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What happened in the Vietnam war

President johnson visited Vietnam to see what happened there

The Vietnam War also called Indochina War is the war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, which took place from 1954 to 1975. This war was a direct and indirect intervention by several foreign countries (south, mainly the United States, according to the Truman Doctrine, until his retirement in 1973, and the North various Communist Block countries).

Who was in the Vietnam war

what happened in the vietnam war; who was in

Facts about the Vietnam war

The factions in the conflict were, on the one hand, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, with the support of guerrillas North Vietnamese and Viet Cong or National Liberation Front (NLF, for its acronym in English), with assistance and supplies Soviet and Chinese.

On the other hand, there were the Republic of Vietnam, the military and logistic support of the United States. Alongside Americans also fought anticommunist other states and fought soldiers from Australia, South Korea, the Philippines, New Zealand and Thailand.

Other countries such as West Germany, Iran, Morocco, the United Kingdom and Switzerland contributed sending supplies materials and medical equipment. Also, Taiwan and Spain sent troops testimonials in support of the United States (Spain sent a small number of military doctors in a sanitary mission).

The war was distinguished by training passed without the traditional front lines, except that settled around the perimeters of the bases or military camps, so the operations occur in areas not demarcated and proliferated missions guerrilla warfare and search and destroy, along with sabotage to the rear of urban areas, the use of the Air Force for bombing and extensive use of chemical agents and weapons, the latter constituting operations violations of various international conventions banning the use of chemical or biological weapons.

The coverage of the conflict made by the media allowed the complaint of frequent violations and human rights abuses committed by both sides, but Luciano Garibaldi authors claim that attracted much attention perpetrated by the United States, feeding thereby increasing opposition from Western public opinion toward US intervention.

Given the response and division of American society, the Paris peace accords of 1973 meant the withdrawal of American troops and the termination of its direct involvement, but they failed to end the conflict. The conflict continued until 1975, after the capture of Saigon, was forced to surrender unconditionally troops South Vietnamese and unification of the country under the control of the communist government of North Vietnam, with the name of the Republic Socialist Vietnam, July 2, 1976.

The war had killed, according to the government of Hanoi, between 2 and 5.7 million people most of them civilians; besides causing significant environmental damage.

For the United States, the conflict proved to be the longest confrontation in which they have never been involved. Came the feeling of defeat or “Vietnam syndrome” in many citizens, which was reflected in the cultural world and the film industry as well as in a withdrawal of foreign policy until the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980.

“With our firepower can destroy any army in the world. Here we use it against trees and rubbish.”

– An American soldier

“These forests and these mountains are our homelands, our weapon.”

– A communist leader.

Vietnam war casualties and losses

Vietnam war casualties and losses

Terminology

The army was called South Vietnamese ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam, Army of the Republic of Vietnam); while the North Vietnamese army abbreviated with the acronym EVN (North Vietnamese Army). A communist guerrilla fighting in the south is listed as the Viet Cong (Vietnamese Communist). The Viet Minh was the Nationalist army that fought against French colonialism in Indochina.

What happened in the Vietnam war

Background

During WWII, the Japanese drove the French to occupy the peninsula, though they retained French administrators gear that kept the colony. After the war, France wanted to restore its colonial mandate, but the “Viet Minh”, founded by Ho Chi Minh to fight as guerrillas for Vietnam’s independence against the French, made the attempt failed. The Geneva Conference split the country into two halves from 17 parallel (North Vietnam (communist) and South Vietnam (anti) with the promise that democratic elections be held in 1956 to reunify the country elections were not ever do.

Preliminaries

French Soldiers during what happened in Vietnam, 1953 French soldiers in Indochina, 1953

Although some authors are beginning to treat the war profoundly since 8 March 1965, when the Americans landed Marines at the base Đà Nẵng, other authors (Peter Arnett) unite the Indochina War a single conflict. Arnett directly called “The War of 10,000 days.”

In the Indochina War, the communist Viet Minh fought against the French colonialists. But you should consider that the French fought alone against the entire Vietnamese people; but the Vietnamese nationalists supported throughout the conflict the French, arriving at the end in which the desperate Battle of Dien Bien Phu, where the French were assejats and was considered impossible to overcome the siege, volunteers always came prepared Vietnamese parachute jump on the position.

At the beginning of that conflict, the United States supported France contributing 20% of expenses, approximately. In the end it contributed 80% of the war effort and came to offer two French nuclear weapons, they refused to consider them not useful. Despite not give them all the support requested by the French The US President Eisenhower sent military advisers and aid, especially air. So a third of the material Dien Bien Phu led to part of the aid the United States.

After the French defeat and the agreements achieved in the Geneva Conference of 1954, the American support to the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam continued, as nearly total opposition of the American administration to the union of the two nations called Vietnam. For its part, North Vietnam continued assistance of China, and to a much lesser extent, the Soviet Union. Initially, the military aid fell mainly in the first, especially small arms and laptops; but at the same time, such shipments, the government in Beijing was to mark the lines that had followed the Vietnamese.

Vietnamese reunification

Although the Geneva Accords supported the independence of Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam and South Vietnam included a clause which in 1958 held a referendum to decide whether the two Vietnams were still separated or reunified. Before this referendum takes place, Ngo Ding Diem gave a coup, annulling the elections. At the same time, the poor organization of South Vietnam as a country and the massive corruption existing within the government caused the regime was enormously unpopular. In this situation succeeded two parallel actions, but complementary:

North Vietnam began to press the government of the South, delivering weapons and supplies to pro-Western opponents of the regime.

Slowly created a resistance movement against the dictatorial regime of President Diem called Viet Cong, better known as the Viet Cong. The Vietcong fighting began in 1960 with the aim of causing the fall of Saigon and the reunification of the country. The tactics of guerrilla warfare remained, which had brought so much success earlier in the conflict against the French.

Vietcong found it very easy to get volunteers to put an end to a government incompetent, corrupt and repressive. A farmer who declared that they joined them when the tax collector demanded the residents marched taxes and when they had hardly anything.  In addition, the Vietcong had a number of veterans of the Viet Minh who had defeated the French a decade earlier, although most of those veterans were repatriated to the North after the war in Indochina.

President Diem died in 1963 during a coup with the support of the American administration from Kennedy, who does not agree to support a general in a country with a Catholic majority Buddhist nun. Scenes like the one that goes around the world, the monk Quang Đức budistaThích sitting on a street covered by flames following the ritual bonzo, protesting against war marked differences between religious leaders and their people. We say, despite its heavy hand, was the only head of state able to control the aggression of the guerrillas. Diem was replaced by weak and lacking Nguyen Van Thieu will.

War again

Ho Chi Min
North Vietnam Presindent Ho Chi Min

Meanwhile, in North Vietnam cancellation referendum constituted an insurmountable hurdle. Its president, Ho Chi Minh, Vo Nguyen Giap, defense minister and Politburo, considered the independence of France as a new step in its long-term strategy. According to this strategy, the reunification of the country would be the next step was to vote or conquest; and even with all the subsequent domination of Indochina (the old dream Vietnamese from the Middle Ages).

Fighting by Vietcong guerrillas began early, with the support of the communist North in the form of shipments of ammunition, weapons, food and other goods by sea. It also made some shipments by land, in what later would be called the Ho Chi Minh trail; but Southern men initially led initiative helped by sea.

For its part, the ARVN, the South Vietnamese Army, was very ineffective fighting in their own country. The armament was inappropriate, the few helicopter pilots and especially the great native corruption and ineptitude of their commanders (most of whom placed by political compromises between military families with a low rating and less value) meant that soldiers risked the bare minimum; to the point where watching his teammates struggle to tens of meters, had no confidence in his command and did not follow the minimum standards of a soldier. As an example, it is the testimony of an American soldier who was left speechless when seeing guard made a radio blaring.

Despite the pluses of insurgent victories and domination massive territory gave the Northmen came when (as sometimes called soldiers EVN) because although you can Apparently, not all South Vietnamese Communists viewed favorably. Neither Vietcong looked favorably on its allies, and that did not fully overcome its resistance to obey the orders that arrived from Hanoi.

For all these reasons, the regime crumbled not South, but increasingly ceded more and more land. In 1965, the year of the beginning of the direct intervention of the United States, approximately 60% of the country was in the hands of the Vietcong, and there were expectations of a change in trend for the lead in the fighting was in the hands of guerrillas and soldiers of the North.

The United States and the domino theory

The advance of communism worried the United States of the end of World War II. Countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines had been close to falling into the hands of the communist side (as they had done in China, Burma, North Vietnam, Cuba and the nations of Eastern Europe that were under occupation Soviet.

Thus, the United States feared was surrounded by a constellation in communist Vietnam that could be a piece of the chain of countries that would fall: it was called the domino theory.

Geostrategic motives joined the economic interests of the companies US universities in the region. Already during the presidency of Eisenhower helped the French to stay well under control exports of rubber, tungsten, tin (all strategic raw materials), plus rice and opium Vietnamese for Vietnam was considered the jewel of Asia.

This was why John F. Kennedy continued to support the Southern regime and sending “advisors” (up to 60,000). During the 50s, the US had already given financial support to other nations had begun Space Race to get countries like Indonesia not changed sides.  The Indonesian case ended in triumph, and the possibility that repeated considered probable.

Initially, the Americans advisors were there to instruct the ARVN tactics, maintenance of airplanes and helicopters, training of defense irregular Central Highlands and other auxiliary functions; but they could not take part in combat far from preparing actions against the guerrillas (although rumored to be on more than one occasion jumped on the ban would be, perhaps, the first of a long list of legal and illegal violations · legalities would this famous war). In July 1959, Major Dale Buis and Sergeant Chester Ovnard were the first Americans killed in Vietnam during the attacks at the base of Bien Hoa.

The beginning

President johnson visited Vietnam to see what happened there

Lyndon B. Johnson in January 1969, the main driving force behind the war in Vietnam

During the 60 advisors Americans had been attacked on several occasions, and there are even rumors of participating in search and destroy operations with Vietnamese or individually; but it was not until August 1964, which followed the so-called Gulf of Tonkin incident. Two destroyers sailed through the Gulf of Tonkin reported to have been attacked twice by Vietnamese boats. That was reached during the second attack they launched tens torpedo; This was later denied. President Lyndon B. Johnson decided to act with all the power that’s available.

