AMERICAN - VIETNAM WAR (1 NOVEMBER 1955 -30 APRIL 1975). THE VIETNAM WAR FOUGHT BETWEEN COMMUNIST NORTH VIETNAM AND THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTHERN VIETNAM.THE NORTH WAS SUPPORTED BY COMMUNIST COUNTRIES SUCH LIKE CHINA AND SOVIET UNION.THE SOUTH WAS SUPPORTED BY ANTI COMMUNIST COUNTRIES PRIMARILY THE UNITED STATES.

In a war in which lip service was often paid to winning "hearts and minds", the US military had an almost singular focus on one defining measure of success in Vietnam: the body count - the number of enemy killed in action.Civilians, including women and children, were killed for running from soldiers or helicopter gunships that had fired warning shots, or being in a village suspected of sheltering Viet Cong.At the time, much of this activity went unreported - but not unnoticed.The phrase "kill anything that moves" became an order on the lips of some American commanders whose troops carried out massacres across their area of operations.

Before World War Two, Vietnam had been part of the French Empire. During the war, the country had been overrun by the Japanese. When the Japanese retreated, the people of Vietnam took the opportunity to establish their own government lead by Ho Chi Minh. However, after the end of the war, the Allies gave back South Vietnam to the French while the north was left in the hands of the non-communist Chinese. The Nationalist Chinese treated the North Vietnamese very badly and support for Ho Chi Minh grew. He had been removed from power at the end of the war. The Chinese pulled out of North Vietnam in 1946 and the party of Ho Chi Minh took over   the Viet Minh.On the first day of their victory, the communists changed Saigon’s name to Ho Chi Minh City.The fall of Saigon meant and the reunification of North and South Vietnam meant that for the first time Vietnam existed as an independent nation within its current borders.Ho Chi Minh was the leader of the North Vietnamese when war with America broke out.The causes of the Vietnam War were derived from the symptoms, components and consequences of the Cold War. The causes of the Vietnam War revolve around the simple belief held by America that communism was threatening to expand all over south-east Asia.Neither the Soviet Union nor the United States could risk an all-out war against each other, such was the nuclear military might of both. However, when it suited both, they had client states that could carry on the fight for them. In Vietnam, the Americans actually fought – therefore in the Cold War ‘game’, the USSR could not. However, to support the Communist cause, the Soviet Union armed its fellow Communist state, China, who would, in turn, arm and equip the North Vietnamese who fought the Americans.Before World War Two, Vietnam had been part of the French Empire. During the war, the country had been overrun by the Japanese. When the Japanese retreated, the people of Vietnam took the opportunity to establish their own government lead by Ho Chi Minh. However, after the end of the war, the Allies gave back South Vietnam to the French while the north was left in the hands of the non-communist Chinese. The Nationalist Chinese treated the North Vietnamese very badly and support for Ho Chi Minh grew. He had been removed from power at the end of the war. The Chinese pulled out of North Vietnam in 1946 and the party of Ho Chi Minh took over – the Viet Minh.In October 1946, the French announced their intention of reclaiming the north which meant that the Viet Minh would have to fight for it. The war started in November 1946, when the French bombarded the port of Haiphong and killed 6,000 people. The French tried to win over the people of the north by offering them ‘independence’. However, the people would not be allowed to do anything without French permission. A new leader of the country was appointed called Bao Dai. The Russians and Eastern Europe refused to recognise his rule. They claimed that Ho Chi Minh was the real ruler of Vietnam.Vietnam was a French colony from the mid-19th century until its expulsion in 1954.The French had got themselves into a difficult military position. Despite huge American help, the French could not cope with the Viet Minh’s guerrilla tactics. The Viet Minh were by now receiving help from Communist China – Mao Zedong had taken power of China in 1949. The fact that two opposing sides had developed was classic Cold War history.The country was meant to be ruled by Bao Dai who was supported by the west. Ho Chi Minh was supported by the Russians, Chinese and Eastern Europe  all communist.In November 1953, the French sent men from their crack Parachute Regiment to Vietnam. It was naturally assumed by the French that this unit would defeat the untrained Viet Minh guerrillas. They were sent to Dien Bien Phu in the north. In May 1954, the regiment was attacked by the North Vietnamese and surrendered, which came as a terrible blow to the French people. The French pulled out of Vietnam in the same month.In April 1954, the world’s powers had met at Geneva to discuss Vietnam. In July 1954, it was decided to divide the country in two at the 17th parallel. Bao Dai was to lead the south and Ho Chi Minh the north. The meeting also decided that in 1956, there would be an election in both the north and south to decide who would rule the whole country. The election would be supervised by neutral countries. This election did not take place and the split had become permanent by 1956.North Vietnam had a population of 16 million. It was an agricultural nation. The Viet Minh trained guerrillas to go to the south to spread the word of communism. Their weapons mostly came from communist China. To the surprise of the South Vietnamese, those Viet Minh who went to the south helped them on their farms and did not abuse them. They had become used to fearing soldiers. Instead, the Viet Minh were courteous and helpful.South Vietnam also had a population of 16 million. Its first proper leader was Ngo Dinh Diem who was a fanatical Catholic. As communism hated religion, Diem hated all that communism stood for. This is why he got America’s support – he had a poor record on human rights but his rule was in the era of the “Domino Theory” and anybody who was anti-communist in the Far East was likely to receive American backing – regardless of their less than savoury background. Ngo ruled as a dictator along with his brother – Nhu. Their government was corrupt and brutal but it was also backed by America.After the non-election of 1956, the Viet Minh became more active militarily. Their guerrillas – now called the Viet Cong – attacked soft targets in the south. They used the Ho Chi Minh Trail which was a 1000 mile trail along the border with Laos with heavy jungle coverage so that detection from the air was very difficult. The Viet Cong were trained by their commander Giap who learned from the tactics used by the Chinese communists in their fight against the Nationalist Chinese forces. He expected his troops to fight and to help those in