Advice and Support: The Final Years, 1965-1973 The U.S. Army in Vietnam - Part 5
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You can find the records for most titles in the Catalog of U. Government Publications or CGP. Air Force , U. Army Corps of Engineers , U. Army Medical Department , U. Coast Guard , U. History , U. Marines , U. National Guard , U. The Approaching Storm is an auspicious beginning to this series. Profusely illustrated by photographs and useful maps, The Approaching Storm also includes accounts of individuals involved in the events of the time.
Klusmann, whose reconnaissance aircraft was shot down over central Laos in After almost three months of captivity, Lieutenant Klusmann and a number of others escaped from their Pathet Lao prison camp. After three days, Klusmann and one other escapee made it to friendly lines — one of the few American flyers to escape from captivity in Laos during the entire course of the war. You can get a copy here , browse through it here , or find it in a library here.
Navy , Vietnam Permalink Posted by govbooktalk. This book from the National Defense Intelligence College takes both an historical and policy-oriented view of prisoner of war interrogations in three wars. The final section, on Iraq, focuses on policy issues — specifically, whether Army doctrine should permit Special Operations personnel to interrogate prisoners. Again, real-world examples from personal experience provide a study that is both gripping and insightful.
You can read the book here or get a copy from GPO here. To find it in a library, search here. One of the goals of this blog is to review new Government publications as soon as we can, so people can find out about and, we hope, read them. Navy Medicine in Vietnam just hit my desk.
The X-ray of the patient has to be seen to be believed.
Advice and Support: The Final Years, by Jeffrey J. Clarke
Captain Dinsmore received the Navy Cross for this operation, but I wonder whether Engineman First Class John Lyons, who was the only other person in the operating room and safely detonated the mortar round afterward, got some recognition, too. Navy , Vietnam Tagged: Marines , military history , U. Enter your email address to subscribe to Government Book Talk and receive notifications of new blog posts by email. Sign me up! RSS - Posts. Government Book Talk Talking about some of the best publications from the Federal Government, past and present. Some of those include: Combat Operations: Staying the Course, October December describes the twelve-month period when the Viet Cong and their North Vietnamese allies embarked on a new and more aggressive strategy that shook the foundations of South Vietnam and forced the United States to reevaluate its military calculations in Southeast Asia.
For the enemy, however, those achievements came at a staggering cost in manpower and material; more importantly, the Tet offensive failed to cripple the South Vietnamese government or convince the United States to abandon its ally. Johnson ordered his military commanders to press ahead with their current strategy unchanged apart from some short-term tactical adjustments and a modest increase in the U. His decision to stay the course seemed to bear fruit as the allies repaired their losses and then forged new gains throughout the summer and autumn of Even so, the allied situation at the end of this period appeared to be only marginally better than it had been in late ; the peace talks in Paris had stalled, and American public opinion had turned decisively against the war.
His challenging agenda included two goals: withdrawing the U. He worked toward ending the inequitable draft system and replacing it with an all-volunteer force of regulars supported by National Guard and Reserve components.
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Advice and Support: The Final Years, Clarke describes the U. Instead he emphasized continuity. The opponents were locked in a cycle of escalation. The American buildup transformed the South Vietnamese economy and had a profound effect on society. South Vietnam was inundated with manufactured goods. Meanwhile, the one-year tour of duty of American soldiers deprived units of experienced leadership. As one observer noted "we were not in Vietnam for 10 years, but for one year 10 times.
Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and the Philippines  all agreed to send troops. South Korea would later ask to join the Many Flags program in return for economic compensation. In November , the U. However, the communist insurgents remained elusive and demonstrated great tactical flexibility.
By , these operations had generated large-scale internal refugees, numbering nearly 2. This ended a series of coups that had happened more than once a year. In , 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 , having won a one-candidate election in The Johnson administration employed a "policy of minimum candor"  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. These actions were part of a diversionary strategy meant to draw US forces towards the Central Highlands. The Tet Offensive began on 30 January , as over cities were attacked by over 85, enemy troops, including assaults on key military installations, headquarters, and government buildings and offices, including the U.
