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First Indochina War

First Indochina War

The First Indochina War (also known as the French Indochina War, Anti-French War, Franco-Vietnamese War, Franco-Vietminh War, Indochina War, Dirty War in France, and Anti-French Resistance War in contemporary Vietnam) was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps, led by France and supported by Emperor Bo i's Vietnamese National Army against the Vit Minh, led by H Ch Minh and V Nguyn Gip. Most of the fighting took place in Tonkin in Northern Vietnam, although the conflict engulfed the entire country and also extended into the neighboring French Indochina protectorates of Laos and Cambodia. Following the reoccupation of Indochina by the French following the end of World War II, the area having fallen to the Japanese, the Vit Minh launched a rebellion against the French authority governing the colonies of French Indochina. The first few years of the war involved a low-level rural insurgency against French authority. However, after the Chinese communists reached the Northern border of Vietnam in 1949, the conflict turned into a conventional war between two armies equipped with modern weapons supplied by the United States and the Soviet Union.[1] French Union forces included colonial troops from the whole former empire (Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, Laotian, Cambodian, and Vietnamese ethnic minorities), French professional troops and units of the French Foreign Legion. The use of metropolitan recruits was forbidden by the governments to prevent the war from becoming even more unpopular at home. It was called the "dirty war" (la sale guerre) by supporters of the Left intellectuals in France (including Sartre) during the Henri Martin Affair in 1950.[2] [3] While the strategy of pushing the Vit Minh into attacking a well defended base in a remote part of the country at the end of their logistical trail was validated at the Battle of Na San, the lack of construction materials (especially concrete), tanks (because of lack of road access and difficulty in the jungle terrain), and air cover precluded an effective defense. After the war, the Geneva Conference on July 21, 1954, made a provisional division of Vietnam at the 17th parallel, with control of the north given to the Vit Minh as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under H Ch Minh, and the south becoming the State of Vietnam under Emperor Bo i, in order to prevent H Ch Minh from gaining control of the entire country.[4] A year later, Bo i would be deposed by his prime minister, Ng nh Dim, creating the Republic of Vietnam. Diem's refusal to enter into negotiations with North Vietnam about holding nationwide elections in 1956, as had been stipulated by the Geneva Conference, would eventually lead to war breaking out again in South Vietnam in 1959 the Second Indochina War.

Further information: Vietnam Expedition,French-Thai War,Second French Indochina Campaign,Empire of Vietnam,August Revolution,Vietnamese Famine of 1945,Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam,French Far East Expeditionary Corps,andWar in Vietnam (19451946) Vietnam was absorbed into French Indochina in stages between 1858 and 1887 with European influence and education. Nationalism grew until World War II provided a break in French control. Early Vietnamese resistance centered on the intellectual Phan Bi Chu. Chau looked to Japan, which had modernized and was one of the few Asian nations to resist European colonization. With Prince Cng , Chu started two organizations in Japan, the Duy Tn Hi (Modernistic Association) and Vietnam Cong Hien Hoi. Due to French pressure, Japan deported Phan Bi Chu to China. Witnessing Sun Yat-sen's 1911 nationalist revolution, Chau was inspired to commence the Vit Nam Quang Phc Hi movement in Guangzhou. From 1914 to 1917, he was imprisoned by Yuan Shi Kai's counterrevolutionary government. In 1925, he was captured by French agents in Shanghai and spirited to Vietnam. Due to his popularity, Chu was spared from execution and placed under house arrest until his death in 1940.

First Indochina War In September 1940, shortly after Phan Bi Chu's death, Japan launched the First French Indochina Campaign and invaded French Indochina, mirroring their ally Germany's conquest of metropolitan France. Keeping the French colonial administration, the Japanese ruled from behind the scenes in a parallel of Vichy France. As far as Vietnamese nationalists were concerned, this was a double-puppet government. Emperor Bo i collaborated with the Japanese, just as he had with the French, ensuring his lifestyle could continue. From October 1940 to May 1941, during the French-Thai War, the Vichy French in Indochina were involved with defending their colony in a border conflict which saw the forces of Thailand invade, while the Japanese sat on the sidelines. Thai military successes were limited to the Cambodian border area, and in January 1941 Vichy France's modern naval forces soundly defeated the inferior Thai naval forces in the Battle of Koh Chang. The war ended in May, with the French agreeing to minor territorial revisions which restored formerly Thai areas to Thailand. In March 1945, Japan launched the Second French Indochina Campaign and ousted the Vichy French and formally installed Emperor Bo i in the short-lived Empire of Vietnam. In August 1945, when Japanese forces surrendered in Vietnam, they allowed the Vit Minh and other nationalist groups to take over public buildings and weapons without resistance, which began the August Revolution. After their defeat the Japanese Army gave weapons to the Vietnamese. In order to further help the nationalists, the Japanese kept Vichy French officials and military officers imprisoned for a month after the surrender. The Vit Minh had recruited more than 600 Japanese soldiers and given them roles to train or command Vietnamese soldiers.[5] [6] H Ch Minh claimed in a speech in September 1945 that due to a combination of ruthless Japanese exploitation and poor weather, a famine occurred in which approximately 2 million Vietnamese died. The Vit Minh arranged a relief effort in the north and won wide support there as a result. American President Franklin D. Roosevelt and General Joseph Stilwell privately made it adamantly clear that the French were not to reacquire French Indochina (modern day Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) after the war was over. Roosevelt offered Chiang Kai-shek to place all of Indochina under Chinese rule. Chiang Kai-shek supposedly replied: "Under no circumstances!".[7] After the war, 200,000 Chinese troops sent by Chiang Kai-shek under General Lu Han entered Indochina north of the 16th parallel to accept the surrender of Japanese occupying forces. They remained there until 1946.[8] The Chinese used the VNQDD, the Vietnamese branch of the Chinese Kuomintang, to increase their influence in Indochina and put pressure on their opponents.[9] In February 1946 the French forced the Chinese to leave Indochina but agreed to renounce French extraterritorial privileges in China itself. French troops then reoccupied the region starting in March 1946.[10] [11] [12] [13] H Ch Minh was able to persuade Emperor Bo i to abdicate on August 25, 1945. Bo i was appointed "supreme adviser" to the new Vietminh-led government in Hanoi, which asserted independence on September 2. Deliberately borrowing from the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, Ho Chi Minh proclaimed on September 2: "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."[14] With the fall of the short lived Japanese colony of the Empire of Vietnam, the Provisional Government of the French Republic wanted to restore its colonial rule in French Indochina as the final step of the Liberation of France. An armistice was signed between Japan and the United States on August 20. CEFEO Expeditionary Corps leader General Leclerc signed the armistice with Japan onboard the USS Missouri on behalf of France, on September 2. On September 13, a Franco-British task force landed in Java, main island of the Dutch East Indies (for which independence was being sought by Sukarno), and Saigon, capital of Cochinchina (southern part of French Indochina), both being occupied by the Japanese and ruled by Field Marshal Hisaichi Terauchi, Commander-in-Chief of Japan's Southern Expeditionary Army Group based in Saigon.[15] Allied troops in Saigon were an airborne detachment, two British companies of the 20th Hindi Division and the French 5th Colonial Infantry Regiment, with British General Sir Douglas Gracey as supreme commander. The latter proclaimed martial law on

First Indochina War September 21. The following night the Franco-British troops took control of Saigon.[16] Almost immediately afterward, the Chinese Government, as agreed to at the Potsdam Conference, occupied French Indochina as far south as the 16th parallel in order to supervise the disarming and repatriation of the Japanese Army. This effectively ended H Ch Minh's nominal government in Hanoi. General Leclerc arrived in Saigon on October 9, with him was French Colonel Massu's March Group (Groupement de marche). Leclerc's primary objectives were to restore public order in south Vietnam and to militarize Tonkin (north Vietnam). Secondary objectives were to wait for French backup in view to take back Chinese occupied Hanoi, then to negotiate with the Viet Minh officials.[16]

Campaign of 1946
Fighting broke out in Haiphong after a conflict of interest in import duty at the port between the Viet Minh government and the French. On November 23, 1946 the French fleet began a naval bombardment of the city that killed over 6,000 Vietnamese civilians in one afternoon according to one source[17] or over 2,000 according to another.[18] The Vit Minh quickly agreed to a cease-fire and left the cities. There was never any intention among the Vietnamese to give up, as General Vo Nguyen Giap soon brought up 30,000 men to attack the city. Although the French were outnumbered, their superior weaponry and naval support made any Vit Minh attack impossible. In December, hostilities also broke out in Hanoi between the Vit Minh and the French, and H Ch Minh was forced to evacuate the capital in favor of remote mountain areas. Guerrilla warfare ensued, with the French controlling most of the country except far-flung areas.

Campaign of 1947
In 1947, General V Nguyn Gip moved his command to Tn Tro. The French sent military expeditions to attack his bases, but Gip refused to meet them head-on in battle. Wherever the French troops went, the Vit Minh disappeared. Late in the year the French launched Operation Lea to take out the Vit Minh communications center at Bac Kan. They failed to capture H Ch Minh and his key lieutenants as intended, but 9,000 Vit Minh soldiers were killed during the campaign which was a major blow for the insurgency.

Campaign of 1948
In 1948, France started looking for means of opposing the Vit Minh politically, with an alternative government in Saigon. They began negotiations with the former Vietnamese emperor Bo i to lead an "autonomous" government within the French Union of nations, the State of Vietnam. Two years before, the French had refused H's proposal of a similar status (albeit with some restrictions on French power and the latter's eventual withdrawal from Vietnam); however, they were willing to give it to Bo i as he had freely collaborated with French rule of Vietnam in the past and was in no position to seriously negotiate or impose demands (Bo i had no military of his own, but soon he would have one).

Campaign of 1949
In 1949, France officially recognized the "independence" of the State of Vietnam as an associated state within the French Union under Bo i. However, France still controlled all foreign relations and every defense issue as Vietnam was only nominally an independent state within the French Union . The Vit Minh quickly denounced the government and stated that they wanted "real independence, not Bo i independence". Later on, as a concession to this new government and a way to increase their numbers, France agreed to the formation of the Vietnamese National Army to be commanded by Vietnamese officers. These troops were used mostly to garrison quiet sectors so French forces would be available for combat. Private Cao Dai, Hoa Hao and the Binh Xuyen gangster armies were

First Indochina War used in the same way. The Vietnamese Communists in return obtained outside support in 1949 when Chairman Mao Zedong succeeded in taking control of China by defeating the Kuomintang, thus gaining a major political ally and supply area just across the border. In the same year, the French also granted independence (within the framework of the French Union) to the other two nations in Indochina, the Kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia. The United States recognized the South Vietnamese state, but many other nations viewed it as simply a French puppet regime and would not deal with it at all . The United States began to give military aid to France in the form of weaponry and military observers. By then with almost unlimited Chinese military supplies entering Vietnam, General Gip re-organized his local irregular forces into five full conventional infantry divisions, the 304th, 308th, 312th, 316th and the 320th. The war began to intensify when Gip went on the offensive, attacking isolated French bases along the Chinese border.

Campaign of 1950
In February 1950, Gip seized the vulnerable 150-strong French garrison at Lai Khe in Tonkin just south of the border with China. Then, on May 25, he attacked the garrison of Cao Bang manned by 4,000 French-controlled Vietnamese troops, but his forces were repulsed. Gip launched his second offense again against Cao Bang as well as Dong Khe on September 15. Dong Khe fell on September 18, and Cao Bang finally fell on October 3. Lang Son, with its 4,000-strong French Foreign Legion garrison, was attacked immediately after. The retreating French on Route 4, together with the relief force coming from That Khe, were attacked all the way by ambushing Vit Minh forces. The French air-dropped a paratroop battalion south of Dong Khe to act as diversion only to see it surrounded and destroyed. On October 17, Lang Son, after a week of intense fighting, finally fell. By the time the remains of the garrisons reached the safety of the Red River Delta, 4,800 French troops had been killed, captured or missing in action and 2,000 wounded out of a total garrison force of over 10,000. Also lost were 13 artillery A map of dissident activities in Indochina in 1950. pieces, 125 mortars, 450 trucks, 940 machine guns, 1,200 submachine guns and 8,000 rifles destroyed or captured during the fighting. China and the Soviet Union recognized H Ch Minh as the legitimate ruler of Vietnam and sent him more and more supplies and material aid. The year 1950 also marked the first time that napalm was ever used in Vietnam (this type of weapon was supplied by the U.S. for the use of the French Aeronovale at the time). The military situation improved for France when their new commander, General Jean Marie de Lattre de Tassigny, built a fortified line from Hanoi to the Gulf of Tonkin, across the Red River Delta, to hold the Vit Minh in place and use his troops to smash them against this barricade, which became known as the "De Lattre Line". This led to a period of success for the French.

First Indochina War

Campaign of 1951
On January 13, 1951, Giap moved the 308th and 312th Divisions, made up of over 20,000 men, to attack Vinh Yen, 20 miles (32km) northwest of Hanoi which was manned by the 6,000 strong 9th Foreign Legion Brigade. The Vit Minh entered a trap. Caught for the first time in the open and actually forced to fight the French head-on, without the ability to quickly hide and retreat, they were mowed down by concentrated French artillery and machine gun fire. By January 16, Giap was forced to withdraw, having lost over 6,000 killed, 8,000 wounded and 500 captured. The Battle of Vinh Yen had been a catastrophe. On March 23, Giap tried again, launching an attack against Mao Khe, 20 miles (32km) north of Haiphong. The 316th Division, composed of 11,000 men, with the partly rebuilt 308th and 312th Divisions in reserve, went forward and were beaten in bitter hand-to-hand fighting against French troops. Giap, having lost over 3,000 dead and wounded by March 28, withdrew.

General Trinh Minh The.

Giap launched yet another attack on May 29 with the 304th Division at Phu Ly, the 308th Division at Ninh Binh, and the main attack delivered by the 320th Division at Phat Diem south of Hanoi. The attacks fared no better and the three divisions lost heavily. Taking advantage of this, de Lattre mounted his counter offensive against the demoralized Vit Minh, driving them back into the jungle and eliminating the enemy pockets in the Red River Delta by June 18 costing the Vit Minh over 10,000 killed. Every effort by Vo Nguyen Giap to break the line failed and every attack he made was answered by a French counter-attack that destroyed his forces. Vit Minh casualties rose alarmingly during this period, leading some to question the leadership of the Communist government, even within the party. However, any benefit this may have reaped for France was negated by the increasing domestic opposition to the war in France. On July 31, French General Chanson was assassinated during a kamikaze attentat at Sa c in South Vietnam that was blamed on the Vit Minh although it was argued in some quarters that Cao Dai nationalist Trinh Minh The could have been involved in its planning. On November 14, 1951, the French seized Ha Bnh, 25 miles (40km) west of the De Lattre line, by a parachute drop and expanded their perimeter.

Campaign of 1952

First Indochina War

Vit Minh launched attacks on Ha Binh forcing the French to withdraw back to their main positions on the De Lattre line by February 22, 1952. Each side lost nearly 5,000 men in this campaign and it showed that the war was far from over. In January, General de Lattre fell ill from cancer and had to return to France for treatment; he died there shortly thereafter and was replaced by General Raoul Salan as the overall commander of French forces in Indochina. Within that year, throughout the war theater, the Vit Minh cut French supply lines and began to seriously wear down the resolve of the French forces. There were continued raids, skirmishes and French foreign airborne 1st BEP firing with a FM 24/29 during an ambush (1952). guerrilla attacks, but through most of the rest of the year each side withdrew to prepare itself for larger operations. Starting on October 2, the Battle of Na San saw the first use of the French commanders "hedgehog" tactics consisting in setting up a well defended outpost to get the Vit Minh out of the jungle and force it to fight a conventional battle instead of ambushes. At first this strategy was successful for the French Union but it ended with a fiasco in 1954. On October 17, 1952, Gip launched attacks against the French garrisons along Nghia Lo, northwest of Hanoi, and overran much of the Black River valley, except for the airfield of Na San where a strong French garrison entrenched. Gip by now had control over most of Tonkin beyond the De Lattre line. Raoul Salan, seeing the situation as critical, launched Operation Lorraine along the Clear river to force Gip to relieve pressure on the Nghia Lo outposts. On October 29, 1952, in the largest operation in Indochina to date, 30,000 French Union soldiers moved out from the De Lattre line to attack the Vit Minh supply dumps at Phu Yen. Salan took Phu Tho on November 5, and Phu Doan on November 9 by a parachute drop, and finally Phu Yen on November 13. Gip at first did not react to the French offensive. He planned to wait until their supply lines were over extended and then cut them off from the Red River Delta. Salan correctly guessed what the Vit Minh were up to and cancelled the operation on November 14, beginning to withdraw back to the de Lattre line. The only major fighting during the operation came during the withdrawal, when the Vit Minh ambushed the French column at Chan Muong on November 17. The road was cleared after a bayonet charge by the Indochinese March Battalion and the withdrawal could continue. Though the operation was partially successful, it proved that although the French could strike out at any target outside the De Lattre line, it failed to divert the Vit Minh offensive or seriously damage its logistical network.

Campaign of 1953
On April 9, 1953, Gip, after having failed repeatedly in direct attacks on French positions in Vietnam, changed strategy and began to pressure the French by invading Laos, surrounding and defeating several French outposts such as Muong Khoua. The only real change came in May when General Navarre replaced General Salan as supreme commander in Indochina. He reported to the government "that there was no possibility of winning the war in Indo-China" saying that the best the French could hope for was a stalemate. Navarre, in response to the Vit Minh attacking Laos, concluded that A Bearcat of the Aronavale drops napalm on Vit Minh Division 320th's artillery during Operation "hedgehog" centers of defense were the best plan. Looking at a map Mouette (11.1953). of the area, Navarre chose the small town of in Bin Ph, located about 10 miles (16km) north of the Lao border and 175 miles (282km) west of Hanoi as a target to block the Vit Minh from invading Laos. in Bin Ph had a number of advantages; it was on a Vit Minh supply route into Laos on the Nam Yum River, it had an old airstrip for supply and it was situated in the T'ai hills where the T'ai tribesmen, still loyal to the French, operated. Operation Castor was

First Indochina War launched on November 20, 1953 with 1,800 men of the French 1st and 2nd Airborne Battalions dropping into the valley of in Bin Ph and sweeping aside the local Vit Minh garrison. The paratroopers gained control of a heart-shaped valley 12 miles (19km) long and eight miles (13km) wide surrounded by heavily wooded hills. Encountering little opposition, the French and T'ai units operating from Lai Chu to the north patrolled the hills. The operation was a tactical success for the French. However, Gip, seeing the weakness of the French position, started moving most of his forces from the De Lattre line to in Bin Ph. By mid-December, most of the French and T'ai patrols in the hills around the town were wiped out by Vit Minh ambushes. The fight for control of this position would be the longest and hardest battle for the French Far East Expeditionary Corps and would be remembered by the veterans as "57 Days of Hell".

Campaign of 1954
By 1954, despite official propaganda presenting the war as a "crusade against communism",[19] [20] the war in Indochina was still growing unpopular with the French public. The political stagnation of the Fourth Republic meant that France was unable to extract itself from the conflict. The United States initially sought to remain neutral, viewing the conflict as chiefly a decolonization war. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu occurred in 1954 between Viet Minh forces under Vo Nguyen Giap supported by China and the Soviet Union and the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps supported by Indochinese allies. The battle was fought near the village of Dien Bien Phu in northern Vietnam and became the last major battle between the French and the Vietnamese in the First Indochina War.

Franco-Vietnamese medics treating a wounded Vit Minh POW at Hung Yen (1954).

The battle began on March 13 when preemptive Vit Minh attack surprised the French with heavy artillery. Their supply lines interrupted, the French position became untenable, particularly when the advent of the monsoon season made dropping supplies and reinforcements by parachute difficult. With defeat imminent, the French sought to hold on till the opening of the Geneva peace meeting on April 26. The last French offensive took place on May 4, but it was ineffective. The Vit Minh then began to hammer the outpost with newly supplied Russian Katyusha rockets along with all the other inventions and implements now being turned against the French. . The final fall took two days, May 6 and 7, during which the French fought on but were eventually overrun by a huge frontal assault. General Cogny based in Hanoi ordered General de Castries, who was commanding the outpost to cease fire at 5:30pm and to destroy all material (weapons, transmissions, etc.) to deny their use to the enemy. A formal order was given to not use the white flag so that it would not be considered to be a surrender but a ceasefire. Much of the fighting ended on May 7; however, a ceasefire was not respected on Isabelle, the isolated southern position, where the battle lasted until May 8 1:00am.[21] At least 2,200 members of the 20,000-strong French forces died, and another 1,729 were reported missing after the battle. Of the 50,000 or so Vietnamese soldiers thought to be involved, there were an estimated 4,800 to 8,000 killed and another 9,000-15,000 wounded. The prisoners taken at Dien Bien Phu were the greatest number the Vit Minh had ever captured: one-third of the total captured during the entire war. One month after Dien Bien Phu, the composite Groupe Mobile 100 (GM100) of the French Union forces evacuated the An Khe outpost and was ambushed by a larger Vit Minh force at the Battle of Mang Yang Pass from June 24 to July 17. On the same time, Giap launched some offensives against the delta but they all failed. The Vit Minh victory at Dien Bien Phu heavily influenced the outcome of the 1954 Geneva accords that took place on July 21. In August began Operation Passage to Freedom consisting of the evacuation of Catholic and loyalist Vietnamese

First Indochina War civilians from communist North Vietnamese persecution.

Geneva Conference and Partition

Further information: Geneva Conference (1954)andPartition of Vietnam Negotiations between France and the Vit Minh started in Geneva in April 1954 at the Geneva Conference. During this time the French Union and the Vit Minh were fighting the most epic battle of the war at Dien Bien Phu. In France, Pierre Mends-France, opponent of the war since 1950, had been invested as Prime Minister on June 17, 1954, on a promise to put an end to the war, reaching a ceasefire in four months: "Today it seems we can be reunited in a will for peace that may express the aspirations of our country... Since Geneva Conference. already several years, a compromise peace, a peace negotiated with the opponent seemed to me commanded by the facts, while it commanded, in return, to put back in order our finances, the recovery of our economy and its expansion. Because this war placed on our country an unbearable burden. And here appears today a new and formidable threat: if the Indochina conflict is not resolved and settled very fast it is the risk of war, of international war and maybe atomic, that we must foresee. It is because I wanted a better peace that I wanted it earlier, when we had more assets. But even now there is some renouncings or abandons that the situation does not comprise. France does not have to accept and will not accept settlement which would be incompatible with its more vital interests [applauding on certain seats of the Assembly on the left and at the extreme right]. France will remain present in Far-Orient. Neither our allies, nor our opponents must conserve the least doubt on the signification of our determination. A negotiation has been engaged in Geneva... I have longly studied the report... consulted the most qualified military and diplomatic experts. My conviction that a pacific settlement of the conflict is possible has been confirmed. A "cease-fire" must henceforth intervene quickly. The government which I will form will fix itself and will fix to its opponents a delay of 4 weeks to reach it. We are today on 17th of June. I will present myself before you before the 20th of July... If no satisfying solution has been reached at this date, you will be freed from the contract which would have tied us together, and my government will give its dismissal to Mr. the President of the Republic."[22] The Geneva Conference on July 21, 1954, recognized the 17th parallel as a "provisional military demarcation line" temporarily dividing the country into two zones, Communist North Vietnam and pro-Western South Vietnam.

First Indochina War

The Geneva Accords promised elections in 1956 to determine a national government for a united Vietnam. However, the United States and the State of Vietnam refused to sign the document. From his home in France, Emperor Bo i appointed Ng nh Dim as Prime Minister of South Vietnam. With American support, in 1955 Dim used a referendum to remove the former Emperor and declare himself the president of the Republic of Vietnam. When the elections were prevented from happening by the Americans and the South, Vit Minh cadres who stayed behind in Students demonstration in Saigon, July 1964, South Vietnam were activated and started to fight the government. observing the tenth anniversary of the July 1954 North Vietnam also invaded and occupied portions of Laos to assist Geneva Agreements. in supplying the guerilla fighting National Liberation Front in South Vietnam. The war gradually escalated into the Second Indochina War, more commonly known as the Vietnam War in the West and the American War in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh
In 1923, H Ch Minh moved to Guangzhou, China. From 192526, he organized the 'Youth Education Classes' and occasionally gave lectures at the famous Whampoa Military Academy on the revolutionary movement in Indochina. He stayed there in Hong Kong as a representative of the Communist International organization. In June 1931, he was arrested and incarcerated by British police until his release in 1933. He then made his way back to the Soviet Union, where he spent several years recovering from tuberculosis. In 1938, he returned to China and served as an adviser with the Chinese Communist armed forces. In 1941, Ho Chi Minh, seeing communist revolution as the path to freedom, returned to Vietnam and formed the Vit Nam c Lp ng Minh Hi (Allied Association of Independent Vietnam), better known as the Vit Minh. He spent many years in Moscow and participated in the International Comintern. At the direction of Moscow, he combined the various Vietnamese communist groups into the Indochinese Communist Party in Hong Kong in 1930. H Ch Minh created the Viet Minh as an umbrella organization for all the nationalist resistance movements, de-emphasizing his communist social revolutionary background. Late in the war, the Japanese created a nominally independent government of Vietnam under the overall leadership of Bo i. Around the same time, the Japanese arrested and imprisoned most of the French officials and military officers left in the country. After the French army and other officials were freed from Japanese prisons in Vietnam, they began reasserting their authority over parts of the country. At the same time, the French government began negotiations with both the Vit Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap and Ho Chi Minh (1942). the Chinese for a return of the French army to Vietnam north of the 16th parallel. The Vit Minh were willing to accept French rule to end Chinese occupation. H Ch Minh and others had fears of the Chinese, based on China's historic domination and occupation of Vietnam. The French negotiated a deal with the Chinese where pre-war French concessions in Chinese ports such as Shanghai were traded for Chinese cooperation in Vietnam. The French landed a military force at

First Indochina War Haiphong in early 1946. Negotiations then took place about the future for Vietnam as a state within the French Union. These talks eventually failed and the Vit Minh fled into the countryside to wage guerrilla war. In 1946, Vietnam created its first constitution. The British had supported the French in fighting the Viet Minh, armed militias from the religious Cao Dai and Hoa Hao sects and the Binh Xuyen organized crime groups which were all individually seeking power in the country. In 1948, as part of a post-colonial solution, the French re-installed Bo i as head of state of Vietnam under the French Union. The Viet Minh were militarily ineffective in the first few years of the war and could do little more than harass the French in remote areas of Indochina. In 1949, the war changed with the triumph of the communists in China on Vietnam's northern border. China was able to give almost unlimited support in terms of weapons and supplies to the Vit Minh which transformed itself into a conventional army. After World War II, the United States and the USSR entered into the Cold War. The Korean War broke out in 1950 between communist North Korea (DPRK) supported by China and the Soviet Union, and South Korea (ROK) supported by the United States and its allies in the UN. The Cold War was now turning 'hot' Telegram from H Ch Minh to U.S. President Harry S. Truman requesting support for independence (Hanoi, in East Asia, and the American government feared communist Feb. 28, 1946). domination of the entire region would have deep implications for American interests. The US became strongly opposed to the government of H Ch Minh, in part, because it was supported and supplied by China. H's government gained recognition from China and the Soviet Union by January 1950 in response to Western support for the State of Vietnam that the French had proposed as an associate state within the French Union. In the French-controlled areas of Vietnam, in the same year, the government of Bo i gained recognition by the United States and the United Kingdom.


