Viet Nam war

the Viet Nam war names the last, particularly involving heavy losses stage in a dreissigjährigen armed conflict, that the resistance of the vietnamesischen communists and other groupings against the whereabouts and/or. the return the French colonial power starting from 1945/46 had begun.

The Viet Nam war was a civil war, a deputy war and at the same time the continued independence fight against interests of US forming in Southeast Asia. It represents thus a confrontation of the cold war coined/shaped by the anti-colonialism and ended with the reunification of the country under communist rule.

von links nach rechts: Lyndon B. Johnson,   William Westmoreland,  Premierminister Nguyen Cao Ky und Generalleutnant Nguyen Van Thieu am 26. Oktober 1966 in Südvietnam
from left to right: Lyndon B. Johnson, William Westmoreland, prime minister Nguyen Cao Ky and lieutenant general Nguyen Van Thieu to 26. To October 1966 in south Viet Nam

table of contents

on the side fought a military alliance of the USA, the Republic of Viet Nam (south Viet Nam), Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. On the other side a military alliance of the democratic Republic of Viet Nam ( North Vietnam) and the FNL stood, for a südvietnamesischen Guerillaorganisation. North Vietnam and the FNL military assistance made available the USSR like also the People's Republic of China, intervened however not directly. Starting from 1970 the USA expanded their military actions, in particular devastating bombardments, on neighbour states the Kambodscha and Laos .


Die US-Marine hilft in der Operation "Passage to Freedom" im Oktober 1954 mit der Evakuierung von Flüchtlingen aus Haiphong im kommunistischen Nordvietnam nach Saigon in Südvietnam
the US Navy helps in the operation “passage ton Freedom “in October 1954 with the evacuation of refugees from Haiphong in the communist North Vietnam after Saigon in south Viet Nam

the Viet Nam war was in various regard a direct successor of the Indochinakrieges, which France had led against the movement of independence under the leader of the communist party , Hồ Chí Minh. While the Japanese crew was the kp for most important political organization within the vietnamesischen population herangewachen and thereby the national consent had stressed. 1945 had been Ho and the westallied still allied one. During the declaration of independence one had availed oneself of American models. But in the course Washington generally turned to a harder attitude of the USA in relation to the Soviet Union and communist inspired movements the old colonial power . The Frenchmen enjoyed thereby the substantial material support on the part of the USA, which carried 80% of the financial costs at the end and supplied heavy munition. In France against it the war was unpopular, while successful rebelling of the Vietnamesen other liberations movement, e.g. in Algeria, inspired.

After the vietnamesischen armed forces of the Viet Minh had defeated the French colonial army with the battle of Điện Biên Phủ 1954 finally, the thing was for the time being decided. For parts of US establishment, in particular military, this was a sensitive defeat in the global argument against communism. The victory of the communists in the Chinese civil war 1949 was for many an inexcusable accident and also the undecided exit in the Korea war 1953 not all had contently placed. This attitude was the basis among other things for the domino theory. One attributed to the Soviet Union and at all communist movements an aggressive, threatening character. Therefore one had to intervene, where always the danger existed that these could achieve power. Thus first thoughts arose to intervene even in Indochina which however at the attitude of the allied ones and to which failed to delegates of the US house of representatives.

Viet Nam attained independence. In accordance with the agreements on that Geneva conference the country was divided temporarily into a communist north and a south oriented west and as dividing line of the 17. Degree of latitude determines. The agreement signatory by the USA planned to combine the country after general free elections again.

an allying of the USA in difficulties

in the north succeeded it to the communists to strengthen their power rapidly whereby they did not back-frighten before campaigns and expropriations by force. In the southern part the USA displaced the Frenchmen as protecting power against revolutionary activities. Ngô Đình Diệm became the hope carrier the relevant Washington one of circles. He should arrange the south so attractive for the population that the communists the basis for its successes was extracted. The entire economy hung to drips the USA, which tried to prepare a western affluent society in the cities. A new „army of the Republic of Viet Nam “(briefly ARVN) was developed after American model. The Saigoner office of US of secret service CIA became in this argument an asset, whose activities could hardly be supervised by the congress. At the beginning of of 1955 supports the CIA the disputed Diệm with its obviously manipulated choice to the president. he , from whom government supports Eisenhower therein, said the gesamtvietnamesischen elections to 1956 simply off.

 Von der CIA angefertigte Karte Südvietnams
Map of south Viet Nam Diệm made of

the CIA gebärdete itself as an autocrat, who led faithful one the state together with its like an exempt private company, which had to be protected against the access internal and outside adversaries. The regime was considered as scruplesless and corrupt. It did not possess a support in the population. The president belonged to the catholic minority, while the country was predominantly buddhistisch coined/shaped. Already 1955 began to proceed the regime against oppositionals and government critics. 1956 and 1959 were issued repressive laws, which thousands of humans fell to the victim. Instead of accomplishing (demanded as of the USA) an effective land reform, the regime intensified conditions by the abolishment of the local autonomy.