Embassy in Saigon. During the first month of the offensive, 1, Americans and other allied troops, 2, ARVN, and 14, civilians were killed. The NVA's own official records of their losses across all three offensives was 45, killed and , total casualties. The failure to spark a general uprising, and the fact that no units within the ARVN defected, meant both war goals of Hanoi had fallen flat at enormous costs.
Prior to Tet, in November , Westmoreland had spearheaded a public relations drive for the Johnson administration to bolster flagging public support. At one point in , Westmoreland considered the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam in a contingency plan codenamed Fracture Jaw , which was abandoned when it became known to the White House. Negotiations stagnated for five months, until Johnson gave orders to halt the bombing of North Vietnam.
At the same time, Hanoi realized it could not achieve a "total victory" and employed a strategy known as "talking while fighting, fighting while talking", in which military offensives would occur concurrently with negotiations. President Lyndon B. Johnson declined to run for re-election as his approval rating slumped from 48 to 36 percent. Vietnam was a major political issue during the United States presidential election in The election was won by Republican party candidate Richard Nixon. The policy became known as " Vietnamization ".
Theater commander Creighton Abrams shifted to smaller operations, aimed at disrupting logistics, with better use of firepower and more cooperation with the ARVN. In September , Ho Chi Minh died at age seventy-nine. The anti-war movement was gaining strength in the United States. Nixon appealed to the " silent majority " of Americans who he said supported the war without showing it in public. But revelations of the My Lai Massacre , in which a U. Army platoon raped and killed civilians, and the " Green Beret Affair ", where eight Special Forces soldiers, including the 5th Special Forces Group Commander, were arrested for the murder  of a suspected double agent,  provoked national and international outrage.
The top-secret history of U. The Supreme Court ruled that its publication was legal. Following the Tet Offensive and the decreasing support among the U. Open refusal to engage in patrols or carry out orders and disobedience began to emerge during this period,  with one notable case of an entire company refusing orders to engage or carry out operations.
Forces was characterised by lowered morale, lack of motivation, and poor leadership. 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 An entire American army was sacrificed on the battlefield of Vietnam.
Beginning in , 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 were less than half of casualties after being relegated to less active combat. Only five high-ranking congressional officials were informed of Operation Menu. In March , Prince Sihanouk was deposed by his pro-American prime minister Lon Nol , who demanded that North Vietnamese troops leave Cambodia or face military action.
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. The invasion of Cambodia sparked nationwide U. Four students were killed by National Guardsmen in May 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. Air Force continued to heavily bomb Cambodia in support of the Cambodian government as part of Operation Freedom Deal.
This offensive would also be the first time the NVA would field-test its combined arms force. During the withdrawal the NVA counterattack had forced a panicked rout. 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.
The war was central to the U. President Thieu demanded changes to the peace accord upon its discovery, and when North Vietnam went public with the agreement's details, the Nixon administration claimed they were attempting to embarrass the president. The negotiations became deadlocked when Hanoi demanded new changes. 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 , all U. There was a sixty-day period for the total withdrawal of U.
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. On 15 March , 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 confirmation hearings. Public and congressional reaction to Nixon's statement was unfavorable, prompting the U.
Senate to pass the Case—Church Amendment to prohibit an intervention. Logistics would be upgraded until the North was in a position to launch a massive invasion of the South, projected for the —76 dry season. Tra calculated that this date would be Hanoi's last opportunity to strike before Saigon's army could be fully trained. 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. After two clashes that left 55 South Vietnamese soldiers dead, President Thieu announced on 4 January , that the war had restarted and that the Paris Peace Accord was no longer in effect.
This was despite there being over 25, South Vietnamese casualties during the ceasefire period. The strike was designed to solve local logistical problems, gauge the reaction of South Vietnamese forces, and determine whether U. At the start of , 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, aircraft and a two-to-one numerical superiority in combat troops over their Communist enemies.