the south. He introduced a “hearts and minds” policy long before the Americans got militarily involved in Vietnam.Vietnam divides into North and South,In April 1954, the world’s powers had met at Geneva to discuss Vietnam. In July 1954, it was decided to divide the country in two at the 17th parallel. Bao Dai was to lead the south and Ho Chi Minh the north. The meeting also decided that in 1956, there would be an election in both the north and south to decide who would rule the whole country. The election would be supervised by neutral countries. This election did not take place and the split had become permanent by 1956.North Vietnam had a population of 16 million. It was an agricultural nation. The Viet Minh trained guerrillas to go to the south to spread the word of communism. Their weapons mostly came from communist China. To the surprise of the South Vietnamese, those Viet Minh who went to the south helped them on their farms and did not abuse them. They had become used to fearing soldiers. Instead, the Viet Minh were courteous and helpful.South Vietnam also had a population of 16 million. Its first proper leader was Ngo Dinh Diem who was a fanatical Catholic. As communism hated religion, Diem hated all that communism stood for. This is why he got America’s support – he had a poor record on human rights but his rule was in the era of the “Domino Theory” and anybody who was anti-communist in the Far East was likely to receive American backing – regardless of their less than savoury background. Ngo ruled as a dictator along with his brother – Nhu. Their government was corrupt and brutal but it was also backed by America.After the non-election of 1956, the Viet Minh became more active militarily. Their guerrillas – now called the Viet Cong – attacked soft targets in the south. They used the Ho Chi Minh Trail which was a 1000 mile trail along the border with Laos with heavy jungle coverage so that detection from the air was very difficult. The Viet Cong were trained by their commander Giap who learned from the tactics used by the Chinese communists in their fight against the Nationalist Chinese forces. He expected his troops to fight and to help those in the south. He introduced a “hearts and minds” policy long before the Americans got militarily involved in Vietnam.

Vietnamese forces, outgunned by their adversaries, relied heavily on mines and other booby traps as well as sniper fire and ambushes. Their methods were to strike and immediately withdraw.Unable to deal with an enemy that dictated the time and place of combat, US forces took to destroying whatever they could manage. If the Americans could kill more enemies - known as Viet Cong or VC - than the Vietnamese could replace, the thinking went, they would naturally give up the fight.

Ho Chi Minh was the leader of the North Vietnamese when war with America broke out.Ho Chi Minh and his rebels began to fight the French. Ho's soldiers in the north were called the Viet Minh. Ho tried to get US help, but they didn't want Ho to succeed as they were worried about communism spreading throughout Southeast Asia. When Ho began to have success against the French, the US became more concerned. In 1950 they began sending aid to the French in Vietnam.In 1954 the French lost a major battle to the Vietnamese. They decided to pull out of Vietnam. The country was divided up into a communist Northern Vietnam and a Southern Vietnam. It was supposed to be reunited under a single election in 1956. However, the United States did not want the country to become communist. They helped Ngo Dinh Diem get elected in the South.The poor in Vietnam lived a life in stark contrast to the Frenchelite who governed Vietnam as part of the French Empire. Nguyen became a nationalist who questioned the right of the French to control Vietnam. He brought up his children to think the same. By the time he was a teenager, Ho Chi Minh shared his father’s views – that Vietnam had a right to govern itself free of colonial rule. Ho’s sister worked for the French army. - Following the defeat of Nazi Germany, World War II Allies including the U.S., Britain, and Soviet Union, hold the Potsdam Conference in Germany to plan the post-war world. Vietnam is considered a minor item on the agenda.In order to disarm the Japanese in Vietnam, the Allies divide the country in half at the 16th parallel. Chinese Nationalists will move in and disarm the Japanese north of the parallel while the British will move in and do the same in the south.During the conference, representatives from France request the return of all French pre-war colonies in Southeast Asia (Indochina). Their request is granted. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia will once again become French colonies following the removal of the Japanese.August 1945 - Japanese surrender unconditionally. Vietnam's puppet emperor, Bao Dai, abdicates. Ho Chi Minh's guerrillas occupy Hanoi and proclaim a provisional government.September 2, 1945 - Japanese sign the surrender agreement in Tokyo Bay formally ending World War II in the Pacific. On this same day, Ho Chi Minh proclaims the independence of Vietnam by quoting from the text of the American Declaration of Independence which had been supplied to him by the OSS -- "We hold the truth that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This immortal statement is extracted from the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. These are undeniable truths."Ho declares himself president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and pursues American recognition but is repeatedly ignored by President Harry Truman.In North Vietnam, 150,000 Chinese Nationalist soldiers, consisting mainly of poor peasants, arrive in Hanoi after looting Vietnamese villages during their entire march down from China. They then proceed to loot Hanoi.September 22, 1945 - In South Vietnam, 1400 French soldiers released by the British from former Japanese internment camps enter Saigon and go on a deadly rampage, attacking Viet Minh and killing innocent civilians including children, aided by French civilians who joined the rampage. An estimated 20,000 French civilians live in Saigon.This was not in direct disobedience to her father. She used her position to steal weapons that would be required in any future nationalist struggle against the French. She was caught and sentenced to life imprisonment.Despite having strong nationalist views, Ho Chi Minh attended a French school. Both Ho and his father believed that knowledge of the French language, while an affront to their nationalistic principals, would serve a purpose when the struggle against the French began.For a short time after his education had ended, Ho became a teacher. After this he became a sailor and travelled to many places in and around the Far East. He soon realised that other regions in the Far East were also under French colonial control. These areas also had one other thing in common – the abject poverty of many within the population.In 1918 Ho lived in