of Xuân Lá»™cWith the northern half of the country under their control, the Politburo ordered General Dung to launch the final offensive against Saigon. The operational plan for the Ho Chi Minh Campaign called for the capture of Saigon before 1 May. Hanoi wished to avoid the coming monsoon and prevent any redeployment of ARVN forces defending the capital. Northern forces, their morale boosted by their recent victories, rolled on, taking Nha Trang, Cam Ranh, and Da Lat.On 7 April, three North Vietnamese divisions attacked Xuân Lá»™c, 40 miles (64 km) east of Saigon. For two bloody weeks, severe fighting raged as the ARVN defenders made a last stand to try to block the North Vietnamese advance. On 21 April, however, the exhausted garrison was ordered to withdraw towards Saigon. An embittered and tearful president Thieu resigned on the same day, declaring that the United States had betrayed South Vietnam. In a scathing attack, he suggested U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had tricked him into signing the Paris peace agreement two years earlier, promising military aid that failed to materialize. Having transferred power to Trần Văn HÆ°Æ¡ng, he left for Taiwan on 25 April.By the end of April, the ARVN had collapsed on all fronts except in the Mekong Delta. Thousands of refugees streamed southward, ahead of the main communist onslaught. On 27 April 100,000 North Vietnamese troops encircled Saigon. The city was defended by about 30,000 ARVN troops. To hasten a collapse and foment panic, the NVA shelled the airport and forced its closure. With the air exit closed, large numbers of civilians found that they had no way out.

Fall of Saigon

{{Further|Operation Frequent Wind}}(File:NVA pose for picture in Presidential Palace at end of Vietnam war.jpg|thumb|left|Victorious NVA troops at the Presidential Palace, Saigon|alt=|220x220px)Chaos, unrest, and panic broke out as hysterical South Vietnamese officials and civilians scrambled to leave Saigon. Martial law was declared. American helicopters began evacuating South Vietnamese, U.S., and foreign nationals from various parts of the city and from the U.S. embassy compound. Operation Frequent Wind had been delayed until the last possible moment, because of U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin's belief that Saigon could be held and that a political settlement could be reached.File:Parade Unification.jpg|thumb|Reunification parade following the Fall of Saigon, with the city being renamed Ho Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh CitySchlesinger announced early in the morning of 29 April 1975 the evacuation from Saigon by helicopter of the last U.S. diplomatic, military, and civilian personnel. Frequent Wind was arguably the largest helicopter evacuation in history. It began on 29 April, in an atmosphere of desperation, as hysterical crowds of Vietnamese vied for limited space. Martin pleaded with Washington to dispatch $700 million in emergency aid to bolster the regime and help it mobilize fresh military reserves, but American public opinion had soured on the conflict.President Gerald Ford had given a televised speech on 23 April, declaring an end to the Vietnam War and all U.S. aid. Frequent Wind continued around the clock, as North Vietnamese tanks breached defenses on the outskirts of Saigon. In the early morning hours of 30 April, the last U.S. Marines evacuated the embassy by helicopter, as civilians swamped the perimeter and poured into the grounds. Many of them had been employed by the Americans and were left to their fate.On 30 April 1975, NVA troops entered the city of Saigon and quickly overcame all resistance, capturing key buildings and installations. A tank from the 324th Division crashed through the gates of the Independence Palace at 11:30 am local time and the Viet Cong flag was raised above it. President DÆ°Æ¡ng Văn Minh, who had succeeded Huong two days earlier, surrendered to Colonel Bùi Tín.{{Harvnb|Tucker|1999|p=29}}

Opposition to U.S. involvement, 1964–73

{{See also|Russell Tribunal|Fulbright Hearings}}(File:Vietnam War protesters. 1967. Wichita, Kans - NARA - 283627.jpg|thumb|upright|Anti-war protests)During the course of the Vietnam War a large segment of the American population came to be opposed to U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. 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.Lunch, W. & Sperlich, P. (1979). The Western Political Quarterly. 32(1). pp. 21–44 Nearly a third of the American population were strongly against the war, a position which lasted through subsequent decades.Patrick Hagopian, The Vietnam War in American Memory (University of Massachusetts Press), pp. 13–14(File:vietnamdem.jpg|thumb|left|Anti-Vietnam War demonstration, 1967)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 democracy America claimed to support. John F. Kennedy, while senator, opposed involvement in Vietnam. Nonetheless, it is possible to specify certain groups who led the anti-war movement at its peak in the late 1960s 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. Some advocates within the peace movement advocated a unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam. Opposition to the Vietnam War tended to unite groups opposed to U.S. anti-communism and imperialism,Louis B. Zimmer, The Vietnam War Debate; pp. 54–55; Hardcover: 430 pages; Publisher: Lexington Books (13 October 2011); {{ISBN|0739137697}}. and for those involved with the New Left, such as the Catholic Worker Movement. Others, such as Stephen Spiro, opposed the war based on the theory of Just War. Some wanted to show solidarity with the people of Vietnam, such as Norman Morrison emulating the self-immolation of Thích Quảng Đức.File:Vietnam War protests in Vienna, Austria (Greyscale).jpg|thumb|Vietnam War protesters in ViennaViennaHigh-profile opposition to the Vietnam War increasingly turned to mass protests in an effort to shift U.S. public opinion. Riots broke out at the 1968 Democratic National Convention during protests against the war.Jennings & Brewster 1998: 413. After news reports of American military abuses, such as the 1968 My Lai Massacre, brought new attention and support to the anti-war movement, some veterans joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War. On 15 October 1969, the Vietnam Moratorium attracted millions of Americans.1969: Millions march in US Vietnam Moratorium. BBC On This Day. The fatal shooting of four students at Kent State University in 1970 led to nationwide university protests.JOURNAL, Bob Fink, Vietnam – A View from the Walls: a History of the Vietnam Anti-War Movement,weblink Greenwich Publishing, harv, 18 August 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 11 January 2013, dead, Anti-war protests declined with the final withdrawal of troops after the Paris Peace Accords in 1973.

Involvement of other countries



{{See also|China in the Vietnam War}}File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-48579-0009, Stralsund, Ho Chi Minh mit Matrosen der NVA.jpg|thumb|Ho Chi Minh from the Việt Minh independence movement and Việt Cộng with East German sailors in StralsundStralsundIn 1950, China extended diplomatic recognition to the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam and sent heavy weapons, as well as military advisers led by Luo Guibo to assist the Viet Minh in its war with the French (1946–1954). The first draft of the 1954 Geneva Accords was negotiated by French prime minister Pierre Mendès France and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai who, seeing U.S. intervention coming, urged the Viet Minh to accept a partition at the 17th parallel.Qiang Zhai, China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950–1975, University of North Carolina Press, pp. 54–55.China's support for North Vietnam when the U.S. started to intervene included both financial aid and the deployment of hundreds of thousands of military personnel in support roles. In the summer of 1962, 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 battalions to North Vietnam to repair the damage caused by American bombing, man anti-aircraft batteries, rebuild roads and railroads, transport supplies, and 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.Qiang Zhai (2000), China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950–1975, University of North Carolina Press, p. 135 The Chinese military claims to have caused 38% of American air losses in the war. China claimed that its military and economic aid to North Vietnam and the Viet Cong totaled $20 billion (approx. $143 billion adjusted for inflation in 2015) during the Vietnam War. Included in that aid were donations of 5 million tons of food to North Vietnam (equivalent to NV food production in a single year), accounting for 10–15% of the North Vietnamese food supply by the 1970s.{| class="wikitable" style="text-align: right"|+Military aid given to North Vietnam by ChinaChen Jian, "China's Involvement in the Vietnam War: 1964 to 1969", Cambridge University Press, 2012, p. 379. Citing "Wenhua dageming zhong de jiefangjun" by Li Ke and Hao Shengzhang, p. 416!Year!Guns!Artillerypieces!Bullets!Artilleryshells!Radiotrans-mitters!Telephones!Tanks!Planes!Auto-mobiles!1964 80,500 1,205 25,240,000 335,000 426 2,941 16 18 25!1965 220,767 4,439 114,010,000 1,800,000 2,779 9,502 ? 2 114!1966 141,531 3,362 178,120,000 1,066,000 1,568 2,235 ? ? 96!1967 146,600 3,984 147,000,000 1,363,000 2,464 2,289 26 70 435!1968 219,899 7,087 247,920,000 2,082,000 1,854 3,313 18 ? 454!1969 139,900 3,906 119,117,000 1,357,000 2,210 3,453 ? ? 162!1970 101,800 2,212 29,010,000 397,000 950 1,600 ? ? ?!1971 143,100 7,898 57,190,000 1,899,000 2,464 4,424 80 4 4,011!1972 189,000 9,238 40,000,000 2,210,000 4,370 5,905 220 14 8,758!1973 233,500 9,912 40,000,000 2,210,000 4,335 6,447 120 36 1,210!1974 164,500 6,406 30,000,000 1,390,000 5,148 4,663 80 ? 506!1975 141,800 4,880 20,600,000 965,000 2,240 2,150 ? 20 ?!Total1,922,89764,5291,048,207,00017,074,00030,80848,92256016415,771Sino-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.Ang, Cheng Guan, Ending the Vietnam War: The Vietnamese Communists' Perspective, p. 27. The Chinese began to withdraw in November 1968 in preparation for a clash with the Soviets, which occurred at Zhenbao Island in March 1969.In 1967, the Chinese government launched a secret military program named "Project 523". which intended to find an treatment for malaria to provide the assistance to North Vietnamese army who suffered malaria. As the result, Chinese scientist Youyou Tu and her collaborators discovered artemisinin. Tu was awarded Nobel Prize in 2015 for her contribution on the anti-malaria treatment.The Chinese also began financing the 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.Bezlova, Antoaneta, China haunted by Khmer Rouge links, Asia Times, 21 February 2009. 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 Union

File:Leonid Brezhnev and Richard Nixon talks in 1973.png|thumb|left|Leonid Brezhnev (left) was the leader of the Soviet Unionleader of the Soviet UnionSoviet ships in the South China Sea gave vital early warnings to Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam. The Soviet intelligence ships would pick up American B-52 bombers flying from Okinawa and Guam. Their airspeed and direction would be noted and then relayed to COSVN, North Vietnam's southern headquarters. Using airspeed and direction, COSVN analysts would calculate the bombing target and tell any assets to move "perpendicularly to the attack trajectory." These advance warnings 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.{{harvnb|Truong|1985|p=168}}(File:Учителя и ученики. Фото, сделанное весной 1965 г. в зенитно-ракетном учебном центре во Вьетнаме.jpg|thumb|Photo of Soviet anti-air instructors and North Vietnamese crewmen, taken in the spring of 1965 at an anti-aircraft training center in Vietnam)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 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 dissolution 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.NEWS, harv, 2010,weblink Soviet Involvement in the Vietnam War, Associated Press,, 27 March 2010, AP,weblink" title="">weblink 22 November 2010, dead, dmy-all, File:Открытие Мемориала в Камрани, 10 декабря 2009.jpg|thumb|Cam Ranh BayCam Ranh BaySome 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.Oleg Sarin and Lev Dvoretsky (1996),Alien Wars: The Soviet Union's Aggressions Against the World, 1919 to 1989, Presidio Press, pp. 93–94.WEB,weblink Russian missiles to guard skies over Vietnam, Asia Times, 5 September 2003, 24 February 2014,weblink" title="">weblink 5 October 2013, dead, 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.WEB, harv, 29 January 2010,weblink Soviet rocketeer: After our arrival in Vietnam, American pilots refused to fly, rus.ruvr, RU, Russian, 26 May 2010, The KGB had also helped developed the signals intelligence capabilities of the North Vietnamese, through an operation known as Vostok (also known as Phương Đông, meaning "Orient" and named after the Vostok 1).WEB,weblink The Soviet-Vietnamese Intelligence Relationship during the Vietnam War: Cooperation and Conflict, Pribbenow, Merle, December 2014, The Vostok program was a counterintelligence and espionage program. These programs were pivotal in detecting and defeating CIA and South Vietnamese commando teams sent into North Vietnam, as they were detected and captured. The Soviets helped the Ministry of Public Security recruit foreigners within high-level diplomatic circles among the Western-allies of the US, under a clandestine program known as "B12,MM" which produced thousands of high-level documents for nearly a decade, including targets of B-52 strikes. In 1975, the SIGINT services had broken information from Western US-allies in Saigon, determining that the US would not intervene to save South Vietnam from collapse.File:VPAF pilots with MiG-17s.jpg|left|thumb|North Vietnamese Air Force pilots walk by their aircraft, the MiG-17. The development of the North Vietnamese Air Force during the war was assisted by Warsaw Pact nations throughout the war. Between 1966 and 1972 a total of 17 flying aces was credited by the NVAF against US fighters.BOOK,weblink MiG-21 Aces of the Vietnam War, Toperczer, István, 2017, Bloomsbury Publishing, 978-1472823571, en, ]]


The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was a member of the Warsaw Pact and sent significant aid to North Vietnam, both prior to and after the Prague Spring.BOOK,weblink The Prague Spring and the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Bischof, Gunter, Bischof, Günter, Karner, Stefan, Ruggenthaler, Peter, 2010, Rowman & Littlefield, 978-0739143049, en, The Czechoslovakian government created committees which sought to not only promote and establish peace, but also to promote victory for Viet Cong and Viet Minh forces. Czech-made equipment and military aid would increase significantly following the Prague Spring.BOOK,weblink Československé zbraně ve světě: V míru i za války, Vladimír, Francev, 2015, Grada Publishing, a.s., 978-8024753140, 166, cs, Czechoslovakia continued to send tens of thousands of Czech-made rifles as well as mortar and artillery throughout the war. In general, Czechoslovakia was aligned with European leftist movements, and there were simultaneous protests demonstrating against the Soviet intervention in Prague and the US intervention in Vietnam.JOURNAL, Kavan, Jan, July 2008, Czechoslovakia 1968: Revolt or Reform? 1968 – A Year of Hope and Non-Understanding, Journal of Socialist Theory, 36, 2, 289, 10.1080/03017600802185415, Cooperation with Czechoslovakia on the development of North Vietnamese air capabilities began as early as 1956.BOOK,weblink MiG-17 and MiG-19 Units of the Vietnam War, Toperczer, István, 2012, Bloomsbury Publishing, 978-1782007487, 10–18, en, Czechoslovak instructors and trainers instructed the North Vietnam Air Force in China and helped them develop a modernised air force, with the Czech-built Aero Ae-45 and Aero L-29 Delfín alongside Zlín Z 26 aircraft utilised significantly for training, and regarded as preferential to Soviet-built Yakovlev Yak-3 as training aircraft.