Congress also voted in further restrictions on funding to be phased in through and to culminate in a total cutoff in Phuoc Binh, the provincial capital, fell on 6 January Ford desperately asked Congress for funds to assist and re-supply the South before it was overrun.
The speed of this success led the Politburo to reassess its strategy. On 10 March , General Dung launched Campaign , a limited offensive into the Central Highlands, supported by tanks and heavy artillery.
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If the town could be taken, the provincial capital of Pleiku and the road to the coast would be exposed for a planned campaign in Once again, Hanoi was surprised by the speed of their success. Dung now urged the Politburo to allow him to seize Pleiku immediately and then turn his attention to Kon Tum. He argued that with two months of good weather remaining until the onset of the monsoon, it would be irresponsible to not take advantage of the situation. While the bulk of ARVN forces attempted to flee, isolated units fought desperately.
Civilians flooded the airport and the docks hoping for any mode of escape. By 28 March 35, NVA troops were poised to attack the suburbs. With the fall of the city, the defense of the Central Highlands and Northern provinces came to an end. With the northern half of the country under their control, the Politburo ordered General Dung to launch the final offensive against Saigon.
Hanoi wished to avoid the coming monsoon and prevent any redeployment of ARVN forces defending the capital. For two bloody weeks, severe fighting raged as the ARVN defenders made a last stand to try to block the North Vietnamese advance. On 21 April, however, the exhausted garrison was ordered to withdraw towards Saigon. An embittered and tearful president Thieu resigned on the same day, declaring that the United States had betrayed South Vietnam. In a scathing attack, he suggested U. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had tricked him into signing the Paris peace agreement two years earlier, promising military aid that failed to materialize.
Thousands of refugees streamed southward, ahead of the main communist onslaught. On 27 April , North Vietnamese troops encircled Saigon. The city was defended by about 30, 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. Chaos, unrest, and panic broke out as hysterical South Vietnamese officials and civilians scrambled to leave Saigon.
Martial law was declared. American helicopters began evacuating South Vietnamese, U. Operation Frequent Wind had been delayed until the last possible moment, because of U. Ambassador Graham Martin 's belief that Saigon could be held and that a political settlement could be reached. Schlesinger announced early in the morning of 29 April the evacuation from Saigon by helicopter of the last U.
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. 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. 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 , NVA troops entered the city of Saigon and quickly overcame all resistance, capturing key buildings and installations. During the course of the Vietnam War a large segment of the American population came to be opposed to U. Public opinion steadily turned against the war following and by only a third of Americans believed that the U. Early opposition to U. John F.
Kennedy, while senator, opposed involvement in Vietnam. 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. Opposition to the Vietnam War tended to unite groups opposed to U.
Others, such as Stephen Spiro , opposed the war based on the theory of Just War. High-profile opposition to the Vietnam War increasingly turned to mass protests in an effort to shift U. Riots broke out at the Democratic National Convention during protests against the war. On 15 October , the Vietnam Moratorium attracted millions of Americans. In , China extended diplomatic recognition to the Viet Minh 's Democratic Republic of Vietnam and sent heavy weapons, as well as military advisers led by Luo Guibo to assist the Viet Minh in its war with the French — China's support for North Vietnam when the U.
In the summer of , Mao Zedong agreed to supply Hanoi with 90, rifles and guns free of charge. Starting in , China sent anti-aircraft units and engineering battalions to North Vietnam to repair the damage caused by American bombing, man anti-aircraft batteries, rebuild roads and railroads, transport supplies, and perform other engineering works. This freed North Vietnamese army units for combat in the South.
Sino-Soviet relations soured after the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia in August In , the Chinese government launched a secret military program named "Project ". As the result, Chinese scientist Youyou Tu and her collaborators discovered artemisinin. Tu was awarded Nobel Prize in for her contribution on the anti-malaria treatment. The Chinese also began financing the Khmer Rouge as a counterweight to the Vietnamese communists at this time.
