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North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front victory

Withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam Communist
Communist
forces take power in South Vietnam, Cambodia
Cambodia
and Laos Reunification of Vietnam Start of the Cambodian–Vietnamese War Start of the boat people crisis and Indochina refugee crisisTerritorialchanges Reunification of North and South Vietnam
South Vietnam
into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.Belligerents

 North Vietnam Viet Cong
Viet Cong
and PRG

Pathet Lao GRUNK (1970–1975) Khmer Rouge  China  Soviet Union  North Korea

Supported by:  Czechoslovakia  Cuba  East Germany  Poland  Romania  Hungary  Bulgaria  Sweden[1][2]

 South Vietnam

United States  South Korea  Australia  New Zealand  Laos Cambodia
Cambodia
(1967–1970) Khmer Republic
Khmer Republic
(1970–1975)  Thailand  Philippines

Supported by:  Taiwan Brazil[3]  Malaysia[4][5]

Commanders and leaders

Hồ Chí Minh Lê Duẩn Võ Nguyên Giáp Lê Đức Thọ Phạm Văn Đồng Trường Chinh Tôn Đức Thắng Văn Tiến Dũng Nguyễn Hữu An Huỳnh Tấn Phát Nguyễn Hữu Thọ Hoàng Văn Thái Nguyễn Chí Thanh Trần Văn Trà Nguyễn Văn Linh Lê Trọng Tấn Lê Đức Anh Nguyễn Thị Định Võ Chí Công Nguyễn Thị Bình Võ Văn Kiệt Souphanouvong Kaysone Phomvihane Phoumi Vongvichit Nouhak Phoumsavanh Norodom Sihanouk Son Sann Pol Pot Khieu Samphan Nuon Chea Mao Zedong Kim Il-sung …and others

Ngô Đình Diệm † Ngô Đình Nhu † Nguyễn Văn Thiệu Nguyễn Cao Kỳ Cao Văn Viên Dương Văn Minh Trần Thiện Khiêm Trần Văn Hương Đỗ Cao Trí † John F. Kennedy Lyndon B. Johnson Richard Nixon Henry Kissinger Robert McNamara Maxwell D. Taylor William Westmoreland Elmo Zumwalt Creighton Abrams Frederick C. Weyand Paul D. Harkins Melvin Laird Clark Clifford Earle Wheeler Thomas Hinman Moorer William W. Momyer John S. McCain Jr. Souvanna Phouma Phoumi Nosavan Vang Pao Lon Nol Sisowath Sirik Matak † Park Chung-hee Chae Myung-shin Robert Menzies Harold Holt John Gorton …and others Strength ≈860,000 (1967)

North Vietnam:690,000 (January 1967, including PAVN and Viet Cong)[11] Viet Cong:~200,000(estimated, 1968)[12][13] China:320,000 total[14][15][16] Khmer Rouge:70,000 (1972)[17] Pathet Lao:48,000 (1970)[18] Soviet Union: ~3,000[19] North Korea: 200[20] ≈1,420,000 (1968)

South Vietnam:850,000 (1968)1,500,000 (1974–75)[21] United States:2,709,918 in Vietnam
Vietnam
totalPeak: 543,000 (April 1969)[22][23] South Korea:320,000 total(~48,000 stationed per year) Khmer Republic:200,000 (1973)[24] Laos:72,000 (Royal Army
Army
and Hmong militia)[25][26] Thailand: 32,000(in Vietnam[27] and Laos)[28] Australia: 50,190 total(Peak: 7,672 combat troops) New Zealand: 3,500 total(Peak: 552 combat troops)[13] Philippines: 2,061Casualties and losses

North Vietnam
North Vietnam
& Viet Cong65,000–182,000 civilian dead[29][30][31]849,018 military dead (per Vietnam; 1/3 non-combat deaths)[32][33][34]666,000–950,765 dead(US estimated 1964–74)[A 2][29][35]600,000+ wounded[36] Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
Unknown Pathet Lao
Pathet Lao
Unknown   China
China
~1,100 dead and 4,200 wounded[16]   Soviet Union
Soviet Union
16 dead[37]   North Korea
North Korea
14 dead[38]

Total military dead:≈667,130–951,895Total military wounded:≈604,200(excluding GRUNK and Pathet Lao)

 South Vietnam195,000–430,000 civilian dead[29][30][39]254,256–313,000 military dead[40][41]1,170,000 wounded[42]  United States58,318 dead;[43]303,644 wounded (including 150,341 not requiring hospital care)[A 3]   Laos
Laos
15,000 army dead[49] Khmer Republic
Khmer Republic
Unknown   South Korea
South Korea
5,099 dead; 10,962 wounded; 4 missing   Australia
Australia
521 dead; 3,129 wounded[50]   Thailand
Thailand
351 dead[51]   New Zealand
New Zealand
37 dead[52]   Taiwan
Taiwan
25 dead[53]   Philippines
Philippines
9 dead;[54] 64 wounded[55]

Total military dead:333,620–392,364Total wounded:≈1,340,000+[42](excluding FARK and FANK)

Vietnamese civilian dead: 627,000–2,000,000[30][56][57] Vietnamese total dead: 966,000[29]–3,812,000[58] Cambodian Civil War
Cambodian Civil War
dead: 275,000–310,000[59][60][61] Laotian Civil War
Laotian Civil War
dead: 20,000–62,000[58] Non-Indochinese military dead: 65,494 Total dead: 1,326,494–4,249,494 For more information see Vietnam
Vietnam
War casualties and Aircraft losses of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War vteIndochina Wars Masterdom First Second

Laotian Civil War Cambodian Civil War Third

Khmer Rouge–Vietnamese Cambodian–Thai border Sino-Vietnamese border conflicts Hmong insurgency FULRO insurgency against Vietnam

vteMilitary engagements during the Vietnam
Vietnam
WarGuerrilla phase Laos Chopper Sunrise Palace Bombing 1st Ap Bac Go Cong Hiep Hoa 34A Long Dinh Kien Long Quyet Thang 202 USNS Card Nam Dong An Lao Binh Gia Camp Holloway Qui Nhơn Sông Bé Ba Gia Dong Xoai American intervention 1965

Starlite Piranha An Ninh Plei Me Hump Gang Toi 1st Bau Bang Bushmaster II Ia Drang Harvest Moon 1966

Marauder Crimp Van Buren Masher/White Wing Bong Son Double Eagle Mastiff Suoi Bong Trang New York Harrison Cocoa Beach Utah Silver City A Sau Oregon Texas Lincoln Fillmore Jackstay Buddhist Uprising Xa Cam My Georgia Birmingham Davy Crockett Austin IV Paul Revere Crazy Horse El Paso Hardihood Wahiawa Hawthorne Hill 488 Nathan Hale Jay Macon Hastings Minh Thanh Road John Paul Jones Prairie Colorado Duc Co Long Tan Amarillo Seward Thayer, Irving and Thayer II Attleboro Deckhouse IV Tan Son Nhut airbase Lam Son II Byrd SS Baton Rouge Victory Sunset Beach Shenandoah Paul Revere IV Geronimo Fairfax 1967

Deckhouse V Cedar Falls Desoto Firebase Bird Sam Houston Enterprise Tra Binh Dong Gadsden Pershing Bribie Junction City (1st Prek Klok 2nd Prek Klok Ap Gu Suoi Tre 2nd Bàu Bàng) Lejeune Francis Marion Manhattan Beaver Cage Union The Hill Fights Con Thien/DMZ Hickory Prairie II Prairie III Prairie IV Buffalo Kentucky Kingfisher Malheur I and Malheur II Union II Dragnet Akron Billings Concordia The Slopes Hong Kil Dong Diamond Head Coronado Coronado II Hood River Suoi Chau Pha Benton Coronado IV Swift Dragon Fire Wheeler/Wallowa Coronado V Kunia Bolling Medina Shenandoah II Ong Thanh 1st Loc Ninh Osceola Lancaster Essex Napoleon Coronado IX Neosho Dak To Santa Fe Phoenix Kien Giang 9-1 Manchester Yellowstone Muscatine Auburn Tet Offensive
Tet Offensive
and aftermath

New Year's Day Battle of 1968 Khe Sanh Ban Houei Sane Lang Vei Tet Offensive Saigon US Embassy Cholon and Phu Tho Racetrack Tan Son Nhut Air Base Joint General Staff Compound Bien Hoa and Long Binh Hue Quảng Trị Coburg Lo Giang Hop Tac I Coronado XI Patrick Truong Cong Dinh Lima Site 85 Quyet Thang My Lai Massacre Carentan Pegasus Toan Thang I Burlington Trail Scotland II Delaware Allen Brook May Offensive Dai Do Landing Zone Center An Bao Kham Duc Coral–Balmoral Mameluke Thrust Robin Thor Pocahontas Forest Somerset Plain Phase III Offensive Duc Lap Vinh Loc Thượng Đức Maui Peak Meade River Hat Dich Speedy Express Vietnamization
Vietnamization
1969–71

Bold Mariner Dewey Canyon Taylor Common 2nd Tet Purple Martin Maine Crag Montana Mauler Oklahoma Hills Virginia Ridge Apache Snow Hamburger Hill Pipestone Canyon Binh Ba Utah Mesa Idaho Canyon LZ Kate Texas Star FSB Ripcord 1st Cambodia Kompong Speu Prey Veng 2nd Cambodia Elk Canyon Pickens Forest Imperial Lake Tailwind Jefferson Glenn Son Tay Raid Snuol Lam Son 719 Cambodian Counteroffensive Chenla I Chenla II FSB Mary Ann Long Khánh Nui Le Easter Offensive
Easter Offensive
(1972)

2nd Quang Trị 2nd Loc Ninh An Lộc Kontum Thunderhead 3rd Quang Trị War of the flags Cửa Việt Post- Paris Peace Accords
Paris Peace Accords
(1973–1974)

Hồng Ngự Tong Le Chon Trung Nghia Ap Da Bien Quang Duc Tri Phap Svay Rieng Iron Triangle Duc Duc Thượng Đức Phú Lộc Phuoc Long Spring 1975

Ban Me Thuot Hue–Da Nang Phan Rang Xuân Lộc 2nd Saigon Air operations

Farm Gate Chopper Ranch Hand Pierce Arrow Barrel Roll Pony Express Flaming Dart Iron Hand Rolling Thunder Steel Tiger Arc Light Tiger Hound Shed Light Thanh Hoa Bolo Popeye Yen Vien Niagara Igloo White Giant Lance Commando
Commando
Hunt Menu Patio Freedom Deal Linebacker I Enhance Plus Linebacker II Homecoming Tan Son Nhut Air Base Babylift New Life Eagle Pull Frequent Wind Naval operations

Yankee & Dixie stations Gulf of Tonkin Market Time Vung Ro Bay Game Warden Double Eagle PIRAZ Sea Dragon Deckhouse Five Bo De River, Nha Trang, Tha Cau River Sealords Đồng Hới Pocket Money Custom Tailor End Sweep Paracel Islands East Sea Mayaguez incident vteMassacres of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War Châu Đốc Huế
Huế
Phật Đản Xá Lợi Pagoda Bình An/Tây Vinh Binh Tai Bình Hòa Đắk Sơn Huế Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất Hà My Mỹ Lai Son Thang Cai Lậy schoolyard

Tiger Force Operation Speedy Express Winter Soldier Investigation Vietnam
Vietnam
War Crimes Working Group

The Vietnam
Vietnam
War (Vietnamese: Chiến tranh Việt Nam), also known as the Second Indochina War,[62] and in Vietnam
Vietnam
as the Resistance War Against America (Vietnamese: Kháng chiến chống Mỹ) or simply the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia
Cambodia
from 1 November 1955[A 1] to the fall of Saigon
Saigon
on 30 April 1975.[10] It was the second of the Indochina Wars
Indochina Wars
and was officially fought between North Vietnam
North Vietnam
and South Vietnam. North Vietnam
Vietnam
was supported by the Soviet Union, China,[14] and other communist allies; South Vietnam
South Vietnam
was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand
Thailand
and other anti-communist allies.[63][64] The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives.[65] It lasted some 19 years with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975. American military advisors began arriving in what was then French Indochina in 1950 to support the French in the First Indochina War against the communist-led Viet Minh.[66][A 4] Most of the funding for the French war effort was provided by the U.S.[67] After the French quit Indochina in 1954, the US assumed financial and military responsibility for the South Vietnamese state. The Việt Cộng, also known as Front national de libération du Sud-Viêt Nam or NLF (the National Liberation Front), a South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, initiated a guerrilla war against the South Vietnamese government in 1959. U.S. involvement escalated in 1960, and continued in 1961 under President John F. Kennedy, with troop levels gradually surging under the MAAG program from just under a thousand in 1959 to 16,000 in 1963.[68][69] By 1964, there were 23,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam, but this escalated further following the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin
Gulf of Tonkin
incident, in which a U.S. destroyer was alleged to have clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft. In response, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
gave President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
broad authorization to increase U.S. military presence, deploying ground combat units for the first time and increasing troop levels to 184,000.[68] Past this point, the People's Army
Army
of Vietnam
Vietnam
(PAVN), also known as the North Vietnamese Army
Army
(NVA) engaged in more conventional warfare with US and South Vietnamese forces. Every year onward there was significant build-up of US forces despite little progress, with Robert McNamara, one of the principal architects of the war, beginning to express doubts of victory by the end of 1966.[70] U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, and airstrikes. The U.S. conducted a large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam. The Tet Offensive
Tet Offensive
of 1968 proved to be the turning point of the war; despite years of American tutelage and aid, the South Vietnamese forces were unable to withstand the communist offensive and the task fell to US forces instead. The Tet Offensive
Tet Offensive
showed that the end of US involvement was not in sight, increasing domestic skepticism of the war. The unconventional and conventional capabilities of the Army
Army
of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) increased following a period of neglect and became modeled on heavy firepower-focused doctrines like US forces. Operations crossed international borders; bordering areas of Laos
Laos
and Cambodia
Cambodia
were used by North Vietnam
North Vietnam
as supply routes and were heavily bombed by U.S. forces. Gradual withdrawal of U.S. ground forces began as part of "Vietnamization", which aimed to end American involvement in the war while transferring the task of fighting the communists to the South Vietnamese themselves and began the task of modernizing their armed forces. Direct U.S. military
U.S. military
involvement ended on 15 August 1973 as a result of the Case–Church Amendment
Case–Church Amendment
passed by the U.S. Congress.[71] The capture of Saigon
Saigon
by the NVA in April 1975 marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam
South Vietnam
were reunified the following year. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities (see Vietnam
Vietnam
War casualties). Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from 966,000[29] to 3.8 million.[58] Some 275,000–310,000 Cambodians,[59][60][61] 20,000–62,000 Laotians,[58] and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict, and a further 1,626 remain missing in action.[A 3] The Sino-Soviet split
Sino-Soviet split
re-emerged following the lull during the Vietnam War and conflict between North Vietnam
North Vietnam
and its Cambodian allies in the Royal Government of the National Union of Kampuchea, and the newly-formed Democratic Kampuchea
Democratic Kampuchea
begun almost immediately in a series of border raids by the Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
and erupted into the Cambodian–Vietnamese War, with Chinese forces directly intervening in the Sino-Vietnamese War. The end of the war and resumption of the Third Indochina War would precipitate the Vietnamese boat people
Vietnamese boat people
and the bigger Indochina refugee crisis, which saw an estimated 250,000 people perish at sea. Within the US the war gave rise to what was referred to as Vietnam
Vietnam
Syndrome, a public aversion to American overseas military involvements,[72] which together with Watergate
Watergate
contributed to the crisis of confidence that affected America throughout the 1970s.[73]

Contents

1 Names 2 Background 3 Transition period 4 Diệm era, 1954–63

4.1 Rule 4.2 Insurgency
Insurgency
in the South, 1954–60

4.2.1 North Vietnamese involvement

5 Kennedy's escalation, 1961–63

5.1 Ousting and assassination of Ngô Đình Diệm

6 Johnson's escalation, 1963–69

6.1 Gulf of Tonkin
Gulf of Tonkin
incident 6.2 Bombing of Laos 6.3 The 1964 Offensive 6.4 American ground war 6.5 Tet Offensive

7 Nixon Doctrine
Nixon Doctrine
and Vietnamization, 1969–72

7.1 Nuclear threats and diplomacy 7.2 Hanoi's war strategy 7.3 U.S. domestic controversies 7.4 Collapsing U.S. morale 7.5 ARVN
ARVN
taking the lead and U.S. ground-force withdrawal 7.6 Cambodia 7.7 Laos 7.8 Easter Offensive
Easter Offensive
and Paris Peace Accords, 1972

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

8.1 Campaign 275 8.2 Final North Vietnamese offensive 8.3 Fall of Saigon

9 Opposition to U.S. involvement, 1964–73 10 Involvement of other countries

10.1 Pro-Hanoi

10.1.1 China 10.1.2 Soviet Union 10.1.3 Czechoslovakia 10.1.4 North Korea 10.1.5 Cuba 10.1.6 Other Eastern Bloc
Eastern Bloc
countries

10.2 Pro-Saigon

10.2.1 South Korea 10.2.2 Thailand 10.2.3 Australia
Australia
and New Zealand 10.2.4 Philippines 10.2.5 Taiwan 10.2.6 Brazil

10.3 Neutral and non-belligerent nations

10.3.1 Canada and the ICC

11 United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races
United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races
(FULRO) 12 War crimes

12.1 South Vietnamese, Korean and American 12.2 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong

13 Women

13.1 American nurses 13.2 Vietnamese soldiers 13.3 Journalists

14 Black servicemen 15 Weapons

15.1 Radio communications 15.2 Extent of U.S. bombings

16 Aftermath

16.1 Events in Southeast Asia 16.2 Effect on the United States

16.2.1 Views on the war 16.2.2 Cost of the war 16.2.3 Impact on the U.S. military

16.3 Effects of U.S. chemical defoliation 16.4 Casualties 16.5 In popular culture

16.5.1 Myths

16.6 Commemoration

17 See also

17.1 General

18 Annotations 19 Notes 20 References

20.1 Secondary sources 20.2 Primary sources 20.3 Historiography
Historiography
and memory

21 External links

Names Further information: Terminology of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War Various names have been applied to the conflict. Vietnam
Vietnam
War is the most commonly used name in English. It has also been called the Second Indochina War[62] and the Vietnam
Vietnam
Conflict. As there have been several conflicts in Indochina, this particular conflict is known by the names of its primary protagonists to distinguish it from others.[74] In Vietnamese, the war is generally known as Kháng chiến chống Mỹ (Resistance War Against America),[75] but less formally as 'Cuộc chiến tranh Mỹ' (The American War). It is also called Chiến tranh Việt Nam (The Vietnam
Vietnam
War).[76]