Paris. During the talks that led to the Treaty of Versailles, Ho tried to convince the American delegation to speak out for the cause of the Indo-Chinese people but he was not successful. While in Paris, Ho converted to communism after spending his time reading the works of Karl Marx. Ho became one of the founder members of the French Communist Party – founded in December 1920. In 1924, he visited Russia and while in Moscow he wrote to a friend that all communists were duty bound to return to their country of origin. They had to “make contact with the masses to awaken, organise, unite and train them, and lead them to fight for freedom and independence.”However, Ho could not return to Vietnam without risking arrest by the French authorities. Ho therefore decided to live in China, near to the Vietnam border. Here he helped to organise the ‘Vietnam Revolutionary League’ – a group made up of other exiled Vietnamese nationalists living in exile.French authority in Vietnam was swept aside by the Japanese in World War Two. Ho Chi Minh used this as an opportunity to free Vietnam from French rule. Along with others, Ho created the Vietminh. The Vietminh were not prepared for Vietnam to be freed from French rule – only to see this replaced by brutal Japanese rule. The Vietminh took part in guerrilla warfare against the Japanese. Vo Nguyen Giap controlled the military side of the Vietminh. Supplied by the Soviet Union and, after Pearl Harbour, the Americans, the Vietminh learned a great deal about guerrilla warfare.In September 1945, Ho Chi Minh announced the creation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. However, France wanted to re-establish control over Vietnam. France refused to recognise Ho’s republic and both sides quickly engaged in fighting in 1946. Despite the experiences learned during World War Two, the Vietminh found the fighting hard as the French were better equipped and the supplies that had come from both the USSR and USA had dried up. The Vietminh were helped when Mao Zedong’s Communist Party was victorious in China. Giap cold now train his soldiers in the safety of China before they crossed into Vietnam to engage the French. Wounded Vietminh soldiers could also be better treated in China.Ho was the accepted leader of the Vietminh and when the French suggested terms to end the fighting, it was Ho who persuaded other leaders in the Vietminh that the French could not be trusted. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu (1954) led to France pulling out of Vietnam.The victory was a huge boost for Ho and did a great deal to cement the reputation of Giap as a very effective military leader. At Geneva, it was decided to divide Vietnam at the 17th Parallel with the North governed by Ho Chi Minh and the South by Ngo Dinh Diem. Some members of the Vietminh did not accept that Vietnam should be divided and it was left to Ho to persuade then that the division was only a temporary one. He, like them, wanted a united Vietnam but in 1954 it was prudent, according to Ho, to go along with the division. Ho Chi Minh had few doubts that the people of Vietnam wanted a communist government – even the American President at the time, Eisenhower, believed that 80% of the Vietnamese population were behind Ho Chi Minh. Ho did declare, however, that he had authority over the whole state and he encouraged the Vietminh resistance movement in the south. From 1963, Ho ordered that the Vietminh should be supplied with arms by the north via the Ho Chi Minh trail. In 1965, Ho sent in regular North Vietnamese troops to help the Vietminh when the US sent her military in.Ho’s authority in the north was never challenged. He maintained control of the north and the North Vietnamese remained loyal despite the American bombing campaign, which resulted in vast numbers of bombs being dropped on the North. It could be argued that the bombing made the people even more fiercely loyal to Ho. While North Vietnam was supplied by Mao Zedong’s China it did not follow that he was in awe of the Chinese leader. In fact, Ho was less than enamoured with some of Mao’s ideas.Ho Chi Minh died in 1969. When Saigon fell in 1975, the city was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in his honour.Neither the Soviet Union nor the United States could risk an all-out war against each other, such was the nuclear military might of both. However, when it suited both, they had client states that could carry on the fight for them. In Vietnam, the Americans actually fought – therefore in the Cold War ‘game’, the USSR could not. However, to support the Communist cause, the Soviet Union armed its fellow Communist state, China, who would, in turn, arm and equip the North Vietnamese who fought the Americans.Since the US Congress never declared war against Vietnam, it should be called the Vietnam conflict instead of the Vietnam war.Nearly two-thirds of the American men serving the war were volunteers.Vietnam war, which lasted for approximately 20 years, is the longest war in the entire U.S history.On March 12th, 1947, President Harry Truman addressed Congress, hoping to promote U.S. aid to anti-communist governments in the Middle East and Asia. At the present moment in world history," President Harry S. Truman proclaimed, "nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life." On the one hand, he explained, the choice is life "based upon the will of the majority," and "distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression." Truman painted the other option—communism—as life in which the will of a few is forcibly inflicted upon the majority. "It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio, fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedom.With the end of World War II, the United States and its one-time ally, the Soviet Union, clashed over the reorganization of the postwar world. Each perceived the other as a significant threat to its national security, its institutions, and its influence over the globe. To the United States, the USSR was intent on spreading communism by any means necessary. And with each move made by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to spread his sphere of influence in order to secure his nation's borders, the U.S. found its fears confirmed.President Truman, then, thought it vital that the U.S. find ways to strengthen its alliances abroad. The United States must embrace a new, global role, Truman urged, whereby it would befriend nations hostile to the USSR and orchestrate the battle against the growing communist threat. Congress agreed that the communist menace must be contained and that American foreign policy should be based on the preservation of those regimes prepared to fight it. So, it approved the Truman Doctrine, authorizing millions of dollars in military aid, grants to train foreign armies, and the allocation of U.S. military advisors to countries such as Greece, Turkey, and later, Vietnam. After the war, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines stayed free of communism.