China "armed and trained" the Khmer Rouge during the civil war and continued to aid them for years afterward. When Vietnam responded with an invasion that toppled the Khmer Rouge, China launched a brief, punitive invasion of Vietnam in Using airspeed and direction, COSVN analysts would calculate the bombing target and tell any assets to move "perpendicularly to the attack trajectory. The Soviet Union supplied North Vietnam with medical supplies, arms, tanks, planes, helicopters, artillery, anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment.
Soviet crews fired Soviet-made surface-to-air missiles at U. Over a dozen Soviet citizens lost their lives in this conflict. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in , Russian officials acknowledged that the Soviet Union had stationed up to 3, troops in Vietnam during the war. Some Russian sources give more specific numbers: Between and , the hardware donated by the Soviet Union included 2, tanks, 1, APCs , 7, artillery guns, over 5, anti-aircraft guns, surface-to-air missile launchers, helicopters. In addition, Soviet military schools and academies began training Vietnamese soldiers—in all more than 10, military personnel.
These programs were pivotal in detecting and defeating CIA and South Vietnamese commando teams sent into North Vietnam, as they were detected and captured. Cooperation with Czechoslovakia on the development of North Vietnamese air capabilities began as early as As a result of a decision of the Korean Workers' Party in October , in early , North Korea sent a fighter squadron to North Vietnam to back up the North Vietnamese st and rd fighter squadrons defending Hanoi.
The North Koreans stayed through , and pilots were reported to have served. The contributions to North Vietnam by the Republic of Cuba under Fidel Castro have been recognized several times by representatives of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. There are numerous allegations by former U. East German authorities had also begun providing material and technical aid to help develop and modernise the North Vietnamese economy and military.
The Polish People's Republic had played a substantive role in brokering and serving as an intermediary for peace-talks between Hanoi and Saigon, as part of a delegation under the International Control Commission alongside Western European nations. Romania was also among primary supporters of North Vietnam during the war in political, economic, and military terms.
Contemporarily, the Eastern Bloc country was also known for its role in the mediation activities in the mids, resulting in what known as the "Trinh Signal" in January , in which Hanoi accepted the possibility of negotiation with Washington. Bulgaria committed their charge-free military and economic supplies to North Vietnam in a bilateral agreement signed in Bulgarian military aid had already been provided to the latter since Similar conducts was undertaken by Hungary, which was reaffirmed in mutual visits of Hungary and North Vietnam in and 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.
On the anti-communist side, South Korea a. 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". Approximately , South Korean soldiers were sent to Vietnam,  each serving a one-year tour of duty.
Maximum troop levels peaked at 50, in , however all were withdrawn by South Korea claimed to have killed 41, Viet Cong. Thai forces saw much more action in the covert war in Laos between and , though Thai regular formations there were heavily outnumbered by the irregular "volunteers" of the CIA-sponsored Police Aerial Reconnaissance Units or PARU, who carried out reconnaissance activities on the western side of the Ho Chi Minh trail. Both nations had gained experience in counterinsurgency and jungle warfare during the Malayan Emergency and World War II, and their governments subscribed to the Domino theory.
New Zealand was, however, a reluctant participant. Officials expected a foreign intervention to fail, were concerned that they would be supporting a corrupt regime, and didn't want to further stretch their country's small military which was already deployed to Malaysia. Australia began by sending advisors to Vietnam in , and combat troops were committed in Around 50, Australian personnel were involved during the course of the war, of which were killed and more than 3, wounded.
Australia, with decades of experience from both the Malayan Emergency and its AATTV role in , 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. Some 10, Filipino troops were dispatched to South Vietnam and were primarily engaged in medical and other civilian pacification projects. The naval base at Subic Bay was used for the U.
Seventh Fleet from until the end of the war in Beginning in November , Taiwan secretly operated a cargo transport detachment to assist the United States and South Vietnam. Brazil , under a U. Canada, India and Poland constituted the International Control Commission , which was supposed to monitor the ceasefire agreement. 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.
This provoked a backlash from the Montagnards, some joining the NLF as a result. Following Vietnamization many Montagnard groups and fighters were incorporated into the Vietnamese Rangers as border sentries. A large number of war crimes took place during the Vietnam War. War crimes were committed by both sides during the conflict and included rape, massacres of civilians, bombings of civilian targets, terrorism , the widespread use of torture, and the murder of prisoners of war.
