Vietnam War

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Vietnam War
Date 1959-1975
Location Vietnam
Victor N/A
Anticommunist Forces
South Vietnam
United States
Communist Forces
North Vietnam
Khmer Rouge
Pathet Lao
Viet Cong
Ngo Dinh Diem
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon Johnson
Robert McNamara
William Westmoreland
Richard Nixon
Nguyen Van Thieu
Ho Chi Minh
Le Duan
Hoang Van Thai
around 1,420,000 (1968) around 860,000 (1968)
South Vietnamese residents flee Saigon, as North Vietnamese forces enter the city.

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War or The American War (in Vietnam), was fought principally between North Vietnamese Communist troops and South Vietnamese forces supported by American soldiers. The war was basically a fight over whether South Vietnam should have an atheistic, Communist government, a "hot war" in the ongoing Cold War between the US and the Soviets. Officially, Vietnam is an atheist state.[1]

The war was in progress more or less continuously since the surrender of Japan, which occupied Vietnam during World War II, in 1945. Ho Chi Minh, an operative of the Comintern (the Soviet organization charged with promoting Marxist–Leninist revolution around the world),[2] led the movement for a unified, Communist Vietnam from 1941 on. He served as the dictator of North Vietnam until the late fifties, though he remained the figurehead president. He remained a popular icon of the New Left around the world, despite heading a totalitarian dictatorship and murdering hundreds of thousands of people.


During World War II the Japanese occupied Vietnam and disarmed the French. With the vacuum caused by the defeat of Japan, an opportunity arose for the Communists to declare the "independence" of Vietnam in 1945. No nation recognized the new regime and the French returned and swept it away, with remnants hiding in the mountains. The United States backed France and its puppet emperor Bao Dai. Ho Chi Minh began a campaign to fight a weakened France and seize independence through force. France's economy was shattered by the war and so by 1953, 80% of the money and material used by Bao Dai's troops came from the United States. Nonetheless, in early 1954 French were defeated at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu over many months when the fortress was overrun by a well-forged Vietnamese fighting force. More than 500,000 Vietnamese died in this conflict with France (the First Indochina War).

The French sued for peace at talks in Geneva, the upshot of which was the creation of four independent countries in their former colony of Indochina: Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was run by Ho Chi Minh as a totalitarian Communist dictatorship, while the South was run based on the Western model. Neither side respected the legitimacy of the other; as a consequence, the division was widely regarded as temporary. A British diplomat suggested that free elections be held in the North and South to determine the future of a unified Vietnam. South Vietnam consistently opposed such arguments on the grounds that free elections were impossible in the communist North. The United States was willing to accept free elections and a reunified Vietnam, Communist-led and hostile to China. Indeed, US officials favored such a default outcome; they listed it in secret communications never intended for public consumption (but released in the Pentagon Papers) under the heading "advantages."[3] The US gradually intervened, due to the insistence of the North on a campaign of military aggression, as part of its wider Cold War strategy of containment.

A unity government was established in Laos, and the US was firmly committed to defending South Vietnam from conquest. Huge numbers of North Vietnamese desperately fled to the South for freedom. Cambodia was neutral and united behind the rule of Sihanouk. Despite repeated diplomatic efforts by the US to bring about a peaceful regional settlement; Hanoi became increasingly convinced that the revolution could be spread throughout Indochina only by force.

The North Vietnamese Terror

During the twenties and thirties, Communist forces waged an insurrection of mass murder and terrorism in an effort to seize power in Vietnam. The communist Viet Minh collaborated with French colonial forces to massacre supporters of the Vietnamese nationalist movements in the forties. When the Viet Minh went to war against France they continued their campaign to wipe out the nationalist groups. (America refused to back the French against the communists until 1950.)[4] The Japanese invasion of French Indochina proved to be a catalyst for Vietnamese independence, as it united the Vietnamese people behind the Communist resistance to imperial domination. In 1953, Ho launched a "rent reduction" campaign in which communist planners decided to massacre 1 out of every 1,000 North Vietnamese.[5]