After the incident, the president Johnson commented that the crew of the ships had confused the Vietnamese with a flock of flying fish, and now it is difficult, if not impossible, to find experts do not consider the case of an error Tonkin caused by weather conditions; But it is the ultimate excuse Johnson asked Congress for approval of the resolution of the Gulf of Tonkin. This resolution conferred full powers advisors present in Vietnam to conduct operations outside the precincts of their bases, as well as to increase the military presence in that country. These factors must be added the fact that the US election campaign and that Johnson had showed him a picture of force against Communism let him win votes, to the point that his rival had to support the request.

Congress supported the resolution requested by the president mentioned a few days after the attacks. From that moment, the US government had what was called as “grandmother’s nightgown,” where everything fits under it and can do everything. In early March 1965 landed at the base of Da Nang to add 3,500 Marines to the 22,500 advisers who already served in Vietnam.

Despite what might seem to march later took the events, the first contingent of marines was very well received by the residents of Da Nang with balls and flowers. At the same time, the United States, public support was around 60% of the population; although protests and complaints against the system began recruiting class very soon.

Nor should think that the United States went to war against any nation from the standpoint of international law. There was no declaration of war nor an invasion of South Vietnam that country had requested. These reasons make it always have to write “Vietnam War” in lower case because it was never recognized as such. This point was impossible to establish a censorship of the press as in any other conflict to date and therefore, the journalists were able to launch a report on historical events.

Like most of the American and Vietnamese people during 1965, most of the media were in favor of the intervention. It was later when the attitude of the journalists began to change. Due to the killings to show that the peace movement spoke knowingly and testing, and the change of attitude of many politicians (like himself McNamara) and the horror of a guerrilla war were investing the The attitude of journalists towards the Vietnam conflict and the lack of popular support was one of the causes of the defeat. Other authors, notably the US army itself, prefer specific restrictions that were in the military by politicians as a result of media pressure and other factors, which contributed decisively to the defeat.

The United States made clear that they had gone to Southeast Asia to stay there, and secondly, it wanted to deploy its huge firepower with which to annihilate the enemy in no time.

To achieve the first goal, sending soldiers did not stop in several years, and in late 1965 the cash used in Vietnam already exceeded 100,000 in the budget, the first year of the conflict, the United States allocated 1.000 billion in aid, and thus, thanks to this flood economic supplies reached the figure of almost 10 million tonnes per month. In addition, the United States have always been proud of what his soldiers have always been well supplied with clean uniforms when they could not swim, gifts from home and even newspapers.  The soldiers came to guarantee at least a daily hot meal, transported by helicopter aluminum cans, although sometimes the variety and disorganization created some errors in the rotation of the huge resources available. A veteran complains that received new uniforms, cookies and other items, but not a single decent meal in a week.

For the enemy, however, things were quite different. They spent requirements of medicines, food and even water their magnificent tunnels, to the point that when the Americans set up a system based on Cu Chi Tunnels (without realizing that there was never below); Vietnamese came mainly stealing food.

All this enormous amount of equipment and supplies required a huge logistical chain very burdened to the Army and became an elephant slow and torpid, as they saw the Communists. Thus, only one in seven US troops found himself actually involved in combat, while the rest belonged to bodies logistical, administrative, medical and mechanics, among others.

To accomplish the second goal, the deployment of firepower, the lorries carrying guns and helicopters of various sizes where necessary, so as to cover the infantry troops. When the pieces could not be downloaded in its thickness, different types of aircraft bombs hundreds of kilos of explosive crater opened to allow the landing of helicopters. Also began equip helicopters with missiles and helicopters will soon appear new artillats.

With all this power in their hands, powerful organized various operations, the first and most important operation called Starlight against the Vietcong and the most bloody of the Ia Drang Valley, mainly against EVN .

The first clashes

Unlike the French, Americans saw the utility of the helicopter in that war, using it profusely. In the picture, helicopter carriers 189A and 170A awaiting shipment of troops to Kleng Pole, South Vietnam.

Unlike the French, Americans saw the utility of the helicopter in that war, using it profusely. In the picture, helicopter carriers 189A and 170A awaiting shipment of troops to Kleng Pole, South Vietnam.

Although sometimes the Americans perhaps too dependent on the helicopters, they proved to be a formidable weapon, as is perfectly shown in the Ia Drang Valley, where these machines perform a vital mission to transport men at the center of the battle, bring them supplies and remove the injured. Moreover it was in Operation Starlight, which was the first test for the marines. At the beginning of 1965, the Americans launched Starlight, getting surprised and cornered the Vietcong Noh Nang Peninsula. Once there he could destroy the guerrillas with all available weapons: small arms, artillery, aviation and naval artillery cruiser anchored in the Gulf of Tonkin. The American victory proved overwhelming.

Ia Drang accomplishments and Starlight, along with what had been learned in the Korean War medical evacuations (also on the same jungles of Vietnam when they were only advisors) were the litmus test for the new means of transport and War, in the words of General William Westmoreland. Not only were used to evacuate the wounded immediately, but also that it was necessary to bring anywhere to be difficult to access, and even to attack the ground with their machine guns and rockets shortly after.

Since August 1962, the report Howse described as “necessary and desirable to adopt the concept of air mobility in the army”, and the reluctance that the Pentagon might have to the variable wing aircraft dissolved completely. Plans were drawn up to form new units that form the air cavalry, transported, aided and supplied by helicopter. Men of the 2nd Infantry Division were transferred to the new division, and July 1, 1965 was born the 1st Air Cavalry Division.

However, in more or less conventional battles, Vietnamese guerrillas still had cards to play, demonstrating it in June, when they completely annihilate the 51st battalion of ARVN in a surprise action near the Gulf of Tonkin.

But the lesson could be as fearsome firepower and use of the helicopter also received EVN in November, when the Americans hoped the Ia Drang Valley in the Central Highlands. Despite the disparity in the number of fighters, air cavalry battalion (400 men) managed to beat almost 4,000 fighters EVN and Vietcong, with such firepower that caused the Communists suffered a large number of casualties.

The first lessons

Victories like the previous encouraged Americans to continue with the same tactics. These are:

the use of helicopters for mobility necessary to have a wild and mountainous country, as well as to be used as a platform for attack. Thus arose the first artillery helicopter, the AH-1H, also known as the Cobra and the UH-1H Huey (intrinsically associated with Vietnam, but continues in service at the beginning of the XXI century)

  • a large deployment of artillery, transported by helicopter if necessary
  • pursuit of the enemy in the open field and force him to fight a “conventional”
  • use of light cavalry and infantry prepared to walk little suitable land. Thus, heavy vehicles like tank Sheridan were an easy target for portable anti-tank weapons.

So soon became available air cavalry battalions and a lot of helicopters. But meanwhile, the Vietcong took note of these tactics in order not to repeat the mistake twice. But for some authors were Vietnamese who learn more from those reverses.  The large capacity of the Vietcong and General Giap to adapt and learn from their mistakes made rectify your way of fighting, abandoning the idea of such an army to fight the Americans and have a long and bloody war, in a guerrilla war that followed the following guidelines:

Tunnels lived and fought large numbers of Vietnamese. Many of these, such as the Cu Chi, have been transformed into museums

Tunnels lived and fought large numbers of Vietnamese. Many of these, such as the Cu Chi, have been transformed into museums always rejected in open combat or in an area easily reachable always fight as close as possible to the enemy to avoid its artillery fire not remain too long in the same position and leave it as soon as the enemy offered much resistance. Reached end launched three mortar shells fell on and leave unchecked continue tunneling both plains and hills to provide a relatively safe haven in the Vietcong and EVN to rest, receive medical care and vanish before the enemy

all sharing the same living conditions and make them feel part of a common struggle. Thus, the officers lived in the same holes that his soldiers, and members of the Politburo in Hanoi used to enter the Ho Chi Minh trail to encourage sappers and Shock Brigades of the youth special.

Duong Thi Xuan Quy Journal

Walking alone in the woods I realized that he was a vulnerable. Everything was quiet: there was no one in front or behind, the road was completely alone. But I felt safe because I knew that my comrades were close, they were leaving together toward the front

Daily Duong Thi Xuan Quy Vietnamese

Such tactics completely displaces the high command of the coalition, its own officers and soldiers. A member of the Special Forces affirm that I liked the most 65 and 66. So is you against them. Now you sit and wait for it to blow up or you do it .. So, the Vietnam War became a long series of moments of inactivity or motion interrupted by moments of bloody struggle, which thus destroying nerves and angered the soldiers tremendously. So the ambush became an obsession, and avoid falling became one of the main priorities of men, before or orders due obedience officers. This boredom jungle, parallel to the tension before a possible attack destroyed the nerves many soldiers, many pouring into the drogoadicció (another because eventually cause the defeat) 

If it was hard battle by the soldiers, was not less to the high command. The desire for a conventional pitched battle became an obsession Pentagon that organized operations in order to find the headquarters of the Vietcong, for assuming that the guerrillas were still defending that position, and thus would have an opportunity to destroy them . But for most operations were carried out on CGVC never appeared (assuming it was not even an office in Hanoi).

But despite all this, the first year of the war, the United States won almost every battle they fought. This made them think of a quick victory; but so that officers could acquire combat experience, were sent there in all possible: the officers rotated every six months instead of every 12, when statistics reported that a military began to move well and reached 3 months Its optimum operating level at 10. This meant they were constantly units commanded by inept novices, making them candidates for the dreaded ambushes, against which the veteran soldiers did not hesitate to finish with their heads and not with any recruits was very skilful. The calculation of nearly 800 officers killed by their own men is considered optimistic.

The Vietnamese

For the North Vietnamese and Vietcong, the American presence was just another imperialistic enemy that could win, as they achieved twice in the past; not only achieving the reunification of the country, but even managed to unite the entire Indochina peninsula. This was the nationalistic spirit of a Third World country, something that Americans do not ever come to understand that in the long run, it would be another reason for the defeat, because they could rely on Vietnamese leaders struggling for a thousand years ‘.