Additional common crimes included theft, arson, and the destruction of property not warranted by military necessity. A probable war crime that was neither investigated nor brought to charge was the Thuy Bo massacre , while the Son Thang massacre warranted investigation, and its perpetrators faced court martial and served less than a year in prison. Of the war crimes that were reported to military authorities, sworn statements by witnesses and status reports indicated that incidents had a factual basis. Simons as "a severe violation of the laws of war".
Rummel estimated that 39, were killed by South Vietnam during the Diem-era in democide from a range of between 16, and , South Vietnamese civilians; for to , Rummel estimated a total of 50, killed in democide, from a range of between 42, and , Thus, the total for to is 81,, from a range of between 57, and , deaths caused by South Vietnam. Torture and ill-treatment were frequently applied by the South Vietnamese to POWs as well as civilian prisoners. 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. South Korean forces were accused of war crimes as well. Ami Pedahzur has written that "the overall volume and lethality of Viet Cong terrorism rivals or exceeds all but a handful of terrorist campaigns waged over the last third of the twentieth century", based on the definition of terrorists as a non-state actor, and examining targeted killings and civilian deaths which are estimated at over 18, from to Some mines were set only to go off after heavy vehicle passage, causing extensive slaughter aboard packed civilian buses.
During the Vietnam War, American women served on active duty performing a variety of jobs. 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 , approximately 7, women had served in Vietnam in the Southeast Asian theater.
To address this problem, the ANC released advertisements portraying women in the ANC as "proper, professional and well protected. Although female military nurses lived in a heavily male environment, very few cases of sexual harassment were ever reported. 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 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.
All-female units were present throughout the entirety of the war, ranging from front-line combat troops to anti-aircraft, scout, and reconnaissance units. Some, like in the WAFC, served in combat with other soldiers. Others served as nurses and doctors in the battlefield and in military hospitals, or served in South Vietnam or America's intelligence agencies. During 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. Women also played a prominent role as front-line reporters in the conflict, directly reporting on the conflict as it occurred. The French-speaking Australian journalist Kate Webb was captured along with a photographer and others by the Viet Cong in Cambodia and travelled into Laos with them; they were released back into Cambodia after 23 days of captivity.
The experience of American military personnel of African origin during the Vietnam War had received significant attention. For example, the website "African-American Involvement in the Vietnam War" compiles examples of such coverage,  as does the print and broadcast work of journalist Wallace Terry.
Terry's book Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans , includes observations about the impact of the war on the black community in general and on black servicemen specifically. Points he makes on the latter topic include: the higher proportion of combat casualties in Vietnam among African American servicemen than among American soldiers of other races, the shift toward and different attitudes of black military careerists versus black draftees, the discrimination encountered by black servicemen "on the battlefield in decorations, promotion and duty assignments" as well as their having to endure "the racial insults, cross-burnings and Confederate flags of their white comrades"—and the experiences faced by black soldiers stateside, during the war and after America's withdrawal.
As a result, by the war's completion in , black casualties had declined to During the early stages of the war, the Viet Cong mainly sustained itself with captured arms; these were often of American manufacture  or were crude, self-made weapons  used alongside shotguns made of galvanized pipes. They relied on ambushes, superior stealth, planning, marksmanship, and small-unit tactics to face the disproportionate US technological advantage. By , they had fully transformed from the strategy of mobile light-infantry and using the people's war concept used against the United States.
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. The MAC machine pistol was supplied to many special forces troops in the midpoint of the war. The AC was a heavily armed ground-attack aircraft variant of the C Hercules transport plane, while the Huey is a military helicopter powered by a single, turboshaft engine; approximately 7, UH-1 aircraft saw service in Vietnam.
Ground forces also had access to B and F-4 Phantom II and other aircraft to launch napalm , white phosphorus , tear gas , chemical weapons , precision-guided munition and cluster bombs. The Vietnam War was the first conflict where U. The National Security Agency ran a crash program to provide U. 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.