French domestic situation

The 1946 Constitution creating the Fourth Republic (19461958) made France a Parliamentary republic. Because of the political context, it could find stability only by an alliance between the three dominant parties: the Christian Democratic Popular Republican Movement (MRP), the French Communist Party (PCF) and the socialist French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO). Known as tripartisme, this alliance briefly lasted until the May 1947 crisis, with the expulsion from Paul Ramadier's SFIO government of the PCF ministers, marking the official start of the Cold War in France. This had the effect of weakening the regime, with the two most significant movements of this period, Communism and Gaullism, in opposition. Unlikely alliances had to be made between left and right-wing parties in order to form a government invested by the National Assembly, which resulted in strong parliamentary unstability. Hence, France had fourteen prime ministers in succession between the creation of the Fourth Republic in 1947 and the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The rapid turnover of governments (there were 17 different governments during the war) left France unable to prosecute the war with any consistent policy according to veteran General Ren de Bir (Lieutenant at Dien Bien Phu).[23] France was increasingly unable to afford the costly conflict in Indochina and, by 1954, the United States was paying 80% of France's war effort which was $3,000,000 per day in 1952.[24] [25]

First Indochina War A strong anti-war movement came into existence in France driven mostly by the then powerful French Communist Party (outpowering the socialists) and its young militant associations, major trade unions like the General Confederation of Labour as well as notable leftist intellectuals.[3] [26] The first occurrence was probably at the National Assembly on March 21, 1947 when the communist deputees refused to back the military credits for Indochina. The following year a pacifist event was organized, the "1st Worldwide Congress of Peace Partisans" (1er Congrs Mondial des Partisans de la Paix, the World Peace Council's predecessor) which took place from March 25 to March 28, 1948 in Paris, with the French communist Nobel laureate atomic physicist Frdric Joliot-Curie as president. Later on April 28, 1950, Joliot-Curie would be dismissed from the military and civilian Atomic Energy Commission for political reasons.[27] Young communist militants (UJRF) were also accused of sabotage actions like the famous Henri Martin Affair and the case of Raymonde Dien who was jailed one year for having blocked an ammunition train, with the help of other militants, in order to prevent the supply of French forces in Indochina in February 1950.[3] [23] Similar actions against trains occurred in Roanne, Charleville, Marseille, and Paris. Even ammunition sabotage by PCF agents have been reported, such as grenades exploding in the hands of legionaries.[23] These actions became such a cause for concern by 1950 that the French Assembly voted a law against sabotage from March 2 to 8. At this session tension was so high between politicians that fighting ensued in the assembly following communist deputees speeches against the Indochinese policy.[27] This month saw the French navy mariner and communist militant Henri Martin arrested by military police and jailed for five years for sabotage and propaganda operations in Toulon's arsenal. On May 5 communist Ministers were dismissed from the government, marking the end of Tripartism.[27] A few months later on November 11, 1950, the French Communist Party leader Maurice Thorez went to Moscow. Some military officers involved in the Revers Report scandal (Rapport Revers) like General Salan were very pessimistic about the way the war was being conducted,[28] with multiple political-military scandals all happening during the war, starting with the Generals' Affair (Affaire des Gnraux) from September 1949 to November 1950. As a result, General Revers was dismissed in December 1949 and socialist Defense Ministry Jules Moch (SFIO) was brought on court by the National Assembly on November 28, 1950. Emerging media played their role. The scandal started the commercial success of the first French news magazine L'Express created in 1953.[29] The third scandal was a financial-political scandal, concerning military corruption, money and arms trading involving both the French Union army and the Viet Minh, known as the Piastres Affair. The US Communist Party was outlawed in 1954. The war ended that year but its sequel started in French Algeria where the French Communist Party played an even stronger role by supplying the National Liberation Front (FLN) rebels with intelligence documents and financial aids. They were called "the suitcase carriers" (les porteurs de valises). In the French news, the Indochina War was presented as a direct continuation of the Korean War where France had fought as a UN French battalion then incorporated in a U.S. unit, which was later involved in the terrible Battle of Mang Yang Pass of June and July 1954.[19] In an interview taped in May 2004, General Bigeard (6th BPC) argues that "one of the deepest mistakes done by the French during the war was the propaganda telling you are fighting for Freedom, you are fighting against Communism",[20] hence the sacrifice of volunteers during the climactic battle of Dien Bien Phu. In the latest days of the siege, 652 non-paratrooper soldiers from all army corps from cavalry to infantry to artillery dropped for the first and last time of their life to support their comrades. The Cold War excuse was later used by General Challe through his famous "Do you want Mers El Kbir & Algiers to become soviet bases as soon as tomorrow?", during the Generals' putsch (Algerian War) of 1961, with limited effect though.[30] The same propaganda existed in the United States with local newsreels using French news footage, probably supplied by the army's cinematographic service. Occurring during the Red Scare years, propaganda was necessary both to justify financial aid and at the same time to promote the American effort in the ongoing Korean War.[24] [31] A few hours after the French Union defeat at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954, United States Secretary of State John Foster Dulles made an official speech depicting the "tragic event" and "its defense for fifty seven days and nights will remain in


First Indochina War History as one of the most heroic of all time." Later on, he denounced Chinese aid to the Vit Minh, explained that the United States could not act openly because of international pressure, and concluded with the call to "all concerned nations" concerning the necessity of "a collective defense" against "the communist aggression".[32]


War crimes & re-education camps

Further information: War crimesandreeducation camp The Boudarel Affair. Georges Boudarel was a French communist militant who used brainwashing and torture against French Union POWs in Vit Minh reeducation camps.[33] The French national association of POWs brought Boudarel to court for a war crime charge. Most of the French Union prisoners died in the Vit Minh camps and many POWs from the Vietnamese National Army were missing. Passage to Freedom was a Franco-American operation to evacuate refugees. Loyal Indochinese evacuated to metropolitan France were kept in detention camps.[34] In 1957, the French Chief of Staff with Raoul Salan would use the POWs experience with the Viet Minh reeducation camps to create two "Instruction Center for Pacification and Counter-Insurgency" (Centre d'Instruction la Pacification et la Contre-Gurilla aka CIPCG) and train thousands of officers during the Algerian War.

Other countries' involvement

Further information: French Union By 1946, France headed the French Union. As successive governments had forbidden the sending of metropolitan troops, the French Far East Expeditionary Corps (CEFEO) was created in March 1945. The Union gathered combatants from almost all French territories made of colonies, protectorates and associated states (Madagascar, Senegal, Tunisia, etc.) to fight in French Indochina, which was then occupied by the Japanese. About 325,000 of the 500,000 French troops were Indochinese, almost all of whom were used in conventional units.[35] The Afrique Occidentale Franaise (AOF) was a federation of African colonies. Senegalese and other African troops were sent to fight in Indochina. Some African alumni were trained in the Infantry Instruction Center no.2 (Centre d'Instruction de l'Infanterie no.2) located in southern Vietnam. Senegalese of the Colonial Artillery fought at the siege of Dien Bien Phu. As a French colony (later a full province), French Algeria sent local troops to Indochina including several RTA (Rgiment de Tirailleurs Algriens) light infantry battalions. Morocco was a French protectorate and sent troops to support the French effort in Indochina. Moroccan troops were part of light infantry RTMs (Rgiment de Tirailleurs Marocains) for "Moroccan Sharpshooters Regiment". As a French protectorate, Bizerte, Tunisia, was a major French base. Tunisian troops, mostly RTT (Rgiment de Tirailleurs Tunisiens), were sent to Indochina. Part of French Indochina, then part of the French Union and later an associated state, Laos fought the communists along with French forces. The role played by Laotian troops in the conflict was depicted by veteran Pierre Schoendoerffer's famous 317th Platoon released in 1964.[36] The French Indochina state of Cambodia played a significant role during the Indochina War through its infantrymen and paratroopers. While Bo i's State of Vietnam (formerly Annam, Tonkin, Cochinchine) had the Vietnamese National Army supporting the French forces, some minorities were trained and organized as regular battalions (mostly infantry tirailleurs) that fought with French forces against the Vit Minh. The Tai Battalion 2 (BT2, 2e Bataillon Thai) is famous for its desertion during the siege of Dien Bien Phu. Propaganda leaflets written in Tai and French sent by the Vit Minh were found in the deserted positions and trenches. Such deserters were called the Nam Yum rats by Bigeard during the siege, as they hid close to the Nam Yum river during the day and searched at night for supply drops.[37] Another allied minority was the Muong people (Mng). The 1st Muong Battalion (1er Bataillon Muong) was awarded the Croix de guerre des TOE after the victorious battle of Vinh Yen in 1951.[38] In the 1950s, the

First Indochina War French established secret commando groups based on loyal montagnard ethnic minorities referred as "partisans" or "maquisards", called the Groupement de Commandos Mixtes Aroports (Composite Airborne Commando Group or GCMA), later renamed Groupement Mixte d'Intervention (GMI, or Mixed Intervention Group), directed by the SDECE counter-intelligence service. The SDECE's "Service Action" GCMA used both commando and guerrilla techniques and operated in intelligence and secret missions from 1950 to 1955.[39] [40] Declassified information about the GCMA include the name of its commander, famous Colonel Roger Trinquier, and a mission on April 30, 1954, when Jedburgh veteran Captain Sassi led the Mo partisans of the GCMA Malo-Servan in Operation Condor during the siege of Dien Bien Phu.[41] In 1951, Adjutant-Chief Vandenberghe from the 6th Colonial Infantry Regiment (6e RIC) created the "Commando Vanden" (aka "Black Tigers", aka "North Vietnam Commando #24") based in Nam Dinh. Recruits were volunteers from the Th people, Nung people and Miao people. This commando unit wore Vit Minh black uniforms to confuse the enemy and used techniques of the experienced Bo doi (B i, regular army) and Du Kich (guerrilla unit). Vit Minh prisoners were recruited in POW camps. The commando was awarded the Croix de guerre des TOE with palm in July 1951, however Vandenberghe was betrayed by a Vit Minh recruit, commander Nguien Tinh Khoi (308th Division's 56th Regiment), who assassinated him (and his Vietnamese fiancee) with external help on the night of January 5, 1952.[42] [43] [44] Coolies and POWs known as PIM (Prisonniers Interns Militaires which is basically the same as POW) were civilians used by the army as logistical support personnel. During the battle of Dien Bien Phu, coolies were in charge of burying the corpses the first days only, after they were abandoned hence a terrible smell according to veterans and they had the dangerous job of gathering supply packets delivered in drop zones while the Vit Minh artillery was firing hard to destroy the crates. The Vit Minh also used thousands of coolies to carry the Chu-Luc (regional units) supplies and ammunition during assaults. The PIM were civilian males old enough to join Bo i's army. They were captured in enemy controlled villages, and those who refused to join the State of Vietnam's army were considered prisoners or used as coolies to support a given regiment.[45] One point that neither the Americans nor the French seemed to grasp, was the concept of sanctuary. As long as the revolutionaries who are fighting a guerilla war have a sanctuary, in which they can hide out, recoup after losses, and store supplies, it is almost impossible for any foreign enemy to ever destroy them. In the early 1950s, southern China was used as a sanctuary by Vit Minh guerrillas. Several hit and run ambushes were successfully operated against French Union convoys along the neighboring Route Coloniale 4 (RC 4) which was a major supply way in Tonkin (northern Vietnam). One of the most famous attack of this kind was China supplied the Viet Minh with hundreds of Soviet-built GAZ-51 trucks in the 1950s. the battle of Cao Bang. China supplied the Vit Minh guerrillas with food (thousands of tons of rice), money, medics, arms, ammunitions, artillery (24 guns were used at Dien Bien Phu) and other military equipment including a large part of material captured from Chiang Kai-shek's National Revolutionary Army during the Chinese Civil War. Evidences of the Chinese secret aid were found in caves during Operation Hirondelle in July 1953.[46] [47] 2,000 Chinese and Soviet Union military advisors trained the Vit Minh guerrilla to turn it into a full range army.[23] On top of this China sent two artillery battalions at the siege of Dien Bien Phu on May 6, 1954. One operated 12 x 6 Katyusha rockets[48] China and the Soviet Union were the first nations to recognize North Vietnam. The Soviet Union was the other ally of the Vit Minh supplying GAZ trucks, truck engines, fuel, tires, arms (thousands of Skoda light machine guns), all kind of ammunitions, anti-aircraft guns (4 x 37mm type) and cigarettes. During Operation Hirondelle, the French Union paratroopers captured and destroyed tons of Soviet supply in the Ky Lua area.[46] [49] According to General Giap, the Viet Minh used 400 GAZ-51 soviet-built trucks at the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Using highly effective camouflage, the French Union reconnaissance planes were not able


First Indochina War to notice them. On May 6, 1954 during the siege, Katyusha were successfully used against the outpost. Together with China, the Soviet Union sent 2,000 military advisors to train the Viet Minh and turn it into a fully organized army.[23] The Soviet Union and China the were first nations to recognize Ho Chi Minh's North Vietnam.


Mutual Defense Assistance Act (19501954)

At the beginning of the war, the U.S. was neutral in the conflict because of opposition to imperialism and consequently to help colonial empires regain their power and influence, because the Vit Minh had recently been their allies, and because most of its attention was focused on Europe where Winston Churchill argued an Iron Curtain had fallen. Then the U.S. government gradually began supporting the French in their war effort, primarily through Mutual Defense Assistance Act, as a means of stabilizing the French Fourth Republic in which the French Communist Party was a significant political force. A dramatic shift occurred in American policy after the victory of Mao Zedong's Communist Party of China in the Chinese Civil War. By 1949, however, the United States became concerned about the spread of communism in Asia, particularly following the end of the Chinese Civil War, and began to strongly support the French as the two Anti-communist Vietnamese refugees moving from a French LSM landing ship to the USS Montague countries were bound by the Cold War Mutual Defense [50] during Operation Passage to Freedom in 1954. Programme. After the MochMarshall meeting of September 23, 1950, in Washington, the United States started to support the French Union effort politically, logistically and financially. Officially, US involvement did not include use of armed force. However, recently it has been discovered that undercover (CAT) -or not- US Air Force pilots flew to support the French during Operation Castor in November 1953. Two US pilots were killed in action during the siege of Dien Bien Phu the following year. These facts were declassified and made public more than 50 years after the events, in 2005 during the Lgion d'honneur award ceremony by the French ambassador in Washington.[51] In May 1950, after the capture of Hainan island by Chinese Communist forces, U.S. President Harry S. Truman began covertly authorizing direct financial assistance to the French, and on June 27, 1950, after the outbreak of the Korean War, announced publicly that the U.S. was doing so. It was feared in Washington that if Ho were to win the war, with his ties to the Soviet Union, he would establish a puppet state with Moscow with the Soviets ultimately controlling Vietnamese affairs. The prospect of a communist dominated Southeast Asia was enough to spur the U.S. to support France, so that the spread of Soviet-allied communism could be contained. On June 30, 1950, the first U.S. supplies for Indochina were delivered. In September, Truman sent the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) to Indochina to assist the French. Later, in 1954, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower explained the escalation risk, introducing what he referred to as the "domino principle", which eventually became the concept of Domino theory. During the Korean War, the conflict in Vietnam was also seen as part of a broader proxy war with China and the USSR in Asia.

First Indochina War


US Navy assistance (19511954)

The USSWindham Bay delivered Grumman F8F Bearcat fighter aircraft to Saigon on January 26, 1951.[52] On March 2 of that year, the United States Navy transferred the USSAgenor(ARL-3) (LST 490) to the French navy in Indochina in accordance with the MAAG-led MAP. Renamed RFS Vulcain (A-656), she was used in Operation Hirondelle in 1953. The USSSitkoh Bay carrier delivered Grumman F8F Bearcat aircraft to Saigon on March 26, 1951. During September 1953, the USSBelleau Wood (renamed Bois Belleau) was lent to France and sent to French Indochina to replace the Arromanches. She was used to support delta defenders in the Halong Bay operation in May 1954. In August, she joined the Franco-American evacuation operation called "Passage to Freedom".

Bois Belleau (aka USSBelleau Wood) transferred to France in 1953.

The same month, the United States delivered additional aircraft, again using the USS Windham Bay.[53] On April 18, 1954, during the siege of Dien Bien Phu, the USSSaipan delivered 25 Korean War AU-1 Corsair aircraft for use by the French Aeronavale in supporting the besieged garrison.

US Air Force assistance (19521954)

A total of 94 F4U-7s were built for the Aeronavale in 1952, with the last of the batch, the final Corsair built, rolled out in December 1952. The F4U-7s were actually purchased by the U.S. Navy and passed on to the Aeronavale through the U.S. Military Assistance Program (MAP). They were supplemented by 25 ex-U.S.MC AU-1s (previously used in the Korean War) and moved from Yokosuka, A 1952 F4U-7 Corsair of the 14.F flotilla who Japan to Tourane Air Base (Da Nang), Vietnam in April 1952. US fought at Dien Bien Phu. Air Force assistance followed in November 1953 when the French commander in Indochina, General Navarre, asked General McCarty, commander of the Combat Cargo Division, for 12 Fairchild C-119 for Operation Castor at Dien Bien Phu. The USAF also provided C-124 Globemasters to transport French paratroop reinforcements to Indochina. On March 3, 1954, twelve C-119s of the 483rd Troop Carrier Wing ("Packet Rats") based at Ashiya, Japan, were painted with France's insignia and loaned to France with 24 CIA pilots for short term use. Maintenance was carried out by the US Air Force and airlift operations were commanded by McCarty.[51]

First Indochina War


Central Intelligence Agency covert operations (1954)

Twenty four CIA (CAT) pilots supplied the French Union garrison during the siege of Dien Bien Phu by airlifting paratroopers, ammunition, artillery pieces, tons of barbed wire, medics and other military material. With the reducing DZ areas, night operations and anti-aircraft artillery assaults, many of the "packets" fell into Vit Minh hands. The 37 CIA pilots completed 682 airdrops under anti-aircraft fire between March 13 and May. 6 Two CAT pilots, Wallace Bufford and James B. McGovern, Jr. were killed in action when their Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar was shot down on May 6, 1954 .[51] The ceasefire began on May 7 at 5:00pm under Hanoi-based General Cogny's orders.[51] On February 25, 2005, the French ambassador to the United States, Jean-David Levitte, awarded the seven remaining CIA pilots with the Lgion d'honneur.[51]

France-marked USAF C-119 flown by CIA pilots over Dien Bien Phu in 1954.

Operation Passage to Freedom (1954)

In August 1954, in support to the French navy and the merchant navy, the U.S. Navy launched Operation Passage to Freedom and sent hundreds of ships, including USS Montague, in order to evacuate non-communist especially Catholic Vietnamese refugees from North Vietnam following the July 20, 1954 armistice and partition of Vietnam. Around 450,000 Vietnamese civilians were transported from North to South during this period, with around one tenth of that number moving in the opposite direction.

First Indochina War


Popular culture
Although a kind of taboo in France, "the dirty war" has been featured in various films, books and songs. Since its declasification in the first decade of the 21st century, television documentaries have been released using new perspectives about the U.S. covert involvement and open critics about the French propaganda used during wartime. Famous Communist propagandist Roman Karmen was in charge of the media exploitation of the battle of Dien Bien Phu. In his documentary, Vietnam (, 1955), he staged the famous scene with the raising of the Viet Minh flag over de Castries' bunker which is similar to the one he staged over the Berlin Reichstag roof during World War II (, 1945) and the "S" shaped POW column marching after the battle, where he used the same optical technique he experimented before when he staged the German prisoners after the Siege of Leningrad ( , 1942) and the Battle of Moscow ( , 1942).[54] [55] Hollywood made a film about Dien Bien Phu in 1955, Jump Into Hell, directed by David Butler and scripted by Irving Wallace, before his fame as a bestselling novelist. Hollywood also made several films about the war, Robert Florey's Rogues' Regiment (1948). Samuel Fuller's China Gate (1957). and James Clavell's Five Gates to Hell (1959).

French Indochina medal, law of August 1, 1953.

The first French movie about the war, Shock Patrol (Patrouille de Choc) aka Patrol Without Hope (Patrouille Sans Espoir) by Claude Bernard-Aubert, came out in 1956. The French censor cut some violent scenes and made the director change the end of his movie which was seen as "too pessismistic".[56] Lo Joannon's film Fort du Fou (Fort of the Mad) /Outpost in Indochina was released in 1963. Another film was The 317th Platoon (La 317me Section) was released in 1964, it was directed by Indochina War (and siege of Dien Bien Phu) veteran Pierre Schoendoerffer. Schoendoerffer has since become a media specialist about the Indochina War and has focused his production on realistic war movies. He was cameraman for the army ("Cinematographic Service of the Armies", SCA) during his duty time, moreover as he had covered the Vietnam War he released The Anderson Platoon, which won the Academy Award for Documentary Feature. Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American takes place during this war.

[1] Fall, Bernard, Street Without Joy, p. 17. [2] "Those named Martin, Their history is ours The Great History, (19461954) The Indochina War" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20070929083220/ http:/ / www. france5. fr/ martin/ W00353/ 2/ 93603. cfm) (in French). documentary. Channel 5 (France). Archived from the original (http:/ / www. france5. fr/ martin/ W00353/ 2/ 93603. cfm) on September 29, 2007. . Retrieved May 20, 2007. [3] Ruscio, Alain (August 2, 2003). "Guerre d'Indochine: Librez Henri Martin" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20070929134829/ http:/ / www. humanite. fr/ journal/ 2003-08-02/ 2003-08-02-376623) (in French). l'Humanit. Archived from the original (http:/ / www. humanite. fr/ journal/ 2003-08-02/ 2003-08-02-376623) on September 29, 2007. . Retrieved May 20, 2007. [4] Nash, Gary B., Julie Roy Jeffrey, John R. Howe, Peter J. Frederick, Allen F. Davis, Allan M. Winkler, Charlene Mires, and Carla Gardina Pestana. The American People, Concise Edition Creating a Nation and a Society, Combined Volume (6th Edition). New York: Longman, 2007. [5] "" (http:/ / nippon. zaidan. info/ seikabutsu/ 2005/ 01036/ pdf/ 0001. pdf). . Tokyo foundation. October 2005. . Retrieved June 10, 2010.

First Indochina War

[6] " " (http:/ / nippon. zaidan. info/ seikabutsu/ 2006/ 00197/ pdf/ 0001. pdf). . Tokyo foundation. May, 2006. . Retrieved June 10, 2010. [7] Barbara Wertheim Tuchman (1985). The march of folly: from Troy to Vietnam (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=v5YlBtzklvQC& pg=PA235& dq=chiang+ kai-shek+ vietnam+ Under+ no+ circumstances#v=onepage& q=chiang kai-shek vietnam Under no circumstances& f=false). Random House, Inc.. p.235. ISBN0345308239. . Retrieved November 28, 2010. [8] Larry H. Addington (2000). America's war in Vietnam: a short narrative history (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=iF3MG43x--0C& pg=PA30& dq=chiang+ kai-shek+ vietnam+ french+ concessions#v=onepage& q=chiang kai-shek vietnam french concessions& f=false). Indiana University Press. p.30. ISBN0253213606. . Retrieved November 28, 2010. [9] Peter Neville (2007). Britain in Vietnam: prelude to disaster, 1945-6 (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=o1t8-EjWyrgC& pg=PA119& dq=chiang+ kai-shek+ vietnam+ french+ concessions#v=onepage& q=chiang kai-shek vietnam french concessions& f=false). Psychology Press. p.119. ISBN0415358485. . Retrieved November 28, 2010. [10] Van Nguyen Duong (2008). The tragedy of the Vietnam War: a South Vietnamese officer's analysis (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=pVNaoUu7veUC& pg=PA21& dq=chiang+ kai-shek+ vietnam+ french+ concessions#v=onepage& q=chiang kai-shek vietnam french concessions& f=false). McFarland. p.21. ISBN0786432853. . Retrieved November 28, 2010. [11] Stein Tnnesson (2010). Vietnam 1946: how the war began (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=1I4HOcmE4XQC& pg=PA41& dq=chiang+ kai-shek+ vietnam+ french+ concessions#v=onepage& q=chiang kai-shek vietnam french concessions& f=false). University of California Press. p.41. ISBN0520256026. . Retrieved November 28, 2010. [12] Elizabeth Jane Errington (1990). The Vietnam War as history: edited by Elizabeth Jane Errington and B.J.C. McKercher (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=yQGqQ3LmExwC& pg=PA63& dq=chiang+ kai-shek+ vietnam+ french+ concessions#v=onepage& q=chiang kai-shek vietnam french concessions& f=false). Greenwood Publishing Group. p.63. ISBN0275935604. . Retrieved November 28, 2010. [13] "The Vietnam War Seeds of Conflict 19451960" (http:/ / www. historyplace. com/ unitedstates/ vietnam/ index-1945. html). The History Place. 1999. . Retrieved December 28, 2010. [14] Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History, (New York: Penguin Books Ltd., 1997), 146 [15] Allies Reinforce Java and Saigon (http:/ / www. dailymotion. com/ video/ x1z4ft_les-allies-a-saigon-et-a-java-01011_news), British Paramount News rushes, 1945 [16] Philipe Leclerc de Hauteloque (19021947), La lgende d'un hro, Christine Levisse-Touz, Tallandier/Paris Muses, 2002 [17] Barnet, Richard J. (1968). Intervention and Revolution: The United States in the Third World (http:/ / www. thirdworldtraveler. com/ Insurgency_Revolution/ America_Vietnam_IAR. html). World Publishing. pp.185. ISBN0529020149. . [18] Prados, John (August 2007, Volume 20, Number 1). The Smaller Dragon Strikes (http:/ / HistoryNet. com). MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History. pp.50. ISSN 1040-5992. . [19] "La Guerre En Indochine" (http:/ / www. dailymotion. com/ video/ x1z4co_la-guerre-en-indochine-26101950) (video). newsreel. October 26, 1950. . Retrieved May 20, 2007. [20] "Bigeard et Dien Bien Phu" (http:/ / www. dailymotion. com/ video/ x2059h_bigeard-et-dien-bien-phu) (video). TV news. Channel 2 (France). May 3, 2004. . Retrieved May 20, 2007. [21] DienBienPhu.org the official web site of the battle (http:/ / www. dienbienphu. org/ ) [22] June 17, 1954 discourse of Mends-France (http:/ / www. assembleenationale. fr/ histoire/ pierre-mendes_france/ mendes_france-7. asp) on the website of the French National Assembly [23] Hercombe, Peter (2004). "Dien Bien Phu, Chronicles of a Forgotten Battle" (http:/ / contrecourant. france2. fr/ article. php3?id_article=175). documentary. Transparences Productions/Channel 2 (France). . [24] "France's war against Communists rages on" (http:/ / www. dailymotion. com/ video/ x1ziii_frances-war-against-communists-rage) (video). newsreel. News Magazine of the Screen/Warner Bros.. May 1952. . Retrieved May 20, 2007. [25] A Bernard Fall Retrospective (http:/ / www. mises. org/ journals/ lar/ pdfs/ 3_3/ 3_3_8. pdf), presentation of Bernard B. Fall, Vietnam Witness 195356, New York, Praeger, 1966, by the Ludwig von Mises Institute [26] Nhu Tang, Truong (March 12, 1986). "A Vietcong Memoir: An Inside Account of the Vietnam War and Its Aftermath" (http:/ / www. amazon. com/ dp/ 0394743091/ ). Vintage. . Retrieved June 27, 2007. [27] "France History, IV Republic (19461958)" (http:/ / www. quid. fr/ 2007/ Histoire_De_France/ Ive_Republique_1946_1958/ 1) (in French). Quid Encyclopedia. . Retrieved May 20, 2007. [28] Patrick Pesnot, Rendez-vous Avec X Dien Bien Phu (http:/ / www. radiofrance. fr/ franceinter/ em/ rendezvousavecx/ index. php?id=28843), France Inter, December 4, 2004 (Rendez-vous With X broadcasted on public station France Inter) [29] "We wanted a newspaper to tell what we wanted" interview by Denis Jeambar & Roland Mihail (http:/ / www. lexpress. fr/ info/ france/ dossier/ giroud/ dossier. asp?ida=372262) [30] General Challe's appeal (April 22, 1961) (http:/ / home. nordnet. fr/ jcpillon/ piedgris/ photovisiteur/ appel-challe. jpg) [31] "The war in Indo-China goes on" (http:/ / www. dailymotion. com/ video/ x1zi26_the-war-in-indochina-goes-on-121953) (video). newsreel. News Magazine of the Screen/Warner Bros.. December 1953. . Retrieved May 20, 2007. [32] John Foster Dulles on the fall of Dien Bien Phu (http:/ / www. dailymotion. com/ video/ x2082a_john-foster-dulles-on-the-fall-of-d_events) [33] Boudarel affair in the ANAPI official website (http:/ / www. anapi. asso. fr/ index. php?langue=en) [34] "USS Skagit and Operation Passage To Freedom" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20070617025110/ http:/ / www. geocities. com/ uss_skagit/ OperationPassageTo. html). self-published. Archived from the original (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20091027064019/ http:/ / www. geocities. com/ uss_skagit/ OperationPassageTo. html) on June 17, 2007. . Retrieved May 20, 2007.


