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Vietnam War
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War, also known as the Second
Indochina War and the American War in Vietnam
occurred from 1965 to April 30, 1975. The Vietnam
Conflict is often used normally to include what occurred
from 1959 to April 30, 1975. It concluded with the North
Vietnamese military victory after more than 15 years and
was the first ever defeat for the United States. Over 1.4
million military personnel were killed in the war
(approximately 6% were members of the United States
armed forces), while estimates of civilian fatalities range
from 2 to 5.1 million. The war was fought between the
Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and Conclusion of a war: A North Vietnamese T-54 tank breaking into the grounds of the
the United States-supported Republic of Vietnam (South Presidential Palace.
Vietnam). The war ended with the defeat of the South Date 1959[1] – April 30, 1975
Vietnamese and American forces resulting in the
Location Southeast Asia
unification of Vietnam under the communist government
Result North Vietnamese victory; South Vietnamese and American Forces
of the North. defeated; Reunification of Vietnam under the rule of the Communist
Party of Vietnam
The U.S. and their allies deployed large numbers of Communist rule in Laos and rise to power of Cambodia's Khmer
troops to South Vietnam between the end of the First Rouge.
Indochina War in 1954 and 1973. U.S. military advisers Territorial Dissolution of South Vietnam and reunification of Vietnam
first became involved in Vietnam in 1950, assisting changes
French colonial forces. In 1956, these advisers assumed Combatants
full responsibility for training the Army of the Republic South North Vietnam
of Vietnam. President John F. Kennedy increased Vietnam Vietcong
America's troop numbers from 500 to 16,000, and United Soviet Union
President Lyndon Johnson dispatched a large number of States People's Republic of China
troops beginning in 1965. Almost all U.S. military France Khmer Rouge
South Democratic People's Republic of Korea
personnel departed after the Paris Peace Accords of Korea
1973. The last American troops left the country on April Cambodia
Thailand

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30, 1975.[3] Thailand


Australia
At various stages the conflict involved clashes between New
small units patrolling the mountains and jungles, Zealand
amphibious operations, guerrilla attacks on the villages
and cities, and large-scale conventional battles. U.S. Philippines
aircraft also conducted massive aerial bombing, targeting Commanders
North Vietnam's cities, industries, and logistical Nguyen Ho Chi Minh †
networks. Cambodia and Laos were drawn into the Van Thieu Le Duan
Ngo Dinh Nguyen Chi Thanh †
conflict. Large quantities of chemical defoliants were Diem † Vo Nguyen Giap
sprayed from the air, in an effort to reduce the cover John F. Van Tien Dung
available to the enemy. Kennedy † Tran Van Tra
Lyndon
On April 30, 1975, the capital of South Vietnam, Saigon Johnson †
fell to the communist forces of North Vietnam, Robert
McNamara
effectively ending the Vietnam War.
William
Westmoreland
Richard
Contents Nixon
Creighton
n 1 Names for the conflict Abrams †
n 2 Background to 1949 Strength
n 3 Exit of the French, 1950–1954 ~1,200,000 ~520,000 (1968)
n 4 Diem era, 1955–1963 (1968)
n 4.1 Rule United States:
n 4.2 Insurgency in the South, 1956-1960 553,000
n 5 John F. Kennedy's escalation and (1969)
Americanization, 1960–1963 Casualties
n 5.1 Coup and assassinations South North Vietnam and NLF
n 6 United States goes to war, end of 1963–1968 Vietnam dead and missing: ~1,100,000[15]
n 6.1 Escalation and ground war dead: (http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/vietnamwar/p/VietnamBrief.htm)
n 6.2 Tet Offensive ~250,000 [16] (http://www.vietquoc.com/0008ART.HTM) [17]
n 7 Vietnamization and American withdrawal, wounded: (http://www.newsweekly.com.au/articles/2000jun3_books1.html)[18]
1969–1973 ~1,170,000 (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/00367.pdf)
n 8 South Vietnamese government stands alone, U.S. wounded: ~600,000+[19]
dead: 58,209 (http://www.mekong.net/cambodia/deaths.htm)
1974–1975 2,000 missing People's Republic of China
n 8.1 Total U.S. withdrawal

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n 8.2 Campaign 275 wounded: dead: 1,446


n 8.3 Final North Vietnamese offensive 305,000[2] wounded: 4,200
n 8.4 Fall of Saigon South Total dead: ~1,101,000
n 9 Aftermath Korea Total wounded: ~604,000+
n 9.1 Effects on Vietnam dead: 4,900
n 9.2 Effect on the United States wounded:
n 10 Other countries' involvement 11,000
n 10.1 Soviet Union
Australia
dead: 520
n 10.2 China
wounded:
n 10.3 North Korea
2,400*
n 10.4 South Korea New
n 10.5 Philippines Zealand
n 10.6 Australia and New Zealand dead: 37
n 10.7 Thailand wounded: 187
n 10.8 Canada Total dead:
n 11 Use of chemical defoliants ~314,000
n 12 Casualties Total
wounded:
n 13 Popular culture
~1,490,000
n 14 See also
n 15 Notes Vietnamese civilian dead: 2,000,000–5,100,000*
Cambodian civilian dead: ~700,000*
n 16 References Laotian civilian dead: ~50,000*
n 16.1 Primary sources
n 16.2 Secondary sources
n 17 External links * = approximations, see Casualties below
For more information on casualties see Vietnam War casualties

Names for the conflict


Various names have been applied to the conflict, and these have shifted over time, although Vietnam War is the most commonly used title in
English. It has been variously called the Second Indochina War, the Vietnam Conflict, the Vietnam War, and, in Vietnamese, Chiến
tranh Việt Nam (The Vietnam War) or Kháng chiến chống Mỹ (Resistance War against America).

1. Second Indochina War: places the conflict into context with other distinct, but related, and contiguous conflicts in Southeast Asia.
Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia are seen as the battlegrounds of a larger Indochinese conflict that began at the end of World War II and
lasted until communist victory in 1975. This conflict can be viewed in terms of the demise of colonialism and its after-effects during the
Cold War.
2. Vietnam Conflict: largely a U.S. designation, it acknowledges that the United States Congress never declared war on North Vietnam.

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Legally, the President used his constitutional discretion—supplemented by supportive resolutions in Congress—to conduct what was
said to be a "police action".
3. Vietnam War: the most commonly used designation in English, it suggests that the location of the war was exclusively within the
borders of North and South Vietnam, failing to recognize its wider context.
4. Resistance War against the Americans to Save the Nation: the term favored by North Vietnam (and after North Vietnam's victory
over South Vietnam, by Vietnam as a whole); it is more of a slogan than a name, and its meaning is self-evident. Its usage has been
abolished in recent years as the government of Vietnam seeks better relations with the U.S. Official Vietnamese publications now refer
to the conflict generically as "Chiến tranh Việt Nam" (Vietnam War).

Background to 1949
From 110 BC to 938 AD (with the exception of brief periods), much of present-day Vietnam was part of China. After gaining independence,
Vietnam went through a long period of resisting outside aggression. In 1789 Quang Trung launched a surprise attack against the Chinese
garrison of Hanoi during the Tết celebrations--a celebrated feat of arms in Vietnamese history. By 1802, centuries of internal feuding between
the Trinh and Nguyen lords ended when Emperor Gia Long unified modern Vietnam under the Nguyen dynasty.[4] The French gained control
of Indochina (French Indochina included Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam) during a series of colonial wars, from 1859 to 1885. At the Versailles
Conference in 1919, Ho Chi Minh (a pseudonym meaning the Enlightener) requested that a Vietnamese delegation be present to work toward
independence for Vietnam. He hoped U.S. President Woodrow Wilson would support the effort.[5] While he was sorely disappointed that
Wilson gave no response to Ho's words, he did draw attention from some French socialists. [6]

During the Second World War, the puppet government of Vichy France cooperated with Imperial Japanese forces. Vietnam was under de
facto Japanese control, although the French continued to serve as the day-to-day administrators.

In 1941 the Communist-dominated national resistance group called the "League for the Independence of Vietnam" (better known as the Viet
Minh) was formed.[7] Ho Chi Minh returned to Vietnam and quickly assumed the leadership. He had been a Comintern agent since the 1920s,
but as the leader of an independent Vietnamese communist party, Ho freed himself from the control of the Soviet Union.[8] He maintained
good relations with the Soviets, however. The Viet Minh began to craft a strategy to seize control of the country at the end of the war. Ho
appointed Vo Nguyen Giap as his military commander.

Ho Chi Minh's guerrillas were given funding and training by the United States Office of Strategic Services (the precursor of the Central
Intelligence Agency). These teams worked behind enemy lines in Indochina, giving support to indigenous resistance groups. The Viet Minh
provided valuable intelligence on Japanese troop movements and rescued downed American pilots. The Pentagon, however, viewed
Indochina as a sideshow to the more important theatre of the Pacific War. In 1944, the Japanese overthrew the Vichy French administration
and humiliated its colonial officials in front of the Vietnamese population. The Japanese began to encourage nationalism and granted Vietnam
nominal independence. On March 11, 1945, Emperor Bao Dai declared the independence within the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

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Following the Japanese surrender, Vietnamese nationalists, communists, and other groups hoped to take control of the country. The Japanese
army transferred power to the Viet Minh. Emperor Bao Dai abdicated. On September 2, 1945, Hồ Chí Minh declared independence from
France, in what became known as the August Revolution. U.S. Army officers stood beside him on the podium.[9] In an exultant speech,
before a huge audience in Hanoi, Ho cited the U.S. Declaration of Independence:

"'All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit
of Happiness.' This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776 … We …
solemnly declare to the world that Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent country. The entire Vietnamese people are determined
… to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their independence and liberty."[10]

Ho hoped that America would ally itself with a Vietnamese nationalist movement, communist or otherwise. He based this hope in part on
speeches by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt opposing a revival of European colonialism. As well, he was counting on a long series of
anti-colonial U.S. pronouncements, stretching back to the American War of Independence. Indeed, Ho Chi Minh told an OSS officer that he
would welcome "a million American soldiers … but no French."[11] Power politics, however, intervened. The U.S. changed its position. It
was recognized that France would play a crucial role in deterring communist ambitions in continental Europe. Thus, its colonial aspirations
could not be ignored.

The new government lasted only a few days. At the Potsdam Conference the allies decided that Vietnam would be occupied jointly by China
and Great Britain, who would supervise the disarmament and repatriation of Japanese forces.[11] The Chinese army arrived a few days after
Hồ's declaration of independence. Ho Chi Minh's government effectively ceased to exist. The Chinese took control of the area north of the
16th parallel north. British forces arrived in the south in October and restored order. The British commander of Southeast Asia, Lord
Mountbatten, sent over 20,000 troops of the 20th Indian division under General Douglas Gracey to occupy Saigon. The first soldiers arrived
on September 6, 1945 and increased to full strength over the following weeks. In addition, they re-armed Japanese prisoners of war, known as
"Gremlin force". The British began to withdraw in December 1945, but this was not completed until May 1946. The last British casualties in
Vietnam were suffered in June 1946. Altogether 40 British and Indian troops were killed and over a hundred were wounded. Vietnamese
casualties were 600[12] . The French prevailed upon them to turn over control.