On a per capita basis, the 2 million tons dropped on Laos make it the most heavily bombed country in history; The New York Times noted this was "nearly a ton for every person in Laos. Former U. Air Force official Earl Tilford has recounted "repeated bombing runs of a lake in central Cambodia. The Bs literally dropped their payloads in the lake. Ten percent of the population of Ho Chi Minh City was suffering from serious venereal diseases when the war ended, and there were 4 million illiterates throughout the South.
By , the Viet Minh had lost influence over the Cambodian communists. Under the leadership of Pol Pot , the Khmer Rouge would eventually kill 1—3 million Cambodians out of a population of around 8 million, in one of the bloodiest genocides in history. The relationship between Vietnam and Cambodia, then ruled by the Khmer Rouge communist party, escalated right after the end of the war.
In response to the Khmer Rouge taking over Phu Quoc on 17 April and Tho Chu on 4 May , and the belief that they were responsible for the disappearance of Vietnamese natives on Tho Chu, Vietnam launched a counterattack to take back these islands. In response, China invaded Vietnam in The two countries fought a brief border war, known as the Sino-Vietnamese War. From to , some , ethnic Chinese left Vietnam by boat as refugees or were expelled. The Pathet Lao overthrew the monarchy of Laos in December , establishing the Lao People's Democratic Republic under the leadership of a member of the royal family, Souphanouvong.
The change in regime was "quite peaceful, a sort of Asiatic ' velvet revolution '"—although 30, former officials were sent to reeducation camps, often enduring harsh conditions for several years. The conflict between Hmong rebels and the Pathet Lao continued in isolated pockets. The millions of cluster bombs the US dropped on Southeast Asia rendered the landscape hazardous. In Laos alone, some 80 million bombs failed to explode and remain scattered throughout the country, rendering vast swathes of land impossible to cultivate and killing or maiming 50 Laotians every year.
Most Asian countries were unwilling to accept these refugees, many of whom fled by boat and were known as boat people. China accepted , people. Included among their ranks were "about 90 percent" of Laos's "intellectuals, technicians, and officials. Agent Orange and similar chemical substances used by the U. Scientific reports have concluded that refugees exposed to chemical sprays while in South Vietnam continued to experience pain in the eyes and skin as well as gastrointestinal upsets.
In one study, ninety-two percent of participants suffered incessant fatigue; others reported monstrous births. There is substantial evidence that the birth defects carry on for three generations or more. In the post-war era, Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of the military intervention. We thought that we were going into another Korean War , but this was a different country. 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. According to a Gallup poll, 62 percent of Americans believed it was an unjust war. 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. Yet in Vietnam the Army experienced tactical success and strategic failure A new humility and a new sophistication may form the best parts of a complex heritage left to the Army by the long, bitter war in Vietnam.
Others point to a failure of U. As he remarked, "I still doubt that the North Vietnamese would have relented. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote in a secret memo to President Gerald Ford that "in terms of military tactics, we cannot help draw the conclusion that our armed forces are not suited to this kind of war. Even the Special Forces who had been designed for it could not prevail. Hanoi had persistently sought unification of the country since the Geneva Accords, and the effects of U. The costs of the war loom large in American popular consciousness; a poll showed that the public incorrectly believed that more Americans lost their lives in Vietnam than in World War II.
More than 3 million Americans served in the Vietnam War, some 1. Westheider wrote that "At the height of American involvement in , for example, there were , American military personnel in Vietnam, but only 80, were considered combat troops. As of , the U. By war's end, 58, American soldiers had been killed, [A 3] more than , had been wounded, and at least 21, had been permanently disabled. As the Vietnam War continued inconclusively and became more unpopular with the American public, morale declined and disciplinary problems grew among American enlisted men and junior, non-career officers.
Drug use, racial tensions, and the growing incidence of fragging —attempting to kill unpopular officers and non-commissioned officers with grenades or other weapons—created severe problems for the U. By , a U. Army colonel writing in the Armed Forces Journal declared: "By every conceivable indicator, our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and non commissioned officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near mutinous The morale, discipline, and battle-worthiness of the U.