North Korea

As a result of a decision of the Korean Workers' Party in October 1966, 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. The North Koreans stayed through 1968, and 200 pilots were reported to have served.Richard M. Bennett, "Missiles and Madness", Asia Times, 18 August 2006.{{Unreliable source?|date=January 2019|reason=The source is from a daily column from a newspaper, not a reliable source.|certain=y}}{{dead link|date=February 2019}} In addition, at least two anti-aircraft artillery regiments were sent as well.JOURNAL, Pribbenow, Merle, 2003, The 'Ology War: technology and ideology in the defense of Hanoi, 1967, Journal of Military History, 67, 1, 183, 10.1353/jmh.2003.0066,


File:Vietnam Military History Museum (12035733963).jpg|thumb|Fidel Castro meeting with Võ Nguyên Giáp at the Vietnam Military History MuseumVietnam Military History MuseumThe contributions to North Vietnam by the Republic of Cuba under Fidel Castro have been recognized several times by representatives of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.WEB, Vietnam agradece apoyo cubano durante guerra (Vietnam says thanks for Cuban support during the war, in Spanish),weblink Revista Vietnam, 2 August 2015, Castro mentioned in his discourses the Batallón Girón (Giron Battalion) as comprising the Cuban contingent that served as military advisors during the war.WEB, Castro, Fidel, Cuba y Vietnam: discurso de Fidel Castro en apoyo del F.N.L. (Cuba and Vietnam, speech of Fidel Castro in support of NFL, in Spanish),weblink Ruinas Digitales, 2 August 2015, In this battalion, the Cubans were aided by Nguyễn Thị Định, founding member of the Viet Cong, who later became the first female major general in the North Vietnamese Army.WEB, Cubanos y vietnamitas conmemoran aniversarios de victorias,weblink Cuba Diplomática (Diplomatic Cuba), Embajada de Cuba en Vietnam (Cuban Embassy in Vietnam), 2 August 2015, 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. Witnesses to this include Senator John McCain, the 2008 U.S. presidential candidate and a former Vietnam prisoner of war, according to his 1999 book Faith of My Fathers.Castro denies McCain's torture claim – World news – Americas – Focus on Cuba. MSNBC (19 April 1959). Retrieved 6 August 2010.

Other Eastern Bloc countries

File:Stamps of Germany (DDR) 1968, MiNr 1371.jpg|left|upright|thumb|East German solidarity stamp depicting a Vietnamese mother and child with the text "Invincible Vietnam"]]The Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam (Bộ Công An) states that there was special interest towards the Stasi of East Germany in establishing an intelligence and security apparatus, particularly since the Stasi was well-regarded and considered as "industrial, modern, and (with a) scientific working-style".JOURNAL, Grossheim, Martin, September 2014, The East German 'Stasi' and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War,weblink Wilson Center, In official Vietnamese language histories on the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security, the assistance provided by the Soviet and East German intelligence services to Vietnam is usually rated as the most important within the socialist bloc. East Germany had also provided a substantial amount of aid to help North Vietnam duplicate "Green Dragon" identity cards, which were created by Saigon in order to identify North Vietnamese combatants and were difficult to duplicate.East German authorities had also begun providing material and technical aid to help develop and modernise the North Vietnamese economy and military. In addition, East Germany had also vigorously denounced the US war effort, and had reaped significant international and diplomatic standing as a result of its anti-war campaigns.JOURNAL, Horten, Gerd, 2013-11-15, Sailing in the Shadow of the Vietnam War: The GDR Government and the "Vietnam Bonus" of the Early 1970s, German Studies Review, en, 36, 3, 557–78, 10.1353/gsr.2013.0114, 2164-8646,weblink The Polish People's Republic had played a substantive role in brokering and serving as an intermediary for peace-talks between Hanoi and Saigon, as part of a delegation under the International Control Commission alongside Western European nations. Recent evidence has emerged that Poland played an early role in attempting to broker talks between Ngô Đình Nhu and the Diem regime and Hanoi in 1963 in an effort to prevent the expansion of the war, given that Polish representatives were the only communist nation present in Saigon and had acted as a broker and representative on behalf of Hanoi.JOURNAL, Gnoinska, Margaret K., Poland and Vietnam, 1963: New Evidence on Secret Communist Diplomacy and the "Maneli Affair, Cold War International History Project, Working Paper #45,, Romania was also among primary supporters of North Vietnam during the war in political, economic, and military terms. Contemporarily, the Eastern Bloc country was also known for its role in the mediation activities in the mid-1960s, resulting in what known as the "Trinh Signal" in January 1967, in which Hanoi accepted the possibility of negotiation with Washington.BOOK, Deletant, Dennis, Romania under Communism: Paradox and Degeneration, Routeledge, 2018, 978-1138707429,weblink Bulgaria committed their charge-free military and economic supplies to North Vietnam in a bilateral agreement signed in 1972. Bulgarian military aid had already been provided to the latter since 1967. Similar conducts was undertaken by Hungary, which was reaffirmed in mutual visits of Hungary and North Vietnam in 1972 and 1973. Hungary also expressed their support through their representatives at the International Commission of Control and Supervision, a body established to supervise the implementation of the Paris Peace Accords.{{sfn|Cooper|2019}}


{{See also|Southeast Asia Treaty Organization}}As South Vietnam was formally part of a military alliance with the US, Australia, New Zealand, France, the UK, Pakistan, Thailand and the Philippines, the alliance was invoked during the war. The UK, France and Pakistan declined to participate, and South Korea and Taiwan were non-treaty participants.

South Korea

File:Photo taken by Phillip Kemp from cockpit after sling-loading water drums to outpost..jpg|thumb|Soldiers of the South Korean White Horse Division in Vietnam]]On the anti-communist side, 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, President Park Chung-hee proposed South Korean participation in the war to John F. Kennedy, but Kennedy disagreed as they were not SEATO treaty members. On 1 May 1964, Lyndon Johnson agreed to permit South Korean participation under the Many Flags Program in return for monetary compensation.BOOK, Chang, Jae Baik, The Park Chung Hee Era: The Transformation of South Korea, Harvard University Press, 2011, 409, 978-0674058200, The first South Korean troops began arriving in 1964 and large combat formations began arriving a year later. The ROK Marine Corps dispatched their 2nd Marine Brigade, while the ROK Army sent the 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 I Field Force at Nha Trang.Stanton, 'Vietnam Order of Battle'.Official records are vindictive of the role of ROK Forces in the war, as State Department reports publicly questioned their usefulness in the conflict, as they have "appeared to have been reluctant to undertake offensive operations, and are only useful in guarding a small sector of the populated area".BOOK,weblink Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XIX, Pt. 1, Korea, 1969–1972, Government Printing Office, 9780160876424, 242, en, State department reports furthermore state that ROK forces engaged in systemic, well-organised corruption in diverting US-equipment, and that actual security was often provided by ARVN Territorial Forces, which lacked organic firepower and heavy artillery but served as a buffer between Korean units and the North Vietnamese Army.BOOK,weblink Melvin Laird and the Foundation of the Post-Vietnam Military, 1969–1973, Hunt, Richard A., Government Printing Office, 2015, 978-0160927577, 352–55, en, In addition, a RAND author conducting studies in South Vietnam in 1970 alleged that ROK forces had a "deliberate, systematic policy of committing atrocities", prompting civilians to leave ROK-controlled sectors.NEWS,weblink Vietnam Killings Laid to Koreans, Smith, Robert M., 1970, The New York Times, 2018-05-31, en-US, 0362-4331, The conduct of ROK forces often emboldened and strengthened the Viet Cong, adding ranks from an otherwise neutral population and undermining efforts to defeat the insurgency overall.BOOK,weblink RAND in Southeast Asia: A History of the Vietnam War Era, Elliott, Mai, Rand Corporation, 2010, 978-0833049155, 187–93, en, Approximately 320,000 South Korean soldiers were sent to Vietnam,WEB,weblink 1965년 전투병 베트남 파병 의결, Donga Ilbo, 17 July 2011, 2 July 2008, each serving a one-year tour of duty. Maximum troop levels peaked at 50,000 in 1968, however all were withdrawn by 1973.Leepson 1999, p. 209. About 5,099 South Koreans were killed and 10,962 wounded during the war. South Korea claimed to have killed 41,000 Viet Cong. An unknown percentage of 'enemy combatants' may have been unarmed civilians, as ROK Forces were estimated to have deliberately killed at least 9,000 civilians.NEWS,weblink In Vietnam, a rare discussion of South Korean soldiers' wartime civilian massacres, 2018-06-05, BOOK,weblink After the Massacre: Commemoration and Consolation in Ha My and My Lai, Kwon, Heonik, Kwŏn, Hŏn-ik, University of California Press, 2006, 978-0520247963, 43–46, en, The United States paid South Korean soldiers 236 million dollars for their efforts in Vietnam, and South Korean GNP increased five-fold during the war.


(File:Queen's Cobras Conduct a Search and Sweep Mission in Phuoc Tho, 11-67 2.jpg|thumb|The Thai Queen's Cobra battalion in Phuoc Tho)Thai Army formations, including the Royal Thai Volunteer Regiment (Queen's Cobras) and later the Royal Thai Army Expeditionary Division (Black Panthers), 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.

Australia and New Zealand

(File:RAR Vietnam.jpg|thumb|upright|An Australian soldier in Vietnam)Australia and New Zealand, close allies of the United States and members of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the ANZUS military co-operation treaty, sent ground troops to Vietnam. Both nations had gained experience in counterinsurgency and jungle warfare during the Malayan Emergency and World War II, and their governments subscribed to the Domino theory. New Zealand was, however, a reluctant participant. Officials expected a foreign intervention to fail, were concerned that they would be supporting a corrupt regime, and didn't want to further stretch their country's small military (which was already deployed to Malaysia).BOOK, Independence and Foreign Policy: New Zealand in the World Since 1935, McKinnon, Malcolm, Auckland University Press, 1993, Auckland, NZ, 152–77, In the end, though, a desire to prove their commitment to the ANZUS alliance and discourage an American withdrawal from Southeast Asia necessitated a military commitment. Australia began by sending advisors to Vietnam in 1962, and combat troops were committed in 1965.Dennis et al. 2008, pp. 555–58. New Zealand began by sending a detachment of engineers and an artillery battery, later sending special forces and regular infantry, which were attached to Australian formations.McGibbon 2000, pp. 561–66. Australia's peak commitment was 7,672 combat troops and New Zealand's 552. Around 50,190 Australian personnel were involved during the course of the war, of which 521 were killed and more than 3,000 wounded.WEB,weblink Vietnam War 1962–1972, Encyclopaedia, Australian War Memorial, 1 July 2006, Approximately 3,500 New Zealanders served in Vietnam, with 37 killed and 187 wounded.McGibbon 2000, p. 539. Most Australians and New Zealanders served in the 1st Australian Task Force in Phước Tuy Province.Australia, with decades of experience from both the Malayan Emergency and its AATTV role in 1962, recognised the necessity of a true counter-insurgency, which relied on providing village-level security, establishing civilian trust and economic incentives and improving ARVN capabilities.WEB,weblink Australia's Military Involvement in the Vietnam War, Ross, Brian, 1995, Vietnam Veterans of Australia Association, This brought Australian commanders into conflict with Westmoreland's conventional attrition warfare approach, since Australian ground forces were required to follow US doctrine. Nevertheless, Australian forces were generally the most capable at counter-insurgency, and they helped to train Regional Forces despite being under significant doctrinal constraints.