French officials immediately sought to reassert control. They negotiated with the Chinese Nationalists. By agreeing to give up its concessions
in China, the French persuaded the Chinese to allow them to return to the north and negotiate with the Viet Minh. In the meantime, Hồ took
advantage of the negotiations to kill competing nationalist groups. He was anxious for the Chinese to leave. "The last time the Chinese came,"
he remarked, "they stayed one thousand years … I prefer to smell French turd for five years, rather than eat Chinese dung for the rest of my
life."[13] After negotiations collapsed over the formation of a government within the new French Union, the French bombarded Haiphong. In
December 1946, they reoccupied Hanoi. Several telegrams were sent by Ho Chi Minh to President Truman asking for U.S. support. But they
were ignored. Ho and the Việt Minh fled into the mountains to start an insurgency, marking the beginning of the First Indochina War. After
the defeat of the Nationalist Chinese by the Communists in the Chinese Civil War, Chairman Mao Zedong provided direct military assistance

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to the Viet Minh. On the eve of the war, Ho Chi Minh had warned a French official that "you can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of
yours, but even at those odds, you will lose and I will win".[14] A long and bloody struggle ensued, with French military casualties exceeding
those of the U.S. during its involvement.

The Pentagon Papers characterize the U.S. position at the time as ambivalent. On the one hand, the U.S. wished to persuade France to
consider decolonization, while ultimately leaving the timetable up to them. During the war, Roosevelt had consistently stalled French
demands for U.S. help in recolonizing Indochina. "France has milked it for one hundred years," he wrote. "The people of IndoChina are
entitled to something better than that." [15] After the war, the French argued that it was consistent with the principles of the new United
Nations that some degree of autonomy should be granted to Indochina. France, however, claimed that it could do so only after it regained
control.

Much hinged on the perception of Hồ's allegiances. In the wake of the Second World War, it was recognized that the Soviet Union would
henceforth be a serious competitor to the West. America viewed the Soviet Union and its allies as a bloc. As far as Washington was
concerned, the entire communist world was controlled by Moscow.[16] In spite of Hồ's pleas for U.S. recognition,[17] the U.S. gradually came
to the conclusion that he was under Moscow's control. This perception suited the French. As United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson
noted, "the U.S. came to the aid of the French … because we needed their support for our policies in regard to NATO … The French
blackmailed us. At every meeting … they brought up Indochina … but refused to tell me what they hoped to accomplish or how. Perhaps they
didn't know."[18]

Exit of the French, 1950–1954


In 1950, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and China recognized each other diplomatically. The Soviet
Union quickly followed suit. President Harry S. Truman countered by recognizing the French puppet
government of Vietnam. Washington feared that Hanoi was a pawn of Communist China and, by extension,
Moscow. This flew in the face of the long historical antipathy between the two nations, of which the U.S.
seems to have been completely ignorant. [19] As Doan Huynh commented, "Vietnam a part of the Chinese
expansionist game in Asia? For anyone who knows the history of Indochina, this is incomprehensible."[19]
Nevertheless, Chinese support was very important to the Viet Minh's success, and China largely supported
the Vietnamese Communists through the end of the war.
The Geneva Conference,
1954. The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 marked a decisive turning point. From the perspective of many in
Washington, D.C., what had been a colonial war in Indochina was transformed into another example of
communist expansionism directed by the Kremlin.[20]

In 1950, the U.S. Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) arrived to screen French requests for aid, advise on strategy and train

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Vietnamese soldiers.[21] By 1954, the U.S. had supplied 300,000 small arms and spent one billion dollars in support of the French military
effort. The Eisenhower administration was shouldering 80% of the cost of the war.[22] The Viet Minh received crucial support from the
Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. Chinese support in the Border Campaign of 1950 allowed supplies to come from China into
Vietnam. Throughout the conflict, U.S. intelligence estimates remained skeptical of French chances of success.[23]

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu marked the end of French involvement in Indochina. The Viet Minh and their mercurial commander Vo Nguyen
Giap handed the French a stunning military defeat. On May 7, 1954, the French Union garrison surrendered. At the Geneva Conference the
French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh. Independence was granted to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. As a U.S. Army
study noted, France lost the war primarily because it "neglected to cultivate the loyalty and support of the Vietnamese people." [9] More than
400,000 civilians and soldiers had died during the nine year conflict.

Vietnam was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel, and under the terms of the Geneva Convention, civilians were to be given the
opportunity to freely move between the two provisional states. Nearly one million northerners (mainly Catholics) fled south in
"understandable terror" of Ho Chi Minh's new regime.[24] It is estimated that as many as two million more would have left had they not been
stopped by the Viet Minh.[25] In the north, the Viet Minh established a socialist state—the Democratic Republic of Vietnam—and engaged in
a land reform program in which the mass killing of perceived "class enemies" occurred. Ho Chi Minh later apologized. In the south a non-
communist state was established under the Emperor Bao Dai, a former puppet of the French and the Japanese. Ngo Dinh Diem became his
Prime Minister. In addition to the Catholics flowing south, up to 90,000 Viet Minh fighters went north for "regroupment" as envisioned by the
Geneva Accords. However, in contravention of the Accords, the Viet Minh left roughly 5,000-10,000 cadres in South Vietnam as a “politico-
military substructure within the object of its irredentism.”[26]

Diem era, 1955–1963


As dictated by the Geneva Conference of 1954, the partition of Vietnam was meant to be only temporary,
pending national elections on July 20, 1956. Much like Korea, the agreement stipulated that the two military
zones were to be separated by a temporary demarcation line (known as the Demilitarized Zone or DMZ).
The United States, alone among the great powers, refused to sign the Geneva agreement.[27] The President
of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, declined to hold elections. This called into question the United States'
commitment to democracy in the region, but also raised questions about the legitimacy of any election held
in the communist-run North. President Dwight D. Eisenhower expressed U.S. fears when he wrote that, in President Eisenhower and
1954, "80 per cent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh" over Emperor Bao Secretary of State John Foster
Dulles greet President Ngo
Dai.[28][29] However, this wide popularity was expressed before Ho's disastrous land reform program and a Dinh Diem in Washington.
peasant revolt in Ho's home province which had to be bloodily suppressed.

The cornerstone of U.S. policy was the Domino Theory. This argued that if South Vietnam fell to communist forces, then all of South East

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Asia would follow. Popularized by the Eisenhower Administration,[30] some argued that if communism spread unchecked, it would follow
them home by first reaching Hawaii and follow to the West Coast of the United States. It was better, therefore, to fight communism in Asia,
rather than on American soil. Thus, the Domino Theory provided a powerful motive for the American creation of a client state in southern
Vietnam.[31] The theory underpinned American policy in Vietnam for five presidencies.[32] Another important motive was the preservation of
U.S. credibility and prestige.

The United States pursued a policy of containment. Following the NATO model, Washington established the Southeast Asia Treaty
Organization (SEATO) to counter communist expansion in the region. The policy of containment was first suggested by George F. Kennan in
the 1947 X Article, published anonymously in Foreign Affairs and remained U.S. policy for the next quarter of a century.

Rule

Ngo Dinh Diem was chosen by the U.S. to lead South Vietnam. A devout Roman Catholic, he was fervently anti-communist and was
"untainted" by any connection to the French. He was one of the few prominent Vietnamese nationalist who could claim both attributes.
Historian Luu Doan Huynh notes, however, that "Diem represented narrow and extremist nationalism coupled with autocracy and
nepotism."[33]

The new American patrons were almost completely ignorant of Vietnamese culture. They knew little of the language or long history of the
country.[19] There was a tendency to assign American motives to Vietnamese actions, and Diem warned that it was an illusion to believe that
blindly copying Western methods would solve Vietnamese problems.[19]

In April and June 1955, Diem (against U.S. advice) cleared the decks of any political opposition by launching military operations against the
Cao Dai religious sect, the Buddhist Hoa Hao, and the Binh Xuyen organized crime group (which was allied with members of the secret
police and some military elements). Diem accused these groups of harboring Communist agents. As broad-based opposition to his harsh
tactics mounted, Diem increasingly sought to blame the communists.[34]

Beginning in the summer of 1955, he launched the "Denounce the Communists" campaign, during which communists and other anti-
government elements were arrested, imprisoned, tortured or executed. Opponents were labeled Viet Cong by the regime to demean their
nationalist credentials. During this period refugees moved across the demarcation line in both directions. Around 52,000 Vietnamese civilians
moved from south to north. 450,000 people, primarily Catholics, traveled from the north to south, in aircraft and ships provided by France and
the U.S.[35] CIA propaganda efforts increased the outflow with slogans such as "the Virgin Mary is going South." The northern refugees were
meant to give Diem a strong anti-communist constituency.[36]

In a referendum on the future of the monarchy, Diem rigged the poll which was supervised by his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and received "98.2
percent" of the vote, including "133 percent" in Saigon. His American advisers had recommended a more modest winning margin of "60 to 70

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percent." Diem, however, viewed the election as a test of authority.[37] On October 26, 1955, Diem declared the new Republic of Vietnam,
with himself as president.[38] The creation of the Republic of Vietnam was largely because of the Eisenhower administration's desire for an
anti-communist state in the region.[39] Colonel Edward Lansdale, a CIA officer, became an important advisor to the new president.

As a wealthy Catholic, Diem was viewed by many ordinary Vietnamese as part of the old elite that had helped the French rule Vietnam. The
majority of Vietnamese people were Buddhist, so his attack on the Buddhist community served only to deepen mistrust. Diem's human rights
abuses increasingly alienated the population.

In May, Diem undertook a ten day state visit of the United States. President Eisenhower pledged his continued support. A parade in New
York City was held in his honor. Although Diem was openly praised, in private Secretary of State John Foster Dulles conceded that he had
been selected because there were no better alternative.[40]

Insurgency in the South, 1956-1960

In 1956 one of the leading communists in the south, Le Duan, returned to Hanoi to urge the Vietnam
Workers' Party to take a firmer stand on the reunification of Vietnam under Communist leadership. But
Hanoi (then in a severe economic crisis) hesitated in launching a full-scale military struggle. The
northern Communists feared U.S. intervention and believed that conditions in South Vietnam were not
yet ripe for a people's revolution. However, in December 1956, Ho Chi Minh authorized the Viet Minh
cadres still in South Vietnam to begin a low level insurgency.[41] In North Vietnamese political theory,
the action was a subset of "political struggle" called "armed propaganda,"[42] and consisted mostly in
kidnappings and terrorist attacks.

Four hundred government officials were assassinated in 1957 alone, and the violence gradually
increased. While the terror was originally aimed at local government officials, it soon broadened to
include other symbols of the status quo, such as school teachers, health workers, agricultural officials,
etc.[43] One estimate purports that by 1958, 20% of South Vietnam's village chiefs had been murdered by
the insurgents.[44] What was sought was a method of completely destroying government control in South
Vietnam's rural villages in order to be replaced by a NLF shadow government.[45] Finally, in January
North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi 1959, under pressure from southern cadres who were being targeted by Diem's secret police, the north's
Minh Central Committee issued a secret resolution authorizing an "armed struggle." This authorized the
southern Viet Minh to begin large scale operations against the South Vietnamese military. In response,
Diem enacted tough new anti-communist laws. However, North Vietnam supplied troops and supplies in earnest, and the infiltration of men
and weapons from the north began along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

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Observing the increasing unpopularity of the Diem regime, on December 12, 1960, Hanoi authorized the creation of the National Front for the
Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF). The NLF was made up of two distinct groups: nationalists and communists. While there were many non-
communist members of the NLF, they were subject to party control and increasingly side-lined as the conflict continued. The principal
objective of the NLF was to seize political power through a popular insurrection—military operations were secondary.[9] The NLF
emphasized patriotism, honesty and good government, while promising the reunification of Vietnam and an end to American influence.