From mid 1953 to early 1956, the North Vietnamese Communists embarked on a ruthless "land reform" in which landowners, dissidents, and French collaborators were slaughtered en masse in a "genocide triggered by class discrimination."[6] Declassified Politburo documents confirm that 1 in 1,000 North Vietnamese (i.e., about 14,000 people) were the minimum quota targeted for execution during the earlier "rent reduction" campaign; the number killed during the multiple stages of the considerably more radical "land reform" was probably many times greater.[7] In 1957, during its "Rectification of Errors" campaign, North Vietnam admitted that it had wrongly executed about 15,000 communist cadre during the "land reform", and that 30% of the "landlords" executed were party members; i.e., that about 50,000 people were executed in total.[8][9][10][11] Lam Thanh Liem, a major authority on land issues in Vietnam, conducted multiple interviews in which communist cadres independently confirmed that 20-30% of those executed were actually fellow communists, but gave higher estimates for executions ranging from 120,000 to 200,000. Such figures match the "nearly 150,000 houses and huts which were allocated to new occupants".[12][13] Official records from the time suggest that 172,008 "landlords" were killed during the "land reform", of whom 123,266 (71.66%) were later found to be wrongly classified.[14] The full death toll was even greater because victims' families starved to death under the "policy of isolation."[15] As communist defector Le Xuan Giao explained: "There was nothing worse than the starvation of the children in a family whose parents were under the control of a land reform team. They isolated the house, and the people who lived there would starve. The children were all innocent. There was nothing worse than that. They wanted to see the whole family dead."[16]

In 1959, Hanoi's politburo received a series of reports indicating that even though the North had been directing a phase one guerrilla insurgency in the South for two years, the South was socially and economically out-pacing the North. "By Tet of 1959," William Colby writes in his book, Lost Victory, "it was plain that a nationalist and non-Communist Vietnam was firmly established. It was also becoming apparent that its future was, if anything, more promising than the gray and regimented society in the North."[17]

In response, the North decided to rapidly escalate the campaign to conquer South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia using the Ho Chi Minh trail. To "hide" the fact that "there had been an invasion from the North," as one North Vietnamese commander openly admitted, seemingly indigenous forces were deployed in the initial phases of the conflict. Originally part of the Vietminh and honorary branches of the North Vietnamese army; groups of Cambodian (the Khmer Rouge), Laotian (the Pathet Lao), and South Vietnamese (the Vietcong) Communists were dispatched by the North to overthrow the governments of their respective countries. Thousands of North Vietnamese troops overtly aided them by providing arms and training, and by invading and occupying large chunks of Cambodia and Laos to assist them. By 1961 northern Communists were assassinating one hundred southern hamlet, village, and/or district officials each month. By 1962 that figure had grown to one thousand per month.[17]

The atrocities escalated rapidly with no end in sight. By 1965, the guerilla war was largely over, and the army of North Vietnam was using conventional warfare to try and overrun Cambodia and South Vietnam. The US began sending military advisors to South Vietnam in 1950. By 1965, it reluctantly decided to commit combat troops to prevent a Communist takeover.

The Viet Cong massacres were described as follows:

The village chief and his wife were distraught. One of their children, a seven-year-old boy, had been missing for four days. They were terrified, they explained to Marine Lt. Gen. Lewis W. Walt, because they believed he had been captured by the Vietcong.

Suddenly, the boy came out of the jungle and ran across the rice paddies toward the village. He was crying. His mother ran to him and swept him up in her arms. Both of his hands had been cut off, and there was a sign around his neck, a message to his father: if he or anyone else in the village dared go to the polls during the upcoming elections, something worse would happen to the rest of his children.

The VC delivered a similar warning to the residents of a hamlet not far from Danang. All were herded before the home of their chief. While they and the chief’s pregnant wife and four children were forced to look on, the chief’s tongue was cut out. Then his genital organs were sliced off and sewn inside his bloody mouth. As he died, the VC went to work on his wife, slashing open her womb. Then, the nine-year-old son: a bamboo lance was rammed through one ear and out the other. Two more of the chief’s children were murdered the same way. The VC did not harm the five-year-old daughter — not physically: they simply left her crying, holding her dead mother’s hand.

General Walt tells of his arrival at a district headquarters the day after it had been overrun by VC and North Vietnamese army troops. Those South Vietnamese soldiers not killed in the battle had been tied up and shot through their mouths or the backs of their heads. Then their wives and children, including a number of two- and three-year-olds, had been brought into the street, disrobed, tortured and finally executed: their throats were cut; they were shot, beheaded, disemboweled. The mutilated bodies were draped on fences and hung with signs telling the rest of the community that if they continued to support the Saigon government and allied forces, they could look forward to the same fate.