There are four pillars that are considered when the Vietnamese were based to win:

The army of North Vietnam

The Vietnam War has been compared (and possibly continue to be) any other war in which the US is not expected to gain clarity with their weapons as Somalia or Iraq. But the war in Vietnam has two differences that have not been repeated since then:

Americans and other coalition countries fighting a regular army was invading the country, as well as against guerrillas. The EVN mainly used guerilla tactics and its training was intended primarily to create what may be called irregular forces. But it was a regular army with regard to recruitment, organization, armaments, etc. In addition, South Vietnam had no enemies that neighbors would monitor units, and can thus allocate almost all their cash injections to the South.

the army and the country that had commanded the support of a superpower like the Soviet era, which facilitated the acquisition of modern weaponry and training. Truly amount was similar to that waged by the United States. This statement does not mean that without Soviet aid had not managed to win the North, but the accelerated markedly. Around 11,000 Soviet troops fought in Vietnam, most of them pilots, technicians and specialists in air defense.

The Ho Chi Minh trail: the supply of guerrillas

As the US fleet was impossible to supply maritime North Vietnam decided to strengthen and expand heavily used route that opened in 1959.

This route was named the first president of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and was far from a road or even a path. Runs through Laos and Cambodia, and it was mostly a collection of trails used for transporting all kinds of supplies and soldiers.

Although its importance has been overestimated, this route was a key factor in the victory; especially because it could never be cut or stopped. They use all sorts of techniques (from the seed to the bombing of intelligent sensors that detect people walking and even sweat); but the action of animals, jungle, innumerable roads and perseverance of the Vietnamese, it was all useless.

Over time, the route was filled areas to relax, grow more food to relieve pressure on transported goods. These centers were target of bombing attacks by mercenaries hired by the CIA and even incursions into Cambodia and Laos. But as in the case of the bombing, but that too proved futile, and the Ho Chi Minh trail became a key to launch the Tet Offensive, the later Easter Offensive and ultimately ending the offensive of Spring with South Vietnam.

So was the route and posts that are set up which opened the doors to North Vietnam mobilized his army when the pro-Western government of Laos fell and became a de facto protectorate.

The Vietcong

The Provisional Government of the Republic of South Vietnam soon learned he was a deadly firepower of American, so they decided to use the War of the Flea, with minor knocks but of great strength. In theory, it was a drive to crush the numerical superiority (a god, but it was not always possible to achieve this ratio) and retire before the reaction of the enemy.

Among the subsidies that reached neighboring countries that contributed the north and obtained bombs and unexploded grenades NBC, he allowed a limited supply of explosives to manufacture bombs and booby traps. The armament was a priority, and other necessities occupied second place, almost opposite the enemy, where logistics superiority of foreign troops involved only envy and hatred, and therefore wanted to hit stronger.

“Our intelligence officials told us that the Americans had steaks, beer and ice cream to their bases; and that the war only occupied much of his time. We brought war on our shoulders wherever we were armed or not. Unlike them, we had few medicines and no hospital when we are wounded “

– A former member of the Vietcong

In addition, its adaptation to the land to live hidden or working during the day and night, do all kinds of attacks using the terrain and vegetation besieged by the enemy. So, the night really belonged, as during those dark hours was they who dominated the field.

His close contact with the local population allowed access to food and information. Before choosing a target, regimental commanders sent an explorer to establish contact with the local population and prepare the entrance, attack and retreat.

If considered three possible actions then undertaken the attack. These often consisted of human waves; but it was careful not wasted lives, in addition to clear land of corpses to be able to honor them with a funeral ceremony when the operation ended.

The Vietcong chain of command functioned like any army or perhaps better. So much so that Americans came to organizing attacks surprised at the level of division. A unit attacked a lower number, and when asked for reinforcements to repel the aggression, sent forces were attacked by a drive even greater than the first. This increase was achieved in both forward as auxiliary helpers, contributing to the victory and the fall of morality (this was one of the reasons why I failed 1966 Operation Attleboro). If reinforcements were too numerous, the Vietcong could disappear forever in the jungle, except for one unit: the black pajamas. This unit, formed by men motivated wore the traditional clothes of the peasants, carrying a rifle or submachine gun, a bolt and a chain tied to a tree in order to fight without withdrawal or surrender to hurt tackles the enemy or allow the withdrawal of their peers.

The guerrillas were mostly communists and were not even all men: when a unit was lacking effective recruited women who fought so fiercely as men. This ferocity, determination and sacrifices he surprised the Americans, who often came to Southeast Asia to an acquittal. Even after the former members of those bodies guerrillas also surprised by his selflessness:

“I really do not know how we could hold all those years. There was nothing to do except fight and keep fighting. The US troops had luck. They would return to their homes, thousands of kilometers away, once their work. We did not have anything except land, our land. If we rendíem, we would not have anything. Possibly at the bottom of our hearts, the hated “

The moral of the Vietnamese

Since then, those men and children generally thin surprised everyone by their tenacity and will to beat many enemies they have put in front. This motivation, sometimes confused by Americans for examples of bigotry or contempt toward the dictatorial communist leaders and their people. Although it is true that the two Vietnams were dictatorships and were very common cases of summary executions by EVN officials, the North Vietnamese had a great desire to win and iron faith in his sacrifice. As an example can serve Duong Thi Xuan Quy witness to cross Highway 9 at the end of Route 9:

“It’m falling and I skin … I arrived exhausted and lame were 6 o’clock when I crossed Highway 9. The road was not wide, but we had to speed up to avoid draw attention of enemy aircraft. He appeared suddenly in front of me a curve blurred by the summer sun and full of stones. However, it seemed sufficiently intact. So I crossed Highway 9, via a memory of which is perpetuated in the history of our heroic people. »

Another example of industriousness without the desperation of the people realized after the bombing of North Vietnam. A community member related that:

“Since the bombing began Operation” Rolling Thunder “all the north, except Hanoi and Haiphong, had suffered aerial bombardments of all kinds: napalm, white phosphorus, anti-person mines, high explosive, defoliants .. . All the bridges, roads all the links, all railway stations, all factories had been attacked, reconstructed, camouflaged again attacked, moved and rebuilt again. »

For those originating in temperate regions, the jungle can be as a hostile place, a friend of his enemies and their enemy, as they saw the British in Burma during the Second World War. The Vietnamese had to feed snakes, rats, lizards, and when there was luck, rice; but for this reason, when they lacked food, they could survive in the jungle without their moral suffered, and when they arrived, after stealing a base, they lived true moments of euphoria and satisfaction. This was something that the French Column Alessandri had experienced during their arduous march to China when the aircraft Americans threw food, it was a feast, which for the members of the units, NBC lost in the jungle poses no delicacy, and even was reached to establish turns to choose the most liked.

South gets territory

Westmoreland Vietnam US

General William Westmoreland.

The commander of US troops in Vietnam, General William Westmoreland, demanded and achieved the means to carry out the actions that he believed would lead to victory.

The American actions

Operation Rolling Thunder: that started in early March 1965 to attack targets in North Vietnam and reduce or eliminate the incursions of its units in the South. As proved later, was one of the first failures by both the achievements (thought to reduce the North Vietnamese industry in a few days) and for the civilian deaths caused. In addition it constitutes a constant headache for the families of the pilots missing in action. The F-105 Thunderchief the United States Air Force and A-4 Skyhawk aircraft carrier-based Navy drove out most missions against nordvietnamites. The campaign is the first combat use of electronic on-board computers to display aircraft position information in real time.

Cut the arrival of supplies from the North: for it intensified the actions of the Green Berets in the Central Highlands forming a militia montagnes and achieving many successes on the Ho Chi Minh trail (some authors believe that was the more efficient action of the United States). At the same time, the American fleet was blocked almost all marine shipments.

Attacked the enemy in their own territory. Intensified operations research and destruction, they patrol boats on the Mekong Delta, the SEALs were formed and sent to carry out actions against insurgents

Carry out the campaign of Hearts and Minds, which so successfully led the British in Malaysia, to galvanize the population to rebuild villages, health, or delivery of agricultural machinery.

The United States and its allies launched a mission after another and fought a battle behind the other, which may include:

Operation Starlight, cornered by the Vietcong

Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, to locate and destroy the regiments of the EVN that harass forces in mountainous area

Operation Rolling Thunder, the military industry to destroy North Vietnamese military and other objects allegedly

Operation Market Time to cut supplies arriving by sea

Operation Prairies, where they gave a tough battle hill called murmurs, to stop infiltration from the demilitarized zone.

The use of Agent Orange to clear vegetation cover that protected the cured and the positions from where the guerrillas attacked the regular forces.

However, in December 1965, the USAF launches Big Belly Program, to allow Boeing B-52 Stratofortress transported almost 10.000kg bomb, and in April 1966 they were moved to the island of Guam, Vientam to reach the South. From there it was realized an average of 300 trips a month. With this new weapon in 1966 achieved the 9th Division defeated the Vietcong, for which they had to make 255 trips.

All these operations, bombings and victories gave an impression to the public that American was achieving the aim of pacifying the country, but the image when it had reached anywhere in South Vietnam was unsafe. This could see the Spanish contingent that arrived in Saigon in April 1966: official buildings were themselves protected by sandbags, the bus that had brought the windows covered with bars to prevent the entry of grenades, and even himself Peninsula hotel where they were staying had to interrupt the emission of a film by the nearby explosions and subsequent attack helicopters. And this in its own capital.

This campaign missions and attacks the communist advance was halted almost dry. However, the American high command saw several problems: since 1965, Westmoreland himself acknowledged that the number of casualties was disproportionately high; In 1966, the number of victories fell (the North Vietnamese began to take the initiative), to the fact that the applicant and Westmoreland said more soldiers and artillery continue using, aviation, high explosive and other devastating to them. Thus, operations continued following up one after the other:

Operation Cedar Falls, the Vietcong to destroy the infrastructure, causing serious losses and open the road to victory

Operation Junction City, to locate and destroy the alleged headquarters of the Vietcong to a conventional battle

McNamara raised the line to detect and neutralize any attempt to penetrate the demilitarized zone

Transfer of B-52 in Thailand to carry out missions without being reaprovisionats in flight

Increased B-52 exits to an average 800 a month

Workforce Development Mobile River to patrol the Mekong Delta to locate and clean up the Vietcong sanctuaries, as well as any shipment of arms or supplies that tried to infiltrate the river.