Successive American administrations, as Robert McNamara and others have noted, over-estimated the control that Hanoi had over the NLF.
[19] Diem's paranoia, repression, and incompetence progressively angered large segments of the population of South Vietnam.[46] Thus, many
maintain that the origins of the anti-government violence were homegrown, rather than inspired by Hanoi. [47] However, as historian Douglas
Pike pointed out, “today, no serious historian would defend the thesis that North Vietnam was not involved in the Vietnam war from the
start...To maintain this thesis today, one would be obliged to deal with the assertion of Northern involvement that have poured out of Hanoi
since the end of the war."[48]

John F. Kennedy's escalation and Americanization, 1960–1963


When John F. Kennedy won the 1960 U.S. presidential election, one major issue Kennedy raised was whether the Soviet space and missile
programs had surpassed those of the U.S. As Kennedy took over, despite warnings from Eisenhower about Laos and Vietnam, Europe and
Latin America "loomed larger than Asia on his sights."[49] In his inaugural address, Kennedy made the ambitious pledge to "pay any price,
bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty."[50]

In June 1961, John F. Kennedy bitterly disagreed with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev when they met in Vienna over key U.S.-Soviet
issues. Cold war strategists concluded Southeast Asia would be one of the testing ground where Soviet forces would test the USA's
containment policy - begun during the Truman Administration and solidified by the stalemate resulting from the Korean War.

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. Originally intended for use behind front lines after a conventional
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. He saw British success in using such forces in Malaya as a strategic template.

The Kennedy administration remained essentially committed to the Cold War foreign policy inherited from the Truman and Eisenhower
administrations. In 1961, Kennedy faced a three-part crisis - the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the construction of the Berlin Wall, and a
negotiated settlement between the pro-Western government of Laos and the Pathet Lao communist movement[51] - made Kennedy believe
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 determined to 'draw a line in the sand' and prevent a communist victory in Vietnam saying, "Now we

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have a problem making our power credible and Vietnam looks like the place" to James Reston of the New York Times (immediately after
meeting Khrushchev in Vienna). [52] [53]

In May 1961, Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Saigon and enthusiastically declared Diem the "Winston Churchill of Asia."[54]
Asked why he had made the comment, Johnson replied, "Diem's the only boy we got out there." [40] Johnson assured Diem of more aid, in
order to mold a fighting force that could resist the communists.

Kennedy's policy towards South Vietnam rested on the assumption that Diem and his forces must 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."[55]
The quality of the South Vietnamese military, however, remained poor. Bad leadership,
corruption and political interference all played a part in emasculating the Army of the Republic of
Vietnam (ARVN). The frequency of guerrilla attacks rose, as the insurgency gathered steam.
Hanoi's support for the NLF played a significant role. But South Vietnamese governmental
incompetence was at the core of the crisis.[56] Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow recommended
that U.S. troops be sent to South Vietnam disguised as flood relief workers. Kennedy rejected the
idea but increased military assistance yet again. In April 1962, 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."[57] By mid-1962, the number of U.S. military advisers in South Vietnam had
risen from 700 to 12,000.

The Strategic Hamlet Program had been initiated in 1961. This joint U.S.-South Vietnamese
program attempted to resettle the rural population into fortified camps. The aim was to isolate the
population from the insurgents, provide education and health care, and strengthen the
government's hold over the countryside. The Strategic Hamlets, however, were quickly infiltrated
by the guerrillas. The peasants resented being uprooted from their ancestral villages. The
government refused to undertake land reform, which left farmers paying high rents to a few
wealthy landlords. Corruption dogged the program and intensified opposition. Government
officials were targeted for assassination. The Strategic Hamlet Program collapsed two years later.
South Vietnam, Military Regions, 1967.
On July 23, 1962, fourteen nations, including, China, South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, North
Vietnam and the United States, signed an agreement promising the neutrality of Laos.[58]

Coup and assassinations

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See also: Role of United States in the Vietnam War#John F. Kennedy (1961–1963) and Role of United States in the Vietnam
War#Kennedy and Vietnam

Some policy-makers in Washington began to conclude that Diem was incapable of defeating the communists and might even make a deal
with Ho Chi Minh. He seemed concerned only with fending off coups. As Robert F. Kennedy noted, "Diem wouldn't make even the slightest
concessions. He was difficult to reason with …"[59] During the summer of 1963 U.S. officials began discussing the possibility of a regime
change. The State Department was generally in favor of encouraging a coup. The Pentagon and CIA were more alert to the destabilizing
consequences of such an act and wanted to continue applying pressure for reforms.

Chief among the proposed changes was the removal of Diem's younger brother Ngo Dinh Nhu. Nhu controlled the secret police and was seen
as the man behind the Buddhist repression. As Diem's most powerful adviser, Nhu had become a hated figure in South Vietnam. His
continued influence was unacceptable to the Kennedy administration. Eventually, the administration concluded that Diem was unwilling to
change.

The CIA was in contact with generals planning to remove Diem. They were told that the United States would support such a move. President
Diem was overthrown and executed, along with his brother, on November 2, 1963. When he was informed, Maxwell Taylor remembered that
Kennedy "rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face."[60] He had not approved Diem's murder. The U.S. ambassador
to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., invited the coup leaders to the embassy and congratulated them. Ambassador Lodge informed
Kennedy that "the prospects now are for a shorter war".[61]

Following the coup, chaos ensued. Hanoi took advantage of the situation and increased its support for the guerrillas. South Vietnam entered a
period of extreme political instability, as one military government toppled another in quick succession. Increasingly, each new regime was
viewed as a puppet of the Americans. For whatever the failings of Diem, his credentials as a nationalist had been impeccable.[62]

Kennedy increased the number of U.S. military advisers from 800 to 16,300 to cope with rising guerrilla activity. The advisers were
embedded at every level of the South Vietnamese armed forces. They were, however, almost completely ignorant of the political nature of the
insurgency. The insurgency was a political power struggle, in which military engagements were not the main goal.[9] 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. advisers other than conventional troop training.[63] General Paul Harkins,
the commander of U.S. forces in South Vietnam, confidently predicted victory by Christmas 1963. [64] 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".[65]

In a conversation with Nobel Peace Prize winner and Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, Kennedy sought his advice. "Get out,"
Pearson replied. "That's a stupid answer," shot back Kennedy. "Everyone knows that. The question is: How do we get out?"[66] Kennedy was
assassinated on November 22, 1963, just three weeks after Diem.

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Kennedy had introduced helicopters to the war and created a joint U.S.-South Vietnamese Air Force, staffed with American pilots. He also
sent in the Green Berets. He was succeeded by Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson, who reaffirmed America's support of South Vietnam. By
the end of the year Saigon had received $500 million in military aid, much of which was lost to corruption.

United States goes to war, end of 1963–1968


For more details on this topic, see Role of United States in the Vietnam War#Americanization.
See also: Opposition to the Vietnam War and Gulf of Tonkin Incident

Lyndon Johnson, more concerned with his great society and social progressive
programs, did not consider Vietnam a priority as he took over the presidency after
the death of Kennedy.[67] Johnson had a difficult time with American foreign policy
makers, specifically Harriman and Acheson, who to Johnson spoke a different
language.[68] Particularly heated was the relationship between the new president and
national security advisor McGeorge Bundy. Shortly after the assassination of
Kennedy, when McBundy called LBJ on the phone, LBJ responded:

"Goddammit, Bundy. I've told you that when I want you I'll call you." [69]
A U.S. EB-66
Destroyer and four On November 24, 1963, Johnson brought a small group together to talk with Henry
F-105
Thunderchiefs
Cabot Lodge, and the new president provided his support to help win the Vietnam
dropping bombs on war. [70] But the pledge came at a time when Vietnam was deteriorating, especially
North Vietnam. in places like the Mekong Delta, because of the recent coup against Diem. [71] A supposed NLF activist
captured during an attack on
The military revolutionary council, meeting in lieu of a strong South Vietnamese an American outpost near the
leader, was made up of 12 members headed by General Minh--who Stanley Karnow, a journalist on the Cambodian border, is
interrogated.
ground, later recalled as "a model of lethargy."[72] His regime was overthrown in January 1964 by General
Nguyen Khanh. Lodge, frustrated by the end of year, cabled home about Minh: "Will he be strong enough to
get on top of things?"[73]

On August 2, 1964, the USS Maddox, on an intelligence mission along North Vietnam's coast, was attacked by torpedo boats in the Gulf of
Tonkin.[74] A second attack was reported two days later on the USS Turner Joy and Maddox in the same area. The circumstances of the attack
were murky. Lyndon Johnson commented to Undersecretary of State George Ball that "those sailors out there may have been shooting at
flying fish."[75] The second attack led to retaliatory air strikes, prompted Congress to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,and gave the

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president power to conduct military operations in South East Asia without declaring war.

The second attack, however, was later called into question. "The Gulf of Tonkin incident," writes Louise Gerdes, "is an oft-cited example of
the way in which Johnson misled the American people to gain support for his foreign policy in Vietnam."[76] George C. Herring argues,
however, that McNamara and the Pentagon "did not knowingly lie about the alleged attacks, but they were obviously in a mood to retaliate
and they seem to have selected from the evidence available to them those parts that confirmed what they wanted to believe."[77] Rising from
5,000 in 1959, there were now 100,000 guerrilla fighters in 1964.[9] Some have argued that ten soldiers are needed to deal with one every
insurgent.[9] Thus, the total number of U.S. troops in 1964 needed to defeat the insurgents may have exceeded the entire strength of the
United States Army.[9]

The National Security Council recommended a three-stage escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam. On
March 2, 1965, following an attack on a U.S. Marine barracks at Pleiku, Operation Flaming Dart and
Operation Rolling Thunder commenced. The bombing campaign, which ultimately lasted three years, was
intended to force North Vietnam to cease its support for the NLF by threatening to destroy North Vietnam's
air defenses and industrial infrastructure. As well, it was aimed at bolstering the morale of the South
Vietnamese.[78] Between March 1965 and November 1968, "Rolling Thunder" deluged the north with a
million tons of missiles, rockets and bombs.[79] Bombing was not restricted to North Vietnam. Other aerial
campaigns, such as Operation Commando Hunt, targeted different parts of the NLF and PAVN
infrastructure. These included the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which ran through Laos and Cambodia. The objective
A Marine from 1st Battalion,
of forcing North Vietnam to stop its support for the NLF, however, was never reached. As one officer noted 3rd Marines, moves a
"this is a political war and it calls for discriminate killing. The best weapon … would be a knife … The supposed NLF activist to the
worst is an airplane."[80] The Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Curtis LeMay, however, had long rear during a search and clear
advocated saturation bombing in Vietnam and wrote of the Communists that "we're going to bomb them operation held by the battalion
15 miles (24 km) west of Da
back into the Stone Age".[81] Nang Air Base.

Escalation and ground war

After several attacks, it was decided that U.S. Air Force bases needed more protection. The South
Vietnamese military seemed incapable of providing security. On March 8, 1965, 3,500 United States
Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam. This marked the beginning of the American ground war. U.S. public opinion overwhelmingly
supported the deployment.[82] Public opinion, however, was based on the premise that Vietnam was part of a global struggle against
communism. 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."[83] As former First Deputy Foreign Minister Tran Quang Co noted, the primary goal of the war was to reunify Vietnam and
secure its independence. The policy of the DRV was not to topple other non-communist governments in South East Asia.[84]

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The Marines' assignment was defensive. The initial deployment of 3,500 in March was increased to nearly
200,000 by December.[85] 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.[85] In May, ARVN forces suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Binh Gia. They were again
defeated in June, at the Battle of Dong Xoai. Desertion rates were increasing, and morale plummeted.
General William Westmoreland informed Admiral Grant Sharp, commander of U.S. Pacific forces, that the
situation was critical.[85] He said, "I am convinced that U.S. troops with their energy, mobility, and
firepower can successfully take the fight to the NLF."[86] 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.[87] 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
A young Marine private soon
after arriving in Da Nang initiative to destroy guerrilla and organized enemy forces. This phase
during the escalation, 1965. would be concluded when the enemy had been worn down, thrown on the
defensive, and driven back from major populated areas.
U.S. soldiers searching a
Phase 3. If the enemy persisted, a period of twelve to eighteen months following Phase 2 would be required village for NLF
for the final destruction of enemy forces remaining in remote base areas."[88]
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.[89] Johnson did not,
however, communicate this change in strategy to the media. Instead he emphasized continuity.[90] The change in U.S. policy depended on
matching the North Vietnamese and the NLF in a contest of attrition and morale. The opponents were locked in a cycle of escalation.[91] The
idea that the government of South Vietnam could manage its own affairs was shelved.[91]
Operation Starlite was the first major ground operation by U.S. troops and proved largely successful. U.S.
soldiers engaged in search-and-destroy missions. Learning from their defeats, the NLF began to engage in
small-unit guerrilla warfare, instead of conventional American-style warfare. This allowed them to control the pace of the fighting, engaging
in battle only when they believed they had a decisive advantage. The guerrillas benefited from familiar terrain, a degree of popular support
and from the fact the U.S. troops were unable to tell friend from foe. Control over a certain portion of the population gave the guerrillas
access to manpower, intelligence and financial resources.