First Indochina War

[35] Alf Andrew Heggoy and Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Algeria, Bloomington, Indiana, Indiana University Press, 1972, p.175 [36] The 317th Platoons script (http:/ / www. net4war. com/ e-revue/ dossiers/ indochine/ 317-section. pdf) [37] Original audio recordings of General de Castries (Dien Bien Phu) and General Cogny (Hanoi) transmissions on May 7, 1954, during the battle of Dien Bien Phu (from the European Navigator based in Luxembourg) (http:/ / www. ena. lu?lang=2& doc=14652) [38] French Defense Ministry archives, ECPAD (http:/ / www. ecpad. fr/ ecpa/ PagesDyn/ notfot. asp?id=573& page=1& dossierid=496& photo=1& Npage=1& collectionid=4) [39] Service Spciaux GCMA Indochine 1950/54 (http:/ / www. alapage. com/ -/ Fiche/ Livres/ 9782703001003/ services-speciaux-en-indochine-1950-1954-deroo. htm?fulltext=services spciaux& id=254581179999440& donnee_appel=GOOGL), Commandant Raymond Muelle & Eric Deroo, Crpin-Leblond editions, 1992, ISBN 2-7030-0100-2 [40] Guerre secrte en Indochine Les maquis autochtones face au Vit-Minh (19501955) (http:/ / www. amazon. fr/ dp/ 2702506364), Lieutenant-Colonel Michel David, Lavauzelle editions, 2002, ISBN 2-7025-0636-4 [41] Dien Bien Phu Le Rapport Secret (http:/ / www. amazon. fr/ dp/ B0007UMEV6), Patrick Jeudy, TF1 Video, 2005 [42] French Defense Ministry archives (http:/ / www. ecpad. fr/ ecpa/ PagesDyn/ result. asp?dossierid=486& photo=1& Npage=2& collectionid=4) [43] French Defense Ministry archives (http:/ / www. ecpad. fr/ ecpa/ PagesDyn/ result. asp?dossierid=486& photo=1& Npage=3& collectionid=4) [44] French Defense Ministry archives (http:/ / www. ecpad. fr/ ecpa/ PagesDyn/ result. asp?dossierid=486& photo=1& Npage=4& collectionid=4) [45] Dr. Jacques Cheneau in "In Vietnam, 1954. Eight episode" (http:/ / echo. levillage. org/ 207/ 3639. cbb) [46] French Defense Ministry archives (http:/ / www. ecpad. fr/ ecpa/ PagesDyn/ notfot. asp?id=5374& page=1& dossierid=483& photo=1& Npage=1& collectionid=4) [47] French Defense Ministry archives (http:/ / www. ecpad. fr/ ecpa/ PagesDyn/ notfot. asp?id=1628& page=4& dossierid=483& photo=1& Npage=4& collectionid=4) [48] Chinese General Hoang Minh Thao and Colonel Hoang Minh Phuong quoted by Pierre Journoud researcher at the Defense History Studies (CHED), Paris University Pantheon-Sorbonne, in Paris Hanoi Beijing published in Communisme magazine and the Pierre Renouvin Institute of Paris, July 20, 2004. [49] French Defense Ministry archives (http:/ / www. ecpad. fr/ ecpa/ PagesDyn/ notfot. asp?id=5373& page=1& dossierid=483& photo=1& Npage=1& collectionid=4) [50] "Replacing France: The Origins of American Intervention in Vietnam" (http:/ / www. amazon. com/ Replacing-France-Origins-American-Intervention/ dp/ 0813124409/ ) (PDF). book. University Press of Kentucky. 2007-07. . Retrieved June 28, 2007. [51] "U.S. Pilots Honored For Indochina Service" (http:/ / ambafrance-us. org/ IMG/ pdf/ nff/ NFF0502. pdf). Embassy of France in the U.S.. February 24, 2005. . Retrieved March 30, 2010. [52] French Defense Ministry archives (http:/ / www. ecpad. fr/ ecpa/ PagesDyn/ notfot. asp?id=2953& page=1& dossierid=497& photo=1& Npage=1& collectionid=4#) [53] http:/ / www. ina. fr/ archivespourtous/ index. php?vue=corpus& code=C0524208764# Indochina War: The "good offices" of the Americans (National Audiovisual Institute) [54] Pierre Schoendoerffer interview with Jean Guisnel in Some edited pictures (http:/ / www. dien-bien-phu. info/ articles. php?lng=fr& pg=29) [55] Roman Karmen, un cinaste au service de la rvolution (http:/ / www. artepro. com/ programmes/ 58707/ presentation. htm), Dominique Chapuis & Patrick Barbris, Kuiv Productions / Arte France, 2001 [56] The Cinematheque of Toulouse (http:/ / www. lacinemathequedetoulouse. com/ films/ index. php?m=f& id=1952)


Buttinger, Joseph (1972). A dragon defiant: a short history of Vietnam. Praeger. Chaliand, Grard. 1982. Guerrilla Strategies: An Historical Anthology from the Long March to Afghanistan, California. ISBN 0-520-04443-6 Chen Jian. 1993. "China and the First Indo-China War, 195054", The China Quarterly, No. 133. (Mar., 1993), pp.85110. London: School of Oriental and African Studies. Cogan, Charles G. 2000. "L'attitude des tats-Unis l'gard de la guerre d'Indochine" in Vasse (2000: 5188). Devillers, Philippe; Lacouture, Jean (1969). End of a war; Indochina, 1954. Praeger. Dunstan, Simon. 2004. Vietnam Tracks: Armor in Battle 194575, Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-833-2 Fall, Bernard B. (1967). Hell in a very small place: the siege of Dien Bien Phu. Lippincott. Fall, Bernard. 1994. Street Without Joy, Stackpole Books. ISBN 0-8117-1700-3 Fall, Bernard B. (1963). The two Viet-Nams: a political and military analysis. Praeger.

First Indochina War Giap, Vo Nguyen. 1971. The Military Art of People's War. Modern Reader, New York & London. ISBN 0-85345-193-1 Hammer, Ellen Joy (1954). The struggle for Indochina. Stanford University Press. Humphries, James. F. 1999. Through the Valley: Vietnam, 19671968, Lynne Rienner Publishers. ISBN 1-55587-821-0 Perkins, Mandaley. Hanoi, adieu: A bittersweet memoir of French Indochina. Sydney: Harper Perennial, 2006. ISBN 9780-7322-8197-7, ISBN 0-7322-8197-0 Roy, Jules (1963). The battle of Dienbienphu. Pyramid Books. Summers, JR., Harry G. Historical Atlas of the Vietnam War. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1995. ISBN 0-395-72223-3 Thi, Lam Quang. 2002. The Twenty-Five Year Century: A South Vietnamese General Remembers the Indochina War to the Fall of Saigon, University of North Texas. ISBN 1-57441-143-8 Vasse, Maurice (editor). 2000. L'Arme franaise dans la guerre d'Indochine (19461954). Editions Complexe, Paris. ISBN 978-2-87027-810-9 Wiest, Andrew (editor). Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2006. ISBN 978-1-84693-020-6 Windrow, Martin. 1998. The French Indochina War, 19461954, Osprey. ISBN 1-85532-789-9 Windrow, Martin. 2004. The Last Valley. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0-306-81386-6


Further reading
Pescali, Piergiorgio (2010). Indocina. Bologna: Emil. ISBN978-88-9602-642-7.

External links
Pentagon Papers, Chapter 2 (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/pent5.htm) Vietnam: The Impossible War (http://home.att.net/~r.hodgeman/history1.html) Fall, Bernard B. Street Without Joy: The French Debacle In Indochina (http://books.google.com/ books?id=GkHH8OoCTtAC&pg=PA1&lpg=PP5&dq="Street+Without+Joy:+The+French+Debacle+In+ Indochina"&psp=9&sig=fnRSyGmHppqW4pwqG8O6tX0Y3zQ) ANAPI's official website (http://www.anapi.asso.fr/en_Historical-context_56.htm) (National Association of Former POWs in Indochina) Hanoi upon the army's return in victory (bicycles demystified) (http://vietnam.vnagency.com.vn/ VNP-Website/NewsEvent/Default.asp?ID=55&Event_ID=353&language=EN) Viet Nam Portal (French) Photos about the First War of Indochina (French Defense Archives) (http://www.ecpad.fr/tag/ fonds-guerre-dindochine) (ECPAD)

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Battle of Dien Bien Phu

Battle of Dien Bien Phu

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu (French: Bataille de Din Bin Phu; Vietnamese: Chin dch in Bin Ph) was the climactic confrontation of the First Indochina War between the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps and Viet Minh communist revolutionaries. The battle occurred between March and May 1954 and culminated in a comprehensive French defeat that influenced negotiations over the future of Indochina at Geneva. Military historian Martin Windrow wrote that Dien Bien Phu was "the first time that a non-European colonial independence movement had evolved through all the stages from guerrilla bands to a conventionally organized and equipped army able to defeat a modern Western occupier in pitched battle".[1] As a result of blunders in French decision-making, the French began an operation to support the soldiers at Dien Bien Phu, deep in the hills of northwestern Vietnam. Its purpose was to cut off Viet Minh supply lines into the neighboring Kingdom of Laos, a French ally, and tactically draw the Viet Minh into a major confrontation that would cripple them. The Viet Minh, however, under Senior General Vo Nguyen Giap, surrounded and besieged the French, who were unaware of the Viet Minh's possession of heavy artillery (including anti-aircraft guns) and their ability to move these weapons through difficult terrain to the mountain crests overlooking the French encampment. The Viet Minh occupied the highlands around Dien Bien Phu and bombarded French positions at will. Tenacious fighting on the ground ensued, reminiscent of the trench warfare of World War I. The French repeatedly repulsed Viet Minh assaults on their positions. Supplies and reinforcements were delivered by air, though as the French positions were overrun and the anti-aircraft fire took its toll, fewer and fewer of those supplies reached them. The garrison was overrun after a two-month siege and most French forces surrendered. A few escaped to Laos. The French government resigned and the new President, the left of centre Pierre Mends France, supported French withdrawal from Indochina. The war ended shortly after the battle with the 1954 Geneva Accords, under which France agreed to withdraw from its former Indochinese colonies. For the north, the French recognised the authority of Ho Chi Minh; for the south, elections would be held to determine its future. Those elections never took place - the Americans cancelled them.[2] The accords partitioned Vietnam in two; fighting later broke out between opposing Vietnamese factions in 1959, resulting in the Vietnam (Second Indochina) War.

Background and preparations

By 1953, the First Indochina War was not going well for France. A succession of commandersPhilippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, Jean-tienne Valluy, Roger Blaizot, Marcel Carpentier, Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, and Raoul Salanhad proven incapable of suppressing the Viet Minh insurrection. During their 195253 campaign, the Viet Minh had overrun vast swathes of Laos, a French ally and Vietnam's western neighbor, advancing as far as Luang Prabang and the Plain of Jars. The French were unable to slow the Viet Minh advance, and the Viet Minh fell back only after outrunning their always-tenuous supply lines. In 1953, the French had begun to strengthen their defenses in the Hanoi delta region to prepare for a series of offensives against Viet Minh staging areas in northwest Vietnam. They had set up fortified towns and outposts in the area, including Lai Chau near the Chinese border to the north,[3] Na San to the west of Hanoi,[4] and the Plain of Jars in northern Laos.[5] In May 1953, French Premier Ren Mayer appointed Henri Navarre, a trusted colleague, to take command of French Union Forces in Indochina. Mayer had given Navarre a single orderto create military conditions that would lead to an "honorable political solution".[6] According to military scholar Phillip Davidson, On arrival, Navarre was shocked by what he found. There had been no long-range plan since de Lattre's departure. Everything was conducted on a day-to-day, reactive basis. Combat operations were undertaken only in response to enemy moves or threats. There was no comprehensive plan to develop the organization and build up the equipment of the Expeditionary force. Finally, Navarre, the

Battle of Dien Bien Phu intellectual, the cold and professional soldier, was shocked by the "school's out" attitude of Salan and his senior commanders and staff officers. They were going home, not as victors or heroes, but then, not as clear losers either. To them the important thing was that they were getting out of Indochina with their reputations frayed, but intact. They gave little thought to, or concern for, the problems of their successors.[6]

Na San and the hedgehog concept

Simultaneously, Navarre had been searching for a way to stop the Viet Minh threat to Laos. Colonel Louis Berteil, commander of Mobile Group 7 and Navarre's main planner,[7] formulated the hrisson ("hedgehog") concept. The French army would establish a fortified airhead by air-lifting soldiers adjacent to a key Viet Minh supply line to Laos.[8] This would effectively cut off Viet Minh soldiers fighting in Laos and force them to withdraw. "It was an attempt to interdict the enemy's rear area, to stop the flow of supplies and reinforcements, to establish a redoubt in the enemy's rear and disrupt his lines".[9] The hedgehog concept was based on French experiences at the Battle of Na San. In late November and early December 1952, Giap attacked the French outpost at Na San, which was essentially an "air-land base", a fortified camp supplied only by air.[10] Giap's forces were beaten back repeatedly with very heavy losses. The French hoped that by repeating the strategy on a much larger scale, they would be able to lure Giap into committing the bulk of his forces in a massed assault. This would enable superior French artillery, armor, and air support to decimate the exposed Viet Minh forces. The experience at Na San convinced Navarre of the viability of the fortified airhead concept. French staff officers disastrously failed to treat seriously several crucial differences between Dien Bien Phu and Na San. At Na San, the French commanded most of the high ground with overwhelming artillery support.[11] At Dien Bien Phu, however, the Viet Minh controlled much of the high ground around the valley, their artillery far exceeded French expectations and they outnumbered the French four-to-one.[12] Giap compared Dien Bien Phu to a "rice bowl", where his troops occupied the edge and the French the bottom. Second, Giap made a mistake in Na San by committing his forces into reckless frontal attacks before being fully prepared. At Dien Bien Phu, Giap would spend months meticulously stockpiling ammunition and emplacing heavy artillery and anti-aircraft guns before making his move. Teams of Viet Minh volunteers were sent into the French camp to scout the disposition of the French artillery. Wooden artillery pieces were built as decoys and the real guns were rotated every few salvos to confuse French counterbattery fire. As a result, when the battle finally began, the Viet Minh knew exactly where the French artillery were, while the French were not even aware of how many guns Giap possessed. Third, the aerial resupply lines at Na San were never severed, despite Viet Minh anti-aircraft fire. At Dien Bien Phu, Giap amassed anti-aircraft batteries that quickly shut down the runway and made it extremely difficult and costly for the French to bring in reinforcements.

Lead up to Castor
In June, Major General Ren Cogny, commander of the Tonkin Delta, proposed Dien Bien Phu, which had an old airstrip built by the Japanese during World War II, as a "mooring point".[13] In another misunderstanding, Cogny had envisioned a lightly defended point from which to launch raids; however, to Navarre, this meant a heavily fortified base capable of withstanding a siege. Navarre selected Dien Bien Phu for the location of Berteil's "hedgehog" operation. When presented with the plan, every major subordinate officer protested; Colonel Jean-Louis Nicot, (commander of the French Air transport fleet), Cogny, and generals Jean Gilles and Jean Dechaux (the ground and air commanders for Operation Castor, the initial airborne assault on Dien Bien Phu). Cogny pointed out, presciently, that "we are running the risk of a new Na San under worse conditions".[14] Navarre rejected the criticisms of his proposal and concluded a November 17 conference by declaring that the operation would commence three days later, on November 20, 1953.[15] [16]

Battle of Dien Bien Phu Navarre decided to go ahead with the operation, despite operational difficulties which would later become painfully obvious (but at the time may have been less apparent)[17] because he had been repeatedly assured by his intelligence officers that the operation had very little risk of involvement by a strong enemy force.[18] Navarre had previously considered three other ways to defend Laos: mobile warfare, which was impossible given the terrain in Vietnam; a static defense line stretching to Laos, which was not executable given the number of troops at Navarres disposal; or placing troops in the Laotian provincial capitals and supplying them by air, which was unworkable due to the distance from Hanoi to Luang Prabang and Vientiane.[19] Thus, the only option left to Navarre was the hedgehog, which he characterized as "a mediocre solution."[20] In a twist of fate, the French National Defense Committee ultimately agreed that Navarre's responsibility did not include defending Laos. However, their decision (which was drawn up on November 13) was not delivered to him until December 4, two weeks after the Dien Bien Phu operation began.[21]

Establishment of the airhead

Operations at Dien Bien Phu began at 10:35 on the morning of November 20, 1953. In Operation Castor, the French dropped or flew 9,000 troops into the area over three days. They were landed at three drop zones: Natasha, northwest of ; Octavie, southwest of Dien Bien Phu; and Simone, southeast of Dien Bien Phu.[22] The Viet Minh elite 148th Independent Infantry Regiment, headquartered at Dien Bien Phu, reacted "instantly and effectively"; three of their four battalions, however, were absent that day.[23] Initial operations proceeded well for the French. By the end of November, six parachute battalions had been landed and the French were consolidating their positions. It was at this time that Giap began his counter-moves. Giap had expected an attack, but could not foresee when or where it would occur. Giap realized that, if pressed, the French would abandon Lai Chau Province and fight a pitched battle at Dien Bien Phu.[24] On November 24, Giap ordered the 148th Infantry Regiment and the 316th division to attack Lai Chau, while the 308th, 312th, and 351st divisions assault Dien Bien Phu from Vit Bc.[24] Starting in December, the French, under the command of Colonel Christian de Castries, began transforming their anchoring point into a fortress by setting up seven positions, each allegedly named after a former mistress of de Castries, although the allegation is probably unfounded, as the names simply begin with the first eight letters of the alphabet. The fortified headquarters was centrally located, with positions "Huguette" to the west, "Claudine" to the south, and "Dominique" to the northeast. Other positions were "Anne-Marie" to the northwest, "Beatrice" to the northeast, "Gabrielle" to the north and "Isabelle" four miles (6km) to the south, covering the reserve airstrip. The choice of de Castries as the on-scene commander at Dien Bien Phu was, in retrospect, a bad one. Navarre had picked de Castries, a cavalryman in the 18th century tradition,[25] because Navarre envisioned Dien Bien Phu as a mobile battle. In reality, Dien Bien Phu required someone adept at World War I-style trench warfare, something for which de Castries was not suited.[26] The arrival of the 316th Viet Minh division prompted Cogny to order the evacuation of the Lai Chau garrison to Dien Bien Phu, exactly as Giap had anticipated. En route, they were virtually annihilated by the Viet Minh. "Of the 2,100 men who left Lai Chau on December 9, only 185 made it to Dien Bien Phu on December 22. The rest had been killed, captured or deserted".[27] The Viet Minh troops now converged on Dien Bien Phu.

Battle of Dien Bien Phu

The French had committed 10,800 troops, with more reinforcements totaling nearly 16,000 men, to the defense of a monsoon-affected valley surrounded by heavily wooded hills that had not been secured. Artillery as well as ten M24 Chaffee light tanks and numerous aircraft were committed to the garrison. The garrison comprised French regular troops (notably elite paratroop units plus artillery), Foreign Legionnaires, Algerian and Moroccan tirailleurs, and locally recruited Indochinese infantry. All told, the Viet Minh had moved 50,000 regular troops into the hills The French operated several U.S. made M24 surrounding the valley, totaling five divisions including the 351st Chaffee light tanks. Heavy Division, which was made up entirely of heavy artillery.[28] Artillery and AA (anti-aircraft) guns, which outnumbered the French artillery by about four to one,[28] were moved into camouflaged positions overlooking the valley. The French came under sporadic Viet Minh artillery fire for the first time on January 31, 1954, and French patrols encountered the Viet Minh in all directions. The battle had been joined, and the French were now surrounded.

Battle of Dien Bien Phu

Combat operations
The Viet Minh assault began in earnest on 13 March 1954 with an attack on outpost Beatrice. Viet Minh artillery opened a fierce bombardment of the fortification and French command was disrupted at 6:15 PM when a shell hit the French command post, killing Legionnaire commander Major Paul Pegot and his entire staff. A few minutes later, Colonel Jules Gaucher, commander of the entire northern sector, was also killed by Viet Minh artillery. The Viet Minh 312th division then launched a massive infantry assault, using sappers to defeat French obstacles. French resistance at Beatrice collapsed shortly after midnight following a fierce battle. Roughly 500 French legionnaires were killed. Viet Minh losses totalled 600 dead and 1,200 wounded.[29] The French launched a counter-attack against Beatrice the following morning, but it was quickly beaten back by Viet Minh artillery. Despite their losses, the victory at Beatrice "galvanized the morale" of the Viet Minh troops.[29] Much to French disbelief, the Viet Minh had employed The French disposition at Dien Bien Phu, as of March 1954. The French took up positions on a series of fortified hills. The direct artillery fire, in which each gun crew does its southernmost, Isabelle, was dangerously isolated. The Viet Minh own artillery spotting (as opposed to indirect fire, in positioned their five divisions (the 304th, 308th, 312th, 316th, and which guns are massed farther away from the target, 351st) in the surrounding areas to the north and east. From these out of direct line of sight, and rely on a forward artillery areas, the Viet Minh had a clear line of sight on the French fortifications and were able to accurately rain down artillery on the spotter). Indirect artillery, generally held as being far French positions. superior to direct fire, requires experienced, well-trained crews and good communications, which the Viet Minh lacked.[30] Navarre wrote that "Under the influence of Chinese advisers, the Viet Minh commanders had used processes quite different from the classic methods. The artillery had been dug in by single pieces They were installed in shell-proof dugouts, and fire point-blank from portholes This way of using artillery and AA guns was possible only with the expansive ant holes at the disposal of the Vietminh and was to make shambles of all the estimates of our own artillerymen".[31] The French artillery commander, Colonel Charles Piroth, distraught at his inability to bring counterfire on the well-camouflaged Viet Minh batteries, went into his dugout and committed suicide with a hand grenade.[32] He was buried there in secret to prevent loss of morale among the French troops.

Following a four-hour cease fire on the morning of March 14, Viet Minh artillery resumed pounding French positions. The air strip, already closed since 4:00 pm the day before due to a light bombardment, was now put permanently out of commission.[33] Any further French supplies would have to be delivered by parachute.[34] That night, the Viet Minh launched an attack on Gabrielle, held by an elite Algerian battalion. The attack began with a concentrated artillery barrage at 5:00 PM. Two regiments from the crack 308th division attacked starting at 8:00 PM.

Battle of Dien Bien Phu At 4:00 AM the following morning, an artillery shell hit the battalion headquarters, severely wounding the battalion commander and most of his staff.[34] De Castries ordered a counterattack to relieve Gabrielle. However, Colonel Pierre Langlais, in forming the counterattack, chose to rely on the 5th Vietnamese Parachute battalion, which had jumped in the day before and was exhausted.[35] Although some elements of the counterattack reached Gabrielle, most were paralyzed by Viet Minh artillery and took heavy losses. At 8:00 AM the next day, the Algerian battalion fell back, abandoning Gabrielle to the Viet Minh. The French lost around 1,000 men defending Gabrielle, and the Viet Minh between 1,000 and 2,000 attacking the strongpoint.[35]

Anne-Marie was defended by T'ai troops, members of a Vietnamese ethnic minority loyal to the French. For weeks, Giap had distributed subversive propaganda leaflets, telling the T'ais that this was not their fight. The fall of Beatrice and Gabrielle had severely demoralized them. On the morning of March 17, under the cover of fog, the bulk of the T'ais left or defected. The French and the few remaining T'ais on Anne-Marie were then forced to withdraw.[36]

March 17 through March 30 saw a lull in fighting. The Viet Minh further tightened the noose around the French central area (formed by the strongpoints Huguette, Dominique, Claudine, and Eliane), effectively cutting off Isabelle and its 1,809 personnel.[37] During this lull, the French suffered from a serious crisis of command. "It had become painfully evident to the senior officers within the encircled garrisonand even to Cogny at Hanoithat de Castries was incompetent to conduct the defense of Dien Bien Phu. Even more critical, after the fall of the northern outposts, he isolated himself in his bunker so that he had, in effect, relinquished his command authority".[38] On March 17, Cogny attempted to fly into Dien Bien Phu and take command, but his plane was driven off by anti-aircraft fire. Cogny considered parachuting into the encircled garrison, but his staff talked him out of it.[38] De Castries' seclusion in his bunker, combined with his superiors' inability to replace him, created a leadership vacuum within the French command. On March 24, an event took place which would later become a matter of historical debate. Historian Bernard Fall records, based on Langlais' memoirs, that Colonel Langlais and his fellow paratroop commanders, all fully armed, confronted de Castries in his bunker on March 24. They told him that he would retain the appearance of command, but that Langlais would exercise it.[39] De Castries is said by Fall to have accepted the arrangement without protest, although he did exercise some command functions thereafter. Phillip B. Davidson states that "The truth would seem to be that Langlais did take over effective command of Dien Bien Phu, and that Castries became "commander emeritus" who transmitted messages to Hanoi and offered advise about matters in Dien Bien Phu".[40] Jules Roy, however, makes no mention of this event, and Martin Windrow argues that the "paratrooper putsch" is unlikely to have happened. Both historians record that Langlais and Marcel Bigeard were known to be on good relations with their commanding officer.[41] The French aerial resupply took heavy losses from Viet Minh machine guns near the landing strip. On March 27, Hanoi air transport commander Nicot ordered that all supply deliveries be made from 6500 feet (2000m) or higher; losses were expected to remain heavy.[42] De Castries ordered an attack against the Viet Minh machine guns two miles (3km) west of Dien Bien Phu. Remarkably, the attack was a complete success, with 350 Viet Minh soldiers killed and seventeen AA machine guns destroyed, while the French lost 20.[43]

Battle of Dien Bien Phu

March 30 April 5 assaults

Further information: Operation Condor (1954) The next phase of the battle saw more massed Viet Minh assaults against French positions in the central Dien Bien Phu area at Eliane and Dominique in particular. Those two areas were held by five understrength battalions, composed of a mixture of Frenchmen, Legionnaires, Vietnamese, Africans, and T'ais.[44] Giap planned to use the tactics from the Beatrice and Gabrielle skirmishes. At 7:00 PM on March 30, the Viet Minh 312th division captured Dominique 1 and 2, making The central French positions at Dien Bien Phu in late March 1954. The positions in Eliane Dominique 3 the final outpost between saw some of the most intense combat of the entire battle. the Viet Minh and the French general headquarters, as well as outflanking all positions east of the river.[45] At this point, the French 4th colonial artillery regiment entered the fight, setting its 105mm howitzers to zero elevation and firing directly on the Viet Minh attackers, blasting huge holes in their ranks. Another group of French, near the airfield, opened fire on the Viet Minh with anti-aircraft machine guns, forcing the Viet Minh to retreat.[45] The Viet Minh were more successful in their simultaneous attacks elsewhere. The 316th division captured Eliane 1 from its Moroccan defenders, and half of Eliane 2 by midnight.[46] On the other side of Dien Bien Phu, the 308th attacked Huguette 7, and nearly succeeded in breaking through, but a French sergeant took charge of the defenders and sealed the breach.[46] Just after midnight on the 31st, the French launched a fierce counterattack against Eliane 2, and recaptured half of it. Langlais ordered another counterattack the following afternoon against Dominique 2 and Eliane 1, using virtually "everybody left in the garrison who could be trusted to fight".[46] The counterattacks allowed the French to retake Dominique 2 and Eliane 1, but the Viet Minh launched their own renewed assault. The French, who were exhausted and without reserves, fell back from both positions late in the afternoon.[47] Reinforcements were sent north from Isabelle, but were attacked en route and fell back to Isabelle. Shortly after dark on the 31st, Langlais told Major Marcel Bigeard, who was leading the defense at Eliane, to fall back across the river. Bigeard refused, saying "As long as I have one man alive I won't let go of Eliane 4. Otherwise, Dien Bien Phu is done for".[48] The night of the 31st, the 316th division attacked Eliane 2. Just as it appeared, the French were about to be overrun, a few French tanks arrived, and helped push the Viet Minh back. Smaller attacks on Eliane 4 were also pushed back. The Viet Minh briefly captured Huguette 7, only to be pushed back by a French counterattack at dawn on the 1st.[49]

The French deployed a small number of M24 Chaffee light tanks during the battle that proved critical in repelling the enemy attacks.

Battle of Dien Bien Phu Fighting continued in this manner over the next several nights. The Viet Minh repeatedly attacked Eliane 2, only to be beaten back. Repeated attempts to reinforce the French garrison by parachute drops were made, but had to be carried out by lone planes at irregular times to avoid excessive casualties from Viet Minh anti-aircraft fire.[49] Some reinforcements did arrive, but not nearly enough to replace French casualties.

Trench warfare
On April 5, after a long night of battle, French fighter-bombers and artillery inflicted particularly devastating losses on one Viet Minh regiment which was caught on open ground. At that point, Giap decided to change tactics. Although Giap still had the same objective to overrun French defenses east of the river he decided to employ entrenchment and sapping to try to achieve it.[50] April 10 saw the French attempt to retake Eliane 1. The loss of Eliane 1 eleven days earlier had posed a significant threat to Eliane 4, and the French wanted to eliminate that threat. The dawn attack, which Bigeard devised, was preceded by a short, massive artillery barrage, followed by small unit infiltration attacks, followed by mopping-up operations. Eliane 1 changed hands several times that day, but by the next morning the French had control of the strongpoint. The Viet Minh attempted to retake it on the evening of April 12, but were pushed back.[51] At this point, the morale of the Viet Minh soldiers was greatly lowered. During the stalemate, the French intercepted enemy radio messages which told of whole units refusing orders to attack, and Communist prisoners said that they were told to advance or be shot by the officers and noncommissioned officers behind them.[52] Worse still, the Viet Minh lacked advanced medical care, with one stating that "Nothing strikes at combat morale like the knowledge that if wounded, the soldier will go uncared for".[53] To avert the crisis, Giap called in fresh reinforcements from Laos. During the fighting at Eliane 1, on the other side of camp, the Viet Minh entrenchments had almost entirely surrounded Huguette 1 and 6. On April 11, the garrison of Huguette 1 attacked, and was joined by artillery from the garrison of Claudine. The goal was to resupply Huguette 6 with water and ammunition. The attacks were repeated on the nights of the 1415th and 1617th. While they did succeed in getting some supplies through, the French suffered heavy casualties, which convinced Langlais to abandon Huguette 6. Following a failed attempt to link up, on April 18, the defenders at Huguette 6 made a daring break out, but only a few managed to make it to French lines.[54] [55] The Viet Minh repeated the isolation and probing attacks against Huguette 1, and overran the fort on the morning of April 22. With the fall of Huguette 1, the Viet Minh took control of more than 90% of the airfield, making accurate parachute drops impossible.[56] This caused the landing zone to become perilously small, and effectively choked off much needed supplies.[57] A French attack against Huguette 1 later that day was repulsed.