Background See also: History of Vietnam, Cochinchina Campaign, Cần Vương, Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng, Yên Bái mutiny, Vietnam
Vietnam
during World War II, War in Vietnam
Vietnam
(1945–46), 1940–46 in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War, 1947–50 in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War, First Indochina War, Operation Vulture, Operation Passage to Freedom, and 1954 in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War The primary military organizations involved in the war were as follows: One side consisted of the Army
Army
of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the United States
United States
armed forces, while the other side consisted of the People's Army
Army
of Vietnam
Vietnam
(PAVN) (more commonly called the North Vietnamese Army, or NVA, in English-language sources) and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam
South Vietnam
(NLF, more commonly known as the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
in English language sources), a South Vietnamese communist guerrilla force.[77] Daniel Ellsberg
Daniel Ellsberg
contends that U.S. participation in Vietnam
Vietnam
had begun in 1945 when it gave support to a French effort to reconquer its colony in Vietnam, a nation which had just declared independence in August 1945.[78] Indochina was a French colony during the 19th century. When the Japanese invaded during World War II, the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
opposed them with support from the US, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and China. They received some Japanese arms when Japan surrendered. The Viet Minh, a Communist-led common front under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, then initiated an insurgency against French rule. Hostilities escalated into the First Indochina War (beginning in December 1946). By the 1950s, the conflict had become entwined with the Cold War. In January 1950, China
China
and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
recognized the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam, based in Hanoi, as the legitimate government of Vietnam. The following month the United States
United States
and Great Britain recognized the French-backed State of Vietnam
Vietnam
in Saigon, led by former Emperor Bảo Đại, as the legitimate Vietnamese government.[79][80] The outbreak of the Korean War
Korean War
in June 1950 convinced many Washington policymakers that the war in Indochina was an example of communist expansionism directed by the Soviet Union.[81] Military advisors from the People's Republic of China
China
(PRC) began assisting the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
in July 1950.[82] PRC weapons, expertise, and laborers transformed the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
from a guerrilla force into a regular army.[83] In September 1950, the United States created a Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) to screen French requests for aid, advise on strategy, and train Vietnamese soldiers.[84] By 1954, the United States
United States
had spent US$1 billion in support of the French military effort, shouldering 80 percent of the cost of the war.[85] During the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, U.S. carriers sailed to the Gulf of Tonkin and the U.S. conducted reconnaissance flights. There were also talks between the French and Americans in which the possible use of three tactical nuclear weapons was considered, though reports of how seriously this was considered and by whom are vague and contradictory.[86][87] According to U.S. vice president Richard Nixon, the plan involved the Joint Chiefs of Staff drawing up plans to use three small tactical nuclear weapons in support of the French.[86] Nixon, a so-called "hawk" on Vietnam, suggested that the United States
United States
might have to "put American boys in".[88] U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
made American participation contingent on British support, but the British were opposed.[88] Eisenhower decided against U.S. military intervention, being wary of getting the United States
United States
involved in a land war in Asia.[89] Throughout the conflict, U.S. intelligence estimates remained skeptical of French chances of success.[90] On 7 May 1954, the French garrison at Dien Bien Phu surrendered. The defeat marked the end of French military involvement in Indochina. At the Geneva Conference, the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh, and independence was granted to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Transition period Main articles: Geneva Conference (1954); Operation Passage to Freedom; Battle of Saigon
Saigon
(1955); Ba Cụt; State of Vietnam
Vietnam
referendum, 1955; Land reform in Vietnam; and Land reform in North Vietnam The Geneva Conference, 1954 At the 1954 Geneva peace conference, Vietnam
Vietnam
was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel. Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
had wished to continue the war in the south, but was restrained by his Chinese allies who convinced him that he could win control by electoral means.[91][92] Under the terms of the Geneva Accords, civilians were to be given the opportunity to move freely between the two provisional states for a 300-day period. Elections throughout the country were to be held in 1956 to establish a unified government.[93] Around one million northerners, mainly minority Catholics, fled south, fearing persecution by the communists.[94] This followed an American psychological warfare campaign, designed by Edward Lansdale
Edward Lansdale
for the CIA, which exaggerated anti-Catholic sentiment among the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
and which falsely claimed the US was about to drop atomic bombs on Hanoi.[95][96][97] The exodus was coordinated by a U.S.-funded $93 million relocation program, which included the use of the Seventh Fleet
Seventh Fleet
to ferry refugees.[98] The northern, mainly Catholic refugees gave the later Ngô Đình Diệm
Ngô Đình Diệm
regime a strong anti-communist constituency.[99] Diệm staffed his government's key posts mostly with northern and central Catholics. In addition to the Catholics flowing south, up to 130,000 "Revolutionary Regroupees" went to the north for "regroupment", expecting to return to the south within two years.[100] The Viet Minh
Viet Minh
left roughly 5,000 to 10,000 cadres in the south as a base for future insurgency.[101] The last French soldiers were to leave Vietnam
Vietnam
in April 1956.[83] The PRC completed its withdrawal from North Vietnam
North Vietnam
at around the same time.[82] Around 52,000 Vietnamese civilians moved from south to north.[102] Between 1953 and 1956, the North Vietnamese government instituted various agrarian reforms, including "rent reduction" and "land reform", which resulted in significant political oppression. During the land reform, testimony from North Vietnamese witnesses suggested a ratio of one execution for every 160 village residents, which extrapolated nationwide would indicate nearly 100,000 executions. Because the campaign was concentrated mainly in the Red River Delta area, a lower estimate of 50,000 executions became widely accepted by scholars at the time.[103][104][105][106] However, declassified documents from the Vietnamese and Hungarian archives indicate that the number of executions was much lower than reported at the time, although likely greater than 13,500.[107] In 1956, leaders in Hanoi
Hanoi
admitted to "excesses" in implementing this program and restored a large amount of the land to the original owners.[108] The south, meanwhile, constituted the State of Vietnam, with Bảo Đại as Emperor and Ngô Đình Diệm
Ngô Đình Diệm
(appointed in July 1954) as his prime minister. Neither the United States
United States
government nor Ngô Đình Diệm's State of Vietnam
Vietnam
signed anything at the 1954 Geneva Conference. With respect to the question of reunification, the non-communist Vietnamese delegation objected strenuously to any division of Vietnam, but lost out when the French accepted the proposal of Viet Minh
Viet Minh
delegate Phạm Văn Đồng,[109] who proposed that Vietnam
Vietnam
eventually be united by elections under the supervision of "local commissions".[110] The United States countered with what became known as the "American Plan", with the support of South Vietnam
South Vietnam
and the United Kingdom.[111] It provided for unification elections under the supervision of the United Nations, but was rejected by the Soviet delegation.[111] The United States
United States
said, "With respect to the statement made by the representative of the State of Vietnam, the United States
United States
reiterates its traditional position that peoples are entitled to determine their own future and that it will not join in any arrangement which would hinder this".[112] U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
wrote in 1954,

.mw-parser-output .templatequote overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px .mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0 I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indochinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held as of the time of the fighting, possibly eighty percent of the population would have voted for the Communist
Communist
Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
as their leader rather than Chief of State Bảo Đại. Indeed, the lack of leadership and drive on the part of Bảo Đại
Bảo Đại
was a factor in the feeling prevalent among Vietnamese that they had nothing to fight for.[113]

Ba Cut
Ba Cut
in Can Tho Military Court 1956, commander of religious movement the Hòa Hảo, which had fought against the Việt Minh, Vietnamese National Army
Army
and Cao Dai movement throughout the first war According to the Pentagon Papers, however, from 1954 to 1956 "Ngô Đình Diệm really did accomplish miracles" in South Vietnam: "It is almost certain that by 1956 the proportion which might have voted for Ho—in a free election against Diệm—would have been much smaller than eighty percent."[114] In 1957, independent observers from India, Poland, and Canada representing the International Control Commission (ICC) stated that fair, unbiased elections were not possible, with the ICC reporting that neither South nor North Vietnam had honored the armistice agreement.[115] From April to June 1955, Diệm eliminated any political opposition in the south by launching military operations against two religious groups: the Cao Đài
Cao Đài
and Hòa Hảo
Hòa Hảo
of Ba Cụt. The campaign also focused on the Bình Xuyên
Bình Xuyên
organized crime group, which was allied with members of the communist party secret police and had some military elements. As broad-based opposition to his harsh tactics mounted, Diệm increasingly sought to blame the communists.[42]

Originating as a bandit group, the Bình Xuyên
Bình Xuyên
was a crime syndicate briefly aligned with the Việt Minh
Việt Minh
before allying with the French in exchange for control over large parts of Saigon. Headed by Bảy Viễn, it was defeated during the Battle of Saigon
Saigon
in 1955. In a referendum on the future of the State of Vietnam
Vietnam
on 23 October 1955, Diệm rigged the poll supervised by his brother Ngô Đình Nhu and was credited with 98.2 percent of the vote, including 133% in Saigon. His American advisors had recommended a more modest winning margin of "60 to 70 percent." Diệm, however, viewed the election as a test of authority.[116] Three days later, he declared South Vietnam
Vietnam
to be an independent state under the name Republic of Vietnam (ROV), with himself as president.[117] Likewise, Ho Chi Minh and other communist officials always won at least 99% of the vote in North Vietnamese "elections".[118] The domino theory, which argued that if one country fell to communism, then all of the surrounding countries would follow, was first proposed as policy by the Eisenhower administration.[119] John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. senator, said in a speech to the American Friends of Vietnam: "Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, the Philippines
Philippines
and obviously Laos
Laos
and Cambodia
Cambodia
are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism
Communism
overflowed into Vietnam."[120]

Diệm era, 1954–63 Main articles: Ngô Đình Diệm
Ngô Đình Diệm
and War in Vietnam
Vietnam
(1954–59) Rule See also: Ngô Đình Diệm
Ngô Đình Diệm
presidential visit to Australia Map of insurgency and "disturbances", 1957 to 1960 A devout Roman Catholic, Diệm was fervently anti-communist, nationalist, and socially conservative. Historian Luu Doan Huynh notes that "Diệm represented narrow and extremist nationalism coupled with autocracy and nepotism."[121] The majority of Vietnamese people were Buddhist, and were alarmed by actions such as Diệm's dedication of the country to the Virgin Mary. Beginning in the summer of 1955, Diệm launched the "Denounce the Communists" campaign, during which suspected communists and other anti-government elements were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or executed. He instituted the death penalty against any activity deemed communist in August 1956.[122] About 12,000 suspected opponents of Diệm were killed between 1955 and 1957, and by the end of 1958, an estimated 40,000 political prisoners had been jailed.[123]

U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles greet President Ngô Đình Diệm
Ngô Đình Diệm
of South Vietnam
South Vietnam
in Washington, 8 May 1957 In May 1957, Diệm undertook a ten-day state visit to the United States. President Eisenhower pledged his continued support, and a parade was held in Diệm's honor in New York City. Although Diệm was publicly praised, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles
conceded in private that Diệm had been selected because there were no better alternatives.[124]

Insurgency
Insurgency
in the South, 1954–60 Main articles: Viet Cong
Viet Cong
and War in Vietnam
Vietnam
(1959–63) Viet Cong
Viet Cong
with automatic weapons use leafy camouflage as they patrol a portion of the Saigon
Saigon
River in small boats. Between 1954 and 1957, there was large-scale but disorganized dissidence in the countryside, which the Diệm government succeeded in quelling. In early 1957, South Vietnam
South Vietnam
enjoyed its first peace in over a decade. Incidents of political violence began to occur in mid-1957, but the government "did not construe it as a campaign, considering the disorders too diffuse to warrant committing major GVN [Government of Vietnam] resources." By early 1959, however, Diệm had come to regard the (increasingly frequent) disorders as an organized campaign and implemented Law 10/59, which made political violence punishable by death and property confiscation.[125] There had been some division among former Viet Minh
Viet Minh
whose main goal was to hold the elections promised in the Geneva Accords, leading to "wildcat" activities separate from the other communists and anti-GVN activists.[9] In December 1960, the National Liberation Front (NLF, a.k.a. the Viet Cong) was formally created with the intent of uniting all anti-GVN activists, including non-communists. It was formed in Memot, Cambodia, and directed through a central office known as COSVN. According to the Pentagon Papers, the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
"placed heavy emphasis on the withdrawal of American advisors and influence, on land reform and liberalization of the GVN, on coalition government and the neutralization of Vietnam." The identities of the leaders of the organization often were kept secret.[9] Support for the NLF was driven by peasant resentment of Diem's reversal of land reforms in the countryside. The vast majority of the population lived in villages in the countryside, where a key demand was for land reform. In areas they controlled, the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
had confiscated large private landholdings, reduced rents and debts, and leased communal lands, mostly to the poorer peasants. Diem brought the landlords back to the villages. People who were farming land they had held for years now had to return it to landlords and pay years of back rent. This rent collection was enforced by the South Vietnamese army. The divisions within villages reproduced those that had existed against the French: "75 percent support for the NLF, 20 percent trying to remain neutral and 5 percent firmly pro-government".[126]

North Vietnamese involvement See also: North Vietnamese invasion of Laos
Laos
and Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
trail The Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
trail, known as the Truong Son Road by the North Vietnamese, cuts through Laos. This would develop into a complex logistical system which would allow the North Vietnamese to maintain the war effort despite the largest aerial bombardment campaign in history. Sources disagree on whether North Vietnam
North Vietnam
played a direct role in aiding and organizing South Vietnamese rebels prior to 1960. Kahin and Lewis assert:

Contrary to United States
United States
policy assumptions, all available evidence shows that the revival of the civil war in the South in 1958 was undertaken by Southerners at their own—not Hanoi's—initiative… Insurgency
Insurgency
activity against the Saigon
Saigon
government began in the South under Southern leadership not as a consequence of any dictate from Hanoi, but contrary to Hanoi's injunctions.[9]

Similarly, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. states that "it was not until September 1960 that the Communist
Communist
Party of North Vietnam bestowed its formal blessing and called for the liberation of the south from American imperialism".[9]

The Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
trail required, on average, four months of rough-terrain travel for combatants from North Vietnam
North Vietnam
destined for the Southern battlefields. By contrast, James Olson and Randy Roberts assert that North Vietnam authorized a low-level insurgency in December 1956.[8] To counter the accusation that North Vietnam
North Vietnam
was violating the Geneva Accord, the independence of the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
was stressed in communist propaganda.[127] In March 1956, southern communist leader Lê Duẩn
Lê Duẩn
presented a plan to revive the insurgency entitled "The Road to the South" to the other members of the Politburo in Hanoi; however, as both China
China
and the Soviets opposed confrontation at this time, Lê Duẩn's plan was rejected.[127] Despite this, the North Vietnamese leadership approved tentative measures to revive the southern insurgency in December 1956.[128] Communist
Communist
forces were under a single command structure set up in 1958.[129] The North Vietnamese Communist
Communist
Party approved a "people's war" on the South at a session in January 1959,[130] and, in May, Group 559 was established to maintain and upgrade the Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
trail, at this time a six-month mountain trek through Laos. About 500 of the "regroupees" of 1954 were sent south on the trail during its first year of operation.[131] The first arms delivery via the trail was completed in August 1959.[132] About 40,000 communist soldiers infiltrated the south from 1961 to 1963.[127]

Kennedy's escalation, 1961–63 Main articles: War in Vietnam
Vietnam
(1959–63) and Strategic Hamlet Program See also: Phạm Ngọc Thảo President Kennedy's news conference of 23 March 1961 In the 1960 U.S. presidential election, Senator John F. Kennedy defeated incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon. Although Eisenhower warned Kennedy about Laos
Laos
and Vietnam, Europe and Latin America "loomed larger than Asia on his sights."[133] In June 1961, he bitterly disagreed with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
when they met in Vienna
Vienna
to discuss key U.S.–Soviet issues. Only 16 months later, the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
(16–28 October 1962) played out on television worldwide. It was the closest the Cold War
Cold War
came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war, and the U.S. raised the readiness level of Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
(SAC) forces to DEFCON
DEFCON
2. The Kennedy administration remained essentially committed to the Cold War foreign policy inherited from the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. In 1961, the U.S. had 50,000 troops based in South Korea, and Kennedy faced 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
Laos
and the Pathet Lao
Pathet Lao
communist movement.[134] These crises made Kennedy believe that another failure on the part of the United States to gain control and stop communist expansion would fatally damage U.S. credibility with its allies and his own reputation. Kennedy was thus determined to "draw a line in the sand" and prevent a communist victory in Vietnam. He told James Reston of The New York Times immediately after his Vienna
Vienna
meeting with Khrushchev, "Now we have a problem making our power credible and Vietnam
Vietnam
looks like the place."[135][136]

South Vietnam, Military Regions, 1967 Kennedy's policy toward South Vietnam
South Vietnam
rested on the assumption that Diệm and his forces had to ultimately defeat the guerrillas on their own. He was against the deployment of American combat troops and observed that "to introduce U.S. forces in large numbers there today, while it might have an initially favorable military impact, would almost certainly lead to adverse political and, in the long run, adverse military consequences."[137] The quality of the South Vietnamese military, however, remained poor. Poor leadership, corruption, and political promotions all played a part in weakening the South Vietnamese Army
Army
(formally Army
Army
of the Republic of Vietnam
Vietnam
or ARVN). The frequency of guerrilla attacks rose as the insurgency gathered steam. While Hanoi's support for the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
played a role, South Vietnamese governmental incompetence was at the core of the crisis.[138] One major issue Kennedy raised was whether the Soviet space and missile programs had surpassed those of the United States. Although Kennedy stressed long-range missile parity with the Soviets, he was also interested in using special forces for counterinsurgency warfare in Third World countries threatened by communist insurgencies. Although they were originally intended for use behind front lines after a conventional Soviet invasion of Europe, Kennedy believed that the guerrilla tactics employed by special forces such as the Green Berets would be effective in a "brush fire" war in Vietnam.

Kennedy and McNamara Kennedy advisors Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow recommended that U.S. troops be sent to South Vietnam
South Vietnam
disguised as flood relief workers.[139] Kennedy rejected the idea but increased military assistance yet again. In April 1962, John Kenneth Galbraith
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."[140] By November 1963, there were 16,000 American military personnel in South Vietnam, up from Eisenhower's 900 advisors.[141] The Strategic Hamlet Program
Strategic Hamlet Program
was initiated in late 1961. This joint U.S.–South Vietnamese program attempted to resettle the rural population into fortified camps. It was implemented in early 1962 and involved some forced relocation, village internment, and segregation of rural South Vietnamese into new communities where the peasantry would be isolated from Communist
Communist
insurgents. It was hoped these new communities would provide security for the peasants and strengthen the tie between them and the central government. However, by November 1963 the program had waned, and it officially ended in 1964.[142] On 23 July 1962, fourteen nations, including China, South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, North Vietnam
North Vietnam
and the United States, signed an agreement promising to respect the neutrality of Laos.

Ousting and assassination of Ngô Đình Diệm Main articles: Cable 243, Arrest and assassination of Ngô Đình Diệm, Buddhist crisis, Krulak Mendenhall mission, McNamara Taylor mission, 1963 South Vietnamese coup, and Reaction to the 1963 South Vietnamese coup See also: Role of the United States
United States
in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War § John F. Kennedy (1961–1963), 1960 South Vietnamese coup attempt, 1962 South Vietnamese Independence Palace
Independence Palace
bombing, Huế
Huế
Phật Đản shootings, and Xá Lợi Pagoda raids The inept performance of the South Vietnamese army was exemplified by failed actions such as the Battle of Ap Bac
Battle of Ap Bac
on 2 January 1963, in which a small band of Viet Cong
Viet Cong
won a battle against a much larger and better-equipped South Vietnamese force, many of whose officers seemed reluctant even to engage in combat.[143] During the Battle of Ap Bac South Vietnamese had lost 83 soldiers, 5 US war helicopter that shot down by Vietcong
Vietcong
while the Vietcong
Vietcong
forces have lost 18 soldiers. The Army
Army
of the Republic of Vietnam
Vietnam
forces were led by Diệm's most trusted general, Huỳnh Văn Cao, commander of the IV Corps. Cao was a Catholic who had been promoted due to religion and fidelity rather than skill, and his main job was to preserve his forces to stave off coup attempts; he had earlier vomited during a communist attack. Some policymakers in Washington began to conclude that Diệm was incapable of defeating the communists and might even make a deal with Ho Chi Minh. He seemed concerned only with fending off coups, and had become more paranoid after attempts in 1960 and 1962, which he partly attributed to U.S. encouragement. As Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
noted, "Diệm wouldn't make even the slightest concessions. He was difficult to reason with ..."[144] Historian James Gibson summed up the situation:

ARVN
ARVN
forces capture a Viet Cong. Strategic hamlets had failed ... The South Vietnamese regime was incapable of winning the peasantry because of its class base among landlords. Indeed, there was no longer a 'regime' in the sense of a relatively stable political alliance and functioning bureaucracy. Instead, civil government and military operations had virtually ceased. The National Liberation Front had made great progress and was close to declaring provisional revolutionary governments in large areas.[145]

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

Ngô Đình Diệm
Ngô Đình Diệm
after being shot and killed in a coup on 2 November 1963 The Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) was in contact with generals planning to remove Diệm. They were told that the United States
United States
would not oppose such a move nor punish the generals by cutting off aid. President Diệm was overthrown and executed, along with his brother, on 2 November 1963. When Kennedy was informed, Maxwell Taylor remembered that he "rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face."[146] Kennedy had not anticipated Diệm's murder. The U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, invited the coup leaders to the embassy and congratulated them. Ambassador Lodge informed Kennedy that "the prospects now are for a shorter war".[147] Kennedy wrote Lodge a letter congratulating him for "a fine job".[148] Following the coup, chaos ensued. Hanoi
Hanoi
took advantage of the situation and increased its support for the guerrillas. South Vietnam entered a period of extreme political instability, as one military government toppled another in quick succession. Increasingly, each new regime was viewed by the communists as a puppet of the Americans; whatever the failings of Diệm, his credentials as a nationalist (as Robert McNamara
Robert McNamara
later reflected) had been impeccable.[149]

Viet Cong
Viet Cong
fighters crossing a river U.S. military
U.S. military
advisors were embedded at every level of the South Vietnamese armed forces. They were however criticized for ignoring the political nature of the insurgency.[150] The Kennedy administration sought to refocus U.S. efforts on pacification and "winning over the hearts and minds" of the population. The military leadership in Washington, however, was hostile to any role for U.S. advisors other than conventional troop training.[151] General Paul Harkins, the commander of U.S. forces in South Vietnam, confidently predicted victory by Christmas 1963.[152] The CIA was less optimistic, however, warning that "the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
by and large retain de facto control of much of the countryside and have steadily increased the overall intensity of the effort".[153] Paramilitary officers from the CIA's Special
Special
Activities Division trained and led Hmong tribesmen in Laos
Laos
and into Vietnam. The indigenous forces numbered in the tens of thousands and they conducted direct action missions, led by paramilitary officers, against the Communist
Communist
Pathet Lao
Pathet Lao
forces and their North Vietnamese supporters.[154] The CIA also ran the Phoenix Program
Phoenix Program
and participated in Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Vietnam
– Studies and Observations Group (MAC-V SOG), which was originally named the Special Operations Group, but was changed for cover purposes.[155]

Johnson's escalation, 1963–69 Main article: Joint warfare in South Vietnam, 1963–69 Further information: Role of the United States
United States
in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War § Americanization See also: 1964 South Vietnamese coup, September 1964 South Vietnamese coup attempt, December 1964 South Vietnamese coup, and 1965 South Vietnamese coup President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
had not been heavily involved with policy toward Vietnam;[156][157] however, upon becoming president, Johnson immediately focused on the war. On 24 November 1963, he said, "the battle against communism ... must be joined ... with strength and determination."[158] Johnson knew he had inherited a rapidly deteriorating situation in South Vietnam,[159] but he adhered to the widely accepted domino theory argument for defending the South: Should they retreat or appease, either action would imperil other nations beyond the conflict.[160] The military revolutionary council, meeting in lieu of a strong South Vietnamese leader, was made up of 12 members. This council was headed by General Dương Văn Minh, whom Stanley Karnow, a journalist on the ground, later recalled as "a model of lethargy".[161] Lodge, frustrated by the end of the year, cabled home about Minh: "Will he be strong enough to get on top of things?" Minh's regime was overthrown in January 1964 by General Nguyễn Khánh.[162] There was also persistent instability in the military, however, as several coups—not all successful—occurred in a short period of time. In a statement similar to that made to the French almost two decades earlier, Ho Chi Minh
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."[163] Some have argued that the policy of North Vietnam was not to topple other non-communist governments in South East Asia.[164]