While the US suffered more than 58,000 dead in the war, an estimated two million Vietnamese civilians were killed, another 5.3 million injured and about 11 million, by US government figures, became refugees in their own country.oday, if people remember anything about American atrocities in Vietnam, they recall the March 1968 My Lai massacre in which more than 500 civilians were killed over the course of four hours, during which US troops even took time out to eat lunch.Far bloodier operations, like one codenamed Speedy Express, should be remembered as well, but thanks to cover-ups at the highest levels of the US military, few are.

Vietnam was under Chinese rule for roughly a thousand years until 938 AD.Vietnam has a history as rich and evocative as anywhere on the planet. Sure, the American War in Vietnam captured the attention of the West, but centuries before that Vietnam was scrapping with the Chinese, the Khmers, the Chams and the Mongols. Vietnamese civilisation is as sophisticated as that of its mighty northern neighbour China, from where it drew many of its influences under a thousand-year occupation. Later came the French and the humbling period of colonialism from which Vietnam was not to emerge until the second half of the 20th century. The Americans were simply the last in a long line of invaders who had come and gone through the centuries and, no matter what was required or how long it took, they too would be vanquished. If only the planners back in Washington had paid just a little more attention to the history of this very proud nation, then Vietnam might have avoided the trauma and tragedy of a horribly brutal war.Visitors to Vietnam can’t help but notice that the same names pop up again and again on the streets of every city and town. These are Vietnam’s national heroes who, over the last 2000 years, have led the country in its repeated expulsions of foreign invaders and whose exploits have inspired subsequent generations of patriots.Recent archaeological finds suggest that the earliest human habitation of northern Vietnam was about 500, 000 years ago. Neolithic cultures were romping around the same area just 10, 000 years ago and engaged in primitive agriculture as early as 7000 BC. The sophisticated Bronze Age Dong Son culture, which is famous for its drums, emerged sometime around the 3rd century BC.From the 1st to 6th centuries AD, southern Vietnam was part of the Indianised Cambodian kingdom of Funan – famous for its refined art and architecture. Known as Nokor Phnom to the Khmers, this kingdom was centred on the walled city of Angkor Borei, near modern-day Takeo. The Funanese constructed an elaborate system of canals both for transportation and the irrigation of rice. The principal port city of Funan was Oc-Eo in the Mekong Delta and archaeological excavations here tell us of contact between Funan and China, Indonesia, Persia and even the Mediterranean.The Hindu kingdom of Champa emerged around present-day Danang in the late 2nd century AD. Like Funan, it adopted Sanskrit as a sacred language and borrowed heavily from Indian art and culture. By the 8th century Champa had expanded southward to include what is now Nha Trang and Phan Rang. The Cham were a feisty bunch who conducted raids along the entire coast of Indochina, and thus found themselves in a perpetual state of war with the Vietnamese to the north and the Khmers to the south. Ultimately this cost them their kingdom, as they found themselves squeezed between two great powers. Check out some brilliant sculptures in the Museum of Cham Sculpture in Danang.1000 Years Of Chinese DominationThe Chinese conquered the Red River Delta in the 2nd century BC. In the following centuries, large numbers of Chinese settlers, officials and scholars moved south to impose a centralised state system on the Vietnamese.Needless to say, local rulers weren’t very happy about this and in the most famous act of resistance, in AD 40, the Trung Sisters (Hai Ba Trung) rallied the people, raised an army and led a revolt that sent the Chinese governor fleeing. The sisters proclaimed themselves queens of an independent Vietnam. In AD 43 the Chinese counterattacked and, rather than suffer the ignominy of surrender, the Trung Sisters threw themselves into the Hat Giang River. There were numerous small-scale rebellions against Chinese rule – which was characterised by tyranny, forced labour and insatiable demands for tribute – from the 3rd to 6th centuries, but all were crushed.During this era, Vietnam was a key port of call on the sea route between China and India. The Chinese introduced Confucianism, Taoism and Mahayana Buddhism to Vietnam, while the Indians brought Theravada Buddhism. Monks carried with them the scientific and medical knowledge of these two great civilisations and Vietnam was soon producing its own great doctors, botanists and scholars.The early Vietnamese learned much from the Chinese, including the construction of dikes and irrigation works. These innovations helped make rice the ‘staff of life’, and paddy agriculture remains the foundation of the Vietnamese way of life to this day. As food became more plentiful the population expanded, forcing the Vietnamese to seek new lands. The ominous Truong Son Mountains prevented westward expansion, so the Vietnamese headed south.In the early 10th century the Tang dynasty in China collapsed. The Vietnamese seized the initiative and launched a long overdue revolt against Chinese rule in Vietnam. In 938 AD popular patriot Ngo Quyen finally vanquished the Chinese armies at a battle on the Bach Dang River, ending 1000 years of Chinese rule. However, it was not the last time the Vietnamese would tussle with their mighty northern neighbour.From the 11th to 13th centuries, Vietnamese independence was consolidated under the enlightened emperors of the Ly dynasty, founded by Ly Thai To. During the Ly dynasty, many enemies launched attacks on Vietnam, among them the Chinese, the Khmer and the Cham but all were repelled. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese continued their expansion southwards and slowly but surely began to consolidate control of the Cham kingdom.Mongol warrior Kublai Khan completed his conquest of China in the mid-13th century. For his next trick, he planned to attack Champa and demanded the right to cross Vietnamese territory. The Vietnamese refused, but the Mongol hordes – all 500, 000 of them – pushed ahead, seemingly invulnerable. However, they met their match in the legendary general Tran Hung Dao; he defeated them in the battle of Bach Dang River, one of the most celebrated scalps among many the Vietnamese have taken.The Chinese seized control of Vietnam again in the early 15th century, carting off the national archives and some of the country’s intellectuals to China – an irreparable loss to Vietnamese civilisation. The Chinese controlled much of the country from 1407, imposing a regime of heavy taxation and slave labour. The poet Nguyen Trai (1380–1442) wrote of this periode.Were the water of the Eastern Sea to be exhausted, the stain of their ignominy could not be washed away; all the bamboo of the Southern Mountains would not suffice to provide the paper for recording all their crimes.In 1418 wealthy philanthropist Le Loi sparked the Lam Son Uprising, travelling the countryside to rally the people against the Chinese. Upon victory in 1428, Le Loi declared himself Emperor Le Thai To, the first in the long line of the Le dynasty. To this day, Le Loi is riding high in the Top Ten of the country’s all-time national heroes.Following Le Loi’s victory over the Chinese, Nguyen Trai, a scholar and Le Loi’s companion in arms, wrote his infamous Great Proclamation (Binh Ngo Dai Cao). Guaranteed to fan the flames of nationalism almost six centuries later, it articulated Vietnam’s fierce spirit of independence.Le Loi and his successors launched a campaign to take over Cham lands to the south, wiping the kingdom of Champa from the map, and parts of eastern Laos were forced to kowtow to the might of the Vietnamese.The first Portuguese sailors came ashore at Danang in 1516 and were soon followed by a proselytising party of Dominican missionaries. During the following decades the Portuguese began to trade with Vietnam, setting up a commercial colony alongside those of the Japanese and Chinese at Faifo (present-day Hoi An). The Catholic Church eventually had a greater impact on Vietnam than on any country in Asia except the Philippines (which was ruled by the Spanish for 400 years). In a dress rehearsal for the tumultuous events of the 20th century, Vietnam found itself divided in half through much of the 17th and 18th centuries. The powerful Trinh Lords were later Le kings who ruled the North. To the south were the Nguyen Lords, who feigned tribute to the kings of the north but carried on like an independent kingdom. The powerful Trinh failed in their persistent efforts to subdue the Nguyen, in part because their Portuguese weaponry was far inferior to the Dutch armaments supplied to the Nguyen. For their part, the Nguyen expanded southwards again, absorbing the Khmer territories of the Mekong Delta. In 1765 a rebellion erupted in the town of Tay Son near Qui Nhon. The Tay Son Rebels, as they soon became known, were led by the brothers Nguyen. In less than a decade they controlled the whole of central Vietnam. In 1783 they captured Saigon from the Nguyen Lords as well as the rest of the South, killing the reigning prince and his family. Nguyen Lu became king of the South, while Nguyen Nhac was crowned king of central Vietnam.Continuing their conquests, the Tay Son Rebels overthrew the Trinh Lords in the North. Ever the opportunists, the Chinese moved in to take advantage of the power vacuum. In response, the third brother, Nguyen Hue, proclaimed himself Emperor Quang Trung. In 1789 Nguyen Hue’s armed forces overwhelmingly defeated the Chinese army at Dong Da in another of the greatest hits of Vietnamese history.In the South, Nguyen Anh, a rare survivor from the original Nguyen Lords – yes, know your Nguyens if you hope to understand Vietnamese history – gradually overcame the rebels. In 1802 Nguyen Anh proclaimed himself Emperor Gia Long, thus beginning the Nguyen dynasty. When he captured Hanoi, his victory was complete and, for the first time in two centuries, Vietnam was united, with Hué as its new capital city.

In Vietnam War, Americans used aces of spades as a psychological attack on their opponent. The Americans were sure that the Vietnamese are afraid of ace of spades images as a "symbol of death." These cards were scattered in large numbers, where the fighting took place. Cards were put even into the mouth of corpses, pursuing the goal of demoralization. The most interesting thing is that the US army bought in batches decks of cards consisting only of aces of spades.In an already body count-obsessed environment, Ewell, who became known as the Butcher of the Delta, was especially notorious. He sacked subordinates who killed insufficient numbers and unleashed heavy firepower on a countryside packed with civilians.

