What Happened During the Vietnam War?
Aug 05, †Ј Sean Hayford Oleary/CC-BY The Vietnam War was fought in an attempt to stem the communist rule of Vietnam; it did not succeed in its objectives despite massive loss of life for both South and North Vietnamese and the United States, who stepped in to try and prevent Communist rule in the region. The Vietnam War formerly held the title of the longest war in U.S. history until the . Vietnam War (Ц75), conflict that pitted the communist government of North Vietnam and its allies in South Vietnam, the Viet Cong, against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. It was part of a larger regional conflict as well as a manifestation of the Cold War.
The Vietnam War came to define America in the second half of the how to reset an ipod century, after America became entangled in Vietnam following a disastrous French attempt to prevent Indochina [the area of south-east Asia that contains Vietnam] from gaining its independence.
So contentious was the conflict that for years afterwards the country suffered marches, riots and even deaths wae a result of the turmoil. Certainly not the US, who withdrew in humiliated, the national psyche and economy in tatters for years to come and more than durimg, men dead. Vietnam came out even worse as millions perished and the country had been all but destroyed. Yet North Vietnam had stood toe-to-toe against a global superpower and forced them to retreat.
In terms of rhetoric, Britain dduring a tepid ally. Like in America, Britain witnessed plenty of anti-war action. They haplened received substantial backing from Viernam and the Soviet Union, too.
Then as the war went on, another enemy to the American effort emerged: a vociferous anti-war movement back home. A: Young, inexperienced US troops quickly became bogged down in short bursts of action against guerrilla forces deep in unbearably hot jungle and swamp tye. They grew tbe carrying out search-and-destroy missions or being used as bait for aerial firepower. More than 35, of those who died were aged 21 or under.
Thw passed the House of Representative and got through the Senate The Papers consisted of 47 volumes and 7, pages. Marches took place how to make a lip balm the world, including London, Paris and West Berlin.
Here, writer Jem Duducu, author of a new historical novel set during the Vietnam War, shares seven lesser-known facts about the conflict. The name itself shows a non-native understanding of the conflict. The Vietnamese made the assumption that the foreign forces who fought in that war were all Americans, but they were not: large numbers of Thais, South Koreans and Australians, to name but a few, fought on the side of South Vietnam.
This started a century of French occupation, and most of the south-east Asian peninsula including Vietnam was renamed French Indochina. The indigenous population was never completely cowed, so rebellions and guerrilla attacks were regular occurrences. The Vietnamese rebels used the dense jungles and mountainous terrains to their advantage in order to attack French forces and escape detection.
During the Second World War the region came under the control of pro-Axis Vichy forces and Japan, so the Americans durlng and trained local forces to fight against them. After the war France tried to reclaim the area, but the better-trained and better-equipped guerrillas defeated France once and for all at the battle of Dien Bien Phu in The poor choice of name for the war fails to reflect how much of south-east Asia it affected.
The main reason for this was the so-called Ho Chi Minh trail, a supply line that stretched along the spine of the entire country vjetnam enabled the communist powers in the north to supply the xuring guerrillas the Viet Cong in how you want to be remembered quotes south.
However, most of this road network was actually located in neighbouring Cambodia and also ran through parts of Laos. The regular bombing of both countries took place under the orders of American presidents Lyndon Johnson in office Ч69 and Richard Nixon Ч Unlisted CIA plans black ops were also happener out.
They were unofficial and illegalas America had never formally declared war or confirmed to the public that combat operations were taking place in either Cambodia or Laos. The instability caused by this unofficial military what is if i stay rated allowed the communists of North Vietnam to help support happendd communist revolution and civil war in Cambodia. This would lead to the formation of the Khmer How to become a clinical research coordinator regime in power from Ч79which was responsible wa the infamous Cambodian genocide.
The country had never been split like this before; the two areas were artificial, with no natural boundary between them, so it was highly likely that one or both sides would attempt to reunite the country by force.
However, the North was backed by communist China and the Soviet Union, and the South was backed by the west. But in practical terms, with respect to both finances and equipment, it was America which supported the Happenef.