Isabelle saw only desultory action until March 30, when the Viet Minh succeeded in isolating it and beating back the attempt to send reinforcements north. Following a massive artillery barrage against Isabelle on March 30, the Viet Minh began employing the same trench warfare tactics against Isabelle that they were using against the central camp. By the end of April, Isabelle had exhausted its water supply and was nearly out of ammunition.[58]

Final attacks
The Viet Minh launched a massed assault against the exhausted defenders on the night of May 1, overrunning Eliane 1, Dominique 3, and Huguette 5, although the French managed to beat back attacks on Eliane 2. On May 6, the Viet Minh launched another massed attack against Eliane 2. The attack included, for the first time, Katyusha rockets.[29] The French also used an innovation. The French artillery fired with a "TOT" (Time On Target) attack, so that artillery rounds fired from different positions would strike on target at the same time.[59] This barrage defeated the first assault wave. A few hours later that night, the Viet Minh detonated a mine shaft, blowing Eliane 2 up. The Viet Minh attacked again, and within a few hours had overrun the defenders.[60]

Battle of Dien Bien Phu On May 7, Giap ordered an all out attack against the remaining French units with over 25,000 Viet Minh against fewer than 3,000 garrison troops. At 5:00 PM, de Castries radioed French headquarters in Hanoi and talked with Cogny. De Castries: "The Viets are everywhere. The situation is very grave. The combat is confused and goes on all about. I feel the end is approaching, but we will fight to the finish." Cogny: "Of course you will fight to the end. It is out of the question to run up the white flag after your heroic resistance."[25] By nightfall, all French central positions had been captured. The last radio transmission from the French headquarters reported that enemy troops were directly outside the headquarters bunker and that all the positions have been overrun. The radio operator in his last words stated: "The enemy has overrun us. We are blowing up everything. Vive la France!" That night the garrison made a breakout attempt, in the Camerone tradition. While some of the main body managed to break out, none succeeded in escaping the valley. However at Isabelle, a similar attempt later the same night saw about 70 troops, of 1,700 men in the garrison, escape to Laos.[61]

On May 8, the Viet Minh counted 11,721 prisoners, of whom 4,436 were wounded.[62] This was the greatest number the Viet Minh had ever captured: one-third of the total captured during the entire war. The prisoners were divided into groups. Able-bodied soldiers were force-marched over 250 miles (400km) to prison camps to the north and east,[63] where they were intermingled with Viet Minh soldiers to discourage French bombing runs.[64] Hundreds died of disease on the way. The wounded were given basic first aid until the Red Cross arrived, removed 858, and provided better aid to the remainder. Those wounded who were not evacuated by the Red Cross were sent into detention.[65] The prisoners, French survivors of the battle at Dien Bien Phu, were starved, beaten, and heaped with abuse, and many died.[66] Of 10,863 survivors held as prisoners, only 3,290 were officially repatriated four months later.[62] However, the losses figure may include the 3,013 prisoners of Vietnamese origin whose eventual fate is unknown.[67]

Political ramifications
The garrison constituted roughly a tenth of the total French Union manpower in Indochina.[68] The defeat seriously weakened the position and prestige of the French as previously planned negotiations over the future of Indochina began. The Geneva Conference (1954) opened on May 8, [The conference opened n 26 April, discussed Korea, and reached the second agenda item, Indo-China, on 8 May] the day after the surrender of the garrison. Ho Chi Minh entered the conference on the opening day with the news of his troops' victory in the headlines. The resulting agreement temporarily partitioned Vietnam into two zones: the North was administered by the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam while the South was administered by the French-supported State of Vietnam. The last units of the French Union forces withdrew from Indochina in 1956. This partition was supposed to be temporary, and the two zones were meant to be reunited through national elections in 1956. After the French withdrawal, the United States supported the southern government, under Emperor Bao Dai and Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem, which opposed the Geneva agreement, and which claimed that Ho Chi Minh's forces from the North had been killing Northern patriots and terrorizing people both in the North and the South. The North was supported by both communist China and the Soviet Union. This arrangement proved tenuous and would escalate into the Vietnam War (Second Indochina War), eventually bringing 500,000 American troops into South Vietnam.

Battle of Dien Bien Phu France's defeat in Indochina, coupled with the German destruction of her armies just 14 years earlier, seriously damaged its prestige elsewhere in its colonial empire, as well as with its NATO allies, most importantly, the United States. Within her empire, the defeat in Indochina served to spur independence movements in other colonies, notably the North African territories from which many of the troops who fought at Dien Bien Phu had been recruited. In 1954, six months after the battle at Dien Bien Phu ended, the Algerian War started, and by 1956 both Moroccan and Tunisian protectorates had gained independence. A French board of inquiry, the Catroux Commission, would later investigate the defeat. The battle was depicted in Dien Bien Phu, a 1992 docudrama filmwith several autobiographical partsin conjunction with the Vietnamese army by Dien Bien Phu veteran French director Pierre Schoendoerffer.


American participation
Further information: Operation Vulture According to the Mutual Defense Assistance Act, the United States provided the French with material aid during the battle aircraft (supplied by the USSSaipan), weapons, mechanics, 24 CIA/CAT pilots, and U.S. Air Force maintenance crews.[69] The United States, however, intentionally avoided overt direct intervention. In February 1954, following the French occupation of Dien Bien Phu but prior to the battle, Democratic senator Mike Mansfield asked United States Defense Secretary Charles Erwin Wilson whether the United States would send naval or air units if the French were subjected to greater pressure there, but Wilson replied that "for the moment there is no justification for raising United States aid above its present level". President Dwight D. Eisenhower also stated, "Nobody is more opposed to intervention than I am".[69] On March 31, following the fall of Beatrice, Gabrielle, and Anne-Marie, a panel of U.S. Senators and House Representatives questioned the American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Arthur W. Radford, about the possibility of American involvement. Radford concluded that it was too late for the U.S. Air Force to save the French garrison. A proposal for direct intervention was unanimously voted down by the panel, which "concluded that intervention was a positive act of war".[70] The United States did covertly participate in the battle. Following a request for help from Henri Navarre, Radford provided two squadrons of B-26 Invader bomber aircraft to support the French. Subsequently, 37 American transport pilots flew 682 sorties over the course of the battle.[71] Earlier, in order to succeed the pre-Dien Bien Phu Operation Castor of November 1953, General Chester McCarty made available 12 additional C-119 Flying Boxcars flown by French crews.[71] Two of the American pilots, Wallace Buford and James McGovern, Jr., were killed in action during the siege of Dien Bien Phu.[72] On February 25, 2005, the seven still living American pilots were awarded the French Legion of Honor by Jean-David Levitte, the French ambassador to the United States.[71] The role that the American pilots played in this battle had remained little known until 2004. The "American historian Erik Kirsinger researched the case for more than a year to establish the facts."[73] [74] The French author Jules Roy also suggests that Admiral Radford discussed with the French the possibility of using nuclear weapons in support of the French garrison.[75] Moreover, John Foster Dulles was reported to have mentioned the possibility of lending atomic bombs to the French for use at Dien Bien Phu,[76] and a similar source claims that British Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden was aware of the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons in that region.[77]

Khe Sanh
In January 1968, during the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army (still under Giap's command) made an apparent attempt to repeat their success at Dien Bien Phu, by a siege and artillery bombardment on the U.S. Marine Corps infantry and artillery base at Khe Sanh, South Vietnam. Historians are divided on whether this was a genuine attempt to force the surrender of that Marine base, or else a diversion from the rest of the Tt Offensive, or an example of the North Vietnamese Army keeping its options open. At Khe Sanh, a number of factors were significantly different from the siege of Dien Bien Phu. Khe Sanh was much closer to an American supply base (45km/28mi) compared to a French one at Dien Bien Phu (200km/120mi).[78]

Battle of Dien Bien Phu At Khe Sanh, the U.S. Marines held the high ground, and their artillery forced the North Vietnamese to use their own artillery from a much greater distance. By contrast, at Dien Bien Phu, the French artillery (six 105mm batteries and one battery of four 155mm howitzers and mortars[79] ) were only sporadically effective;[80] Khe Sanh received 18,000 tons in aerial resupplies during the 30-day battle, whereas during 167 days that the French forces at Dien Bien Phu held out, they received only 4,000 tons.[80] By the end of the battle of Khe Sanh, U.S. Air Force planes had flown 9,691 tactical sorties and dropped 14,223 tons of munitions on targets within the Khe Sanh area. U.S. Marine Corps planes had flown 7,098 missions and dropped 17,015 tons of munitions. U.S. Navy planes, many of which had been redirected from the Operation Rolling Thunder bombing campaign against North Vietnam, flew 5,337 sorties and dropped 7,941 tons of ordnance on the enemy.


French women at Dien Bien Phu

Many of the flights operated by the French Air force to evacuate casualties had female flight nurses on board. A total of 15 women served on flights to Dien Bien Phu. One of them, Genevive de Galard, was stranded at Dien Bien Phu when her plane was destroyed by shellfire while being repaired on the airfield. She remained on the ground providing medical services in the field hospital until the surrender. She was later referred to as the "Angel of Dien Bien Phu". However historians disagree regarding this moniker, with Martin Windrow maintaining that Galard was referred to by this name by the garrison itself, but Michael Kenney and Bernard Fall maintaining that it was added by outside press agencies.[81] The French forces came to Dien Bien Phu accompanied by two bordels mobiles de campagne, ("mobile field brothels"), served by Algerian and Vietnamese women.[82] When the siege ended, the Viet Minh sent the surviving Vietnamese women for "re-education".[83]

[1] Quotation from Martin Windrow. Kenney, Michael. "British Historian Takes a Brilliant Look at French Fall in Vietnam". Boston Globe, January 4, 2005. [2] Julian Jackson, The Other Empire, episode 4/5, BBC Radio Three, first broadcast, 15 September 2011 [3] Fall, 23 [4] Fall, 9 [5] Fall, 48 [6] Davidson, 165 [7] Fall, 44 [8] Davidson, 173 [9] Bruce Kennedy. CNN Cold War Special: 1954 battle changed Vietnam's history (http:/ / www. cnn. com/ SPECIALS/ cold. war/ episodes/ 11/ spotlight/ ) [10] Fall, 24 [11] Davidson, 147 [12] Davidson, 224 [13] Davidson, 182 [14] Roy, 21 [15] Roy, 33 [16] Davidson, 184 [17] Windrow, p211, 212, 228, 275 [18] Davidson, 189 [19] Davidson, 186 [20] Davidson, 187 [21] Davidson, 176 [22] Davidson, 194 [23] Davidson, 193 [24] Davidson, 196 [25] "The Fall of Dienbienphu" (http:/ / www. time. com/ time/ magazine/ article/ 0,9171,860710,00. html). Time. 1954-05-17. . [26] Davidson, 199 [27] Davidson, 203

Battle of Dien Bien Phu

[28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] Davidson, 223 Davidson, 236 Davidson, 227 Navarre, 225 Windrow, 412 Dien Bien Phu: the epic battle America forgot By Howard R. Simpson Davidson, 237 Davidson, 238 Davidson, 239 Fall, 279 Davidson, 240241 Fall, 177 Davidson, 243 Windrow, p. 441-444. Davidson, 244 Davidson, 244245 Davidson, 245 Davidson, 246 Davidson, 247 Davidson, 248 Roy, 210 Davidson, 253


[50] Davidson, 254255 [51] Davidson, 265 [52] Davidson, 256 [53] Davidson, 257 [54] Davidson, 258 [55] Fall, 260 [56] Fall, 270 [57] Davidson, 259 [58] Davidson, 260 [59] Davidson, 261 [60] Davidson, 262 [61] Davidson, 269 [62] "Breakdown of losses suffered at Dien Bien Phu" (http:/ / www. dienbienphu. org/ english/ html/ bataille/ losses. htm). dienbienphu.org. . Retrieved August 24, 2006. [63] "The Long March" (http:/ / www. dienbienphu. org/ english/ html/ captivite/ long_walk. htm). dienbienphu.org. . Retrieved August 24, 2006. [64] Fall, 429 [65] The Long March (http:/ / www. dienbienphu. org/ english/ html/ captivite/ captivity. htm). Dienbienphu.org, Retrieved on January 12, 2009 [66] "At camp #1" (http:/ / www. dienbienphu. org/ english/ html/ captivite/ camp_n1. htm). dienbienphu.org. . Retrieved August 24, 2006. [67] Jean-Jacques Arzalier, Les Pertes Humaines, 19542004: La Bataille de Dien Bien Phu, entre Histoire et Mmoire, Socit franaise d'histoire d'outre-mer, 2004 [68] "The French Far East Expeditionary Corps numbered 175,000 soldiers" Davidson, 163 [69] Roy, 140 [70] Roy, 211 [71] Embassy of France in the USA, Feb. 25, 2005 (http:/ / ambafrance-us. org/ IMG/ pdf/ nff/ NFF0502. pdf), U.S. Pilots Honored For Indochina Service [72] Check-Six.com - The Shootdown of "Earthquake McGoon" (http:/ / www. check-six. com/ Crash_Sites/ CAT-149_McGoon. htm) [73] "France honors U.S. pilots for Dien Bien Phu role". Agence France Presse. February 25, 2005. [74] Burns, Robert. "Covert U.S. aviators will get French award for heroism in epic Asian battle". Associated Press Worldstream. February 16, 2005 [75] Roy, 198 [76] Fall, 306 [77] Fall, 307 [78] Rottman, 8 [79] Fall, 480 [80] Rottman, 9 [81] Fall, 190 [82] Windrow P673, Note 53

Battle of Dien Bien Phu

[83] Pringle, James (1 April 2004). "Au revoir, Dien Bien Phu" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20080208195657/ http:/ / www. iht. com/ articles/ 2004/ 04/ 01/ edpringle_ed3_. php). International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original (http:/ / www. iht. com/ articles/ 2004/ 04/ 01/ edpringle_ed3_. php) on 8 February 2008. . Retrieved 23 February 2008..


Davidson, Phillip (1988). Vietnam at War. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN0-19-506792-4. "in Bin Ph The "official and historical site" of the battle" (http://www.dienbienphu.org). Retrieved 2006-12-08. Fall, Bernard B. (1967). Hell in a Very Small Place. The Siege of Dien Bien Phu. New York: J.B. Lippincott Company. ISBN0-306-80231-7. "The Fall of Dienbienphu" (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,860710,00.html). Time. 1954-05-17. Navarre, Henri (1958) (in French). Agonie de l'Indochine. Paris: Plon. OCLC23431451. Rottman, Gordon L. (2005). Khe Sanh (19671968) Marines battle for Vietnam's vital hilltop base. Oxford: Osprey Publishing (UK). ISBN1-84176-863-4. Roy, Jules; Baldick, Robert. The Battle of Dienbienphu. New York: Harper & Row. ISBN0-88184-034-3. OCLC263986. Roy, Jules (2002). The Battle of Dienbienphu. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers. ISBN0-7867-0958-8. Stone, David (2004). Dien Bien Phu. London: Brassey's UK. ISBN1-85753-372-0. Windrow, Martin (2004). The Last Valley. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN0-306-81386-6.

External links
Dien Bien Phu (http://www.dienbienphu.org/) Site dedicated to the battle. Memorial-Indochine.org in English (http://www.memorial-indochine.org/1_en_pourquoi.php) An Analysis of the French Defeat at Dien Bien Phu (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/ 1991/BHD.htm) Airlift's Role at Dien Bien Phu and Khe Sanh (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/1991/ FRF.htm) An interview with Vo Nguyen Giap (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/peoplescentury/episodes/guerrillawars/ giaptranscript.html) Battle of Dien Bien Phu, an article by Bernard B. Fall (http://web.archive.org/web/20071216092215rn_1/ www.historynet.com/magazines/vietnam/3030251.html) Dien Bien Phu: A Battle Assessment (http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/vietnam/articles/dienbienphu. aspx) by David Pennington "Peace" in a Very Small Place: Dien Bien Phu 50 Years Later (http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/ 20thcentury/articles/dienbienphu.aspx) by Bob Seals ANAPI's official website (http://www.anapi.asso.fr/en) (National Association of Former POWs in Indochina) Bibliography: Dien Bien Phu and the Geneva Conference (http://www.clemson.edu/caah/history/ FacultyPages/EdMoise/1954.html)

Battle of Dien Bien Phu


Media links
Newsreels (video) (English) The News Magazine of the Screen (May 1954) (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/ x1ziw4_dien-bien-phu-051954) (English) U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles on the fall of Dien Bien Phu (May 7th, 1954) (http://www. dailymotion.com/video/x2082a_john-foster-dulles-on-the-fall-of-d) (English) Dien Bien Phu Episode From Ten Thousand Day War Documentary (http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=th7tImvzutc) Retrospectives (video) (English) English subtitled (Closed Captions) scene from the "Dien Bien Phu" docudrama by Schoendoerffer (1992) (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1zjot_dien-bien-phu-schoendoerffer_news) (English) Archive footages of Colonel Sassi and his 2,000 strong Hmong partisans en route to Dien Bien Phu for a rescue mission in April 1954 (2000) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n0Tc_9NN3A) (French) Archive radio calls between General Cogny & Colonel de Castries (1954) + 2 commented scenes from Schoendoerffer's docudrama (1992) (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/ xcovoq_dien-bien-phu-commentaire-audio-sch_news) (French) Testimonial of General Giap, 50 years after the battle (May 7th, 2004) (http://www.dailymotion.com/ video/x203x5_50e-anniversaire-de-dien-bien-phu) (French) Testimonial of General Bigeard, 50 years after the battle (May 3rd, 2004) (http://www.dailymotion. com/video/x2059h_bigeard-et-dien-bien-phu) (French) Testimonial of Corporal Schoendoerffer, 50 years after the battle (May 5th, 2004) (http://www. dailymotion.com/video/xcpdkx_portrait-de-jean-peraud-par-schoend_news) War reports (Picture galleries and captions) (French) The battle of Dien Bien Phu (http://www.ecpad.fr/tag/thema_dien_bien_phu)

Article Sources and Contributors


Article Sources and Contributors

Battle of Dien Bien Phu Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=465271729 Contributors: 1297, A. Carty, AHM, Addshore, Adrian, AdrianCo, Afernand74, Aim Here, Alansohn, Albino Ibis2, Albrecht, Alex.muller, Altus N, Altus Quansuvn, Amandajm, Amore Mio, Anotherclown, Antandrus, Anthere, Ardfern, ArglebargleIV, Art LaPella, Auntof6, AxelBoldt, Axl, BD2412, Badgerpatrol, Bbpen, Bender235, Bnguyen, Bongwarrior, Brighterorange, Buckshot06, CBDunkerson, Caltas, Canpark, Carbuncle, Carl Logan, Carlson288, Cerejota, Charbroil, Chester320, Chris Roy, Chris the speller, Christopher Mahan, Ciphers, Cj tyche, Clich Online, Cmdrjameson, Colonies Chris, CopperSquare, CrniBombarder!!!, Curps, Cuye, Cyclonenim, D6, DHN, Dadofsam, Danaman5, Danny, Darklilac, Davecampbell, DavidRobertson, DavisGL, Deckiller, Dekimasu, Dennette, Diderot, Dj6867, Dougofborg, Dr. Blofeld, DrKiernan, Dstlascaux, Duffman, ECPADcommunication, Eatmyfrenchfry, EchetusXe, Ed Moise, Ed Poor, Edward, El C, Elijahmeeks, Emersoni, EncMstr, EnthusiastFRANCE, Epbr123, Ericg, Ericoides, Esperant, Esprix, Ezeu, Fallschirmjgergewehr 42, Fieldday-sunday, Flaming.muskrats, Fourthords, FreeRangeFrog, FreplySpang, FrummerThanThou, Fumitol, Funnyhat, GABaker, GCarty, Gaius Cornelius, Galoubet, Gavin.collins, Gazpacho, Gdr, General Grievous, GeneralPatton, Gilgamesh he, Glacierfairy, Glane23, Gtadoc, Guimard, HTO, Hans yulun lai, HanzoHattori, Happyexplorer, Hashar, Hbrockett, Henry Flower, Hibernian, Hjr, Hmains, Hoangvanthai, Hotlorp, Howcheng, Hq3473, Hunter1084, Hvatum, Igodard, Infrogmation, Ink Runner, Ionius Mundus, It Is Me Here, J d noonan, J.delanoy, Jackfork, Jackus16, Jaffer, James Bartosik, JamesAM, JamesBWatson, Jeltz, Jim G. Smtih, Jiujitsuguy, John Prattley, Johnanth, Jose Ramos, Jose77, Jtedder1967, Juliancolton, Kaganer, Kassjab, Kaszeta, Kchishol1970, Keno, Kesac, Kevin Myers, Kevin W., Kinh Duong Vuong, Kirill Lokshin, Klemen Kocjancic, Kmmontandon, Le Anh-Huy, Leminh91, Lemmey, LeonidasSpartan, Lightmouse, Lilmeh, Ling.Nut, Lir, Llywrch, LoneWolf7777777, Louisducnguyen, Ludde23, MJCdetroit, MacsBug, Magnet For Knowledge, Mahanga, Malo, ManfromButtonwillow, Maralia, MarcelLionheart, Marcika, MarsRover, Martin Kozk, MastCell, Matt01, Maury Markowitz, Mav, McSly, Medvedenko, Megapixie, Mercenary2k, Michael Devore, Miguel Andrade, Milksponge, Millosh, MiniAWACS, Miss Madeline, MisterSheik, MithrandirMage, Mkpumphrey, Murphy11, Mxn, Nabokov, Nae'blis, Nbarth, NelsonLB, Netsnipe, Newone, Nitya Dharma, NuclearWarfare, Nyenyec, ObeyScient, Ortolan88, Outriggr, OwenBlacker, Oxymoron83, Ozhiker, PFHLai, PL290, PainMan, Paris By Night, Passeportoo, PatGallacher, Paul Barlow, Paul tavatgis, Paullepaulle, Pearle, Per Honor et Gloria, Philip Baird Shearer, Piledhigheranddeeper, Pinkville, Pion, Professortimithy, Proofreader, Pwt898, Pyrobob, QuiteUnusual, RASAM, RG2, RPellessier, Raul654, Rebecca, Reenem, ReidarM, Richard David Ramsey, Rmhermen, Robdumas, Robert1947, RobertG, Robertgreer, Rocket000, Ronline, SGGH, Saga City, Sandip90, SandyGeorgia, Saruman89, Sayerslle, Segregator236, Senator.gravett, Shadowjams, Shame On You, Shermozle, Shreshth91, Sietse Snel, SietskeEN, Simoes, SimonP, Sinclair45, Sluzzelin, Snowdog, SoLando, Someone else, Soulpatch, Spon, Srich32977, Str1977, Sugarcaddy, Szopen, Takima, Tazmaniacs, Tempodivalse, ThaddeusB, The Eye of Timaeus, The ed17, TheMadBaron, TheSaneLunatic, ThierryVignaud, Thomas81, Tim R, Tim!, Timwi, Tiptoety, Tom743, Tony1, Tony1992, Tranholm, Trasder, Tridungvo, Trip Johnson, Tronno, Truong Son, Tucu Mann, UBeR, Ulyssesmsu, Unyounyo, Utcursch, Vacancy, Vardion, Vtguy4242, Wangi, Wayward, Wbakker2, Wesley, Wik, WorldWideSquid, Writtenright, Xanderer, Xyl 54, Ybbor, YellowMonkey, Zscout370, ^demon, , 507 anonymous edits

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors

File:French M24 Chaffee Vietnam.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:French_M24_Chaffee_Vietnam.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Starry, Donn A Mounted combat in Vietnam. DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY File:Dien Bein Phu map.png Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Dien_Bein_Phu_map.png License: GNU Free Documentation License Contributors: Chaoborus, David Kernow, Kirill Lokshin, Mxn, Raul654, 2 anonymous edits File:Dien Bien Phu zoom.svg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Dien_Bien_Phu_zoom.svg License: GNU Free Documentation License Contributors: Erik Warmelink, LeonidasSpartan, Look2See1, Raul654 File:French M24s atr Dien Bien Phu.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:French_M24s_atr_Dien_Bien_Phu.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Starry, Donn A Mounted combat in Vietnam. DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY.

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Vietnam War

Vietnam War
The Vietnam War[1] was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955[2] to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of South Vietnam, supported by the United States and other anti-communist nations.[3] The Viet Cong (also known as the National Liberation Front, or NLF), a lightly armed South Vietnamese communist-controlled common front, largely fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region. The Vietnam People's Army (North Vietnamese Army) engaged in a more conventional war, at times committing large units into battle. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, and airstrikes. The U.S. government viewed involvement in the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam as part of their wider strategy of containment. The North Vietnamese government and Viet Cong viewed the conflict as a colonial war, fought initially against France, backed by the U.S., and later against South Vietnam, which it regarded as a U.S. puppet state.[4] American military advisors arrived in what was then French Indochina beginning in 1950. U.S. involvement escalated in the early 1960s, with troop levels tripling in 1961 and tripling again in 1962.[5] U.S. combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Operations spanned international borders, with Laos and Cambodia heavily bombed. American involvement in the war peaked in 1968, at the time of the Tet Offensive. After this, U.S. ground forces were gradually withdrawn as part of a policy known as Vietnamization. Despite the Paris Peace Accords, signed by all parties in January 1973, fighting continued. U.S. military involvement ended on 15 August 1973 as a result of the CaseChurch Amendment passed by the U.S. Congress.[6] The capture of Saigon by the Vietnam People's Army in April 1975 marked the end of the war, and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities (see Vietnam War casualties). Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from less than one million[7] to more than three million.[8] Some 200,000300,000 Cambodians,[9] [10] [11] 20,000200,000 Laotians,[12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict.[]

Names for the War

Further information: Terminology of the Vietnam War Various names have been applied to the conflict. Vietnam War is the most commonly used name in English. It has also been called the Second Indochina War, and the Vietnam Conflict. As there have been so many conflicts in Indochina, this conflict is known by the name of their chief opponent to distinguish it from the others.[18] Thus, in Vietnamese, the war is known as Chin tranh Vit Nam (The Vietnam War), or as Khng chin chng M (Resistance War Against America), loosely translated as the American War.[19] The main military organizations involved in the war were, on one side, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the U.S. military, and, on the other side, the Vietnam People's Army (VPA) (also known as the North Vietnamese Army, or NVA), and the Viet Cong, or National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF), a South Vietnamese communist guerrilla force.