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Despite calls from the Pentagon to do so, Lyndon Johnson refused to mobilize Reserve units. He feared a
political backlash. This led to larger draft call ups and the extension of some tours of duty. It also put a
heavy strain on U.S. forces committed to other parts of the world.

The average U.S. serviceman was nineteen years old. This compares with twenty-six years of age for those
who participated in World War II. Soldiers served a one year tour of duty. The one year tour of duty
deprived units of experienced leadership. As one observer noted "we were not in Vietnam for 10 years, but
for one year 10 times."[92] As a result, training programs were shortened. Some NCO's were referred to as Members of U.S. Navy Seal
"Shake 'N' Bake" to highlight their accelerated training. Unlike soldiers in WWII and Korea, there were no Team One move down the
secure rear areas in which to get rest and relaxation (R'n'R). American troops were vulnerable to attack Bassac River in a Seal team
Assault Boat (STAB) during
everywhere they went. operations along the river
south of Saigon, November
1967.

Under the command of General Westmoreland, the U.S. increased its troop commitment to more than
553,000 servicemen by 1969. Westmoreland built a complex series of bases, ports, airstrips, medical
facilities, fuel depots, warehouse, roads and bridges from scratch. South Vietnam was inundated with
manufactured goods. As Stanley Karnow writes, "the main PX, located in the Saigon suburb of Cholon, was
only slightly smaller than the New York Bloomingdale's …"[93] The American build-up transformed the
economy and had a profound impact on South Vietnamese society. A huge surge in corruption was
witnessed. The country was also flooded by civilian specialists from every conceivable field to advise the
South Vietnamese government and improve its performance.

Washington encouraged its SEATO allies to contribute troops. Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of
Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines[94] all agreed to send troops. Major allies, however, notably NATO
nations, Canada and Great Britain, declined Washington's troop requests.[95] The U.S. and its allies mounted
complex operations, such as operations Masher, Attleboro, Cedar Falls, and Junction City. However, the
communist insurgents remained elusive and demonstrated great tactical flexibility.

Meanwhile, the political situation in South Vietnam began to stabilize somewhat with the coming to power
of Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky and President Nguyen Van Thieu in 1967. Thieu, mistrustful and
The Ho Chi Minh Trail
indecisive, remained president until 1975.[96] This ended a long series of military juntas that had begun with running through Laos, 1967.
Diem's assassination. The relative calm allowed the ARVN to collaborate more effectively with its allies and
become a better fighting force.

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The Johnson administration employed a "policy of minimum candor"[97] in its dealings with the media. Military information officers sought
to manage media coverage by emphasizing stories which 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.[97]
In October 1967 a large anti-war demonstration was held on the steps of the Pentagon. Some protesters were heard to chant, "Hey, hey, LBJ
(Lyndon Baines Johnson)! How many kids did you kill today?" One reason for the increase in the opposition to the Vietnam War was larger
draft quotas.

Tet Offensive

Having lured General Westmoreland's forces into the hinterland at Khe Sanh in Quang Tri Province,[98] in
January 1968, the PAVN and NLF broke the truce that had traditionally accompanied the Tet (Lunar New
Year) holiday. They launched the surprise Tet Offensive in the hope of sparking a national uprising. Over
100 cities were attacked, including assaults on General Westmoreland's headquarters and the U.S. embassy
in Saigon.

Although the U.S. and South Vietnamese were initially taken aback by the scale of the urban offensive, they
responded quickly and effectively, decimating the ranks of the NLF. In the former capital city of Huế, the
NLF captured the Imperial Citadel and much of the city, executing nearly 3,000 residents, and leading to the National Chief of Police
month-long Battle of Huế. After the war, North Vietnamese officials acknowledged that the Tet Offensive Nguyen Ngoc Loan, executes
an NLF officer in Saigon
had, indeed, caused grave damage to NLF forces. But the offensive had another, unintended consequence.
during the Tet Offensive.
General Westmoreland had become the public face of the war. He was featured on the cover of Time
magazine three times and was named 1965's Man of the Year.[99] Time described him as "the sinewy personification of the American fighting
man … (who) directed the historic buildup, drew up the battle plans, and infused the … men under him with his own idealistic view of U.S.
aims and responsibilities."[99]

In November 1967 Westmoreland spearheaded a public relations drive for the Johnson administration to bolster flagging public support.[100]
In a speech before the National Press Club he said that a point in the war had been reached "where the end comes into view."[101] Thus, the
public was shocked and confused when Westmoreland's predictions were trumped by Tet. [100] The American media, which had been largely
supportive of U.S. efforts, rounded on the Johnson administration, for what had become an increasing credibility gap. Despite its military
failure, the Tet Offensive became a political victory and ended the career of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who declined to run for re-election.
Johnson's approval rating slumped from 48% to 36%.[100] As James Witz noted, Tet "contradicted the claims of progress … made by the
Johnson administration and the military."[100] The Tet Offensive was the turning point in America's involvement in the Vietnam War. It had a
profound impact on domestic support for the conflict. The offensive constituted an intelligence failure on the scale of Pearl Harbor.[102][103]

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Journalist Peter Arnett quoted an unnamed officer, saying of Ben Tre that "it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save
it" (though the authenticity of this quote is disputed).[104] Westmoreland became Chief of Staff of the Army in March, just as all resistance
was finally subdued. The move was technically a promotion. However, his position had become untenable, because of the offensive and
because his request for 200,000 additional troops had been leaked to the media. Westmoreland was succeeded by his deputy Creighton
Abrams, a commander less inclined to public media pronouncements.

On May 10, 1968, despite low expectations, peace talks began between the U.S. and the Democratic
Republic of Vietnam. Negotiations stagnated for five months, until Johnson gave orders to halt the bombing
of North Vietnam. The Democratic candidate, Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, was running against
Republican former Vice-President Richard Nixon. Through an intermediary, Nixon advised Saigon to refuse
to participate in the talks until after elections, claiming that he would give them a better deal once elected.
Thieu obliged, leaving almost no progress made by the time Johnson left office.

As historian Robert Dallek writes, "Lyndon Johnson's escalation of the war in Vietnam divided Americans
into warring camps … cost 30,000 American lives by the time he left office, (and) destroyed Johnson's Viet Cong/NVA killed by U.S.
presidency …"[105] His refusal to send more U.S. troops to Vietnam was Johnson's admission that the war air force personnel after an
was lost. As Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara noted, "the dangerous illusion of victory by the United attack on the perimeter of Tan
Son Nhut Air Base during the
States was therefore dead."[106] Tet Offensive

Vietnamization and American withdrawal, 1969–1973


For more details on this topic, see The United States and the Vietnam War#Vietnamization and American Withdrawal, 1969–1974.

During the 1968 presidential election, Richard M. Nixon promised "peace with honor". His plan was to
build up the ARVN, so that they could take over the defense South Vietnam (the Nixon Doctrine). The
policy became known as "Vietnamization", a term criticized by Robert K. Brigham for implying that, to that
date, only Americans had been dying in the conflict.[107] Vietnamization had much in common with the policies of the Kennedy
administration. One important difference, however, remained. While Kennedy insisted that the South Vietnamese fight the war themselves, he
attempted to limit the scope of the conflict. In pursuit of a withdrawal strategy, Richard Nixon was prepared to employ a variety of tactics,
including widening the war.

Nixon also pursued negotiations. Creighton Abrams shifted to smaller operations, aimed at NLF logistics, with better use of firepower and
more cooperation with the ARVN. There was increased openness with the media. Nixon also began to pursue détente with the Soviet Union
and rapprochement with China. This policy helped to decrease global tensions. Détente led to nuclear arms reduction on the part of both
superpowers. But Nixon was disappointed that China and the Soviet Union continued to supply the North Vietnamese with aid. In September

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1969, Ho Chi Minh died at age seventy-nine.

The anti-war movement was gaining strength in the United States. Nixon appealed to the "Silent Majority"
of Americans to support the war. But revelations of the My Lai Massacre, in which U.S. forces went on a
rampage and killed civilians, including women and children, provoked national and international outrage.

Prince Norodom Sihanouk had proclaimed the neutrality of Cambodia since 1955. "We are neutral," he
noted, "in the same way Switzerland and Sweden are neutral."[108] The PAVN/NLF, however, used
Cambodian soil as a base. Sihanouk tolerated their presence, because he wished to avoid being drawn into a
wider regional conflict. Under pressure from Washington, however, he changed this policy in 1969. The
PAVN/NLF were no longer welcome. President Nixon took the opportunity to launch a massive secret
bombing campaign, called Operation Menu, against their sanctuaries along the border. This violated a long
succession of pronouncements from Washington supporting Cambodian neutrality. Richard Nixon wrote to
Prince Sihanouk in April 1969 assuring him that the United States respected "the sovereignty, neutrality and
territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia …"[109] Over 14 months, however, approximately
2,750,000 tons of bombs were dropped, more than the total dropped by the Allies in World War II. The
bombing was hidden from the American public. In 1970, Prince Sihanouk was deposed by pro-American
general Lon Nol. The country's borders were closed, and the U.S. and ARVN launched incursions into Propaganda leaflets urging the
Cambodia to attack PAVN/NLF bases and buy time for South Vietnam. The coup against Sihanouk and defection of NLF and North
Vietnamese to the side of the
U.S. bombing destabilized Cambodia and increased support for the Khmer Rouge. Government of Vietnam.

The invasion of Cambodia sparked nationwide U.S. protests. Four students were killed by National
Guardsmen at Kent State University during a protest in Ohio, which provoked 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. Nixon was taken to Camp David for his own
safety.[110]

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
Photos like this of the My Lai
deceptions. The Supreme Court ruled that its publication was legal.[111] massacre provoked
international outrage and
The ARVN launched Operation Lam Son 719, aimed at cutting the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos. The offensive weakened support for the war
was a clear violation of Laotian neutrality,[112] which neither side respected in any event. Laos had long at home.
been the scene of a Secret War. After meeting resistance, ARVN forces retreated in a confused rout. They

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fled along roads littered with their own dead. When they ran out of fuel, soldiers abandoned their vehicles
and attempted to barge their way on to American helicopters sent to evacuate the wounded. Many ARVN soldiers clung to helicopter skids in
a desperate attempt to save themselves. U.S. aircraft had to destroy abandoned equipment, including tanks, to prevent them from falling into
enemy hands. Half of the invading ARVN troops were either captured or killed. The operation was a fiasco and represented a clear failure of
Vietnamization. As Karnow noted "the blunders were monumental … The (South Vietnamese) government's top officers had been tutored by
the Americans for ten or fifteen years, many at training schools in the United States, yet they had learned little."[113]
In 1971 Australia and New Zealand withdrew their soldiers. The U.S. troop count was further reduced to 196,700, with a deadline to remove
another 45,000 troops by February 1972. As peace protests spread across the United States, disillusionment grew in the ranks. Drug use
increased, race relations grew tense and the number of soldiers disobeying officers rose. Fragging, or the murder of unpopular officers with
fragmentation grenades, increased.