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. Army recorded more than attacks by troops on their own officers. Eighty-three officers were killed and almost were injured. The Vietnam War called into question the U. Army doctrine. Marine Corps general Victor H. Krulak heavily criticised Westmoreland's attrition strategy, calling it "wasteful of American lives… with small likelihood of a successful outcome.
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. Ron Milam has questioned the severity of the "breakdown" of the U. 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 The last conscript was inducted into the army in One of the most controversial aspects of the U.
They were used to defoliate large parts of the countryside to prevent the Viet Cong from being able to hide their weapons and encampments under the foliage. These chemicals continue to change the landscape, cause diseases and birth defects, and poison the food chain. 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 were given the task of developing herbicides for this purpose. American officials also pointed out that the British had previously used 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D virtually identical to America's use in Vietnam on a large scale throughout the Malayan Emergency in the s in order to destroy bushes, crops, and trees in effort to deny communist insurgents the concealment they needed to ambush passing convoys. Kennedy on 24 November , 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. 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 Navy patrol boats were vulnerable to attack from the undergrowth at the water's edge.
In and , the Kennedy administration authorized the use of chemicals to destroy rice crops. Air Force sprayed 20 million U. Another purpose of herbicide use was to drive civilian populations into RVN-controlled areas. Vietnamese victims affected by Agent Orange attempted a class action lawsuit against Dow Chemical and other U. Weinstein dismissed their case. In some areas of southern Vietnam, dioxin levels remain at over times the accepted international standard.
In , Anh Duc Ngo and colleagues of the University of Texas Health Science Center published a meta-analysis that exposed a large amount of heterogeneity different findings between studies, a finding consistent with a lack of consensus on the issue on the effect of Agent Orange in Vietnam. 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.
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. Estimates of the number of casualties vary, with one source suggesting up to 3. The military forces of South Vietnam suffered an estimated , killed between and and additional deaths from to and in Defense Department officials believed that these body count figures need to be deflated by 30 percent.
Between ,  and ,  Cambodians were estimated to have died during the war including between 40, and , combatants and civilians from US bombings. Unexploded ordnance , mostly from U. According to the Vietnamese government, ordnance has killed some 42, people since the war officially ended. The Vietnam War has been featured extensively in television, film, video games, music and literature in the participant countries. In Vietnam the diary has often been compared to The Diary of Anne Frank and both are used in literary education. In American popular culture, the "Crazy Vietnam Veteran", who was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder , became a common stock character after the war.
The modern classical composer George Crumb composed a string quartet, a threnody , regarding the war in titled Black Angels. Myths play a central role in the historiography of the Vietnam War, and have become a part of the culture of the United States. Much like the general historiography of the war, discussion of myth has focused on US experiences, but changing myths of war have also played a role in Vietnamese and Australian historiography. Recent scholarship has focused on "myth-busting",  attacking the previous orthodox and revisionist schools of American historiography of the Vietnam War.
This scholarship challenges myths about American society and soldiery in the Vietnam War. Kuzmarov in The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam and the Modern War on Drugs challenges the popular and Hollywood narrative that US soldiers were heavy drug users,  in particular the notion that the My Lai massacre was caused by drug use.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For a full history of wars in Vietnam, see List of wars involving Vietnam. For other uses of "Nam", see Nam disambiguation. This article may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. The readable prose size is kilobytes. Please consider splitting content into sub-articles, condensing it, or adding subheadings. January Supported by:. Kennedy Lyndon B. Weyand Paul D. Momyer John S. McCain Jr. Vietnamese civilian dead : ,—2,,    Vietnamese total dead : ,  —3,,  Cambodian Civil War dead : ,—,    Laotian Civil War dead : 20,—62,  Non-Indochinese military dead : 65, Total dead : 1,,—4,, For more information see Vietnam War casualties and Aircraft losses of the Vietnam War.