Vietnam War

Background to 1949
France began its conquest of Indochina in the late 1850s, and completed pacification by 1893.[20] [21] [22] The Treaty of Hu, concluded in 1884, formed the basis for French colonial rule in Vietnam for the next seven decades. In spite of military resistance, most notable by the Can Vuong of Phan Dinh Phung, by 1888 the area of the current-day nations of Cambodia and Vietnam was made into the colony of French Indochina (Laos was added later).[23] Various Vietnamese opposition movements to French rule existed during this period, such as the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang who staged the failed Yen Bai mutiny in 1930, but none were ultimately as successful as the Viet Minh common front, which was founded in 1941, controlled by the Indochinese Communist Party, and funded by the U.S. and the Chinese Nationalist Party in its fight against Japanese occupation.[24] [25] During World War II, the French were defeated by the Germans in 1940. For French Indochina, this meant that the colonial authorities became Vichy French, allies of the German-Italian Axis powers. In turn this meant that the French collaborated with the Japanese forces after their invasion of French Indochina during 1940. The French continued to run affairs in the colony, but ultimate power resided in the hands of the Japanese.[24] The Viet Minh was founded as a league for independence from France, but also opposed Japanese occupation in 1945 for the same reason. The U.S. and Chinese Nationalist Party supported them in the fight against the Japanese.[26] However, they did not have enough power to fight actual battles at first. Viet Minh leader Ho Chi Minh was suspected of being a communist and jailed for a year by the Chinese Nationalist Party.[27] Double occupation by France and Japan continued until the German forces were expelled from France and the French Indochina colonial authorities started holding secret talks with the Free French. Fearing that they could no longer trust the French authorities, the Japanese army interned them all on 9 March 1945 and assumed direct control themselves[28] through their puppet state, the Empire of Vietnam, under Bo i. During 19441945, a deep famine struck northern Vietnam due to a combination of bad weather and French/Japanese exploitation. 1 million people died of starvation (out of a population of 10 million in the affected area).[29] Exploiting the administrative gap[30] that the internment of the French had created, the Viet Minh in March 1945 urged the population to ransack rice warehouses and refuse to pay their taxes. [31] Between 75 and 100 warehouses were consequently raided.[32] This rebellion against the effects of the famine and the authorities that were partially responsible for it bolstered the Viet Minh's popularity and they recruited many members during this period.[30] In August 1945, the Japanese had been defeated and surrendered unconditionally. In French Indochina this created a power vacuum, as the French were still interned and the Japanese forces stood down.[32] The Viet Minh stepped into this vacuum and grasped power across Vietnam in the August Revolution,[32] largely supported by the Vietnamese population.[33] After their defeat in the war, the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) gave weapons to the Vietnamese, and kept Vichy French officials and military officers imprisoned for a month after the surrender. The Vit Minh had recruited more than 600 Japanese soldiers and given them roles to train or command Vietnamese soldiers.[34] [35] Ho Chi Minh declared the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam before a crowd of 500,000 in Hanoi on 2 September 1945.[32] In an overture to the Americans, he began his speech by paraphrasing the United States Declaration of Independence: All men are created equal. The Creator has given us certain inviolable Rights: the right to Life, the right to be Free, and the right to achieve Happiness.[32] However, the major allied victors of World War II, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union, all agreed the area belonged to the French.[32] As the French did not have the ships, weapons, or soldiers to immediately retake Vietnam, the major powers came to an agreement that British troops would occupy the south while Nationalist Chinese forces would move in from the north.[32] Nationalist Chinese troops entered the country to disarm Japanese troops north of the 16th parallel on September 14, 1945.[36] When the British landed in the south, they rearmed the interned French forces as well as parts of the surrendered Japanese forces to aid them in retaking southern Vietnam, as they did not have enough troops to do this themselves.[32]

Vietnam War Following the party line from Moscow, Ho Chi Minh initially attempted to negotiate with the French, who were slowly re-establishing their control across the country.[37] In January 1946, the Viet Minh won elections across central and northern Vietnam.[38] On March 6, 1946, Ho signed an agreement allowing French forces to replace Nationalist Chinese forces, in exchange for French recognition of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as a "free" republic within the French Union, with the specifics of such recognition to be determined by future negotiation.[39] [40] [41] The French landed in Hanoi by March 1946 and in November of that year they ousted the Viet Minh from the city.[42] British forces departed on 26 March 1946, leaving Vietnam in the hands of the French.[43] Soon thereafter, the Viet Minh began a guerrilla war against the French Union forces, beginning the First Indochina War. The war spread to Laos and Cambodia, where Communists organized the Pathet Lao and the Khmer Serei, both of which were modeled on the Viet Minh.[44] Globally, the Cold War began in earnest, which meant that the rapprochement that existed between the Western powers and the Soviet Union during World War II disintegrated. The Viet Minh fight was hampered by a lack of weapons; this situation changed by 1949 when the Chinese Communists had largely won the Chinese Civil War and were free to provide arms to their Vietnamese allies.[44]

Exit of the French, 19501954

In January 1950, the communist nations, led by the People's Republic of China (PRC), recognized the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam, based in Hanoi, as the government of Vietnam, while non-communist nations recognized the French-backed State of Vietnam in Saigon, led by former Emperor Bo i, as the Vietnamese government the following month.[45] The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 convinced many Washington policymakers that the war in Indochina was an example of communist expansionism directed by the Kremlin.[46] PRC military advisors began assisting the Viet Minh in July 1950.[47] PRC weapons, expertise, and laborers transformed the Viet Minh from a guerrilla force into a regular army.[48] In September 1950, the United States created a Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) to screen French requests for aid, advise on strategy, and train Vietnamese soldiers.[49] By 1954, the United States had supplied 300,000 small arms and spent US$1 billion in support of the French military effort, shouldering 80 percent of the cost of the war.[50] There were also talks between the French and Americans in which the possible use of three tactical nuclear weapons was considered, though reports of how seriously this was considered and by whom are even now vague and contradictory.[51] [52] One version of the plan for the proposed Operation Vulture envisioned sending 60 B-29s from U.S. bases in the region, supported by as many as 150 fighters launched from U.S. Seventh Fleet carriers, to bomb Viet Minh commander Vo Nguyen Giap's positions. The plan included an option to use up to three atomic weapons on the Viet Minh positions. Admiral Arthur W. Radford, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave this nuclear option his backing. U.S. B-29s, B-36s, and B-47s could have executed a nuclear strike, as could carrier aircraft from the Seventh Fleet.[53]
French soldiers fight off a Viet Minh ambush in 1952.

U.S. carriers sailed to the Gulf of Tonkin, and reconnaissance flights over Dien Bien Phu were conducted during the negotiations. According to U.S. Vice-President Richard Nixon, the plan involved the Joint Chiefs of Staff drawing up plans to use three small tactical nuclear weapons in support of the French.[51] Nixon, a so-called "hawk" on Vietnam, suggested that the United States might have to "put American boys in".[54] U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower made American participation contingent on British support, but London was opposed to such a venture.[54] In the end, convinced that the political risks outweighed the possible benefits, Eisenhower decided against the intervention.[55] As an experienced five-star general, Eisenhower was very wary of getting the United States involved in a land war in Asia.

Vietnam War The Viet Minh received crucial support from the Soviet Union and PRC. PRC support in the Border Campaign of 1950 allowed supplies to come from the PRC into Vietnam. Throughout the conflict, U.S. intelligence estimates remained skeptical of French chances of success.[56] The Battle of Dien Bien Phu marked the end of French involvement in Indochina. Giap's Viet Minh forces handed the French a stunning military defeat, and on 7 May 1954, the French Union garrison surrendered. Of the 12,000 French prisoners taken by the Viet Minh, only 3,000 survived.[57] At the Geneva Conference, the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh, and independence was granted to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Transition period
Vietnam was temporarily partitioned at the 17th parallel, and under the terms of the Geneva Accords, civilians were to be given the opportunity to move freely between the two provisional states for a 300-day period. Elections throughout the country were to be held in 1956 to establish a unified government.[58] Around one million northerners, mainly minority Catholics, fled south, fearing persecution by the communists[59] following an American propaganda campaign using slogans such as "The Virgin Mary is heading south",[60] and aided by a U.S. funded $93 million relocation program, which included ferrying refugees with the Seventh Fleet.[61] It is estimated that as many as two million more would have left had they not been stopped by the Viet Minh.[62] The northern, mainly Catholic refugees were meant to give the later Ng nh Dim regime a strong anti-communist constituency.[63] Diem later went on to staff his administration's key posts mostly with northern and central Catholics. In addition to the Catholics flowing south, up to 130,000 "Revolutionary Regroupees" went to the north for "regroupment," expecting to return to the south within two years.[64] The Viet Minh left roughly 5,000 to 10,000 cadres in the south as a "politico-military substructure within the object of its irredentism."[65] The last French soldiers were to leave Vietnam in April 1956.[48] The PRC completed its withdrawal from North Vietnam at around the same time.[47] Around 52,000 Vietnamese civilians moved from south to north.[66] In the north, the Viet Minh ruled as the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and engaged in a drastic land reform program in which an estimated 8,000 perceived "class enemies" were executed.[67] In 1956, leaders in Hanoi admitted to "excesses" in implementing this program and restored a large amount of the land to the original owners.[68] The south, meanwhile, constituted the State of Vietnam, with Bo i as Emperor and Ng nh Dim (appointed in July 1954) as his prime minister. In June 1955, Diem announced that the scheduled 1956 elections would not be held, claiming South Vietnam had rejected the Geneva Accords from the beginning and was therefore not bound by them. "How can we expect 'free elections' to be held in the Communist North?" he asked. President Eisenhower echoed senior U.S. experts[69] when he wrote that, in 1954, "80 per cent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh" over Emperor Bo i.[70] [71] From April to June 1955, Diem (against U.S. advice) eliminated any political opposition in the south by launching military operations against the Cao Dai religious sect, the Hoa Hao sect of Ba Cut, and the Binh Xuyen organized crime group (which was allied with members of the secret police and some military elements). As broad-based opposition to his harsh tactics mounted, Diem increasingly sought to blame the communists.[72] In a referendum on the future of the State of Vietnam on 23 October 1955, Diem rigged the poll supervised by his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and was credited with 98.2 percent of the vote, including 133% in Saigon. His American advisers had recommended a more modest winning margin of "60 to 70 percent." Diem, however, viewed the election as a test of authority.[73] Three days later, he declared South Vietnam to be an independent state known as the Republic of Vietnam (ROV), with himself as president.[74] The ROV was created largely because of the Eisenhower administration's desire for an anti-communist state in the region.[72] The domino theory, which argued that if one country fell to communism, then all of the surrounding countries would follow, was first proposed as policy by the Eisenhower administration.[75] It was, and is still,

Vietnam War commonly hypothesized that it applied to Vietnam. John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. Senator, said in a speech to the American Friends of Vietnam: "Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam."[76]

Diem era, 19551963

A devout Roman Catholic, Diem was fervently anti-communist, nationalist, and socially conservative. Historian Luu Doan Huynh notes, however, that "Diem represented narrow and extremist nationalism coupled with autocracy and nepotism."[77] As he was a wealthy Catholic, many ordinary Vietnamese viewed Diem as part of the elite who had helped the French rule Vietnam; Diem had been interior minister in the colonial government. The majority of Vietnamese people were Buddhist, and were alarmed by actions such as Diem's dedication of the country to the Virgin Mary. Beginning in the summer of 1955, Diem launched the "Denounce the Communists" campaign, during which communists and other anti-government elements were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or executed. He instituted the death penalty against any activity deemed communist in August 1956.[78] The regime branded its opponents Viet Cong ("Vietnamese communist") to degrade their nationalist credentials. As a measure of the level of political repression, about 12,000 suspected opponents of Diem were killed between 1955 and 1957 and by the end of 1958 an estimated 40,000 political prisoners had been jailed.[79] In May 1957, Diem undertook a ten-day state visit to the United States. President Eisenhower pledged his continued support, and a parade was held in Diem's honor in New York City. Although Diem was publicly praised, in private Secretary of State John Foster Dulles conceded that Diem had been selected because there were no better alternatives.[80]

The Geneva Conference, 1954

U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles greet President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam in Washington, May 8, 1957.

Future U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara wrote that the new American patrons of the ROV were almost completely ignorant of Vietnamese culture. They knew little of the language or long history of the country.[45] There was a tendency to assign American motives to Vietnamese actions, and Diem warned that it was an illusion to believe that blindly copying Western methods would solve Vietnamese problems.[45]

Insurgency in the South, 19561960

The Sino-Soviet split led to a reduction in the influence of the PRC in Vietnam, as the Chinese had insisted in 1954 that the Viet Minh accept a division of the country. Trng Chinh, North Vietnam's pro-PRC party first secretary, was demoted and Hanoi authorized communists in South Vietnam to begin a low-level insurgency in December 1956.[] This insurgency in the south had begun in response to Diem's Denunciation of Communists campaign, in which thousands of local Viet Minh cadres and supporters had been executed or sent to concentration camps, and was in violation of the Northern Communist party line, which had enjoined them not to start an insurrection, but rather engage in a political campaign, agitating for a free all-Vietnam election in accordance with the Geneva Accords.[81]

Vietnam War Ho Chi Minh stated, "Do not engage in military operations; that will lead to defeat. Do not take land from a peasant. Emphasize nationalism rather than communism. Do not antagonize anyone if you can avoid it. Be selective in your violence. If an assassination is necessary, use a knife, not a rifle or grenade. It is too easy to kill innocent bystanders with guns and bombs, and accidental killing of the innocent bystanders will alienate peasants from the revolution. Once an assassination has taken place, make sure peasants know why the killing occurred." This strategy was referred to as "armed propaganda."[82] Soon afterward, L Dun, a communist leader who had been working in the south, returned to Hanoi to accept the position of acting first secretary, effectively replacing Trng. Dun urged a military line and advocated increased assistance to the insurgency. 400 government officials were assassinated in 1957 alone, and the violence gradually increased. While the terror was originally aimed at local government officials, it soon broadened to include other symbols of the status quo, such as schoolteachers,[83] [84] health workers,[85] and agricultural officials.[86] Diem appointed village chiefs from outside the villages, and the peasantry hated them for their corruption and abuse.[87] According to one estimate, the insurgents had assassinated 20 percent of South Vietnam's village chiefs by 1958.[88] The insurgency sought to completely destroy government control in South Vietnam's rural villages and replace it with a shadow government.[89] In January 1959, North Vietnam's Central Committee issued a secret resolution authorizing an "armed struggle," allowing the southern communists to begin large-scale operations against the South Vietnamese military. North Vietnam supplied troops and supplies in earnest, and the infiltration of men and weapons from the North began along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. In May, South Vietnam enacted Law 10/59, which made political violence punishable by death and property confiscation.[90] Observing the increasing unpopularity of the Diem regime, Hanoi authorized the creation of the National Liberation Front (NLF) on 12 December 1960 as a common front controlled by the communist party in the South. Successive American administrations, as Robert McNamara and others have noted, overestimated the control that Hanoi had over the NLF.[45] Diem's paranoia, repression, and incompetence progressively angered large segments of the population of South Vietnam.[91] According to a November 1960 report by the head of the U.S. military advisory team, Lieutenant General Lionel C. McGarr, a "significant part" of the population in the south supported the communists.[92] The communists thus had a degree of popular support for their campaign to bring down Diem and reunify the country.

During John F. Kennedy's administration, 19611963

In the 1960 U.S. presidential election, Senator John F. Kennedy defeated Vice-President Richard Nixon. Although Eisenhower warned Kennedy about Laos and Vietnam, Europe and Latin America "loomed larger than Asia on his sights."[93] In his inaugural address, Kennedy made the ambitious pledge to "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty."[94] In June 1961, he bitterly disagreed with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev when they met in Vienna to discuss key U.S.-Soviet issues. The Kennedy administration remained essentially committed to the Cold War foreign policy inherited from the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. In 1961, the U.S. had 50,000 troops based in Korea, and Kennedy faced a three-part crisis the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the construction of the Berlin Wall, and a negotiated settlement between the pro-Western government of Laos and the Pathet Lao communist movement.[95] These made Kennedy believe that another failure on the part of the United States to gain control and stop communist expansion would fatally damage U.S. credibility with its allies and his own reputation. Kennedy was thus determined to "draw a line in the sand" and prevent a communist victory in Vietnam. He told James Reston of The New York Times immediately after his Vienna meeting with Khrushchev, "Now we have a problem making our power credible and Vietnam looks like the place."[96] [97]

Vietnam War In May 1961, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Saigon and enthusiastically declared Diem the "Winston Churchill of Asia."[98] Asked why he had made the comment, Johnson replied, "Diem's the only boy we got out there."[80] Johnson assured Diem of more aid in molding a fighting force that could resist the communists. Kennedy's policy toward South Vietnam rested on the assumption that Diem and his forces must ultimately defeat the guerrillas on their own. He was against the deployment of American combat troops and observed that "to introduce U.S. forces in large numbers there today, while it might have an initially favorable military impact, would almost certainly lead to adverse political and, in the long run, adverse military consequences."[99] The quality of the South Vietnamese military, however, remained poor. Bad leadership, corruption, and political promotions all played a part in emasculating the ARVN. The frequency of guerrilla attacks rose as the insurgency gathered steam. While Hanoi's support for the NLF played a role, South Vietnamese governmental incompetence was at the core of the crisis.[100] One major issue Kennedy raised was whether the Soviet space and missile programs had surpassed those of the United States. Although Kennedy stressed long-range missile parity with the Soviets, he was also interested in using special forces for counterinsurgency warfare in Third World countries threatened by communist insurgencies. Although they were originally intended for use behind front lines after a conventional invasion of Europe, Kennedy believed that the guerrilla tactics employed by special forces such as the Green Berets would be effective in a "brush fire" war in Vietnam. Kennedy advisers Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow recommended that U.S. troops be sent to South Vietnam disguised as flood relief workers. Kennedy rejected the idea but increased military assistance yet again. In April 1962, John Kenneth Galbraith warned Kennedy of the "danger we shall replace the French as a colonial force in the area and bleed as the French did."[101] By 1963, there were 16,000 American military personnel in South Vietnam, up from Eisenhower's 900 advisors.[102]

South Vietnam, Military Regions, 1967

The Strategic Hamlet Program had been initiated in 1961. This joint U.S.-South Vietnamese program attempted to resettle the rural population into fortified camps. The aim was to isolate the population from the insurgents, provide education and health care, and strengthen the government's hold over the countryside. The Strategic Hamlets, however, were quickly infiltrated by the guerrillas. The peasants resented being uprooted from their ancestral villages. In part, this was because Colonel Pham Ngoc Thao, a Diem favourite who was instrumental in running the program, was in fact a communist agent who used his Catholicism to gain influential posts and damage the ROV from the inside. The government refused to undertake land reform, which left farmers paying high rents to a few wealthy landlords. Corruption dogged the program and intensified opposition. On 23 July 1962, fourteen nations, including the People's Republic of China, South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, North Vietnam and the United States, signed an agreement promising the neutrality of Laos.[103]

Vietnam War

Coup and assassinations

See also: Kennedy's role, 1960 South Vietnamese coup attempt, 1962 South Vietnamese Independence Palace bombing, Hu Pht n shootings and Xa Loi Pagoda raids The inept performance of the South Vietnamese army was exemplified by failed actions such as the Battle of Ap Bac on 2 January 1963, in which a small band of Viet Cong beat off a much larger and better equipped South Vietnamese force, many of whose officers seemed reluctant even to engage in combat.[104] The ARVN were led in that battle by Diem's most trusted general, Huynh Van Cao, commander of the IV Corps. Cao was a Catholic who had been promoted due to religion and fidelity rather than skill, and his main job was to preserve his forces to stave off coups; he had earlier vomited during a communist attack. Some policymakers in Washington began to conclude that Diem was incapable of defeating the communists and might even make a deal with Ho Chi Minh. He seemed concerned only with fending off coups, and had become more paranoid after attempts in 1960 and 1962, which he partly attributed to U.S. encouragement. As Robert F. Kennedy noted, "Diem wouldn't make even the slightest concessions. He was difficult to reason with..."[105] Discontent with Diem's policies exploded following the Hu Pht n shootings of majority Buddhists who were protesting against the ban on the Buddhist flag on Vesak, the Buddha's birthday. This resulted in mass protests against discriminatory policies that gave privileges to the Catholic Church and its adherents. Diem's elder brother Ngo Dinh Thuc was the Archbishop of Hu and aggressively blurred the separation between church and state. Thuc's anniversary celebrations shortly before Vesak had been bankrolled by the government and Vatican flags were displayed prominently. There had also been reports of Buddhist pagodas being demolished by Catholic paramilitaries throughout Diem's rule. Diem refused to make concessions to the Buddhist majority or take responsibility for the deaths. On 21 August 1963, the ARVN Special Forces of Colonel Le Quang Tung, loyal to Diem's younger brother Ngo Dinh Nhu, raided pagodas across Vietnam, causing widespread damage and destruction and leaving a death toll estimated to range into the hundreds. U.S. officials began discussing the possibility of a regime change during the middle of 1963. The United States Department of State was generally in favor of encouraging a coup, while the Defense Department favored Diem. Chief among the proposed changes was the removal of Diem's younger brother Nhu, who controlled the secret police and special forces was seen as the man behind the Buddhist repression and more generally the architect of the Ngo family's rule. This proposal was conveyed to the U.S. embassy in Saigon in Cable 243.
Ngo Dinh Diem after being shot and killed in the The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was in contact with generals 1963 coup. planning to remove Diem. They were told that the United States would not oppose such a move nor punish the generals by cutting off aid. President Diem was overthrown and executed, along with his brother, on 2 November 1963. When he was informed, Maxwell Taylor remembered that Kennedy "rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face."[106] He had not approved Diem's murder. The U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge, invited the coup leaders to the embassy and congratulated them. Ambassador Lodge informed Kennedy that "the prospects now are for a shorter war".[107]

Following the coup, chaos ensued. Hanoi took advantage of the situation and increased its support for the guerrillas. South Vietnam entered a period of extreme political instability, as one military government toppled another in quick succession. Increasingly, each new regime was viewed as a puppet of the Americans; whatever the failings of Diem, his credentials as a nationalist (as Robert McNamara later reflected) had been impeccable.[108]

Vietnam War U.S military advisers were embedded at every level of the South Vietnamese armed forces. They were, however, almost completely ignorant of the political nature of the insurgency. The insurgency was a political power struggle, in which military engagements were not the main goal.[109] The Kennedy administration sought to refocus U.S. efforts on pacification and "winning over the hearts and minds" of the population. The military leadership in Washington, however, was hostile to any role for U.S. advisers other than conventional troop training.[110] General Paul Harkins, the commander of U.S. forces in South Vietnam, confidently predicted victory by Christmas 1963.[111] The CIA was less optimistic, however, warning that "the Viet Cong by and large retain de facto control of much of the countryside and have steadily increased the overall intensity of the effort".[112] Paramilitary officers from the CIA's Special Activities Division trained and led Hmong tribesmen in Laos and into Vietnam. The indigenous forces numbered in the tens of thousands and they conducted direct action missions, led by paramilitary officers, against the Communist Pathet Lao forces and their North Vietnamese supporters.[113] The CIA also ran the Phoenix Program and participation Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (MAC-V SOG), which was originally named the Special Operations Group, but was changed for cover purposes.[114]

Lyndon B. Johnson escalates the war, 19631969

Further information: Role of United States in the Vietnam War: Americanization Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), as he took over the presidency after the death of Kennedy, initially did not consider Vietnam a priority and was more concerned with his "Great Society" and progressive social programs. Presidential aide Jack Valenti recalls, "Vietnam at the time was no bigger than a man's fist on the horizon. We hardly discussed it because it was not worth discussing."[115] [116] On 24 November 1963, Johnson said, "the battle against communism... must be joined... with strength and determination."[117] The pledge came at a time when Vietnam was deteriorating, especially in places like the Mekong Delta, because of the recent coup against Diem.[118] Johnson had reversed Kennedy's disengagement policy from Vietnam in withdrawing 1,000 troops by the end of 1963 (NSAM 263 on 11 October),[119] with his own NSAM 273 (26 November)[120] [121] to expand the war.

A U.S. B-66 Destroyer and four F-105 Thunderchiefs dropping bombs on North Vietnam

The military revolutionary council, meeting in lieu of a strong South Vietnamese leader, was made up of 12 members headed by General Duong Van Minhwhom Stanley Karnow, a journalist on the ground, later recalled as "a model of lethargy."[122] Lodge, frustrated by the end of the year, cabled home about Minh: "Will he be strong enough to get on top of things?" His regime was overthrown in January 1964 by General Nguyen Khanh.[123] However, there was persistent instability in the military as several coupsnot all successfuloccurred in a short space of time.

Vietnam War


On 2 August 1964, the USSMaddox, on an intelligence mission along North Vietnam's coast, allegedly fired upon and damaged several torpedo boats that had been stalking it in the Gulf of Tonkin.[124] A second attack was reported two days later on the USSTurner Joy and Maddox in the same area. The circumstances of the attack were murky. Lyndon Johnson commented to Undersecretary of State George Ball that "those sailors out there may have been shooting at flying fish."[125] The second attack led to retaliatory air strikes, prompted Congress to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and gave the president power to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without declaring war. In the same month, Johnson pledged that he was not "...committing American boys to fighting a war that I think ought to be fought by the boys of Asia to help protect their own land."[126]

An undated NSA publication declassified in 2005, however, revealed that there was no attack on 4 August.[127] It had already been called into question long before this. "Gulf of Tonkin incident", writes Louise Gerdes, "is an oft-cited example of the way in which Johnson misled the American people to gain support for his foreign policy in Vietnam."[128] George C. Herring argues, however, that McNamara and the Pentagon "did not knowingly lie about the alleged attacks, but they were obviously in a mood to retaliate and they seem to have selected from the evidence available to them those parts that confirmed what they wanted to believe."[129] "From a strength of approximately 5,000 at the start of 1959 the Viet Cong's ranks grew to about 100,000 at the end of 1964...Between 1961 and 1964 the Army's strength rose from about 850,000 to nearly a million men."[109] The numbers for U.S. troops deployed to Vietnam during the same period were quite different; 2,000 in 1961, rising rapidly to 16,500 in 1964.[130] The National Security Council recommended a three-stage escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam. On 2 March 1965, following an attack on a U.S. Marine barracks at Pleiku,[131] Operation Flaming Dart (initiated when Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin was at a state visit to North Vietnam), Operation Rolling Thunder and Operation Arc Light commenced.[132] The bombing campaign, which ultimately lasted three years, was intended to force North Vietnam to cease its support for the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF) by threatening to destroy North Vietnam's air defenses and industrial infrastructure. As well, it was aimed at bolstering the morale of the South Vietnamese.[133] Between March 1965 and November 1968, "Rolling Thunder" deluged the north with a million tons of missiles, rockets and bombs.[134]

An alleged NLF activist, captured during an attack on an American outpost near the Cambodian border, is interrogated.

A Marine from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, moves an alleged NLF activist to the rear during a search and clear operation held by the battalion 15 miles (24km) west of Da Nang Air Base.

Bombing was not restricted to North Vietnam. Other aerial campaigns, such as Operation Commando Hunt, targeted different parts of the NLF and VPA infrastructure. These included the Ho Chi Minh trail, which ran through Laos and Cambodia. The objective of forcing North Vietnam to stop its support for the NLF, however, was never reached. As one officer noted "this is a political war and it calls for discriminate killing. The best weapon... would be a knife... The worst is an airplane."[135] The Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Curtis LeMay, however, had long advocated saturation bombing in Vietnam and wrote of the Communists that "we're going to bomb them back into the Stone Age".[136]

Vietnam War


Escalation and ground war

After several attacks upon them, it was decided that U.S. Air Force bases needed more protection. The South Vietnamese military seemed incapable of providing security. On 8 March 1965, 3,500 U.S. Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam. This marked the beginning of the American ground war. U.S. public opinion overwhelmingly supported the deployment.[137] In a statement similar to that made to the French almost two decades earlier, Ho Chi Minh warned that if the Americans "want to make war for twenty years then we shall make war for twenty years. If they want to make peace, we shall make peace and invite them to afternoon tea."[138] As former First Deputy Foreign Minister Tran Quang Co has noted, the primary goal of the war was to reunify Vietnam and secure its independence. The policy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) was not to topple other non-communist governments in South East Asia.[139] The Marines' assignment was defensive. The initial deployment of 3,500 in March was increased to nearly 200,000 by December.[140] The U.S. military had long been schooled in offensive warfare. Regardless of political policies, U.S. commanders were institutionally and psychologically unsuited to a defensive mission.[140] In December, ARVN forces suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Bnh Gi,[141] in a battle that both sides viewed as a watershed. Previously communist forces had utilized hit-and-run guerrilla tactics, however at Binh Gia they had successfully defeated a strong ARVN force in conventional warfare.[142] Tellingly, South Vietnamese forces were again defeated in June, at the Battle of ng Xoi.[143] Desertion rates were increasing, and morale plummeted. General William Westmoreland informed Admiral U. S. Grant Sharp, Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific forces, that the situation was critical.[140] He said, "I am convinced that U.S. troops with their energy, mobility, and firepower can successfully take the fight to the NLF [National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam]."[144] With this recommendation, Westmoreland was advocating an aggressive departure from America's defensive posture and the sidelining of the South Vietnamese. By ignoring ARVN units, the U.S. commitment became open-ended.[145] Westmoreland outlined a three-point plan to win the war:

Universal Newsreel film about an attack on U.S. air bases and the U.S. response. 1965

Peasants suspected of being Vietcong under detention of U.S. army, 1966

U.S. soldiers searching a village for NLF

Phase 1. Commitment of U.S. (and other free world) forces necessary to halt the losing trend by the end of 1965. Phase 2. U.S. and allied forces mount major offensive actions to seize the initiative to destroy guerrilla and organized enemy forces. This phase would end when the enemy had been worn down, thrown on the defensive, and driven back from major populated areas. Phase 3. If the enemy persisted, a period of twelve to eighteen months following Phase 2 would be required for the final destruction of enemy forces remaining in remote base areas.[146]

Vietnam War The plan was approved by Johnson and marked a profound departure from the previous administration's insistence that the government of South Vietnam was responsible for defeating the guerrillas. Westmoreland predicted victory by the end of 1967.[147] Johnson did not, however, communicate this change in strategy to the media. Instead he emphasized continuity.[148] The change in U.S. policy depended on matching the North Vietnamese and the NLF in a contest of attrition and morale. The opponents were locked in a cycle of escalation.[149] The idea that the government of South Vietnam could manage its own affairs was shelved.[149] The one-year tour of duty deprived units of experienced leadership. As one observer noted "we were not in Vietnam for 10 years, but for one year 10 times."[135] As a result, training programs were shortened. South Vietnam was inundated with manufactured goods. As Stanley Karnow writes, "the main PX [Post Exchange], located in the Saigon suburb of Cholon, was only slightly smaller than the New York Bloomingdale's..."[150] The American buildup transformed the economy and had a profound effect on South Vietnamese society. A huge surge in corruption was witnessed.


Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin with U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson at the Glassboro Summit Conference where the two representatives discussed the possibilities of a peace settlement.

Washington encouraged its SEATO allies to contribute troops. Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines[151] all agreed to send troops. Major allies, however, notably NATO nations Canada and the United Kingdom, declined Washington's troop requests.[152] The U.S. and its allies mounted complex operations, such as operations Masher, Attleboro, Cedar Falls, and Junction City. However, the communist insurgents remained elusive and demonstrated great tactical flexibility. Meanwhile, the political situation in South Vietnam began to stabilize with the coming to power of Prime Minister Air Marshal Nguyn Cao K and figurehead Chief of State, General Nguyn Vn Thiu, in mid 1965 at the head of a military junta. This ended a series of coups that had happened more than once a year. In 1967, 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 outmanoevred 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 1975, having won a one-man election in 1971.[153]

The Ho Chi Minh Trail running through Laos, 1967

The Johnson administration employed a "policy of minimum candor"[154] 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.[154]

Vietnam War


Tet Offensive
Having lured General Westmoreland's forces into the hinterland at Khe Sanh in Qung Tr Province,[155] in January 1968, the NVA and NLF broke the truce that had traditionally accompanied the Tt (Lunar New Year) holiday. They launched the surprise Tet Offensive in the hope of sparking a national uprising. Over 100 cities were attacked, with assaults on General Westmoreland's headquarters and the U.S. Embassy, Saigon. Although the U.S. and South Vietnamese forces were initially taken aback by the scale of the urban offensive, they responded quickly and effectively, decimating the ranks of the NLF. In the former capital city of Hu, the combined NLF and VPA troops captured the Imperial Citadel and much of the city, which led to the Battle of Hu. Throughout the offensive, the American forces employed massive firepower; in Hu where the battle was the fiercest, that firepower left 80% of the city in ruins.[156] During the interim between the capture of the Citadel and end of the "Battle of Hu", the communist insurgent occupying forces massacred several thousand unarmed Hu civilians (estimates vary up to a high of 6,000). After the war, North Vietnamese officials acknowledged that the Tet Offensive had, indeed, caused grave damage to NLF forces. But the offensive had another, unintended consequence. General Westmoreland had become the public face of the war. He was featured on the cover of Time magazine three times and was named 1965's Man of the Year.[157] Time described him as "the sinewy personification of the American fighting man... (who) directed the historic buildup, drew up the battle plans, and infused the... men under him with his own idealistic view of U.S. aims and responsibilities."[157] In November 1967 Westmoreland spearheaded a public relations drive for the Johnson administration to bolster flagging public support.[158] In a speech before the National Press Club he said that a point in the war had been reached "where the end comes into view."[159] Thus, the public was shocked and confused when Westmoreland's predictions were trumped by Tet.[158] The American media, which had been largely supportive of U.S. efforts, rounded on the Johnson administration for what had become an increasing credibility gap. Despite its military failure, the Tet Offensive became a political victory and ended the career of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who declined to run for re-election. Johnson's approval rating slumped from 48 to 36 percent.[158]

U.S. Marines fighting in Hu

As James Witz noted, Tet "contradicted the claims of progress... made by the Johnson administration and the military."[158] The Tet Offensive was the turning point in America's involvement in the Vietnam War. It had a profound impact on domestic support for the conflict. The offensive constituted an intelligence failure on the scale of Pearl Harbor.[151] [160] Journalist Peter Arnett quoted an unnamed officer, saying of Bn Tre (laid to rubble by U.S. firepower)[161] that "it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it" (though the authenticity of this quote is disputed).[162] According to one source, this quote was attributed to Major Booris of 9th Infantry Division.[163]

Vietnam War


Westmoreland became Chief of Staff of the Army in March, just as all resistance was finally subdued. The move was technically a promotion. However, his position had become untenable because of the offensive and because his request for 200,000 additional troops had been leaked to the media. Westmoreland was succeeded by his deputy Creighton Abrams, a commander less inclined to public media pronouncements.[164] On 10 May 1968, despite low expectations, peace talks began between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Negotiations stagnated for five months, until Johnson gave orders to halt the bombing of North Vietnam. The Democratic candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, was running against Republican former vice president Richard Nixon.

NLF/NVA killed by U.S. air force personnel during an attack on the perimeter of Tan Son Nhut Air Base during the Tet Offensive

As historian Robert Dallek writes, "Lyndon Johnson's escalation of the war in Vietnam divided Americans into warring camps... cost 30,000 American lives by the time he left office, (and) destroyed Johnson's presidency..."[165] His refusal to send more U.S. troops to Vietnam was seen as Johnson's admission that the war was lost.[166] It can be seen that the refusal was a tacit admission that the war could not be won by escalation, at least not at a cost acceptable to the American people.[166] As Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara noted, "the dangerous illusion of victory by the United States was therefore dead."[167]

Vietnamization, 19691972
Nixon Doctrine / Vietnamization
Severe communist losses during the Tet Offensive allowed U.S. President Richard Nixon to begin troop withdrawals. His plan, called the Nixon Doctrine, was to build up the ARVN, so that they could take over the defense of South Vietnam. The policy became known as "Vietnamization". Vietnamization had much in common with the policies of the Kennedy administration. One important difference, however, remained. While Kennedy insisted that the South Vietnamese fight the war themselves, he attempted to limit the scope of the conflict. Nixon said in an announcement, "I am tonight announcing plans for the withdrawal of an additional 150,000 American troops to be completed during the spring of next year. This will bring a total reduction of 265,500 men in our armed forces in Vietnam below the level that existed when we took office 15 months ago."[168] On 10 October 1969, Nixon ordered a squadron of 18 B-52s loaded with nuclear weapons to race to the border of Soviet airspace to convince the Soviet Union that he was capable of anything to end the Vietnam War. Nixon also pursued negotiations. Theater commander Creighton Abrams shifted to smaller operations, aimed at communist logistics,
Propaganda leaflet urging the defection of NLF and North Vietnamese to the side of the Republic of Vietnam

Vietnam War with better use of firepower and more cooperation with the ARVN. Nixon also began to pursue dtente with the Soviet Union and rapprochement with the People's Republic of China. This policy helped to decrease global tensions. Dtente led to nuclear arms reduction on the part of both superpowers. But Nixon was disappointed that the PRC and the Soviet Union continued to supply the North Vietnamese with aid. In September 1969, Ho Chi Minh died at age seventy-nine.[169] The anti-war movement was gaining strength in the United States. Nixon appealed to the "silent majority" of Americans to support the war. But revelations of the My Lai Massacre, in which a U.S. Army platoon raped and killed civilians, and the 1969 "Green Beret Affair" where eight Special Forces soldiers, including the 5th Special Forces Group Commander were arrested for the murder[170] of a suspected double agent[171] provoked national and international outrage. The civilian cost of the war was again questioned when U.S. forces concluded Operation Speedy Express with a claimed bodycount of 10,889 Communist guerillas with only 40 U.S. losses; Kevin Buckley writing in Newsweek estimated that perhaps 5,000 of the Vietnamese dead were civilians.[172] Beginning in 1970, American troops were being taken away from border areas where much more killing took place, and instead put along the coast and interior, which is one reason why casualties in 1970 were less than half of 1969's totals.[168]


Operation Menu: the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos

Prince Norodom Sihanouk had proclaimed Cambodia neutral since 1955,[173] but the communists used Cambodian soil as a base and Sihanouk tolerated their presence, because he wished to avoid being drawn into a wider regional conflict. Under pressure from Washington, however, he changed this policy in 1969. The Vietnamese communists were no longer welcome. President Nixon took the opportunity to launch a massive secret bombing campaign, called Operation Menu, against their sanctuaries along the Cambodia/Vietnam border. This violated a long succession of pronouncements from Washington supporting Cambodian neutrality. Richard Nixon wrote to Prince Sihanouk in April 1969 assuring him that the United States respected "the sovereignty, neutrality and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia..."[174] In 1970, Prince Sihanouk was deposed by his pro-American prime minister Lon Nol. The country's borders were closed, while U.S. forces and ARVN launched incursions into Cambodia to attack VPA/NLF bases and buy time for South Vietnam. The invasion of Cambodia sparked nationwide U.S. protests. Four students were killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State University during a protest in Ohio, which provoked 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.[175] In 1971 the Pentagon Papers were leaked to The New York Times. The top-secret history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, commissioned by the Department of Defense, detailed a long series of public deceptions. The Supreme Court ruled that its publication was legal.[176] The ARVN launched Operation Lam Son 719 in February 1971, aimed at cutting the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos.[103] The ostensibly neutral Laos had long been the scene of a secret war. After meeting resistance, ARVN forces retreated in a confused rout. They fled along roads littered with their own dead. When they ran out of fuel, soldiers abandoned their vehicles and attempted to barge their way on to American helicopters sent to evacuate the wounded. Many ARVN soldiers clung to helicopter skids in a desperate attempt to save themselves. U.S. aircraft had to destroy abandoned equipment, including tanks, to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. Half of the invading ARVN troops were either captured or killed. The operation was a fiasco and represented a clear failure of Vietnamization. As Karnow noted "the blunders were monumental... The (South Vietnamese) government's top officers had been tutored by the Americans for ten or fifteen years, many at training schools in the United States, yet they had learned little."[177]

Vietnam War In 1971 Australia and New Zealand withdrew their soldiers. The U.S. troop count was further reduced to 196,700, with a deadline to remove another 45,000 troops by February 1972. As peace protests spread across the United States, disillusionment and ill-discipline grew in the ranks.[178] Vietnamization was again tested by the Easter Offensive of 1972, a massive conventional invasion of South Vietnam. The VPA and NLF quickly overran the northern provinces and in coordination with other forces attacked from Cambodia, threatening to cut the country in half. U.S. troop withdrawals continued. But American airpower came to the rescue with Operation Linebacker, and the offensive was halted. However, it became clear that without American airpower South Vietnam could not survive. The last remaining American ground troops were withdrawn in August.


1972 election and Paris Peace Accords

. The war was the central issue of the 1972 presidential election. Nixon's opponent, George McGovern, campaigned on a platform of withdrawal from Vietnam. Nixon's National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger, continued secret negotiations with North Vietnam's L c Th. In October 1972, they reached an agreement.

The Nguyen Hue Offensive, 1972, part of the Easter Offensive

However, South Vietnamese President Thieu demanded massive changes to the peace accord. When North Vietnam went public with the agreement's details, the Nixon administration claimed that the North was attempting to embarrass the President. The negotiations became deadlocked. Hanoi demanded new changes. To show his support for South Vietnam and force Hanoi back to the negotiating table, Nixon ordered Operation Linebacker II, a massive bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong 1829 December 1972. The offensive destroyed much of the remaining economic and industrial capacity of North Vietnam. Simultaneously Nixon pressured Thieu to accept the terms of the agreement, threatening to conclude a bilateral peace deal and cut off American aid. On 15 January 1973, Nixon announced the suspension of offensive action against North Vietnam. The Paris Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam" were signed on 27 January 1973, officially ending direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. A cease-fire was declared across North and South Vietnam. U.S. POWs were released. The agreement guaranteed the territorial integrity of Vietnam and, like the Geneva Conference of 1954, called for national elections in the North and South. The Paris Peace Accords stipulated a sixty-day period for the total withdrawal of U.S. forces. "This article", noted Peter Church, "proved... to be the only one of the Paris Agreements which was fully carried out."[179]
Operation Linebacker II, December 1972

Vietnam War


Opposition to the Vietnam War: 19621975

Some advocates within the peace movement advocated a unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam. One reason given for the withdrawal is that it would contribute to a lessening of tensions in the region and thus less human bloodshed. Early opposition to U.S. involvement in Vietnam was centered around the Geneva conference of 1954. American support of Diem in refusing elections was thought to be thwarting the very democracy that America claimed to be supporting. John Kennedy, while Senator, opposed involvement in Vietnam.[130]

U.S. Navy riverboat deploying napalm during the Vietnam War

Opposition to the Vietnam War tended to unite groups opposed to U.S. anti-communism, imperialism and colonialism and, for those involved with the New Left such as the Catholic Worker Movement, capitalism itself. Others, such as Stephen Spiro opposed the war based on the theory of Just War. Some wanted to show solidarity with the people of Vietnam, such as Norman Morrison emulating the actions of Thch Qung c. Some critics of U.S. withdrawal predicted that it would not contribute to peace but rather vastly increase bloodshed. These critics advocated U.S. forces remain until all threats from the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army had been eliminated. Advocates of U.S. withdrawal were generally known as "doves", and they called their opponents "hawks", following nomenclature dating back to the War of 1812. High-profile opposition to the Vietnam War turned to street protests in an effort to turn U.S. political opinion. On 15 October 1969, the Vietnam Moratorium attracted millions of Americans.[180] The fatal shooting of four students at Kent State University led to nation-wide university protests.[181] Riots broke out at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.[182] After explosive news reports of American military abuses, such as the 1968 My Lai Massacre, brought new attention and support to the anti-war movement, some veterans joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Anti-war protests ended with the final withdrawal of troops after the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973. South Vietnam was left to defend itself alone when the fighting resumed. Many South Vietnamese subsequently fled to the United States.[183]

Exit of the Americans: 19731975

The United States began drastically reducing their troop support in South Vietnam during the final years of "Vietnamization". Many U.S. troops were removed from the region, and on 5 March 1971, the United States returned the 5th Special Forces Group, which was the first American unit deployed to South Vietnam, to its former base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.[184] [185] Under the Paris Peace Accords, between North Vietnamese Foreign Victims of the My Lai Massacre Minister L c Th and U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and reluctantly signed by South Vietnamese President Thiu, U.S. military forces withdrew from South Vietnam and prisoners were exchanged. North Vietnam was allowed to continue supplying communist troops in the South, but only to the extent of replacing materials that were consumed. Later that year the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Kissinger and Th, but the Vietnamese negotiator declined it saying that a true peace did not yet exist. The communist leaders had expected that the ceasefire terms would favor their side. But Saigon, bolstered by a surge of U.S. aid received just before the ceasefire went into effect, began to roll back the Vietcong. The communists responded with a new strategy hammered out in a series of meetings in Hanoi in March 1973, according to the memoirs of Trn Vn Tr.[186]

Vietnam War As the Vietcong's top commander, Tr participated in several of these meetings. With U.S. bombings suspended, work on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and other logistical structures could proceed unimpeded. Logistics would be upgraded until the North was in a position to launch a massive invasion of the South, projected for the 197576 dry season. Tr calculated that this date would be Hanoi's last opportunity to strike before Saigon's army could be fully trained.[186] In the November 1972 Election, McGovern lost 49 of 50 states to Richard Nixon, who was re-elected U.S. president. Despite supporting Nixon over McGovern, many American voters split their tickets, returning a Democratic majority to both houses of Congress. On 15 March 1973, U.S. President Richard Nixon implied that the United States would intervene militarily if the communist side violated the ceasefire. Public and congressional reaction to Nixon's trial balloon was unfavorable and in April Nixon appointed Graham Martin as U.S. ambassador to Vietnam. Martin was a second stringer compared to previous U.S. ambassadors and his appointment was an early signal that Washington had given up on Vietnam. During his confirmation hearings in June 1973, Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger stated that he would recommend resumption of U.S. bombing in North Vietnam if North Vietnam launched a major offensive against South Vietnam. On 4 June 1973, the U.S. Senate passed the Case-Church Amendment to prohibit such intervention.[187]


Calling for immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam, George McGovern's 1972 Presidential Campaign lost 49 of 50 states to Richard Nixon.

The oil price shock of October 1973 caused significant damage to the South Vietnamese economy. The Vietcong resumed offensive operations when dry season began and by January 1974 it had recaptured the territory it lost during the previous dry season. After two clashes that left 55 South Vietnamese soldiers dead, President Thiu announced on 4 January that the war had restarted and that the Paris Peace Accord was no longer in effect. There had been over 25,000 South Vietnamese casualties during the ceasefire period.[188] Gerald Ford took over as U.S. president on 9 August 1974 after President Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal. At this time, Congress cut financial aid to South Vietnam from $1 billion a year to $700 million. The U.S. midterm elections in 1974 brought in a new Congress dominated by Democrats who were even more determined to confront the president on the war. Congress immediately voted in restrictions on funding and military activities to be phased in through 1975 and to culminate in a total cutoff of funding in 1976. The success of the 197374 dry season offensive inspired Tr to return to Hanoi in October 1974 and plead for a larger offensive in the next dry season. This time, Tr could travel on a drivable highway with regular fueling stops, a vast change from the days when the Ho Chi Minh Trail was a dangerous mountain trek.[189] Gip, the North

Vietnam War Vietnamese defense minister, was reluctant to approve Tr's plan. A larger offensive might provoke a U.S. reaction and interfere with the big push planned for 1976. Tr appealed over Gip's head to first secretary L Dun, who approved of the operation. Tr's plan called for a limited offensive from Cambodia into Phuoc Long Province. The strike was designed to solve local logistical problems, gauge the reaction of South Vietnamese forces, and determine whether U.S. would return to the fray. On 13 December 1974, North Vietnamese forces attacked Route 14 in Phuoc Long Province. Phuoc Binh, the provincial capital, fell on 6 January 1975. Ford desperately asked Congress for funds to assist and re-supply the South before it was overrun. Congress refused. The fall of Phuoc Binh and the lack of an American response left the South Vietnamese elite demoralized. The speed of this success led the Politburo to reassess its strategy. It was decided that operations in the Central Highlands would be turned over to General Vn Tin Dng and that Pleiku should be seized, if possible. Before he left for the South, Dng was addressed by L Dun: "Never have we had military and political conditions so perfect or a strategic advantage as great as we have now."[190] At the start of 1975, the South Vietnamese had three times as much artillery and twice the number of tanks and armoured cars as the opposition. They also had 1,400 aircraft and a two-to-one numerical superiority in combat troops over their Communist enemies.[191] However, the rising oil prices meant that much of this could not be used. They faced a well-organized, highly determined and well-funded North Vietnam. Much of the North's material and financial support came from the communist bloc. Within South Vietnam, there was increasing chaos. Their abandonment by the American military had compromised an economy dependent on U.S. financial support and the presence of a large number of U.S. troops. South Vietnam suffered from the global recession that followed the Arab oil embargo.


Campaign 275
On 10 March 1975, General Dung launched Campaign 275, a limited offensive into the Central Highlands, supported by tanks and heavy artillery. The target was Bun Ma Thut, in k Lk Province. 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 1976. The ARVN proved incapable of resisting the onslaught, and its forces collapsed on 11 March. 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. President Nguyn Vn Thiu, a former general, was fearful that his forces would be cut off in the north by the attacking communists; Thieu ordered a retreat. The president declared this to be a "lighten the top and keep the bottom" strategy. But in what appeared to be a repeat of Operation Lam Son 719, the withdrawal soon turned into a bloody rout. While the bulk of ARVN forces attempted to flee, isolated units fought desperately. ARVN General Phu abandoned Pleiku and Kon Tum and retreated toward the coast, in what became known as the "column of tears". As the ARVN tried to disengage from the enemy, refugees mixed in with the line of retreat. The poor condition of roads and bridges, damaged by years of conflict and neglect, slowed Phu's column. As the North Vietnamese forces approached, panic set in. Often abandoned by the officers, the soldiers and civilians were shelled incessantly. The retreat degenerated into a desperate scramble for the coast. By 1 April the "column of tears" was all but annihilated. On 20 March, Thieu reversed himself and ordered Hu, Vietnam's third-largest city, be held at all costs, and then changed his policy several times. Thieu's contradictory orders confused and demoralized his officer corps. As the North Vietnamese launched their attack, panic set in, and ARVN resistance withered. On 22 March, the VPA opened the siege of Hu. Civilians flooded the airport and the docks hoping for any mode of escape. Some even swam out to sea to reach boats and barges anchored offshore. In the confusion, routed ARVN soldiers fired on civilians to make way for their retreat.

Vietnam War On 25 March, after a three-day battle, Hu fell. As resistance in Hu collapsed, North Vietnamese rockets rained down on Da Nang and its airport. By 28 March, 35,000 VPA troops were poised to attack the suburbs. By 30 March 100,000 leaderless ARVN troops surrendered as the VPA marched victoriously through Da Nang. With the fall of the city, the defense of the Central Highlands and Northern provinces came to an end.


Final North Vietnamese offensive

With the northern half of the country under their control, the Politburo ordered General Dung to launch the final offensive against Saigon. The operational plan for the Ho Chi Minh Campaign called for the capture of Saigon before 1 May. Hanoi wished to avoid the coming monsoon and prevent any redeployment of ARVN forces defending the capital. Northern forces, their morale boosted by their recent victories, rolled on, taking Nha Trang, Cam Ranh, and Da Lat. On 7 April, three North Vietnamese divisions attacked Xuan Loc, 40 miles (64km) east of Saigon. The North Vietnamese met fierce resistance at Xuan Loc from the ARVN 18th Division, who were outnumbered six to one. For two bloody weeks, severe fighting raged as the ARVN defenders made a last stand to try to block the North Vietnamese advance. By 21 April, however, the exhausted garrison were 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.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had tricked him into signing the Paris peace agreement two years ago, promising military aid that failed to materialise. Having transferred power to Tran Van Huong, he left for Taiwan on 25 April. At the same time, North Vietnamese tanks had reached Bien Hoa and turned toward Saigon, brushing aside isolated ARVN units along the way. By the end of April, the ARVN had collapsed on all fronts except in the Mekong Delta. Thousand of refugees streamed southward, ahead of the main communist onslaught. On 27 April 100,000 North Vietnamese troops encircled Saigon. The city was defended by about 30,000 ARVN troops. To hasten a collapse and foment panic, the VPA shelled the airport and forced its closure. With the air exit closed, large numbers of civilians found that they had no way out.

Fall of Saigon
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.S., and foreign nationals from various parts of the city and from the U.S. embassy compound. Operation Frequent Wind had been delayed until the last possible moment, because of U.S. 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 1975 the evacuation from Saigon by helicopter of the last U.S. diplomatic, military, and civilian personnel. 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. Martin pleaded with Washington to dispatch $700 million in emergency aid to bolster the regime and help it mobilize fresh military reserves. But American public opinion had soured on this conflict. In the United States, South Vietnam was perceived as doomed. President Gerald Ford had given a televised speech on 23 April, declaring an end to the Vietnam War and all U.S. aid. 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.S. 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 1975, VPA troops overcame all resistance, quickly capturing key buildings and installations. A tank crashed through the gates of the Independence Palace, and at 11:30 a.m. local time the NLF flag was raised above it. President Duong Van Minh, who had succeeded Huong two days earlier, surrendered. His surrender marked the end of 116 years of Vietnamese involvement in conflict either alongside or against various countries, primarily France,

Vietnam War China, Japan, Britain, and America.[192]


Other countries' involvement

People's Republic of China In 1950, the People's Republic of China extended diplomatic recognition to the Viet Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam and sent weapons, as well as military advisors led by Luo Guibo to assist the Viet Minh in its war with the French. The first draft of the 1954 Geneva Accords was negotiated by French Prime Minister Pierre Mends France and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai who, fearing U.S. intervention, urged the Viet Minh to accept a partition at the 17th parallel.[193] China's ability to aid the Viet Minh declined when Soviet aid to China was reduced following the end of the Korean War in 1953. Moreover, a divided Vietnam posed less of a threat to China. China provided material and technical support to the Vietnamese communists worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Chinese-supplied rice allowed North Vietnam to pull military-age men from the paddies and to impose a universal draft beginning in 1960. In the summer of 1962, Mao Zedong agreed to supply Hanoi with 90,000 rifles and guns free of charge. Starting in 1965, China sent anti-aircraft units and engineering battalions to North Vietnam to repair the damage caused by American bombing, rebuild roads and railroads, and to 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 1968. In October, the Chinese demanded North Vietnam cut relations with Moscow, but Hanoi refused.[194] The Chinese began to withdraw in November 1968 in preparation for a clash with the Soviets, which occurred at Zhenbao Island in March 1969. The Chinese also began financing the Khmer Rouge as a counterweight to the Vietnamese communists at this time. China's withdrawal from Vietnam was completed in July 1970.[195] The Khmer Rouge launched ferocious raids into Vietnam in 19751978. Vietnam responded with an invasion that toppled the Khmer Rouge. In response, China launched a brief, punitive invasion of Vietnam in 1979. Soviet Union Soviet ships in the South China Sea gave vital early warnings to NLF forces in South Vietnam. The Soviet intelligence ships would pick up American B-52 bombers flying from Okinawa and Guam. Their airspeed and direction would be noted and then relayed to COSVN headquarters. COSVN using airspeed and direction would calculate the bombing target and tell any assets to move "perpendicularly to the attack trajectory." These advance warning gave them time to move out of the way of the bombers and while the bombing runs caused extensive damage, because of the early warnings from 19681970 they did not kill a single military or civilian leader in the headquarter complexes.[196] The Soviet Union supplied North Vietnam with medical supplies, arms, tanks, planes, helicopters, artillery, anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment. Soviet crews fired USSR-made surface-to-air missiles at the B-52 bombers, which were the first raiders shot down over Hanoi. Fewer than a dozen Soviet citizens lost their lives in this conflict. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russian officials acknowledged that the Soviet Union had stationed up to 3,000 troops in Vietnam during the war.[197]

Leonid Brezhnev was the leader of the Soviet Union during the second half of the Vietnam War

Vietnam War Some Russian sources give more specific numbers: the hardware donated by the USSR included 2,000 tanks, 7,000 artillery guns, over 5,000 anti-aircraft guns, 158 surface-to-air rocket launchers. Over the course of the war the Soviet money donated to the Vietnamese cause was equal to 2 million dollars a day. From July 1965 to the end of 1974, fighting in Vietnam was attended by some 6,500 officers and generals, as well as more than 4,500 soldiers and sergeants of the Soviet Armed Forces. In addition, military schools and academies of the USSR began training Vietnamese soldiers more than 10 thousand people.[198] North Korea As a result of a decision of the Korean Workers' Party in October 1966, in early 1967 North Korea sent a fighter squadron to North Vietnam to back up the North Vietnamese 921st and 923rd fighter squadrons defending Hanoi. They stayed through 1968, and 200 pilots were reported to have served.[199] In addition, at least two anti-aircraft artillery regiments were sent as well. North Korea also sent weapons, ammunition and two million sets of uniforms to their comrades in North Vietnam.[200] Kim Il-sung is reported to have told his pilots to "fight in the war as if the Vietnamese sky were their own".[201] Cuba The extent of manpower contributions to North Vietnam by the communist Republic of Cuba, under Fidel Castro, is still a matter of debate. Then and since, the communist Vietnamese and Cuban governments have not divulged any information on this matter. There are numerous reports by former U.S. prisoners of war that Cuban military personnel were present at North Vietnamese prison facilities during the war, and that they participated in torture activities, in what is known as the "Cuba Program".[202] [203] [204] [205] [206] Witnesses to this include Senator John McCain, 2008 U.S. Presidential candidate and former Vietnam prisoner of war, according to his 1999 book Faith of My Fathers.[207] That there was at least a small contingent of Cuban military advisors present in North Vietnam during the war is without question. Some, notably Vietnam War POW/MIA issue advocates, claim evidence that Cuba's military and non-military involvement may have run into the "thousands" of personnel.[208]


South Korea Further information: Republic of Korea Marine Corps#Vietnam War,Tiger Division,Blue Dragon (military unit),andWhite Horse (military) On the anti-communist side, South Korea had the second-largest contingent of foreign troops in South Vietnam after the United States. In November 1961, Park Chung Hee proposed South Korean participation in the war to John F. Kennedy, but Kennedy disagreed.[209] On May 1, 1964 Lyndon Johnson requested South Korean participation.[209] The first South Korean troops began arriving in 1964 and large combat battalions began arriving a year later, with the South Koreans soon developing a reputation for effectiveness. Indeed arguably, they conducted counterinsurgency operations so well that American commanders felt that Korean area of responsibility was the safest.[210] Approximately 320,000 South Korean soldiers were sent to Vietnam,[211] each serving a one year tour of duty. Maximum troop levels peaked at 50,000 in 1968, however all were withdrawn by 1973.[212] About 5,000 South Koreans were killed and 11,000 were injured during the war. South Korea killed 41,000 Viet Congs.[211] United States paid South Korean soldiers 235,560,000 dollars for their service in Vietnam,[211] and South Korean GNP increased five times during the war.[211]