Vietnamization was again tested by the Easter Offensive of 1972, a massive conventional invasion of South
Vietnam. The PAVN/NLF quickly overran the northern provinces and in co-ordination with other forces,
attacked from Cambodia, threatening to cut the country in half. U.S. troop withdrawals continued. But
American airpower came to the rescue with Operation Linebacker, and the offensive was halted. However, it
became clear that without American airpower South Vietnam could not survive. The last remaining
American ground troops were withdrawn in August. But a force of civilian and military advisers remained in
place.

The war was the central issue of the 1972 presidential election. Nixon's opponent, George McGovern,
campaigned on a platform of withdrawal from Vietnam. Nixon's National Security Adviser, Henry
Kissinger, continued secret negotiations with North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho. In October 1972, they reached
an agreement. However, South Vietnamese President Thieu demanded massive changes to the peace accord.
When North Vietnam went public with the agreement's details, the Nixon administration claimed that the
North was attempting to embarrass the President. The negotiations became deadlocked. Hanoi demanded
new changes. To show his support for South Vietnam and force Hanoi back to the negotiating table, Nixon The Nguyen Hue Offensive,
1972, part of the Easter
ordered Operation Linebacker II, a massive bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong. The offensive destroyed much offensive.
of the remaining economic and industrial capacity of North Vietnam. Simultaneously Nixon pressured Thieu
to accept the terms of the agreement, threatening to conclude a bilateral peace deal and cut off American aid.
Popularly known as the Christmas Bombings, Operation Linebacker II provoked a fresh wave of anti-war demonstrations.

On January 15, 1973, Nixon announced the suspension of offensive action against North Vietnam. The Paris
Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam" were signed on January 27, 1973,
officially ending direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. A cease-fire was declared across South Vietnam, but North Vietnamese forces

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were allowed to remain on South Vietnamese territory. U.S. POWs were released. The agreement
guaranteed the territorial integrity of Vietnam and, like the Geneva Conference of 1954, called for national
elections in the north and south. The Paris Peace Accords stipulated 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."[114]

The ARVN was supplied with hundreds of millions of dollars of new equipment. It became the fourth
largest fighting force in the world. Nixon promised Thieu that he would use airpower to support his Le Duc Tho and Henry
government. The growing Watergate scandal and an American public tired of the war, however, made it Kissinger (fourth and fifth
impossible to keep his promise. The balance of power shifted decisively in North Vietnam's favor. from the left, respectively).

South Vietnamese government stands alone, 1974–1975


Total U.S. withdrawal

As Stanley Karnow noted, Americans "turned against the war long before America's political leaders did."[115] Doubts began surfacing in
Congress. In December 1974, it passed the Foreign Assistance Act of 1974, which provided "that after June 30, 1976, no military assistance
shall be furnished to South Vietnam unless authorized under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 or the Foreign Military Sales Act.".[116] The
act fixed the numbers of U.S. military personnel allowed in Vietnam: 4,000 within six months of enactment and 3,000 within one year.[117]
Richard Nixon having resigned because of the Watergate Scandal, President Gerald Ford signed the act into law. However, as the act was not
to come into force until 1976, it was never implemented and had no direct effect on the outcome of the war. Robert McNamara writes that "
there is no evidence that the South Vietnamese would ever have been able to accomplish on their own what they failed to achieve with
massive American assistance. The level of congressional funding was irrelevant … The Nixon administration, like the Johnson administration
before it, could not give the South Vietnamese the essential ingredient for success: genuine indigenous political legitimacy."[118]
By 1975 the South Vietnamese Army was much larger than its opponent. However, they faced a well-organized, highly determined and well-
funded North Vietnam. Much of the North's material and financial support came from the communist bloc. Within South Vietnam, there was
increasing chaos. The withdrawal of the American military had compromised an economy dependent on U.S. financial support and the
presence of large numbers of U.S. troops. Along with the rest of the non-oil exporting world, South Vietnam suffered from the price shocks
caused by the Arab oil embargo and the subsequent global recession.

Between the signing of the 1973 Paris Peace Accord and late 1974, both antagonists had been satisfied with minor land-grabs. The North
Vietnamese, however, were growing impatient with the Thieu regime, which remained intransigent in its opposition to national elections.
Hanoi was also concerned that the U.S. would once again support its former ally if large scale operations were resumed.

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By late 1974, the Politburo gave its permission for a limited VPA offensive from Cambodia into Phuoc Long Province. The strike was
designed to solve local logistical problems, gauge the reaction of Saigon forces and determine if the U.S. would return to the fray. In late
December and early January, the offensive kicked off, and Phuoc Long Province quickly fell to the VPA. There was considerable relief when
American air power did not return. 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 Van Tien Dung and that Pleiku should be seized, if possible. Before he left for the south,
General Van was addressed by First Party Secretary Le Duan: "Never have we had military and political conditions so perfect or a strategic
advantage as great as we have now."[119]

Campaign 275

On March 10, 1975, General Dung launched Campaign 275, a limited offensive into the Central Highlands, supported by tanks and heavy
artillery. The target was Ban Me Thuot, in Daklak 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
March 11. Once again, Hanoi was surprised by the speed of their success. Van now urged the Politburo to allow him to seize Pleiku
immediately and then turn his attention to Kontum. 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 Nguyen Van Thieu, a former general, made a strategic blunder. Fearful that his forces would be cut off in the north by the attacking
communists, Thieu ordered a retreat. The president declared this to be a "lighten the top and keep the bottom" strategy. But in what appeared
to be a repeat of Operation Lam Son 719, the withdrawal 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 Kontum and retreated toward the coast, in what became known
as the "column of tears". As the ARVN tried to disengage from the enemy, refugees mixed in with the line of retreat. The poor condition of
roads and bridges, damaged by years of conflict and neglect, slowed Phu's column. As the North Vietnamese forces approached, panic set in.
Often abandoned by their officers, the soldiers and civilians were shelled incessantly. The retreat degenerated into a desperate scramble for
the coast. By April 1 the "column of tears" was all but annihilated. It marked one of the poorest examples of a strategic withdrawal in modern
military history.

On March 20, Thieu reversed himself and ordered Hue, Vietnam's third-largest city, be held at all costs. Thieu's contradictory orders confused
and demoralized his officer corp. As the North Vietnamese launched their attack, panic set in and ARVN resistance withered. On March 22,
the VPA opened the siege of Hue. Civilians flooded the airport and the docks hoping for any mode of escape. Some even swam out to sea to
reach boats and barges anchored offshore. In the confusion, routed ARVN soldiers fired on civilians to make way for their retreat. On March
31, after a three-day battle, Hue fell. As resistance in Hue collapsed, North Vietnamese rockets rained down on Da Nang and its airport. By
March 28, 35,000 VPA troops were poised to attack the suburbs. By March 30, 100,000 leaderless ARVN troops surrendered as the VPA
marched victoriously through Da Nang. With the fall of the city, the defense of the Central Highlands and Northern provinces came to an end.

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Final North Vietnamese offensive

For more details on the final North Vietnamese offensive, see Ho Chi Minh Campaign.

With the northern half of the country under their control, the Politburo ordered General Van to launch the final offensive against Saigon. The
operational plan for the Ho Chi Minh Campaign called for the capture of Saigon before May 1. 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 April 7, three North Vietnamese divisions attacked Xuan-loc, 40 miles (64 km) east of Saigon. The next day a rogue South Vietnamese
pilot bombed the presidential palace in Saigon. No one was injured. The North Vietnamese met fierce resistance at Xuan-loc from the ARVN
18th Division. For two bloody weeks, severe fighting raged as the ARVN defenders, in a last-ditch effort, tried to block their advance. By
April 21, however, the exhausted garrison surrendered. An embittered and tearful President Thiệu resigned on the same day, declaring that the
United States had betrayed South Vietnam. He left for Taiwan on April 25, leaving control of the government in the hands of General Duong
Van Minh. At the same time, North Vietnamese tanks had reached Bien Hoa and turned towards Saigon, brushing aside isolated ARVN units
along the way.

By the end of April, the Army of the Republic of South Vietnam had collapsed on all fronts. Thousand of refugees streamed southward, ahead
of the main communist onslaught. On April 27, 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 VPA 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

Chaos, unrest, and panic ensued 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. "Frequent Wind" was arguably
the largest helicopter evacuation in history. It began on April 29, in an atmosphere of desperation, as
hysterical crowds of Vietnamese vied for limited seats. 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 long soured on this conflict halfway around the world. Vietnamese civilians scramble
to board an Air America
helicopter during Operation

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In the U.S., South Vietnam was perceived as doomed. President Gerald Ford gave a televised speech on
Frequent Wind.
April 23, 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. The song "White Christmas"
was broadcast, as the final signal for withdrawal. In the early morning hours of April 30, 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 April 30, 1975, VPA troops overcame all resistance, quickly capturing key buildings and installations. A tank crashed through the gates of
the Presidential Palace and at 11:30 a.m. local time the NLF flag was raised above it. Thieu's successor, President Duong Van Minh,
attempted to surrender, but VPA Colonel Bui Quang Than informed him that he had nothing left to surrender. Minh then issued his last
command, ordering all South Vietnamese troops to lay down their arms.

Aftermath
Effects on Vietnam

Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, fell to the Khmer Rouge on April 17, 1975. The last official American military action in South East
Asia occurred on May 15, 1975. Forty-one U.S. military personnel were killed when the Khmer Rouge seized a U.S. merchant ship, the SS
Mayagüez. The episode became known as the Mayagüez incident.

The Pathet Lao overthrew the royalist government of Laos in December 1975. They established the Lao People's Democratic Republic.[120]

Hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese officials, particularly ARVN officers, were imprisoned in reeducation camps after the
Communist takeover. Tens of thousands died and many fled the country after being released. Up to two million civilians left the country, and
as many as half of these boat people perished at sea.

On July 2, 1976, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was declared. In 1977, United States President Jimmy Carter issued a pardon for nearly
10,000 draft dodgers.[121]

After repeated border clashes in 1978, Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) and ousted the Khmer Rouge. As many as two
million died during the Khmer Rouge genocide.

Vietnam began to repress its ethnic Chinese minority. Thousand fled and the exodus of the boat people began. In 1979, China invaded
Vietnam in retaliation for its invasion of Cambodia, known as the Third Indochina War or the Sino-Vietnamese War. Chinese forces were
repulsed.[122]

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The dire predictions of a generation did not come to fruition. Since Thailand and other South East Asian nations did not fall to systematic
Vietnamese aggression, the Domino Theory, so widely trumpeted, was said to have been an illusion. Vietnam, without the presence of the
United States, showed itself to be of little economic or strategic value to anyone.[123]

Effect on the United States

In the post-war, Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of the military intervention.[124] 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."[125][126]
In the decades since end of the conflict, discussions have ensued as to whether America's defeat was a political rather than military defeat.
Some have suggested that "the responsibility for the ultimate failure of this policy [America's defeat in Vietnam] lies not with the men who
fought, but with those in Congress..."[127] Alternatively, 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 … The
… Vietnam War('s) … legacy may be the lesson that unique historical, political, cultural, and social factors always impinge on the military …
Success rests not only on military progress but on correctly analyzing the nature of the particular conflict, understanding the enemy's strategy,
and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of allies. A new humility and a new sophistication may form the best parts of a complex heritage
left to the Army by the long, bitter war in Vietnam."[128] 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."[129] Even Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara concluded that "the
achievement of a military victory by U.S. forces in Vietnam was indeed a dangerous illusion." [130]

Doubts surfaced as to the effectiveness of large scale, sustained bombing. As Chief of Staff of the United States Army Harold K. Johnson
noted, "if anything came out of Vietnam, it was that air power couldn't do the job.[131] Even General William Westmoreland admitted that the
bombing had been ineffective. As he remarked, "I still doubt that the North Vietnamese would have relented."[131] The inability to bomb
Hanoi to the bargaining table also illustrated another U.S. miscalculation. The North's leadership was composed of hardened communists who
had been fighting for independence for thirty years. They had successfully defeated the French, and their tenacity as both nationalists and
communists was formidable.