One could not get to the communist in the country with such measures. Independently formed Guerillaeinheiten, which the few efficient officials purposefully murdered and which disconcerted regime. The ARVN showed up opposite them often enough helplessly. At the beginning of of 1959 let the first reserved government return to Hanoi more and more former Viet Minh to the south. 1960 were created the FNL, a collection movement of oppositional groupings, who called to the armed fight. This gained ever more ground and understood it to actually bind the peasantry without doing however without force against adversaries. In cells organized, it was easy for it relatively, the brachialen operations of the ARVN, which caused the anger of the farmers to evade again and again or compensate them.

For the new US president John F. Kennedy were the entangling in Southeast Asia of great importance, since they decided on „the reliability “of the USA. Also Kennedy did not want to permit in Viet Nam „defeat “and in such a way set it on a substantial heightening of the means for the ARVN, the delegation of the elite unit Green Berets and the use of napalm. It authorized the CIA to accomplish in the north of acts of sabotage. But the recent demands of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and Pentagon after delegation of larger contingents of American troops, affirmed by the requests Diệms, rejected the president. However the number of the military advisors increased by November 1963 to 16.870 men. The influence of the US military in Saigon was hardly to be ignored. Their Guerilla Abwehrstrategie (more counter insurgency) brought however no successes and by Diệm and its brother now, to the security head, was above all used to intensify control using chicanery of the farmers. Making more difficult was added that one the Landbevölkerung in strategic hamlets concentrated and humans the funeral places of their ancestors had to leave, what their religious customs hurt.

The outbreak of the Buddhistenkrise in the summer 1963 made clear for the varying Kennedy government that Diệm had become intolerable. A provocation by force of the regime had led to heaviest unrests since 1954. When in November 1963 it appeared that dissatisfied of military would fall the regime, gave itself the US Government stressed passively. Diệm and now were killed. Before the background of a relaxation in the relations with the Soviet Union, which with the VR China überworfen themselves had, Kennedy expressed the consideration to pull itself until 1965 from Viet Nam completely back. In the directive NSAM 263 of the 11. October had already arranged the president the departure of the first 1,000 advisors.

the US intervention

contrary to its murdered predecessor could do it for US president Lyndon B. Johnson no doubts about it give that a hard attitude was necessary. Johnson wanted to absolutely prevent that „Viet Nam takes the same way as China “. While the Guerillas could achieve further successes, the new ruling power in Saigon, general Duong Van Minh, in Washington made itself, unpopular because he aimed at a compromise with the FNL and of US military the more restraint demanded. In January 1964 he was fallen after agreement from the USA by a group hard liner. On his second journey after Saigon in March Secretary of Defense had to recognize Robert McNamara meanwhile that 40% of the national territory stood under FNL control and were the ARVN in a desolate condition. Before the American public McNamara showed up confidently against it. It recommended further material support for the south to the president, divided however not the demands of the chiefs of staff to send troops and not lead air raids.

Johnson widened from Kennedy begun the infiltrating of the north decided out, relieved the CIA of the task and knows it the general staff too (OPLAN 34-A). Small südvietnamesische groups accomplished notices and acts of sabotage inside and at the coast of North Vietnam. While two of these command enterprises accomplished their attacks in the gulf of Tonking at the beginning of of August, it came to the Tonking incident so mentioned. On open ocean had developed a threatening situation between the nordvietnamesischen coast guard and two American warships, that interpreted the USA as unprovoked attacks. Actually the reports had been reinterpreted accordingly locally by the US secret service NSA. Before the congress McNamara denied an American responsibility for the südvietnamesischen attacks. This provided Johnson a broad support for the intervention in a civil war, which in removed a far, of the US public hardly admitted country took place. To 7. August 1964 adopted congress of US a common resolution, which was so vaguely formulated that the president could derive from it almost all combat missions. But Johnson, which had also large ambitions relating to domestic affairs, before the new elections still hesitated in November with further actions vorzupreschen.

Bombardment of North Vietnam

toward end of the yearly had become clear the guidance in Hanoi that their hope had not occurred, the crisis of the Saigoner regime the renouncement of the Americans of south Viet Nam to cause. The Tonking incident showed that a direct confrontation could not be avoided longer. Thus one started to further develop the 1960 Hồ Chí Minh path finished placed in order to send the FNL more support. The assistance of the USSR benefitted them, which coincided with the weapon supply of the new country possessing atomic weapons China. Into Moscow the Chrustschow endeavored around reconciliation with the USA had been fallen. In addition one did not want to stand back opposite the new competitor China as „a fraternal aid “approximately „ the imperialists “.