Some 10,450 Filipino troops were dispatched to South Vietnam and were primarily engaged in medical and other civilian pacification projects. These forces operated under the designation PHLCAG-V or Philippine Civic Action Group-Vietnam. The naval base at Subic Bay was used for the U.S. Seventh Fleet from 1964 until the end of the war in 1975.BOOK, Anderson, Gerald, Subic bay : from Magellan to Pinatubo, 2009, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 978-1441444523, BOOK, Karnow, Stanley, In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines, 1990, Ballantine books, 978-0345328168,weblink Subic Bay and Clark Air Base achieved maximum functionality during the war, as well as supporting an estimated 80,000 locals in allied tertiary businesses that ranged from shoe making to prostitution.BOOK, Utts, Thomas, GI Joe Doesn't Live Here Anymore: A History of Clark Air Base, America's Mighty Air Force Bastion in the Philippines, University of Michigan,


Beginning in November 1967, Taiwan 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.{{Harvnb|Moïse|1996|pp=3–4}} Military commandos from Taiwan were captured by North Vietnamese forces three times trying to infiltrate North Vietnam.


Brazil, under a U.S.-backed military regime, officially supported the United States's position in South Vietnam and contributed a medical team and supplies to the country—the only Latin American country to do so.

Neutral and non-belligerent nations

Canada and the ICC

Canada, India and Poland constituted the International Control Commission, which was supposed to monitor the 1954 ceasefire agreement.BOOK, Edelgard Elsbeth Mahant, Graeme S. Mount, Invisible and inaudible in Washington: American policies toward Canada,weblink 1999, UBC Press, 978-0774807036, 50, Officially, Canada did not have partisan involvement in the Vietnam War, and diplomatically, it was "non-belligerent", though there is evidence to the contrary.ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 30 September 2007, Quiet Complicity: Canadian Involvement in the Vietnam War, by Victor Levant (1986)., The Canadian Encyclopedia, 15 July 2010, dead, dmy-all, WEB,weblink Quiet Complicity: Canadian Involvement in the Vietnam War, Review by The Manitoba Historical Society, 15 July 2010, The Vietnam War entry in The Canadian Encyclopedia asserts that Canada's record on the truce commissions was a pro-Saigon partisan one.WEB,weblink Vietnam War, The Canadian Encyclopedia, dead,weblink 26 April 2012, dmy-all,

United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races (FULRO)

The ethnic minority peoples of South Vietnam, like the Montagnards (Degar) in the Central Highlands, the Hindu and Muslim Cham, and the Buddhist Khmer Krom, were actively recruited in the war. There was an active strategy of recruitment and favorable treatment of Montagnard tribes for the Viet Cong, as they were pivotal for control of infiltration routes.BOOK,weblink Nationalism and Imperialism in South and Southeast Asia: Essays Presented to Damodar R.SarDesai, Kaminsky, Arnold P., Long, Roger D., 2016, Routledge, 978-1351997423, en, Some groups had split off and formed the United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races (French: Front Uni de Lutte des Races Opprimées, acronym: FULRO) to fight for autonomy or independence. FULRO fought against both the anti-Communist South Vietnamese and the Communist Viet Cong, later proceeding to fight against the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam after the fall of South Vietnam.During the war, the South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem began a program to settle ethnic Vietnamese Kinh on Montagnard lands in the Central Highlands region. This provoked a backlash from the Montagnards, some joining the NLF as a result. The Cambodians under both the pro-China King Sihanouk and the pro-American Lon Nol supported their fellow co-ethnic Khmer Krom in South Vietnam, following an anti-ethnic Vietnamese policy. Following Vietnamization many Montagnard groups and fighters were incorporated into the Vietnamese Rangers as border sentries.

War crimes

{{See also|List of massacres in Vietnam}}A large number of 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 prisoners of war. Additional common crimes included theft, arson, and the destruction of property not warranted by military necessity.BOOK, Gary D. Solis, The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War,weblink 2010, Cambridge University Press, 978-1139487115, 301–03,

South Vietnamese, Korean and American{{anchor|War crimes committed by US forces}}

{{See also|United States war crimes|Winter Soldier Investigation|Vietnam War Crimes Working Group|Tiger Force}}(File:My Lai massacre.jpg|thumb|Victims of the My Lai massacre)In 1968, the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group (VWCWG) was established by the Pentagon task force set up in the wake of the My Lai Massacre, to attempt to ascertain the veracity of emerging claims of war crimes by U.S. armed forces in Vietnam, during the Vietnam War period. A probable war crime that was neither investigated nor brought to charge was the Thuy Bo massacre, while the Son Thang massacre warranted investigation, and its perpetrators faced court martial and served less than a year in prison.Of the war crimes that were reported to military authorities, sworn statements by witnesses and status reports indicated that 320 incidents had a factual basis.WEB, Nick Turse, Deborah Nelson, 6 August 2006, Civilian Killings Went Unpunished,weblink Los Angeles Times,, 14 September 2013, 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; and 141 cases of U.S. soldiers torturing civilian detainees or prisoners of war with fists, sticks, bats, water or electric shock. Rummel estimated that American forces committed around 5,500 democidal killings between 1960 and 1972, from a range of between 4,000 and 10,000 killed.WEB,weblink Rummel 1997 Lines 613, Journalism in the ensuing years has documented large numbers of overlooked and uninvestigated war crimes involving every army division that was active in Vietnam,16 November 2003, "The Vietnam War Crimes You Never Heard Of", Nick Turse, History News Network including the atrocities committed by Tiger Force.BOOK, Tiger Force : a true story of men and war, Michael., Sallah, Little, Brown, Weiss, Mitch., 2006, 978-0316159975, 1st, New York, 306, 61151525,weblink File:Vietconginterrogation1967.jpg|thumb|left|A suspected Viet Cong prisoner captured in 1967 by the U.S. Army awaits interrogation. He has been placed in a stress positionstress positionFile:Viet nam Tragedy.jpg|thumb|left|Napalm burn victims during the war being treated at the 67th Combat Support Hospital ]]U.S. forces established numerous free-fire zones as a tactic to prevent Viet Cong fighters from sheltering in South Vietnamese villages.NEWS,weblink Free Fire Zone – The Vietnam War, The Vietnam War, 2018-06-20, en-US, Such practice, which involved the assumption that any individual appearing in the designated zones was an enemy combatant that could be freely targeted by weapons, is regarded by journalist Lewis M. Simons as "a severe violation of the laws of war".WEB, Lewis M. Simons,weblink Free Fire Zones, 5 October 2016, Crimes of War, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 19 October 2016, dmy-all, 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.{{Harvnb|Turse|2013|p=251}}. One example cited by Turse is Operation Speedy Express, an operation by the 9th Infantry Division, which was described by John Paul Vann as, in effect, "many My Lais". A report by Newsweek magazine suggested that at minimum 5,000 civilians may have been killed during six months of the operation, as there was around 748 recovered weapons.Kevin Buckley "Pacification's Deadly Price", (Newsweek, 19 June 1972, pp. 42–43)R.J. Rummel estimated that 39,000 were killed by South Vietnam during the Diem-era in democide from a range of between 16,000 and 167,000 South Vietnamese civilians; for 1964 to 1975, Rummel estimated a total of 50,000 killed in democide, from a range of between 42,000 and 128,000. Thus, the total for 1954 to 1975 is 81,000, from a range of between 57,000 and 284,000 deaths caused by South Vietnam.Rummel, R. J. "Statistics of Vietnamese Democide" weblink, accessed 30 Oct 75 Benjamin Valentino attributes possibly 110,000–310,000 "counter-guerrilla mass killings" of non-combatants to U.S. and South Vietnamese forces during the war.BOOK, Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the 20th Century, Valentino, Benjamin, Cornell University Press, 2005, 978-0801472732, 84, An estimated 26,000 to 41,000 civilian members of the PRG/NLF termed "VC Infrastructure" were killed during the Phoenix Program, by US and South Vietnamese intelligence and security, with an unknown number being innocent civilians.BOOK,weblink American Torture: From the Cold War to Abu Ghraib and Beyond, Otterman, Michael, Melbourne University Publishing, 2007, 978-0522853339, 62, Michael Otterman, JOURNAL, Hersh, Seymour, Seymour Hersh, December 15, 2003, Moving Targets,weblink The New Yorker, 20 November 2013, BOOK,weblink A question of torture: CIA interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror, McCoy, Alfred W., Macmillan, 2006, 978-0805080414, 68, Alfred W. McCoy, File:Tam Toa Church, Dong Hoi.jpg|thumb|Tam Tòa Church in Đồng Hới, Quảng Bình ProvinceQuảng Bình ProvinceTorture and ill-treatment were frequently applied by the South Vietnamese to POWs as well as civilian prisoners. During their visit to the Con Son Prison in 1970, U.S. congressmen Augustus F. Hawkins and William R. Anderson witnessed detainees either confined in minute "tiger cages" or chained to their cells, and provided with poor-quality food. A group of American doctors inspecting the prison in the same year found many inmates suffering symptoms resulting from forced immobility and torture.{{harvnb|Greiner|2010|page=77}} During their visits to transit detention facilities under American administration in 1968 and 1969, the International Red Cross recorded many cases of torture and inhumane treatment before the captives were handed over to South Vietnamese authorities.{{harvnb|Greiner|2010|p=78}} Torture was conducted by the South Vietnamese government in collusion with the CIA.NEWS,weblink Torture: What the Vietcong Learned and the CIA Didn't, 2014-12-15, Newsweek, 2018-06-20, en, WEB,weblink The Man in the Snow White Cell, Central Intelligence Agency,, en, 2018-06-20, South Korean forces were accused of war crimes as well. One documented event was the Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất massacre where the 2nd Marine Brigade of the South Korean Army reportedly killed 69–79 civilians on 12 February 1968 in Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất village, Điện Bàn District of Quảng Nam Province in South Vietnam.NEWS,weblink ko:잠자던 진실, 30년만에 깨어나다 "한국군은 베트남에서 무엇을 했는가"… 미국 국립문서보관소 비밀해제 보고서·사진 최초공개, Go Gyeong-tae, Hankyoreh, 2000-11-15, 8 September 2016, ko, South Korean forces are also accused of perpetrating other massacres, namely: Bình Hòa massacre, Binh Tai Massacre and Hà My massacre alongside the Bình An/Tây Vinh massacre.

North Vietnamese and Viet Cong

{{See also|Cambodian Civil War#War Crimes}}(File:Hue Massacre Interment.jpg|thumb|Interment of victims of the Huế Massacre)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", based on the definition of terrorists as a non-state actor, and examining targeted killings and civilian deaths which are estimated at over 18,000 from 1966 to 1969.Pedahzur, Ami (2006), Root Causes of Suicide Terrorism: The Globalization of Martyrdom, Taylor & Francis, p. 116. The US Department of Defense estimates the VC/NVA had conducted 36,000 murders and almost 58,000 kidnappings from 1967 to 1972, c. 1973.Lanning and Cragg, pp. 186–188 Statistics for 1968–72 suggest that "about 80 percent of the terrorist victims were ordinary civilians and only about 20 percent were government officials, policemen, members of the self-defence forces or pacification cadres."Lewy (1978), p. 273. Benjamin Valentino attributes 45,000–80,000 "terrorist mass killings" of non-combatants to the Viet Cong during the war. Viet Cong tactics included the frequent mortaring of civilians in refugee camps, and the placing of mines on highways frequented by villagers taking their goods to urban markets. Some mines were set only to go off after heavy vehicle passage, causing extensive slaughter aboard packed civilian buses.Lewy (1978), p. 270-279.Notable Viet Cong atrocities include the massacre of over 3,000 unarmed civilians at HuếBOOK, Ben Kiernan, Kiernan, Ben, Viet Nam: A History from Earliest Times to the Present, Oxford University Press, 2017, 9780190627300, 444, during the Tet Offensive and the killing of 252 civilians during the Đắk Sơn massacre.BOOK, Pike, Douglas, PAVN: People's Army of Vietnam, 1996, Presidio, 155,000 refugees fleeing the final North Vietnamese Spring Offensive were reported to have been killed or abducted on the road to Tuy Hòa in 1975.Wiesner, Louis (1988), Victims and Survivors: Displaced Persons and Other War Victims in Viet-Nam, 1954–1975 Greenwood Press, pp. 318–19. According to Rummel, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops killed 164,000 civilians in democide between 1954 and 1975 in South Vietnam, from a range of between 106,000 and 227,000 (50,000 of which were reportedly killed by shelling and mortar on ARVN forces during the retreat to Tuy Hoa).WEB,weblink Rummel 1997, North Vietnam was also known for its abusive treatment of American POWs, most notably in Hỏa Lò Prison (aka the Hanoi Hilton), where torture was employed to extract confessions.{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=655}}.