Vietnam War Australia and New Zealand Australia and New Zealand, close allies of the United States and members of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the ANZUS military co-operation treaty, sent ground troops to Vietnam. Both nations had gained experience in counterinsurgency and jungle warfare during the Malayan Emergency and World War II. Their governments subscribed to the Domino theory. Australia began by sending advisors to Vietnam in 1962, and combat troops were committed in 1965.[213] New Zealand began by sending a detachment of engineers and an artillery battery, and then started sending special forces and regular infantry which were attached to Australian formations.[214] Australia's peak commitment was 7,672 combat troops and New Zealand's 552. More than 60,000 Australian personnel were involved during the course of the An Australian soldier in Vietnam war, of which 521 were killed and more than 3,000 wounded.[215] Approximately 3,000 New Zealanders served in Vietnam, losing 37 killed and 187 wounded.[216] Most Australians and New Zealanders served in the 1st Australian Task Force in Phc Tuy province.[213] Philippines Some 10,450 Filipino troops were dispatched to South Vietnam. They were primarily engaged in medical and other civilian pacification projects. These forces operated under the designation PHLCAG-V or Philippine Civic Action Group-Vietnam. Thailand Thai Army formations, including the "Queen's Cobra" battalion, saw action in South Vietnam between 1965 and 1971. Thai forces saw much more action in the covert war in Laos between 1964 and 1972, 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. Republic of China (Taiwan) Since November 1967, the Republic of China (Taiwan) secretly operated a cargo transport detachment to assist the United States and the ROV. Taiwan also provided military training units for the South Vietnamese diving units, later known as the Lien Doi Nguoi Nhai (LDMN) or Frogman unit in English.[217] In addition to the diving trainers there were several hundred military personnel.[217] Military commandos from Taiwan were captured by communist forces three times trying to infiltrate North Vietnam.[217]


Vietnam War


Canada and the ICC

Canada, India and Poland constituted the International Control Commission, which was supposed to monitor the 1954 ceasefire agreement.[218] Officially, Canada did not have partisan involvement in the Vietnam War and diplomatically it was "non-belligerent". Victor Levant suggested otherwise in his book "Quiet Complicity: Canadian Involvement in the Vietnam War" (1986).[219] [220]

Women in Vietnam
American nurses
During the Vietnam War, women served on active duty doing a variety of jobs. Early in 1963, the Army Nurse Corps (ANC) launched Operation Nightingale, an intensive effort to recruit nurses to serve in Vietnam. Most nurses who volunteered to serve in Vietnam came from predominantly working or middle class families with histories of military service. The majority of these women were white Catholics and Protestants.[221] Because the need for medical aid was great, many nurses underwent a concentrated four-month training program before Da Nang, South Vietnam, 1968 being deployed to Vietnam in the ANC [222] Due to the shortage of staff, nurses usually worked twelve-hour shifts, six days per week and often suffered from exhaustion. First Lieutenant Sharon Lane was the only female military nurse to be killed by enemy gunfire during the war on June 8, 1969.[223] At the start of the Vietnam War, it was commonly thought that American women had no place in the military. Their traditional place had been in the domestic sphere, but with the war came opportunity for the expansion of gender roles. In Vietnam, women held a variety of jobs which included operating complex data processing equipment and serving as stenographers.[224] 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. While this high male to female ratio was often uncomfortable for women, many men reported that having women in the field with them boosted their morale.[225] Although this was not the womens purpose, it was one positive result of the their service. By 1973, approximately 7,500 women had served in Vietnam in the Southeast Asian theater.[226] In that same year, the military lifted the prohibition on women entering the armed forces. American women serving in Vietnam were subject to societal stereotypes. Many Americans either considered female in Vietnam mannish for living under the army discipline, or judged them to be women of questionable moral character who enlisted for the sole purpose of seducing men.[227] To address this problem, the ANC released advertisements portraying women in the ANC as proper, professional and well protected. (26) This effort to highlight the positive aspects of a nursing career reflected the ideas of second-wave feminism that occurred during the 1960s-1970s in the United States. Although female military nurses lived in a heavily male environment, very few cases of sexual harassment were ever reported.[228] In 2008, by contrast, approximately one-third of women in the military felt that they had been sexually harassed compared with one-third of men.

Vietnam War


Vietnamese women
Unlike the American women who went to Vietnam, Vietnamese women fought in the combat zone as well as provided manual labor to keep the Ho Chi Minh Trail open; they also worked in the rice fields to provide food for their families and the war effort. Women were enlisted in both the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the VietCong guerrilla force in South Vietnam. Nguyen Thi Dinh was an example of a woman who had fought most of her adult life against foreign forces in her country. She was a member of the Vietminh fighting against the French and was imprisoned in the 1940s but on her release continued to fight and led a revolt in 1945 in Ben Tre and also in 1960 against Diems government. In the mid 1960s, she became a deputy commander of the Viet Cong, the highest ranking combat position held by a woman during the war.[229] Nguyen Thi Duc Hoan, who would later go on to be an actress-director, also joined the fight at a young age and would later become a guerrilla fighter against the Americans, at the time her own daughter was training in the militia.[230]

Communist forces were principally armed with Chinese[231] and Soviet weaponry[232] though some Viet Cong guerrilla units were equipped with Western infantry weapons either captured from French stocks during the first Indochina war or from ARVN units or requisitioned through illicit purchase.[233] The ubiquitous Soviet AK-47 was widely regarded as the best assault rifle of the war and it was not uncommon to see U.S. special forces with captured AK-47s. The American M16, which replaced the M14, was considered more accurate and was lighter than the AK-47 but was prone to jamming. Oftentimes the gun suffered from a jamming flaw known as failure to extract, which meant that a U.S. soldier carries a M67 recoilless rifle past a spent cartridge case remained lodged in the chamber after a bullet flew burning Viet Cong base camp in My Tho, South Vietnam, 1968 out the muzzle.[234] According to a congressional report, the jamming was caused primarily by a change in gunpowder which was done without adequate testing and reflected a decision for which the safety of soldiers was a secondary consideration.[235] The heavily armored, 90mm M48A3 Patton tank tank saw extensive action during the Vietnam War and over 600 were deployed with US Forces. They played an important role in infantry support though there were few actual tank versus tank battles. The M67A1 flamethrower tank (nicknamed the Zippo) was an M48 variant used in Vietnam. Artillery was used extensively by both sides but the Americans were able to ferry the lightweight 105mm M102 howitzer by helicopter to remote locations on quick notice.[236] [237] With its 17-mile (27km) range, the Soviet 130mm M-46 towed field gun was a highly regarded weapon and used to good effect by the NVA. It was countered by the long-range, American 175mm M107 Self-Propelled Gun.[238] The United States had air superiority though many aircraft were lost to surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery. U.S. air power was credited with breaking the siege of Khe Sanh and blunting the 1972 Communist offensive against South Vietnam. At sea, the U.S. Navy had the run of the coastline, using aircraft carriers as platforms for offshore strikes and other naval vessels for offshore artillery support. Offshore naval fire played a pivotal role in the Battle for the city of Hue, providing accurate fire in support of the U.S. counter-offensive to retake the city.[239] The Vietnam War was the first conflict that saw wide scale tactical deployment of helicopters.[240] The Bell UH-1 Iroquois was used extensively in counter-guerilla operations both as a troop carrier and a gunship.[237] In the latter role, the "Huey" as it became affectionately known, was outfitted with a variety of armaments including M60 machineguns, multi-barreled 7.62mm Gatling guns and

Vietnam War unguided air-to-surface rockets.[237] The Hueys were also successfully used in MEDEVAC and search and rescue roles.[237]
Type AFVs North Vietnam, Viet Cong T-34/85, T-54, T-55, and PT-76 tanks. U.S., South Vietnam, Australia M48A3 Patton tank, M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle, M551 Sheridan, M50 Ontos, Centurion (Australian Army), M41 Walker Bulldog (ARVN), V-100 Commando (Army Military Police / USAF Security Police)



BTR-40, BTR-152, BTR-50, BTR-60 APC's & BMP M113 1 IFV's M1937 Howitzer, BM-21, D-30 (2A18) Howitzer, M1954 field gun M109 self-propelled howitzer, M107 Self-Propelled Gun, M110 self-propelled howitzer, M102 105mm howitzer, M114 155 mm howitzer A-4 Skyhawk, A-6 Intruder, F-4 Phantom II, F-100 Super Sabre, F-105 Thunderchief, A-7 Corsair, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Lockheed AC-130, Douglas AC-47 Spooky, B-57 Canberra (RAAF), A-37 Dragonfly (U.S. & ARVN) Douglas A-1 Skyraider (U.S. & ARVN) CH-47 Chinook, CH-53, Bell UH-1 Iroquois, Bell AH-1 Cobra, CH-54 Skycrane



MiG-21, MiG-19, MiG-17


Mi-6, Mi-8


SA-3 Goa, SA-2 Guideline, Strela 2, M1939 (61-K) MIM-23 Hawk, M55 Quad 50 (dual use weapon for AA as well as for 37mm, ZSU-57-2, twin 57mm, ZPU 14.5mm models engaging ground targets)[241] 1,2 and 4 (numbers corresponding to single, double and quad barreled variants) MAT-49, SKS, AK-47, RPK, RPD, DShK HMG, RPG-7, RPG-2, B-10 recoilless rifle and B-11 recoilless rifle Vympel K-13 M14, M16, M79 grenade launcher, M60 machine gun, M2 Browning, LAW, M18 Claymore anti-personnel mines, TOW, and M40 recoilless rifle, L1A1 SLR (ADF), Owen Gun (ADF) AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-7 Sparrow

Infantry weapons

Air-to-Air Missiles Air-to-Surface Missiles Specialized weapons

AGM-45 Shrike anti radiation missile, AGM-12 Bullpup, AGM-78 Standard ARM, AGM-62 Walleye, Zuni rocket IEDs [242] BLU-82 Daisy Cutter, Laser-guided bombs, Napalm

Events in Southeast Asia
Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, fell to followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, commonly known as the Khmer Rouge, on 17 April 1975. Over the next four years, the Khmer Rouge enacted a genocidal policy that killed over one-fifth of all Cambodians, or more than a million people.[243] After repeated border clashes in 1978, Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) and ousted the Khmer Rouge in the CambodianVietnamese War. In response, China invaded Vietnam in 1979. The two countries fought a brief border war, known as the Third Indochina War or the Sino-Vietnamese War. From 1978 to 1979, some 450,000 ethnic Chinese left Vietnam by boat as refugees or were expelled across the land border with China.[244] The Pathet Lao overthrew the royalist government of Laos in December 1975. They established the Lao People's Democratic Republic.[245] From 1975 to 1996, the United States resettled some 250,000 Lao refugees from Thailand, including 130,000 Hmong.[246]

Vietnam War More than 3 million people fled from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, many as "boat people". Most Asian countries were unwilling to accept refugees.[247] Since 1975, an estimated 1.4 million refugees from Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries have been resettled to the United States,[248] while Canada, Australia, and France resettled over 500,000.[249]


Effect on the United States

In the post-war era, Americans struggled to absorb the lessons of the military intervention.[250] As General Maxwell Taylor, one of the principal architects of the war, noted "first, we didn't know ourselves. We thought that we were going into another Korean War, but this was a different country. Secondly, we didn't know our South Vietnamese allies... And we knew less about North Vietnam. 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."[251] [252] Some have suggested that "the responsibility for the ultimate failure of this policy [America's withdrawal from Vietnam] lies not with the men Vietnam War protests at the Pentagon, October who fought, but with those in Congress..."[253] Alternatively, the 1967 official history of the United States Army noted that "tactics have often seemed to exist apart from larger issues, strategies, and objectives. Yet in Vietnam the Army experienced tactical success and strategic failure... The...Vietnam War...legacy may be the lesson that unique historical, political, cultural, and social factors always impinge on the military...Success rests not only on military progress but on correctly analyzing the nature of the particular conflict, understanding the enemy's strategy, and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of allies. 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."[254] U.S. 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."[255] Even Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara concluded that "the achievement of a military victory by U.S. forces in Vietnam was indeed a dangerous illusion."[256] Doubts surfaced as to the effectiveness of large-scale, sustained bombing. As Army Chief of Staff Harold Keith Johnson noted, "if anything came out of Vietnam, it was that air power couldn't do the job."[257] Even General William Westmoreland admitted that the bombing had been ineffective. As he remarked, "I still doubt that the North Vietnamese would have relented."[257] The inability to bomb Hanoi to the bargaining table also illustrated another U.S. miscalculation. The North's leadership was composed of hardened A young Marine private waits on the beach communists who had been fighting for independence for thirty years. They during the Marine landing, Da Nang August 3, 1965. had defeated the French, and their tenacity as both nationalists and communists was formidable. Ho Chi Minh is quoted as saying, "You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours...But even at these odds you will lose and I will win."[258]

Vietnam War


The Vietnam War called into question the U.S. 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."[257] As well, doubts surfaced about the ability of the military to train foreign forces. Between 1965 and 1975, the United States spent $111 billion on the war ($686 billion in FY2008 dollars).[259] This resulted in a large federal budget deficit. More than 3 million Americans served in the Vietnam War, some 1.5 operations in Hue City, 1968 million of whom actually saw combat in Vietnam.[260] James E. Westheider wrote that "At the height of American involvement in 1968, for example, there were 543,000 American military personnel in Vietnam, but only 80,000 were considered combat troops."[261] Conscription in the United States had been controlled by the President since World War II, but ended in 1973." By war's end, 58,220 soldiers were killed,[] more than 150,000 were wounded, and at least 21,000 were permanently disabled.[262] According to Dale Kueter, "Sixty-one percent of those killed were age 21 or younger. Of those killed in combat, 86.3 percent were white, 12.5 percent were black and the remainder from other races."[263] The youngest American KIA in the war was PFC Dan Bullock, who had falsified his birth certificate and enlisted in the US Marines at age 14 and who was killed in combat at age 15.[264] Approximately 830,000 Vietnam veterans suffered symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. An estimated 125,000 Americans fled to Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft,[265] and approximately 50,000 American servicemen deserted.[266] In 1977, United States President Jimmy Carter granted a full, complete and unconditional pardon to all Vietnam-era Draft dodgers.[267] The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue, concerning the fate of U.S. service personnel listed as missing in action, persisted for many years after the war's conclusion.
2/5 Marine gets his wounds treated during

Chemical defoliation
One of the most controversial aspects of the U.S. military effort in Southeast Asia was the widespread use of chemical defoliants between 1961 and 1971. They were used to defoliate large parts of the countryside. These chemicals continue to change the landscape, cause diseases and birth defects, and poison the food chain.[268] 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. 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 by-product of its manufacture. About 12 million gallons (45,000,000L) of Agent Orange were sprayed over Southeast Asia during the American involvement. A prime area of Ranch Hand operations was in the Mekong Delta, where the U.S. Navy patrol boats were vulnerable to attack from the undergrowth at the water's edge.

Vietnam War


In 1961 and 1962, the Kennedy administration authorized the use of chemicals to destroy rice crops. Between 1961 and 1967, the U.S. Air Force sprayed 20 million U.S. gallons (75,700,000L) of concentrated herbicides over 6 million acres (24,000km2) of crops and trees, affecting an estimated 13% of South Vietnam's land. In 1965, 42% of all herbicide was sprayed over food crops. Another purpose of herbicide use was to drive civilian populations into RVN-controlled areas.[269] As of 2006, the Vietnamese government estimates that there are over 4,000,000 victims of dioxin poisoning in Vietnam, although the United States government denies any conclusive scientific links between Agent Orange and the Vietnamese victims of dioxin poisoning. In some areas of southern Vietnam dioxin levels remain at over 100 times the accepted international standard.[270]

U.S. helicopter spraying chemical defoliants in the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam

The U.S. 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. Although there has been much discussion over whether the use of these defoliants constituted a violation of the laws of war, the defoliants were not considered weapons, since exposure to them did not lead to immediate death or incapacitation.

The number of military and civilian deaths from 1955 to 1975 is debated. Some reports fail to include the members of South Vietnamese forces killed in the final campaign, or the Royal Lao Armed Forces, thousands of Laotian and Thai irregulars, or Laotian civilians who all perished in the conflict. They do not include the tens of thousands of Cambodians killed during the civil war or the estimated one and one-half to two million that perished in the genocide that followed Khmer Rouge victory, or the fate of Laotian Royals and civilians after the Pathet Lao assumed complete power in Laos. In 1995, the Vietnamese government reported that its military forces, including the NLF, suffered 1.1 million dead and 600,000 wounded during Hanoi's conflict with the United States. Civilian deaths were put at two million in the North and South, and economic reparations were demanded. Hanoi concealed the figures during the war to avoid demoralizing the population.[271] Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American bombing in Operation Rolling Thunder range from 52,000[272] to 182,000.[273] The U.S. military has estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war.[274]

Popular culture
The Vietnam War has been featured heavily in television, film, video games, and literature in the participant countries. The war also influenced a generation of musicians and songwriters in Vietnam and the United States, both anti-war and pro/anti-communist. The band Country Joe and the Fish recorded "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" / The "Fish" Cheer in 1965, and it became one of the most influential anti-Vietnam protest anthems. Trinh Cong Son was a South Vietnamese songwriter famous for his anti-war songs.

Vietnam War


[1] Also known as the Second Indochina War, Vietnam Conflict, American War in Vietnam and, in Vietnam, as War Against the Americans to Save the Nation. "Official news source use of the name" (http:/ / vietnamnews. vnagency. com. vn/ Social-Isssues/ 193440/ Two-250kg-wartime-bombs-defused. html). Vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn. 29 October 2009. . Retrieved 28 April 2010. [2] Due to the early presence of American troops in Vietnam the start date of the Vietnam War is a grey zone. In 1998 after a high level review by the Department of Defense (DoD) and through the efforts of Richard B. Fitzgibbon's family the start date of the Vietnam War was changed to 1 November 1955.DoD 1998 U.S. government reports currently cite 1 November 1955 as the commencement date of the Vietnam Conflict, for this was the day when the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) in Indochina (deployed to Southeast Asia under President Truman) was reorganized into country-specific units and MAAG Vietnam was established.Lawrence 2009, p. 20 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=CxtJ56I2cjMC& pg=PA20)

Other start dates include when Hanoi authorized Viet Cong forces in South Vietnam to begin a low-level insurgency in December 1956,James Olson and Randy Roberts, Where the Domino Fell: America and Vietnam, 19451990, p. 67 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991). whereas some view 26 September 1959 when the first battle occurred between the Communist and South Vietnamese army, as the start date. Origins of the Insurgency in South Vietnam, 19541960 (http:/ / www. mtholyoke. edu/ acad/ intrel/ pentagon/ pent14. htm), The Pentagon Papers (Gravel Edition), Volume 1, Chapter 5, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), Section 3, pp. 314346; International Relations Department, Mount Holyoke College.
[3] "Vietnam War" (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ EBchecked/ topic/ 628478/ Vietnam-War). Encyclopdia Britannica. . Retrieved 5 March 2008. "Meanwhile, the United States, its military demoralized and its civilian electorate deeply divided, began a process of coming to terms with defeat in its longest and most controversial war" [4] Digital History, Steven Mintz. "The Vietnam War" (http:/ / www. digitalhistory. uh. edu/ modules/ vietnam/ index. cfm). Digitalhistory.uh.edu. . Retrieved 2011-10-31. [5] Vietnam War Statistics and Facts 1 (http:/ / 25thaviation. org/ facts/ id430. htm), 25th Aviation Batallion website. [6] Kolko, Gabriel Anatomy of War, pp. 457, 461 ff., ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [7] Charles Hirschman et al., Vietnamese Casualties During the American War: A New Estimate, Population and Development Review, December 1995. [8] Associated Press, April 3, 1995, "Vietnam Says 1.1 Million Died Fighting For North." [9] Heuveline, Patrick (2001). "The Demographic Analysis of Mortality in Cambodia." In Forced Migration and Mortality, eds. Holly E. Reed and Charles B. Keely. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. [10] Marek Sliwinski, Le Gnocide Khmer Rouge: Une Analyse Dmographique (LHarmattan, 1995). [11] Banister, Judith, and Paige Johnson (1993). "After the Nightmare: The Population of Cambodia." In Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia: The Khmer Rouge, the United Nations and the International Community, ed. Ben Kiernan. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies. [12] Warner, Roger, Shooting at the Moon, (1996), pp366, estimates 30,000 Hmong. [13] Obermeyer, "Fifty years of violent war deaths from Vietnam to Bosnia", British Medical Journal, 2008, estimates 60,000 total. [14] T. Lomperis, From People's War to People's Rule, (1996), estimates 35,000 total. [15] Small, Melvin & Joel David Singer, Resort to Arms: International and Civil Wars 1816-1980, (1982), estimates 20,000 total. [16] Taylor, Charles Lewis, The World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators, estimates 20,000 total. [17] Stuart-Fox, Martin, A History of Laos, estimates 200,000 by 1973. [18] Moore, Harold. G and Joseph L. Galloway We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam (p. 57). [19] "Asian-Nation: Asian American History, Demographics, & Issues:: The American / Viet Nam War" (http:/ / www. asian-nation. org/ vietnam-war. shtml). . Retrieved 18 August 2008. "The Viet Nam War is also called 'The American War' by the Vietnamese" [20] Ooi, Keat Gin. Southeast Asia: a historical encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=QKgraWbb7yoC). ABC-CLIO; 2004. ISBN 9781576077702. p. 520 (http:/ / books. google. com. ph/ books?id=QKgraWbb7yoC& pg=PA520). [21] Rai, Lajpat. Social Science (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=QQ_nS6pTlDgC). FK Publications; ISBN 9788189611125. p. 22 (http:/ / books. google. com. ph/ books?id=QQ_nS6pTlDgC& pg=PA22). [22] Dommen, Arthur J.. The Indochinese experience of the French and the Americans: nationalism and communism in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=MauWlUjuWNsC). Indiana University Press; 2001. ISBN 9780253338549. p. 419 (http:/ / books. google. com. ph/ books?id=MauWlUjuWNsC& pg=PA4). [23] Neale, Jonathan The American War, p. 3, ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [24] Neale, Jonathan The American War, p. 17, ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [25] The Vit Nam c Lp ng Minh Hi had previously formed in Nanjing, China, at some point between August 1935 and early 1936 when the non-communist Vietnamese Nationalist Party (Vit Nam Quc Dn ng, or Vit Quc), led by Nguyn Thi Hc, and some members of the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) and a number of other Vietnamese nationalist parties formed an anti-imperialist united front. This organisation soon lapsed into inactivity, only to be revived by the ICP and Ho Chi Minh in 1941.Sophie Quinn-Judge (2003). Ho Chi Minh:

Vietnam War
the missing years, 1919-1941 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=knErjpiKxQoC). C. Hurst. pp. 212213 (http:/ / books. google. com. ph/ books?id=knErjpiKxQoC& pg=PA212). ISBN9781850656586. . [26] Vietnam (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=WZry2NaH2_sC& lpg=PA42& ots=Yhrw1jzE4P& dq=Chinese nationalists supported Vietminh& pg=PA42#v=onepage& q& f=false) Vietnam by Spencer Tucker, p. 42, ISBN 0813109663 Retrieved 4 June 2011. [27] Brocheux 2007, p. 198 (http:/ / books. google. com. ph/ books?id=fJtqjYiVbUAC& pg=PA198) [28] Neale, Jonathan The American War, p. 18, ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [29] Neale, Jonathan The American War, pp. 1819, ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [30] Kolko, Gabriel Anatomy of War, p. 36, ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [31] Neale, Jonathan The American War, p. 19, ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [32] Neale, Jonathan The American War, p. 20, ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [33] Kolko, Gabriel Anatomy of War, p. 37, ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [34] "" (http:/ / nippon. zaidan. info/ seikabutsu/ 2005/ 01036/ pdf/ 0001. pdf). . Tokyo foundation. October 2005. . Retrieved 10 June 2010. [35] " " (http:/ / nippon. zaidan. info/ seikabutsu/ 2006/ 00197/ pdf/ 0001. pdf). . Tokyo foundation. May 2006. . Retrieved 10 June 2010. [36] Willbanks 2009, p. 8 (http:/ / books. google. com. ph/ books?id=X5WWklFB5O4C& pg=PA8) [37] Neale, Jonathan The American War, p. 24, ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [38] Neale, Jonathan The American War, pp. 2324 ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [39] Willbanks 2009, p. 9 (http:/ / books. google. com. ph/ books?id=X5WWklFB5O4C& pg=PA9) [40] "Franco-Vietnam Agreement of March 6th, 1946" (http:/ / www. vietnamgear. com/ March6agreement. aspx). Vietnamgear.com. 1946-03-06. . Retrieved 2011-04-29. [41] "Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Chapter !, Section 2" (http:/ / www. mtholyoke. edu/ acad/ intrel/ pentagon/ pent2. htm). Mtholyoke.edu. . Retrieved 2011-04-29. [42] Neale, Jonathan The American War, p. 24 ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [43] Peter Dennis (1987). Troubled days of peace: Mountbatten and South East Asia command, 1945-46 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=Inu7AAAAIAAJ). Manchester University Press ND. p. 179 (http:/ / books. google. com. ph/ books?id=Inu7AAAAIAAJ& pg=PA179). ISBN9780719022050. . [44] Neale, Jonathan The American War, p. 25 ISBN 1-898876-67-3. [45] McNamara, Argument Without End pp. 37779. [46] Pentagon Papers, Gravel, ed, Chapter 2, 'U.S. Involvement in the Franco-Viet Minh War', p. 54. [47] Ang, Cheng Guan, The Vietnam War from the Other Side, p. 14. Routledge (2002). [48] "The History Place Vietnam War 19451960" (http:/ / www. historyplace. com/ unitedstates/ vietnam/ index-1945. html). . Retrieved 11 June 2008. [49] Herring, George C.: America's Longest War, p. 18. [50] Zinn, A People's History of the United States, p. 471. [51] Vietnam The Ten Thousand Day War, Thames 1981, Michael Maclear, p. 57. [52] Vietnam at War: The History: 19461975 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=seXWfsD46QQC), ISBN 978-0-19-506792-7, p. 263 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=seXWfsD46QQC& pg=PA263). [53] Dien Bien Phu (http:/ / www. airforce-magazine. com/ MagazineArchive/ Pages/ 2004/ August 2004/ 0804dien. aspx), Air Force Magazine 87:8, August 2004. [54] Vietnam (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=FEpuVkgzFJYC), Routledge, 1999, Spencer Tucker, ISBN 978-1-85728-922-0, p. 76 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=FEpuVkgzFJYC& pg=PA76). [55] The U.S. Navy: a history (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=3kUWAycjBsMC), Naval Institute Press, 1997, Nathan Miller, ISBN 978-1-55750-595-8, pp. 6768 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=3kUWAycjBsMC& pg=PA67). [56] The Pentagon Papers. Gravel, ed. vol. 1, pp. 391404. [57] "William C. Jeffries (2006). Trap Door to the Dark Side (http:/ / books. google. cz/ books?id=zCVrzwEErzgC& pg=PA388& dq& hl=en#v=onepage& q=& f=false)". p. 388. ISBN 1-4259-5120-1 [58] Press release by the Embassy of the Republic of Vietnam, quoted from the Washington, D.C. press and Information Service, vol l. no. 18 (22 July 1955) and no. 20 (18 August 1955), in Chapter 19 of Gettleman, Franklin and Young, Vietnam and America: A Documented History, pp. 103105. [59] Jacobs, pp. 4555. [60] Two Viet-nams by Bernard B. Fall. Praeger, 1964. [61] Vietnam Divided by B.S.N. Murti, Asian Publishing House, 1964. [62] Robert Turner, Vietnamese Communism: Its Origin and Development, 102 (Stanford Ca: Hoover Institution Press, 1975). [63] Karnow 1991, p.238 [64] Anatomy of a war, Gabiel Kolko, Phoenix press 1994, p. 98. [65] 1 Pentagon Papers (The Senator Gravel Edition), 247, 328 (Boston, Beacon Press, 1971). [66] John Prados, " The Numbers Game: How Many Vietnamese Fled South In 1954? (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20060527190340/ http:/ / www. vva. org/ TheVeteran/ 2005_01/ feature_numbersGame. htm)", The VVA Veteran, January/February 2005. Retrieved 21 January 2007.