At the beginning of of 1965 seemed to dissolve the Saigoner regime gradually. When the FNL did not shrink from itself longer to attack US-Basen the parliamentary group succeeded in Washington, which considered a bombardment of North Vietnam necessary. Thus the operation Rolling Thunder, first a bombardment of the Hồ Chí Minh path, began itself then always far extending air offensive against the democratic Republic of Viet Nam. In order to adjust the difficult situation in the south, the north should feel the military power of the USA to get. Extent and meaning of the attacks were concealed to the American public. To 8. March 1965 landed, on urge of William Westmoreland, the Commander-in-Chief in Viet Nam, the first American combat troops in Đà Nẵng, in order to protect the there base. At the end of the yearly it should be already 184,000 soldiers.

crisis and turning point

napalm employment south of Saigon, 1965

although Johnson and the members of its staff initially tried to limit bombardments fell ever more regions the devastating attacks to the victim. The south with its insurgent areas (z became. B. the closely settled Mekong - delta) three times as strongly bombards as the north. In the following five years on the average 200 kilograms TNT per second exploded over this part of the country. The military effect was minimal against it. The opponent entrenched itself simply into the earth and shifted far parts of its infrastructure and logistics under the surface. Regardless of its JCS pushed the president to attack Haiphong and Hanoi in the north. Johnson came to meet only up to a certain degree. Also the demands were regularly trimmed after still more ground troops by the advisors of the president. Military it could from the conception that „more bombs, more shells, more napalm “ could cause the victory, not separate.

Locally Westmoreland with a wear strategy tried to defeat the FNL. The Guerillas should be exposed and then to the firepower of the artillery (search and Destroy), which opponents driven out and which „“territory released from the ARVN is held. Since there was no clear course of the front, one believed, success with the number killed hostile fighter to express to be able (Bodycount). The FNL had to suffer setbacks, but the communists remained with their strategy of the purposeful, small impacts against patrols in the protection of the jungle and the darkness determining Kraft. The weak ARVN could hold the areas often not for a long time. Finally the CIA initiated the Phoenix program in such a way specified, in order to extract the FNL the basis. Continued by the US-American and südvietnamesischen army, it should prove as a zwiespältiges venture, with which at least 20,000 humans were killed. On the one hand one tried to replace the social services of the communists, on the other hand one the military regime under the new strong man, president Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, used the infiltrating program in order to murder alleged oppositionals.

the USA entangled themselves ever more deeply into the happening. Toward end of 1967 already 485,000 soldiers were stationed in south Viet Nam, without a piercing success was obtained. 16,000 Americans were meanwhile please. When in the USA the critical questions about the sense of the intervention became ever louder, the always optimistic Westmoreland of the concerned public before both houses of the congress had to insure that the increase of the ground troops and the superiority of the Army will bring already soon the victory.

the Tet offensive

that ever more weakly becoming faith in „a light at the end of the tunnel “(Westmoreland) became by the Tet offensive to 30. January 1968 shakes completely. Here suddenly approximately 84,000 fighters of FNL and Nordvietnamesi army (NVA) went for the conquest of numerous province and district capitals openly into action. On an attack of this order of magnitude the US army had not at all counted, although it had received corresponding warnings from the secret services. In Saigon one needed days, in order to switch the FNL commands off. In Huế the engagements took a whole month. By March 1968 the communist units added to the US federations and the ARVN.

Militarily the offensive meant a heavy defeat for the communists however. Altogether the FNL lost also over 50.000 dead ones and prisoners more than half of their assigned forces. None of the conquered cities could be held and the expected support by the population was missing. The FNL was so strongly dezimiert that from this time to regular NVA troops their contingents had to fill up. The US-Army and the ARVN could penetrate now into unsecured zones.

Saigon während der Tet-Offensive 1968
Saigon during the Tet offensive 1968

political and psychologically however was this the turning point. The surprising offensive force of the opponent, whom one had believed at the edge of the collapse, convinced many Americans of the impossibility of a victory. However the communists felt put by the complete failure of the operation into that precarious position, in which US military she erroneous-proved before had seen. Those solid weakened communist troops tried to go to each larger combat by February 1971 if possible out of the way. In US military circles suggestions arose to terminate the war by a purposeful raid into the Demilitarisierte zone (DMZ) between north and south Viet Nam and against the Hồ Chí Minh path in the long run victoriously. This was rejected by the government from fear of the political consequences (declaration of war) and a military intervention of China. Instead one followed in the Pentagon considerations, the war again too „de-amerikanisieren “.

Since the Tet offensive the tendency prevailed forwards, from the government into a disaster to have been led in the American population. When general Westmoreland required to send further 200,000 men to Viet Nam McNamaras reached successor Clark Clifford that Johnson rejected this request, which caused large excitement in the public. Also the end of the FE storage of Khe Sanh, a strongly fastened outguard that marine close of the demilitarized zone, could not change anything in it. In order to divert from the coming surprise offensive, the nordvietnamesischen troops had created it to bind American federations there and include the basis. The nervous US guidance, which to the events of serve yourself Bien Phu felt reminded, had accordingly reacted. From the chiefs of staff president Johnson caught up a written warranty that Khe Sanh would at any price be held. After 77 days FE storage and the most substantial air raids in history obtained the Americans the break-through. The military result for the NVA was catastrophic also here. For the USA this however no turn meant to the good one.