Vietnam became a testing ground for weapons. Similarly, while the AK had been in use for nearly 20 years, this was the first time it was used wholesale against the American M The AK, with the larger clip of bullets 30 versus 20 and fewer moving parts, meant that it rarely jammed and was the perfect jungle ambush weapon.
America and others feared that after China and North Korea had fallen to communism, Vietnam might well fall, too. Would Singapore or Australia fall? Some of the grimmest stories about equipment malfunctions during the Vietnam War had to do with the M It was shipped from the US initially with incompatible ammunition, meaning that after firing only a few shots the gun would jam. Several dead Americans were found in the jungle next to their stripped-down rifles.
They had attempted to dismantle, clean and rebuild their weapons under fire in order to try and shoot back. Similarly, the new Chinook helicopters were prone to ths failures. It transpired that soldiers were overloading the cargo bays. Ground staff were filling the helicopters to capacity with heavy equipment, assuming the double-rotor aircraft viegnam take it. Multiple Chinooks crashed, killing their crews, because of this fundamental fault.
Tet is the biggest holiday of the year in Vietnam, and in there was an agreed ceasefire ehat that everyone could celebrate. However, the Viet Cong saw this as an opportunity to infiltrate a number of key cities in the south, from which they launched attacks on 31 January. Viet Cong commandos even assaulted the US embassy in Saigon, possibly the most heavily happpened compound anywhere in the world. To many in America, this seemed like a humiliating defeat for their forces in Vietnam.
Up until Tet, most of the fighting had been in durong jungles, where Viet Cong guerrillas surfaced without warning and disappeared just as suddenly, using the cover of dense foliage and a widespread network of tunnels.
Now the Viet Cong were in an urban environment with no heavy artillery, armour or anything like the numbers of combatants compared to the Americans. Within weeks, the American forces annihilated the Viet Cong. The Viet Cong were never an effective fighting force on their own again after this offensive, and all subsequent combat operations were dominated by cietnam North Vietnamese Army.
The American military had been saying for more than a year that the Viet Cong were being constantly ground down. So by DurimgAmerica assumed the Viet Cong were on their last legs. For the Viet Cong to be able to mount such an ambitious offensive proved the American military had been either lying or caught with their trousers down.
This is one of the best examples in history that winning the narrative is sometimes more important than winning the battle.
While nearly 60, Americans vieetnam their lives in the war, more than 3. By the end of the war inAmerica had dropped more than seven million tonnes of bombs on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos Ч more than had been dropped during all of the Second World War. Thousands of tonnes of defoliant, known as Agent Orange, destroyed thousands of acres and poisoned the land, killing both humans and livestock and resulting in birth defects in unborn babies.
In conclusion, the story of the Vietnam War combines 19th-century imperialism vetnam 20th-century communist history and late 20th-century American foreign policy. It is a rich and complex era characterised by catastrophic misjudgements, ruthless cover-ups and tragic consequences on all sides.
You curing follow Jem on Twitter JemDuducu. American soldiers carrying weapons wade through dring stream during operations in Vietnam, late s. American soldiers priming shells during the Vietnam War. A Chinook helicopter flies in the background. Viet Warr guerillas patrolling a water zone during the Vietnam War, March Several thousand demonstrators protesting against the Vietnam War at a rally in Ear York.
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May 7, 1954
Mar 29, †Ј The Vietnam War was one of several conflicts that began with the struggle over Indochina to overthrow the French colonial forces. Known as the Second Indochina War, the Vietnam War officially began when the U.S. got involved in The first American fatality was in when an off-duty airman was shot by a colleague for talking to some children. Jul 28, †Ј Major protests were held in Washington in Protesters included a group of men who had served in the conflict and called themselves the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. America's combat role in Vietnam came to an official end with the peace agreement signed in early In , when North Vietnamese forces entered Saigon and the South Vietnamese government collapsed, the last Americans fled Vietnam in helicopters. . Mar 22, †Ј When the armed forcesЧand the Vietnamese they pressed into auxiliary serviceЧwere insufficient to prevent the debacle at Dien Bien Phu and the French government evacuated Indochina, most, if not all, of the plantation and mine owners departed with them.
As American involvement in Vietnam grew in the early s, a small number of concerned and dedicated citizens started to protest what they viewed as a misguided adventure.