{{See also|Women in the Vietnam War|Timeline of American women in war and the U.S. military from 1945 to 1999#1965}}

American nurses

(File:Da Nang, South Vietnam...United States Navy nurse Lieutenant Commander Joan Brouilette checks the condition of Pfc.... - NARA - 558531.jpg|thumb|left|Da Nang, South Vietnam, 1968)During the Vietnam War, American women served on active duty performing 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.Norman, Elizabeth M. Women at War: the Story of Fifty Military Nurses Who Served in Vietnam. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1990. {{ISBN|978-0812213171}} p. 7. First Lieutenant Sharon Lane was the only female military nurse to be killed by enemy gunfire during the war, on 8 June 1969.Norman, p. 57. One civilian doctor, Eleanor Ardel Vietti, who was captured by Viet Cong on May 30, 1962, in Buôn Ma Thuột, remains the only American woman unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.WEB,weblink Bio, Vietti, Eleanor A., POW Network, 2018-01-04, NEWS,weblink The last missing woman from the Vietnam War, Fisher, Binnie, 28 October 2001, Houston Chronicle, 2018-01-04, NEWS,weblink Fact Check: Why Are So Few Women's Names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall?, Lloyd, Alice B., 2017-05-29, Weekly Standard, 2018-01-04, (File:Second Lieutenant Kathleen M. Sullivan treats a Vietnamese child during Operation MED CAP, a U.S. Air Force civic... - NARA - 542331.jpg|thumb|A nurse treats a Vietnamese child, 1967)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. By 1973, approximately 7,500 women had served in Vietnam in the Southeast Asian theater.{{Harvnb|Holm|1992|p=206}}. American women serving in Vietnam were subject to societal stereotypes. To address this problem, the ANC released advertisements portraying women in the ANC as "proper, professional and well protected." This effort to highlight the positive aspects of a nursing career reflected the feminism of 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.Norman, p. 71.

Vietnamese soldiers

(File:WAFC-ARVN Pharmacist.jpg|thumb|Master-Sergeant and pharmacist Do Thi Trinh, part of the WAFC, supplying medication to ARVN dependents)File:Female Vietcong Guerrilla.jpg|thumb|Female Viet CongViet CongUnlike the American women who went to Vietnam, both South and North Vietnamese women were enlisted and served in combat zones. Women were enlisted in both the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong guerrilla insurgent force in South Vietnam, many joining due to the promises of female equality and a greater social role within society.JOURNAL, Wood, Jordan, October 2015, Taking on a Superpower: A Salute to the Women of Vietnam,weblink 3, 1, Kaleidoscope, NEWS,weblink The women who fought for their country, 2016-12-06, BBC News, 2018-06-19, en-GB, Some women also served for the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong intelligence services. The deputy military commander of the PLAF, the armed wing of the Viet Cong, was a female general, Nguyễn Thị Định. All-female units were present throughout the entirety of the war, ranging from front-line combat troops to anti-aircraft, scout, and reconnaissance units.NEWS,weblink Opinion {{!, The Women Who Fought for Hanoi|last=Herman|first=Elizabeth D.|date=2017-06-06|work=The New York Times|access-date=2018-06-01|language=en-US|issn=0362-4331}} Female combat squads were present in the Cu Chi theatre.NEWS,weblink Opinion {{!, As the Earth Shook, They Stood Firm|date=2017-01-17|work=The New York Times|access-date=2018-06-01|language=en-US|issn=0362-4331}} They also fought in the Battle of Hue.NEWS,weblink All-female Perfume River combat squadron helped change outcome of Vietnam War, 2018-01-26, The Japan Times Online, 2018-06-01, en-US, 0447-5763, In addition, large numbers of women served in North Vietnam, manning anti-aircraft batteries, providing village security and serving in logistics on the Ho Chi Minh trail.NEWS,weblink The women who fought for their country, 2016-12-06, BBC News, 2018-06-01, en-GB, Other women were embedded with troops on the front-lines, serving as doctors and medical personnel. Đặng Thùy Trâm became renowned after her diary was published following her death. The Foreign Minister for the National Liberation Front and later the PRG was also a woman, Nguyễn Thị Bình.File:Đền thờ Nguyễn Thị Định.jpg|thumb|left|Memorial temple to Nguyễn Thị Định and the female volunteers of the PLAFPLAFIn South Vietnam, many women voluntarily served in the ARVN's Women's Armed Force Corps (WAFC) and various other Women's corps in the military. Some, like in the WAFC, served in combat with other soldiers. Others 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, Madame Nhu was the commander of the WAFC.NEWS, Shapiro, T. Rees, Mme. Ngo Dinh Nhu, who exerted political power in Vietnam, dies at 87,weblink 4 February 2014, The Washington Post, 27 April 2011, Many women joined provincial and voluntary village-level militia in the People's Self Defense Force as part of the South Vietnamese Popular Force especially during the ARVN expansions later in the war.During the war more than one million rural people migrated or fled 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.Gustafsson, Mai Lan "'Freedom. Money. Fun. Love': The Warlore of Vietnamese Bargirls" Oral History Review, 2011, Vol. 38, No. 2, p. 308; Hunt, Richard A. Pacification: The American Struggle for Vietnam's Hearts and Minds Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995, p. 40 American bases were ringed by bars and brothels.Barry, Kathleen The Prostitution of Sexuality New York: NYU Press, 1995, p. 1338,040 Vietnamese women came to the United States as war brides between 1964 and 1975.Linda Trinh Võ and Marian Sciachitano, Asian American women: the Frontiers reader, University of Nebraska Press, 2004, p. 144. Many mixed-blood Amerasian children were left behind when their American fathers returned to the United States after their tour of duty in South Vietnam; 26,000 of them were permitted to immigrate to the United States in the 1980s and 1990s.Lamb, David Children of the Vietnam War{{dead link|date=December 2017 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} Smithsonian Magazine June 2009. Retrieved 28 May 2014.


Women also played a prominent role as front-line reporters in the conflict, directly reporting on the conflict as it occurred.NEWS,weblink Opinion {{!, The Women Who Covered Vietnam|last=Becker|first=Elizabeth|date=2017-11-17|work=The New York Times|access-date=2018-06-01|language=en-US|issn=0362-4331}} A number of women volunteered on the North Vietnamese side as embedded journalists, including author Lê Minh Khuê embedded with NVA forces,WEB,weblink The Stars, The Earth, The River {{!, Northwestern University Press||language=en|access-date=2018-06-01}} on the Ho Chi Minh trail as well as on combat fronts.NEWS,weblink Vietnam's Women of War, Lamb, David, 2003-01-10, Los Angeles Times, 2018-06-01, en-US, 0458-3035, A number of prominent Western journalists were also involved in covering the war, with Dickey Chapelle being among the first as well as the first American female reporter killed in a war. The French-speaking Australian journalist Kate Webb was captured along with a photographer and others by the Viet Cong in Cambodia and travelled into Laos with them; they were released back into Cambodia after 23 days of captivity.NEWS,weblink Kate Webb – Captured in Cambodia, UPI, 2018-06-01, en, Webb would be the first Western journalist to be captured and released, as well as cover the perspective of the Viet Cong in her memoir On The Other Side. Another French-speaking journalist, Catherine Leroy, was briefly captured and released by North Vietnamese forces during the Battle of Huế, capturing some famous photos from the battles that would appear on the cover of Life Magazine.BOOK,weblink LIFE, Inc, Time, 1968-02-16, Time Inc, en,

Black servicemen

{{See also|Civil rights movement|Military history of African Americans#Vietnam War}}File:Haeberlewounded.jpg|thumb|upright=0.85|A wounded African-American soldier being carried away, 1968]]The experience of American military personnel of African ancestry during the Vietnam War had received significant attention. For example, the website "African-American Involvement in the Vietnam War" compiles examples of such coverage,WEB,weblink Fully Integrated, African-American Involvement in the Vietnam War (, 11 May 2017, as does the print and broadcast work of journalist Wallace Terry.Terry's book Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans (1984), 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.BOOK, Terry, Wallace, Wallace Terry, 1984, Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans, Random House., 978-0394530284, Epigraph, xv–xvii, Civil rights leaders protested the disproportionate casualties and the overrepresentation in hazardous duty and combat roles experienced by African American servicemen, prompting reforms that were implemented beginning in 1967–68. As a result, by the war's completion in 1975, black casualties had declined to 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.BOOK,weblink Working-Class War, 9780807860113, Appy, Christian G., 2000-11-09,


(File:HoChiMinhTrail003.jpg|thumb|upright|left|Guerillas assemble shells and rockets delivered along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.)During the early stages of the war, the Viet Cong mainly sustained itself with captured arms; these were often of American manufactureA Bright Shining Lie – John Paul Van and the American War in Vietnam Neil Sheehan, ebook, p. 813.3 / 2235 or were crude, makeshift weaponsA Bright Shining Lie – John Paul Van and the American War in Vietnam. Neil Sheehan, ebook, p. 187.2 / 2235 used alongside shotguns made of galvanized pipes.A Bright Shining Lie – John Paul Van and the American War in Vietnam. Neil Sheehan, ebook, p. 994.1 / 2235 Most arms were captured from poorly defended ARVN militia outposts.A Bright Shining Lie – John Paul Van and the American War in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan, ebook, p. 814.4 / 2235 In 1967, all Viet Cong battalions were reequipped with arms of Soviet design such as the AK-47 assault rifle, carbines and the RPG-2 anti-tank weapon.A Bright Shining Lie – John Paul Van and the American War in Vietnam. Neil Sheehan, ebook, p. 1883.5 / 2235 Their weapons were principally of ChineseChinese Support for North Vietnam during the Vietnam War: The Decisive Edge, Bob Seals, Military History Online, 23 September 2008 or Soviet manufacture.Albert Parray, Military Review, "Soviet aid to Vietnam" {{webarchive|url= |date=28 April 2011 }}, June 1967 In the period up to the conventional phase in 1970, the Viet Cong and NVA were primarily limited to 81 mm mortars, recoilless rifles, and small arms and had significantly lighter equipment and firepower in comparison with the US arsenal. They relied on ambushes, superior stealth, planning, marksmanship, and small-unit tactics to face the disproportionate US technological advantage.BOOK,weblink Indochina and Vietnam: The Thirty-five Year War, 1940–1975, Miller, Robert, Wainstock, Dennis D., 2013, Enigma Books, 978-1936274666, 101–02, en, File:M41-walker-bulldog-tank.jpg|thumb|M41 Walker BulldogM41 Walker BulldogFile:T-59 VC.jpg|thumb|ARVN soldiers posing on top of a Type 59 tankType 59 tankAfter the Tet Offensive, many North Vietnamese units incorporated light tanks such as the Type 62 Type 59 tank., BTR-60, Type 60 artillery, amphibious tanks (such as the PT-76) and integrated into new war doctrines as a mobile combined-arms force. The North Vietnamese started receiving experimental Soviet weapons against ARVN forces, including MANPADS 9K32 Strela-2, and anti-tank missiles, 9M14 Malyutka. By 1975, they had fully transformed from the strategy of mobile light-infantry and using the people's war concept used against the United States.WEB,weblink North Vietnam's Master Plan {{!, HistoryNet||language=en-US|access-date=2018-06-01|date=2006-06-12}}The US service rifle was initially the M14 until it was replaced by the M16 rifle. For a period, the gun suffered from a jamming flaw.JOURNAL, C.H. Chivers, How Reliable is the M16 Rifle?, The New York Times, 2 November 2009,weblink According to a congressional report, the jamming was due to inadequate testing and reflected a decision for which the safety of soldiers was a secondary consideration.BOOK, David Maraniss, They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace Vietnam and America October 1967,weblink 2003, Simon and Schuster, 978-0743262552, 410, That issue was solved in early 1968 with the issuance of the M16A1, which featured a chrome-plated bore.Hog, Ian V., Jane's Infantry Weapons 1986–87, Jane's Publishing, Inc. New York (1986) p. 225. The M60 machine gun was the main machine gun of the US army at the time, and many M60s were put on helicopters to provide suppressive fire. The MAC-10 machine pistol was supplied to many special forces troops in the midpoint of the war.File:UH-1D helicopters in Vietnam 1966.jpg|thumb|UH-1D helicopters airlift members of a U.S. infantry regiment, 1966]]Two aircraft that were prominent in the war were the AC-130 "Spectre" Gunship and the UH-1 "Huey" gunship. The AC-130 was a heavily armed ground-attack aircraft variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane, while the Huey is a military helicopter powered by a single, turboshaft engine; approximately 7,000 UH-1 aircraft saw service in Vietnam. The U.S. heavily armored, 90 mm M48A3 Patton tank saw extensive action during the Vietnam War, and over 600 were deployed with US Forces. Ground forces also had access to B-52 and F-4 Phantom II and other aircraft to launch napalm, white phosphorus, tear gas, chemical weapons, precision-guided munition and cluster bombs.NEWS,weblink Opinion {{!, Vietnam: The Chemical War|last=Biggs|first=David|access-date=2018-06-20|language=en}}