Burning FNL Camp in My Tho to 5. April 1968

modern trend warfare

the technical and material superiority was at each time of the conflict on sides of the Americans. The Viet Nam war offered the opportunity to the United States high-prepared by the cold war to test and use also against Soviet munition their again developed weapons. The USA fired thereby approximately 15 million tons explosive, more than twice as much as in the Second World War and five times as much as in the Korea war.

Fighter-bombers like the F-4 phantom secured the sovereignty in the air, strategic bombers like Boeing B-52, which ascended in Guam or Okinawa, made possible Flächenbombardements of the jungle. 1972 used the American Air Force bombs with inserted television cameras, whose pictures made the examination for the target acquisition possible. Already at this time the American Air Force published pictures of an American bomb, which was dropped against a bridge in North Vietnam. As particularly important innovation proved the use of helicopters, which decreased/went back to a decision McNamaras. On this basis the Hervorlockung of the opposing federations from the jungle could be operated by the infantry, since after an enemy contact the possibility existed, the own soldiers again to go on a trip and/or. to replace always again and to leave the crucial impact of the Air Force.

, 1966 in combat situations

the inexperienced American soldiers bent helicopter employment in Viet Nam often to empty directly their complete magazines in the sustained fire which and. A. also to a change of the sustained fire mode into a 3-Schuss-Modus into the following M16 - versions led. 70% of the used up artillery projectiles were used anyway in the course search of and Destroy in situations, with which it came to no or only easy engagements. Thus the calculation was consulted that per killed enemy 50,000 shot were needed. Here however any kind of fixed ammunition (thus also gun cannons in helicopters) was counted and in addition each killed enemy into this calculation with it included directly whether he died by a mine, by a shot or a bomb.

In particular the substantial use of air and artillery support as well as the American doctrine of large firepower on middle distance, which was introduced, in order to minimize the own losses if possible, led to the high victim numbers under the civilian population. Also the numerous and various use of chemical weapons caused locally heavy damage to humans. The American soldiers, the vietnamesische culture and language were mostly strange to who, it fell in addition heavily to differentiate between friend and enemy. This had the consequence that each larger military action of the US army v.a. under the Landbevölkerung consulted further communist sympathizers.

resistance against the war

war opponent in Wichita - there

1967 the USA the war first with an optimistic basic attitude and felt moral in the right, operated they led unparalleled open information politics. Like that it was permitted to the western correspondents to use the military infrastructure of the Army and in the theater of war move almost unhindered to visit and report freely on the events the places of work. In the television daily pictures were shown by the fighting; a just as detailed representation took place in the printed media.

This led to the fact that the brutality of this war stepped openly to day. Bombardments of North Vietnam, those as zynisch and senselessly felt Body COUNT and the employment of napalm caused indignation in the whole world. The USA seemed to lead rather a war against the vietnamesische people, as it before communism too „protect “.

As reaction to it a broad protest movement developed in the western world. It connected itself with the new cultural styles, which became popular into the 1960er years. Students organized the civilian disobedience. In their eyes the elite had completely discredited itself. They publicised instead an emancipatory change as „authoritarianly “outstanding social structures. In the USA, where university graduates up to the abolishment of the military service remained in principle exempted from recruiting 1973, this circulation, which concerned above all the white central layer , with the arising of the afroamerikanischen civil rights movement fell together. The traditional order seemed posed in question and the attitude to the war split the society. In Europe a new left one was formed. In Germany the positive picture of the protecting power the USA had gotten meanwhile deep tears.

As in Europe it came also in the United States to numerous demonstrations and symbolic actions, like a burning of summoning instructions or the honors received in Viet Nam. The John on administration reacted with the illegal monitoring of peace activists by FBI and CIA (operation CHAOS). In April 1965 25,000 humans demonstrated, in April 1967 400,000 humans in New York town center in Washington ( D.C.). In October 1967 the march on Washington finally took place , in whom 100,000 humans participated. Before the Kapitol Dr.Martin Luther King, symbol figure of the civil rights movement and opponent in principle of the war expressed, its hope for one of racingism and force freed society. But between the citizen of the lower layer, which placed the bulk of the ground troops, and who a distance, which remained existing the whole war over, formed for activists, which experienced from the engagements only over the media.

However also the moral was within the US-Army in a critical state. Many soldiers did not see a sense in risking in Viet Nam their life particularly since the relations with the Vietnamesen was subject to heavy tensions and a victory moved into ever further distance. It came also to forms of the resistance and to refusals to obey orders. Anti-time of war writings were manufactured by soldiers and distributed secretly into the Camps. Set forward ones were attacked and even shot. The displeasure against the war went so far that the government military troops did not dare to use no more with an anti-war demonstration, since it could not be safe whether the soldiers would not follow the demonstrators.