The loss of the war called into question U.S. Army doctrine. Marine Corps General Victor Krulak heavily criticised Westmoreland's attrition
strategy, calling it "wasteful of American lives … with small likelihood of a successful outcome."[131] As well, doubts surfaced about the
ability of the military to train foreign forces.[9] The defeat also raised disturbing questions about the quality of the advice that was given to

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successive United States Presidents by the Pentagon.[9]


As the number of troops in Vietnam increased, the financial burden of the war grew. One of the rarely mentioned consequences of the war
were the budget cuts to President Johnson's Great Society programs. As defense spending and inflation grew, Johnson was forced to raise
taxes. The Republicans, however, refused to vote for the increases unless a $6 billion cut was made to the administration's social programs.

Almost 3 million Americans served in Vietnam. Between 1965 and 1973, the United States spent $120 billion on the war. This resulted in a
large federal budget deficit. The war demonstrated that no power, not even a superpower, has unlimited strength and resources. But perhaps
most significantly, the Vietnam War illustrated that political will, as much as material might, is a decisive factor in the outcome of conflicts.

Other countries' involvement


Soviet Union

The Soviet Union supplied North Vietnam with medical supplies, arms, tanks, planes, helicopters, artillery, ground-air missiles and other
military equipment. Fewer than a dozen Soviet citizens lost their lives in this conflict. After the war, Moscow became Hanoi's main ally.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russian officials acknowledged that the Soviet Union had stationed up to 3,000 troops in
Vietnam during the war.[132]

China

China's involvement in the Vietnam War began in 1949, when the communists took over the country. The Communist Party of China (CPC)
provided material and technical support to the Vietnamese communists. In the summer of 1962, Mao Zedong agreed to supply Hanoi with
90,000 rifles and guns free of charge. After the launch of "Rolling Thunder", China sent anti-aircraft units and engineering battalions to North
Vietnam to repair the damage caused by American bombing, rebuild roads, railroads and to perform other engineering works. This freed
North Vietnamese army units for combat in the South. Between 1965 and 1970, over 320,000 Chinese soldiers served in North Vietnam. The
peak was 1967, when 170,000 served there. Although Chinese assistance was accepted gladly, the North Vietnamese remained distrustful of
their larger neighbour, because of the historical antipathy between the two nations. China emerged as the principle backer of the Khmer
Rouge. The People's Republic of China briefly launched an invasion of Vietnam in 1979, in retaliation for its invasion of Cambodia to depose
the Khmer Rouge. In April 2006, a ceremony was held in Vietnam to honor the almost 1,500 Chinese soldiers who were killed in the Vietnam
War.

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

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to back up the North Vietnamese 921st and 923rd fighter squadrons defending Hanoi. They stayed through 1968, and 200 pilots were reported
to have served.[133] In addition, at least two anti-aircraft artillery regiments were sent as well. North Korea also sent weapons, ammunition
and two million sets of uniforms to their comrades in North Vietnam.[134] Kim Il Sung is reported to have told his pilots to "fight in the war
as if the Vietnamese sky were their own".[135]

South Korea

South Korea had the second-largest contingent of foreign troops in South Vietnam after the United States. South Korea dispatched its first
troops in 1964. Large combat battalions began arriving a year later. South Korean troops developed a reputation for ruthlessness.[136]
Approximately 320,000 South Korean soldiers were sent to Vietnam. As with the United States, soldiers served one year. The maximum
number of South Korean troops peaked at 50,000. More than 5,000 South Koreans were killed and 11,000 were injured in the war. All troops
were withdrawn in 1973.

Philippines

Some 1,450 troops were dispatched to South Vietnam. They were primarily engaged in medical and other civilian pacification projects. These
forces operated under the designation PHLCAAG or Philippines Civil Affairs Assistance Group.

Australia and New Zealand

As U.S. allies under the ANZUS Treaty, Australia and New Zealand sent ground troops to Vietnam. Both nations had gained valuable
experience in counterinsurgency and jungle warfare during the Malayan Emergency. Geographically close to Asia, they subscribed to the
Domino Theory of communist expansion and felt that their national security would be threatened if communism spread further in Southeast
Asia. Australia's peak commitment was 7,672 combat troops, New Zealand's 552, and most of these soldiers served in the 1st Australian Task
Force which was based in Phuoc Tuy Province. Australia re-introduced conscription to expand its army in the face of significant public
opposition to the war. Like the U.S., Australia began by sending advisers to Vietnam, the number of which rose steadily until 1965, when
combat troops were committed. New Zealand began by sending a detachment of engineers and an artillery battery, and then started sending
Special Forces and regular infantry. Several Australian and New Zealand units were awarded U.S. unit citations for their service in South
Vietnam. The ANZUS forces were cohesive and well-disclipined.

Thailand

Thai Army formations, including the "Queen's Cobra" battalion saw action in South Vietnam between 1965 and 1971. Thai forces saw much
more action in the covert war in Laos between 1964 and 1972. There, Thai regular formations 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

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side of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Canada

Canadian, Indian and Polish troops formed the International Control Commission, which was supposed to monitor the 1954 ceasefire
agreement. The Canadian government also lent diplomatic assistance to the United States to establish contact with the North Vietnamese
regime. The government of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson resisted considerable U.S. pressure to send troops to Vietnam. Although not a
major arms supplier, Canadian-made military hardware was used in Vietnam, including large amounts of Agent Orange manufactured by
Dow Chemical. Most Canadians who served in the Vietnam War were members of the United States military with estimated numbers ranging
from 30,000 to 40,000. Many became U.S. citizens upon returning from Vietnam or were dual citizens prior to joining the military.[137] The
Canadian government gave political asylum to significant numbers of American deserters and draft dodgers during the conflict. Canada
hosted 30,000–90,000 Americans seeking asylum. A large number returned to the United States after a pardon was issued by President Jimmy
Carter. The remainder, roughly half, chose to stay in Canada.

Use of chemical defoliants


One of the most controversial aspects of the U.S. military effort in South East Asia was the widespread use of herbicides between 1961 and
1971 . They were used to defoliate large parts of the countryside. These chemicals continue to change the landscape, cause diseases and birth
defects, and poison the food chain.

Early in the American military effort it was decided that, since PAVN/NLF 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 and Monsanto were given the task of developing herbicides for this
purpose. 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 12 million gallons (45 000 000 L) of Agent Orange were sprayed over Southeast Asia during the American involvement.
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.

In 1961–1962, 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. A 1967 study by the
Agronomy Section of the Japanese Science Council concluded that 3.8 million acres (15 000 km²) of foliage had been destroyed, possibly
also leading to the deaths of 1,000 peasants and 13,000 head of livestock.

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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.[138]

The U.S. Veterans Administration has listed prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, multiple myeloma, type II
diabetes, Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, soft tissue sarcoma, chloracne, porphyria cutanea
tarda, peripheral neuropathy, and spina bifida in children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange. Although
there has been much discussion over whether the use of these defoliants constituted a violation of the laws
of war, the defoliants were not considered weapons, since exposure to them did not lead to immediate death
or incapacitation.
U.S. helicopter spraying
chemical defoliants in the
Casualties Mekong Delta, South
Vietnam.
The number of military and civilian deaths from 1959 to 1975 is debated. Some reports fail to include the
members of South Vietnamese forces killed in the final campaign, or the Royal Lao Armed Forces, thousands of Laotian and Thai irregulars,
or Laotian civilians who all perished in that peculiar conflict. They do not include the tens of thousands of Cambodians killed during the civil
war or the estimated one and one-half to two million that perished in the genocide that followed Khmer Rouge victory

Documents declassified by the Vietnamese government in 1995 revealed that 5.1 million people died during the Hanoi's conflict with the
United States. Four million civilians died in the North and South. Total military casualties were put at 1.1 million and 600,000 wounded.
Hanoi concealed the figures during the war to avoid demoralizing the population.[139]

Popular culture
The Vietnam war has been featured heavily in television and films. The war also influenced a generation of musicians and song writers. The
musical Miss Saigon focuses on the end of the war and its aftermath. In cinema, noted films which have shaped the popular viewpoint of the
war include Apocalypse Now, Platoon, The Deer Hunter and Full Metal Jacket. It is the scene for the computer game Battlefield Vietnam.

See also
Selection from US Army footage 'Operation Baker' showing US soldiers putting 'Ace of Spades' in dead NLF mouths

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US Army footage from 'Operation Baker' 1967 showing US troops putting Ace of Spades in mouths of dead VietCong/NLF
Problems seeing the videos? See media help.

n Aircraft losses of the Vietnam War


n Army of the Republic of Vietnam
n Boat people
n Canada and the Vietnam War
n Cambodian Civil War
n Cold War
n Comparison of Iraq and Vietnam wars
n Cu Chi tunnels
n Democratic Kampuchea
n History of Cambodia
n History of Laos
n History of Vietnam
n Ho Chi Minh Campaign
n Indochina Wars
n Khmer Rouge
n Kit Carson Scouts
n Laotian Civil War
n Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group
n Opposition to the Vietnam War

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n News media and the Vietnam War


n Phoenix Program
n United States Air Force In South Vietnam
n United States Air Force In Thailand
n Vietnam
n Vietnam People's Army
n Vietnam Veterans against the War
n Vietnam War casualties
n Vietnam War (lists)
n Weapons of the Vietnam War
n Winter Soldier Investigation

Notes
1. ^ There was a slow build-up to this war from 1954 onwards, with different parties joining combat at various stages; however, the Hanoi Politburo did
not make the decision to go to war in the South until 1959.
2. ^ Summers Jr, Harry G; Vietnam War Almanac (1985: New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985) p. 113, cited in Record, Jeffrey & Terrill,
Andrew W.; Iraq and Vietnam: Differences, Similarities and Insights, (2004: Strategic Studies Institute)
(http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/00367.pdf)
3. ^ BBC News: On this Day in 1975: Saigon surrenders (http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/30/newsid_2498000/2498441.stm)
4. ^ Dennis J. Duncanson, Government and Revolution in Vietnam, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968), 53
5. ^ Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (New York: Penguin Books, 1997), 133 suggests, "In 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson arrived at
Versailles for the conference that formally ended World War I. Ho drafted a statement to him. Inspire by WIlson's famous doctrine of self-
determination, he wrote that 'all subject peoples are filled with hope by the prospect that an era of right and justice is opening to them...in the struggle
against barbarism."
6. ^ Karnow, Vietnam: A History, 133
7. ^ Sexton, Michael "War for the Asking" 1981
8. ^ Peter Church, ed. A Short History of South-East Asia.Singapore. John Wiley & Sons, 2006, p. 190.
9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Demma. "The U.S. Army in
Vietnam." (http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/history/marshall/military/vietnam/short.history/chap_28.txt) American Military History
10. ^ Ho Chi Minh. "Vietnam Declaration of Independence," Selected Works. Hanoi. Foreign Language Publishing House, (1960-1962), vol. 3, pp 17-21.
11. ^ a b Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 163.
12. ^ http://www.globusz.com/ebooks/LuisSilva/00000013.htm
13. ^ quoted in The Pentagon Papers: The Defense Department History of United States Decisionmaking in Vietnam. Gravel, ed. Boston. Beacon Press,
1971, vol. 1, pp 49–50.
14. ^ Karnow, Vietnam: A History p. 20
15. ^ Franklin D. Roosevelt. "Franklin Roosevelt Memorandum to Cordell Hull."Major Problems in American Foreign Policy. Lexington, M.A. D.C.
Heath and Company, 1995, vol. II, p. 198.
16. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 378.