Thanks to this support and effort, the Saigon government was regaining much of the lost territory in previous years, and in 1967 the United States had the feeling that victory would come soon. But excessive firepower was used often backfire. One villager said that

“The village no longer exists. It was destroyed by the Americans, rebuilt and destroyed again by them. After this is called free fire zone. They said that the village died because there was no reason why nobody was there, even to visit the tomb of our ancestors “

In addition, the use of a weapon so fearsome as superbombarders B-52 caused rejection of much of the world, including the United States itself.

Other foreign investments

From the beginning, President Johnson tried to attract as many countries as possible to give an idea of the “Free World” was fighting against communism. Many countries sent aid, mainly in the form of medical supplies (which is one of the best aids seen by the population transmitter and receiver); but only 7 countries sent troops to Vietnam in response cited the “Free World”, although the word free is often a euphemism than a reality.

The most striking was the Korean dictatorship. The Seoul government decided to support its American ally, who had saved the communist invasion the previous decade, with sending troops to missions in second line, but soon began to take action to combat.

In February 1965 there were only 200 men, but simultaneously sending massive American contingent Korean rose to around 47 829 soldiers in 1967, with an enviable preparation and training. Their tactics were US universities, but their own methods were often brutal.

The area was mapped the east coast of the country, between the cities of Cam Ranh and Qui Nhon, patrolling it with great fanaticism (after all, knew firsthand the actions of the communist regimes). In 1967, a South Korean company was attacked by a formation of EVN far superior in number. The battle ended in a bloodbath, with 243 casualties by Vietnamese and humiliating withdrawal.

The Koreans remained in Vietnam until March 1973 with the mission to keep open ports and roads, in addition to facing the Vietcong. The total number of South Koreans was 312 853.

Australia, meanwhile, sent a major force. The first Australians arrived in Indochina in 1962 as advisors; but in 1965 the Canberra government increased the quota to 1,400 men. This contribution is very important for the United States and its attempt to unite the entire Free World against communism, and so much so that that detachment was received by General Westmoreland own. In addition, the Australians had experience in fighting the jungle as they had previously fought with the British against the Communists in Malaysia.

The troops continued to rise, up to 7672 soldiers and officers in 1967, mainly carried out search and destroy missions on a small scale throughout Vietnam, but mainly in the province of Phuoc Tuy.

In 1968, with the change of situation, it became necessary conducting joint missions with the Americans to defend bases Bin Hoa and Long Binh; but increase the fight was not appreciated at all in their country. In Australia, participation in the war was much less popular in the United States and caused a controversy disproportionate to the volume of troops sent.

In December 1972 he withdrew from Vietnam last Australian soldier, leaving a balance of 49 968 participants (1962-1972) 492 deaths, 2,398 injuries and $ 500 million invested.

A very large contingent was sent to Thailand, with a total of 11 568 soldiers. It also allowed the US would use its territory to operate the B-52 fighters and reconnaissance aircraft and Infiltration Surveillance Center. The fear that Vietnam would conquer the entire peninsula of Indochina and extend communism contributed enormously to sending such a large stake.

Philippines sent about 2,000 soldiers, perhaps to get permissiveness for implanted dictatorship that President Marcos in the archipelago. Taiwan, but also shared the fear of communist invasion of South Korea and Thailand, only sent 31 soldiers, and Spain ruled by dictator Francisco Franco anticommunist sent 13 military doctors, two of whom are injured rejecting the attack suffered during the Tet Offensive.

Shares Vietnamese

The Vietnamese, both EVN and the Viet Cong, were very clear that their tactics to attack and cause all the damage would be possible to correct. Again did some metaphor:

“It will be a fight between an elephant and a tiger. If the tiger is still the elephant smashed beyond repair; but it shall not be the tiger never still. Jump on the back of the elephant tearing large chunks of meat will then hide in the jungle. So the elephant die desgagnat. “

This sentence cruel and often hides the essence of that atrocious war (as all wars are often guerrilla). A member of the Viet Cong explained it clearly:

“Our comrades did not feel it. They knew they had to kill as many Americans as possible. We had said that we massacressim as many soldiers as possible imperialists, as if the growing number of Americans dead, the American people – that this war did not like – to overthrow his government. »

This sentence contains one of the letters that the Vietnamese people learned to play extremely well: land use in their own benefit. In the jungle could hide without being seen by viewers even star light or infrared could create shelters more or less safe and could hide after an ambush or escape from a Action research or destruction. The Vietnamese knew the jungle hostile use for their own benefit, something the Americans never come to understand completely, as demonstrated by his desire to end the vegetation desfoliants or convert the land into a wilderness base camp bombs.

The lessons that the United States did not learn

Robert McNamara was one of the first leaders to realize that the war was not going well. Here, along with General Westmoreland, in one of his trips to Vietnam (1965)

Robert McNamara was one of the first leaders to realize that the war was not going well. Here, along with General Westmoreland, in one of his trips to Vietnam (1965)

Despite the extraordinary efforts undertaken and the feeling of victory, the United States had not understood the kind of war in which they fought and faced the enemy that. This misunderstanding noticed in the continuous quantitative statistics and reports requested and used by the controls without looking too much in the speeches of Communist leaders, showing that they behaved like any conventional war, where the most important are the details of the potential enemy, instead of a guerrilla war in which the key point is to separate the guerrillas of popular support.

So the demilitarized zone remained a focus of communist infiltration, despite the heavy fighting that took place there, the batteries installed in the McNamara Line and its advanced technology.

But the most critical situation was to be given to the so-called Iron Triangle, an area 50 km from Saigon filled tunnels occupied by Vietcong soldiers and EVN. That area was always a dagger on the capital of the South, halfway between the main city of southern and safe havens in Cambodia. Operation Attelboro was the example of a major operation mounted to find and destroy shelters and units; 196a but the soldiers of the Light Infantry Division suffered a major defeat when they tried in August 1966. The communists managed to avoid the siege and take refuge in Cambodia. They tried again in January 1967 as part of Operation Cedar Falls, but the Viet Cong managed to do what the Americans considered impossible disappeared. We caught lots of material and destroyed many tunnels, but the bulk of the guerrilla troops had returned to escape the attack.

Most of the Johnson Administration defended the idea of raising funds and allocating staff to Southeast Asia, but Robert McNamara, one of the earliest and most fervent advocates of US intervention, he began to have doubts and to be submitted- 1966 inability openly that the war could be won in 1967. According to him, the initiative had been fighting the communists; they could choose how many and how low could cause them to suffer their enemies, and so, as I said McNamara, keep casualties to a level low enough to agauntar indefinitely; but high enough to tempt us to increase our troops to the extent that the public reject the American war. The CIA had a similar view, also positing the impossibility of winning the conflict solely by military means.

1968:  the war turnaround

Until 1968 there was a certain self-complacency among US military commanders how the war was going. Despite missing and demonstrations against it, the victories gained ground and was recovered thought were the right way,  although there were intelligence reports that announced a major offensive communist, but These reports were not clear enough or reliable because the previous year had launched a major operation (Operation Cedar Falls), following another intelligence operation, Operation Rendezvous, but not more leads than usual with the Vietcong. For these reasons it was a great surprise to almost all military and political analysts, and 1968 brought down all expectations, NBC and demonstrated the tenacity and perseverance of the Vietnamese people .

The Stars and Stripes floats away to Khe Sanh

In January 1968, the Americans suffered a heavy bombardment in the Khe Sanh base that besieged by two divisions of EVN, as well as other Viet Cong troops, threatened to become a setback for Americans victorious mood.

Thus, the High Command conducted a huge effort to keep his hold this power. The United States stopped sending planes with supplies, and when landings were impossible dropped charges parachute, rescue harassed by the Operation Pegasus, captured the hills surrounding the facilities, and so to keep the position.

It seemed that this fight would be one of the few powerful guerrilla forces that could undertake damaged after almost three years of combat.

During the siege, the Marines captured the 811 level and was hoisted American flag. The command he reproached them, because it was the territory of southern Vietnam, but the Marines claimed the only American blood was spilled there, and so gave the title to this part of the conflict, still optimistic.

The Tet offensive

In late January of that year, while he was celebrating the festival of Tet (Vietnamese New Year), 38 of the 52 capitals of the South were attacked and many of them captured almost. The ancient capital of the Empire Vietnamese, Hue, fell into rebel and his conquest took several days; Saigon was under siege, and the very US embassy was attacked by a suicide squad that almost reaches the interior of the building.

The surprise was complete by the Americans and the ARVN. At this point we find another key on the defeat of the US in this war: military intelligence was not able to provide clear, specific information on what was happening and what would come.

Despite the tons of captured documents to the enemy in operations, the massive use of aerial photography (and the end of the war, spy satellites), the dispersion of thousands of sensors and Jungle the use of, for the time, very sophisticated third generation computers; the National Security Agency was aware of preparations for the offensive, not the size of the complex of tunnels so that they collaborate, or the existence or not of a headquarters EVN territory South Vietnamese … getting itself often situations where intelligence officials marked as targets major sites that do not really know if they were; but if it was, would raise the points. Naturally, these places had to be inspected by the infantry, who played them for life, instead it was who had the intelligence to work to avoid the risks.

However, the Tet Offensive also kept a little surprise for the North Vietnamese high command: Southern soldiers repulsed the attack with few defections, gaining several fierce fighting; air power almost completely swept the Viet Cong guerrillas (about 40,000 deaths, according to Americans), and a few days later, all the territory won by guerrilla was recovered, having lost much of EVN cash that had so painfully managed to reach the south.  The Tet offensive was again a failure, as was the battle of the Red River Delta 14 years.