When during the Tet offensive at the beginning of 1968 tilted the spectators the temporary confusion of the US federations, which violent chaos in Saigon and Hue and the Gnadenlosigkeit of the confrontation live on the television could see, the tendency, not least in the media themselves. Those, which had supported the war initially, felt from the politicians in err led. The overwhelming majority of the Americans wanted to withdraw now at least the own soldiers as fast as possible from Viet Nam, even if a continued bombardment were by the majority still called.

President Johnson, which was zermürbt of the military situation and the arguments relating to domestic affairs, finally announced to 31. March 1968 its renouncement of a further candidacy.

the American retreat

Tote FNL-Kämpfer in Saigon, Mai 1968
dead FNL fighters in Saigon, May 1968

as consequence of the Tet offensive first peace negotiations were taken up to Paris, with which no party showed up however for the time being ready for substantial concessions. Bombardments suspended by the separating president Johnson north 17. Degree of latitude became balanced by intensified air raids in the south. In March and April of the yearly US-Army and ARVN started a soil offensive approximately around Saigon. Meanwhile Westmoreland was replaced by general Creighton Abrams, which used a new strategy, which was ajar against the hostile Guerillataktik more near. At the same time the ARVN increased with the goal of leaving the offensive ones against the FNL gradually to the South Vietnamese. Although the Phoenix program of more and more successes showed, the Vietnamesen reacted to the recognizably new policy of the Americans with aversions and fear. The desertions achieved new peak values, while the political and military guidance in Saigon of the US Government caused difficulties.

The behavior of president Thiệu should have finally direct effects on the choice to the president of the United States. No possibility was offered the citizen of the crisis-vibrated USA of determining a politician for the office who expressed itself for a fast completion of the war. Finally triumphed with limited projection/lead smelling pool of broadcasting corporations M. Nixon. The republican had recruited secret plan “, which should bring a way out of the Viet Nam problem with one „. In the long run it benefitted it however that he could induce Thiệu briefly before the casting of votes secretly to boycott the peace discussions so that the policy of the governing democrats appeared to many voters as improbable. Together with security advisor Henry Kissinger wanted to release the exposed anti-communist the world power the USA from the misery in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile their economic dominance was fastened, since then the gold redeeming warranty US Dollar no longer was given. The enormous budgetary deficit caused by the defence expenditure was a large burden straight also for the defense budget, which was taken up from the war to 40% and so the global serviceability of the US military in question placed. In addition the serious arguments relating to domestic affairs came. But just as little as Johnson wanted to enter Richard Nixon as the first president history of the country, which had lost a war.

Nixon and Kissinger wanted to force on the one hand „small viertklassige power “North Vietnam over Peking and Moscow for the task of their position, in order to secure for the clientele state in the south the existence. By the admission of the relations with the People's Republic of China 1972 and an attitude to the Soviet Union, coined/shaped by moderation, one hoped that these two powers would exert sufficient pressure on Hanoi. In order to make for the USA possible a bearable outlet made of Southeast Asia, the Nixon doctrine became and/or. the Vietnamisierung in the life called. The United States would only engage themselves in special cases militarily in Southeast Asia, otherwise the friendly States of any support assign become to let. Therefore with the gradual departure of the ground troops in Viet Nam one began, while the structure of the ARVN and the guidance of its units were forced for the operation of the most modern weapon systems.

The second component in Nixons strategy was in such a way specified Madman theory. The USA (speak Nixon themselves) should put such a incalculable behavior to the day that even a nuclear attack appeared possible. Thus Hanoi should be intimidated so far that nothing else remained remaining finally for the nordvietnamesischen leaders as to give in. In this sense the president initiated the top secret operation MENU already briefly after his assumption of office: Kambodscha was occupied over fourteen months with about 100,000 bombs, because one believed to be able to destroy the Hồ Chí Minh path thereby, leading by the country. Later these attacks than charge in the Impeachment - procedures should be consulted against Nixon.

South Viet Nam 1970 and the idea in Kambodscha

Nixons hopes to defeat in this way the triumph of the Nordvietnamesen would not fulfill themselves. Hanoi did not give way; China and the Soviet Union did not want to move away from their extensive support for the time being. The troop departure was accelerated, while the congress recalled the Tonking resolution in April 1970. Kambodscha was pulled in only little later again into the war happening. Outgoing from the disputed conception of finding there the fastened control center of the FNL 43,000 soldiers of the ARVN and 31,000 US soldiers were led across the border of the anyway unstable country. Thus a civil war of several years was released, which cost hundredthousands humans the life. The FNL against it was hardly weakened. From a control center was no trace. On the other hand the situation of the Guerilla in the Mekong delta was thus improved and in the rest of south Viet Nam indirectly. In the USA the protest flashed again, after on the Campus of the Kent State university four demonstrating students were shot by the national guard. 100,000 demonstrators met before the blocked white house. The president had to finally give in and to announce the end of the invasion.

