The Vietnam war – also known as the American War in Vietnam, Indochina War and the Vietnam Conflict – took place from the year 1959 all the way through to 1975. The war ended with a North Vietnamese victory some decade and a half later. The human cost of the war in Vietnam will never fade. Over one million military personnel and over one million civilians died. The war was between North Vietnam and South Vietnam – with the US backing the South. In the end the US withdrew, the Republic of Vietnam lost and both North and South ended up under the control of the communist government.
The United States government, and allied forces, opted to deploy a number of troops to South Vietnam following the First Indochina war, in 1954, all the way through to 1973. US military advisers had played a role in Vietnam since 1950, firstly helping French colonial forces. By 1956, these US advisers were responsible for training the South Vietnam armed forces. The number of US troops in Vietnam grew from the days of John F Kennedy, who was responsible for sending 16,000, to a more significant deployment under the presidency of Lyndon Johnson. While almost all of the armed forces departed following the Paris Peace Accords, the last troops left in April 1975.
During the Vietnam conflict, clashes took place in many different forms. Vietnam industry and infrastructure became a prime target during the conflict, which military tacticians generally target as a means of weakening their opponent and dampening morale – this was largely completed by US aircraft performing aerial bombings. Chemical Defoliants were also deployed as a means of reducing the ability for troops to seek cover in the mountains and jungles which were leveraged by North Vietnamese troops to initiate guerilla attacks. When the capital of South Vietnam, Saigon, fell the war came to an end culminating in a North Vietnamese victory.
The 1968 election saw Richard Nixon promise “peace with honor”. This involved building the AVRN so that they could handle the defence of Republic of Vietnam – this strategy would later evolve to be known as the Nixon Doctrine. This was met with contempt from some – as it suggested only the US had experienced lost through the conflict – and left commentators and political opponents with ammunition to oppose his ideas. Although many parallels were drawn between Nixon and Kennedy, in terms of their strategy, Nixon's desire to continue and broaden the war put him in a camp of his own.
The anti-war movement was gaining momentum in the United States, which lead to cries from Nixon for the “silent majority” of US citizens to make their opinion heard in their support for the war. Public opinion, although wavering, suffered more than ever when revelation of the My Lai Massacre were revealed. The killing of civilians, which included women and children, sparked outrage internationally and strengthened the position of Nixon's opponents.
Nick Carter is a veteran who had served the US Marines. He have written articles on Vietnam war and against the wars forced by Americans. He is a great admirer of Bob Miller, America's most controversial writer and author of Kill Me If You Can, You SOB.