It has been discussed whether or not the desired result was to Giap and the chiefs of Hanoi; but opinions are almost unanimous about the effects that brought the United States

The decline of morals

Although the demonstrations against began almost from the start of the intervention was in 1968 when the movement against the Vietnam War began to be running permanently

Paradoxically, a victory as Tet did see the Americans in the street that the rebels could only give a good fright to his soldiers, they could attack anywhere in the south, could attack its embassy and violate its territory.

Many had been useless bombing, three years of fighting with heavy casualties, the riad million and sent the crowd of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations? And so there are some authors have dubbed “the collapse of morality.” So many messages victory was little more than a deception.

Little use of statements about the high rate of casualties caused Viet Cong and EVN, resistance or ARVN demonstrated that the findings of the killings Hue. The protests multiplied, increasing dramatically when in 1969 it made public the My Lai massacre: discovering that the atrocities committed by the Nazis during World War II could be repeating itself in Vietnam, and this was something that left indifferent very few. Especially when it emerged that the system of measuring performance goals could have made actions such as My Lai at the tip of the iceberg.

This is another feature of the Vietnam War: the integration problems suffered by many veterans on their return home. Having risked his life in an untamed jungle against a population that always seemed suspicious or even hostile, exhausting in long marches between traps and risk being attacked … all for a country which, in its back, far from showing gratitude, the despised, or even those accused of killings and atrocities similar (beyond whether they had participated in them or not). It was certainly not the entire population, but only the fact that an increasingly large part of it had this feeling that affected both soldiers, like any fighter, returned thinking that the country had so risky and the spoils estimate.

The Vietnamization

Although the idea and the term were already raised by President Kennedy in the early 60s, it was not until the victory of Nixon when he began to take in practice.

Conducted by renowned analyst Henry Kissinger sought to strengthen and prepare the vietnamization the ARVN to defend the territory of the south remained under their control (approximately 94%), while creating a context for the regime of President vent Thieu’s assatjament consistently subjected the Communists of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong; thus, offered a stronger position in the negotiations should be made to find a solution to the conflict, and since February 1969 Kissinger was in Paris with a secret communist leaders to study a possible peace terms.

Nixon decided to change course

One discusses if after the Tet Offensive in 1968, the President decided progressive desvinculament conflict or if this decision was taken a few months later, after the Battle of Hamburger Hill. What happened was undoubtedly yes perception of President Johnson did not count because the majority of citizens.

But despite all shipments troops continued, and in 1969 the number increased to more than 500,000 Americans; but to praise the President already knew that war had cost him re-election and will not be presented to the legislative.

Johnson left the White House in January 1969 and Richard Nixon was elected as the new president. The pillars on which bases its policies in Vietnam would be:

  • a gradual withdrawal of troops
  • maintain financial support in South Vietnam
  • achieve an honorable peace leading to North Vietnam and the Viet Cong at the negotiating table, albeit based bombs
  • not to extend the bombing and military actions in any other country

The second project was accomplished gradually, although it was not like the rest. This promise something in a matter of paramount importance, do exactly the opposite and returned to win the elections has been an example to many Americans as a great car salesman can drag a whole country. Also proves the determination of Nixon was not the only US president to lose a war.

Nixon showed unrelenting bombardment to force Hanoi to sit at the table. It negotiated the details to look like an honorable peace: was reached to temporarily suspend preparations for the conference to find a way to enter the four delegations once (in diplomacy, the order entry marks the winners and losers) and even stood up to all the board would decide whether round or square, while in the jungle continued fighting and deaths.

After the withdrawal of northern negotiations again airstrikes to force them to rejoin. When they did they wanted to present it as a victory, but the fact is that Hanoi is not substantially changed their demands forced, among other things, the South could not regain territory.

Respect no extension of the war, Nixon ordered a campaign secret bombing of Laos, which was quickly discovered and published inter alia be Laos the country bombarded Earth with more than two and a half million pumps all kind and size.  In addition, the ARVN partially invaded this country with terrible results, as did also with accompanying Cambodian Americans. That conflict ended extend to those areas that were already in the midst of civil wars against guerrilla movements.

Another problem faced was gathering abundant information on the organization and the disposition of enemy forces. In 1969 the company, which had already been long insisting that this war could not gain by means conventional, already had ready its Phoenix Program that had begun in 1967 to be more selective and cause less butchers with bombs and grenades high explosive. But despite the efforts of various commands in the opposite direction, the Phoenix Program end state terrorism being more than a source of reliable information.

Meanwhile, the US Army took hundreds of officers ARNV in training courses for commanders, pilots and maintenance personnel of expensive material gifts (especially aerial). But progress were very slow, and often had problems due to the chronic corruption (the controls were still selected by the commitments of political leaders, not by their military qualities). In the same vein, the officers began to see that Americans give helicopters and replace them when they were killed not lead to nothing if the pilots still had a training as very mediocre.

The withdrawal of troops began in 1970 starting with personal and ending with infantry pilots always summer ARNV need for their vital air support. For this mission, General Westmorelanf was removed from his duties and returned to the Pentagon.

The war spreads

In Cambodia, the Americans hoped to find the headquarters of the enemy and its expected pitched battle, which could be used to its full potential resident units such as tanks, among other weapons stationed in Vietnam defensive position

In Cambodia, the Americans hoped to find the headquarters of the enemy and its expected pitched battle,  which could be used to its full potential resident units such as tanks, among other weapons stationed in Vietnam defensive position

The two neighbors neutral South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were still unable to contain the aggression of their Communist guerrillas, nor able to cut the Ho Chi Minh trail, which had been very important in the preparation of the main offensive. If the United States claimed that its ally could survive a war with the north, had to cut pathways of infiltration and, incidentally, ended the Quarter North Vietnamese Army, who expected an old mirage find in Cambodia and finally could fight and win a conventional battle.

In early 1969, the newly elected Richard Nixon began a secret bombing campaign of Cambodia and Laos. The pilots had to take off, go to a certain position and wait for orders. Once in position, the drivers gave the coordinates that were attacking. In return, drivers had to destroy all documents about these incursions in neutral territory. Despite all the precautions, in less than a month since the New York Times published the news about these documents (leaked by members of the USAAF dissatisfied with these transactions). According to the 1986 edition of the Guinness Book of Records, Laos was the most bombed country in the world with several megatons of conventional pumps.

These bombings pursued a tactical objective: to cut the Ho Chi Minh trail, and a more strategic, which was to demonstrate to the government that the new president of the North was willing to do anything to end with that war, even nuclear option. But the North Vietnamese were not at all impressed with her and continued to flow southward.

The invasion of Cambodia

The invasion of Cambodia 1970. The map illustrates the lines of the American attack combined

The invasion of Cambodia 1970. The map illustrates the lines of the American attack combined

On 14 April 1970, the ARVN incursion and first performed on April 29, Lieutenant Do Cao Tri launches its peak of about 12,000 men cry, but it was the 1st of May when General Robert Shoemacker sent the order to advance on the Parrot Peak Bait and officers stationed in the border with Cambodia. While some take it with resignation, the majority was happy to hit the sanctuary of the Vietcong and especially the Vietnamese, to avenge all the dead Cambodians had sent floating down the river Mecong.

The raid was preceded by major bombings that caused many deaths among farmers, which in the long term was fearful for the pro-Western government of Cambodia; because the communist guerrillas managed legitimacy and volunteers for their victory. Nixon was aware of the repercussions that would take those actions but, as he himself said, he preferred to lose the election to be the first president to lose a war.

The raid skiing found some sporadic resistance groups, as usual, his disappeared after a brief firefight. Although resistance was increasing slightly by EVN, even the people of Snuol opposition tried to resist the firepower of M40 Patton. Soon sites artillery EVN were captured and shipped 100 trucks of exploration Sheridan, who find strength. Using all the firepower they overcame the resistance, razed the village and interrogated while farmers, looted everything they could.

Cambodians report that there was an entire city guerrilla in the jungle. Soon after, a helicopter Lonch found a house and started well camouflaged artillery shelling and aviation. When the children were able to enter, which would call themselves “The City” would find straw huts 400 and 180 hideouts where there were medical supplies, food, clothing, more than 480 guns and 120,000 bullets. Between the two raids were 4,793 individual guns, 730 mortars, rockets 7285, 124 trucks, three million rounds of rifle and 9 million kilos of rice, plus lots of documentation. The cavalry performed airborne outputs 6436 to bring South Vietnam captured 25,000 tonnes; and June 30, all the soldiers returned to their bases.

Throughout the raid killed 354 Americans and 1,689 were injured. The ARNV said he had lost 866 men and 3,274 wounded. In addition, the President said it had captured weapons and supplies for a year, in addition to having 11 349 enemy dead, although the own company branded this count as highly suspect.

For Nixon, it was like a Christmas gift, and ordered the dispatch of 31,000 more troops to Cambodia to destroy everything that had not been transported. However, the famous “EVN headquarters” for Vietnam (the COSVN) did not appear, while demonstrations increased in the United States, Kent State being the hardest of all.

But these attacks and bombardments Americans encouraged the people against his government could not or would not defend them, and encouraged the bloody Khmer Rouge, who fought for years and had managed to consolidate a base of operations the north. On this basis and people who wanted to end up with a corrupt government, the land was fertile because farmers plowing the fields of death.

Entering Laos: the road to hell

Authorized on 18 January 1971 and named in honor of the famous Vietnamese victory over the Chinese in 1427, the operation had 719 We Lan objectives dismantling any possible attack on the communist South Vietnam for a year. Laos was considered the most used border for the supply of equipment and weapons to the guerrillas, and had to be forcefully struck for two reasons:

ARVN give more time for preparation culminated in the defeat allow EVN

warned the North Vietnamese Nixon was willing, as he had done in Cambodia, to employ all means at its disposal to enforce peace.

Under these premises are prepared and authorized Operation We Lan Lan 719. The military objective was to open a broker We 25km wide by 35 long border between the South Vietnamese and Laotian city of Tchepone. This would cut the Ho Chi Minh trail and stop the operations of the guerrillas in the south.