At least 200,000 Chinese troops poured into northern Vietnam all along the border. China was aiming to punish Vietnam for its invasion of Cambodia the month before to oust the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge. There were so many Chinese attacking, Nguyen Duy Thuc remembers, that the soldiers in his bunker "fired our AK-47s until the muzzles turned red and they couldn't fire anymore."But the Chinese kept coming; eventually his bunker was overrun. The Chinese, he says, pumped gas into the ventilation system. There were 800 people, including soldiers, women and children, who fled the fighting in his bunker.Only he and two others managed to escape. After nearly a month, the Chinese withdrew, though border clashes continued for the next decade. And Nguyen Duy Thuc hasn't forgotten. If he catches his wife trying to watch a Chinese movie, he turns it off.Memories of that war, and the many other bouts of invasion, occupation and retaliation throughout history, color Vietnam's relationship with China.That's especially true now, with the two countries at odds over what Vietnam views as Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea. When China parked an oil rig in contested waters last year, Vietnam upped its official anti-China rhetoric.And anti-China rioting left at least a dozen dead, including four Taiwanese mistaken for Chinese. As tension grew, and Chinese and Vietnamese boats played a dangerous game of chicken near the rig, some in the border town of Lang Son grew worried. They feared a repeat of what happened in 1979.The United States lost the Vietnam War. It lasted for twenty years, something the US never expected when it joined in the fight. Not only did the US lose the war and the country of Vietnam to the communists, the US lost prestige in the eyes of the world.Prior to World War II Vietnam had been a colony of the French. During World War II the Japanese took control of the area. When the war ended there was a power vacuum. Vietnamese revolutionary and communist Ho Chi Minh wanted freedom for the country of Vietnam. However, the Allies all agreed that Vietnam belonged to the French.August 1964 - The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is passed by the US Congress after two US Destroyers were attacked by the North Vietnamese. This allowed US troops to use armed force in the area.March 8, 1965 - The first official US combat troops arrive in Vietnam. The US begins a bombing campaign of Northern Vietnam called Operation Rolling Thunder.January 30, 1968 - North Vietnam launches the Tet Offensive attacking around 100 cities in Southern Vietnam.Not only were the US troops limited in what they could do strategically by President Johnson, the jungles of Vietnam proved a difficult place to fight a war. It was very difficult to find the enemy in the jungles and also difficult to determine who was the enemy. The troops had to deal with booby traps and constant ambushes from people they thought they were fighting for.The Viet Cong were Vietnamese rebels in the South who fought against the Southern Vietnam government and the United States.The US chosen president of the South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, was not a good leader. He was hated by many Vietnamese and was executed in November of 1963. This was not a good sign for the US hopes in the area.58,220 US soldiers died in the Vietnam War. It is estimated that millions of Vietnamese died either in battle or as civilians caught in the crossfire.Over the decades since the conflict ended, the Vietnam War has become an integral part of American cultural history, featuring in numerous movies, books, songs, and television documentaries.Although, the war was a resounding military defeat for the USA and caused a great deal of political turmoil and personal trauma in the US, some historians argue that it succeeded in helping to prevent the spread of communism in the Indochina Peninsula.More than 3 million people died in total. The U.S alone suffered 58,220 deaths in action. North Vietnam plus the Viet Cong had 1,100,000 soldiers and up to 2,000,000 civilians killed.12,000 American helicopters saw action in the conflict.Between 1962 and 1971, the US sprayed a herbicide called Agent Orange over large areas of forest in an attempt to reduce hit and run attacks by pro-communist forces, causing 400,000 people to be killed or injured, and 500,000 children to be born with birth defects.The conflict was also financially costly. Between 1965 and 1975, the US spent $111 billion on the war.President Nixon started reducing troop numbers in 1969, as massive anti-war demonstrations and protests took place in the US, with the public bitterly divided over the conflict.The beginning of the end was President Nixon declaring in 1969 that the USA would now be following a new program called “Vietnamization.” This involved the South Vietnamese military being built up so that American forces could gradually withdraw. The fighting continued, however, despite the gradual American withdrawal, and in 1972 the North Vietnamese launched a massive invasion of South Vietnam. The Paris Peace Accords were signed in January 1973, and the remaining U.S. forces were all withdrawn. The fighting between the Vietnamese continued until April 1975 when Saigon fell to the communists.There were competing ideas over what the war was about. In some ways, it was a civil war between North and South Vietnam, which had different political systems. The USA and its allies generally perceived the war as a fight to stop the spread of communism and supported the South Vietnamese. The communist North Vietnamese saw it more as a revolutionary war of liberation against colonialism and interference from Western powers.Communist activist Ho Chi Minh secretly returns to Vietnam after 30 years in exile and organizes a nationalist organization known as the Viet Minh (Vietnam Independence League). After Japanese troops occupy Vietnam during World War II, the U.S. military intelligence agency Office of Strategic Services (OSS) allies with Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh guerrillas to harass Japanese troops in the jungles and to help rescue downed American pilots.March 9, 1945 - Amid rumors of a possible American invasion, Japanese oust the French colonial government which had been operating independently and seize control of Vietnam, installing Bao Dai as their puppet ruler.Summer - Severe famine strikes Hanoi and surrounding areas eventually resulting in two million deaths from starvation out of a population of ten million. The famine generates political unrest and peasant revolts against the Japanese and remnants of French colonial society. Ho