As the war escalated and increasing numbers of Americans were wounded and killed in combat, the opposition grew. Within a span of just a few years, opposition to the Vietnam War became a colossal movement, with protests drawing hundreds of thousands of Americans into the streets. The principle of stopping the spread of communism in its tracks made sense to most Americans, and few people outside the military paid much attention to what at that time seemed like an obscure and distant land.
During the Kennedy administration , American military advisers began to flow into Vietnam, and America's footprint in the country grew larger. Vietnam had been divided into North and South Vietnam, and American officials resolved to prop up the government of South Vietnam as it fought against a communist insurgency supported by North Vietnam.
In the early s, most Americans would have viewed the conflict in Vietnam as a minor proxy war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Americans were comfortable supporting the anti-communist side.
And as so few Americans were involved, it wasn't a terribly volatile issue. Americans began to sense that Vietnam was turning into a major problem when, in the spring of , Buddhists began a series of protests against the American-backed and extremely corrupt government of premier Ngo Dinh Diem. In a shocking gesture, a young Buddhist monk sat on a Saigon street and set himself on fire, creating an iconic image of Vietnam as a deeply troubled land.
Against a backdrop of such disturbing and discouraging news, the Kennedy administration continued to send American advisers to Vietnam. The issue of American involvement came up in an interview with President Kennedy conducted by journalist Walter Cronkite on September 2, , less than three months before Kennedy's assassination.
Kennedy was careful to state that American involvement in Vietnam would remain limited:. In the years following Kennedy's death, American involvement in Vietnam deepened. The administration of Lyndon B. Johnson sent the first American combat troops to Vietnam: a contingent of Marines, who arrived on March 8, That spring, a small protest movement developed, mainly among college students.
Using lessons from the Civil Rights Movement , groups of students began to hold "teach-ins" on college campuses to educate their colleagues about the war. The effort to raise awareness and rally protests against the war picked up momentum. The Washington gathering, according to the next day's New York Times , drew more than 15, protesters.
The newspaper described the protest as something of a genteel social event, noting "Beards and blue jeans mixed with Ivy tweeds and an occasional clerical collar in the crowd. Protests against the war continued at various locations around the country. Other speakers included Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Benjamin Spock , one of the most famous doctors in America thanks to his best-selling book on caring for babies.
As protests intensified that summer, Johnson sought to ignore them. On August 9, , Johnson briefed members of Congress about the war and claimed there was "no substantial division" in the nation regarding America's Vietnam policy.
As Johnson was speaking in the White House, demonstrators protesting the war were arrested outside the U. A spirit of protest spread throughout society. At the end of , several high school students in Des Moines, Iowa, decided to protest against American bombing in Vietnam by wearing black armbands to school. On the day of the protest, administrators told the students to remove the armbands or they would be suspended. On December 16, , two students, year-old Mary Beth Tinker and year-old Christian Eckhardt, refused to remove their armbands and were sent home.
The following day, Mary Beth Tinker's year-old brother John wore an armband to school and was also sent home. The suspended students did not return to school until after New Year's, past the end of their planned protest. The Tinkers sued their school. In February , in a landmark decision , the high court ruled in favor of the students.
The Tinker case set a precedent that students did not give up their First Amendment rights when they entered school property. In early , the escalation of the war in Vietnam continued. Protests against the war also accelerated. In late March , a series of protests took place over three days across America. Feelings about the war continued to intensify. On April 15, , more than , people demonstrated against the war with a march through New York City and a rally held at the United Nations.
On October 21, , a crowd estimated at 50, protesters marched from Washington, D. Armed troops had been called out to protect the building. Writer Normal Mailer, a participant in the protest, was among the hundreds arrested. He would write a book about the experience, Armies of the Night , which won a Pulitzer Prize in The Pentagon Protest helped contribute to the "Dump Johnson" movement, in which liberal Democrats sought to find candidates who would run against Johnson in the upcoming Democratic primaries of By the time of the Democratic National Convention in the summer of , the antiwar movement within the party had been largely thwarted.
Thousands of outraged young people descended on Chicago to protest outside the convention hall. As Americans watched on live television, Chicago turned into a battleground as police clubbed protesters.