Unfortunately for the general Xuam Lam and his men, EVN fierce resistance and more weapons much better than a year earlier in Cambodia, and half way, the casualties suffered on the road and nine in North Hills those forced to stop the advance and begin evacuation helicopters. The images of hundreds of helicopters entering South Vietnam frightened and filled with wounded soldiers threw overland any hope that the ARVN would be enough to defend South Vietnam.

The disaster cost 719 Lan We almost 10,000 men in the army of South Vietnam, just under half of those who had cash and a defeat that made fear for the future operation of this army.

But two years later, showed that the South Vietnamese were still cards to play against the same enemy who had so severely beaten.

The match technology

As in any conflict fought between a big country and a small one, about the Vietnam War, there are several topics that are not certain to be repeated for more. One of these topics is the assertion that the Vietnamese were fighting with rudimentary weapons against the most advanced technology. Truly, several intelligence reports showed that the Viet Cong got most of his material from the army and South mines and other unexploded devices launched by the United States.  There is evidence that the Vietcong and EVN prepared homemade traps almost as stakes Punj covered stool to accelerate the soldier stepped gangrene. For its part, the United States used the bombs lazy dogs, loaded with thousands of spikes to generate a slow death for the victims.

Although it is true that the US used in Vietnam more sophisticated electronic products available (motion detectors, laser-guided smart bombs, helicopters artillats …), it is no less true that North Vietnam and the Viet Cong (although less) had produced the best that the Soviet arsenal, especially in the second and third part of the war.

So recapture the hills of Laos was due largely to the intervention of tanks sent by the Soviet Union. In addition, many Americans complained veterans often have to fight with weapons that did not work, so bad start before the M16 rifle AK-47 (for its reliability and simplicity.)

During air raids on North Vietnam during the 60s and 70s, the government of Hanoi threw his MiG-17. In the Western world initially believed that the MiG 17 was nothing more than a simple improvement of a previous apparatus used in the Korean War in the previous decade. But the Vietnamese pilots had showed that a device completely different, more manageable and more true. Even more sophisticated were the world famous MiG-21, a machine designed and developed in just 18 months in the late 50s Abate numerous planes that Americans (including F-4 Phantom launched against him). Even better were the MiG-23 entered service but when the conflict ended.

In several publications have highlighted the aerial feats performed by the Deputy Randall Cunningham the wheel of his Panthom, but what is certain is that many fighter pilots Vietnamese abbot with both bombers and MiG-17 and MiG -21, although they had less maintenance and especially less training than American.

“Even before Christmas (1973) had already shown how our anti-aircraft systems were effective. On October 17, we shot down American aircraft number 4,000 since 1964. The victim was a General Dynamics F-111 supersonic fighter bomber wing arrow, which was then the latest in aviation technology. »

The reliability and endurance of arms Vietnamese were higher than the American. So much so that many of these weapons, such as AK-47, were later sold some of the more devices worldwide, thanks to its high-value, higher than their counterparts Americans. The MiG-21 proved a plane so good that nations like the Czech Republic decided during the 1990s derecognised its most modern aircraft and modernize these devices. Finally, the MiG-23 caused some concern in the USAAF , bringing them to start developing a new generation of fighters.

The offensive Easter: the ARVN resists

The Easter Offensive in South Vietnam failed because it crumbles and bombers and ships Americans were there.

The Easter Offensive in South Vietnam failed because it crumbles and bombers and ships Americans were there.

At two in the morning of March 30, 1972, artillery and missiles EVN attacked the positions of the ARVN in the demilitarized zone with a power such that recalled the worst moments in Khe Sanh. They threw 12,000 shells, 4,000 men and 200 tanks against South vienamites positions in order to sweep them, surround Quang Tri and Hue reoccupied, as they had reached in 1968 during the Tet. Soon after, another raid progressed from Cambodia for the region Ham and Tip of Parrot, besieging cities of An Loc Ninh and Tay road to Saigon. In addition, a third wave came from southern Cambodia to infiltrate Delta Mecong.

But all these moves were merely a distraction from the main attack was launched days after the country’s central city of Kontum. The images of highways packed with refugees, planes trying to take off with men hanging from cramps and vehicles full of terrified Vietnamese seemed to give the idea that South Vietnam would fall within days.

Giap launched on the south almost the entire army with the intention of frightening the soldiers southern undo the enemy and give the final blow to the regime in Saigon. It was necessary because once such Timor President Thieu relieved of the command of General Giai and Lieutenant General Ngo dzu (both described as cowardly and corrupt) and put the head of his men to General Ngo Quang Truong, described by some as the best officer in South Vietnam. This energetic man stopped withdrawals and ordered that all deserters and looters were executed. With the new command and, perhaps, struggling desperately to not repeat again the atrocities of 1968, Hue could be saved while Kontum and An Loc resisted an attack after the other. All this led to increased confidence in South vietamita his army.

Across the Pacific, Nixon declared he would launch an attack as never before seen and it accomplishes. 700 planes displaced in Southeast Asia, including the B-52 with its 24.500kg bombs, and ships anchored in the waters of South Vietnam launched a fierce attack that stopped disintegrated and sometimes other units the north.

Giap returned to his tactics of launching wave after wave, which had given Dien Bien Phu disastrous results, to remain without effect. At the same time, newcomers tanks of the Soviet Union fighters were destroyed by the Americans or by the ARVN soldiers with their portable launchers.

Finally, the EVN raids stopped, the bombing stopped stopping the offensive. North losses were terrible, and almost remained no strength to carry out certain operations size 1973 and 1974. He had won more than twice the territory of South Vietnam that had until then (3.7% to 9.7%), although 15% of these conquests was lost during the following years before the ARVN, who fought alone.

The failure of vietnamization

The program vietnamization achieved some successes, such as:

Cause a blow to the infrastructure of the Viet Cong and EVN in Cambodia.

Seizing abundant munitions, provisions and supplies destined for troops in the south.

Thieu’s regime arming with abundant supplies of ammunition and equipment (later also would like the Soviets before their retreat from Afghanistan).

Reduce dashboards Communists for terrorist Phoenix Program.

Resist the great offensive attack represented Easter.

But nevertheless, the North Vietnamese had also reached its part:

Increase the territory under its control.

Cause a terrible defeat ARNV Laos.

Preserve its capacity for action and their supply lines.

Maintaining the morale of combat troops, damaged by bombing and removal of its members.

The achievements by the Vietnamese communists practically coincided with the Nixon administration sought to avoid, and therefore we can say that the outcome of vietnamization was a failure. This view is confirmed think before order that Nixon would massively bombing North Vietnam and undermine both the ports and estuaries, action almost made desperate to achieve a peace agreement.

The victory and the defeat of North America

Despite the events showed that after the defeat in 1972 and 1973 South was not at all clear to either of the two parties. On one side were fighting alone, but the other was recovering territory and the US had delivered 2,500 million in weapons and ammunition, enough to withstand several years; nor international circumstances facilitated things for either side:

Economic problems

Despite the generous load arsenal that Americans had left, leaving the war reduced twice financial aid to the Saigon regime (first Nixon and then by Congress) to leave them 700 million per year. This cut aid increased in 1975, which forced him to leave the ground more than 200 planes, half of the Vietnamese Air Force.

The oil crisis was increasing the price of food and other essential commodities across the South, which forced many soldiers to perform extra work outside the ranks or leave your site to gain enough to keep their families at the expense of reducing the time available for training and operations.

To the north things were not going no better: the policy of bringing Nixon in China (the famous Ping Pong Diplomacy in 1971 and Nixon’s visit to Beijing in 1972) did suggest a reduction of the grant Military Asian giant North Vietnam. In addition, the Soviet Union also declined their generous contributions of funds and weapons having to worry about the security of its border with China, where there was sporadic efrontaments.

The Linebaker: bombardments on North

In the picture, a B-52 bombs. Nixon ordered the biggest bombing campaign during the war, but the results finally come to nothing

In the picture, a B-52 bombs. Nixon ordered the biggest bombing campaign during the war, but the results finally come to nothing

On May 8, 1972, Richard Nixon suspended the negotiations in Paris by the continuous attacks of EVN and ordered Operation Linebacker bombing campaign to undermine ports, military targets, railways, oil facilities, aerodromes and wharves around North Vietnam. According to sources, NBC, the President was outraged by the continuous raids on the North South Vietnamese and said those who suffer as a bombing had never before. Nixon had in mind that Operation Rolling Thunder was very worn Johnson, and an even tougher campaign would do the same with him, but he was a strong man and did not hesitate in ordering the departure of Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.

On this occasion, the F-4 Phantom II and B-52 were equipped with smart bombs, which would become so famous in later conflicts, and according to the Nixon administration only attack military targets or economic areas but never inhabited by civilians. Thus, the ferocity of the bombs seemed compensated for their accuracy; but the Vietnamese saw it differently:

“The Americans say they bombed military and economic targets and we declared that we put together in our schools and hospitals. This only excuses for the terrible number of casualties it causes among the civilian population. Schools and hospitals were built during the French before the hostilities, we were not so foolish as to attract the fire on our children and our patients being potential targets to his side. His definition of “precision bombs” can not keep ahead of neighboring islands completely destroyed, as the area of Kham Thien was densely populated; or the hospital of Bac Mai, 1,000 beds, both destroyed by bombs. »

This campaign was even more frightening that Rolling Thunder and the effectiveness of these weapons far exceeds the above: this time it launched 155 548 tons of bombs in 41,000 missions. Thus, the factories were almost completely destroyed, like the railway communications (including the famous bridge in Thanh Hoa, who struck 15 laser-guided bombs and collapses) and the cities of Hanoi and Haiphong, still intact, was also attacked.

According to Western sources, not chasing the bombing of North Vietnam to bring back to the negotiating table, but to prove that South Vietnam would continue supporting even withdraw its soldiers. But Nixon sought a solution that would be honorable for the first military defeat for his country, and this fact also influenced the decision to launch the bombing.

From the American point of view, the operations Linebaker decreased morale Vietnamese government in Hanoi and began to think back to the negotiating table. Actually, Americans aircraft very complicated things to the Vietnamese people.