Radio communications

(File:North Vietnamese SA-2.jpg|thumb|North Vietnamese SAM crew in front of SA-2 launcher. The Soviet Union provided North Vietnam with considerable anti-air defence around installations.)The Vietnam War was the first conflict where U.S. forces had secure voice communication equipment available at the tactical level. The National Security Agency ran a crash program to provide U.S. forces with a family of security equipment, codenamed NESTOR, fielding 17,000 units initially; eventually 30,000 units were produced. However, limitations of the units, including poor voice quality, reduced range, annoying time delays and logistical support issues, led to only one unit in ten being used.A History of U.S. Communications Security; the David G. Boak Lectures, National Security Agency (NSA), Volumes I, 1973, Volumes II 1981, partially released 2008, additional portions declassified 14 October 2015{{rp|Vol II, p. 43}} While many in the U.S. military believed that the Viet Cong and NVA would not be able to exploit insecure communications, interrogation of captured communication intelligence units showed they were able to understand the jargon and codes used in realtime and were often able to warn their side of impending U.S. actions.{{rp|Vol II, pp. 4, 10}}

Extent of U.S. bombings

{{See also|Operation Rolling Thunder|Operation Menu|Operation Freedom Deal|CIA activities in Laos}}File:Bombs from B-52 Arc Light strike exploding.jpg|thumb|left|Bombs being dropped by the B-52 StratofortressB-52 StratofortressThe U.S. dropped over 7 million tons of bombs on Indochina during the war, more than triple the 2.1 million tons of bombs the U.S. dropped on Europe and Asia during all of World War II, and more than ten times the amount dropped by the U.S. during the Korean War. 500 thousand tons were dropped on Cambodia, 1 million tons were dropped on North Vietnam, and 4 million tons were dropped on South Vietnam. On a per capita basis, the 2 million tons dropped on Laos make it the most heavily bombed country in history; The New York Times noted this was "nearly a ton for every person in Laos."WEB, Ben Kiernan, Kiernan, Ben, Owen, Taylor,weblink Making More Enemies than We Kill? Calculating U.S. Bomb Tonnages Dropped on Laos and Cambodia, and Weighing Their Implications, The Asia-Pacific Journal, 2015-04-26, 2016-09-19, Due to the particularly heavy impact of cluster bombs during this war, Laos was a strong advocate of the Convention on Cluster Munitions to ban the weapons, and was host to the First Meeting of States Parties to the convention in November 2010.WEB, Disarmament,weblink The United Nations Office at Geneva, United Nations, 20 September 2013, November 2011, Former U.S. Air Force official Earl Tilford has recounted "repeated bombing runs of a lake in central Cambodia. The B-52s literally dropped their payloads in the lake." The Air Force ran many missions of this kind for the purpose of securing additional funding during budget negotiations, so the amount of tonnage expended does not directly correlate with the resulting damage.WEB, Greenberg, Jon,weblink Kissinger: Drones have killed more civilians than the bombing of Cambodia in the Vietnam War, 2014-09-11,, 2016-09-18,


Events in Southeast Asia

{{Further|Mayaguez incident|Indochina refugee crisis}}(File:35 Vietnamese boat people 2.JPEG|thumb|upright|Vietnamese refugees fleeing Vietnam, 1984)On 2 July 1976, North and South Vietnam were merged to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.BOOK, Robbers, Gerhard, Encyclopedia of world constitutions,weblink 1 July 2011, 2007, Infobase Publishing, 978-0816060788, 1021, Despite speculation that the victorious North Vietnamese would, in President Nixon's words, "massacre the civilians there [South Vietnam] by the millions," there is a widespread consensus that no mass executions in fact took place.BOOK, RAND in Southeast Asia: A History of the Vietnam War Era, Elliot, Duong Van Mai, RAND Corporation, 2010, 978-0833047540, 499, 512–13, The End of the War, A study by Jacqueline Desbarats and Karl D. Jackson estimated that 65,000 South Vietnamese were executed for political reasons between 1975 and 1983, based on a survey of 615 Vietnamese refugees who claimed to have personally witnessed 47 executions. However, "their methodology was reviewed and criticized as invalid by authors Gareth Porter and James Roberts." 16 of the 47 names used to extrapolate this "bloodbath" were duplicates; this extremely high duplication rate (34%) strongly suggests Desbarats and Jackson were drawing from a small number of total executions. Rather than arguing that this duplication rate proves there were very few executions in post-war Vietnam, Porter and Roberts suggest it is an artifact of the self-selected nature of the participants in the Desbarats-Jackson study, as the authors followed subjects's recommendations on other refugees to interview. See BOOK, RAND in Southeast Asia: A History of the Vietnam War Era, Elliot, Duong Van Mai, RAND Corporation, 2010, 978-0833047540, 512–13, The End of the War, cf. JOURNAL, Roberts, James, Summer 1988, Creating a Bloodbath by Statistical Manipulation: A Review of A Methodology for Estimating Political Executions in Vietnam, 1975–1983, Jacqueline Desbarats; Karl D. Jackson., 2759306, Pacific Affairs, 61, 2, 303–310, Porter, Gareth, 10.2307/2759306, Nevertheless, there exist unverified reports of mass executions (see Nguyen Cong Hoan' testimony in REPORT, Human Rights in Vietnam: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on International Organizations of the Committee on International Relations: House of Representatives, Ninety-Fifth Congress, First Session, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977-07-26, 149, 153,weblink ; see also Desbarats and Jackson. "Vietnam 1975–1982: The Cruel Peace" The Washington Quarterly 8, no. 4 (September 1985): p. 117) However, in the years following the war, a vast number of South Vietnamese was sent to re-education camps where many endured torture, starvation, and disease while being forced to perform hard labor.WEB, Sagan, Ginetta, Denney, Stephen,weblink Re-education in Unliberated Vietnam: Loneliness, Suffering and Death, The Indochina Newsletter, October–November 1982, 2016-09-01, See also Nghia M. Vo, The Bamboo Gulag: Political Imprisonment in Communist Vietnam (McFarland, 2004). According to Amnesty International Report 1979, this figure varied considerably depend on different observers: "[...] included such figures as "50,000 to 80,000" (Le Monde, 19 April 1978), "150,000" (Reuters from Bien Hoa, 2 November 1977), "150,000 to 200,000" (Washington Post, 20 December 1978), and "300,000" (Agence France Presse from Hanoi, 12 February 1978)."Amnesty International Report, 1979 Amnesty International Publications. 1979. p. 116. Retrieved 26 March 2018. Such variations may be because "Some estimates may include not only detainees but also people sent from the cities to the countryside." According to a native observer, there were 443,360 people who had to register for a period in re-education camps in Saigon alone, and while some of them were released after a few days, others stayed there for more than a decade.Huy, Đức. Bên Thắng Cuộc. OsinBook.File:B52 CRASH WRECKAGE AT HUU TIEP LAKE HA NOI FEB 2012 (6887035292).jpg|left|thumb|upright|B-52 wreckage in Huu Tiep Lake, Hanoi. Downed during Operation Linebacker IIOperation Linebacker IIGabriel García Márquez, a Nobel Prize winning writer, described South Vietnam as a "False paradise" after the war, when he visited in 1980: "The cost of this delirium was stupefying: 360,000 people mutilated, a million widows, 500,000 prostitutes, 500,000 drug addicts, a million tuberculous and more than a million soldiers of the old regime, impossible to completely rehabilitate into a new society. Ten percent of the population of Ho Chi Minh City was suffering from serious venereal diseases when the war ended, and there were 4 million illiterates throughout the South."NEWS,weblink Read Gabriel García Márquez's Moving Vietnam Piece, Rolling Stone, 2018-04-25, The US used its security council veto to block Vietnam's recognition by the United Nations three times, an obstacle to the country receiving international aid.NEWS,weblink Vietnam Is Admitted to the U.N. As 32d General Assembly Opens, Times, Special To the New York, 1977-09-21, The New York Times, 2018-04-27, en-US, 0362-4331, By 1975, the Viet Minh had lost influence over the Cambodian communists.Kenton Clymer, The United States and Cambodia, 1969–2000: A Troubled Relationship (Routledge), pp. 73–74 Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, fell to the Khmer Rouge on 17 April 1975. Under the leadership of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge would eventually kill 1–3 million Cambodians out of a population of around 8 million, in one of the bloodiest genocides in history.WEB, Sharp, Bruce, Counting Hell: The Death Toll of the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia, 1 April 2005,weblink 15 July 2016, The range based on the figures above extends from a minimum of 1.747 million, to a maximum of 2.495 million., The Documentation Center of Cambodia has mapped some 23,745 mass graves containing approximately 1.3 million suspected victims of execution; execution is believed to account for roughly 60% of the full death toll. See: BOOK, Seybolt, Taylor B., Aronson, Jay D., Fischoff, Baruch, Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict, Oxford University Press, 2013, 978-0199977314, 238, Ben Kiernan cites a range of 1.671 to 1.871 million excess deaths under the Khmer Rouge. See JOURNAL, Ben Kiernan, Kiernan, Ben, The Demography of Genocide in Southeast Asia: The Death Tolls in Cambodia, 1975–79, and East Timor, 1975–80, Critical Asian Studies, 35, 4, 585–597, December 2003, 10.1080/1467271032000147041, (File:Bombed Buddha - panoramio.jpg|left|thumb|upright|A bombed Buddha statue in Laos. U.S. bombing campaigns made the country the single most bombed country in history.)The relationship between Vietnam and Cambodia, then ruled by the Khmer Rouge communist party, escalated right after the end of the war. In response to the Khmer Rouge taking over Phu Quoc on 17 April and Tho Chu on 4 May 1975, and the belief that they were responsible for the disappearance of 500 Vietnamese natives on Tho Chu, Vietnam launched a counterattack to take back these islands.Farrell, Epsey Cooke (1998). The Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the law of the sea : an analysis of Vietnamese behavior within the emerging international oceans regime. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. {{ISBN|9041104739}}. After several failed attempts to negotiate by both sides, Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) in 1978 and ousted the Khmer Rouge, who were being supported by China, in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War. In response, China invaded Vietnam in 1979. The two countries fought a brief border war, known as the Sino-Vietnamese War. From 1978 to 1979, some 450,000 ethnic Chinese left Vietnam by boat as refugees or were expelled.The Pathet Lao overthrew the monarchy of Laos in December 1975, establishing the Lao People's Democratic Republic under the leadership of a member of the royal family, Souphanouvong. The change in regime was "quite peaceful, a sort of Asiatic 'velvet revolution'"—although 30,000 former officials were sent to reeducation camps, often enduring harsh conditions for several years. The conflict between Hmong rebels and the Pathet Lao continued in isolated pockets.BOOK, Courtois, Stephane, Werth, Nicolas, Panne, Jean-Louis, Paczkowski, Andrzej, Bartosek, Karel, Margolin, Jean-Louis, 1, The Black Book of Communism, Harvard University Press, 1997, 978-0674076082, 575–76, The Black Book of Communism, The millions of cluster bombs the US dropped on Southeast Asia rendered the landscape hazardous. In Laos alone, some 80 million bombs failed to explode and remain scattered throughout the country, rendering vast swathes of land impossible to cultivate and killing or maiming 50 Laotians every year.NEWS, Wright, Rebecca,weblink 'My friends were afraid of me': What 80 million unexploded US bombs did to Laos, CNN, 2016-09-06, 2016-09-18, It is estimated that the explosives still remaining buried in the ground will not be removed entirely for the next few centuries.Nguyen, Lien-hang T. Hanois War: an International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam (New Cold War History). University of North Carolina Press. p. 317. Over 3 million people left Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the Indochina refugee crisis. Most Asian countries were unwilling to accept these refugees, many of whom fled by boat and were known as boat people."Migration in the Asia-Pacific Region". Stephen Castles, University of Oxford. Mark J. Miller, University of Delaware. July 2009. Between 1975 and 1998, an estimated 1.2 million refugees from Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries resettled in the United States, while Canada, Australia, and France resettled over 500,000. China accepted 250,000 people.BOOK, William Courtland, Robinson, Terms of refuge: the Indochinese exodus & the international response,weblink Zed Books, 1998, 127, 978-1856496100, Of all the countries of Indochina, Laos experienced the largest refugee flight in proportional terms, as 300,000 people out of a total population of 3 million crossed the border into Thailand. Included among their ranks were "about 90 percent" of Laos's "intellectuals, technicians, and officials."BOOK, Courtois, Stephane, Werth, Nicolas, Panne, Jean-Louis, Paczkowski, Andrzej, Bartosek, Karel, Margolin, Jean-Louis, 1, The Black Book of Communism, Harvard University Press, 1997, 978-0674076082, 575, The Black Book of Communism, An estimated 200,000 to 400,000 Vietnamese boat people died at sea, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.Associated Press, 23 June 1979, San Diego Union, 20 July 1986. See generally Nghia M. Vo, The Vietnamese Boat People (2006), 1954 and 1975–1992, McFarland.(File:Le musée des Souvenirs de guerre (Hô Chi Minh Ville).jpg|thumb|Captured U.S.-supplied armored vehicles and artillery pieces)Agent Orange and similar chemical substances used by the U.S. have also caused a considerable number of deaths and injuries in the intervening years, including among the US Air Force crews that handled them. Scientific reports have concluded that refugees exposed to chemical sprays while in South Vietnam continued to experience pain in the eyes and skin as well as gastrointestinal upsets. In one study, ninety-two percent of participants suffered incessant fatigue; others reported monstrous births.Rose, Hilary A., and Stephen P. Rose. "Chemical Spraying as Reported by Refugees from South Vietnam." Science. 177.4050 (1972): Science. Web. Meta-analyses of the most current studies on the association between Agent Orange and birth defects have concluded that there is a statistically significant correlation such that having a parent who was exposed to Agent Orange at any point in their life will increase one's likelihood of either possessing or acting as a genetic carrier of birth defects.Ngo, Anh D., Richard Taylor, Christine L. Roberts, and Tuan V. Nguyen. "Association between Agent Orange and Birth Defects: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis." International Journal of Epidemiology. Oxford University Press, 13 Feb. 2006. Web. 01 Nov. 2015. The most common deformation appears to be spina bifida. There is substantial evidence that the birth defects carry on for three generations or more.WEB,weblink The Children of Agent Orange, ProPublica, 2016-12-16, en-us, Charles Ornstein, Hannah Fresques, 2018-02-23, In 2012, the United States and Vietnam began a cooperative cleaning up of the toxic chemical on part of Danang International Airport, marking the first time Washington has been involved in cleaning up Agent Orange in Vietnam.NEWS,weblink U.S. starts its first Agent Orange cleanup in Vietnam, Reuters, 9 August 2012,