These atrocities are not isolated cases; they are typical. For this is the enemy’s way of warfare, clearly expressed in his combat policy in Vietnam. While the naive and anti-American throughout the world, cued by communist propaganda; have trumpeted against American “immorality” in the Vietnam war — aerial bombing, the use of napalm, casualties caused by American combat action — daily and nightly for years, the communists have systematically authored history’s grisliest catalogue of barbarism. By the end of 1967, they had committed at least 100,000 acts of terror against the South Vietnamese people. The record is an endless litany of tortures, mutilations and murders that would have been instructive even to such as Adolf Hitler.

In 1960, some 1,500 South Vietnamese civilians were killed and 700 abducted. By early 1965, the communists’ Radio Hanoi and Radio Liberation were able to boast that the VC had destroyed 7,559 South Vietnamese hamlets. By the end of 1967, 15,138 South Vietnamese civilians had been killed, 45,929 kidnapped. Few of the kidnapped were ever seen again.[18]

The War

In 1958, North Vietnam launched an invasion of Laos.[19]

In 1959, by its own admission, North Vietnam decided on war in South Vietnam. North Vietnam created the Viet Cong and sent 20,000 men to attack the South. In 1961, North Vietnam used 30,000 troops to build invasion routes via Laos and Cambodia. North Vietnam later admitted that it “played a decisive role” in bringing to power the Pathet Lao in Laos and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.[20]

The Kennedy administration, which had repeatedly intervened to halt right-wing coups, acquiesced in November 1963 to the overthrow of the weak South Vietnam leader Diem by a coalition of generals. President Nixon would later characterize this decision as a catastrophic betrayal of an ally that contributed to the ultimate disintegration of South Vietnam. The casus belli for full combat intervention by the United States was an exaggerated confrontation between North Vietnamese P4 torpedo boats and the USS Maddox on August 2, 1964 and a second alleged attack by North Vietnam on August 4, 1964 which involved both the USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy; the events became known as the "Gulf of Tonkin incident". Shortly thereafter, President Johnson got Congress to pass the "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution". President Johnson then deployed US military forces for warfare against North Vietnam. He had the US respond with a massive bombing campaign called "Operation Rolling Thunder". Although a swift victory over North Vietnam would have taken a matter of months, the risk of Chinese intervention was considered too great to accept. Thus, Vietnam was fought to avoid "another Korea".

President Johnson, a tormented but ultimately sincere man, could not bear the burden of the war. His incoherent war policy, combined with the lies and deceptions he employed to sell it, resulted in a loss of public faith in his honesty. He began to doubt himself, while his incompetent administration, exemplified by Robert McNamara, began to have doubts about the morality of US policy. Many of them would join the anti-war movement.

Richard Nixon was subsequently elected President on a pledge to end the war by prosecuting it. His shrewd diplomacy, backed with the immense intellect of his National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, hoped to negotiate an end to the war through a show of force.

Although Sihanouk designated all insurgents "red Khmers," or "Khmer Rouge," in reality there were two main indigenous insurgent groups. One was the Khmer Viet Minh, modeled on the Pathet Lao, that Hanoi held total political authority over. The other was called the Khmer Krahom, a fanatical Maoist cult that would soon be led by one Saloth Sar, who would later become infamous for his genocidal brutality under his assumed name, Pol Pot. Both traced their roots back to a common cadre trained by Ho Chi Minh in China from 1925-30. At Geneva, Hanoi had attempted to secure a KVM "zone" in northeastern Cambodia that would have been modeled on the Pathet Lao zone they secured in Laos. This amounted to an attempt to divide Cambodia into Communist and non-Communist halves, like Vietnam.

By 1968, the KK had 14-15,000 fighters, while the KVM had 12,000. North Vietnam had invaded and occupied large chunks of Cambodia. Nearly half of the country was faced with North Vietnamese or other Communist occupation. The Viet Cong was active in the country with about 30,000 troops, and worked with the KVM to launch invasions of Cambodia from North Vietnam. The North Vietnamese had 60,000 troops on Cambodian soil. This would be the equivalent in the United States of nearly 4 million armed and organized troops from Mexico and Canada overrunning most of the country. These figures are from 10 months prior to the start of any US bombing, which began in late 1968 under President Johnson.