“The siren sounded at times up to 20 times a day. The raids continued at night, forcing us out of bed in the middle of winter cold and get us some wet shelters “

On 23 October the bombing stopped and resumed negotiations. But a few months later, North Vietnamese leaders saw not met their demands to begin to negotiate and withdrew again. At that time they had received missile SAM (surface-to-air) and the Soviets hoped to be able to resist further attacks; but also knew the resistance of its people and the situation in the US, so the threat of new bombings not too impressed.

Nixon usually firm in their decisions and energetic in its application, the bombing restarted (unofficially campaign known as Operation Linebacker II) between 18 and 29 December 1972 (stopping only on Christmas Day).

I second phase of the campaign 20 370 tons of bombs fell, killing 1,000 people, stopping internal communications, malmentent the mains and destroying the entire Vietnamese air force. But the price was high: the Vietnamese shot down 26 aircraft (15 B-52 of them) and arrested several drivers, causing increased their margin for negotiation in Paris and is one of the biggest concerns that the conflict stopped in later years: where are the pilots missing in action?

For Nixon had achieved almost all the goals: to demonstrate to its ally the south that their support would continue despite the withdrawal and resume conversations. For many Vietnamese, the conclusion was different:

“On December 30, Nixon suspended the bombing and returned nine days later to take the talks in Paris. Le Duc Tho, our chief negotiator, did not deviate from the position he had held since before the bombing. Americans do not accept the changes. Nixon waver and they signed the Peace Agreement between North Vietnam and the United States on January 27, mostly on the same terms outlined above October. The iron will of our people and their belief in destiny had borne fruit. We had survived the power of the United States. »

The ceasefire Paris

All sides carried out many efforts in Paris to show that they had not lost the war, but were in vain. In the picture, several representatives signed the peace agreement on 27 January 1973

All sides carried out many efforts in Paris to show that they had not lost the war, but were in vain. In the picture, several representatives signed the peace agreement on 27 January 1973

On 27 January 1973 the delegation of South Vietnam, the North American and the Provisional Government of the Republic of South Vietnam (Viet Cong) signed the Paris Peace Accords.  The document featured articles 23 missions of each of the sides, and was prepared to minute details, but in South Vietnam is excluded. The Americans had taken to close this chapter of its history.

The agreement is a ceasefire, the withdrawal of the Americans in 60 days and, in turn, elections in the south and the exchange of prisoners. On March 29, the last soldier leaves the American South Vietnam,  leaving only the Marines guarding the embassy in Saigon.

For the United States, these agreements represented a break: the end of their participation in the war would save about $ 800 million, plus lighten great tension that existed in the country. But for Vietnamese only represented a pause in the fighting. For its part, the government of South announced that it would hold elections in its territory.

Before the arrival of the ceasefire, the fighting became more violent in order to gain the maximum possible territory. But the Saigon government welcomed the news with indifference and decided to face the attack of the North. The United States had promised to continue to support financially the South, but soon reduced financial allocations to virtually suspend the time of President Gerald Ford.

Hanoi prepares

Although the victory was not seen in the short term and the men of Giap were retreating before the ARVN had indications that the territories captured during the Easter Offensive insured the Paris Agreements constituted a solid basis for the final attack:

at the end of 1974, Hanoi had doubled the number of combatants (150,000 to 300,000)

had built a road network from the province of Quang Tri to Mekong to allow the march of men and machines

Khe Sanh airfield was again operating in your possession

pipeline remained open to Loc Ninh to send fuel to the south

the Ho Chi Minh trail, open since bombing was busy for all types of vehicles

In early 1974 the areas of Quang Nam and Quang Ngai were attacked while heavy fighting in May were recorded in Ben Cat and Thuong Duc ARNV was recovered with great difficulty. But in the spring of 1974, EVN had recovered all the lost territory Mecong Delta.

The preliminary Spring Offensive

A Viet Cong soldier holding an AK-47 rifle under the Viet Cong flag while taking part in the ceremony of exchange of prisoners overseen by the military junta of the four powers in 1973.

A Viet Cong soldier holding an AK-47 rifle under the Viet Cong flag while taking part in the ceremony of exchange of prisoners overseen by the military junta of the four powers in 1973.

Initially, the major defeat suffered on the offensive Easter politburo had hesitated to achieve a quick victory. Rather, what we tried to achieve was a stronger position, if possible splitting the country in two, preparing for the final attack to take place in 1976.

Meanwhile, the South, the North Vietnamese general Trần Văn Trà asked the realization of a great action about 10 kilometers from the capital. He insisted that, this way, we could achieve a quick victory. The plan was to divide up the Central Highlands city of Pleiku and cutting its connection to Ban Me Thuot. Initially, the request is postponed; but finally decided to start the offensive Hanoi and General Van Dung Tieng was sent south to prepare all the actions.

On March 1, 1975, EVN cut off enclaves Ban Me Thuot land, and the city fell on 13 March. The attack led to President Thieu took two wrong decisions and in those moments became tragic:

Remove its forces from Pleiku and Kontum to concentrate on the Ban Me Thuot, although this had just dropped.

Abandoning the demilitarized zone, withdrawing all troops from the city of Quang Tri to Hue and Da Nang.

The retreat became a rout. The pressure of the enemy, the panic of civilians fleeing frightened and inept command that could not make an orderly withdrawal (considered one of the most difficult missions) completely undermined cohesion and fighting spirit of the soldiers who instead of defending the cities mentioned, the crowd fled. In an attempt to avoid a catastrophic defeat, Theiu ordered general mobilization to try to contain an unstoppable offensive. The effort was useless, Hue fell on March 25 and 30th, Da Nang. In the Highlands also ruled panic and just two days after the country fell into the power of America.

How then recognize the general Tieng Van Dung, that was a fluke that there had to. Given all these news, the Politburo Le Duc Tho and junta Giap sent cables passing the mobilization demanded by Dung. The general said that there had been discussions for what would be the chosen battlefield. Finally it was decided that the Tay Nguyen region, as the South had only two divisions to defend it, plus scattered. When the US attacked, they could not offer great resistance, because the whole country was in chaos.

The Saigon government the letter he had only fought in the southern provinces (the richest), waiting for the monsoon rains would stop it all. Meanwhile, the Viet Cong laid the bases and organized a Provisional Revolutionary Government. Moreover, although contacts with the United States to get air support did not stop, this time only received good words from a country that wanted to forget as soon as possible all that conflict.

Spring Offensive

That collapse in the north and the Central Highlands had modified the perception that the leaders of a victory for the following year. Also changed everything in Saigon, which sought to establish negotiations with the Communists. These Thieu demanded the disappearance from the political scene, leaving the power finally on April 21 and was replaced by General Duong Van Minh. In late March, they returned to the Politburo met and decided to launch the ‘Offensive. Dung recalled the speech after the meeting:

“Our general offensive campaign began in Tay Nguyen. Now is a new strategic opportunity and conditions allow rapid end to our decision to liberate the South. We quickly decided to concentrate our forces, weapons and material to liberate Saigon before the rainy season. »

On April 22, A-37 planes captured the enemy flew to Tan Son Nhut and worth of their appearance, attacked the control tower and destroyed numerous fighters. The smoke could be seen from Saigon, with the consequent panic.

General Cao Van Vien ordered his men to defend the positions until the end, and shortly after he fled. President Thieu did the same. On April 28, Duong Van Minh held the office. Saigon whole units surrendered to the passage of the Communists, who advanced capturing a town after another under the slogan “In the best, as quickly, most daring and most surprise and sure of victory.”

The unconditional surrender

In 1975 there was no longer any place where they could be refugees. The photo evacuated sudvietnamites cross the deck of a US ship during “Operation Frequent Wind” in April 1975, for subsequent transfer to the Philippines or base Camp Pendleton, California

In 1975 there was no longer any place where they could be refugees. The photo evacuated sudvietnamites cross the deck of a US ship during “Operation Frequent Wind” in April 1975, for subsequent transfer to the Philippines or base Camp Pendleton, California

At 00:00 April 29, Saigon was attacked from all directions except the sea. For more units penetrated the Demilitarized Zone, as well as from Laos and northern Cambodia from the center.

A rubber woods near Dau Giay was located a unit attacking cross formed by a brigade of tanks, a regiment of infantry units and some more. They wore vehicles camouflaged with branches, arms with red ribbons to distinguish themselves and impeccable uniforms to capture the capital.

General Cao Van Vien signed the order to resist the phrase defend to the death, until the final portion of land that remains … shortly after deserting and fleeing the country instead.

At 15:00 April 29, transport, tanks and armored unit attack cross out of the woods and reached the capital crushing all resistance they encountered. The next day they arrived in Saigon, while people tried to flee by any means, occupying the streets of the capital and advancing towards the headquarters of the General Staff, Palace of Independence, the headquarters of the Capital Area Special Directory General of Police and the Tan Son Nhut airfield very quickly. Even journalists are amazed when they received the news that had penetrated the Presidential Palace (tanquistes the Vietnamese had the courtesy to repeat the act soon because I could photograph). It was the fall of Saigon.

The Communists were the stairs of the palace with their flags. They arrived and entered the office of president. With some dignity Minh said: “We have been waiting for the government to transfer them.” The answer was: “You have nothing to transfer. You can surrender unconditionally.” 

Repercussions of the conflict

Probably few conflicts have had many repercussions as the contemporary history of Vietnam, and more recently attracted the attention of novelists, and especially filmmakers.

United States

The keys to defeat US

According to Andrew Mayayo the keys to defeat American are:

The US committed a political error derived from the Cold War and the so-called domino theory, which tried to bar the way to communism. The problem in South Vietnam was not, however, communism, but the conflict between dictatorship weak and unstable, supported by Mandarin (2% of the population, but accounts for half of the land), and embracing hegemonic opposition from the Communists Buddhists.

The support of North Vietnam Viet Cong was decisive, as well as the use by guerrilla territorial space of Laos and Cambodia and military supplies from China and the USSR.

The human and economic cost of the war led to the rejection of the American public increasingly convinced that military intervention was a mistake.

The relief and the Vietnamese jungle play in favor of the Vietcong guerrilla warfare.