Gulf of Tonkin
Gulf of Tonkin
incident Main article: Gulf of Tonkin
Gulf of Tonkin
incident Further information: Credibility gap On 2 August 1964, USS Maddox, on an intelligence mission along North Vietnam's coast, allegedly fired upon and damaged several torpedo boats that had been stalking it in the Gulf of Tonkin.[165] A second attack was reported two days later on USS Turner Joy and Maddox in the same area. The circumstances of the attacks were murky.[166] Lyndon Johnson commented to Undersecretary of State George Ball that "those sailors out there may have been shooting at flying fish."[167] An undated NSA publication declassified in 2005 revealed that there was no attack on 4 August.[168]

Play media Universal Newsreel film about the attack on the U.S. Army base in Pleiku
Pleiku
and the U.S. response, February 1965 The second "attack" led to retaliatory air strikes, and prompted Congress to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
on 7 August 1964.[169][170] Although most congressmen at the time denied that this was a full-scale war declaration, the Tonkin Resolution granted the president unilateral power to launch any military actions he deemed necessary.[170] In the same month, Johnson pledged that he was not "committing American boys to fighting a war that I think ought to be fought by the boys of Asia to help protect their own land".[171]

A U.S. B-66 Destroyer and four F-105 Thunderchiefs dropping bombs on North Vietnam
North Vietnam
during Operation Rolling Thunder The National Security Council recommended a three-stage escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam. Following an attack on a U.S. Army
Army
base in Pleiku
Pleiku
on 7 February 1965,[172] a series of air strikes was initiated, Operation Flaming Dart, while Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin was on a state visit to North Vietnam. Operation Rolling Thunder
Operation Rolling Thunder
and Operation Arc Light
Operation Arc Light
expanded aerial bombardment and ground support operations.[173] The bombing campaign, which ultimately lasted three years, was intended to force North Vietnam
North Vietnam
to cease its support for the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
by threatening to destroy North Vietnamese air defenses and industrial infrastructure. It was additionally aimed at bolstering the morale of the South Vietnamese.[174] Between March 1965 and November 1968, "Rolling Thunder" deluged the north with a million tons of missiles, rockets and bombs.[175]

Bombing of Laos Main article: Laotian Civil War Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
awards a medal to Nguyễn Văn Cốc, who was claimed to have been responsible for downing 11 enemy aircraft. Bombing was not restricted to North Vietnam. Other aerial campaigns, such as Operation Barrel Roll, targeted different parts of the Viet Cong and NVA infrastructure. These included the Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
trail supply route, which ran through Laos
Laos
and Cambodia. The ostensibly neutral Laos
Laos
had become the scene of a civil war, pitting the Laotian government backed by the US against the Pathet Lao
Pathet Lao
and its North Vietnamese allies. Massive aerial bombardment against the Pathet Lao
Pathet Lao
and People's Army
Army
of Vietnam
Vietnam
forces were carried out by the US to prevent the collapse of the Royal central government, and to deny the use of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos, nearly equal to the 2.1 million tons of bombs the U.S. dropped on Europe and Asia during all of World War II, making Laos
Laos
the most heavily bombed country in history relative to the size of its population.[176] The objective of stopping North Vietnam
North Vietnam
and the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
was never reached. The Chief of Staff of the United States
United States
Air Force Curtis LeMay, however, had long advocated saturation bombing in Vietnam
Vietnam
and wrote of the communists that "we're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age".[177]

The 1964 Offensive ARVN
ARVN
Forces and a US Advisor inspect a downed helicopter, Battle of Dong Xoai, June 1965 Following the Gulf of Tonkin
Gulf of Tonkin
Resolution, Hanoi
Hanoi
anticipated the arrival of US troops and began expanding the Viet Cong, as well as sending increasing numbers of North Vietnamese personnel southwards. At this phase they were outfitting the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
forces and standardising their equipment with AK-47
AK-47
rifles and other supplies, as well as forming the 9th Division.[178] "From a strength of approximately 5,000 at the start of 1959 the Viet Cong's ranks grew to about 100,000 at the end of 1964 ... Between 1961 and 1964 the Army's strength rose from about 850,000 to nearly a million men."[150] The numbers for U.S. troops deployed to Vietnam during the same period were much lower: 2,000 in 1961, rising rapidly to 16,500 in 1964.[179] During this phase, the use of captured equipment decreased, while greater numbers of ammunition and supplies were required to maintained regular units. Group 559 was tasked with expanding the Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
Trail, in light of the near constant bombardment by US warplanes. The war had begun to shift into the final, conventional warfare phase of Hanoi's three-stage protracted warfare model. The Viet Cong
Viet Cong
was now tasked with destroying the ARVN and capturing and holding areas; however, the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
was not yet strong enough to assault major towns and cities. In December 1964, ARVN
ARVN
forces had suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Bình Giã,[180] in a battle that both sides viewed as a watershed. Previously, communist forces had utilised hit-and-run guerrilla tactics. At Binh Gia, however, they had defeated a strong ARVN
ARVN
force in a conventional battle and remained in the field for four days.[181] Tellingly, South Vietnamese forces were again defeated in June 1965 at the Battle of Đồng Xoài.[182]

American ground war A Marine from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, moves a suspected Viet Cong during a search and clear operation held by the battalion 15 miles (24 km) west of Da Nang
Da Nang
Air Base, 1965. On 8 March 1965, 3,500 U.S. Marines were unilaterally dispatched to South Vietnam.[183] This marked the beginning of the American ground war. U.S. public opinion overwhelmingly supported the deployment.[184] The Marines' initial assignment was defensive. The first deployment of 3,500 in March 1965 was increased to nearly 200,000 by December.[185] The U.S. military
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.[185] General William Westmoreland
William Westmoreland
informed Admiral U. S. Grant Sharp Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific forces, that the situation was critical.[185] He said, "I am convinced that U.S. troops with their energy, mobility, and firepower can successfully take the fight to the NLF (Viet Cong)".[186] With this recommendation, Westmoreland was advocating an aggressive departure from America's defensive posture and the sidelining of the South Vietnamese. By ignoring ARVN
ARVN
units, the U.S. commitment became open-ended.[187] Westmoreland outlined a three-point plan to win the war:

Phase 1. Commitment of U.S. (and other free world) forces necessary to halt the losing trend by the end of 1965. Phase 2. U.S. and allied forces mount major offensive actions to seize the initiative to destroy guerrilla and organized enemy forces. This phase would end when the enemy had been worn down, thrown on the defensive, and driven back from major populated areas. Phase 3. If the enemy persisted, a period of twelve to eighteen months following Phase 2 would be required for the final destruction of enemy forces remaining in remote base areas.[188] Peasants suspected of being Viet Cong
Viet Cong
under detention of U.S. Army, 1966 The plan was approved by Johnson and marked a profound departure from the previous administration's insistence that the government of South Vietnam
Vietnam
was responsible for defeating the guerrillas. Westmoreland predicted victory by the end of 1967.[189] Johnson did not, however, communicate this change in strategy to the media. Instead he emphasized continuity.[190] The change in U.S. policy depended on matching the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
in a contest of attrition and morale. The opponents were locked in a cycle of escalation.[191] The idea that the government of South Vietnam could manage its own affairs was shelved.[191] Westmoreland and McNamara furthermore touted the body count system for gauging victory, a metric that would later prove to be flawed.[192] The American buildup transformed the South Vietnamese economy and had a profound effect on society. South Vietnam
South Vietnam
was inundated with manufactured goods. Stanley Karnow
Stanley Karnow
noted that "the main PX [Post Exchange], located in the Saigon
Saigon
suburb of Cholon, was only slightly smaller than the New York Bloomingdale's ..."[193] A huge surge in corruption was witnessed. Meanwhile, the one-year tour of duty of American soldiers deprived units of experienced leadership. As one observer noted "we were not in Vietnam
Vietnam
for 10 years, but for one year 10 times."[194][verification needed] As a result, training programs were shortened.

Heavily bandaged woman burned by napalm, with a tag attached to her arm which reads "VNC Female" meaning Vietnamese civilian Washington encouraged its SEATO
SEATO
allies to contribute troops. Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and the Philippines[195] all agreed to send troops. South Korea
South Korea
would later ask to join the Many Flags program in return for economic compensation. Major allies, however, notably NATO
NATO
nations Canada and the United Kingdom, declined Washington's troop requests.[196] The U.S. and its allies mounted complex search and destroy operations, designed to find enemy forces, destroy them, and then withdraw, typically using helicopters. In November 1965, the U.S. engaged in its first major battle with the North Vietnamese Army, the Battle of Ia Drang.[197] The operation was the first large scale helicopter air assault by the U.S., and first to employ Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers in a tactical support role. These tactics continued in 1966–67 with operations such as Masher, Thayer, Attleboro, Cedar Falls, and Junction City. However, the communist insurgents remained elusive and demonstrated great tactical flexibility. By 1967, these operations had generated large-scale internal refugees, numbering nearly 2.1 million in South Vietnam, with 125,000 people evacuated and rendered homeless during Operation Masher alone, which was the largest search and destroy operation in the war up to that point.[198][199] Operation Masher
Operation Masher
would have negligible impact, however, as the NVA/VC returned to the province just four months after the operation ended.[199] Despite the continual conductance of major operations, which the Viet Cong and NVA would typically evade, the war was characterised by smaller-unit contacts or engagements.[200] Up to the war's end, the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
and NVA would initiate 90% of large firefights, of which 80% were clear and well-planned operations, and thus the NVA/ Viet Cong
Viet Cong
would retain strategic initiative despite overwhelming US force and fire-power deployment.[200] The NVA/ Viet Cong
Viet Cong
had furthermore developed strategies capable of countering U.S. military doctrines and tactics (see NLF and PAVN battle tactics).

U.S. soldiers searching a village for potential Viet Cong Meanwhile, the political situation in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
began to stabilise with the coming to power of prime minister Air Marshal Nguyễn Cao Kỳ and figurehead chief of state, General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, in mid-1965 at the head of a military junta. This ended a series of coups that had happened more than once a year. In 1967, Thieu became president with Ky as his deputy, after rigged elections. Although they were nominally a civilian government, Ky was supposed to maintain real power through a behind-the-scenes military body. However, Thieu outmanoeuvred and sidelined Ky by filling the ranks with generals from his faction. Thieu was also accused of murdering Ky loyalists through contrived military accidents. Thieu, mistrustful and indecisive, remained president until 1975, having won a one-candidate election in 1971.[201][202]

A US "tunnel rat" soldier prepares to enter a Viet Cong
Viet Cong
tunnel. The Johnson administration employed a "policy of minimum candor"[203] in its dealings with the media. Military information officers sought to manage media coverage by emphasizing stories that portrayed progress in the war. Over time, this policy damaged the public trust in official pronouncements. As the media's coverage of the war and that of the Pentagon diverged, a so-called credibility gap developed.[203] Despite Johnson and Westmoreland publicly proclaiming victory was being achieved, with Westmoreland divulging that the "end is coming into view",[204] internal reports in the Pentagon Papers
Pentagon Papers
indicate that Viet Cong
Viet Cong
forces still retained strategic initiative, and were able to control their losses widely, with 30% of all engagements being Viet Cong
Viet Cong
attacks against static US positions, 23% being a VC/NVA ambush and encirclement, and just 5% of engagements being US forces attacking a Viet Cong
Viet Cong
emplacement and 9% being a US ambush against Viet Cong/NVA forces.[200]

Types of Engagements, From Department of Defence Study 1967[200]

TYPE OF ENGAGEMENTS IN COMBAT NARRATIVES

Percentage of Total Engagements

Notes

Hot Landing Zone. VC/NVA Attacks U.S. Troops As They Deploy

12.5%

Planned VC/NVA Attacks Are 66.2% Of All Engagements

Planned VC/NVA Attack Against US Defensive Perimeter

30.4%

VC/NVA Ambushes or Encircles A Moving US Unit

23.3%

Unplanned US Attacks On A VC/NVA Defensive Perimeter, Engagement A Virtual Surprise To US Commanders

12.5%

Defensive Posts Being Well Concealed or VC-NVA Alerted or Anticipated

Planned US Attack Against Known VC/NVA Defensive Perimeter

5.4%

Planned US Attacks Against VC/NVA Represent 14.3% Of All Engagements

US Forces Ambushes Moving VC/NVA Units

8.9%

Chance Engagement, Neither Side Planned

7.1%

Tet Offensive Main articles: Tet Offensive
Tet Offensive
and United States
United States
news media and the Vietnam
Vietnam
War ARVN
ARVN
forces assault a stronghold in the Mekong Delta. Viet Cong
Viet Cong
before departing to participate in the Tet Offensive around Saigon-Gia Dinh In late 1967, the NVA lured American forces into the hinterlands at Đắk Tô
Đắk Tô
and at the Marine Khe Sanh combat base in Quảng Trị Province, where the U.S. engaged in a series of battles known as The Hill Fights. These actions were part of a diversionary strategy meant to draw US forces towards the Central Highlands.[205] Preparations were underway for the General Offensive, General Uprising, known as Tet Mau Than, or the Tet Offensive, with the intention of Văn Tiến Dũng for forces to launch "direct attacks on the American and puppet nerve centers—Saigon, Hue, Danang, all the cities, towns and main bases..."[206] Hanoi
Hanoi
sought to placate critics of the ongoing stalemate by planning a decisive victory.[207] They reasoned that this could be achieved through sparking a general uprising within the towns and cities,[208] along with mass defections among ARVN
ARVN
units, who were on holiday leave during the truce period.[209] The Tet Offensive
Tet Offensive
began on 30 January 1968, as over 100 cities were attacked by over 85,000 enemy troops, including assaults on key military installations, headquarters, and government buildings and offices, including the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.[210] U.S. and South Vietnamese forces were initially shocked by the scale, intensity and deliberative planning of the urban offensive, as infiltration of personnel and weapons into the cities was accomplished covertly;[206] the offensive constituted an intelligence failure on the scale of Pearl Harbor.[195][211] Most cities were recaptured within weeks, except the former capital city of Huế
Huế
in which NVA and Viet Cong
Viet Cong
troops captured most of the city and citadel except the headquarters of the 1st Division and held on in the fighting for 26 days.[212][213] During that time, they had executed approximately 2,800 unarmed Huế
Huế
civilians and foreigners they considered to be enemy's spies.[214] In the following Battle of Huế
Battle of Huế
American forces employed massive firepower that left 80 percent of the city in ruins.[215] Further north, at Quảng Trị
Quảng Trị
City, the ARVN
ARVN
Airborne Division, the 1st Division and a regiment of the US 1st Cavalry Division had managed to hold out and overcome an assault intended to capture the city.[216][217] In Saigon, Viet Cong/NVA fighters had captured areas in and around the city, attacking key installations and the neighbourhood of Cholon before members of the ARVN
ARVN
Rangers dislodged them after three weeks.[218] During one battle, Peter Arnett[219] reported an infantry commander saying of Bến Tre
Bến Tre
(laid to rubble by U.S. attacks) that "it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."[220]

North Vietnamese regular army forces The ruins of a section of Saigon, in the Cholon neighborhood, following fierce fighting between ARVN
ARVN
forces and Viet Cong
Viet Cong
Main Force battalions During the first month of the offensive, 1,100 Americans and other allied troops, 2,100 ARVN, and 14,000 civilians were killed.[221] By the end of the first offensive, after two months, nearly 5,000 ARVN
ARVN
and over 4,000 U.S. forces had been killed, with total wounded of 45,820 and an unknown number of NVA/Viet Cong casualties,[221] with some U.S. authors claiming the NVA and Viet Cong
Viet Cong
suffered 17,000 KIA and 32,000 total casualties including wounded.[217][222] A month later a second offensive known as the Phase II/ May Offensive
May Offensive
was launched; although less widespread, it demonstrated the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
were still capable of carrying out orchestrated nationwide offensives.[223] Two months later a third offensive was launched, the Phase III/August Offensive. The NVA's own official records of their losses across all three offensives was 45,267 killed and 111,179 total casualties.[224][225] By then it had become the bloodiest year of the war up to that point. The failure to spark a general uprising, and the fact that no units within the ARVN
ARVN
defected, meant both war goals of Hanoi
Hanoi
had fallen flat at enormous costs.[226] Prior to Tet, in November 1967, Westmoreland had spearheaded a public relations drive for the Johnson administration to bolster flagging public support.[227] In a speech before the National Press Club he said a point in the war had been reached "where the end comes into view."[228] Thus, the public was shocked and confused when Westmoreland's predictions were trumped by the Tet Offensive.[227] Public approval of his overall performance dropped from 48 percent to 36 percent, and endorsement for the war effort fell from 40 percent to 26 percent."[229] The American public and media began to turn against Johnson as the three offensives contradicted claims of progress made by the Johnson administration and the military.[227] At one point in 1968, Westmoreland considered the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam
Vietnam
in a contingency plan codenamed Fracture Jaw, which was abandoned when it became known to the White House.[230] Westmoreland requested 200,000 additional troops, which was leaked to the media, and the subsequent fallout combined with intelligence failures caused him to be removed from command in March 1968, succeeded by his deputy Creighton Abrams.[231]

Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin
Alexei Kosygin
with U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson at the Glassboro Summit Conference
Glassboro Summit Conference
where the two representatives discussed the possibilities of a peace settlement On 10 May 1968, peace talks began between the United States
United States
and North Vietnam
Vietnam
in Paris. Negotiations stagnated for five months, until Johnson gave orders to halt the bombing of North Vietnam. At the same time, Hanoi
Hanoi
realized it could not achieve a "total victory" and employed a strategy known as "talking while fighting, fighting while talking", in which military offensives would occur concurrently with negotiations.[232] President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
declined to run for re-election as his approval rating slumped from 48 to 36 percent.[227] His escalation of the war in Vietnam
Vietnam
divided Americans into warring camps, cost 30,000 American lives by that point and was regarded to have destroyed his presidency.[233] Refusal to send more U.S. troops to Vietnam
Vietnam
was also seen as Johnson's admission that the war was lost.[234] As Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara
Robert McNamara
noted, "the dangerous illusion of victory by the United States
United States
was therefore dead."[235] Vietnam
Vietnam
was a major political issue during the United States presidential election in 1968. The election was won by Republican party candidate Richard Nixon.

Nixon Doctrine
Nixon Doctrine
and Vietnamization, 1969–72 Nuclear threats and diplomacy U.S. president Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
began troop withdrawals in 1969. His plan, called the Nixon Doctrine, was to build up the ARVN
ARVN
so that it could take over the defense of South Vietnam. The policy became known as "Vietnamization". Theater commander Creighton Abrams
Creighton Abrams
shifted to smaller operations, aimed at disrupting logistics, with better use of firepower and more cooperation with the ARVN.[citation needed] On 27 October 1969, Nixon had ordered a squadron of 18 B-52s loaded with nuclear weapons to race to the border of Soviet airspace to convince the Soviet Union, in accord with the madman theory, that he was capable of anything to end the Vietnam
Vietnam
War ("Operation Giant Lance").[236][237] Nixon had also sought détente with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and rapprochement with China, which decreased global tensions and led to nuclear arms reduction on the part of both superpowers; however, there was disappointment when both sides continued to supply the North Vietnamese with aid.[citation needed]

Hanoi's war strategy Propaganda leaflet urging the defection of Viet Cong
Viet Cong
and North Vietnamese to the side of the Republic of Vietnam In September 1969, Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
died at age seventy-nine.[238] The failure of Tet in sparking a popular uprising caused a shift in Hanoi's war strategy, and the Giáp-Chinh "Northern-First" faction regained control over military affairs from the Lê Duẩn-Hoàng Văn Thái "Southern-First" faction.[239] An unconventional victory was sidelined in favor of a strategy built on conventional victory through conquest.[240] Large-scale offensives were rolled back in favour of small-unit and sapper attacks as well as targeting the pacification and Vietnamization
Vietnamization
strategy.[239] In the two-year period following Tet, the NVA had begun its transformation from a fine light-infantry, limited mobility force into a high-mobile and mechanised combined arms force.[241]

U.S. domestic controversies The anti-war movement was gaining strength in the United States. Nixon appealed to the "silent majority" of Americans who he said supported the war without showing it in public. But revelations of the My Lai Massacre, in which a U.S. Army
Army
platoon raped and killed civilians, and the 1969 "Green Beret Affair", where eight Special
Special
Forces soldiers, including the 5th Special
Special
Forces Group Commander, were arrested for the murder[242] of a suspected double agent,[243] provoked national and international outrage. In 1971, the Pentagon Papers
Pentagon Papers
were leaked to The New York Times. The top-secret history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, commissioned by the Department of Defense, detailed a long series of public deceptions on the part of the U.S. government. The Supreme Court ruled that its publication was legal.[244]

Collapsing U.S. morale Following the Tet Offensive
Tet Offensive
and the decreasing support among the U.S. public for the war, U.S. forces began a period of morale collapse, disillusionment and disobedience.[245][246] At home, desertion rates quadrupled from 1966 levels.[247] Among the enlisted, only 2.5% chose infantry combat positions in 1969–1970.[247] ROTC enrollment decreased from 191,749 in 1966 to 72,459 by 1971,[248] and reached an all-time low of 33,220 in 1974,[249] depriving U.S. forces of much-needed military leadership. Open refusal to engage in patrols or carry out orders and disobedience began to emerge during this period,[250] with one notable case of an entire company refusing orders to engage or carry out operations.[251] Unit cohesion began to dissipate and focused on minimising contact with Viet Cong
Viet Cong
and NVA troops.[246] A practice known as "sand-bagging" started occurring, where units ordered to go on patrol would go into the country-side, find a site out of view from superiors and rest while radioing in false coordinates and unit reports.[252] Drug usage increased rapidly among U.S. forces during this period, as 30% of U.S. troops engaged in regular usage of marijuana,[252] while a House subcommittee found 10-15% of U.S. troops in Vietnam
Vietnam
regularly used high-grade heroin.[247][253] From 1969 on, search-and-destroy operations became referred to as "search and evade" or "search and avoid" operations, falsifying battle reports while avoiding guerrilla fighters.[254] A total of 900 fragging and suspected fragging incidents were investigated, most occurring between 1969 and 1971.[253][252] In 1969 field-performance of the U.S. Forces was characterised by lowered morale, lack of motivation, and poor leadership.[255] The significant decline in U.S. morale was demonstrated by the Battle of FSB Mary Ann, one of the final engagements in which a sapper attack had rampaged and destroyed the base, relatively unchallenged.[256] William Westmoreland, no longer in command but tasked with investigation of the failure, cited a clear dereliction of duty, lax defensive postures and lack of officers in charge as its cause.[256] On the collapse of U.S. morale, historian Shelby Stanton wrote:

In the last years of the Army's retreat, its remaining forces were relegated to static security. The American Army's decline was readily apparent in this final stage. Racial incidents, drug abuse, combat disobedience, and crime reflected growing idleness, resentment, and frustration... the fatal handicaps of faulty campaign strategy, incomplete wartime preparation, and the tardy, superficial attempts at Vietnamization. An entire American army was sacrificed on the battlefield of Vietnam.[257]

ARVN
ARVN
taking the lead and U.S. ground-force withdrawal ARVN
ARVN
and US Special
Special
Forces, September 1968 Beginning in 1970, American troops were withdrawn from border areas where most of the fighting took place and instead redeployed along the coast and interior. US casualties in 1970 were less than half of 1969 casualties after being relegated to less active combat.[258] At the same time that US forces were redeployed, the ARVN
ARVN
took over combat operations throughout the country, with casualties double US casualties in 1969, and more than triple US ones in 1970.[259] In the post-Tet environment, membership in the South Vietnamese Regional Force and Popular Force militias grew, and they were now more capable of providing village security, which the Americans had not accomplished under Westmoreland.[260] In 1970 Nixon announced the withdrawal of an additional 150,000 American troops, reducing the number of Americans to 265,500.[258] By 1970 Viet Cong
Viet Cong
forces were no longer southern-majority, as nearly 70% of units were northerners.[261] Between 1969 and 1971 the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
and some NVA units had reverted to small unit tactics typical of 1967 and prior instead of nationwide grand offensives.[240] In 1971 Australia and New Zealand
New Zealand
withdrew their soldiers, and U.S. troop count was further reduced to 196,700, with a deadline to remove another 45,000 troops by February 1972. The United States
United States
also reduced support troops, and in March 1971 the 5th Special
Special
Forces Group, the first American unit deployed to South Vietnam, withdrew to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.[262][A 5]

Cambodia Main articles: Operation Menu, Operation Freedom Deal, and Cambodian Civil War A memorial of a T-54/ Type 59 tank
Type 59 tank
in Siem Reap, Cambodia, commemorating the overthrow of US/RVN-backed Lon Nol
Lon Nol
and the end of the civil war by the NVA and GRUNK Prince Norodom Sihanouk
Norodom Sihanouk
had proclaimed Cambodia
Cambodia
neutral since 1955,[265] but permitted the NVA/ Viet Cong
Viet Cong
to use Cambodia
Cambodia
as a staging ground for the Sihanouk Trail. In March 1969 Nixon launched a massive bombing campaign, called Operation Menu, against communist sanctuaries along the Cambodia/ Vietnam
Vietnam
border. Only five high-ranking congressional officials were informed of Operation Menu.[266] In March 1970, Prince Sihanouk was deposed by his pro-American prime minister Lon Nol, who demanded that North Vietnamese troops leave Cambodia
Cambodia
or face military action.[267] North Vietnam
North Vietnam
invaded Cambodia
Cambodia
at the request of the Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
following negotiations with deputy leader Nuon Chea.[268] A series of military operations in Cambodia
Cambodia
by the South Vietnamese alongside Lon Nol's FANK was the closest that the entire leadership of the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
came to being captured, a goal that US/RVN Intelligence failed to achieve for nearly a decade. Lon Nol
Lon Nol
began rounding up Vietnamese civilians in Cambodia into internment camps and massacring them, provoking harsh reactions from both the North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese government.[269] A month after COSVN's escape, U.S. and ARVN forces launched a second invasion into Cambodia
Cambodia
to attack NVA and Viet Cong bases. A counter-offensive later that year as part of Operation Chenla II by the NVA would recapture most of the border areas and decimate most of Lon Nol's forces.

An alleged Viet Cong
Viet Cong
captured during an attack on an American outpost near the Cambodian border is interrogated. The invasion of Cambodia
Cambodia
sparked nationwide U.S. protests as Nixon had promised to deescalate the American involvement. Four students were killed by National Guardsmen in May 1970 during a protest at Kent State University in Ohio, which provoked further public outrage in the United States. The reaction to the incident by the Nixon administration was seen as callous and indifferent, providing additional impetus for the anti-war movement.[270] The U.S. Air Force continued to heavily bomb Cambodia
Cambodia
in support of the Cambodian government as part of Operation Freedom Deal.

Laos Main articles: Operation Commando
Commando
Hunt, Operation Lam Son 719, and Laotian Civil War Pathet Lao
Pathet Lao
soldiers in Vientiane, 1972 Building up on the success of ARVN
ARVN
units in Cambodia, and further testing the Vietnamization
Vietnamization
program, the ARVN
ARVN
were tasked to launch Operation Lam Son 719
Operation Lam Son 719
in February 1971, the first major operation aimed directly at occupying the Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
trail by attacking the major crossroad of Tchperone. This offensive would also be the first time the NVA would field-test its combined arms force.[240] The first few days were considered a success but the momentum had slowed after fierce resistance. Nguyễn Văn Thiệu
Nguyễn Văn Thiệu
had halted the general advance, leaving armoured divisions able to surround them.[271] Thieu had ordered air assault troops to capture Tchepone and withdraw, despite facing four-times larger numbers. During the withdrawal the NVA counterattack had forced a panicked rout. Half of the ARVN
ARVN
troops involved were either captured or killed, half of the ARVN/US support helicopters were downed by anti-aircraft fire and the operation was considered a fiasco, demonstrating operational deficiencies still present within the ARVN.[272] Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
and President Thieu had sought to use this event to show-case victory simply by capturing Tchepone, and it was spun off as an "operational success".[271]

Easter Offensive
Easter Offensive
and Paris Peace Accords, 1972 Vietnamization
Vietnamization
was again tested by the Easter Offensive
Easter Offensive
of 1972, a massive conventional NVA invasion of South Vietnam. The NVA and Viet Cong quickly overran the northern provinces and in coordination with other forces attacked from Cambodia, threatening to cut the country in half. U.S. troop withdrawals continued, but American airpower responded, beginning Operation Linebacker, and the offensive was halted.

Russian advisers inspecting the debris of a B-52 downed in the vicinity of Hanoi The war was central to the 1972 U.S. presidential election as Nixon's opponent, George McGovern, campaigned on immediate withdrawal. Nixon's National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, had continued secret negotiations with North Vietnam's Lê Đức Thọ and on October 1972 reached an agreement. President Thieu demanded changes to the peace accord upon its discovery, and when North Vietnam
North Vietnam
went public with the agreement's details, the Nixon administration claimed they were attempting to embarrass the president. The negotiations became deadlocked when Hanoi
Hanoi
demanded new changes. To show his support for South Vietnam
South Vietnam
and force Hanoi
Hanoi
back to the negotiating table, Nixon ordered Operation Linebacker
Operation Linebacker
II, a massive bombing of Hanoi
Hanoi
and Haiphong 18–29 December 1972. Nixon pressured Thieu to accept the terms of the agreement, threatening to conclude a bilateral peace deal and cut off American aid while promising an air-response in case of invasion. On 15 January 1973, all U.S. combat activities were suspended. Lê Đức Thọ and Henry Kissinger, along with the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG, the Viet Cong's government) Foreign Minister Nguyễn Thị Bình and a reluctant President Thiệu, signed the Paris Peace Accords
Paris Peace Accords
on 27 January 1973.[273] This officially ended direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War, created a ceasefire between North Vietnam/PRG and South Vietnam, guaranteed the territorial integrity of Vietnam
Vietnam
under the Geneva Conference of 1954, called for elections or a political settlement between the PRG and South Vietnam, allowed 200,000 communist troops to remain in the south, and agreed to a POW exchange. There was a sixty-day period for the total withdrawal of U.S. forces. "This article", noted Peter Church, "proved… to be the only one of the Paris Agreements which was fully carried out."[274] All US forces personnel were completely withdrawn by March 1973.[275]

U.S. exit and final campaigns, 1973–75 Viet Cong
Viet Cong
soldier stands beneath a Viet Cong
Viet Cong
flag carrying his AK-47 rifle. He was participating in the exchange of POWs by the International Commission of Control and Supervision in 1973. In the lead-up to the ceasefire on 28 January, both sides attempted to maximize the land and population under their control in a campaign known as the War of the flags, fighting continued after the ceasefire, this time without US participation and continued throughout the year.[273] North Vietnam
North Vietnam
was allowed to continue supplying troops in the South but only to the extent of replacing expended material. Later that year the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
was awarded to Kissinger and Thọ, but the North Vietnamese negotiator declined it saying that a true peace did not yet exist. On 15 March 1973, Nixon implied the US would intervene again militarily if the North launched a full offensive, and Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger re-affirmed this position during his June 1973 confirmation hearings. Public and congressional reaction to Nixon's statement was unfavorable, prompting the U.S. Senate to pass the Case–Church Amendment
Case–Church Amendment
to prohibit an intervention.[276]

American POWs recently released from North Vietnamese prison camps, 1973 NVA/VC leaders expected the ceasefire terms would favor their side, but Saigon, bolstered by a surge of U.S. aid received just before the ceasefire went into effect, began to roll back the Viet Cong. The communists responded with a new strategy hammered out in a series of meetings in Hanoi
Hanoi
in March 1973, according to the memoirs of Trần Văn Trà.[277] With U.S. bombings suspended, work on the Ho Chi Minh trail and other logistical structures could proceed unimpeded. Logistics would be upgraded until the North was in a position to launch a massive invasion of the South, projected for the 1975–76 dry season. Tra calculated that this date would be Hanoi's last opportunity to strike before Saigon's army could be fully trained.[277] The Viet Cong
Viet Cong
resumed offensive operations when the dry season began in 1973, and by January 1974 had recaptured territory it lost during the previous dry season. Within South Vietnam, there was increasing chaos as the departure of the US military and the global recession that followed the Arab oil embargo compromised an economy partly dependent on U.S. financial support and troop presence. After two clashes that left 55 South Vietnamese soldiers dead, President Thieu announced on 4 January 1974, that the war had restarted and that the Paris Peace Accord was no longer in effect. This was despite there being over 25,000 South Vietnamese casualties during the ceasefire period.[278]

Civilians in a NVA/ Viet Cong
Viet Cong
controlled zone. Civilians were required to show appropriate flags, during the War of the flags The success of the 1973–74 dry season offensive inspired Trà to return to Hanoi
Hanoi
in October 1974 and plead for a larger offensive the next dry season. This time, Trà could travel on a drivable highway with regular fueling stops, a vast change from the days when the Ho Chi Minh trail was a dangerous mountain trek.[279] Giáp, the North Vietnamese defence minister, was reluctant to approve of Trà's plan since a larger offensive might provoke U.S. reaction and interfere with the big push planned for 1976. Trà appealed over Giáp's head to first secretary Lê Duẩn, who approved of the operation. Trà's plan called for a limited offensive from Cambodia into Phước Long Province. The strike was designed to solve local logistical problems, gauge the reaction of South Vietnamese forces, and determine whether U.S. would return.

Memorial commemorating the 1974 Buon Me Thuot campaign, depicting a Montagnard of the Central Highlands, a NVA soldier and a T-54 tank At the start of 1975, the South Vietnamese had three times as much artillery and twice the number of tanks and armoured cars as the opposition. They also had 1,400 aircraft and a two-to-one numerical superiority in combat troops over their Communist enemies.[280] However, the rising oil prices meant that much of this could not be used, and the rushed nature of Vietnamization, intended to cover the US retreat, saw a lack of spare parts, ground-crew and maintenance personnel, rendering most of the equipment given inoperable.[281] Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
took over as U.S. president on 9 August 1974 after President Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal and Congress cut financial aid to South Vietnam
South Vietnam
from $1 billion a year to $700 million. Congress also voted in further restrictions on funding to be phased in through 1975 and to culminate in a total cutoff in 1976. On 13 December 1974, North Vietnamese forces attacked Route 14 in Phước Long Province. Phuoc Binh, the provincial capital, fell on 6 January 1975. Ford desperately asked Congress for funds to assist and re-supply the South before it was overrun.[282] Congress refused.[282] The fall of Phuoc Binh and the lack of an American response left the South Vietnamese elite demoralized. The speed of this success led the Politburo to reassess its strategy. It was decided that operations in the Central Highlands would be turned over to General Văn Tiến Dũng and that Pleiku
Pleiku
should be seized, if possible. Before he left for the South, Dũng was addressed by Lê Duẩn: "Never have we had military and political conditions so perfect or a strategic advantage as great as we have now."[283]

Campaign 275 See also: 1975 Spring Offensive, Battle of Ban Me Thuot, and Hue–Da Nang Campaign The capture of Hue, March 1975 On 10 March 1975, General Dung launched Campaign 275, a limited offensive into the Central Highlands, supported by tanks and heavy artillery. The target was Buôn Ma Thuột, in Đắk Lắk Province. If the town could be taken, the provincial capital of Pleiku
Pleiku
and the road to the coast would be exposed for a planned campaign in 1976. The ARVN
ARVN
proved incapable of resisting the onslaught, and its forces collapsed on 11 March. Once again, Hanoi
Hanoi
was surprised by the speed of their success. Dung now urged the Politburo to allow him to seize Pleiku
Pleiku
immediately and then turn his attention to Kon Tum. He argued that with two months of good weather remaining until the onset of the monsoon, it would be irresponsible to not take advantage of the situation.[42] President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, a former general, was fearful that his forces would be cut off in the north by the attacking communists; Thieu ordered a retreat, which soon turned into a bloody rout. While the bulk of ARVN
ARVN
forces attempted to flee, isolated units fought desperately. ARVN
ARVN
general Phu abandoned Pleiku
Pleiku
and Kon Tum
Kon Tum
and retreated toward the coast, in what became known as the "column of tears".[42] On 20 March, Thieu reversed himself and ordered Huế, Vietnam's third-largest city, be held at all costs, and then changed his policy several times. As the North Vietnamese launched their attack, panic set in, and ARVN
ARVN
resistance withered. On 22 March, the NVA opened the siege of Huế. Civilians flooded the airport and the docks hoping for any mode of escape.[42] As resistance in Huế
Huế
collapsed, North Vietnamese rockets rained down on Da Nang
Da Nang
and its airport. By 28 March 35,000 NVA troops were poised to attack the suburbs. By 30 March 100,000 leaderless ARVN
ARVN
troops surrendered as the NVA marched victoriously through Da Nang. With the fall of the city, the defense of the Central Highlands and Northern provinces came to an end.[42]

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

Fall of Saigon Main article: Fall of Saigon Further information: Operation Frequent Wind Victorious NVA troops at the Presidential Palace, Saigon Chaos, unrest, and panic broke out as hysterical South Vietnamese officials and civilians scrambled to leave Saigon. Martial law
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
Operation Frequent Wind
had been delayed until the last possible moment, because of U.S. Ambassador Graham Martin's belief that Saigon
Saigon
could be held and that a political settlement could be reached.

Reunification parade following the Fall of Saigon, with the city being renamed Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
City Schlesinger announced early in the morning of 29 April 1975 the evacuation from Saigon
Saigon
by helicopter of the last U.S. diplomatic, military, and civilian personnel. Frequent Wind was arguably the largest helicopter evacuation in history. It began on 29 April, in an atmosphere of desperation, as hysterical crowds of Vietnamese vied for limited space. Martin pleaded with Washington to dispatch $700 million in emergency aid to bolster the regime and help it mobilize fresh military reserves, but American public opinion had soured on the conflict. President Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
had given a televised speech on 23 April, declaring an end to the Vietnam
Vietnam
War and all U.S. aid. Frequent Wind continued around the clock, as North Vietnamese tanks breached defenses on the outskirts of Saigon. In the early morning hours of 30 April, the last U.S. Marines evacuated the embassy by helicopter, as civilians swamped the perimeter and poured into the grounds. Many of them had been employed by the Americans and were left to their fate. On 30 April 1975, NVA troops entered the city of Saigon
Saigon
and quickly overcame all resistance, capturing key buildings and installations. A tank from the 324th Division crashed through the gates of the Independence Palace
Independence Palace
at 11:30 am local time and the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
flag was raised above it. President Dương Văn Minh, who had succeeded Huong two days earlier, surrendered to Colonel Bùi Tín.[284]

Opposition to U.S. involvement, 1964–73 Main articles: Opposition to United States
United States
involvement in the Vietnam War and Protests of 1968 See also: Russell Tribunal
Russell Tribunal
and Fulbright Hearings Anti-war protests During the course of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War a large segment of the American population came to be opposed to U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Public opinion steadily turned against the war following 1967 and by 1970 only a third of Americans believed that the U.S. had not made a mistake by sending troops to fight in Vietnam.[285] Nearly a third of the American population were strongly against the war, a position which lasted through subsequent decades.[286]

Anti- Vietnam
Vietnam
War demonstration, 1967 Early opposition to U.S. involvement in Vietnam
Vietnam
drew its inspiration from the Geneva Conference of 1954. American support of Diệm in refusing elections was seen as thwarting the democracy America claimed to support. John F. Kennedy, while senator, opposed involvement in Vietnam.[179] Nonetheless, it is possible to specify certain groups who led the anti-war movement at its peak in the late 1960s and the reasons why. Many young people protested because they were the ones being drafted, while others were against the war because the anti-war movement grew increasingly popular among the counterculture. Some advocates within the peace movement advocated a unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam. Opposition to the Vietnam
Vietnam
War tended to unite groups opposed to U.S. anti-communism and imperialism,[287] and for those involved with the New Left, such as the Catholic Worker Movement. Others, such as Stephen Spiro, opposed the war based on the theory of Just War. Some wanted to show solidarity with the people of Vietnam, such as Norman Morrison emulating the self-immolation of Thích Quảng Đức.

Vietnam
Vietnam
War protesters in Vienna
Vienna
in 1968 High-profile opposition to the Vietnam
Vietnam
War increasingly turned to mass protests in an effort to shift U.S. public opinion. Riots broke out at the 1968 Democratic National Convention
1968 Democratic National Convention
during protests against the war.[288] After news reports of American military abuses, such as the 1968 My Lai Massacre, brought new attention and support to the anti-war movement, some veterans joined Vietnam
Vietnam
Veterans Against the War. On 15 October 1969, the Vietnam
Vietnam
Moratorium attracted millions of Americans.[289] The fatal shooting of four students at Kent State University in 1970 led to nationwide university protests.[290] Anti-war protests declined with the final withdrawal of troops after the Paris Peace Accords
Paris Peace Accords
in 1973.

Involvement of other countries Pro-Hanoi 2,000 years of Chinese-Vietnamese enmity and hundreds of years of Chinese and Russian mutual suspicions were suspended when they united against us in Vietnam.— Richard Holbrooke, 1985[291]

China See also: China
China
in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
from the Việt Minh
Việt Minh
independence movement and Việt Cộng with East German sailors in Stralsund
Stralsund
harbour, 1957 In 1950, China
China
extended diplomatic recognition to the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Vietnam
and sent heavy weapons, as well as military advisers led by Luo Guibo to assist the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
in its war with the French (1946–1954). The first draft of the 1954 Geneva Accords was negotiated by French prime minister Pierre Mendès France and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
who, seeing U.S. intervention coming, urged the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
to accept a partition at the 17th parallel.[292] China's support for North Vietnam
North Vietnam
when the U.S. started to intervene included both financial aid and the deployment of hundreds of thousands of military personnel in support roles. In the summer of 1962, Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
agreed to supply Hanoi
Hanoi
with 90,000 rifles and guns free of charge. Starting in 1965, China
China
sent anti-aircraft units and engineering battalions to North Vietnam
North Vietnam
to repair the damage caused by American bombing, man anti-aircraft batteries, rebuild roads and railroads, transport supplies, and perform other engineering works. This freed North Vietnamese army units for combat in the South. China sent 320,000 troops and annual arms shipments worth $180 million.[293] The Chinese military claims to have caused 38% of American air losses in the war.[16] China
China
claimed that its military and economic aid to North Vietnam
North Vietnam
and the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
totaled $20 billion (approx. $143 billion adjusted for inflation in 2015) during the Vietnam
Vietnam
War.[16] Included in that aid were donations of 5 million tons of food to North Vietnam
North Vietnam
(equivalent to NV food production in a single year), accounting for 10–15% of the North Vietnamese food supply by the 1970s.[16]

Military aid given to North Vietnam
North Vietnam
by China[294]

Year

Guns

Artillerypieces

Bullets

Artilleryshells

Radiotrans-mitters

Telephones

Tanks

Planes

Auto-mobiles

1964

80,500 1,205 25,240,000 335,000 426 2,941 16 18 25

1965

220,767 4,439 114,010,000 1,800,000 2,779 9,502 ? 2 114

1966

141,531 3,362 178,120,000 1,066,000 1,568 2,235 ? ? 96

1967

146,600 3,984 147,000,000 1,363,000 2,464 2,289 26 70 435

1968

219,899 7,087 247,920,000 2,082,000 1,854 3,313 18 ? 454

1969

139,900 3,906 119,117,000 1,357,000 2,210 3,453 ? ? 162

1970

101,800 2,212 29,010,000 397,000 950 1,600 ? ? ?