Effect on the United States

Dacy, Douglas C. (1986), Foreign aid, war, and economic development: south Vietnam 1955–1975, Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, p. 242; "CRS report for Congress: Costs of Major Wars", accessed 22 October 2015">

Views on the war{| class"wikitable floatright" style"width: 35%;"|+ United States expenditures in South Vietnam (SVN) (1953–1974) Direct costs only. Some estimates are higher.Dacy, Douglas C. (1986), Foreign aid, war, and economic development: south Vietnam 1955–1975, Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, p. 242; "CRS report for Congress: Costs of Major Wars", accessed 22 October 2015

! U.S. military costs || U.S. military aid to SVN || U.S. economic aid to SVN || Total || Total (2015 dollars)| $1.020 trillionIn the post-war era, Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of the military intervention.Gerdes (ed). Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War pp. 14–15. 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 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 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."{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=23}}.Taylor paraphrases Sun Tzu, The Art of War, trans. Samuel B. Griffith. Oxford, UK. Oxford University Press, 1963. President Ronald Reagan coined the term "Vietnam Syndrome" to describe the reluctance of the American public and politicians to support further military interventions abroad after Vietnam. According to a 2004 Gallup poll, 62 percent of Americans believed it was an unjust war.BOOK,weblink A Warring Nation: Honor, Race, and Humiliation in America and Abroad, Wyatt-Brown, Bertram, University of Virginia Press, 2014, 978-0813934754, Chapter 8: Honor and Shame in Vietnam and Iraq, US public polling in 1978 reveal nearly 72% of Americans believing the war was "fundamentally wrong and immoral", nearly a decade later the number reduced to 66% and by 1985 to 2000 surveys consistently show 34–35% believing the war was fundamentally wrong and immoral.BOOK,weblink The Vietnam War in American Memory: Veterans, Memorials, and the Politics of Healing, Hagopian, Patrick, Univ of Massachusetts Press, 2011, 978-1558499027, 10, en, Nearly a third of Americans believed the war was a noble cause when surveyed in 2000.Failure of the war is often placed at different institutions and levels. Some have suggested that the failure of the war was due to political failures of U.S. leadership.{{citation needed|date=November 2018}} The official history of the 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... success rests not only on military progress but on correctly analysing 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."File:Marine da nang.jpg|thumb|upright|A young Marine private waits on the beach during the Marine landing, Da NangDa NangOthers point to a failure of U.S. military doctrine. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara stated that "the achievement of a military victory by U.S. forces in Vietnam was indeed a dangerous illusion."{{Harvnb|McNamara|1999|p=368}}. The inability to bring Hanoi to the bargaining table by bombing also illustrated another U.S. miscalculation, and demonstrated the limitations of U.S. military abilities in achieving political goals.{{Harvnb|Karnow|1997|p=17}}. As Army Chief of Staff Harold Keith Johnson noted, "if anything came out of Vietnam, it was that air power couldn't do the job."Quoted in Bob Buzzano. WEB,weblink 25 Years After End of Vietnam War, Myths Keep Us from Coming to Terms with Vietnam, 17 April 2000, The Baltimore Sun Times,weblink" title="">weblink 5 June 2008, dead, 11 June 2008, dmy-all, Even General William Westmoreland admitted that the bombing had been ineffective. As he remarked, "I still doubt that the North Vietnamese would have relented." 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."WEB,weblink Lessons of Vietnam – Secret Memoranda to The President of the United States by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (ca. 12 May 1975), 3,weblink" title="">weblink 9 May 2008, dead, 11 June 2008, Hanoi had persistently sought unification of the country since the Geneva Accords, and the effects of U.S. bombings had negligible diplomatic impacts on the goals of the North Vietnamese government.BOOK,weblink Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam, Nguyen, Lien-Hang T., 2012, Univ of North Carolina Press, 978-0807835517, 1–10, en, The effects of U.S. bombing campaigns had mobilised the people throughout North Vietnam and mobilised international support for North Vietnam due to the perception of a super-power attempting to bomb a significantly smaller, agrarian society into submission.BOOK,weblink Hanoi's War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam, Nguyen, Lien-Hang T., Univ of North Carolina Press, 2012, 978-0807835517, 48–52, 297, en, The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue, concerning the fate of U.S. service personnel listed as missing in action, persisted for many years after the war's conclusion. The costs of the war loom large in American popular consciousness; a 1990 poll showed that the public incorrectly believed that more Americans lost their lives in Vietnam than in World War II.Victory in Europe 56 Years Ago Gallup News Service 8 May 2001

Cost of the war

Between 1953 and 1975, the United States was estimated to have spent $168 billion on the war ($1.02 trillion in FY2015 dollars).NEWS,weblink How Much Did The Vietnam War Cost?, 2014-01-22, The Vietnam War, 2018-05-17, en-US, This resulted in a large federal budget deficit. Other figures point to $138.9 billion from 1965 to 1974 (not inflation-adjusted), ten times the amount of support for all education spending in the US and 50 times more than housing and community development spending within that time period.WEB,weblink CQ Almanac Online Edition,, 2018-06-14, General record-keeping was reported to have been sloppy for government spending during the war. It was stated that war-spending could have paid off every mortgage in the US at that time, with money leftover.More than 3 million Americans served in the Vietnam War, some 1.5 million of whom actually saw combat in Vietnam."Echoes of Combat: The Vietnam War in American Memory". Stanford University. 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."{{Harvnb|Westheider|2007|p=78}}. Conscription in the United States had been controlled by the president since World War II, but ended in 1973.As of 2013, the U.S. government is paying Vietnam veterans and their families or survivors more than $22 billion a year in war-related claims.NEWS, US still making payments to relatives of Civil War veterans, analysis finds, 20 March 2013, Associated Press, Fox News,weblink NEWS, Iraq, Afghanistan Wars Will Cost U.S. 4–6 Trillion Dollars: Report, Jim Lobe, Inter Press Service, 30 March 2013,weblink

Impact on the U.S. military

By war's end, 58,220 American soldiers had been killed, more than 150,000 had been wounded, and at least 21,000 had been permanently disabled.weblink" title="">The War's Costs. Digital History. The average age of the U.S. troops killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years.Combat Area Casualty File, November 1993. (The CACF is the basis for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, i.e. The Wall), Center for Electronic Records, National Archives, Washington, DC 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."BOOK,weblink Vietnam Sons: For Some, the War Never Ended, Kueter, Dale, AuthorHouse, 2007, 978-1425969318, Approximately 830,000 Vietnam veterans suffered some degree of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Vietnam veterans suffered from PTSD in unprecedented numbers, as many as 15.2% of Vietnam veterans, because the U.S. military had routinely provided heavy psychoactive drugs, including amphetamines, to American servicemen, which left them unable to process adequately their traumas at the time.The Atlantic, 8 Apr. 2016, "The Drugs That Built a Super Soldier: During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Military Plied Its Servicemen with Speed, Steroids, and Painkillers to Help Them Handle Extended Combat" An estimated 125,000 Americans left for Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft,NEWS,weblink War Resisters Remain in Canada with No Regrets, 19 November 2005, ABC News, 26 February 2010, and approximately 50,000 American servicemen deserted.Vietnam War Resisters in Canada Open Arms to U.S. Military Deserters {{webarchive|url=|date=12 August 2014}}. Pacific News Service. 28 June 2005. In 1977, United States president Jimmy Carter granted a full and unconditional pardon to all Vietnam-era draft dodgers.WEB,weblink Proclamation 4483: Granting Pardon for Violations of the Selective Service Act, 11 June 2008, By The President of the United States of America, A Proclamation Granting Pardon For Violations of the Selective Services Act, 4 August 1964 To 28 March 1973. 21 January 1977.(File:OperationHueCity1967wounded.jpg|thumb|left|A marine gets his wounds treated during operations in Huế City, in 1968)As the Vietnam War continued inconclusively and became more unpopular with the American public, morale declined and disciplinary problems grew among American enlisted men and junior, non-career officers. Drug use, racial tensions, and the growing incidence of fragging—attempting to kill unpopular officers and non-commissioned officers with grenades or other weapons—created severe problems for the U.S. military and impacted its capability of undertaking combat operations. By 1971, a U.S. Army colonel writing in the Armed Forces Journal declared: "By every conceivable indicator, our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and non commissioned officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near mutinous....The morale, discipline, and battle-worthiness of the U.S. Armed Forces are, with a few salient exceptions, lower and worse than at any time in this century and possibly in the history of the United States."Heinl, Jr., Col. Robert D. (1971), "The Collapse of the Armed Forces", Armed Forces Journal, 7 June 1971 Between 1969 and 1971 the U.S. Army recorded more than 700 attacks by troops on their own officers. Eighty-three officers were killed and almost 650 were injured.WEB, Flitton, Dave, Battlefield Vietnam: Peace with Honour,weblink 13:00, PBS, 2 August 2015, File:Robert S. McNamara and General Westmoreland in Vietnam 1965.png|thumb|Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and General Westmoreland talk with General Tee on conditions of the war in Vietnam.]]The Vietnam War called into question the U.S. Army doctrine. Marine Corps general Victor H. Krulak heavily criticised Westmoreland's attrition strategy, calling it "wasteful of American lives… with small likelihood of a successful outcome." In addition, doubts surfaced about the ability of the military to train foreign forces. Furthermore, throughout the war there was found to be considerable flaws and dishonesty by officers and commanders due to promotions being tied to the body count system touted by Westmoreland and McNamara.NEWS,weblink McNamara on Record, Reluctantly, on Vietnam, Mohr, Charles, 2018-06-03, en, Ron Milam has questioned the severity of the "breakdown" of the U.S. armed forces, especially among combat troops, as reflecting the opinions of "angry colonels" who deplored the erosion of traditional military values during the Vietnam War.Milam, Ron (2009), Not A Gentleman's War: An Inside View of Junior Officers in the Vietnam War, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, p. 172 Although acknowledging serious problems, he questions the alleged "near mutinous" conduct of junior officers and enlisted men in combat. Investigating one combat refusal incident, a journalist declared, "A certain sense of independence, a reluctance to behave according to the military's insistence on obedience, like pawns or puppets...The grunts [infantrymen] were determined to survive...they insisted of having something to say about the making of decisions that determined whether they might live or die."Shkurti, William J. (2011), Soldiering on in a Dying War: The True Story of the Firebase Pace Incidents and the Vietnam Drawdown, Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, p. 95 The morale and discipline problems and resistance to conscription (the draft) were important factors leading to the creation of an all-volunteer military force by the United States and the termination of conscription. The last conscript was inducted into the army in 1973.NEWS,weblink The Bulletin, Bend, OR, UPI, Military draft system stopped, 27 January 1973, 1, NEWS,weblink The Times-News, Hendersonville, NC, Associated Press, Military draft ended by Laird, 27 January 1973, 1, The all-volunteer military moderated some of the coercive methods of discipline previously used to maintain order in military ranks.Lepre, p. 183

