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1945 and 1954, the Vietnamese waged an anti-colonial war against
France and received $2.6 billion in financial support from the United
The French defeat at the Dien Bien Phu was followed by a peace conference
in Geneva, in which Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam received their independence
and Vietnam was temporarily divided between an anti-Communist South
and a Communist North. In 1956, South Vietnam, with American backing,
refused to hold the unification elections. By 1958, Communist-led guerrillas
known as the Viet Cong had begun to battle the South Vietnamese
the Souths government, the United States sent in 2,000 military
advisors, a number that grew to 16,300 in 1963. The military condition
deteriorated, and by 1963 South Vietnam had lost the fertile Mekong
Delta to the Vietcong. In 1965, Johnson escalated the war, commencing
air strikes on North Vietnam and committing ground forces, which numbered
536,000 in 1968. The 1968 Tet Offensive by the North Vietnamese turned
many Americans against the war. The next president, Richard Nixon, advocated
Vietnamization, withdrawing American troops and giving South Vietnam
greater responsibility for fighting the war. His attempt to slow the
flow of North Vietnamese soldiers and supplies into South Vietnam by
sending American forces to destroy Communist supply bases in Cambodia
in 1970 in violation of Cambodian neutrality provoked antiwar protests
on the nations college campuses.
to 1973 efforts were made to end the conflict through diplomacy.
In January 1973, an agreement reached and U.S. forces were withdrawn
from Vietnam and U.S. prisoners of war were released. In
April 1975, South Vietnam surrendered to the North and Vietnam
The Vietnam War cost the United States 58,000 lives and 350,000 casualties.
It also resulted in between one and two million Vietnamese deaths.
Congress enacted the War Powers Act in 1973, requiring the president
to receive explicit Congressional approval before committing American
the longest war in American history and the most unpopular American
war of the twentieth century. It resulted in nearly 60,000 American
deaths and an estimated 2 million Vietnamese deaths. Even today, many
Americans still ask whether the American effort in Vietnam was a sin,
a blunder, a necessary war, or a noble cause, or an idealistic, if failed,
effort to protect the South Vietnamese from totalitarian government.
history of the Vietnam War
of Independence, Democratic Republic of Vietnam. September 2, 1945
relating to the Vietnam War
Handouts and fact sheets:
Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University
your knowledge about the Vietnam War
Herring, America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam 1950-1975
balanced account of American involvement in Vietnam.
more: Vietnam War Bibliography
Based on director Oliver Stones experiences as an infantryman
in Vietnam, this film offers a harrowing and heartbreaking glimpse
into what it was like to be a soldier during the Vietnam war.
reviews of this movie:
Wars for Vietnam
site provides an informative overview of the history of the war supplemented
with primary source documents
A collection of documents relating to U.S. involvement in Vietnam
and the United States from 1941 to the fall of Saigon.