1971

143,100 7,898 57,190,000 1,899,000 2,464 4,424 80 4 4,011

1972

189,000 9,238 40,000,000 2,210,000 4,370 5,905 220 14 8,758

1973

233,500 9,912 40,000,000 2,210,000 4,335 6,447 120 36 1,210

1974

164,500 6,406 30,000,000 1,390,000 5,148 4,663 80 ? 506

1975

141,800 4,880 20,600,000 965,000 2,240 2,150 ? 20 ?

Total

1,922,897 64,529 1,048,207,000 17,074,000 30,808 48,922 560 164 15,771

Sino-Soviet relations
Sino-Soviet relations
soured after the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in August 1968. In October, the Chinese demanded North Vietnam
North Vietnam
cut relations with Moscow, but Hanoi
Hanoi
refused.[295] The Chinese began to withdraw in November 1968 in preparation for a clash with the Soviets, which occurred at Zhenbao Island
Zhenbao Island
in March 1969. In 1967, the Chinese government launched a secret military program named "Project 523". which intended to find an treatment for malaria to provide the assistance to North Vietnamese army who suffered malaria. As the result, Chinese scientist Youyou Tu and her collaborators discovered artemisinin. Tu was awarded Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
in 2015 for her contribution on the anti-malaria treatment. The Chinese also began financing the Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
as a counterweight to the Vietnamese communists at this time. China
China
"armed and trained" the Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
during the civil war and continued to aid them for years afterward.[296] The Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
launched ferocious raids into Vietnam
Vietnam
in 1975–1978. When Vietnam
Vietnam
responded with an invasion that toppled the Khmer Rouge, China
China
launched a brief, punitive invasion of Vietnam
Vietnam
in 1979.

Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
(left) was the leader of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
during the second half of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War. Soviet ships in the South China Sea
South China Sea
gave vital early warnings to Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam. The Soviet intelligence ships would pick up American B-52 bombers flying from Okinawa and Guam. Their airspeed and direction would be noted and then relayed to COSVN, North Vietnam's southern headquarters. Using airspeed and direction, COSVN analysts would calculate the bombing target and tell any assets to move "perpendicularly to the attack trajectory." These advance warnings gave them time to move out of the way of the bombers, and, while the bombing runs caused extensive damage, because of the early warnings from 1968 to 1970 they did not kill a single military or civilian leader in the headquarters complexes.[297]

Photo of Soviet anti-air instructors and North Vietnamese crewmen, taken in the spring of 1965 at an anti-aircraft training center in Vietnam The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
supplied North Vietnam
North Vietnam
with medical supplies, arms, tanks, planes, helicopters, artillery, anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment. Soviet crews fired Soviet-made surface-to-air missiles at U.S. F-4 Phantoms, which were shot down over Thanh Hóa in 1965. Over a dozen Soviet citizens lost their lives in this conflict. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in 1991, Russian officials acknowledged that the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had stationed up to 3,000 troops in Vietnam
Vietnam
during the war.[298]

Cam Ranh Bay
Cam Ranh Bay
memorial complex dedicated to Soviet, Russian and Vietnamese servicemen Some Russian sources give more specific numbers: Between 1953 and 1991, the hardware donated by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
included 2,000 tanks, 1,700 APCs, 7,000 artillery guns, over 5,000 anti-aircraft guns, 158 surface-to-air missile launchers, 120 helicopters. During the war, the Soviets sent North Vietnam
North Vietnam
annual arms shipments worth $450 million.[299][300] From July 1965 to the end of 1974, fighting in Vietnam
Vietnam
was observed by some 6,500 officers and generals, as well as more than 4,500 soldiers and sergeants of the Soviet Armed Forces. In addition, Soviet military schools and academies began training Vietnamese soldiers—in all more than 10,000 military personnel.[301] The KGB
KGB
had also helped developed the signals intelligence capabilities of the North Vietnamese, through an operation known as Vostok (also known as Phương Đông, meaning "Orient" and named after the Vostok 1).[302] The Vostok program was a counterintelligence and espionage program. These programs were pivotal in detecting and defeating CIA and South Vietnamese commando teams sent into North Vietnam, as they were detected and captured.[302] The Soviets helped the Ministry of Public Security recruit foreigners within high-level diplomatic circles among the Western-allies of the US, under a clandestine program known as "B12,MM" which produced thousands of high-level documents for nearly a decade, including targets of B-52 strikes.[302] In 1975, the SIGINT services had broken information from Western US-allies in Saigon, determining that the US would not intervene to save South Vietnam
Vietnam
from collapse.[302]

North Vietnamese Air Force pilots walk by their aircraft, the MiG-17. The development of the North Vietnamese Air Force during the war was assisted by Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
nations throughout the war. Between 1966 and 1972 a total of 17 flying aces was credited by the NVAF against US fighters.[303] Czechoslovakia The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
was a member of the Warsaw Pact and sent significant aid to North Vietnam, both prior to and after the Prague Spring.[304] The Czechoslovakian government created committees which sought to not only promote and establish peace, but also to promote victory for Viet Cong
Viet Cong
and Viet Minh forces.[304] Czech-made equipment and military aid would increase significantly following the Prague Spring.[305] Czechoslovakia continued to send tens of thousands of Czech-made rifles as well as mortar and artillery throughout the war.[305] In general, Czechoslovakia was aligned with European leftist movements,[304] and there were simultaneous protests demonstrating against the Soviet intervention in Prague and the US intervention in Vietnam.[306] Cooperation with Czechoslovakia on the development of North Vietnamese air capabilities began as early as 1956.[307] Czechoslovak instructors and trainers instructed the North Vietnam
North Vietnam
Air Force in China
China
and helped them develop a modernised air force, with the Czech-built Aero Ae-45
Aero Ae-45
and Aero L-29 Delfín
Aero L-29 Delfín
alongside Zlín Z 26 aircraft utilised significantly for training, and regarded as preferential to Soviet-built Yakovlev Yak-3
Yakovlev Yak-3
as training aircraft.[307]

North Korea As a result of a decision of the Korean Workers' Party in October 1966, in early 1967, North Korea
North Korea
sent a fighter squadron to North Vietnam
Vietnam
to back up the North Vietnamese 921st and 923rd fighter squadrons defending Hanoi. The North Koreans stayed through 1968, and 200 pilots were reported to have served.[308][unreliable source][dead link] In addition, at least two anti-aircraft artillery regiments were sent as well.[309]

Cuba Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
meeting with Võ Nguyên Giáp
Võ Nguyên Giáp
at the Vietnam
Vietnam
Military History Museum The contributions to North Vietnam
North Vietnam
by the Republic of Cuba
Cuba
under Fidel Castro have been recognized several times by representatives of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.[310] Castro mentioned in his discourses the Batallón Girón (Giron Battalion) as comprising the Cuban contingent that served as military advisors during the war.[311] In this battalion, the Cubans were aided by Nguyễn Thị Định, founding member of the Viet Cong, who later became the first female major general in the North Vietnamese Army.[312] There are numerous allegations by former U.S. prisoners of war that Cuban military personnel were present at North Vietnamese prison facilities during the war and that they participated in torture activities. Witnesses to this include Senator John McCain, the 2008 U.S. presidential candidate and a former Vietnam
Vietnam
prisoner of war, according to his 1999 book Faith of My Fathers.[313]

Other Eastern Bloc
Eastern Bloc
countries East German solidarity stamp depicting a Vietnamese mother and child with the text "Invincible Vietnam" The Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam
Vietnam
(Bộ Công An) states that there was special interest towards the Stasi
Stasi
of East Germany
East Germany
in establishing an intelligence and security apparatus, particularly since the Stasi
Stasi
was well-regarded and considered as "industrial, modern, and (with a) scientific working-style".[314] In official Vietnamese language
Vietnamese language
histories on the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security, the assistance provided by the Soviet and East German intelligence services to Vietnam
Vietnam
is usually rated as the most important within the socialist bloc.[314] East Germany
East Germany
had also provided a substantial amount of aid to help North Vietnam duplicate "Green Dragon" identity cards, which were created by Saigon in order to identify North Vietnamese combatants and were difficult to duplicate.[314] East German authorities had also begun providing material and technical aid to help develop and modernise the North Vietnamese economy and military.[314] In addition, East Germany
East Germany
had also vigorously denounced the US war effort, and had reaped significant international and diplomatic standing as a result of its anti-war campaigns.[315] The Polish People's Republic
Polish People's Republic
had played a substantive role in brokering and serving as an intermediary for peace-talks between Hanoi and Saigon, as part of a delegation under the International Control Commission alongside Western European nations. Recent evidence has emerged that Poland played an early role in attempting to broker talks between Ngô Đình Nhu
Ngô Đình Nhu
and the Diem regime and Hanoi
Hanoi
in 1963 in an effort to prevent the expansion of the war, given that Polish representatives were the only communist nation present in Saigon
Saigon
and had acted as a broker and representative on behalf of Hanoi.[316] Romania was also among primary supporters of North Vietnam
North Vietnam
during the war in political, economic, and military terms. Contemporarily, the Eastern Bloc
Eastern Bloc
country was also known for its role in the mediation activities in the mid-1960s, resulting in what known as the "Trinh Signal" in January 1967, in which Hanoi
Hanoi
accepted the possibility of negotiation with Washington.[317] Bulgaria committed their charge-free military and economic supplies to North Vietnam
North Vietnam
in a bilateral agreement signed in 1972. Bulgarian military aid had already been provided to the latter since 1967. Similar conducts was undertaken by Hungary, which was reaffirmed in mutual visits of Hungary and North Vietnam
North Vietnam
in 1972 and 1973. Hungary also expressed their support through their representatives at the International Commission of Control and Supervision, a body established to supervise the implementation of the Paris Peace Accords.[318]

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

South Korea Main article: South Korea
South Korea
in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War Soldiers of the South Korean White Horse Division in Vietnam On the anti-communist side, South Korea
South Korea
(a.k.a. the Republic of Korea, ROK) had the second-largest contingent of foreign troops in South Vietnam
Vietnam
after the United States. In November 1961, President Park Chung-hee proposed South Korean participation in the war to John F. Kennedy, but Kennedy disagreed as they were not SEATO
SEATO
treaty members.[319] On 1 May 1964, Lyndon Johnson agreed to permit South Korean participation under the Many Flags Program in return for monetary compensation.[319] The first South Korean troops began arriving in 1964 and large combat formations began arriving a year later. The ROK Marine Corps dispatched their 2nd Marine Brigade, while the ROK Army
Army
sent the Capital Division and later the 9th Infantry Division. In August 1966, after the arrival of the 9th Division, the Koreans established a corps command, the Republic of Korea Forces Vietnam
Vietnam
Field Command, near I Field Force at Nha Trang.[320]

South Vietnamese civilians of Phong Nhi village massacred by South Korean Blue Dragon Brigade in 1968 Official records are vindictive of the role of ROK Forces in the war, as State Department reports publicly questioned their usefulness in the conflict, as they have "appeared to have been reluctant to undertake offensive operations, and are only useful in guarding a small sector of the populated area".[321] State department reports furthermore state that ROK forces engaged in systemic, well-organised corruption in diverting US-equipment, and that actual security was often provided by ARVN
ARVN
Territorial Forces, which lacked organic firepower and heavy artillery but served as a buffer between Korean units and the North Vietnamese Army.[322] In addition, a RAND author conducting studies in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
in 1970 alleged that ROK forces had a "deliberate, systematic policy of committing atrocities", prompting civilians to leave ROK-controlled sectors.[323] The conduct of ROK forces often emboldened and strengthened the Viet Cong, adding ranks from an otherwise neutral population and undermining efforts to defeat the insurgency overall.[324] Approximately 320,000 South Korean soldiers were sent to Vietnam,[325] each serving a one-year tour of duty. Maximum troop levels peaked at 50,000 in 1968, however all were withdrawn by 1973.[326] About 5,099 South Koreans were killed and 10,962 wounded during the war. South Korea
South Korea
claimed to have killed 41,000 Viet Cong.[325] An unknown percentage of 'enemy combatants' may have been unarmed civilians, as ROK Forces were estimated to have deliberately killed at least 9,000 civilians.[327][328] The United States
United States
paid South Korean soldiers 236 million dollars for their efforts in Vietnam,[325] and South Korean GNP increased five-fold during the war.[325]

Thailand Main article: Thailand
Thailand
in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War The Thai Queen's Cobra battalion in Phuoc Tho Thai Army
Army
formations, including the Royal Thai Volunteer Regiment (Queen's Cobras) and later the Royal Thai Army
Army
Expeditionary Division (Black Panthers), saw action in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
between 1965 and 1971. Thai forces saw much more action in the covert war in Laos
Laos
between 1964 and 1972, though Thai regular formations there were heavily outnumbered by the irregular "volunteers" of the CIA-sponsored Police Aerial Reconnaissance Units or PARU, who carried out reconnaissance activities on the western side of the Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
trail.[42]

Australia
Australia
and New Zealand Main articles: Military history of Australia
Australia
during the Vietnam
Vietnam
War and New Zealand
New Zealand
in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War An Australian soldier in Vietnam Australia
Australia
and New Zealand, close allies of the United States
United States
and members of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
(SEATO) and the ANZUS
ANZUS
military co-operation treaty, sent ground troops to Vietnam. Both nations had gained experience in counterinsurgency and jungle warfare during the Malayan Emergency
Malayan Emergency
and World War II, and their governments subscribed to the Domino theory. New Zealand
New Zealand
was, however, a reluctant participant. Officials expected a foreign intervention to fail, were concerned that they would be supporting a corrupt regime, and didn't want to further stretch their country's small military (which was already deployed to Malaysia).[329] In the end, though, a desire to prove their commitment to the ANZUS
ANZUS
alliance and discourage an American withdrawal from Southeast Asia necessitated a military commitment. Australia
Australia
began by sending advisors to Vietnam
Vietnam
in 1962, and combat troops were committed in 1965.[330] New Zealand began by sending a detachment of engineers and an artillery battery, later sending special forces and regular infantry, which were attached to Australian formations.[331] Australia's peak commitment was 7,672 combat troops and New Zealand's 552. Around 50,190 Australian personnel were involved during the course of the war, of which 521 were killed and more than 3,000 wounded.[332] Approximately 3,500 New Zealanders served in Vietnam, with 37 killed and 187 wounded.[333] Most Australians and New Zealanders served in the 1st Australian Task Force
1st Australian Task Force
in Phước Tuy Province.[330] Australia, with decades of experience from both the Malayan Emergency and its AATTV role in 1962, recognised the necessity of a true counter-insurgency, which relied on providing village-level security, establishing civilian trust and economic incentives and improving ARVN capabilities.[334] This brought Australian commanders into conflict with Westmoreland's conventional attrition warfare approach, since Australian ground forces were required to follow US doctrine.[334] Nevertheless, Australian forces were generally the most capable at counter-insurgency, and they helped to train Regional Forces despite being under significant doctrinal constraints.[334]

Philippines Some 10,450 Filipino troops were dispatched to South Vietnam
South Vietnam
and were primarily engaged in medical and other civilian pacification projects. These forces operated under the designation PHLCAG-V or Philippine Civic Action Group-Vietnam. The naval base at Subic Bay was used for the U.S. Seventh Fleet
Seventh Fleet
from 1964 until the end of the war in 1975.[335][336] Subic Bay and Clark Air Base
Clark Air Base
achieved maximum functionality during the war, as well as supporting an estimated 80,000 locals in allied tertiary businesses that ranged from shoe making to prostitution.[337]

Taiwan Main article: Republic of China
China
in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War Beginning in November 1967, Taiwan
Taiwan
secretly operated a cargo transport detachment to assist the United States
United States
and South Vietnam. Taiwan
Taiwan
also provided military training units for the South Vietnamese diving units, later known as the Lien Doi Nguoi Nhai (LDMN) or "Frogman unit" in English.[338] Military commandos from Taiwan
Taiwan
were captured by North Vietnamese forces three times trying to infiltrate North Vietnam.[338]

Brazil Brazil, under a U.S.-backed military regime, officially supported the United States's position in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
and contributed a medical team and supplies to the country—the only Latin American country to do so.[3]

Neutral and non-belligerent nations Canada and the ICC Main article: Canada and the Vietnam
Vietnam
War Canada, India
India
and Poland constituted the International Control Commission, which was supposed to monitor the 1954 ceasefire agreement.[339] Officially, Canada did not have partisan involvement in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War, and diplomatically, it was "non-belligerent", though there is evidence to the contrary.[340][341] The Vietnam
Vietnam
War entry in The Canadian Encyclopedia asserts that Canada's record on the truce commissions was a pro- Saigon
Saigon
partisan one.[342]

United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races
United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races
(FULRO) Main articles: United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races
United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races
and FULRO insurgency against Vietnam The ethnic minority peoples of South Vietnam, like the Montagnards (Degar) in the Central Highlands, the Hindu and Muslim Cham, and the Buddhist Khmer Krom, were actively recruited in the war. There was an active strategy of recruitment and favorable treatment of Montagnard tribes for the Viet Cong, as they were pivotal for control of infiltration routes.[343] Some groups had split off and formed the United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races
United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races
(French: Front Uni de Lutte des Races Opprimées, acronym: FULRO) to fight for autonomy or independence. FULRO fought against both the anti-Communist South Vietnamese and the Communist
Communist
Viet Cong, later proceeding to fight against the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Vietnam
after the fall of South Vietnam. During the war, the South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem began a program to settle ethnic Vietnamese Kinh on Montagnard lands in the Central Highlands region. This provoked a backlash from the Montagnards, some joining the NLF as a result. The Cambodians under both the pro- China
China
King Sihanouk and the pro-American Lon Nol supported their fellow co-ethnic Khmer Krom
Khmer Krom
in South Vietnam, following an anti-ethnic Vietnamese policy. Following Vietnamization many Montagnard groups and fighters were incorporated into the Vietnamese Rangers
Vietnamese Rangers
as border sentries.

War crimes Main articles: List of war crimes § 1955–1975: Vietnam
Vietnam
War, and Vietnam
Vietnam
War casualties See also: List of massacres in Vietnam A large number of war crimes took place during the Vietnam
Vietnam
War. War crimes were committed by both sides during the conflict and included rape, massacres of civilians, bombings of civilian targets, terrorism, the widespread use of torture, and the murder of prisoners of war. Additional common crimes included theft, arson, and the destruction of property not warranted by military necessity.[344]

South Vietnamese, Korean and American See also: United States
United States
war crimes, Winter Soldier Investigation, Vietnam
Vietnam
War Crimes Working Group, and Tiger Force Victims of the My Lai massacre In 1968, the Vietnam
Vietnam
War Crimes Working Group (VWCWG) was established by the Pentagon task force set up in the wake of the My Lai Massacre, to attempt to ascertain the veracity of emerging claims of war crimes by U.S. armed forces in Vietnam, during the Vietnam
Vietnam
War period. A probable war crime that was neither investigated nor brought to charge was the Thuy Bo massacre, while the Son Thang massacre
Son Thang massacre
warranted investigation, and its perpetrators faced court martial and served less than a year in prison. Of the war crimes that were reported to military authorities, sworn statements by witnesses and status reports indicated that 320 incidents had a factual basis.[345] The substantiated cases included 7 massacres between 1967 and 1971 in which at least 137 civilians were killed; seventy eight further attacks targeting non-combatants resulting in at least 57 deaths, 56 wounded and 15 sexually assaulted; and 141 cases of U.S. soldiers torturing civilian detainees or prisoners of war with fists, sticks, bats, water or electric shock.[345] Rummel estimated that American forces committed around 5,500 democidal killings between 1960 and 1972, from a range of between 4,000 and 10,000 killed.[346] Journalism in the ensuing years has documented large numbers of overlooked and uninvestigated war crimes involving every army division that was active in Vietnam,[345][347] including the atrocities committed by Tiger Force.[348]

A suspected Viet Cong
Viet Cong
prisoner captured in 1967 by the U.S. Army awaits interrogation. He has been placed in a stress position by tying a board between his arms. Napalm
Napalm
burn victims during the war being treated at the 67th Combat Support Hospital U.S. forces established numerous free-fire zones as a tactic to prevent Viet Cong
Viet Cong
fighters from sheltering in South Vietnamese villages.[349] Such practice, which involved the assumption that any individual appearing in the designated zones was an enemy combatant that could be freely targeted by weapons, is regarded by journalist Lewis M. Simons as "a severe violation of the laws of war".[350] Nick Turse, in his 2013 book, Kill Anything that Moves, argues that a relentless drive toward higher body counts, a widespread use of free-fire zones, rules of engagement where civilians who ran from soldiers or helicopters could be viewed as Viet Cong, and a widespread disdain for Vietnamese civilians led to massive civilian casualties and endemic war crimes inflicted by U.S. troops.[351] One example cited by Turse is Operation Speedy Express, an operation by the 9th Infantry Division, which was described by John Paul Vann
John Paul Vann
as, in effect, "many My Lais".[351] A report by Newsweek
Newsweek
magazine suggested that at minimum 5,000 civilians may have been killed during six months of the operation, as there was around 748 recovered weapons.[352] R.J. Rummel estimated that 39,000 were killed by South Vietnam
South Vietnam
during the Diem-era in democide from a range of between 16,000 and 167,000 South Vietnamese civilians; for 1964 to 1975, Rummel estimated a total of 50,000 killed in democide, from a range of between 42,000 and 128,000. Thus, the total for 1954 to 1975 is 81,000, from a range of between 57,000 and 284,000 deaths caused by South Vietnam.[353] Benjamin Valentino attributes possibly 110,000–310,000 "counter-guerrilla mass killings" of non-combatants to U.S. and South Vietnamese forces during the war.[354] An estimated 26,000 to 41,000 civilian members of the PRG/NLF termed "VC Infrastructure" were killed during the Phoenix Program, by US and South Vietnamese intelligence and security, with an unknown number being innocent civilians.[355][356][357]

Tam Tòa Church
Tam Tòa Church
in Đồng Hới, Quảng Bình Province. Most of the city and the church was flattened during B-52 bombings in 1965. Torture and ill-treatment were frequently applied by the South Vietnamese to POWs as well as civilian prisoners.[358] During their visit to the Con Son Prison in 1970, U.S. congressmen Augustus F. Hawkins and William R. Anderson witnessed detainees either confined in minute "tiger cages" or chained to their cells, and provided with poor-quality food. A group of American doctors inspecting the prison in the same year found many inmates suffering symptoms resulting from forced immobility and torture.[358] During their visits to transit detention facilities under American administration in 1968 and 1969, the International Red Cross recorded many cases of torture and inhumane treatment before the captives were handed over to South Vietnamese authorities.[359] Torture was conducted by the South Vietnamese government in collusion with the CIA.[360][361] South Korean forces were accused of war crimes as well. One documented event was the Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất massacre
Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất massacre
where the 2nd Marine Brigade of the South Korean Army
Army
reportedly killed 69–79 civilians on 12 February 1968 in Phong Nhị and Phong Nhất village, Điện Bàn District
Điện Bàn District
of Quảng Nam Province
Quảng Nam Province
in South Vietnam.[362] South Korean forces are also accused of perpetrating other massacres, namely: Bình Hòa massacre, Binh Tai Massacre
Massacre
and Hà My massacre alongside the Bình An/Tây Vinh massacre.