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17. ^ Ho Chi Minh sent no fewer than eight letters and telegrams to President Truman between October 1945 and February 1946. Ho urged Truman to
support Vietnamese independence. He was ignored.
18. ^ quoted in Chester L. Cooper. The Lost Crusade: America in Vietnam. New York, NY. Dodd, Mead, 1970, pp 55–56.
19. ^ a b c d e McNamara, Argument Without End pp 377-79
20. ^ Pentagon Papers, Gravel, ed, Chapter 2, 'U.S. Involvement in the Franco-Viet Minh War', p. 54.
21. ^ Herring, George C.: "America's Longest War", p. 18.
22. ^ Zinn, "A People's History of the United States", p. 471.
23. ^ The Pentagon Papers. Gravel, ed. vol. 1, pp 391–404.
24. ^ 1 PENTAGON PAPERS (The Senator Gravel Edition), 248 (Boston, Beacon Press, 1971)
25. ^ Robert Turner, VIETNAMESE COMMUNISM: ITS ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT, 102 (Stanford Ca: Hoover Institution Press, 1975)
26. ^ 1 PENTAGON PAPERS (The Senator Gravel Edition), 247, 328 (Boston, Beacon Press, 1971)
27. ^ McNamara Argument Without End p. 60.
28. ^ Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mandate for Change. Garden City, NJ. Doubleday & Company, 1963, p. 372.
29. ^ Pentagon Papers (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/pent11.htm)
30. ^ McNamara Argument Without End p. 19.
31. ^ John F. Kennedy. "America's Stakes in Vietnam." Speech to the American Friends of Vietnam, June, 1956.
32. ^ Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.
33. ^ McNamara Argument Without End p. 200–201.
34. ^ Robert K. Brigham Battlefield Vietnam: A Brief History (http://www.pbs.org/battlefieldvietnam/history/index.html)
35. ^ John Prados, 'The Numbers Game: How Many Vietnamese Fled South In 1954?', The VVA Veteran, January/February 2005; accessed 2007-01-21[1]
(http://web.archive.org/web/20060527190340/http://www.vva.org/TheVeteran/2005_01/feature_numbersGame.htm)
36. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 238.
37. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 239.
38. ^ Gerdes (ed.) Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War p. 19.
39. ^ Robert K. Brigham. Battlefield Vietnam: A Brief History.[2] (http://www.pbs.org/battlefieldvietnam/history/index.html)
40. ^ a b Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 230.
41. ^ James Olson and Randy Roberts, WHERE THE DOMINO FELL: AMERICA AND VIETNAM, 1945-1990, 67 (New York: St. Martin’s Press,
1991)(Ho Chi Minh ordered, "Do not engage in military operations; that will lead to defeat. Do not take land from a peasant. Emphasize nationalism
rather than communism. Do not antagonize anyone if you can avoid it. Be selective in your violence. If an assassination is necessary, use a knife, not a
rifle or grenade. It is too easy to kill innocent bystanders with guns and bombs, and accidental killing of the innocent bystanders will alienate peasants
from the revolution. Once an assassination has taken place, make sure peasants know why the killing occurred.”)
42. ^ Vo Nguyen Giap, The Political and Military Line of Our Party, in THE MILITARY ART, 179-80
43. ^ PENTAGON PAPERS GRAVEL, 335.
44. ^ PENTAGON PAPERS GRAVEL,337.
45. ^ See Mark Moyar, The War Against the Viet Cong Shadow Government, in THE REAL LESSONS OF THE VIETNAM WAR (John Norton Moore
and Robert Turner eds., 2002) 151-67.
46. ^ U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.-Vietnam Relations, vol. 2, p. 2.
47. ^ U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.-Vietnam Relations, vol. 2, pp 28-30.
48. ^ Douglas Pike, The Origins of the War: Competing Perceptions in THE VIETNAM DEBATE: A FRESH LOOK AT THE ARGUMENTS 83-89, 86
(John Norton Moore ed., 1990).
49. ^ Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History, (New York: Viking Press, 1983), 264

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50. ^ The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. [http.//www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/presiden/inaug/kennedy.htm Inaugural Address of John F. Kenndy].
51. ^ Karnow, Vietnam, 265 suggested that "Kennedy sidestepped Laos, whose rugged terrain was no battleground for American soldiers."
52. ^ The case of John F. Kennedy and Vietnam Presidential Studies Quarterly [3] (http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/goldzwig.htm)
53. ^ [4] (http://books.google.com/books?
id=HoFF7Y5Z3jkC&pg=PA240&dq=Vietnam+looks+like+the+place&sig=UtVNrEovH9puAcSuaw4kALaZoss)
54. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 267.
55. ^ U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.-Vietnam Relations, vol. 3, pp 1-2.
56. ^ McNamara Argument Without End p. 369.
57. ^ John Kenneth Galbraith. "Memorandum to President Kennedy from John Kenneth Galbraith on Vietnam, 4 April 1962." The Pentagon Papers.
Gravel. ed. Boston, Mass. Beacon Press, 1971, vol. 2. pp 669–671.
58. ^ International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos[5] (http://www.answers.com/topic/international-agreement-on-the-neutrality-of-laos-35k.)
59. ^ Live interview by John Bartlow Martin. Was Kennedy Planning to Pull out of Vietnam? New York, NY. John F. Kennedy Library, 1964, Tape V,
Reel 1.
60. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 326.
61. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 327.
62. ^ McNamara Argument Without End p. 328.
63. ^ Douglas Blaufarb. The Counterinsurgency Era. New York, NY. Free Press, 1977, p. 119.
64. ^ George C. Herring. America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975. Boston, Mass. McGraw Hill, 1986, p. 103
65. ^ Foreign Relation of the United States, Vietnam, 1961-1963. Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1991, vol. 4., p. 707.
66. ^ quoted in Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Robert Kennedy and His Times. New York, NY. Ballantine, 1978, p. 767.
67. ^ Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (New York: Penguin books, 1983), 336 and specifically on 338-339 where presidential aid Jack Valenti recalls,
"Vietnam at the time was a could no bigger than a man's fist on the horizon. We hardly discussed it because it was not worth discussing."
68. ^ Vietnam: A History (New York: Penguin books, 1983), 338 who notes also that Johnson viewed many members whom he inherited from Kennedy's
cabinet with distrust because he had never penetrated their circle early in Kennedy's presidency.
69. ^ Brian VanDeMark, Into the Quagmire (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 13
70. ^ Vietnam: A History (New York: Penguin books, 1983), 339 notes Johnson as saying "the battle against communism...must be joined...with strength
and determination. We should stop playing cops and robbers [a reference to Diem'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."
71. ^ Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (New York: Penguin books, 1983), 339 notes, talking about the Mekong Delta, that, "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 Vietcong 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."
72. ^ Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (New York: Penguin books, 1983), 340 who quote Minh as enjoying playing tennis more than bureaucratic
work.
73. ^ Quoted from Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History (New York: Penguin books, 1983), 341
74. ^ Brian VanDeMark, Into the Quagmire: Lyndon Johnson and the Escalation of the Vietnam War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 17
75. ^ Gerdes (ed.) Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War p. 26.
76. ^ Gerdes (ed.) Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War p. 25.
77. ^ George C. Herring, America's longest war: the United States and Vietnam 1950-1975 (New York: Wiley, 1979), 121
78. ^ Earl L. Tilford, Setup: What the Air Force did in Vietnam and Why. Maxwell Air Force Base AL: Air University Press, 1991, p. 89.
79. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 468.

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80. ^ Lt. Colonel John Paul Vann[6] (http://www.answers.com/topic/john-paul-vann-44k)


81. ^ Gen. Curtis E LeMay (http://www.giga-usa.com/quotes/authors/curtis_e_lemay_a001.htm)
82. ^ Pew Research Center note, (October 2002) Generations Divide Over Military Action in Iraq (http://www.people-
press.org/commentary/display.php3?AnalysisID=57)
83. ^ Ho Chi Minh. Letter to Martin Niemoeller. December, 1966. quoted in Marilyn B. Young. The Vietnam Wars: 1945–1990. New York, NY. Harper,
1991, p. 172.
84. ^ McNamara, Argument Without End p. 48
85. ^ a b c McNamara, Argument Without End pp 349-51
86. ^ U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.-Vietnam Relations vol. 4, p. 7
87. ^ McNamara Argument Without End p. 353
88. ^ U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.-Vietnam Relations vol. 5, pp 8-9.
89. ^ U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.-Vietnam Relations vol. 4, pp 117–119. and vol. 5, pp 8–12.
90. ^ Public Papers of the Presidents, 1965. Washington, DC. Government Printing Office, 1966, vol. 2, pp 794–799.
91. ^ a b McNamara Argument Without End pp 353–354.
92. ^ John Paul Vann. John Paul Vann: Information from Answers.com. at [7] (http://www.answers.com/topic/john-paul-vann-44k)
93. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 453.
94. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 566.
95. ^ Peter Church. ed. A Short History of South-East Asia. Singapore, John Wiley & Sons, 2006, p. 193.
96. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 706.
97. ^ a b Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 18.
98. ^ McNamara Argument Without End pp 363-365
99. ^ a b "The Guardians at the Gate," Time: The Weekly Newsmagazine January 7, 1966, vol. 87, no.1.
100. ^ a b c d Witz The Tet Offensive: Intelligence Failure in War pp 1–2
101. ^ Larry Berman. Lyndon Johnson's War. New York, W.W. Norton, 1991, p. 116.
102. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History. p. 556.
103. ^ Harold P. Ford. CIA and the Vietnam Policymakers pp 104–123.
104. ^ "Peter Arnett: Whose Man in Baghdad?" (http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/charen040103.asp), Mona Charen, Jewish World Review, April
1, 2003
105. ^ Gerdes (ed.) Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War p. 27.
106. ^ McNamara Argument Without End pp 366–367.
107. ^ Robert K. Brigham. Battlefield Vietnam: A Brief History.[8] (http://www.pbs.org/battlefieldvietnam/history/index.html)
108. ^ Prince Norodom Sihanouk. "Cambodia Neutral: The Dictates of Necessity." Foreign Affairs. New York, NY. Council on Foreign Relations, 1958,
pp 582–583.
109. ^ quoted in Nonaligned Foreign Policy.[9] (http://www.countrystudies.us/cambodia/18.htm-14k)
110. ^ Joe Angio. Nixon a Presidency Revealed. Television Documentary, The History Channel, February 15, 2007.
111. ^ The Pentagon Papers Case.-4k- (http://www.usinfo.state.gov/journals/itdhr/0297/ijde/goodsb1.htm)
112. ^ International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos[10] (http://www.answers.com/topic/international-agreement-on-the-neutrality-of-laos-35k)
113. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History pp 644–645.
114. ^ Peter Church, ed. A Short History of South-East Asia. Singapore. John Wiley & Sons, 2006, pp 193–194.
115. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 24.
116. ^ [11] (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d093:1:./temp/~bd43XQ:@@@D&summ2=m&|/bss/93search.html)