Effects of U.S. chemical defoliation

One of the most controversial aspects of the U.S. military effort in Southeast Asia was the widespread use of chemical defoliants between 1961 and 1971. They were used to (Wikt:defoliate|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.{{Harvnb|Palmer|2007}}; {{Harvnb|Stone|2007}}.NEWS, Lynne Peeples, 10 July 2013, Veterans Sick From Agent Orange-Poisoned Planes Still Seek Justice,weblink The Huffington Post, 4 September 2013, File:Defoliation agent spraying.jpg|thumb|left|U.S. helicopter spraying chemical defoliants in the Mekong DeltaMekong DeltaEarly 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 Operation Ranch Hand. Corporations like Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto were given the task of developing herbicides for this purpose. American officials also pointed out that the British had previously used 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D (virtually identical to America's use in Vietnam) on a large scale throughout the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s in order to destroy bushes, crops, and trees in effort to deny communist insurgents the concealment they needed to ambush passing convoys.BOOK, The Global Politics of Pesticides: Forging Consensus from Conflicting Interests, 61, Bruce Cumings, 1998, Earthscan, Indeed, Secretary of State Dean Rusk told President John F. Kennedy on 24 November 1961, that "[t]he use of defoliant does not violate any rule of 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."WEB,weblink Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963 Volume I, Vietnam, 1961, Document 275,, 24 February 2014, The defoliants, which were distributed in drums marked with color-coded bands, included the "Rainbow Herbicides"—Agent Pink, Agent Green, Agent Purple, Agent Blue, Agent White, and most famously, Agent Orange, which included dioxin as a byproduct of its manufacture. About 11–12 million gallons (41.6–45.4 million L) of Agent Orange were sprayed over southern Vietnam between 1961 and 1971.REPORT, U.S. Agent Orange/Dioxin Assistance to Vietnam, Michael F. Martin, 13 November 2015, Congressional Research Service,weblink A prime area of Ranch Hand operations was in the Mekong Delta, where the U.S. Navy patrol boats were vulnerable to attack from the undergrowth at the water's edge.File:A vietnamese Professor is pictured with a group of handicapped children.jpg|thumb|Handicapped children in Vietnam, most of them victims of Agent OrangeAgent OrangeIn 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.{{Harvnb|Kolko|1985|pp=144–45}}.Vietnamese victims affected by Agent Orange attempted a class action lawsuit against Dow Chemical and other U.S. chemical manufacturers, but District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein dismissed their case.{{Harvnb|Roberts|2005|p=380}}.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." They appealed, but the dismissal was cemented in February 2008 by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.{{Harvnb|Crook|2008}}. {{As of|2006}}, the Vietnamese government estimates that there are over 4,000,000 victims of 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.NEWS, Anthony Faiola, 13 November 2006,weblink In Vietnam, Old Foes Take Aim at War's Toxic Legacy, The Washington Post, 8 September 2013, In 2006, Anh Duc Ngo and colleagues of the University of Texas Health Science Center published a meta-analysis that exposed a large amount of heterogeneity (different findings) between studies, a finding consistent with a lack of consensus on the issue on the effect of Agent Orange in Vietnam.JOURNAL,weblink King, Jesse, Birth Defects Caused by Agent Orange, Embryo Project Encyclopedia, 2012-11-08, 10776/4202, 1940-5030, Despite this, statistical analysis of the studies they examined resulted in data that the increase in birth defects/relative risk (RR) from exposure to agent orange/dioxin "appears" to be on the order of 3 in Vietnamese-funded studies, but 1.29 in the rest of the world. There is data near the threshold of statistical significance suggesting Agent Orange contributes to still-births, cleft palate, and neural tube defects, with spina bifida being the most statistically significant defect.JOURNAL, Ngo, Anh D., Taylor, Richard, Roberts, Christine L., Nguyen, Tuan V.,weblink Association between Agent Orange and birth defects: systematic review and meta-analysis, International Journal of Epidemiology, 2006-03-16, 35, 5, 1220–30, 10.1093/ije/dyl038, 16543362, The large discrepancy in RR between Vietnamese studies and those in the rest of the world has been ascribed to bias in the Vietnamese studies.The U.S. Veterans Administration has listed prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, multiple myeloma, Diabetes mellitus type 2, B-cell lymphomas, soft-tissue sarcoma, chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, peripheral neuropathy, and spina bifida in children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange.WEB, Veterans' Diseases Associated with Agent Orange,weblink United States Department of Veterans Affairs,, 4 September 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 May 2010, dmy-all,


{{See also|Vietnam War body count controversy}}{| class="wikitable sortable floatright" style="text-align:right;"Military deaths in Vietnam War {{nowrap >(1955–1975)}}! Year || U.S.WEB,weblink Statistical Information about Fatal Casualties of the Vietnam War, Electronic Records Reference Report, DCAS Vietnam Conflict Extract File record counts by HOME OF RECORD STATE CODE (as of 29 April 2008), U.S. National Archives, 2016-08-15, (generated from the Vietnam Conflict Extract Data File of the Defense Casualty Analysis System (DCAS) Extract Files (as of 29 April 2008) || SouthVietnam| n.a.| 2,223| 4,004| 4,457| 5,665| 7,457| 11,242| 11,953| 12,716| 27,915| 21,833| 23,346| 22,738| 39,587| 27,901| 31,219| n.a.| n.a. class="sortbottom"! Total || 58,220 || >254,256Clarke, Jeffrey J. (1988), United States Army in Vietnam: Advice and Support: The Final Years, 1965–1973, Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army, p. 275Estimates of the number of casualties vary, with one source suggesting up to 3.8 million violent war deaths in Vietnam for the period 1955 to 2002.NEWS, fifty years of violent war deaths: data analysis from the world health survey program: BMJ,weblink 23 April 2008, 5 January 2013, From 1955 to 2002, data from the surveys indicated an estimated 5.4 million violent war deaths … 3.8 million in Vietnam. A detailed demographic study calculated 791,000–1,141,000 war-related deaths during the war for all of Vietnam, for both military and civilians. Between 195,000 and 430,000 South Vietnamese civilians died in the war. Extrapolating from a 1969 US intelligence report, Guenter Lewy estimated 65,000 North Vietnamese civilians died in the war. Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American bombing of North Vietnam in Operation Rolling Thunder range from 30,000Tucker, Spencer, ed. (2011). Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History. Volume Two. Santa Barbara, CA, p. 176BOOK, Tucker, Spencer, Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History, 2, 1998, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, CA, 978-0874369830, 617,weblink to 182,000.WEB,weblink Battlefield:Vietnam Timeline,, 31 October 2011, A 1974 US Senate subcommittee estimates nearly 1.4 million civilians killed and wounded between 1965 and 1974, and attributed over half as resulting from US and South Vietnamese military action.The military forces of South Vietnam suffered an estimated 254,256 killed between 1960 and 1974 and additional deaths from 1954 to 1959 and in 1975.Clarke, p. 275 Other estimates point to higher figures of 313,000 casualties. The official US Department of Defense figure was 950,765 NVA/VC 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 NVA/VC military forces was probably closer to 444,000.File:Lighting incense at the Dong Loc Junction memorial.jpg|left|thumb|Cemetery for ten unmarried girls who volunteered for logistical activities, who died in a B-52 raid at Đồng Lộc Junction, a strategic junction along the Ho Chi Minh trailHo Chi Minh trailAccording to figures from internal NVA/Viet Cong figures released by the Vietnamese government there was 849,018 military deaths on the NVA/VC side during the war.WEB,weblink Chuyên đề 4 CÔNG TÁC TÌM KIẾM, QUY TẬP HÀI CỐT LIỆT SĨ TỪ NAY ĐẾN NĂM 2020 VÀ NHỮNG NĂM TIẾP THEO, WEB,weblink Công tác tìm kiếm, quy tập hài cốt liệt sĩ từ nay đến năm 2020 và những năn tiếp theo, Ministry of National Defense – Government of Vietnam, NEWS,weblink Đời đời nhớ ơn các anh hùng liệt sĩ!, NAM, ĐẢNG CỘNG SẢN VIỆT,, 2018-06-11, vi-VN, KỶ NIỆM 68 NĂM NGÀY THƯƠNG BINH, LIỆT SĨ (27.7.1947 – 27.7.2015): Phát huy thế “kiềng 3 chân” trong thực hiện chính sách người có công The Vietnamese government released its estimate of war deaths for the more lengthy period of 1955 to 1975. This figure includes battle deaths of Vietnamese soldiers in Laotian Civil War and Cambodian Civil War in which the NVA was a major participant and 30–40% of the figure are non-combat deaths, but does not include deaths of South Vietnamese and allied soldiers.Shenon, Philip, "20 Years After Victory, Vietnamese Communists Ponder How to Celebrate, The New York Times, 23 April 1995US reports of "enemy KIA", referred to as body count were thought to have been subject to "falsification and glorification", and a true estimate of NVA/VC combat deaths may be difficult to assess, as US victories were assessed by having a "greater kill ratio".WEB,weblink Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement by John Kerry,, 2018-06-03, NEWS,weblink In This War, Body Count Is Ruled Out: Casualties: Gen. Schwarzkopf makes it clear he's not repeating a blunder made in Vietnam., Kempster, Norman, 1991-01-31, Los Angeles Times, 2018-06-03, en-US, 0458-3035, JOURNAL, Aman, Mohammed M., April 1993, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf: The Autobiography: It Doesn't Take a Hero; H. Norman Schwarzkopf with Peter Petre, Digest of Middle East Studies, 2, 2, 90–94, 10.1111/j.1949-3606.1993.tb00951.x, 1060-4367, It was difficult to distinguish between civilians and military personnel on the Viet Cong side as many persons were part-time guerrillas or impressed labourers who did not wear uniformsBOOK, Willbanks, James H., The Tet Offensive: A Concise History, 32, New York, Columbia University Press, 2008, 978-0231128414, Rand Corporation "Some Impressions of Viet Con Vulnerabilities, an Interim Report" 1965James J.F. Forest Countering Terrorism and Insurgency in the 21st Century 2007 {{ISBN|978-0275990343}} and civilians actually killed were oftentimes written off as enemy KIA.JOURNAL, Prados, John, Currey, Cecil B., Colvin, John, July 1997, Victory at Any Cost: The Genius of Viet Nam's Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap., The Journal of Military History, 61, 3, 649–650, 10.2307/2954074, 0899-3718, 2954074, BOOK, The My Lai Massacre: A Military Crime of Obedience, Kelman, H.C, Hamilton, V., Crimes of Obedience: Towards a Social Psychology of Authority and Responsibility, Yale University Press, 1989, 978-0300048131,weblink 1–12, {{Dead link|date=August 2019 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }} MACV operation rarely made a distinction between unarmed civilians and combatants, there was drastic inflation of enemy casualties since it was directly tied to promotions and commendation.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 12 April 2019, Declassification of the BDM Study, "The Strategic Lessons Learned in Vietnam", Defense Technical Center, 225–34, Between 275,000 and 310,000 Cambodians were estimated to have died during the war including between 50,000 and 150,000 combatants and civilians from US bombings.BOOK, Ben Kiernan, Kiernan, Ben, How Pol Pot Came to Power: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Communism in Cambodia, 1930–1975, Yale University Press, 2004, 9780300102628, xxiii,weblink 20,000–62,000 Laotians also died, and 58,318 U.S. military personnel were killed, of which 1,598 are still listed as missing as of 2018.WEB,weblink Vietnam-era unaccounted for statistical report, 5 April 2018, Unexploded ordnance, mostly from U.S. bombing, continue to detonate and kill people today. According to the Vietnamese government, ordnance has killed some 42,000 people since the war officially ended.WEB,weblink Vietnam War Bomb Explodes Killing Four Children, The Huffington Post, 3 December 2012, Vietnam war shell explodes, kills two fishermen The Australian (28 April 2011) According to the government of Laos, unexploded ordnance has killed or injured over 20,000 Laotians since the end of the war. Casualties from Agent Orange exposure is not known currently.