The bombing and the cruelty of war broadcast live for the first time by the media just change the image that many countries were still in the United States, and especially the Americans who had themselves to themselves. The image of a huge country to another crushing small, and its soldiers carried out massacres and inside were devastating, leaving crushed (but not dead) the spirit of Manifest Destiny. In the elections of 1968, a president devoted to social reforms such as Lyndon Johnson was forced to face great challenges from two Democrats opposed to the war Senators Eugene McCarthy and Bob Kennedy (brother of the assassinated President Kennedy and murder at the end of the campaign). On March 31, in view of a humiliating defeat by the surveys and the incessant prolongation of the conflict in Vietnam, Johnson withdrew from the presidential race and offered to negotiate an end to the war. Nixon re-election in 1972 led to a mass exodus of disgruntled citizens to countries such as Canada.

Opposition to the war spread inside and outside the United States among youth, being one of the causes of the movement against the system, such as the hippie movement. NBC universities were the scene of demonstrations against US involvement in this undeclared war and, in the opinion of many, unjustified. He had violent encounters between students and several police killings. In October 1967, about 200,000 protesters marched in front of the Pentagon in Washington, demanding peace, being one of the most intense of the peace movement. It is also true that this situation coincided with one of the moments of maximum economic prosperity with a high demand for labor, which gave much security to the youth and possibilities of changing fashions and customs.

A protester offers a flower to a military police during an anti-Vietnam protest in Arlington, Virgina, 1967

A protester offers a flower to a military police during an anti-Vietnam protest in Arlington, Virgina, 1967

The signing of the peace accords in Paris was not an honorable exit, intended as Nixon, then showed how the American society to the missing in action and, decades later, everyone who avoided conflict in one way or other. In addition, the conflict left hundreds of thousands of soldiers with extensive drug addiction and affected by the effects of Agent Orange used during the war.

The American army claimed he had fought as long as necessary, and if he won was to have their hands tied in the back, having to take reporters to the same front, unable to cope as they wished, etc . But the trauma of Vietnam take much more to the military than in society in general. Thus, references to conflict in any film script that requires the help of the Pentagon are discussed ad nauseam even threatening to break the partnership if not addressed their demands  as was the case officer and gentleman who sang songs about the cadets and napalm on children, or TAPS Beyond the honor, which had changed the dialogue, and the attitude of the end Captain of the National Guard that was released ten years after the massacre at Kent State and could remember the fact (the producers needed the tanks and helicopters) or James Bond himself, 30 years after the end of conflict, the writers had to delete a phrase on the possibility of starting a new war against Vietnam if it was discovered and may win this time.

For Vietnam

The victory in front of capitalism brought peace to Vietnam, such as renaming the national holiday for the Day of Peace can believe. A few years later invade Cambodia and refugees continued to rise without any country would take charge. Although the invasion of its neighbor brought the release of his Cambodian Maoist regime, one of the bloodiest in the world (but what) did not achieve peace. The struggle against the remnants of the Khmer Rouge were prolonged until more than a decade, with continuous removal of ads that are delayed or not achieved until the 90 elections were held in that country.

The former North Vietnam lost 70% of its industrial infrastructure and transport, more than 3,000 schools, 15 universities and 10 hospitals.

Vietnamese environment remained deeply damaged by the use of Agent Orange, which desfolià large areas of forest that have not returned to recover from the invasion of bamboo and other plants. But even worse were the effects of these substances on the population, although it was apparently innocuous, caused thousands of abortions, infertility and malformed births, plus all illegitimate children with Caucasian and African factions, left in poverty and marginalization by US troops.

In addition, thousands of explosives, ammunition and unexploded mines or withdraw forests and paddy fields have caused a lot of damage to agriculture, as well as amputations and deaths among farmers (especially among children). These effects led to the drop in agricultural production and increasing urban population that fled the field, turned into battlefield. Have been counted 10.5 million refugees, creating a loss of 200,000 million dollars.

It is also true that, although silenced by official censorship, many Vietnamese yearned Ianko of time and money. But with the opening of diplomatic relations 90 years have been American economic aid certain situations of confusion with so much generosity.

The huge infrastructure of tunnels dug across Vietnam are currently part of the attractions that tourists visit. You can see the entrances camouflaged, tour the galleries, sit at their meetings and even shooting with AK-47. This war tourism has helped lift the economy, weakened after the collapse of the USSR.

For the rest of the world

The impression that a poor but highly motivated people could overcome the greatest world power using guerrilla warfare was very deep in most countries; to the point regarded as the definitive means of struggle of the poor against the rich nations, something that later turned away Landless movements like South Americans.

Helicopters with your shield and two pairs of blades or definitive implementation of bulletproof vests and antifragments are due in part to the experience in Vietnam. Moreover, very few governments with the support of the United States lost a guerrilla war.

Helicopters with your shield and two pairs of blades or definitive implementation of bulletproof vests and antifragments are due in part to the experience in Vietnam. Moreover, very few governments with the support of the United States lost a guerrilla war.

One consequence of this disastrous war that the West was not interested in Cambodian genocide to be an underdeveloped village who had also managed to win a US ally and, therefore, in the minds of left / revolutionary not could be bad, or if it was, the reports provided by organizations such as Amnesty International described as false or manipulated by intelligence services Americans.

One can say that the US Army learned a lot from their experiences in Vietnam. Although the politicians of that country were careful then not to fight their advisors along local forces in regions such as Central America, the experience gained in Southeast Asia served to train troops from countries such as El Salvador Guatemala, Honduras, etc. being one of the causes able to stop the communist ideology of guerrilla movements in Central America, the United States worried that decades later. In that region, only Nicaragua would win its revolution.

In Africa, only Ethiopia won a Marxist revolution in 1977  The. The famous and ineffective McNamara Line was put back into practice to stop attacks by the Western Sahara Polisario Front, who were ready to completely defeat in Morocco. These walls separating Useful called Sahara desert and the rest use the same sensor technology motion detectors, personal and batteries behind physical barriers that used in the Demilitarized Zone, but the experience gained by it meter technology used to improve the forest and thus represented one of the reasons that Morocco managed to contain the Polisario.

In Europe, neither Greece nor the ELAS Dev Sol Turkey managed to prevail. Finally, in Asia or Oceania or no movement of the Vietnamese Marxist succeed.

After the failure in Vietnam, the administrations NBC tried to avoid direct participation in any conflict, especially in America. However, when they brought out the different governments reacted quickly: the Clinton administration withdrew to the forces sent to Somalia to avoid speech that felt like a new defeat. In the previous decade, the Reagan administration withdrew from Lebanon troops stationed there after a suicide bombing in Beirut.

The massive use of the helicopter in an asymmetric war proved correct, despite the final defeat. So much so that subsequent conflicts have been used massively. In the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have proved the best method to fight an enemy dispersed and highly mobile in the “War on Terrorism”. Thus, most of the armies of the early twenty-first century tended to reinforce and diversify its fleet of helicopters in front of the most striking but least effective fighters and bombers.

The influence of the cinema

Although initially called the Vietnam War did not care too much Hollywood in the 80s the production of films on the subject flourished very prominent titles like Apocalypse Now and Platoon. This attention by the American film industry contrasts with the lack of interest in French cinema for a generation before his defeat.

Unlike the historical analysis and even their own US society, cinema does he know assimilate defeat American. Thus passed the patriotic implausible Green Berets John Wayne in which they appear slaughtered members of the Special Forces of the United States in its fight against the evil Communists, ignoring the terrible tortures that the original book narrated, a more critical Apocalypse Now, who preferred to get some quotes astronomical before surrendering to Pentagon censorship in exchange for their helicopters. For his part, the director Oliver Stone conducted between 1986 and 1993 three works on the War: Platoon, Born on the 4th of July and Heaven and Earth. Platoon received four Oscars out of place and left the veterans, because they do not portrayed as heroes step (appears fragging, rape girls, killings, the burning of villages, the drug), but also displays in harsh situations that are forced to accept their condition as poor, besides the fact that not all are equal and there are heroes like Sergeant Elias Grodin (played by Willem Dafoe). Born on the Fourth of July only won two Oscars (one for best director), but won the Golden Globe. In Heaven and Earth, based on the books by Le Ly Hayslip, Stone tried to get closer to the vision of the Vietnamese conflict, emphasizing the hardships suffered by a young Vietnamese who became the narrator of the film in a version that a search neutral point of view, narrating the horrors and atrocities on both sides.

Others are classic theme Full Metal Jacket Stanley Kubrick and Hamburger Hill by John Irvin. It is also interesting Gardens of Stone, Francis Ford Coppola, where veterans ripe trying to see a young impulsive that may not win that war, with the belief that with its firepower and high technology will win against the arches Vietnamese and arrows (a clear metaphor for one of the causes of the defeat, the fact of thinking that they could earn in an underdeveloped country only based pumps)

One feature is the absence in many Vietnamese posture, with few exceptions such as Vietnam, showing Australia’s involvement and actions to Vietnamese villages. You should expect to see almost century when we were soldiers and delve a little deeper into the lives of soldiers in northern tunnels.

Also interesting is the musical Hair, then shows the attitude of civil society (especially the hippie movement) before the war.

Information about uniforms

Vietnam Service Medal.

Vietnam Service Medal.

Americans received as clothes just 4 field or cotton trousers olive green or green borealis made with a pocket on the side and two back pockets with buttoned flaps.

It received four job cotton shirts olive green with a single chest pocket. The gallons of rank wore these shirts. Uniforms Americans were perhaps the most sophisticated, but they were also very uncomfortable, partly because they were made of synthetic material. In total, the United States came to produce nearly 30 million pants and shirts, almost triple than soldiers.

Obviously, uniforms Americans were of better quality than the craft of Viet Cong. There was some controversy in the debate about whether the underwear also had to be colored camouflage, if the soldiers aimed at front line had problems in having to camouflage their needs. Finally, this idea was rejected, and supporters of maintaining white underwear, gave them a curious reason: a group of soldiers had been lost in the jungle, and managed to draw the attention of a pilot, put his white underwear on green land forming the acronym SOS. Finally, they saved.