North Vietnamese and Viet Cong Main article: Viet Cong
Viet Cong
and PAVN strategy, organization and structure § VC/NVA use of terror See also: Cambodian Civil War
Cambodian Civil War
§ War Crimes Interment of victims of the Huế
Huế
Massacre Ami Pedahzur has written that "the overall volume and lethality of Viet Cong
Viet Cong
terrorism rivals or exceeds all but a handful of terrorist campaigns waged over the last third of the twentieth century", based on the definition of terrorists as a non-state actor, and examining targeted killings and civilian deaths which are estimated at over 18,000 from 1966 to 1969.[363] The US Department of Defense estimates the VC/NVA had conducted 36,000 murders and almost 58,000 kidnappings from 1967 to 1972, c. 1973.[364] Statistics for 1968–72 suggest that "about 80 percent of the terrorist victims were ordinary civilians and only about 20 percent were government officials, policemen, members of the self-defence forces or pacification cadres."[365] Benjamin Valentino attributes 45,000–80,000 "terrorist mass killings" of non-combatants to the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
during the war.[354] Viet Cong
Viet Cong
tactics included the frequent mortaring of civilians in refugee camps, and the placing of mines on highways frequented by villagers taking their goods to urban markets. Some mines were set only to go off after heavy vehicle passage, causing extensive slaughter aboard packed civilian buses.[366] Notable Viet Cong
Viet Cong
atrocities include the massacre of over 3,000 unarmed civilians at Huế[367] during the Tet Offensive
Tet Offensive
and the killing of 252 civilians during the Đắk Sơn massacre.[368] 155,000 refugees fleeing the final North Vietnamese Spring Offensive were reported to have been killed or abducted on the road to Tuy Hòa
Tuy Hòa
in 1975.[369] According to Rummel, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong
Viet Cong
troops killed 164,000 civilians in democide between 1954 and 1975 in South Vietnam, from a range of between 106,000 and 227,000 (50,000 of which were reportedly killed by shelling and mortar on ARVN
ARVN
forces during the retreat to Tuy Hoa).[370] North Vietnam
North Vietnam
was also known for its abusive treatment of American POWs, most notably in Hỏa Lò Prison
Hỏa Lò Prison
(aka the Hanoi
Hanoi
Hilton), where torture was employed to extract confessions.[371]

Women American nurses Da Nang, South Vietnam, 1968 During the Vietnam
Vietnam
War, American women served on active duty performing a variety of jobs. Early in 1963, the Army
Army
Nurse Corps (ANC) launched Operation Nightingale, an intensive effort to recruit nurses to serve in Vietnam.[372] First Lieutenant
First Lieutenant
Sharon Lane was the only female military nurse to be killed by enemy gunfire during the war, on 8 June 1969.[373] One civilian doctor, Eleanor Ardel Vietti, who was captured by Viet Cong
Viet Cong
on May 30, 1962, in Buôn Ma Thuột, remains the only American woman unaccounted for from the Vietnam
Vietnam
War.[374][375][376]

A nurse treats a Vietnamese child, 1967 Although a small number of women were assigned to combat zones, they were never allowed directly in the field of battle. The women who served in the military were solely volunteers. They faced a plethora of challenges, one of which was the relatively small number of female soldiers. Living in a male-dominated environment created tensions between the sexes. By 1973, approximately 7,500 women had served in Vietnam
Vietnam
in the Southeast Asian theater.[377] American women serving in Vietnam
Vietnam
were subject to societal stereotypes. To address this problem, the ANC released advertisements portraying women in the ANC as "proper, professional and well protected." This effort to highlight the positive aspects of a nursing career reflected the feminism of the 1960s–1970s in the United States. Although female military nurses lived in a heavily male environment, very few cases of sexual harassment were ever reported.[378]

Vietnamese soldiers Master-Sergeant and pharmacist Do Thi Trinh, part of the WAFC, supplying medication to ARVN
ARVN
dependents Female Viet Cong
Viet Cong
guerrilla in combat Unlike the American women who went to Vietnam, both South and North Vietnamese women were enlisted and served in combat zones. Women were enlisted in both the North Vietnamese Army
Army
(NVA) and the Viet Cong guerrilla insurgent force in South Vietnam, many joining due to the promises of female equality and a greater social role within society.[379][380] Some women also served for the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong
Viet Cong
intelligence services. The deputy military commander of the PLAF, the armed wing of the Viet Cong, was a female general, Nguyễn Thị Định. All-female units were present throughout the entirety of the war, ranging from front-line combat troops to anti-aircraft, scout, and reconnaissance units.[381] Female combat squads were present in the Cu Chi theatre.[382] They also fought in the Battle of Hue.[383] In addition, large numbers of women served in North Vietnam, manning anti-aircraft batteries, providing village security and serving in logistics on the Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
trail.[381][384] Other women were embedded with troops on the front-lines, serving as doctors and medical personnel. Đặng Thùy Trâm became renowned after her diary was published following her death. The Foreign Minister for the National Liberation Front and later the PRG was also a woman, Nguyễn Thị Bình.

Memorial temple to Nguyễn Thị Định
Nguyễn Thị Định
and the female volunteers of the PLAF whom she commanded. They came to call themselves the "Long-Haired Army". In South Vietnam, many women voluntarily served in the ARVN's Women's Armed Force Corps (WAFC) and various other Women's corps in the military. Some, like in the WAFC, served in combat with other soldiers. Others served as nurses and doctors in the battlefield and in military hospitals, or served in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
or America's intelligence agencies. During Diệm's presidency, Madame Nhu
Madame Nhu
was the commander of the WAFC.[385] Many women joined provincial and voluntary village-level militia in the People's Self Defense Force as part of the South Vietnamese Popular Force
South Vietnamese Popular Force
especially during the ARVN expansions later in the war. During the war more than one million rural people migrated or fled the fighting in the South Vietnamese countryside to the cities, especially Saigon. Among the internal refugees were many young women who became the ubiquitous "bargirls" of wartime South Vietnam, "hawking her wares—be that cigarettes, liquor, or herself" to American and allied soldiers.[386] American bases were ringed by bars and brothels.[387] 8,040 Vietnamese women came to the United States
United States
as war brides between 1964 and 1975.[388] Many mixed-blood Amerasian
Amerasian
children were left behind when their American fathers returned to the United States after their tour of duty in South Vietnam; 26,000 of them were permitted to immigrate to the United States
United States
in the 1980s and 1990s.[389]

Journalists Women also played a prominent role as front-line reporters in the conflict, directly reporting on the conflict as it occurred.[390] A number of women volunteered on the North Vietnamese side as embedded journalists, including author Lê Minh Khuê embedded with NVA forces,[391] on the Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
trail as well as on combat fronts.[392] A number of prominent Western journalists were also involved in covering the war, with Dickey Chapelle
Dickey Chapelle
being among the first as well as the first American female reporter killed in a war. The French-speaking Australian journalist Kate Webb was captured along with a photographer and others by the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
in Cambodia
Cambodia
and travelled into Laos
Laos
with them; they were released back into Cambodia
Cambodia
after 23 days of captivity.[393] Webb would be the first Western journalist to be captured and released, as well as cover the perspective of the Viet Cong in her memoir On The Other Side. Another French-speaking journalist, Catherine Leroy, was briefly captured and released by North Vietnamese forces during the Battle of Huế, capturing some famous photos from the battles that would appear on the cover of Life Magazine.[394]

Black servicemen See also: Civil rights movement
Civil rights movement
and Military history of African Americans §  Vietnam
Vietnam
War A wounded African-American soldier being carried away, 1968 The experience of American military personnel of African ancestry during the Vietnam
Vietnam
War had received significant attention. For example, the website "African-American Involvement in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War" compiles examples of such coverage,[395] as does the print and broadcast work of journalist Wallace Terry. Terry's book Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War by Black Veterans (1984), includes observations about the impact of the war on the black community in general and on black servicemen specifically. Points he makes on the latter topic include: the higher proportion of combat casualties in Vietnam
Vietnam
among African American servicemen than among American soldiers of other races, the shift toward and different attitudes of black military careerists versus black draftees, the discrimination encountered by black servicemen "on the battlefield in decorations, promotion and duty assignments" as well as their having to endure "the racial insults, cross-burnings and Confederate flags of their white comrades"—and the experiences faced by black soldiers stateside, during the war and after America's withdrawal.[396] Civil rights leaders protested the disproportionate casualties and the overrepresentation in hazardous duty and combat roles experienced by African American servicemen, prompting reforms that were implemented beginning in 1967–68. As a result, by the war's completion in 1975, black casualties had declined to 12.5% of US combat deaths, approximately equal to percentage of draft-eligible black men, though still slightly higher than the 10% who served in the military.[397]

Weapons Main article: Weapons of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War Guerillas assemble shells and rockets delivered along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. During the early stages of the war, the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
mainly sustained itself with captured arms; these were often of American manufacture[398] or were crude, makeshift weapons[399] used alongside shotguns made of galvanized pipes.[400] Most arms were captured from poorly defended ARVN
ARVN
militia outposts.[401] In 1967, all Viet Cong
Viet Cong
battalions were reequipped with arms of Soviet design such as the AK-47
AK-47
assault rifle, carbines and the RPG-2
RPG-2
anti-tank weapon.[402] Their weapons were principally of Chinese[403] or Soviet manufacture.[404] In the period up to the conventional phase in 1970, the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
and NVA were primarily limited to 81 mm mortars, recoilless rifles, and small arms and had significantly lighter equipment and firepower in comparison with the US arsenal. They relied on ambushes, superior stealth, planning, marksmanship, and small-unit tactics to face the disproportionate US technological advantage.[405]

M41 Walker Bulldog, the primary tank of the US and ARVN ARVN
ARVN
soldiers posing on top of a Type 59 tank After the Tet Offensive, many North Vietnamese units incorporated light tanks such as the Type 62
Type 62
Type 59 tank., BTR-60, Type 60 artillery, amphibious tanks (such as the PT-76) and integrated into new war doctrines as a mobile combined-arms force.[406] The North Vietnamese started receiving experimental Soviet weapons against ARVN
ARVN
forces, including MANPADS 9K32 Strela-2, and anti-tank missiles, 9M14 Malyutka. By 1975, they had fully transformed from the strategy of mobile light-infantry and using the people's war concept used against the United States.[406] The US service rifle was initially the M14 until it was replaced by the M16 rifle. For a period, the gun suffered from a jamming flaw.[407] According to a congressional report, the jamming was due to inadequate testing and reflected a decision for which the safety of soldiers was a secondary consideration.[408] That issue was solved in early 1968 with the issuance of the M16A1, which featured a chrome-plated bore.[409] The M60 machine gun
M60 machine gun
was the main machine gun of the US army at the time, and many M60s were put on helicopters to provide suppressive fire. The MAC-10 machine pistol was supplied to many special forces troops in the midpoint of the war.

UH-1D helicopters airlift members of a U.S. infantry regiment, 1966 Two aircraft that were prominent in the war were the AC-130 "Spectre" Gunship and the UH-1
UH-1
"Huey" gunship. The AC-130 was a heavily armed ground-attack aircraft variant of the C-130 Hercules transport plane, while the Huey is a military helicopter powered by a single, turboshaft engine; approximately 7,000 UH-1
UH-1
aircraft saw service in Vietnam. The U.S. heavily armored, 90 mm M48A3 Patton tank saw extensive action during the Vietnam
Vietnam
War, and over 600 were deployed with US Forces. Ground forces also had access to B-52 and F-4 Phantom II and other aircraft to launch napalm, white phosphorus, tear gas, chemical weapons, precision-guided munition and cluster bombs.[410]

Radio communications North Vietnamese SAM crew in front of SA-2 launcher. The Soviet Union provided North Vietnam
North Vietnam
with considerable anti-air defence around installations. The Vietnam
Vietnam
War was the first conflict where U.S. forces had secure voice communication equipment available at the tactical level. The National Security Agency
National Security Agency
ran a crash program to provide U.S. forces with a family of security equipment, codenamed NESTOR, fielding 17,000 units initially; eventually 30,000 units were produced. However, limitations of the units, including poor voice quality, reduced range, annoying time delays and logistical support issues, led to only one unit in ten being used.[411]:Vol II, p. 43 While many in the U.S. military
U.S. military
believed that the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
and NVA would not be able to exploit insecure communications, interrogation of captured communication intelligence units showed they were able to understand the jargon and codes used in realtime and were often able to warn their side of impending U.S. actions.[411]:Vol II, pp. 4, 10

Extent of U.S. bombings See also: Operation Rolling Thunder, Operation Menu, Operation Freedom Deal, and CIA activities in Laos Bombs being dropped by the B-52 Stratofortress
B-52 Stratofortress
long-range strategic bomber. The U.S. dropped over 7 million tons of bombs on Indochina during the war, more than triple the 2.1 million tons of bombs the U.S. dropped on Europe and Asia during all of World War II, and more than ten times the amount dropped by the U.S. during the Korean War. 500 thousand tons were dropped on Cambodia, 1 million tons were dropped on North Vietnam, and 4 million tons were dropped on South Vietnam. On a per capita basis, the 2 million tons dropped on Laos
Laos
make it the most heavily bombed country in history; The New York Times
The New York Times
noted this was "nearly a ton for every person in Laos."[412] Due to the particularly heavy impact of cluster bombs during this war, Laos
Laos
was a strong advocate of the Convention on Cluster Munitions
Convention on Cluster Munitions
to ban the weapons, and was host to the First Meeting of States Parties to the convention in November 2010.[413] Former U.S. Air Force official Earl Tilford has recounted "repeated bombing runs of a lake in central Cambodia. The B-52s literally dropped their payloads in the lake." The Air Force ran many missions of this kind for the purpose of securing additional funding during budget negotiations, so the amount of tonnage expended does not directly correlate with the resulting damage.[414]

Aftermath Events in Southeast Asia Further information: Mayaguez incident
Mayaguez incident
and Indochina refugee crisis Vietnamese refugees fleeing Vietnam, 1984 On 2 July 1976, North and South Vietnam
South Vietnam
were merged to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.[415] Despite speculation that the victorious North Vietnamese would, in President Nixon's words, "massacre the civilians there [South Vietnam] by the millions," there is a widespread consensus that no mass executions in fact took place.[416] However, in the years following the war, a vast number of South Vietnamese was sent to re-education camps where many endured torture, starvation, and disease while being forced to perform hard labor.[417][418] According to Amnesty International Report 1979, this figure varied considerably depend on different observers: "[...] included such figures as "50,000 to 80,000" (Le Monde, 19 April 1978), "150,000" (Reuters from Bien Hoa, 2 November 1977), "150,000 to 200,000" (Washington Post, 20 December 1978), and "300,000" (Agence France Presse from Hanoi, 12 February 1978)."[419] Such variations may be because "Some estimates may include not only detainees but also people sent from the cities to the countryside." According to a native observer, there were 443,360 people who had to register for a period in re-education camps in Saigon
Saigon
alone, and while some of them were released after a few days, others stayed there for more than a decade.[420]

B-52 wreckage in Huu Tiep Lake, Hanoi. Downed during Operation Linebacker II, its remains have turned into a war monument. Gabriel García Márquez, a Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
winning writer, described South Vietnam
South Vietnam
as a "False paradise" after the war, when he visited in 1980: "The cost of this delirium was stupefying: 360,000 people mutilated, a million widows, 500,000 prostitutes, 500,000 drug addicts, a million tuberculous and more than a million soldiers of the old regime, impossible to completely rehabilitate into a new society. Ten percent of the population of Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
City was suffering from serious venereal diseases when the war ended, and there were 4 million illiterates throughout the South."[421] The US used its security council veto to block Vietnam's recognition by the United Nations three times, an obstacle to the country receiving international aid.[422] By 1975, the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
had lost influence over the Cambodian communists.[423] Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, fell to the Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
on 17 April 1975. Under the leadership of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
would eventually kill 1–3 million Cambodians out of a population of around 8 million, in one of the bloodiest genocides in history.[59][424][425][426]

A bombed Buddha statue in Laos. U.S. bombing campaigns made the country the single most bombed country in history. The relationship between Vietnam
Vietnam
and Cambodia, then ruled by the Khmer Rouge communist party, escalated right after the end of the war. In response to the Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
taking over Phu Quoc on 17 April and Tho Chu on 4 May 1975, and the belief that they were responsible for the disappearance of 500 Vietnamese natives on Tho Chu, Vietnam
Vietnam
launched a counterattack to take back these islands.[427] After several failed attempts to negotiate by both sides, Vietnam
Vietnam
invaded Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) in 1978 and ousted the Khmer Rouge, who were being supported by China, in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War. In response, China
China
invaded Vietnam
Vietnam
in 1979. The two countries fought a brief border war, known as the Sino-Vietnamese War. From 1978 to 1979, some 450,000 ethnic Chinese left Vietnam
Vietnam
by boat as refugees or were expelled. The Pathet Lao
Pathet Lao
overthrew the monarchy of Laos
Laos
in December 1975, establishing the Lao People's Democratic Republic
Lao People's Democratic Republic
under the leadership of a member of the royal family, Souphanouvong. The change in regime was "quite peaceful, a sort of Asiatic 'velvet revolution'"—although 30,000 former officials were sent to reeducation camps, often enduring harsh conditions for several years. The conflict between Hmong rebels and the Pathet Lao
Pathet Lao
continued in isolated pockets.[428] The millions of cluster bombs the US dropped on Southeast Asia rendered the landscape hazardous. In Laos
Laos
alone, some 80 million bombs failed to explode and remain scattered throughout the country, rendering vast swathes of land impossible to cultivate and killing or maiming 50 Laotians every year.[429] It is estimated that the explosives still remaining buried in the ground will not be removed entirely for the next few centuries.[430] Over 3 million people left Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia
Cambodia
in the Indochina refugee crisis. Most Asian countries were unwilling to accept these refugees, many of whom fled by boat and were known as boat people.[431] Between 1975 and 1998, an estimated 1.2 million refugees from Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries resettled in the United States, while Canada, Australia, and France resettled over 500,000. China accepted 250,000 people.[432] Of all the countries of Indochina, Laos
Laos
experienced the largest refugee flight in proportional terms, as 300,000 people out of a total population of 3 million crossed the border into Thailand. Included among their ranks were "about 90 percent" of Laos's "intellectuals, technicians, and officials."[433] An estimated 200,000 to 400,000 Vietnamese boat people died at sea, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.[434]

Captured U.S.-supplied armored vehicles and artillery pieces Agent Orange
Agent Orange
and similar chemical substances used by the U.S. have also caused a considerable number of deaths and injuries in the intervening years, including among the US Air Force crews that handled them. Scientific reports have concluded that refugees exposed to chemical sprays while in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
continued to experience pain in the eyes and skin as well as gastrointestinal upsets. In one study, ninety-two percent of participants suffered incessant fatigue; others reported monstrous births.[435] Meta-analyses of the most current studies on the association between Agent Orange
Agent Orange
and birth defects have concluded that there is a statistically significant correlation such that having a parent who was exposed to Agent Orange at any point in their life will increase one's likelihood of either possessing or acting as a genetic carrier of birth defects.[436] The most common deformation appears to be spina bifida. There is substantial evidence that the birth defects carry on for three generations or more.[437] In 2012, the United States and Vietnam
Vietnam
began a cooperative cleaning up of the toxic chemical on part of Danang International Airport, marking the first time Washington has been involved in cleaning up Agent Orange
Agent Orange
in Vietnam.[438]

Effect on the United States Views on the war

United States
United States
expenditures in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
(SVN) (1953–1974) Direct costs only. Some estimates are higher.[439]

U.S. military
U.S. military
costs U.S. military
U.S. military
aid to SVN U.S. economic aid to SVN Total Total (2015 dollars)