By 1969, the North had accelerated its long-term plan, dubbed "Campaign X," to conquer Cambodia. By 1970, it had the supply lines, troops, and logistical support necessary to force the collapse of Cambodia. Sihanouk had long done little to disguise his support for the North Vietnamese Communists, but now he grew afraid. "Hanoi," he said, "could easily force the collapse of both Cambodia and what is left of Laos if it was not faced with American opposition." Therefore, he encouraged the Americans to bomb KK, KVM, VC, and North Vietnamese "sanctuaries" in Cambodia so as to send Hanoi a message that it had better back down immediately. Demographic evidence indicates that the US bombings of Cambodia, especially the Menu bombings, ultimately killed about 40,000 Cambodian combatants and civilians.[21] Some estimates go as high as 100,000 killed by the bombing.[22] Many leftists opposed to the war considered the bombing to be a war crime. The Khmer Rouge claimed that 600-800,000 died in the war,[23] which is about three times the real figure,[24] and far-left activists such as Noam Chomsky have not only embraced these numbers but also attributed all of the deaths to American bombing and thus implied that the Khmer Rouge underestimated the full toll from the war[23]—despite the demographic impossibility of their assertions.

In 1970, North Vietnamese troops invaded and attempted to overrun the entire country of Cambodia at the request of the indigenous Communist forces, who had surrounded the capital and hoped one small push would be enough to overthrow the weak Lon Nol regime. Nixon responded forcefully with an incursion and bombing campaign to force the North Vietnamese out. Justifying his actions, he stated:

"Cambodia, a small country of 7 million [actually 8 million] people, has been a neutral nation since the Geneva agreement of 1954 - an agreement, incidentally, which was signed by the Government of North Vietnam.

American policy since then has been to scrupulously respect the neutrality of the Cambodian people. We have maintained a skeleton diplomatic mission of fewer than 15 in Cambodia's capital, and that only since last August. For the previous 4 years, from 1965 to 1969, we did not have any diplomatic mission whatever in Cambodia. And for the past 5 years, we have provided no military assistance whatever and no economic assistance to Cambodia.

North Vietnam, however, has not respected that neutrality.

For the past 5 years - as indicated on this map that you see here - North Vietnam has occupied military sanctuaries all along the Cambodian frontier with South Vietnam. Some of these extend up to 20 miles into Cambodia. The sanctuaries are in red and, as you note, they are on both sides of the border. They are used for hit and run attacks on American and South Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam.

These Communist occupied territories contain major base camps, training sites, logistics facilities, weapons and ammunition factories, airstrips, and prisoner-of-war compounds.

For 5 years, neither the United States nor South Vietnam has moved against these enemy sanctuaries because we did not wish to violate the territory of a neutral nation. Even after the Vietnamese Communists began to expand these sanctuaries 4 weeks ago, we counseled patience to our South Vietnamese allies and imposed restraints on our own commanders.

In contrast to our policy, the enemy in the past 2 weeks has stepped up his guerrilla actions and he is concentrating his main forces in these sanctuaries that you see on this map where they are building up to launch massive attacks on our forces and those of South Vietnam.

North Vietnam in the last 2 weeks has stripped away all pretense of respecting the sovereignty or the neutrality of Cambodia. Thousands of their soldiers are invading the country from the sanctuaries; they are encircling the capital of Phnom Penh. Coming from these sanctuaries, as you see here, they have moved into Cambodia and are encircling the capital."[25]

Although North Vietnam would invade and annex South Vietnam and invade, occupy, force the collapse of and establish total political control over Laos; it would ultimately fail to meet this objective in Cambodia. Though it supported, or rather offered support to, the KK; its goal of directly establishing political control over Cambodia would not be reached until 1979. Some commentators, like William Shawcross, have controversially argued that the US bombing, by forcing out the North Vietnamese, helped to create the conditions that allowed Pol Pot to come to power. Shawcross and others have also claimed that the US bombing was the main propaganda tool used to recruit members for the KK, and that it helped radicalize the Cambodian populace and swell the ranks of the Communists.

