Facts About The Vietnam War You Should Know

This is a comprehensive list of facts about the Vietnam War. It will be constantly updated so bookmark it if necessary.

 

Causes

The act of suppressing non-communist members within the Viet Minh when Ho Chi Minh was away in 1945 arguably divided the country and inspired other non-communist nationalists to form a rival government in the South called State of Vietnam – the predecessor of South Vietnam, which sowed the seeds of the Second Indochina War or the Vietnam War later on.

Domino Theory was commonly used as a justification by the U.S. Administrations for its intervention in Vietnam.

South Vietnam was reportedly supported by more than 31 countries – 6 of them militarily involved in Vietnam.

Key People

Ho Chi Minh was a communist but arguably a nationalist as well.

Le Duan and Le Duc Tho held the real power of North Vietnam since the later half of the 1960s. Ho Chi Minh became a purely figurehead until his death while Vo Nguyen Giap was sidelined as well.

North Vietnamese forces and the NLF were both known as Viet Cong which was shortened to VC by American and its allies’ troops.

Nixon became the first and still the only U.S. President to ever resign to this day as a result of the Watergate Scandal. South Vietnam lost its guarantor and soon fell to the North communist hands as U.S. Congress forbade any further U.S. intervention in South-East Asia.

Tactics, Strategies & Weapons

Ho Chi Minh Trail regarded as one of the great military engineering achievements of the 20th century played a crucial role in supporting the Viet Cong in their war against South Vietnamese forces.

Search & Destroy: The first time in modern U.S. military history, victory in war was not measured by territory taken but body counts.

Vietnamization of President Nixon was a contrast of Americanization of President Johnson. However, it was considered ineffective, which eventually led to the fall of Saigon in April 1975.

The UH-1 or Huey has been a symbol of American involvement in Vietnam with roughly 9.7 million flight hours in total. More than 7,000 Hueys were used in which 2,500 were lost during the war.

Thanks to the mobility of helicopters, the average infantryman in Vietnam saw around 240 days of combat in one year in compared to 40 days of combat in four years of one in the South Pacific during World War II.

American M-16 and Soviet AK-47 were the most common and best riffles used by American troops and North Vietnamese forces respectively in the war.

m16

M60 GPMG was the main machine gun of the U.S. army at the the time and widely used by American troops in Vietnam.

Booby traps including grenades and punji sticks were an integral part of Viet Cong’s guerrilla tactics.

Battles & Operations

Gulf of Tonkin Incident and its resolution marked the start of direct American involvement in Vietnam.

Tet Offensive was a major turning point in the Vietnam War.

The 1972 Easter Offensive was the largest conventional invasion since 300,000 Chinese forces crossed over the Yalu River to support North Korea during the Korean War.

The U.S. won almost all major battles of the Vietnam War although they did lose many other battles.

Aftermath

North Vietnam won the Vietnam war.

The Fall of Saigon – April 30 is now celebrated as Reunification Day or Liberation Day in Vietnam while overseas Vietnamese people consider it as Black April, National Hatred Day or National Day of Shame.

The Vietnam War costs the U.S. more than 58,000 lives, roughly $950 billion and sharply divided American society.

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An estimated 200,00 to 400,000 “boat people” died on the sea.

Roughly 2.4 million U.S. veterans were supposedly exposed to Agent Orange, which also left a long-lasting and adverse impact on Vietnamese environment and health.

To date, Vietnam is technically still a communist country although it has shifted to an open market economy.

Overview

Vietnam was one of 3 countries, along with Germany and Korea, that got divided due to the Cold War. Among these three countries, only Korea remains divided to date.

Vietnam, together with Greek, Afghanistan and Korea, is a typical proxy war happening during the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

Vietnam was a conflict not a war. It should be called Vietnam conflict.

Vietnam War took place mainly in South Vietnam but escalated to North Vietnam in mid 1960s and later Laos and Cambodia in early 1970s.

There were 5 U.S. presidents during the Vietnam war.

The U.S. spent roughly 140 billion dollars in the war.

Vietnam War is widely considered to last for 19 years, 6 months and therefore still the longest war in the U.S. history.

 

To be updated

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