$111 billion $16.138 billion $7.315 billion $134.53 billion $1.020 trillion

In the post-war era, Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of the military intervention.[440] 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."[441][442] President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
coined the term " Vietnam
Vietnam
Syndrome" to describe the reluctance of the American public and politicians to support further military interventions abroad after Vietnam. According to a 2004 Gallup poll, 62 percent of Americans believed it was an unjust war.[443] US public polling in 1978 reveal nearly 72% of Americans believing the war was "fundamentally wrong and immoral", nearly a decade later the number reduced to 66% and by 1985 to 2000 surveys consistently show 34–35% believing the war was fundamentally wrong and immoral.[444] Nearly a third of Americans believed the war was a noble cause when surveyed in 2000.[444] Failure of the war is often placed at different institutions and levels. Some have suggested that the failure of the war was due to political failures of U.S. leadership.[citation needed] The official history of the United States
United States
Army
Army
noted that "tactics have often seemed to exist apart from larger issues, strategies, and objectives. Yet in Vietnam
Vietnam
the Army
Army
experienced tactical success and strategic failure... success rests not only on military progress but on correctly analysing the nature of the particular conflict, understanding the enemy's strategy, and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of allies. A new humility and a new sophistication may form the best parts of a complex heritage left to the Army
Army
by the long, bitter war in Vietnam."[150]

A young Marine private waits on the beach during the Marine landing, Da Nang, 3 August 1965 Others point to a failure of U.S. military
U.S. military
doctrine. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara
Robert McNamara
stated that "the achievement of a military victory by U.S. forces in Vietnam
Vietnam
was indeed a dangerous illusion."[445] The inability to bring Hanoi
Hanoi
to the bargaining table by bombing also illustrated another U.S. miscalculation, and demonstrated the limitations of U.S. military
U.S. military
abilities in achieving political goals.[446] As Army
Army
Chief of Staff Harold Keith Johnson noted, "if anything came out of Vietnam, it was that air power couldn't do the job."[447] Even General William Westmoreland admitted that the bombing had been ineffective. As he remarked, "I still doubt that the North Vietnamese would have relented."[447] U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
wrote in a secret memo to President Gerald Ford
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
Special
Forces who had been designed for it could not prevail."[448] Hanoi
Hanoi
had persistently sought unification of the country since the Geneva Accords, and the effects of U.S. bombings had negligible diplomatic impacts on the goals of the North Vietnamese government.[449] The effects of U.S. bombing campaigns had mobilised the people throughout North Vietnam
North Vietnam
and mobilised international support for North Vietnam
North Vietnam
due to the perception of a super-power attempting to bomb a significantly smaller, agrarian society into submission.[450] The Vietnam
Vietnam
War POW/MIA issue, concerning the fate of U.S. service personnel listed as missing in action, persisted for many years after the war's conclusion. The costs of the war loom large in American popular consciousness; a 1990 poll showed that the public incorrectly believed that more Americans lost their lives in Vietnam
Vietnam
than in World War II.[451]

Cost of the war Between 1953 and 1975, the United States
United States
was estimated to have spent $168 billion on the war ($1.02 trillion in FY2015 dollars).[452] This resulted in a large federal budget deficit. Other figures point to $138.9 billion from 1965 to 1974 (not inflation-adjusted), ten times the amount of support for all education spending in the US and 50 times more than housing and community development spending within that time period.[453] General record-keeping was reported to have been sloppy for government spending during the war.[453] It was stated that war-spending could have paid off every mortgage in the US at that time, with money leftover.[453] More than 3 million Americans served in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War, some 1.5 million of whom actually saw combat in Vietnam.[454] James E. Westheider wrote that "At the height of American involvement in 1968, for example, there were 543,000 American military personnel in Vietnam, but only 80,000 were considered combat troops."[455] Conscription in the United States
United States
had been controlled by the president since World War II, but ended in 1973. As of 2013, the U.S. government is paying Vietnam
Vietnam
veterans and their families or survivors more than $22 billion a year in war-related claims.[456][457]

Impact on the U.S. military By war's end, 58,220 American soldiers had been killed,[A 3] more than 150,000 had been wounded, and at least 21,000 had been permanently disabled.[458] The average age of the U.S. troops killed in Vietnam
Vietnam
was 23.11 years.[459] According to Dale Kueter, "Of those killed in combat, 86.3 percent were white, 12.5 percent were black and the remainder from other races."[460] Approximately 830,000 Vietnam
Vietnam
veterans suffered some degree of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).[458] Vietnam
Vietnam
veterans suffered from PTSD in unprecedented numbers, as many as 15.2% of Vietnam
Vietnam
veterans, because the U.S. military
U.S. military
had routinely provided heavy psychoactive drugs, including amphetamines, to American servicemen, which left them unable to process adequately their traumas at the time.[461] An estimated 125,000 Americans left for Canada to avoid the Vietnam
Vietnam
draft,[462] and approximately 50,000 American servicemen deserted.[463] In 1977, United States president Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
granted a full and unconditional pardon to all Vietnam-era draft dodgers.[464]

A marine gets his wounds treated during operations in Huế
Huế
City, in 1968 As the Vietnam
Vietnam
War continued inconclusively and became more unpopular with the American public, morale declined and disciplinary problems grew among American enlisted men and junior, non-career officers. Drug use, racial tensions, and the growing incidence of fragging—attempting to kill unpopular officers and non-commissioned officers with grenades or other weapons—created severe problems for the U.S. military
U.S. military
and impacted its capability of undertaking combat operations. By 1971, a U.S. Army
Army
colonel writing in the Armed Forces Journal declared: "By every conceivable indicator, our army that now remains in Vietnam
Vietnam
is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and non commissioned officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near mutinous....The morale, discipline, and battle-worthiness of the U.S. Armed Forces are, with a few salient exceptions, lower and worse than at any time in this century and possibly in the history of the United States."[465] Between 1969 and 1971 the U.S. Army
Army
recorded more than 700 attacks by troops on their own officers. Eighty-three officers were killed and almost 650 were injured.[466]

Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara
Robert McNamara
and General Westmoreland talk with General Tee on conditions of the war in Vietnam. The Vietnam
Vietnam
War called into question the U.S. Army
Army
doctrine. Marine Corps general Victor H. Krulak
Victor H. Krulak
heavily criticised Westmoreland's attrition strategy, calling it "wasteful of American lives… with small likelihood of a successful outcome."[447] In addition, doubts surfaced about the ability of the military to train foreign forces. Furthermore, throughout the war there was found to be considerable flaws and dishonesty by officers and commanders due to promotions being tied to the body count system touted by Westmoreland and McNamara.[467] Ron Milam has questioned the severity of the "breakdown" of the U.S. armed forces, especially among combat troops, as reflecting the opinions of "angry colonels" who deplored the erosion of traditional military values during the Vietnam
Vietnam
War.[468] Although acknowledging serious problems, he questions the alleged "near mutinous" conduct of junior officers and enlisted men in combat. Investigating one combat refusal incident, a journalist declared, "A certain sense of independence, a reluctance to behave according to the military's insistence on obedience, like pawns or puppets...The grunts [infantrymen] were determined to survive...they insisted of having something to say about the making of decisions that determined whether they might live or die."[469] The morale and discipline problems and resistance to conscription (the draft) were important factors leading to the creation of an all-volunteer military force by the United States
United States
and the termination of conscription. The last conscript was inducted into the army in 1973.[470][471] The all-volunteer military moderated some of the coercive methods of discipline previously used to maintain order in military ranks.[472]

Effects of U.S. chemical defoliation One of the most controversial aspects of the U.S. military
U.S. military
effort in Southeast Asia was the widespread use of chemical defoliants between 1961 and 1971. They were used to defoliate large parts of the countryside to prevent the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
from being able to hide their weapons and encampments under the foliage. These chemicals continue to change the landscape, cause diseases and birth defects, and poison the food chain.[473][474]

U.S. helicopter spraying chemical defoliants in the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam, 1969 Early in the American military effort, it was decided that since the enemy were hiding their activities under triple-canopy jungle, a useful first step might be to defoliate certain areas. This was especially true of growth surrounding bases (both large and small) in what became known as Operation Ranch Hand. Corporations like Dow Chemical Company and Monsanto
Monsanto
were given the task of developing herbicides for this purpose. American officials also pointed out that the British had previously used 2,4,5-T
2,4,5-T
and 2,4-D
2,4-D
(virtually identical to America's use in Vietnam) on a large scale throughout the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s in order to destroy bushes, crops, and trees in effort to deny communist insurgents the concealment they needed to ambush passing convoys.[475] Indeed, Secretary of State Dean Rusk told President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
on 24 November 1961, that "[t]he use of defoliant does not violate any rule of international law concerning the conduct of chemical warfare and is an accepted tactic of war. Precedent has been established by the British during the emergency in Malaya in their use of aircraft for destroying crops by chemical spraying."[476] The defoliants, which were distributed in drums marked with color-coded bands, included the "Rainbow Herbicides"—Agent Pink, Agent Green, Agent Purple, Agent Blue, Agent White, and most famously, Agent Orange, which included dioxin as a byproduct of its manufacture. About 11–12 million gallons (41.6–45.4 million L) of Agent Orange were sprayed over southern Vietnam
Vietnam
between 1961 and 1971.[477] 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.

Handicapped children in Vietnam, most of them victims of Agent Orange, 2004 In 1961 and 1962, the Kennedy administration authorized the use of chemicals to destroy rice crops. Between 1961 and 1967, the U.S. Air Force sprayed 20 million U.S. gallons (75,700,000 L) of concentrated herbicides over 6 million acres (24,000 km2) of crops and trees, affecting an estimated 13% of South Vietnam's land. In 1965, 42% of all herbicide was sprayed over food crops. Another purpose of herbicide use was to drive civilian populations into RVN-controlled areas.[478] Vietnamese victims affected by Agent Orange
Agent Orange
attempted a class action lawsuit against Dow Chemical and other U.S. chemical manufacturers, but District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein
Jack B. Weinstein
dismissed their case.[479] They appealed, but the dismissal was cemented in February 2008 by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.[480] As of 2006[update], the Vietnamese government estimates that there are over 4,000,000 victims of dioxin poisoning in Vietnam, although the United States
United States
government denies any conclusive scientific links between Agent Orange
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.[481] In 2006, Anh Duc Ngo and colleagues of the University of Texas Health Science Center published a meta-analysis that exposed a large amount of heterogeneity (different findings) between studies, a finding consistent with a lack of consensus on the issue on the effect of Agent Orange
Agent Orange
in Vietnam.[482] Despite this, statistical analysis of the studies they examined resulted in data that the increase in birth defects/relative risk (RR) from exposure to agent orange/dioxin "appears" to be on the order of 3 in Vietnamese-funded studies, but 1.29 in the rest of the world. There is data near the threshold of statistical significance suggesting Agent Orange contributes to still-births, cleft palate, and neural tube defects, with spina bifida being the most statistically significant defect.[483] The large discrepancy in RR between Vietnamese studies and those in the rest of the world has been ascribed to bias in the Vietnamese studies.[482] The U.S. Veterans Administration has listed prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, multiple myeloma, Diabetes mellitus type 2, B-cell lymphomas, soft-tissue sarcoma, chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, peripheral neuropathy, and spina bifida in children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange.[484]

Casualties Main article: Vietnam
Vietnam
War casualties See also: Vietnam
Vietnam
War body count controversy

Military deaths in Vietnam
Vietnam
War (1955–1975)

Year U.S.[485] SouthVietnam

1956–1959 4 n.a.

1960 5 2,223

1961 16 4,004

1962 53 4,457

1963 122 5,665

1964 216 7,457

1965 1,928 11,242

1966 6,350 11,953

1967 11,363 12,716

1968 16,899 27,915

1969 11,780 21,833

1970 6,173 23,346

1971 2,414 22,738

1972 759 39,587

1973 68 27,901

1974 1 31,219

1975 62 n.a.

After 1975 7 n.a.

Total 58,220 >254,256[486]

Estimates of the number of casualties vary, with one source suggesting up to 3.8 million violent war deaths in Vietnam
Vietnam
for the period 1955 to 2002.[487] A detailed demographic study calculated 791,000–1,141,000 war-related deaths during the war for all of Vietnam, for both military and civilians.[29] Between 195,000 and 430,000 South Vietnamese civilians died in the war.[30][39] Extrapolating from a 1969 US intelligence report, Guenter Lewy estimated 65,000 North Vietnamese civilians died in the war.[30] Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American bombing of North Vietnam
North Vietnam
in Operation Rolling Thunder
Operation Rolling Thunder
range from 30,000[488][489] to 182,000.[490] A 1974 US Senate subcommittee estimates nearly 1.4 million civilians killed and wounded between 1965 and 1974, and attributed over half as resulting from US and South Vietnamese military action.[198] The military forces of South Vietnam
South Vietnam
suffered an estimated 254,256 killed between 1960 and 1974 and additional deaths from 1954 to 1959 and in 1975.[491] Other estimates point to higher figures of 313,000 casualties.[90] The official US Department of Defense figure was 950,765 NVA/VC forces killed in Vietnam
Vietnam
from 1965 to 1974. Defense Department officials believed that these body count figures need to be deflated by 30 percent. In addition, Guenter Lewy assumes that one-third of the reported "enemy" killed may have been civilians, concluding that the actual number of deaths of NVA/VC military forces was probably closer to 444,000.[30]

Cemetery for ten unmarried girls who volunteered for logistical activities, who died in a B-52 raid at Đồng Lộc Junction, a strategic junction along the Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
trail According to figures from internal NVA/ Viet Cong
Viet Cong
figures released by the Vietnamese government there was 849,018 military deaths on the NVA/VC side during the war.[32][492][493][494] The Vietnamese government released its estimate of war deaths for the more lengthy period of 1955 to 1975. This figure includes battle deaths of Vietnamese soldiers in Laotian Civil War
Laotian Civil War
and Cambodian Civil War
Cambodian Civil War
in which the NVA was a major participant and 30–40% of the figure are non-combat deaths,[32] but does not include deaths of South Vietnamese and allied soldiers.[495] US reports of "enemy KIA", referred to as body count were thought to have been subject to "falsification and glorification", and a true estimate of NVA/VC combat deaths may be difficult to assess, as US victories were assessed by having a "greater kill ratio".[496][497][498] It was difficult to distinguish between civilians and military personnel on the Viet Cong side as many persons were part-time guerrillas or impressed labourers who did not wear uniforms[499][500][501] and civilians actually killed were oftentimes written off as enemy KIA.[502][503] MACV operation rarely made a distinction between unarmed civilians and combatants, there was drastic inflation of enemy casualties since it was directly tied to promotions and commendation.[504] Between 275,000[60] and 310,000[61] Cambodians were estimated to have died during the war including between 40,000 and 150,000 combatants and civilians from US bombings.[61][505][506] 20,000–62,000 Laotians also died,[58] and 58,318 U.S. military
U.S. military
personnel were killed,[43] of which 1,598 are still listed as missing as of 2018.[507] Unexploded ordnance, mostly from U.S. bombing, continue to detonate and kill people today. According to the Vietnamese government, ordnance has killed some 42,000 people since the war officially ended.[508][509] According to the government of Laos, unexploded ordnance has killed or injured over 20,000 Laotians since the end of the war.[429] Casualties from Agent Orange
Agent Orange
exposure is not known currently.

In popular culture Stone plaque with photo of the "Thương tiếc" (Mourning Soldier) statue, originally, installed at the Republic of Vietnam
Vietnam
National Military Cemetery. The original statue was demolished in April 1975. The Vietnam
Vietnam
War has been featured extensively in television, film, video games, music and literature in the participant countries. In Vietnam, one notable film set during Operation Linebacker
Operation Linebacker
II was the film Girl from Hanoi
Hanoi
(1975) depicting war-time life in Hanoi. Another notable work was the diary of Đặng Thùy Trâm, a Vietnamese doctor who enlisted in the Southern battlefield, and was killed at the age of 27 by US forces near Quảng Ngãi. Her diaries were later published in Vietnam
Vietnam
as Đặng Thùy Trâm's Diary (Last Night I Dreamed Of Peace), where it became a best-seller and was later made into a film Don't Burn (Đừng Đốt). In Vietnam
Vietnam
the diary has often been compared to The Diary of Anne Frank and both are used in literary education.[510] Another Vietnamese film produced was The Abandoned Field: Free Fire Zone (Cánh đồng hoang) in 1979 which weaves the narrative of living on the ground in a US "free-fire zone" as well as perspectives from US helicopters. In American popular culture, the "Crazy Vietnam
Vietnam
Veteran", who was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, became a common stock character after the war. One of the first major films based on the Vietnam
Vietnam
War was John Wayne's pro-war film, The Green Berets (1968). Further cinematic representations were released during the 1970s and 1980s, including Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter
The Deer Hunter
(1978), Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now
(1979), Oliver Stone's Platoon (1986) – based on his service in the U.S. military
U.S. military
during the Vietnam
Vietnam
War, Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket
Full Metal Jacket
(1987), Hamburger Hill
Hamburger Hill
(1987), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), and Casualties of War
Casualties of War
(1989). Later films would include We Were Soldiers
We Were Soldiers
(2002) and Rescue Dawn
Rescue Dawn
(2007).[42] The war also influenced a generation of musicians and songwriters in Vietnam
Vietnam
and the United States, both anti-war and pro/anti-communist. The band Country Joe and the Fish
Country Joe and the Fish
recorded "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" / The "Fish" Cheer in 1965, and it became one of the most influential anti- Vietnam
Vietnam
protest anthems.[42] Many songwriters and musicians supported the anti-war movement, including Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Peggy Seeger, Ewan MacColl, Barbara Dane, The Critics Group, Phil Ochs, John Lennon, Nina Simone, Neil Young, Tom Paxton, Jimmy Cliff
Jimmy Cliff
and Arlo Guthrie. The modern classical composer George Crumb composed a string quartet, a threnody, regarding the war in 1970 titled Black Angels. The war is also depicted in popular video games, especially in first-person shooter war genre, such as Line of Sight: Vietnam
Vietnam
(2003), Vietcong
Vietcong
(2003), Battlefield
Battlefield
Vietnam
Vietnam
(2004), Vietcong: Fist Alpha (2004), Elite Warriors: Vietnam
Vietnam
(2005), The Hell in Vietnam
Vietnam
(2008), Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam
Vietnam
(2010), Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010), Call of Duty: Black Ops: Declassified (2012), Rising Storm 2: Vietnam
Vietnam
(2017), and in Far Cry 5 (2018) as an additional content. The war also saw depiction in another genre, in the form of third-person shooter, MMORPG, real-time strategy and role-playing, such as Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Caliber .50
Caliber .50
(1989), Vietcong
Vietcong
2 (2005), Made Man (2006), Gunboat (1990) and Strike Fighters 2: Vietnam
Vietnam
(2009).

Myths Myths play a central role in the historiography of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War, and have become a part of the culture of the United States. Much like the general historiography of the war, discussion of myth has focused on US experiences, but changing myths of war have also played a role in Vietnamese and Australian historiography. Recent scholarship has focused on "myth-busting",[511] attacking the previous orthodox and revisionist schools of American historiography of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War. This scholarship challenges myths about American society and soldiery in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War.[511] Kuzmarov in The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam
Vietnam
and the Modern War on Drugs challenges the popular and Hollywood narrative that US soldiers were heavy drug users,[512] in particular the notion that the My Lai massacre
My Lai massacre
was caused by drug use.[511] According to Kuzmarov, Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
is primarily responsible for creating the drug myth.[513] Michael Allen in Until The Last Man Comes Home also accuses Nixon of myth making, by exploiting the plight of the League of Wives of American Prisoners in Vietnam
Vietnam
and the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia to allow the government to appear caring as the war was increasingly considered lost.[514] Allen's analysis ties the position of potential missing or prisoner Americans into post-war politics and recent presidential elections, including the Swift boat controversy in US electoral politics.[515]

Commemoration On May 25, 2012, President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
issued a proclamation of the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.[516][517] On November 10, 2017, President Donald Trump issued an additional proclamation commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.[518][519][520][521]

See also

Vietnam
Vietnam
portal United States
United States
portal War portal 1950s portal 1960s portal 1970s portal

U.S. news media and the Vietnam
Vietnam
War The Vietnam
Vietnam
War (TV series) Opposition to United States
United States
involvement in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War

General History of Cambodia History of Laos History of Vietnam List of conflicts in Asia

Annotations

^ a b Due to the early presence of U.S. troops in Vietnam
Vietnam
the start date of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War is a matter of debate. In 1998, after a high level review by the Department of Defense (DoD) and through the efforts of Richard B. Fitzgibbon's family the start date of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War according to the US government was officially changed to 1 November 1955.[6] U.S. government reports currently cite 1 November 1955 as the commencement date of the " Vietnam
Vietnam
Conflict", because this date marked when the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) in Indochina (deployed to Southeast Asia under President Truman) was reorganized into country-specific units and MAAG Vietnam was established.[7] Other start dates include when Hanoi
Hanoi
authorized Viet Cong
Viet Cong
forces in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
to begin a low-level insurgency in December 1956,[8] whereas some view 26 September 1959, when the first battle occurred between the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
and the South Vietnamese army, as the start date.[9]

^ Upper figure initial estimate, later thought to be inflated by at least 30% (lower figure), possibly includes civilians misidentified as combatants, see Vietnam
Vietnam
War body count controversy[29][35]

^ a b c The figures of 58,220 and 303,644 for U.S. deaths and wounded come from the Department of Defense Statistical Information Analysis Division (SIAD), Defense Manpower Data Center, as well as from a Department of Veterans fact sheet dated May 2010; the total is 153,303 WIA excluding 150,341 persons not requiring hospital care[44] the CRS (Congressional Research Service) Report for Congress, American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics, dated 26 February 2010,[45] and the book Crucible Vietnam: Memoir of an Infantry Lieutenant.[46] Some other sources give different figures (e.g. the 2005/2006 documentary Heart of Darkness: The Vietnam War Chronicles 1945–1975 cited elsewhere in this article gives a figure of 58,159 U.S. deaths,[47] and the 2007 book Vietnam Sons gives a figure of 58,226)[48]

^ The Military Assistance Advisory Group, Indochina (with an authorized strength of 128 men) was set up in September 1950 with a mission to oversee the use and distribution of US military equipment by the French and their allies.