Chi Minh capitalizes on the turmoil by successfully spreading his Viet Minh movement.By the late 1940s, a Vietnamese revolutionary movement led by communist leader Ho Chi Minh had successfully expelled Japanese occupying forces and kept France from reclaiming Vietnam as its colony. Minh, who'd been seeking independence for his homeland since World War I, declared his nation free at last. In his declaration of independence, the self-proclaimed Chairman of Vietnam appealed to other freedom-loving nations for support: "We are convinced that the Allied nations, which at Teheran and San Francisco have acknowledged the principles of self-determination and equality of nations, will not refuse to acknowledge the independence of Viet-Nam."38But the United States—along with two other Allied powers, Great Britain and France did in fact refuse to recognize Ho Chi Minh's government, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Truman's administration was suspicious of Minh's success and concluded that only a great and menacing power—like the Soviet Union—could have masterminded such a victorious revolution. The U.S. could not afford to assume, the State Department concluded, "that Ho is anything but Moscow-directed.39" .Truman heeded the warning, rebuffed Minh's petition for support, and began funneling money, ammunition, ships, aircraft, military vehicles, and other supplies into a growing French war—a war to regain its Vietnamese colony. By the end of President Truman's final term in office, the United States—a nation born of a war for independence—was paying for nearly 40% of all military expenses in France's colonial conflict.But even with millions of dollars in aid, the French were losing, and losing badly.U.S. wasn't at all pleased with the peace agreement. It refused to endorse the Geneva Peace Accords, arguing that they afforded too much power to communist leadership in Vietnam. Much to the U.S. government's dismay, France and the Viet Minh agreed to divide the region nearly in half, with Ho Chi Minh controlling the North and France maintaining its influence over the South. Furthermore, according to the terms of the Accords, national elections would be held in two years in an effort to reunify the country. The U.S. predicted that if the elections took place, Ho Chi Minh and the Communist Party of Vietnam would be certain to win.

Indeed, what the military admitted in this long secret report confirmed exactly what I also discovered in hundreds of talks and formal interviews with American veterans, in tens of thousands of pages of formerly classified military documents, and, most of all, in the heavily populated areas of Vietnam where Americans expended massive firepower.Survivors of a massacre by US Marines in Quang Tri Province told me what it was like to huddle together in an underground bomb shelter as shots rang out and grenades exploded above.Fearing that one of those grenades would soon roll into their bunker, a mother grabbed her young children, took a chance and bolted. 

In early January 1973, the Nixon White House convinced the Thieu-Ky regime in Saigon that they would not abandon the GVN if they signed onto the peace accord. On January 23, therefore, the final draft was initialed, ending open hostilities between the United States and the DRV. The Paris Peace Agreement did not end the conflict in Vietnam, however, as the Thieu-Ky regime continued to battle Communist forces. From March 1973 until the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, ARVN forces tried desperately to save the South from political and military collapse. The end finally came, however, as DRV tanks rolled south along National Highway One. On the morning of April 30, Communist forces captured the presidential palace in Saigon, ending the Second Indochina War. One of the greatest ironies in a war rich in ironies was that Washington had also moved toward a limited war in Vietnam. The Johnson administration wanted to fight this war in "cold blood." This meant that America would go to war in Vietnam with the precision of a surgeon with little noticeable impact on domestic culture. A limited war called for limited mobilization of resources, material and human, and caused little disruption in everyday life in America. Of course, these goals were never met. The Vietnam War did have a major impact on everyday life in America, and the Johnson administration was forced to consider domestic consequences of its decisions every day. Eventually, there simply were not enough volunteers to continue to fight a protracted war and the government instituted a draft. As the deaths mounted and Americans continued to leave for Southeast Asia, the Johnson administration was met with the full weight of American anti-war sentiments. Protests erupted on college campuses and in major cities at first, but by 1968 every corner of the country seemed to have felt the war's impact. Perhaps one of the most famous incidents in the anti-war movement was the police riot in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Hundreds of thousands ofcpeople came to Chicago in August 1968 to protest American intervention in Vietnam and the leaders of the Democratic Party who continued to prosecute the war. The Vietnam War was the longest deployment of U.S. forces in hostile action in the history of the American republic. Although there is no formal declaration of war from which to date U.S. entry, President John F. Kennedy's decision to send over 2,000 military advisers to South Vietnam in 1961 marked the beginning of twelve years of American military combat. U.S. unit combat began in 1965. The number of US. troops steadily increased until it reached a peak of 543,400 in April 1969. The total number of Americans who served in South Vietnam was 2.7 million. Of these, more than 58,000 died or remain missing, and 300,000 others were wounded. The US. government spent more than $140 billion on the war. Despite this enormous military effort, the United States failed to achieve its objective of preserving an independent, noncommunist state in South Vietnam. This failure has led to searching questions about why and how the war was fought and whether a better diplomatic and military outcome was possible for the United States.By 1961, guerrilla warfare was widespread in South Vietnam. Communist-led troops of the National Liberation Front (NLF) of South Vietnam, commonly referred to as Vietcong, were initiating hundreds of terrorist and small unit attacks per month. Saigon’s military, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), was not able to contain this growing insurgency. During the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a small U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), never numbering more than 740 uniformed soldiers, had provided training and logistics assistance to the ARVN. The Kennedy administration determined that the size and mission of the U.S. advisory effort must change if the U.S.