In the summer 1971 the Pentagon papers were published against the resistance of the Nixon government. They document the doubtful procedure of the American leadership opposite Viet Nam and the own population until 1967. But the controversy did not move the citizens of the country any longer like before, since less and less soldiers fought in Southeast Asia and died and the congress imposed upon more and more conditions to the president. So the troops of the ARVN had to 8. February 1971 alone the retreat areas of the FNL in Laos to attack must. Since the Guerilla was informed first about all details, ended the operation in a Fiasko, which could be contained only by US bombardments.

Boeing B-52 throws bombs starting from

the east he offensive

by the approximation between Peking and Washington up-frightened, started the nordvietnamesische guidance in March 1972 a new offensive. Again this action came for the opponent surprisingly; the NVA penetrated deeply into the south and threatened the country in two halves to cut. When the Thiệu regime its troops contested to areas concentrated, the like-those-strengthened FNL changed in the Mekong delta and into the region around Saigon to the attack.

In the election year Nixon did not show up ready, which add forthcoming loss its allied one. In the course of operation LINE baker the openly acting communist troops substantial were bombarded, which let their serviceability break down this time. The port Haiphong was mined, the entire north of a sea-blockade was subjected. Neither the Soviets nor the Chinese showed a reaction which can be taken seriously. The predominant majority of the Americans agreed with the policy of their president. To center of the yearly the offensive was broken. With 100.000 dead ones the NVA had had to suffer as high losses four times as the ARVN. The direct raid of the communists had again failed.

Kissinger with

communist leading politician Lê Ðức Thọ over negotiations had finally been able to obtain diplomacy and air raids in the autumn of the yearly 1972 a provisional agreement: Continuance of the Thiệu regime; Acknowledgment of the FNL as well as neutral persons as political Kraft and Zusammenarbeit in a common committee, which should coordinate general elections; complete departure of the US federations and the end of the attacks on North Vietnam.

Signing peace agreements

however the distrustful Thiệu, which experienced from the details only over its secret service, did not show up interested in a compromise, where it was encouraged also to a large extent by Nixon. Kissinger tried to adjust this with demonstrative optimism („the peace stands before the door “), which favoured the success of its president with the elections additionally. In order to wrest however the communists to well-being of the Saigoner regime further concessions, the USA Hanoi with operation LINE baker II pressurized . „The Weihnachtsbombardements in such a way specified “met 1972 Haiphong and Hanoi in December, killed 2000 civilians and caused to the reputation of the USA further damage. In the long run thereby details in the contract text were only changed, while Thiệu relied alone on the brieflichen promises Nixons.

To 27. January 1973 was signed into of Paris the peace agreement of all parties involved. By March the last US soldiers left the country. Kissinger expressed the estimate that the Saigoner regime would exist still „to one and a half years “.

the victory of the communists

after that Paris agreements threw the USA altogether still 250,000 tons off explosive over Kambodscha. The congress, that redefined its authority with regard to foreign policy debited to the white house, refused however further attacks on south Viet Nam.

The Saigoner regime drawn by corruption, criminality and nepotism had to bear now an economic crisis, which was caused by the outlet of the most important employer (US-Army) and the oil crisis of 1973. 1974 confessed congress of US Saigon an effective military aid from only 400 million dollar to, which did not cover the need of the ARVN developed still further. And finally the Nixon forced fastened by the Watergate affair to the resignation did not know Thiệu any more the promised assistance assigns become to let. In the cities unemployment of approx. prevailed. 40% and the Oberschicht created gradually its possession abroad. 240,000 deserters turned 1974 the ARVN the back.

On the other hand the communist in the south, who controlled still around the 25% of the country, with support from Hanoi had succeeded, a strategic like economic stability to obtain. The numerous conflicts around the adherence to the armistice and respecting „the national advice “could not shake their position.

Finally the guidance in Hanoi decided to look for the decision. In March 1975 the border was exceeded. Those numerically and materially superior ARVN collapsed quasi in itself. Huế and Đà Nẵng changed end of the monthly into communist rule. To 21. April left Thiệu the country, in order to make for a surrender government under Duong Van Minh place. US president Gerald Ford rejected air raids. At the end of the monthly the communist troops stood already before Saigon, for the CIA and the American military advisers completely unexpectedly. With the evacuation introduced too late dramatic scenes took place, since hundredthousands Vietnamesen wanted to leave the country.

At the 1. May 1975, fourteen days after the triumph of the red Khmer in Kambodscha, went the dreissigjährige vietnamesische conflict with the invasion of the communists into Saigon to end. In December transferred to Laos the Pathet Lao power. The former Indochina had become completely communist the US-American intervention the defiance. To 2. July 1976 was created the again combined socialist Republic of Viet Nam and renamed Saigon in Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh (Hồ Chí Minh city).

author and victim

war crime

the Viet Nam war were led in extremely contempting for human beings, cruel and also extremely environmentaldamaging way. Thus the USA used the herbicide agent orange , who should take covering to Vietcong as Entlaubungsmittel in the jungle. Agent orange was contaminated with dioxins, which work krebserregend and which damage hereditary property. Even decades later are born thereby in Viet Nam measure-formed children. Further also the poison Dimethylarsinsäure (agent Blue) was used, in order to destroy the rice harvests.