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117. ^ Congressional Research Service. Congressional Use of Funding Cutoffs Since 1970 Involving U.S. Military Forces and Overseas Deployments.
January 10, 2001, p. 2.[12] (http://www.fas.org/man/crs/RS20775.pdf)
118. ^ McNamara Argument Without End pp 367–368.
119. ^ Clark Dougan, David Fulgham et al., The Fall of the South. Boston: Boston Publishing Company, 1985, p. 22.
120. ^ CIA World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/la.html#history)
121. ^ By The President Of The United States Of America, A Proclamation Granting Pardon For Violations Of The Selective Services Act, August 4, 1964
To March 28, 1973. January 21, 1977. (http://www.usdoj.gov/pardon/carter_proclamation.htm)
122. ^ Zhang Xiaoming "China's 1979 War With Vietnam: A Reassessment," China Quarterly. Issue no. 184, December, 2005.
(http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=358806)
123. ^ Schell The Time of Illusion p. 361.
124. ^ Gerdes (ed). Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War pp 14–15.
125. ^ Karnow Vietnam: A History p. 23.
126. ^ Taylor paraphrases Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Samuel B. Griffith, trans. Oxford, UK. Oxford University Press, 1963.
127. ^ http://www.vietnamwar.com/presidentnixonsrole.htm
128. ^ see the conclusion in Demma's "The U.S. Army in
Vietnam." (http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/history/marshall/military/vietnam/short.history/chap_28.txt)
129. ^ Henry A. Kissinger. Lessons of Vietnam. Secret Memoranda to The President of the United States, May 12, 1975, p. 3.[13]
(http://www.ford.utexas.edu/library/exhibits/vietnam/750512a.htm)
130. ^ McNamara Argument Without End p. 368.
131. ^ a b c Quoted in Bob Buzzano. "25 Years After The End Of Vietnam War: Myths Keep Us From Coming To Terms With
Vietnam," (http://www.commondreams.org/views/041700-106.htm) The Baltimore Sun Times, April 17, 2000.
132. ^ Soviet Involvement in the Vietnam War, Historical Text Archive (http://historicaltextarchive.com/sections.php?op=viewarticle&artid=180)
133. ^ Asia Times, August 18 2006, Richard M Bennett [http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/HH18Dg02.html Missiles and madness
134. ^ Merle Pribbenow, 'The 'Ology War: technology and ideology in the defense of Hanoi, 1967' Journal of Military History 67:1 (2003) p. 183.
135. ^ Gluck, Caroline. "N Korea admits Vietnam war role (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1427367.stm)", BBC News, 7 July, 2001. Retrieved on
2006-10-19. ; also see "North Korea fought in Vietnam War (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/696970.stm)", BBC News, 31 March, 2000.
Retrieved on 2006-10-19. ; also see "North Korea honours Vietnam war dead (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/1435540.stm)", BBC News, 12
July, 2001. Retrieved on 2006-10-19.
136. ^ [14] (http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-8704.html-31k-)
137. ^ Canadians in Vietnam (http://www.mystae.com/reflections/vietnam/canada.html)
138. ^ Anthony Failoa, In Vietnam, Old Foes Take Aim at War's Toxic Legacy, Washington Post, November 13, 2006
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/12/AR2006111201065.html)
139. ^ Agence France Press, 3 April, 1995 (http://www.rjsmith.com/kia_tbl.html)

References
Primary sources

n Anonymous. We Had to Destroy it in Order to Save it.[20] (http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=116917-28k) infamous


quote from unidentified U.S. officer, illustrating the illogic which is sometime part of war.

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n Carter, Jimmy. By The President Of The United States Of America, A Proclamation Granting Pardon For Violations Of The Selective
Service Act, August 4, 1964 To March 28, 1973 (January 21, 1977) [21] (http://www.usdoj.gov/pardon/carter_proclamation.htm)
n Central Intelligence Agency. "Laos," CIA World Factbook [22] (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-
factbook/geos/la.html#history)
n Eisenhower, Dwight D. Mandate for Change. (1963) a presidential political memoir
n Ho, Chi Minh. "Vietnam Declaration of Independence," Selected Works. (1960-1962) selected writings
n Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy. (1961)
n International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos. (1962)
n LeMay, General Curtis E. and Kantor, MacKinley. Mission with LeMay (1965) autobiography of controversial former Chief of Staff of
the United States Air Force
n Kissinger, United States Secretary of State Henry A. "Lessons on Vietnam," (1975) secret memoranda to U.S. President Ford [23]
(http://www.ford.utexas.edu/library/exhibits/vietnam/750512a.htm)
n McMahon, Robert J. Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War: Documents and Essays (1995) textbook
n Kim A. O'Connell, ed. Primary Source Accounts of the Vietnam War (2006)
n McCain, John. Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir (1999) the Senator was a POW
n Marshall, Kathryn. In the Combat Zone: An Oral History of American Women in Vietnam, 1966–1975 (1987)
n Martin, John Bartlow. Was Kennedy Planning to Pull out of Vietnam? (1964) oral history for the John F. Kennedy Library, tape V, reel
1.
n Myers, Thomas. Walking Point: American Narratives of Vietnam (1988)
n Major General Spurgeon Neel. Medical Support of the U.S. Army in Vietnam 1965–1970 (Department of the Army 1991) official
medical history; online complete text (http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/vietnam/medicalsupport/frameindex.html)
n Roosevelt, Franklin D. "Franklin Roosevelt Memorandum to Cordell Hull." (1995) in Major Problems in American Foreign Policy
n Public Papers of the Presidents, 1965 (1966) official documents of U.S. presidents.
n Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr.Robert Kennedy and His Times. (1978) a first hand account of the Kennedy administration by one of his
principle advisors
n Sinhanouk, Prince Norodom. "Cambodia Neutral: The Dictates of Necessity." Foreign Affairs. (1958) describes the geopolitical
situation of Cambodia
n Sun Tzu. The Art of War. (1963), ancient military treatise
n Tang, Truong Nhu. A Vietcong Memoir (1985), revealing account by senior NLF official
n Terry, Wallace, ed. Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans (1984)
n The Pentagon Papers (Gravel ed. 5 vol 1971); combination of narrative and secret documents compiled by Pentagon. excerpts
(http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/pent1.html)
n U.S. Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States (multivolume collection of official secret documents) vol 1: 1964
(http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/vol_i/index.html); vol 2: 1965
(http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/vol_ii/index.html); vol 3: 1965
(http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/vol_ii/index.html); vol 4: 1966
(http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/vol_iv/index.html);

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n 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.
n Vann, John Paul Quotes from Answers.com (http://www.answers.com/topix/john-paul-vann-44k) Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army, DFC, DSC,
advisor to the ARVN 7th Division, early critic of the conduct of the war.

Secondary sources

n Anderson, David L. Columbia Guide to the Vietnam War (2004).


n Baker, Kevin. "Stabbed in the Back! The past and future of a right-wing myth," Harper's Magazine (June, 2006) [24]
(http://www.harpers.org/StabbedInTheBack.html)
n Angio, Joe. Nixon a Presidency Revealed (2007) The History Channel television documentary
n Berman, Larry. Lyndon Johnson's War: The Road to Stalemate (1991).
n Blaufarb, Douglas. The Counterinsurgency Era (1977) a history of the Kennedy Administration's involvement in South Vietnam.
n Brigham, Robert K. Battlefield Vietnam: A Brief History a PBS interactive website
n Buzzanco, Bob. "25 Years After End of Vietnam War: Myths Keep Us From Coming To Terms With Vietnam," The Baltimore Sun
(April 17, 2000) [25] (http://www.commondreams.org/views/041700-106.htm)
n Church, Peter ed. A Short History of South-East Asia (2006).
n Cooper, Chester L. The Lost Crusade: America in Vietnam (1970) a Washington insider's memoir of events.
n Demma, Vincent H. "The U.S. Army in Vietnam." American Military History (1989) the official history of the United States Army.
Available online (http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/history/marshall/military/vietnam/short.history/chap_28.txt)
n Duiker, William J. The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam (1996).
n Duncanson, Dennis J. Government and Revolution in Vietnam (1968).
n Fincher, Ernest Barksdale, The Vietnam War (1980).
n Ford, Harold P. CIA and the Vietnam Policymakers: Three Episodes, 1962–1968. (1998).
n Gerdes, Louise I. ed. Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War (2005).
n Hammond, William. Public Affairs: The Military and the Media, 1962–1968 (1987); Public Affairs: The Military and the Media, 1068–
1973 (1995). full-scale history of the war by U.S. Army; much broader than title suggests.
n Herring, George C. America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950–1975 (4th ed 2001), most widely used short history.
n Hitchens, Christopher. The Vietnam Syndrome.
n Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam: A History (1983), popular history by a former foreign correspondent; strong on Saigon's plans.
n Kutler, Stanley ed. Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War (1996).
n Lewy, Guenter. America in Vietnam (1978), defends U.S. actions.
n McMahon, Robert J. Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War: Documents and Essays (1995) textbook.
n McNamara, Robert, James Blight, Robert Brigham, Thomas Biersteker, Herbert Schandler, Argument Without End: In Search of
Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy, (Public Affairs, 1999).
n Moise, Edwin E. Historical Dictionary of the Vietnam War (2002).
n Moss, George D. Vietnam (4th ed 2002) textbook.

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n Moyar, Mark. Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954–1965, (Cambridge University Press; 412 pages; 2006). A revisionist history
that challenges the notion that U.S. involvement in Vietnam was misguided; defends the validity of the domino theory and disputes the
notion that Ho Chi Minh was, at heart, a nationalist who would eventually turn against his Communist Chinese allies.
n Palmer, Bruce, Jr. The Twenty-Five Year War (1984), narrative military history by a senior U.S. general.
n Schell, Jonathan. The Time of Illusion (1976).
n Schulzinger, Robert D. A Time for War: The United States and Vietnam, 1941–1975 (1997).
n Spector, Ronald. After Tet: The Bloodiest Year in Vietnam (1992), very broad coverage of 1968.
n Tucker, Spencer. ed. Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War (1998) 3 vol. reference set; also one-volume abridgement (2001).
n Witz, James J. The Tet Offensive: Intelligence Failure in War (1991).
n Young, Marilyn, B. The Vietnam Wars: 1945–1990. (1991).
n Xiaoming, Zhang. "China's 1979 War With Vietnam: A Reassessment," China Quarterly. Issue no. 184, (December, 2005) [26]
(http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=358806)

External links
n The U.S. Army in Vietnam (http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/history/marshall/military/vietnam/short.history/chap_28.txt) the
official history of the United States Army
n Vietnam war timeline (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/timeline/) comprehensive timeline of the Vietnam War
n Documents Relating to American Foreign Policy-Vietnam (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/vietnam.htm) primary sources on
U.S. involvement in Vietnam
n War, propaganda, and the media: VIETNAM (http://www.globalissues.org/HumanRights/Media/Propaganda/Vietnam.asp)
n Timeline US - Vietnam (1947-2001) (http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=vietnam) in Open-Content project
History of US Interventions (http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/project.jsp?project=US_interventions_project), by Derek, Mitchell
n Complete text of the Gravel Edition of the Pentagon Papers (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/pent1.html) with
supporting documents, maps, and photos
n Battlefield Vietnam (http://www.pbs.org/battlefieldvietnam/history/index.html) PBS interactive site
n Vietnam War Bibliography (http://tigger.uic.edu/~rjensen/vietnam.html) covers online and published resources
n China Vietnam War Chronology (http://www.datesofhistory.com/Vietnam-War,-2nd-China.general.html)
n Russia Vietnam War Chronology (http://www.datesofhistory.com/Russia-War,-2nd-USA.general.html)
n USA Vietnam War Chronology (http://www.datesofhistory.com/Vietnam-War,-2nd-USA.general.html)
n Vietnam Vietnam War Chronology (http://www.datesofhistory.com/Vietnam-War,-2nd-Vietnam.general.html)
n U.S. Casualty Statistics (http://siwmfilm.net/Vietnam_War/Military_Casualty_Information.html)
n Casualties - U.S. vs NVA/VC (http://www.rjsmith.com/kia_tbl.html)
n The Effects of Vietnamization on the Republic of Vietnam's Armed Forces, 1969–1972
(http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/vietnam/vietnamization/default.aspx)
n The American War: the U.S. in Vietnam—a Pinky Show online video
(http://www.pinkyshow.org/archives/episodes/060809/060809_vietnamwar.html) Watch on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?

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v=5LctoUV-tag)
n UC Berkeley Library Social Activism Sound Recording Project: Anti-Vietnam War Protests
(http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/pacificaviet/)

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