-backed government of Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon was to survive. Some of Kennedy's aides proposed a negotiated settlement in Vietnam similar to that which recognized Laos as a neutral country. Having just suffered international embarrassment in Cuba and Berlin, the president rejected compromise and chose to strengthen U.S. support of Saigon.In May 1961, Kennedy sent 400 U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Beret) troops into South Vietnam's Central Highlands to train Montagnard tribesmen in counterinsurgency tactics. He also tripled the level of aid to South Vietnam. A steady stream of airplanes, helicopters, armored personnel carriers (APCs), and other equipment poured into the South. By the end of 1962, there were 9,000 U.S. military advisers under the direction of a newly-created Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), commanded by U.S. Army Gen. Paul Harkins. Under U.S. guidance, the Diem government also began construction of "strategic hamlets." These fortified villages were intended to insulate rural Vietnamese from Vietcong intimidation and propaganda.U.S. and South Vietnamese leaders were cautiously optimistic that increased U.S. assistance finally was enabling the Saigon government to defend itself. On 2 January 1963, however, at Ap Bac on the Plain of Reeds southwest of Saigon, a Vietcong battalion of about 320 men inflicted heavy damage on an ARVN force of 3,000 equipped with troop-carrying helicopters, new UH- I ("Huey") helicopter gunships, tactical bombers, and APCS. Ap Bac represented a leadership failure for the ARVN and a major morale boost for the antigovernment forces. The absence of fighting spirit in the ARVN mirrored the continuing inability of the Saigon regime to win political support. Indeed, many South Vietnamese perceived the strategic hamlets as government oppression, not protection, because people were forced to leave their ancestral homes for the new settlements.The critical military questions were how much U.S. assistance was enough and what form it should take. By the spring of 1964, the Vietcong controlled vast areas of South Vietnam, the strategic hamlet program had essentially ceased, and North Vietnam's aid to the southern insurgents had grown. In June, Johnson named one of the army's most distinguished officers, Gen. William C. Westmoreland, then commandant of West Point, as commander U.S. MACV. Westmoreland immediately asked for more men, and by the end of 1964 U.S. personnel in the South exceeded 23,000. Increasingly, however, the U.S. effort focused on the North. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and other key White House aides remained convinced that the assault on South Vietnam originated in the ambitious designs of Hanoi backed by Moscow and Beijing.Throughout 1964, the United States assisted South Vietnam in covert operations to gather intelligence, disseminate propaganda, and harass the North. On the night of 2 August, North Vietnamese gunboats fired on the USS Maddox a destroyer on an intelligence-collecting mission, in the same area of the Gulf of Tonkin where South Vietnamese commandos were conducting raids against the North Vietnamese coast. Two nights later, under stormy conditions, the Maddox and another destroyer, the Turner Joy, reported a gunboat attack. Although doubts existed about these reports, the president ordered retaliatory air strikes against the North Vietnamese port of Vinh. The White House had expected that some type of incident would occur eventually, and it had prepared the text of a congressional resolution authorizing the president to use armed force to protect U.S. forces and to deter further aggression from North Vietnam. On 7 August 1964, Johnson secured almost unanimous consent from Congress (414-0 in the House; 88-2 in the Senate) for his Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which became the principal legislative basis for all subsequent military deployment in Southeast Asia.Ending the Vietnam War is composed of fourteen chapters drawn from texts heretofore scattered through four long treatises: the three volumes of my memoirs and my study Diplomacy. I have rearranged and occasionally rewritten the material to provide a consecutive narrative, reshaped the narrative from the anecdotal tone of memoirs to a more general account of the period, provided a connecting text where necessary, and added new material.The Vietnam debate has so far produced no ultimate answers. The administration that ended the war was too abstractly analytical when, in the face of massive media and congressional opposition, it insisted on its geopolitical design dictated by its view of the long-range national interest. The critics were too abstractly passionate in their refusal to relate their moral proclamations to an operational strategy reflecting America's responsibility for peace and world order. The administration had concept without domestic consensus; the critics had passion without analysis. Watergate destroyed the last hopes for an honorable outcome. For the only time in the postwar period, America abandoned to eventual Communist rule a friendly people which had relied on us and were still fighting when we cut off aid. The pattern of domestic discord did not end quickly. We paid for a long time for the divisions into which we stumbled in that period, now seemingly so distant.As these lines are being written, America finds itself once again at war - this time with no ambiguity about the nature of the threat. While history never repeats itself directly, there is at least one lesson to be learned from the tragedy described in these pages: that America must never again permit its promise to be overhelmed by its divisions.

During the “Days of Rage,” the Weathermen did not attach themselves to a larger peaceful demonstration. They were on their own. So, the action provides a great case study about the feasibility of violent street tactics.For starters, they discovered that it was hard to find recruits for their violent street army. Only about 300 people showed up despite months of effort. And they found it harder to enlist support for their actions even among those who were friendly with them politically. In short, the “Days of Rage” shows the ineffectiveness of violent street tactics unless combined with a larger peaceful protest.

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