In popular culture

File:Thuong Tiec.jpg|thumb|Stone plaque with photo of the "ThÆ°Æ¡ng tiếc" (Mourning Soldier) statue, originally, installed at the Republic of Vietnam National Military Cemetery. The original statue was demolished in April 1975.]]The Vietnam War has been featured extensively in television, film, video games, music and literature in the participant countries. In Vietnam, one notable film set during Operation Linebacker II was the film Girl from Hanoi (1975) depicting war-time life in Hanoi. Another notable work was the diary of Đặng Thùy Trâm, a Vietnamese doctor who enlisted in the Southern battlefield, and was killed at the age of 27 by US forces near Quảng Ngãi. Her diaries were later published in Vietnam as Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary (Last Night I Dreamed Of Peace), where it became a best-seller and was later made into a film Don't Burn (Đừng Đốt). In Vietnam the diary has often been compared to The Diary of Anne Frank and both are used in literary education.NEWS,weblink Amsterdam Mayor visits Hanoi-Amsterdam High School,weblink 2014-12-10, VOV Online Newspaper, 2018-06-17, Another Vietnamese film produced was (The Abandoned Field: Free Fire Zone) (Cánh đồng hoang) in 1979 which weaves the narrative of living on the ground in a US "free-fire zone" as well as perspectives from US helicopters.In American popular culture, the "Crazy Vietnam Veteran", who was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, became a common stock character after the war.One of the first major films based on the Vietnam War was John Wayne's pro-war film, The Green Berets (1968). Further cinematic representations were released during the 1970s and 1980s, including Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter (1978), Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979), Oliver Stone's Platoon (1986) â€“ based on his service in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War, Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987), Hamburger Hill (1987), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Casualties of War (1989), and Forrest Gump (1994). Later films would include We Were Soldiers (2002) and 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 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. Many songwriters and musicians supported the anti-war movement, including Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Peggy Seeger, Ewan MacColl, Barbara Dane, The Critics Group, Phil Ochs, John Lennon, Nina Simone, Neil Young, Tom Paxton, Jimmy Cliff and Arlo Guthrie. The modern classical composer George Crumb composed a string quartet, a threnody, regarding the war in 1970 titled Black Angels.The war is also depicted in popular video games, especially in first-person shooter war genre, such as (Line of Sight: Vietnam) (2003), Vietcong (2003), Battlefield Vietnam (2004), (Vietcong: Fist Alpha) (2004), (Elite Warriors: Vietnam) (2005), The Hell in Vietnam (2008), (Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam) (2010), (Call of Duty: Black Ops) (2010), (Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified) (2012), (Rising Storm 2: Vietnam) (2017), and in Far Cry 5 (2018) as an additional content. The war also saw depiction in another genre, in the form of third-person shooter, MMORPG, real-time strategy and role-playing, such as (Rambo: First Blood Part II#Other media|Rambo: First Blood Part II) (1985), Caliber .50 (1989), Vietcong 2 (2005), Made Man (2006), Gunboat (1990) and (Strike Fighters 2: Vietnam) (2009).


Myths play a central role in the historiography of the Vietnam War, and have become a part of the culture of the United States. Much like the general historiography of the war, discussion of myth has focused on US experiences, but changing myths of war have also played a role in Vietnamese and Australian historiography.Recent scholarship has focused on "myth-busting",Milam 2011, 373 attacking the previous orthodox and revisionist schools of American historiography of the Vietnam War. This scholarship challenges myths about American society and soldiery in the Vietnam War.Kuzmarov in The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam and the Modern War on Drugs challenges the popular and Hollywood narrative that US soldiers were heavy drug users,BOOK, Kuzmarov, Jeremy, The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam and the Modern War on Drugs,weblink 2009, Univ of Massachusetts Press, 978-1-55849-705-4, 3–4, in particular the notion that the My Lai massacre was caused by drug use. According to Kuzmarov, Richard Nixon is primarily responsible for creating the drug myth.Milam 2011, 374Michael Allen in Until The Last Man Comes Home also accuses Nixon of myth making, by exploiting the plight of the League of Wives of American Prisoners in Vietnam and the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia to allow the government to appear caring as the war was increasingly considered lost.Milam 2011, 376 Allen's analysis ties the position of potential missing or prisoner Americans into post-war politics and recent presidential elections, including the Swift boat controversy in US electoral politics.Milam 2011, 376–377


On May 25, 2012, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation of the s:Proclamation 8829|commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War]].NEWS, White House Office of the Press Secretary, Office of the Press Secretary,weblink Presidential Proclamation Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War,, White House, Washington, DC, en, May 25, 2017, November 13, 2017, NEWS,weblink Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, May 25, 2012, November 11, 2017,weblink November 13, 2017, On November 10, 2017, President Donald Trump issued an additional s:Proclamation 9674|proclamation commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War]].NEWS, White House Office of the Press Secretary, Office of the Press Secretary,weblink Presidential Proclamation Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War,, White House, Washington, DC, en, November 12, 2017, November 13, 2017, NEWS,weblink Trump marks Veterans Day with commemoration in Vietnam, Devin, Dwyer, ABC News, American Broadcasting Company, ABC, New York City, November 10, 2017, November 13, 2017, TWEET, realDonaldTrump, Donald, Trump, Donald Trump, 929326786709807105, November 11, 2017, "Presidential Proclamation Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War"weblinkweblinkweblink November 13, 2017, NEWS,weblink Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, November 10, 2017, November 20, 2017,weblink November 17, 2017,

See also

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Secondary sources

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Biersteker, Schandler, Herbert, 1999, Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy, New York, PublicAffairs, 978-1891620874, CITEREFMcNamara1999, BOOK, McNeill, Ian, To Long Tan: The Australian Army and the Vietnam War 1950–1966, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, 1993, 978-1863732826, harv, BOOK, Milne, David, 2008, America's Rasputin: Walt Rostow and the Vietnam War, New York, Hill & Wang, 978-0374103866, harv, BOOK, Moïse, Edwin E., Edwin E. Moise, 1996, Tonkin Gulf and the Escalation of the Vietnam War, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, University of North Carolina Press, 978-0807823002, harv,weblink BOOK, ———, 2002, Historical Dictionary of the Vietnam War, Lanham, Maryland, Scarecrow Press, 978-0810841833, CITEREFMoïse2002, Moss, George D. Vietnam (4th ed 2002) textbook. BOOK, Moyar, Mark, Mark Moyar, 2006, Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954–1965, New York, Cambridge University Press, 978-0521869119, harv, Major General Spurgeon Neel. Medical Support of the U.S. Army in Vietnam 1965–1970 (Department of the Army 1991) official medical history BOOK, Neale, Jonathan, 2001, The American War: Vietnam, 1960–1975, London, Bookmarks, 978-1898876670, harv, BOOK, Nelson, Deborah, 2008, The War Behind Me: Vietnam Veterans Confront the Truth about U.S. War Crimes, Philadelphia, PA, Basic Books, 978-0465005277, harv,weblink Nulty, Bernard.The Vietnam War (1998) New York: Barnes and Noble. BOOK, Oberdorfer, Don, Don Oberdorfer, 2001, 1971, Tet! The Turning Point in the Vietnam War, Baltimore, MD, Johns Hopkins University Press, 978-0801867033, harv, JOURNAL, Obermeyer, Ziad, Murray, Christopher J.L., Gakidou, Emmanuela, 2008, Fifty years of violent war deaths from Vietnam to Bosnia: analysis of data from the world health survey programme,weblink BMJ, 336, 1482–86, 10.1136/bmj.a137, harv, 18566045, 7659, 2440905, BOOK, Olson, James S., Roberts, Randy, 2008, Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam, Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam 1945–1995, 5th, Malden, MA, Blackwell Publishing, 978-1405182225, harv, Palmer, Bruce Jr. The Twenty-Five Year War (1984), narrative military history by a senior U.S. general. BOOK, Palmer, Dave R., Dave Richard Palmer, 1978, Summons of Trumpet: U.S.–Vietnam in Perspective, Novato, CA, Presidio Press, 978-0891415503, harv, JOURNAL, Palmer, Michael G., 2007, The Case of Agent Orange, Contemporary Southeast Asia, 29, 1, 172–95, 25798819, harv, 10.1355/cs29-1h, BOOK, Prados, John, 2006, The Road South: The Ho Chi Minh Trail, In Andew Wiest, ed., Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land (pp. 74–95), Oxford, Osprey Publishing, 978-1846030208, harv,weblink BOOK, Robbins, Mary Susannah, 2007,weblink Against the Vietnam War: Writings by Activists, Lanham, MD, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 978-0742559141, harv, JOURNAL, Roberts, Anthea, 2005, The Agent Orange Case: Vietnam Ass'n for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin v. Dow Chemical Co, American Society of International Law, ASIL Proceedings, 99, 1, 380–85, 25660031, harv,
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BOOK, Turse, Nick, Nick Turse, 2013, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, New York, Metropolitan Books, 978-0805086911, harv, BOOK, Vietnam Task Force, 1969, Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force, Washington, DC, Office of the Secretary of Defense, CITEREFVTF1969, BOOK, Westheider, James E., 2007, The Vietnam War, Westport, CN, Greenwood Press, 978-0313337550, harv, BOOK, Willbanks, James H., Vietnam War almanac,weblink 2009, Infobase Publishing, 978-0816071029, harv, Witz, James J. The Tet Offensive: Intelligence Failure in War (1991). BOOK, Mark, Woodruff, Unheralded Victory: The Defeat of The Viet Cong and The North Vietnamese, Arlington, VA, Presidio Press, 2005, 978-0891418665, harv, BOOK, Young, Marilyn B., Marilyn B. Young, 1991, The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990, New York, HarperPerennial, 978-0060921071, harv, Xiaoming, Zhang. "China's 1979 War With Vietnam: A Reassessment", China Quarterly. Issue no. 184, (December 2005) JOURNAL, CJO – Abstract – China's 1979 War with Vietnam: A Reassessment, The China Quarterly, 184, 851, 10.1017/S0305741005000536, 2005, Zhang, Xiaoming,

Primary sources

Carter, Jimmy. By The President Of The United States Of America, A Proclamation Granting Pardon For Violations Of The Selective Service Act, 4 August 1964 To 28 March 1973 (21 January 1977) Central Intelligence Agency. "Laos", CIA World Factbook Cora Weiss Collection (materials related to war resistance and peace activism movements during the Vietnam War), Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections, John Jay College of Criminal Justice Eisenhower, Dwight D. Mandate for Change. (1963) a presidential political memoir Ho, Chi Minh. "Vietnam Declaration of Independence", Selected Works. (1960–1962) selected writings LeMay, General Curtis E. and Kantor, MacKinlay. Mission with LeMay (1965) autobiography of controversial former Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Kissinger, United States Secretary of State Henry A. weblink" title="">"Lessons on Vietnam", (1975) secret memoranda to U.S. President Ford BOOK, O'Connell, Kim A., 2006, Primary Source Accounts of the Vietnam War, Berkeley Heights, NJ,, 978-1598450019, harv, McCain, John. (Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir) (1999) {{ISBN|0060957867}} Marshall, Kathryn. In the Combat Zone: An Oral History of American Women in Vietnam, 1966–1975 (1987) {{ISBN|0316547077}} Martin, John Bartlow. Was Kennedy Planning to Pull out of Vietnam? (1964) oral history for the John F. Kennedy Library, tape V, reel 1. Myers, Thomas. Walking Point: American Narratives of Vietnam (1988) {{ISBN|0195053516}} Public Papers of the Presidents, 1965 (1966) official documents of U.S. presidents. Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr. Robert Kennedy and His Times. (1978) a first-hand account of the Kennedy administration by one of his principal advisors Sinhanouk, Prince Norodom. "Cambodia Neutral: The Dictates of Necessity." Foreign Affairs. (1958) describes the geopolitical situation of Cambodia Tang, Truong Nhu. A Viet Cong Memoir (1985), revealing account by senior NLF official Terry, Wallace, ed. Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans (1984) BOOK, harv, Truong, Như Tảng; David Chanoff, Van Toai Doan, Trương Như Tảng, A Vietcong memoir, 1985, 1985, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 978-0151936366,weblink Total pages: 350 The landmark series Vietnam: A Television History, first broadcast in 1983, is a special presentation of the award-winning PBS history series, American Experience. The Pentagon Papers (Gravel ed. 5 vol 1971); combination of narrative and secret documents compiled by Pentagon. excerpts U.S. Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States (multivolume collection of official secret documents) weblink" title="">vol 1: 1964; weblink" title="">vol 2: 1965; vol 4: 1966; U.S. Department of Defense and the House Committee on Armed Services. U.S.–Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967. Washington, DC Department of Defense and the House Committee on Armed Services, 1971, 12 volumes.

Historiography and memory

Hall, Simon, "Scholarly Battles over the Vietnam War", Historical Journal 52 (September 2009), 813–29. BOOK, Nau, Terry L., 2013, Reluctant Soldier... Proud Veteran: How a cynical Vietnam vet learned to take pride in his service to the USA, Leipzig, Amazon Distribution GmbH, 9781482761498, 870660174,

Further reading

  • Chris Mullin, "Terror Was Absolute" (review of Max Hastings, Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945–75, Collins, 2019, 722 pp., {{ISBN|978 0 00 813301 6}}), London Review of Books, vol. 41, no. 14 (18 July 2019), pp. 35–36.

External links

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