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[67] Christian G. Appy (2008) Vietnam: The Definitive Oral History, Told From All Sides. London, Ebury Press: 46. [68] Christian G. Appy (2008) Vietnam: The Definitive Oral History, Told From All Sides. London, Ebury Press: 467. [69] Kolko, Gabriel, Anatomy of a War p. 98, ISBN 1-56584-218-9. [70] Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mandate for Change. Garden City, New Jersey. Doubleday & Company, 1963, p. 372. [71] "Pentagon Papers" (http:/ / www. mtholyoke. edu/ acad/ intrel/ pentagon/ pent11. htm). Mtholyoke.edu. . Retrieved 2011-10-31. [72] Robert K. Brigham. Battlefield Vietnam: A Brief History. (http:/ / www. pbs. org/ battlefieldvietnam/ history/ index. html) [73] Karnow 1991, p.224 [74] Gerdes (ed.) Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War p. 19. [75] McNamara Argument Without End p. 19. [76] John F. Kennedy. " America's Stakes in Vietnam (http:/ / www. jfklibrary. org/ Research/ Ready-Reference/ JFK-Speeches/ Remarks-of-Senator-John-F-Kennedy-at-the-Conference-on-Vietnam-Luncheon-in-the-Hotel-Willard-Washing. aspx)". Speech to the American Friends of Vietnam, June 1956. [77] McNamara Argument Without End pp. 200201. [78] "The Pentagon Papers Gravel Edition Volume 1, Chapter 5, "Origins of the Insurgency in South Vietnam, 19541960"" (http:/ / www. mtholyoke. edu/ acad/ intrel/ pentagon/ pent14. htm). Mtholyoke.edu. . Retrieved 2011-10-31. [79] Anatomy of a War by Gabriel Kolko, ISBN 1-56584-218-9, p. 89. [80] Karnow 1991, p.230 [81] Neil Sheehan (1988) A Bright Shining Lie. New York, Vintage: 18493. [82] Vo Nguyen Giap, "The Political and Military Line of Our Party", in The Military Art, pp. 17980.


[83] Pike, Douglas (1970). "The Viet-Cong Strategy of Terror". The Vietnam Center and Archive (http:/ / www. virtualarchive. vietnam. ttu. edu/ ), Texas Tech University. pp. 60, 62, 69, 71. Part 1 (http:/ / www. virtual. vietnam. ttu. edu/ cgi-bin/ starfetch. exe?e5z34t@dJkexuWETr3B1fl3. 4A11qy6aGoqYGSesb3FHJu6oK0j2xQURG4Ems54v8bXLsfwgIRuvUic7ASUBecCbKmlDC9aDJlB8uHnbq7Q/ 2310402003a. pdf) Part 2 (http:/ / www. virtual. vietnam. ttu. edu/ cgi-bin/ starfetch. exe?uEV2mjo7Pl2rKZRbQDlQ0KfwwlBThIWGngYKmJi5Box55lpgPFFn3@odbPrEsb5aMowqmp57fbDUluTEM8kYdrWuHjLngAtXbeNRfQYivSE/ 2310402003b. pdf) (a monograph prepared for the United States Mission, Vietnam). [84] Thomas A. Bruscino (16 October 2006). Out of Bounds: Transnational Sanctuary in Irregular Warfare (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=uhTiAAAACAAJ). Combat Studies Institute Press. p. 30. ISBN9780160768460. ., "... Vietcong units regularly threw grenades into crowds and vehicles, fired small arms into villages at night, assassinated and kidnapped village leaders and teachers, and burned down sections of villages." (Online versions available here (http:/ / www-cgsc. army. mil/ carl/ download/ csipubs/ bruscino. pdf) (pdf) and here (http:/ / www. scribd. com/ doc/ 1832599/ US-Army-bruscino) (viewable, pdf, and plain text). Human Cost of Communism in Vietnam. p. II (http:/ / www. vietnam. ttu. edu/ star/ images/ 239/ 2390710003B. pdf) (1972), p. 65. [85] Pike 1970, p.70. [86] Pentagon Papers Gravel, 335. [87] Anatomy of a War by Gabriel Kolko, ISBN 1-56584-218-9, pp. 9495. [88] Pentagon Papers Gravel, 337. [89] See Mark Moyar, "The War Against the Viet Cong Shadow Government", in The Real Lesson of the Vietnam War (John Norton Moore and Robert Turner eds., 2002) pp. 15167. [90] Excerpts from Law 10/59, 6 May 1959 (http:/ / vietnam. vassar. edu/ doc6. html). [91] U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.-Vietnam Relations, vol. 2, p. 2. [92] Anatomy of a War by Gabriel Kolko, ISBN 1-56584-218-9, p. 105. [93] Karnow 1991, p.264 [94] The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy (http:/ / avalon. law. yale. edu/ 20th_century/ kennedy. asp). [95] Karnow 1991, p.265 suggested that "Kennedy sidestepped Laos, whose rugged terrain was no battleground for American soldiers." [96] The case of John F. Kennedy and Vietnam Presidential Studies Quarterly (http:/ / mcadams. posc. mu. edu/ goldzwig. htm). [97] Mann, Robert. A Grand Delusion, Basic Books, 2002. [98] Karnow 1991, p.267 [99] U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.-Vietnam Relations, vol. 3, pp. 12. [100] McNamara Argument Without End p. 369. [101] John Kenneth Galbraith. "Memorandum to President Kennedy from John Kenneth Galbraith on Vietnam, 4 April 1962." The Pentagon Papers. Gravel. ed. Boston, Massachusetts Beacon Press, 1971, vol. 2. pp. 669671. [102] "Vietnam War" (http:/ / www. swarthmore. edu/ library/ peace/ conscientiousobjection/ OverviewVietnamWar. htm). Swarthmore College Peace Collection (http:/ / www. swarthmore. edu/ library/ peace/ ). . [103] International Agreement on the Neutrality of Laos (http:/ / www. answers. com/ topic/ international-agreement-on-the-neutrality-of-laos-35k). [104] Neil Sheehan (1989) A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. New York, Vintage: 20166. [105] Live interview by John Bartlow Martin. Was Kennedy Planning to Pull out of Vietnam? New York, New York. John F. Kennedy Library, 1964, Tape V, Reel 1. [106] Karnow 1991, p.326

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[107] Karnow 1991, p.327 [108] McNamara Argument Without End p. 328. [109] Demma, Vincent H. "The U.S. Army in Vietnam." American Military History (1989) the official history of the United States Army. Available online (http:/ / www. ibiblio. org/ pub/ academic/ history/ marshall/ military/ vietnam/ short. history/ chap_28. txt). [110] Douglas Blaufarb. The Counterinsurgency Era. New York, New York. Free Press, 1977, p. 119. [111] George C. Herring. America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 19501975. Boston, Massachusetts McGraw Hill, 1986, p. 103. [112] Foreign Relation of the United States, Vietnam, 19611963. Washington, D.C. Government Printing Office, 1991, vol. 4., p. 707. [113] U.S. Special Forces: A Guide to America's Special Operations Units : the World's Most Elite Fighting Force,By Samuel A. Southworth, Stephen Tanner, Published by Da Capo Press, 2002, ISBN 9780306811654. [114] Shooting at the Moon by Roger Warner The history of CIA/IAD'S 15-year involvement in conducting the secret war in Laos, 19601975, and the career of CIA PMCO (paramilitary case officer) Bill Lair. [115] Karnow 1991, pp.336339 Johnson viewed many members whom he inherited from Kennedy's cabinet with distrust because he had never penetrated their circle early in Kennedy's presidency; to Johnson's mind, such as W. Averell Harriman and Dean Acheson spoke a different language. [116] Shortly after the assassination of Kennedy, when McGeorge Bundy called LBJ on the phone, LBJ responded: "Goddammit, Bundy. I've told you that when I want you I'll call you." Brian VanDeMark, Into the Quagmire (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 13. [117] Vietnam: A History (New York: Penguin books, 1983), p. 339. Before a small group, including Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., the new president also said, "We should stop playing cops and robbers [a reference to Diem's failed leadership] and get back to... winning the war... tell the generals in Saigon that Lyndon Johnson intends to stand by our word...[to] win the contest against the externally directed and supported Communist conspiracy." [118] Karnow 1991, p.339 talking about the Mekong Delta, that, "At a place called Hoa Phu, for example, the strategic hamlet built during the previous summer now looked like it had been hit by a hurricane.... Speaking through an interpreter, a local guard explained to me that a handful of Vietcong agents had entered the hamlet one night and told the peasants to tear it down and return to their native villages. The peasants complied without question." [119] National Security Action Memorandum NSAM 263 (11 October 1963) (http:/ / www. jfklancer. com/ NSAM263. html). [120] NSAM 273 (26 November 1963) (http:/ / www. jfklancer. com/ NSAM273. html). [121] "NSAM 273: South Vietnam" (http:/ / www. lbjlib. utexas. edu/ johnson/ archives. hom/ NSAMs/ nsam273. asp). . Retrieved 23 June 2011. [122] Karnow 1991, p.340 who quote Minh as enjoying playing tennis more than bureaucratic work. [123] Karnow 1991, p.341 [124] Osborn 2002, pp.8485 [125] Gerdes (ed.) Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War p. 26. [126] Palmer, Dave Richard (1978). Summons of the Trumpet: U.S.-Vietnam in Perspective. Presidio Press. p.882. ISBN0891415505. [127] Shane, Scott (31 October 2005). "Vietnam Study, Casting Doubts, Remains Secret" (http:/ / www. nytimes. com/ 2005/ 10/ 31/ politics/ 31war. html). The New York Times. . Retrieved 27 April 2010. [128] Gerdes (ed.) Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War p. 25. [129] George C. Herring, America's longest war: the United States and Vietnam 19501975 (New York: Wiley, 1979), 121. 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Letter to Martin Niemoeller. December 1966. quoted in Marilyn B. Young. The Vietnam Wars: 19451990. New York, New York. Harper, 1991, p. 172. [139] McNamara, Argument Without End p. 48. [140] McNamara, Argument Without End pp. 34951. [141] Mark Moyar (2006). Triumph forsaken: the Vietnam War, 19541965 (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=phJrZ87RwuAC). Cambridge University Press. p. 339 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=phJrZ87RwuAC& pg=PA339). ISBN9780521869119. . [142] McNeill 1993, p. 58. [143] McNeill 1993, p. 94. [144] U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.-Vietnam Relations vol. 4, p. 7. [145] McNamara Argument Without End p. 353.


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Notes References
Secondary sources
Anderson, David L. Columbia Guide to the Vietnam War (2004). Baker, Kevin. "Stabbed in the Back! The past and future of a right-wing myth", Harper's Magazine (June 2006) "Stabbed in the back! The past and future of a right-wing myth (Harper's Magazine)" (http://www.harpers.org/ archive/2006/06/0081080). Retrieved 11 June 2008. Angio, Joe. Nixon a Presidency Revealed (2007) The History Channel television documentary Berman, Larry. Lyndon Johnson's War: The Road to Stalemate (1991). Blaufarb, Douglas. The Counterinsurgency Era (1977) a history of the Kennedy Administration's involvement in South Vietnam. Brigham, Robert K. Battlefield Vietnam: A Brief History a PBS interactive website Brocheux, Pierre (2007). Ho Chi Minh: a biography. Cambridge University Press. pp. 198 (http://books.google. com.ph/books?id=fJtqjYiVbUAC&pg=PA198). ISBN9780521850629. Buckley, Kevin. "Pacifications Deadly Price" (http://chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/Vietnam/buckley. html), Newsweek, 19 June 1972. Buzzanco, Bob. "25 Years After End of Vietnam War: Myths Keep Us From Coming To Terms With Vietnam", The Baltimore Sun (17 April 2000) "25 Years After End Of Vietnam War Myths Keep Us From Coming To Terms With Vietnam" (http://www.commondreams.org/views/041700-106.htm). Retrieved 11 June 2008. Church, Peter ed. A Short History of South-East Asia (2006).

Vietnam War Cooper, Chester L. The Lost Crusade: America in Vietnam (1970) a Washington insider's memoir of events. Courtwright, David T. (2005). Sky as frontier: adventure, aviation, and empire (2005 ed.). Texas A&M University Press. ISBN1585444197. Demma, Vincent H. "The U.S. Army in Vietnam." American Military History (1989) the official history of the United States Army. Available online (http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/history/marshall/military/ vietnam/short.history/chap_28.txt) Dennis, Peter; et al (2008). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (Second ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand. ISBN9780195517842. DoD (6 November 1998). "Name of Technical Sergeant Richard B. Fitzgibbon to be added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial" (http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=1902). Department of Defense (DoD). Retrieved 31 March 2010. Duiker, William J. The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam (1996). Duncanson, Dennis J. Government and Revolution in Vietnam (1968). Fincher, Ernest Barksdale, The Vietnam War (1980). Ford, Harold P. CIA and the Vietnam Policymakers: Three Episodes, 19621968. (1998). Gerdes, Louise I. ed. Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons: The Vietnam War (2005). Gettleman, Marvin E.; Franklin, Jane; Young, Marilyn Vietnam and America: A Documented History. (1995). Hammond, William. Public Affairs: The Military and the Media, 19621968 (1987); Public Affairs: The Military and the Media, 10681973 (1995). full-scale history of the war by U.S. Army; much broader than title suggests. Herring, George C. America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 19501975 (4th ed 2001), most widely used short history. Hitchens, Christopher. The Vietnam Syndrome. Karnow, Stanley (1991). Vietnam: A History (1991 ed.). Viking Press. ISBN0670842184.; popular history by a former foreign correspondent; strong on Saigon's plans. Kutler, Stanley ed. Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War (1996). Lawrence, A. T. (2009). Crucible Vietnam: Memoir of an Infantry Lieutenant (2009 ed.). McFarland. ISBN0786445173. Leepson, Marc ed. Dictionary of the Vietnam War (1999) New York: Webster's New World. Lewy, Guenter. America in Vietnam (1978), defends U.S. actions. Logevall, Fredrik. The Origins of the Vietnam War (Longman [Seminar Studies in History] 2001). McMahon, Robert J. Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War: Documents and Essays (1995) textbook. McNamara, Robert, James Blight, Robert Brigham, Thomas Biersteker, Herbert Schandler, Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy, (Public Affairs, 1999). McGibbon, Ian; ed (2000). The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History. Auckland: Oxford University Press. ISBN0195583760. McNeill, Ian (1993). To Long Tan: The Australian Army and the Vietnam War 19501966. St Leonards: Allen & Unwin. ISBN1863732829. Milne, David. America's Rasputin: Walt Rostow and the Vietnam War (Hill & Wang, 2008). Moise, Edwin E. Historical Dictionary of the Vietnam War (2002). Mose, Edwin E. (1996). Tonkin Gulf and the escalation of the Vietnam War (1996 ed.). UNC Press. ISBN0807823007. Moss, George D. Vietnam (4th ed 2002) textbook. Moyar, Mark. Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 19541965, (Cambridge University Press; 412 pages; 2006). A revisionist history that challenges the notion that U.S. involvement in Vietnam was misguided; defends the validity of the domino theory and disputes the notion that Ho Chi Minh was, at heart, a nationalist who would eventually turn against his Communist Chinese allies.


Vietnam War Major General Spurgeon Neel. Medical Support of the U.S. Army in Vietnam 19651970 (Department of the Army 1991) official medical history Nulty, Bernard.The Vietnam War (1998) New York: Barnes and Noble. Osborn, Terry A. (2002). The future of foreign language education in the United States (2002 ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN9780897897198. Palmer, Bruce, Jr. The Twenty-Five Year War (1984), narrative military history by a senior U.S. general. Schell, Jonathan. The Time of Illusion (1976). Schulzinger, Robert D. A Time for War: The United States and Vietnam, 19411975 (1997). Sorley, Lewis, A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam (1999), based upon still classified tape-recorded meetings of top level US commanders in Vietnam, ISBN 0-15-601309-6 Spector, Ronald. After Tet: The Bloodiest Year in Vietnam (1992), very broad coverage of 1968. Stanton, Shelby L. (2003). Vietnam order of battle (2003 ed.). Stackpole Books. ISBN0811700712. Summers, Harry G. On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War (http://books.google.com/ books?id=-Z4l-ZySVWwC), Presidio press (1982), ISBN 0-89141-563-7 (225 pages) Tucker, Spencer. ed. Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War (1998) 3 vol. reference set; also one-volume abridgement (2001). Willbanks, James H. (2009). Vietnam War almanac (http://books.google.com/books?id=X5WWklFB5O4C). Infobase Publishing. ISBN9780816071029. Witz, James J. The Tet Offensive: Intelligence Failure in War (1991). Young, Marilyn, B. The Vietnam Wars: 19451990. (1991). Xiaoming, Zhang. "China's 1979 War With Vietnam: A Reassessment", China Quarterly. Issue no. 184, (December 2005) "CJO Abstract China's 1979 War with Vietnam: A Reassessment" (http://journals. cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=358806). Retrieved 11 June 2008.


Primary sources
Carter, Jimmy. By The President Of The United States Of America, A Proclamation Granting Pardon For Violations Of The Selective Service Act (http://www.usdoj.gov/pardon/carter_proclamation.htm), 4 August 1964 To 28 March 1973 (21 January 1977) Central Intelligence Agency. " Laos (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/la. html#history)", CIA World Factbook Kolko, Gabriel The End of the Vietnam War, 30 Years Later (http://www.counterpunch.org/kolko04292005. html) Eisenhower, Dwight D. Mandate for Change. (1963) a presidential political memoir Ho, Chi Minh. "Vietnam Declaration of Independence", Selected Works. (19601962) selected writings LeMay, General Curtis E. and Kantor, MacKinlay. Mission with LeMay (1965) autobiography of controversial former Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Kissinger, United States Secretary of State Henry A. "Lessons on Vietnam", (1975) secret memoranda to U.S. President Ford (http://www.ford.utexas.edu/library/exhibits/vietnam/750512a.htm) Kim A. O'Connell, ed. Primary Source Accounts of the Vietnam War (2006) McCain, John. Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir (1999) *Marshall, Kathryn. In the Combat Zone: An Oral History of American Women in Vietnam, 19661975 (1987) Martin, John Bartlow. Was Kennedy Planning to Pull out of Vietnam? (1964) oral history for the John F. Kennedy Library, tape V, reel 1. Myers, Thomas. Walking Point: American Narratives of Vietnam (1988) Public Papers of the Presidents, 1965 (1966) official documents of U.S. presidents.

Vietnam War Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr. Robert Kennedy and His Times. (1978) a first-hand account of the Kennedy administration by one of his principal advisors Sinhanouk, Prince Norodom. "Cambodia Neutral: The Dictates of Necessity." Foreign Affairs. (1958) describes the geopolitical situation of Cambodia Tang, Truong Nhu. A Vietcong Memoir (1985), revealing account by senior NLF official Terry, Wallace, ed. Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans (1984) Truong, Nh Tng; David Chanoff, Van Toai Doan (1985). A Vietcong memoir (1985 ed.). Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. ISBN9780151936366.- Total pages: 350 The landmark series Vietnam: A Television History, first broadcast in 1983, is a special presentation of the award-winning PBS history series, American Experience. The Pentagon Papers (Gravel ed. 5 vol 1971); combination of narrative and secret documents compiled by Pentagon. excerpts (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/pent1.html) U.S. Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States (multivolume collection of official secret documents) vol 1: 1964 (http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/vol_i/index.html); vol 2: 1965 (http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/vol_ii/index.html); vol 3: 1965 (http://www.state.gov/ www/about_state/history/vol_ii/index.html); vol 4: 1966 (http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/ vol_iv/index.html); U.S. Department of Defense and the House Committee on Armed Services. U.S.-Vietnam Relations, 19451967. Washington, D.C. Department of Defense and the House Committee on Armed Services, 1971, 12 volumes. Vann, John Paul Quotes from Answers.com (http://www.answers.com/topix/john-paul-vann-44k) Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army, DFC, DSC, advisor to the ARVN 7th Division, early critic of the conduct of the war.


Hall, Simon, Scholarly Battles over the Vietnam War, Historical Journal 52 (Sept. 2009), 81329.

External links
Fallout of the War (http://cdm164001.cdmhost.com/krogh/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p164001coll21& CISOPTR=116&CISOBOX=1&REC=1) from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives (http:// cdm164001.cdmhost.com/krogh/) American Ethnography On collecting engraved Zippos from the Vietnam War (http://www. americanethnography.com/article.php?id=63) Battlefield Vietnam (http://www.pbs.org/battlefieldvietnam/history/index.html) PBS interactive site Casualties U.S. vs NVA/VC (http://www.rjsmith.com/kia_tbl.html) Complete text of the Gravel Edition of the Pentagon Papers (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pentagon/ pent1.html) with supporting documents, maps, and photos Documents Relating to American Foreign Policy-Vietnam (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/vietnam. htm) primary sources on U.S. involvement The Effects of Vietnamization on the Republic of Vietnam's Armed Forces, 19691972 (http://www. militaryhistoryonline.com/vietnam/vietnamization/default.aspx) Glossary of Military Terms & Slang from the Vietnam War (http://www2.iath.virginia.edu/sixties/ HTML_docs/Resources/Glossary/Sixties_Term_Gloss_K_P.html) History of US Interventions (http://www.historycommons.org/project.jsp?project=US_interventions_project), by Derek, Mitchell Impressions of Vietnam and descriptions of the daily life of a soldier from the oral history of Elliott Gardner, U.S. Army (http://content.library.ccsu.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/VHP&CISOPTR=5558& CISOBOX=1&REC=1)

Vietnam War Sober thoughts on 30 April : The South Vietnam Liberation Front and Hanoi, Myth and Reality (http://www. vietfederation.ca/30-4-00/TonThatThien.htm) Speech by the former Minister of Information of the Republic of Vietnam. Stephen H. Warner Southeast Asia Photograph Collection at Gettysburg College (http://www.gettysburg.edu/ special_collections/collections/manuscripts/collections/ms044.dot) Timeline US Vietnam (19472001) (http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=vietnam) in Open-Content project The U.S. Army in Vietnam (http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/history/marshall/military/vietnam/short. history/chap_28.txt) the official history of the United States Army UC Berkeley Library Social Activism Sound Recording Project: Anti-Vietnam War Protests (http://www.lib. berkeley.edu/MRC/pacificaviet/) Vietnam Casualties database searchable by first name, last name and location (http://www.gisearch.com/) Vietnam War Bibliography (http://tigger.uic.edu/~rjensen/vietnam.html) covers online and published resources The Vietnam War (http://www.history.com/topics/vietnam-war) at The History Channel Vietnam war timeline (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/vietnam/timeline/) comprehensive timeline of the Vietnam War Virtual Vietnam Archive (http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/virtualarchive/) Texas Tech University War, propaganda, and the media: Vietnam (http://www.globalissues.org/article/402/ media-propaganda-and-vietnam)


Article Sources and Contributors


Article Sources and Contributors

Vietnam War Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=465155098 Contributors: $1LENCE D00600D, -Majestic-, 12.49, 128.32.172.xxx, 172, 198.144.192.xxx, 200.191.188.xxx, 204.96.33.xxx, 208.177.211.xxx, 213.120.56.xxx, 23prootie, 24.93.53.xxx, 3973cds, 41523, 66.26.106.xxx, 8thstar, 96T, A Clown in the Dark, A young communist, A455bcd9, AFool, AHM, AHands, AKFrost, AKMask, ALEXF971, ASigIAm213, Aaclarkcdr, Aaron Schulz, Abangmanuk, Abductive, Abhishek Jacob, Abonazzi, AbsolutDan, Ac101, Ace of Raves, Acmthompson, Across.The.Synapse, Adalie, Adam1213, Adamdaley, Adashiel, Adeptitus, Admonitor, AdultSwim, Advantecon, Aeonimitz, Afranelli, Aglie, Ahoerstemeier, Ahudson, Airthes, Aivazovsky, Ajaxkroon, Akeldamma, Akihabara, Aktsu, Al3xil, Alai, Alankc, Alasdair, Albertop9, Alchemyst10, Aldenesmith, Aldis90, Alex S, Alex43223, Alex9788, AlexJenkins, Alexblainelayder, AlexiusHoratius, All5Horizons, Allister MacLeod, Almafeta, Almost Anonymous, Altmany, Altus Quansuvn, Alvaro, Always be prepared, Am86, Amakuru, Amalthea, Ambrose H. 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Image:French indochina 1953 12 1.png Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:French_indochina_1953_12_1.png License: Public Domain Contributors: Warner Path News File:Gen-commons.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Gen-commons.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: US Army Photograph File:Ngo Dinh Diem at Washington - ARC 542189.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Ngo_Dinh_Diem_at_Washington_-_ARC_542189.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Department of Defense. Department of the Air Force. NAIL Control Number: NWDNS-342-AF-18302USAF File:South Vietnam Map.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:South_Vietnam_Map.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Original uploader was RM Gillespie at en.wikipedia File:Diem dead.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Diem_dead.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Aavindraa, Blnguyen, BrokenSphere, Geni, Giggy, Greenshed, Infrogmation, Manuelt15, Materialscientist, Quibik, Superm401, Trelio, Vanished user 001, 3 anonymous edits File:Bombing in Vietnam.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Bombing_in_Vietnam.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Lt. Col. Cecil J. Poss, 20th TRS on RF-101C, USAF. File:Vietconginterrogation.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Vietconginterrogation.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: AnRo0002, Madmax32 File:Vietcongsuspect.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Vietcongsuspect.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: US Marine Corps /PFC G. Durbin File:1965-02-08 Showdown in Vietnam.ogv Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:1965-02-08_Showdown_in_Vietnam.ogv License: Public Domain Contributors: Universal Studios File:Communistvillagers1966.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Communistvillagers1966.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: U.S. Army Photograph File:Checking house during patrol.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Checking_house_during_patrol.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Lawrence J. Sullivan, SPC5, Photographer Image:Glassboro-meeting1967.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Glassboro-meeting1967.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Yoichi Okamoto File:HoCMT.png Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:HoCMT.png License: unknown Contributors: HoCMT.jpg: Original uploader was RM Gillespie at en.wikipedia derivative work: Yellowtailshark (talk) File:Hue1968.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Hue1968.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Avron, Felix Stember, FieldMarine, KTo288, LundenJensen, 1 anonymous edits File:Deadvietcong2.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Deadvietcong2.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Photo by: SP5 Edgar Price Pictorial A.V. Plt. 69th Sig. Bn. (A) File:Vietnampropaganda.png Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Vietnampropaganda.png License: Public Domain Contributors: Foroa, Gungir1983, Hohum, Madmax32 File:EASTER.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:EASTER.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: User:RaptureBot File:B-52D(061127-F-1234S-017).jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:B-52D(061127-F-1234S-017).jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: USAF

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File:US riverboat using napalm in Vietnam.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:US_riverboat_using_napalm_in_Vietnam.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: BLueFiSH.as, BrokenSphere, Bukvoed, Cnyborg, DanMS, Edub, Matt314, Pibwl, Wst, 1 anonymous edits File:Dead man and child from the My Lai massacre.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Dead_man_and_child_from_the_My_Lai_massacre.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Ronald L. Haeberle Image:ElectoralCollege1972.svg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:ElectoralCollege1972.svg License: Public Domain Contributors: Citypeek, Oxam Hartog, RingtailedFox, SteveSims Image:93 us house membership.png Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:93_us_house_membership.png License: Public Domain Contributors: User:Willhsmit File:Leonid Brenv (Bundesarchiv).jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Leonid_Brenv_(Bundesarchiv).jpg License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Contributors: Kohls, Ulrich, extracted by Fredy.00 File:RAR Vietnam.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:RAR_Vietnam.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Original uploader was Nick Dowling at en.wikipedia


File:Da Nang, South Vietnam...United States Navy nurse Lieutenant Commander Joan Brouilette checks the condition of Pfc.... - NARA - 558531.tif Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Da_Nang,_South_Vietnam...United_States_Navy_nurse_Lieutenant_Commander_Joan_Brouilette_checks_the_condition_of_Pfc...._-_NARA_-_558531.tif License: Public Domain Contributors: Cobatfor File:My Tho, Vietnam. A Viet Cong base camp being. In the foreground is Private First Class Raymond Rumpa, St Paul, Minnesota - NARA - 530621 edit.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:My_Tho,_Vietnam._A_Viet_Cong_base_camp_being._In_the_foreground_is_Private_First_Class_Raymond_Rumpa,_St_Paul,_Minnesota_-_NARA_-_530621_edit.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Berrucomons, Deror avi, Jebulon, Peter Weis, Thierry Caro Image:Pentagon vietnam protests.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Pentagon_vietnam_protests.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Aude, Clindberg, Infrogmation, Zzyzx11 File:Marine da nang.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Marine_da_nang.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: BrokenSphere, Darwinek, Deror avi, Diliff, Dragfyre, FieldMarine, Gryffindor, Homo lupus, KTo288, Like tears in rain, Nguyn Thanh Quang, Starscream, Takabeg File:OperationHueCity1967wounded.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:OperationHueCity1967wounded.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Undetermined U.S military photographer File:Defoliation agent spraying.jpg Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Defoliation_agent_spraying.jpg License: Public Domain Contributors: Brian K. Grigsby, SPC5, Photographer

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