Following the election of Richard M. Nixon that fall, the war continued, as did the protest movement. On October 15, , a nationwide "moratorium" was held to protest the war. According to the New York Times, organizers expected those sympathetic to ending the war "to lower their flags to half-staff and attend mass rallies, parades, teach-ins, forums, candlelight processions, prayers and the reading of the names of Vietnam war dead. By the time of the moratorium day protests, nearly 40, Americans had died in Vietnam.
The Nixon administration claimed to have a plan to end the war, but there did not seem to be any end in sight. As the protests against the war became widespread, notable figures from the world of politics, literature, and entertainment became prominent in the movement.
Martin Luther King began criticizing the war in the summer of For King, the war was both a humanitarian issue and a civil rights issue.
Young Black men were more likely to be drafted and more likely to be assigned to dangerous combat duty. The casualty rate among Black soldiers was higher than among white soldiers. Muhammad Ali , who had become a champion boxer as Cassius Clay, declared himself a conscientious objector and refused to be inducted into the Army.
He was stripped of his boxing title but was eventually vindicated in a long legal battle. Jane Fonda , a popular film actress and the daughter of legendary movie star Henry Fonda, became an outspoken opponent of the war. Fonda's trip to Vietnam was highly controversial at the time and remains so to this day. Joan Baez , a popular folksinger, grew up as a Quaker and preached her pacifist beliefs in opposition to the war.
Baez often performed at antiwar rallies and participated in many protests. Following the end of the war, she became an advocate for Vietnamese refugees, who were known as "boat people. As the movement against the Vietnam war spread, there was also a backlash against it.
Conservative groups routinely denounced "peaceniks" and counter-protests were common wherever protesters rallied against the war. Some actions attributed to antiwar protesters were so outside the mainstream that they drew sharp denunciations.
A powerful bomb, which was being built by members of the radical Weather Underground group, went off prematurely. Three members of the group were killed, and the incident created considerable fear that protests might become violent. Though Nixon claimed the action would be limited, it struck many Americans as a widening of the war, and it sparked a new round of protests on college campuses.
Ohio National Guardsmen fired on student protesters, killing four young people. The Kent State killings brought tensions in a divided America to a new level. Students at campuses across the nation went on strike in solidarity with the dead of Kent State. Others claimed the killings had been justified. Days after the shooting at Kent State, on May 8, , college students gathered to protest on Wall Street in the heart of New York City's financial district.
The protest was attacked by a violent mob of constructions workers swinging clubs and other weapons in what became known as "The Hard Hat Riot. According to a front-page New York Times article the next day, office workers watching the mayhem in the streets below their windows could see men in suits who seemed to be directing the construction workers. Hundreds of young people were beaten in the streets as a small force of police officers mostly stood by and watched.
A mob of construction workers swarmed the police providing security at City Hall and demanded the flag be raised to the top of the flagpole. The flag was raised, then lowered once again later in the day. The following morning, before dawn, President Nixon made a surprise visit to talk to student protesters who had gathered in Washington near the Lincoln Memorial.
Nixon later said he tried to explain his position on the war and urged students to keep their protests peaceful. One student said the president had also talked about sports, mentioning a college football team and, upon hearing one student was from California, talked about surfing. Nixon's awkward efforts at early morning reconciliation seemed to have fallen flat.
And in the wake of Kent State, the nation remained deeply divided. Even when most of the fighting in Vietnam was turned over to South Vietnamese forces and overall American involvement in Southeast Asia decreased, protests against the war continued.
Major protests were held in Washington in Protesters included a group of men who had served in the conflict and called themselves the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. America's combat role in Vietnam came to an official end with the peace agreement signed in early In , when North Vietnamese forces entered Saigon and the South Vietnamese government collapsed, the last Americans fled Vietnam in helicopters.
The war was finally over. It is impossible to think about America's long and complicated involvement in Vietnam without considering the impact of the antiwar movement. The mobilization of a massive number of protesters greatly influenced public opinion, which in turn influenced how the war was conducted. Those who supported America's involvement in the war always contended that protesters had essentially sabotaged the troops and made the war unwinnable.
Yet those who saw the war as a pointless quagmire always contended that it could never have been won, and needed to be stopped as soon as possible.