For this neither reparations were paid to the socialist Republic of Viet Nam, nor on the part of the USA other compensations were carried out. Instead Hanoi 1993 had to take the debts of the struck Saigoner regime on itself, in order to reach the grant of new credits and the abolition of US embargo.

The massacre of My a layman is the most well-known of the American single crimes in Viet Nam:
To 16. March 1968 attacked a unit of the US army under the direction of lieutenant William Calley and Sergeant walter Faber that the Kollaboration with the Nordvietnamesen suspected südvietnamesische village My a layman. In few hours of about 400 to 500 civilians both sexes and all age groups were murdered, some inhabitants were raped and tortured and the village thereafter down-burned. The massakrierten inhabitants were included the sum more killed „Vietcong “- Kombattanten. Hardly a soldier refused the instruction. Only a helicopter pilot saved some women and children, by threatening the GIs to let fire its on-board contactors with the mg on her. Afterwards it evacuated the civilians.

Beim Massaker von My Lai ermordete vietnamesische Zivilisten
With the massacre of My a layman murdered vietnamesische civilians

to 5. December 1969 became in would run - magazine a detailed article over the massacre of My a layman publishes: The world public reacted shocked. The journalist Seymour Hersh, which had investigated the circumstances of the tragedy, received 1970 for its report the Pulitzer price lent.

Only years later after solid pressure of the war opponents the crime was taken in the USA officially to the knowledge. William Calley was only condemned 1971 to life imprisonment, which shortens punishment however on 20 years. He had justified the crime its view after in accordance with the instructions its Captains Medina to have acted. After three-year detention completion it after instruction president Nixons was placed under „house arrest “and begnadigt still in the same year as consequence of the public pressure. Calley did not apologize until today for the massacre.
Today a reminding and a memorial place refer to the occurrences at that time.

Another example of American war crimes was revealed in the year 2003 by the American newspaper Toledo Blade in the context of a series of articles over the tigers Force. The newspaper was distinguished for it afterwards with the Pulitzer price.

Also the südvietnamesische army committed numerous and regular injuries that Geneva convention to the protection of prisoners of war. These were enough from impacts with cross-examine up to torture by submerging in a water barrel and current impacts.

There are likewise reports over war crimes on the part of the Nordvietnamesen, like the massacres at civilians in the cities and villages of south Viet Nam. These are however less well well-known, since they do not find a united of Viet Nam due to the defeat of the Saigoner regime in the historiography area and the west sits down apart mostly with the role of the USA. But were exekutiert alone during occupation of Hué, in the context of the Tet offensive 1968, a large number of civilians (estimations due to the location of mass graves hand children from some 100 to 5.000 victims, under it also) by the communist troops. Found the dead ones were bound, some after the finding situation alive were partly buried.

war victim

Kriegsdenkmal in Washington D.C. - März 2002
war monument in Washington D.C. - March 2002
boat refugee 1980 from Viet Nam in a refugee camp in Malaysia

the number of the war-dead is difficult to estimate, since official recordings are missing to find difficult or and were not many the killing due to devastating bombardments to be hardly still identified. North Vietnam for propagandistic reasons the publication of the correct victim number suppressed many years.

It is also difficult to determine exactly who is considered as a “Viet Nam war victim”; this very day humans are killed by thrown off explosives. Poisonings and environmental damage by far-laminar employment of agent orange lead still to abortions and heaviest handicaps of newborn children. Enormous social problems, devastations with so many dead ones with itself bring and the Verkürzung the life expectancy work into the present.

The lowest victim estimations, based on last published nordvietnamesischen statements, amount to 1.5 million killed Vietnamesen. Viet Nam gave at the 3. April 1995 numbers freely, according to which altogether one million vietnamesische fighter and four million civilians in the war were killed.

58.226 American soldiers died in the war or are missed. Australia lost approx. 500 of the 47,000 to Viet Nam sent soldiers; New Zealand lost 38 soldiers.

After the war the radical measures of the communist winners, including the camps and “reeducationto an exodus of 1.4 million a South Vietnamese, led mostly Chinese descent. Many of these refugees fled with only very narrow boats over the Pacific and became as Boat People admit. They emigrated to Hong Kong, France, Canada, in the USA and other countries.

A row by the Viet Nam war of released Traumatisierungen and diseases coin/shape to today the life of many, which this time deeply felt and through-suffered have.