^ On 8 March 1965 the first American combat troops, the Third Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division, began landing in Vietnam
Vietnam
to protect the Da Nang
Da Nang
airport.[263][264]

Notes

^ "Why did Sweden
Sweden
support the Viet Cong?". HistoryNet. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2016..mw-parser-output cite.citation font-style:inherit .mw-parser-output .citation q quotes:"""""""'""'" .mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration color:#555 .mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center .mw-parser-output code.cs1-code color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error display:none;font-size:100% .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error font-size:100% .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em .mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format font-size:95% .mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left padding-left:0.2em .mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right padding-right:0.2em

^ " Sweden
Sweden
announces support to Viet Cong". HISTORY.com. Retrieved 20 July 2016. In Sweden, Foreign Minister Torsten Nilsson reveals that Sweden
Sweden
has been providing assistance to the Viet Cong, including some $550,000 worth of medical supplies. Similar Swedish aid was to go to Cambodian and Laotian civilians affected by the Indochinese fighting. This support was primarily humanitarian in nature and included no military aid.

^ a b Weil, Thomas E. et. al. Area Handbook for Brazil
Brazil
(1975), p. 293

^ "Chapter Three: 1957–1969 Early Relations between Malaysia
Malaysia
and Vietnam" (PDF). University of Malaya
University of Malaya
Student Repository. p. 72. Retrieved 17 October 2015.

^ Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj (Profiles of Malaysia's Foreign Ministers) (PDF). Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Malaysia). 2008. p. 31. ISBN 978-9832220268. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015. The Tunku had been personally responsible for Malaya's partisan support of the South Vietnamese regime in its fight against the Vietcong
Vietcong
and, in reply to a Parliamentary question on 6 February 1962, he had listed all the used weapons and equipment of the Royal Malaya Police given to Saigon. These included a total of 45,707 single-barrel shotguns, 611 armoured cars and smaller numbers of carbines and pistols. Writing in 1975, he revealed that "we had clandestinely been giving 'aid' to Vietnam
Vietnam
since early 1958. Published American archival sources now reveal that the actual Malaysian contributions to the war effort in Vietnam
Vietnam
included the following: "over 5,000 Vietnamese officers trained in Malaysia; training of 150 U.S. soldiers in handling Tracker Dogs; a rather impressive list of military equipment and weapons given to Viet-Nam after the end of the Malaysian insurgency (for example, 641 armored personnel carriers, 56,000 shotguns); and a creditable amount of civil assistance (transportation equipment, cholera vaccine, and flood relief)". It is undeniable that the Government's policy of supporting the South Vietnamese regime with arms, equipment and training was regarded by some quarters, especially the Opposition parties, as a form of interfering in the internal affairs of that country and the Tunku's valiant efforts to defend it were not convincing enough, from a purely foreign policy standpoint.

^ DoD 1998

^ Lawrence 2009, p. 20.

^ a b Olson & Roberts 1991, p. 67.[citation not found]

^ a b c d e Origins of the Insurgency
Insurgency
in South Vietnam, 1954–1960, The Pentagon Papers
Pentagon Papers
(Gravel Edition), Volume 1, Chapter 5, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), Section 3, pp. 314–46; International Relations Department, Mount Holyoke College.

^ a b The Paris Agreement on Vietnam: Twenty-five Years Later Conference Transcript, The Nixon Center, Washington, DC, April 1998. Reproduced on mtholyoke.edu. Accessed 5 September 2012.

^ Victory in Vietnam: The Official History of the People's Army
Army
of Vietnam, 1954–1975. Translated by Merle Pribbenow, Lawerence KS: University of Kansas Press, 2002, p. 211: "By the end of 1966 the total strength of our armed forces was 690,000 soldiers.". According to Hanoi's official history, the Viet Cong
Viet Cong
was a branch of the People's Army
Army
of Vietnam.

^ Doyle, The North, pp. 45–49

^ a b The A to Z of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War. The Scarecrow Press. 2005. ISBN 978-1461719038.

^ a b " China
China
admits 320,000 troops fought in Vietnam". Toledo Blade. Reuters. 16 May 1989. Retrieved 24 December 2013.

^ Roy, Denny (1998). China's Foreign Relations. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 27. ISBN 978-0847690138.

^ a b c d e Womack, Brantly (2006). China
China
and Vietnam. ISBN 978-0521618342.

^ Spencer C. Tucker (2011). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p. 376. ISBN 978-1851099603.

^ [1][dead link]

^ O'Ballance, Edgar (1982). Tracks of the bear: Soviet imprints in the seventies. Presidio. p. 171. ISBN 9780891411338.

^ Pham Thi Thu Thuy (1 August 2013). "The colorful history of North Korea- Vietnam
Vietnam
relations". NK News. Retrieved 3 October 2016.

^ Le Gro, p. 28.

^ Tucker, Spencer (2011). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War: A Political, Social, and Military History, 2nd Edition. ABC-CLIO. p. xlv. ISBN 978-1851099610.

^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 December 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

^ Pike, John. " Cambodia
Cambodia
Civil War, 1970s". www.globalsecurity.org.

^ "The rise of Communism". www.footprinttravelguides.com. Archived from the original on 17 November 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2018.

^ "Hmong rebellion in Laos".

^ " Vietnam
Vietnam
War Allied Troop Levels 1960–73". Archived from the original on 2 August 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2016., accessed 7 Nov 2017

^ Pike, John. " Pathet Lao
Pathet Lao
Uprising".

^ a b c d e f g Charles Hirschman et al., "Vietnamese Casualties During the American War: A New Estimate", Population and Development Review, December 1995.

^ a b c d e f Lewy 1978, pp. 450–53.

^ "Battlefield: Vietnam
Vietnam
– Timeline". PBS.

^ a b c "Chuyên đề 4 CÔNG TÁC TÌM KIẾM, QUY TẬP HÀI CỐT LIỆT SĨ TỪ NAY ĐẾN NĂM 2020 VÀ NHỮNG NĂM TIẾP THEO".

^ "Công tác tìm kiếm, quy tập hài cốt liệt sĩ từ nay đến năm 2020 và những năn tiếp theo" [The work of searching and collecting the remains of martyrs from now to 2020 and the next] (in Vietnamese). Ministry of Defence, Government of Vietnam.

^ Communist
Communist
Party of Vietnam. "Đời đời nhớ ơn các anh hùng liệt sĩ!" [Eternal gratitude to the heroes and martyrs!] (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 11 June 2018.

^ a b Lewy, Guenter (1978). America in Vietnam. Oxford University Press. pp. 450–1. ISBN 9780199874231.

^ Soames, John. A History of the World, Routledge, 2005.

^ James F. Dunnigan; Albert A. Nofi (2000). Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War: Military Information You're Not Supposed to Know. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-25282-3.

^ " North Korea
North Korea
fought in Vietnam
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War". BBC News Online. 31 March 2000. Retrieved 18 October 2015.

^ a b Thayer 1985, chap. 12.

^ Clarke, Jeffrey J. (1988), United States
United States
Army
Army
in Vietnam: Advice and Support: The Final Years, 1965–1973, Washington, D.C: Center of Military History, United States
United States
Army, p. 275: "The Army
Army
of the Republic of Vietnam
Vietnam
suffered 254,256 recorded combat deaths between 1960 and 1974, with the highest number of recorded deaths being in 1972, with 39,587 combat deaths"

^ Rummel, R.J (1997), "Table 6.1A. Vietnam
Vietnam
Democide : Estimates, Sources, and Calculations" (GIF), Freedom, Democracy, Peace; Power, Democide, and War, University of Hawaii System

^ a b c d e f g h i j Tucker, Spencer E. The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam
Vietnam
War: A Political, Social, and Military History ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1851099611

^ a b Vietnam
Vietnam
Veterans Memorial Fund (29 May 2017). "3 new names added to Vietnam
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Veterans Memorial wall" (Press release). Associated Press.

^ America's Wars (PDF) (Report). Department of Veterans Affairs. May 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2014.

^ Anne Leland; Mari–Jana "M-J" Oboroceanu (26 February 2010). American War and Military Operations: Casualties: Lists and Statistics (PDF) (Report). Congressional Research Service.

^ Lawrence 2009, pp. 65, 107, 154, 217

^ Aaron Ulrich (editor); Edward FeuerHerd (producer and director) (2005, 2006). Heart of Darkness: The Vietnam
Vietnam
War Chronicles 1945–1975 (Box set, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC, Dolby, Vision Software) (Documentary). Koch Vision. Event occurs at 321 minutes. ISBN 1417229209.

^ Kueter, Dale. Vietnam
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Sons: For Some, the War Never Ended. AuthorHouse (21 March 2007). ISBN 978-1425969318

^ T. Lomperis, From People's War to People's Rule (1996)

^ "Australian casualties in the Vietnam
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^ Tucker, Spencer C. (2011). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam
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^ "Overview of the war in Vietnam". New Zealand
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^ "America Wasn't the Only Foreign Power in the Vietnam
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^ "Chapter III: The Philippines". History.army.mil. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2014.

^ "Asian Allies in Vietnam" (PDF). Embassy of South Vietnam. March 1970. Retrieved 18 October 2015.

^ Shenon, Philip (23 April 1995). "20 Years After Victory, Vietnamese Communists Ponder How to Celebrate". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 February 2011. The Vietnamese government officially claimed a rough estimate of 2 million civilian deaths, but it did not divide these deaths between those of North and South Vietnam.

^ Obermeyer, Ziad; Murray, Christopher J L; Gakidou, Emmanuela (23 April 2008). "Fifty years of violent war deaths from Vietnam
Vietnam
to Bosnia: analysis of data from the world health survey programme". British Medical Journal. 336 (336): 1482–1486. doi:10.1136/bmj.a137. PMC 2440905. PMID 18566045. Retrieved 5 January 2013. From 1955 to 2002, data from the surveys indicated an estimated 5.4 million violent war deaths ... 3.8 million in Vietnam

^ a b c d e Obermeyer, Murray & Gakidou 2008.

^ a b c Heuveline, Patrick (2001). "The Demographic Analysis of Mortality in Cambodia". Forced Migration and Mortality. National Academy Press. pp. 102–04, 120, 124. ISBN 978-0309073349. As best as can now be estimated, over two million Cambodians died during the 1970s because of the political events of the decade, the vast majority of them during the mere four years of the 'Khmer Rouge' regime. ... Subsequent reevaluations of the demographic data situated the death toll for the [civil war] in the order of 300,000 or less.

^ a b c Banister, Judith; Johnson, E. Paige (1993). "After the Nightmare: The Population of Cambodia". Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia: The Khmer Rouge, the United Nations and the International Community. Yale University Southeast Asia Studies. p. 87. ISBN 978-0938692492. An estimated 275,000 excess deaths. We have modeled the highest mortality we can justify for the early 1970s.

^ a b c d Sliwinski, Marek (1995). Le Génocide Khmer Rouge: Une Analyse Démographique [The Khmer Rouge
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genocide: A demographic analysis]. Paris: L'Harmattan. pp. 42–43, 48. ISBN 978-2738435255.

^ a b Factasy. "The Vietnam
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War or Second Indochina War". PRLog. Retrieved 29 June 2013.

^ " Vietnam
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War". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 5 March 2008. Meanwhile, the United States, its military demoralized and its civilian electorate deeply divided, began a process of coming to terms with defeat in its longest and most controversial war

^ Friedman, Herbert. "Allies of the Republic of Vietnam". Retrieved 5/1/19. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

^ Lind, Michael (1999). "Vietnam, The Necessary War: A Reinterpretation of America's Most Disastrous Military Conflict". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 January 2014.

^ Major General George S. Eckhardt, Vietnam
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Studies Command and Control 1950–1969, Department of the Army, Washington, DC
Washington, DC
(1991), p. 6

^ "Could Vietnam
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^ a b " Vietnam
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War Allied Troop Levels 1960–73". www.americanwarlibrary.com. Archived from the original on 2 August 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2018.

^ Vietnam
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War Statistics and Facts 1, 25th Aviation Battalion
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website.

^ "McNamara becomes Vietnam
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^ Kolko 1985, pp. 457, 461ff.

^ Kalb, Marvin (22 January 2013). "It's Called the Vietnam
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^ Horne, Alistair (2010). Kissinger's Year: 1973. Phoenix Press. pp. 370–371. ISBN 978-0-7538-2700-0.

^ Moore, Harold. G and Joseph L. Galloway We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam
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(p. 57).

^ Meaker, Scott S. F (4 November 2015). Unforgettable Vietnam
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^ "Asian-Nation: Asian American History, Demographics, & Issues:: The American / Viet Nam War". Retrieved 18 August 2008. The Viet Nam War is also called 'The American War' by the Vietnamese

^ Tucker, Spencer C. (2011) The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam
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War: A Political, Social, and Military History ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1851099611, p. xli

^ Ellsberg, Daniel (2 February 2018). "The doomsday machine – Talks at Google (February 2018)". Talks at google. Google / Daniel Ellsberg. Retrieved 1 June 2018.

^ McNamara 1999, pp. 377–79.

^ "The Vietnam
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^ Pentagon Papers, Gravel, ed, Chapter 2, 'U.S. Involvement in the Franco- Viet Minh
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War', p. 54.

^ a b Ang, Cheng Guan, The Vietnam
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War from the Other Side, p. 14. Routledge (2002).

^ a b "The History Place – Vietnam
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War 1945–1960". Retrieved 11 June 2008.

^ Herring 2001, p. 18.

^ Zinn, A People's History of the United States, p. 471.

^ a b Vietnam
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The Ten Thousand Day War, Thames 1981, Michael Maclear, p. 57.

^ Vietnam
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at War: The History: 1946–1975, ISBN 978-0195067927, p. 263.

^ a b Tucker 1999, p. 76

^ The U.S. Navy: a history, Naval Institute Press, 1997, Nathan Miller, ISBN 978-1557505958, pp. 67–68.

^ a b The Pentagon
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Papers. Gravel, ed. vol. 1, pp. 391–404.

^ " China
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Contributed Substantially to Vietnam
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War Victory, Claims Scholar". Wilson Center. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 20 May 2018.

^ "Echoes from the Past: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Vietnam
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War – Armstrong Undergraduate Journal of History". www.armstrong.edu. Retrieved 20 May 2018.

^ Press release by the Embassy of the Republic of Vietnam, quoted from the Washington, DC
Washington, DC
press and Information Service, vol I. no. 18 (22 July 1955) and no. 20 (18 August 1955), in Chapter 19 of Gettleman, Franklin and Young, Vietnam
Vietnam
and America: A Documented History, pp. 103–05.

^ Jacobs, pp. 45–55.

^ Kinzer, Stephen (2013). The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War. Macmillan. pp. 195–96. ISBN 978-1429953528.

^ Patrick, Johnson, David (2009). Selling "Operation Passage to Freedom": Dr. Thomas Dooley and the Religious Overtones of Early American Involvement in Vietnam
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^ Fall 1967, p. [page needed].

^ Vietnam
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^ Karnow 1997, p. 238.

^ Kolko 1985, p. 98.

^ 1 Pentagon Papers
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(The Senator Gravel Edition), 247, 328 (Boston, Beacon Press, 1971).

^ John Prados,"The Numbers Game: How Many Vietnamese Fled South In 1954?". The VVA Veteran (January/February 2005). Archived from the original on 27 May 2006. Retrieved 11 May 2017.

^ Turner 1975, p. 143.

^ Gittinger, J. Price (1959). " Communist
Communist
Land Policy in North Viet Nam". Far Eastern Survey. 28 (8): 113–126. doi:10.2307/3024603. JSTOR 3024603.

^ Courtois, Stephane; et al. (1997). The Black Book of Communism. Harvard University Press. p. 569. ISBN 978-0674076082.

^ Dommen, Arthur J. (2001), The Indochinese Experience of the French and the Americans, Indiana University Press, p. 340, gives a lower estimate of 32,000 executions.

^ "Newly released documents on the land reform". Vietnam
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Studies Group. Archived from the original on 20 April 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2016. Vu Tuong: There is no reason to expect, and no evidence that I have seen to demonstrate, that the actual executions were less than planned; in fact the executions perhaps exceeded the plan if we consider two following factors. First, this decree was issued in 1953 for the rent and interest reduction campaign that preceded the far more radical land redistribution and party rectification campaigns (or waves) that followed during 1954–1956. Second, the decree was meant to apply to free areas (under the control of the Viet Minh government), not to the areas under French control that would be liberated in 1954–1955 and that would experience a far more violent struggle. Thus the number of 13,500 executed people seems to be a low-end estimate of the real number. This is corroborated by Edwin Moise in his recent paper "Land Reform in North Vietnam, 1953–1956" presented at the 18th Annual Conference on SE Asian Studies, Center for SE Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley (February 2001). In this paper Moise (7–9) modified his earlier estimate in his 1983 book (which was 5,000) and accepted an estimate close to 15,000 executions. Moise made the case based on Hungarian reports provided by Balazs, but the document I cited above offers more direct evidence for his revised estimate. This document also suggests that the total number should be adjusted up some more, taking into consideration the later radical phase of the campaign, the unauthorized killings at the local level, and the suicides following arrest and torture (the central government bore less direct responsibility for these cases, however). cf. Szalontai, Balazs (November 2005). "Political and Economic Crisis in North Vietnam, 1955–56". Cold War
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^ Appy 2006, pp. 46–47.

^ The Pentagon Papers
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(1971), Beacon Press, vol. 3, p. 134.

^ The Pentagon Papers
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^ a b The Pentagon Papers
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^ Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mandate for Change. Garden City, NJ. Doubleday & Company, 1963, p. 372.

^ Turner, Robert F. (1990). "Myths and Realities in the Vietnam Debate". The Vietnam
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^ Woodruff 2005, p. 6 states: "The elections were not held. South Vietnam, which had not signed the Geneva Accords, did not believe the Communists in North Vietnam
North Vietnam
would allow a fair election. In January 1957, the International Control Commission (ICC), comprising observers from India, Poland, and Canada, agreed with this perception, reporting that neither South nor North Vietnam
North Vietnam
had honored the armistice agreement. With the French gone, a return to the traditional power struggle between north and south had begun again."

^ Karnow 1997, p. 224.

^ Gerdes (ed.) Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam
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War p. 19.

^ Turner 1975, pp. 193–94, 202–03, 215–17

^ McNamara 1999, p. 19.

^ John F. Kennedy. "America's Stakes in Vietnam". Speech to the American Friends of Vietnam, June 1956. Archived 26 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine

^ McNamara 1999, pp. 200–01.

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^ Karnow 1997, p. 230.

^ Excerpts from Law 10/59, 6 May 1959 Archived 23 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine

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^ Karnow 1997, p. 327.

^ FRUS, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Vol. IV, Vietnam, August–December 1863, Document 304

^ McNamara 1999, p. 328.

^ a b c Demma 1989.

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^ The Documentation Center of Cambodia
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^ Ben Kiernan cites a range of 1.671 to 1.871 million excess deaths under the Khmer Rouge. See Kiernan, Ben (December 2003). "The Demography of Genocide in Southeast Asia: The Death Tolls in Cambodia, 1975–79, and East Timor, 1975–80". Critical Asian Studies. 35 (4): 585–597. doi:10.1080/1467271032000147041.

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^ Taylor paraphrases Sun Tzu, The Art of War, trans. Samuel B. Griffith. Oxford, UK. Oxford University Press, 1963.

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^ a b c Quoted in Bob Buzzano. "25 Years After End of Vietnam
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(Gravel ed. 5 vol 1971); combination of narrative and secret documents compiled by Pentagon. excerpts U.S. Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States (multivolume collection of official secret documents) vol 1: 1964; vol 2: 1965; vol 4: 1966; U.S. Department of Defense and the House Committee on Armed Services. U.S.– Vietnam
Vietnam
Relations, 1945–1967. Washington, DC
Washington, DC
Department of Defense and the House Committee on Armed Services, 1971, 12 volumes.

Historiography
Historiography
and memory

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

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↓Battle of Saigon↓ ARVN
ARVN
Formed↓ Hòa Hảo
Hòa Hảo
defeated↓HCM trail established↓Laos Invasion↓NLFFormed↓1960CoupAttempt↓USRoleExpanded↓Palace Bombing↓Buddhist Crisis↓1963Coup↓ Gulf of Tonkin
Gulf of Tonkin
Incident↓Laos BombingBegin↓USForcesDeployed↓Buddhist Uprising↓Sihanouk Trail Created↓Tet Offensive↓US Begins Withdrawal↓PRG Formed↓Cambodian Campaign↓LamSon719↓Easter Offensive↓Paris Accords↓SpringOffensive↓Fall of Saigon↓CambodianWarWidens↓Christmas BombingsU.S President: Dwight D. EisenhowerJohn F. KennedyLyndon B. JohnsonRichard NixonG. FordRVN Presidents: Ngô Đình DiệmInstabilityNguyễn Văn ThiệuTrần Văn HươngDRV General Secretary: Lê Duẩn
Lê Duẩn
/ President: Ho Chi MinhGeneral Secretary: Lê Duẩn
Lê Duẩn
/ President: Tôn Đức ThắngNLF Chairman: Nguyễn Hữu ThọPRG President:Nguyễn Hữu Thọ│1955│1956│1957│1958│1959│1960│1961│1962│1963│1964│1965│1966│1967│1968│1969│1970│1971│1972│1973│1974│1975

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