Indochina Wars. Military engagements during the Vietnam War. Massacres of the Vietnam War. Further information: Terminology of the Vietnam War. Main articles: Viet Cong and War in Vietnam — Main article: Joint warfare in South Vietnam, — Main article: Gulf of Tonkin incident. Further information: Credibility gap. Play media. Main article: Laotian Civil War. Main article: Fall of Saigon. Further information: Operation Frequent Wind. See also: Russell Tribunal and Fulbright Hearings. See also: China in the Vietnam War. See also: Southeast Asia Treaty Organization.
Main article: South Korea in the Vietnam War. Main article: Thailand in the Vietnam War. Main article: Republic of China in the Vietnam War. Main article: Canada and the Vietnam War. See also: List of massacres in Vietnam. Main article: Weapons of the Vietnam War. Further information: Mayaguez incident and Indochina refugee crisis. Main article: Vietnam War casualties. See also: Vietnam War body count controversy. Vietnam portal United States portal War portal s portal s portal s portal.
Fitzgibbon's family the start date of the Vietnam War according to the US government was officially changed to 1 November Retrieved 20 July 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. Area Handbook for Brazil , p. University of Malaya Student Repository. Retrieved 17 October Archived PDF from the original on 16 October The Tunku had been personally responsible for Malaya's partisan support of the South Vietnamese regime in its fight against the Vietcong and, in reply to a Parliamentary question on 6 February , he had listed all the used weapons and equipment of the Royal Malaya Police given to Saigon.
These included a total of 45, single-barrel shotguns, armoured cars and smaller numbers of carbines and pistols. Writing in , he revealed that "we had clandestinely been giving 'aid' to Vietnam since early Published American archival sources now reveal that the actual Malaysian contributions to the war effort in Vietnam included the following: "over 5, Vietnamese officers trained in Malaysia; training of U.
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. Reproduced on mtholyoke. Accessed 5 September The Scarecrow Press. Toledo Blade. Retrieved 24 December China's Foreign Relations. China and Vietnam. Tucker Tracks of the bear: Soviet imprints in the seventies. NK News.
Retrieved 3 October Archived from the original on 2 December Retrieved 26 April Archived from the original on 17 November Retrieved 31 May Archived from the original on 2 August Retrieved 2 August Ministry of Defence , Government of Vietnam. Retrieved 11 June America in Vietnam. Oxford University Press. A History of the World , Routledge, Dunnigan; Albert A. Nofi BBC News Online. Retrieved 18 October J , "Table 6. Associated Press. Department of Veterans Affairs.
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March The New York Times. 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. British Medical Journal. Retrieved 5 January From to , data from the surveys indicated an estimated 5. Forced Migration and Mortality. National Academy Press. As best as can now be estimated, over two million Cambodians died during the s 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 , or less. Paige Yale University Southeast Asia Studies. An estimated , excess deaths. We have modeled the highest mortality we can justify for the early s. Paris: L'Harmattan. Retrieved 5 March Retrieved 17 January BBC News. Retrieved 1 June Brookings Institution. Retrieved 12 June Kissinger's Year: Phoenix Press. G and Joseph L. F 4 November Retrieved 18 August Talks at google.
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Vietnam Studies Group. Archived from the original on 20 April Retrieved 15 July 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 for the rent and interest reduction campaign that preceded the far more radical land redistribution and party rectification campaigns or waves that followed during — 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 — and that would experience a far more violent struggle.
Thus the number of 13, executed people seems to be a low-end estimate of the real number. In this paper Moise 7—9 modified his earlier estimate in his book which was 5, and accepted an estimate close to 15, 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.
Szalontai, Balazs November Cold War History. Vu, Tuong Cambridge University Press. Clearly Vietnamese socialism followed a moderate path relative to China. Yet the Vietnamese 'land reform' campaign Mandate for Change. Garden City, NJ. University Press of America. South Vietnam, which had not signed the Geneva Accords, did not believe the Communists in North Vietnam would allow a fair election. With the French gone, a return to the traditional power struggle between north and south had begun again.
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