  • in the course of the military defeat of Japan in the Second World War the Viet Minh transfers time board as consequence of the August revolution power to Viet Nam. Hồ Chí Minh calls to 2. September in Hanoi the independent democratic Republic of Viet Nam out. British troops land in Saigon, in order to begin with the disarmament of the Japanese. For the same reason occupy temporarily Chinese troops Viet Nam up to 16. Degree of latitude.
  • 1946 in Viet Nam from France two „High Commissioners are used “ - Georges Thierry d'Argenlieu in Hanoi in the north and Robert Cedile in Saigon in the south -, in order to restore colonial rule. With the bombardment Haiphongs by French ship artillery begins the Indochinakrieg
  • 1950 during the democratic republic Viet Nam by the Soviet Union and China is recognized, supports the USA and Great Britain the budget Viet Nam created by France. Ex emperor Bao Dai is used as president of the later Republic of Viet Nam („south Viet Nam “).
  • 1954 in Geneva are signed to the Indochina conference an agreement, according to which the war parties become regrouped „“(separated). The Viet Minh the part of Viet Nam becomes northern 17. Degree of latitude assigned. Head of state of the south remains formally emperor Bao Dai, which goes however to Paris. Also the agreement plans free elections . The USA sign the agreement not, explained however it „to respect “.
  • South Viet Nam explains and becomes 1955 Ngô Đình Diệm as the republic a president. The American government begins to support south Viet Nam militarily. (350 officers for the training and organization of the südvietnamesischen army). Both the border northward is closed as well as prevented the telephone and Postverkehr with the northern part of Viet Nam.
  • 1956 around the forecast choice victory of the Viet Minh to prevent, prevent the südvietnamesische president Ngô Đình Diệm the gesamtvietnamesischen elections. The last French soldiers leave the country. Ngô Đình Diệm starts the ton-Cong-campaign („Denunziert the communists! “) and numerous genuine or alleged opponents let arrest.
  • 1958 sporadic first mostly armed actions from members of the ethnical minorities living in the central high country, the so-called. Montagnards.
  • 1959 Ngô Đình Diệm issues a resolution, which arranges the installation of mobile special courts. First organized armed resistance and notices on representatives of the südvietnamischen administration.
  • 1960 in south Viet Nam form the Guerillaorganisation front national de Libération („Vietcong “).
  • 1962 on the part of the USA are multiplied the existence of military advisors of 700 to 16.000.
  • 1964 due to the Tonking incident of incident decide congress of US president Lyndon B. To grant Johnson free hand with military employments in Viet Nam.
A US patrol boat fires at the bank with napalm
  • 1965 the operation Rolling Thunder forms with heavy Bombardements in North Vietnam the prelude of the Viet Nam war. Up to the year end in south Viet Nam 200,000 US soldiers are stationed.
  • 1966 in the course of the yearly are extended the American troop contingent in south Viet Nam on 400.000 soldiers. The Massenprediger Billy Graham organizes troop attendance and large meetings, Crusades so mentioned (English. for crusades) to Christmas 1966 and in the subsequent years.
  • 1967 meanwhile in the USA increasingly protests are registered against the war. The troop marching-up is however continued, so that to the year end 500,000 US soldiers are in Viet Nam.
  • 1968 turning point of the war: During the Tet offensive of FNL and regular nordvietnamischen federations American and südvietnamesische troops come at first into distress. Ever more US citizen reject the Viet Nam war. President Johnson stops bombardments, while into of Paris first peace discussions are led. Richard Nixon becomes a new president of the USA. In the village My a layman commit US troops a massacre at the civilian population.
  • 1969 under the keyword Vietnamisierung want to withdraw the US troops to Nixon gradually from Viet Nam. Beginning of operation menu
  • 1971 the südvietnamesische army marches with support of US air Force into Laos. The operation fails.
  • 1972 the nordvietnamesische army exceeds the demarcation line along 17. Degree of latitude and briefly the südvietnamesische province occupies Quang trichloroethylene („Osteroffensive “). The US Air Force again intensifies its bombardments in North Vietnam („Weihnachtsbombardement “).
  • 1973 in Paris are closed the truce and mark the withdrawal of the USA from the Viet Nam war. Until March 1973 the American troops leave the country.
  • The military assistance for the republic Viet Nam trims 1974 of US congress . Those was Powers resolution is decided. The Watergate affair leads to the resignation from president Nixon in August 1974.
  • 1975 with the income Saigons to 30. April by nordvietnamesische and FNL troops finds the Viet Nam war its end. The Republic of Viet Nam hears to exist on.
  • 1976 to 2. September 1976 is again combined Viet Nam as socialist Republic of Viet Nam.


See also

Commons: Viet Nam war - pictures, videos and/or audio files
Wiktionary: Viet Nam war - word origin, synonyms and translations

red Khmer, list of wars, list of battles

Web on the left of


  1. Viet Nam was statistics

documentary films

  • Into the Year OF the Pig (1969)
  • Fog OF was (documentation over Robert McNamara)
  • Dear America (letters from Viet Nam)
  • Hearts and Minds documentation (1974)
  • Apokalypse Viet Nam (documentation)
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