Documents uncovered from the Soviet archives after 1991 reveal that the North Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1970 was launched at the explicit request of the Khmer Rouge and negotiated by Pol Pot's then second in command, Nuon Chea.[26]

When Nixon came into office, there were more than 500,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam, and their number was increasing. Hanoi insisted that to obtain a cease-fire, the U.S. had to meet two preconditions: First, the U.S. had to overthrow the South Vietnamese government, disband its police and army and replace it with a communist-dominated government. Second, it had to establish an unconditional timetable for the withdrawal of its forces, to be carried out regardless of subsequent negotiations or how long they might last. The presence of North Vietnamese troops in Laos and Cambodia was declared not an appropriate subject for negotiations. Between 1969 and 1972, he withdrew 515,000 American troops, ended American ground combat in 1971 and reduced American casualties by nearly 90%. According to Kissinger, "a breakthrough occurred in 1972 because the administration's strategic design finally came together in its retaliation for the North Vietnamese spring offensive. When the U.S. mined North Vietnam's harbors, Hanoi found itself isolated because, as a result of the opening to China in 1971 and the summit in 1972, Beijing and the Soviet Union stood aside. Hanoi's offensive was defeated on the ground entirely by South Vietnamese forces assisted by U.S. air power. Faced with a military setback and diplomatic isolation, Le Duc Tho, Hanoi's principal negotiator, abandoned Hanoi's 1969 terms in October 1972. He accepted conditions publicly put forward by Nixon in January 1972 -- and decried as unachievable in the U.S. domestic debate. The terms of the resulting Paris peace agreement were an unconditional cease-fire and release of prisoners; continuation of the existing South Vietnamese government; continued U.S. economic and military help for it; no further infiltration of North Vietnamese forces; withdrawal of the remaining U.S. forces; and withdrawal of North Vietnamese forces from Laos and Cambodia."[27]

Nixon brought about the first peace agreements between Israel and Egypt, and dramatically lessened the scale of the bloodshed in Indochina. For a time, it seemed peace might be within our reach. Nixon was re-elected by a landslide in 1972.

Meanwhile, the Khmer Krahom fell under the control of its most fanatical members, led by Pol Pot and Ieng Sary. They were beyond the control of Hanoi and sought to completely annihilate Cambodian society and restart from scratch. When they besieged the capital again, the US again launched a bombing raid against Communist forces. The US Seventh Air Force argued that the bombing prevented the fall of Phnom Penh in 1973 by killing 16,000 of 25,500 Khmer Rouge fighters besieging the city.

The communist leaders had expected that the ceasefire terms would favor their side. But Saigon, bolstered by a surge of U.S. aid received just before the ceasefire went into effect, began to roll back the Vietcong. The communists responded with a new strategy hammered out in a series of meetings in Hanoi in March 1973, according to the memoirs of Tran Van Tra.

As the Vietcong's top commander, Trà participated in several of these meetings. With U.S. bombings suspended, work on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and other logistical structures could proceed unimpeded. Logistics would be upgraded until the North was in a position to launch a massive invasion of the South, projected for the 1975–1976 dry season. Trà calculated that this date would be Hanoi's last opportunity to strike before Saigon's army could be fully trained.

In 1974, Congress voted not to enforce the commitments agreed to in the Paris Peace Accords. Air support for Cambodia, South Vietnam, and Laos was cut off. The military aid promised was scaled back or never materialized, and the North was allowed to resume support for the Khmer Rouge. "After Nixon stepped down over Watergate," said one Communist commander, "we knew we would win."[28] Without the logistical support provided by the Ho Chi Minh trail, the North would not have been able to launch an invasion of South Vietnam by 1975, which it predicted would be its "last chance" before the South was self-sufficiently able to defend itself.[28] The US canceled the bombing of Communist positions on the trail. In Cambodia, last minute efforts on the part of the US to arrange for a peace settlement involving Sihanouk ended in failure. When the US Congress vetoed Ford's call for a resumption of air support in Cambodia, panic and a sense of doom filled the capital, which was mercilessly shelled for more than a year by the Communists. President Ford openly predicted a "bloodbath" and stated that the Congress's decision to abandon Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge, in particular, would lead to "an unbelievable horror story".[29] The US frantically abandoned Saigon, and the Pathet Lao advanced throughout Laos.


Professor R.J. Rummel calculates that Communist Vietnam directly killed 1.7 million people from 1945 to 1987 in democide alone (not counting war casualties or boat people),[30] from a total range of 700,000 to 3.7 million murdered.[31] Some 400,000 to 2.5 million of these were killed after 1975. These figures include Laotians and Cambodians killed by Hanoi.

Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, fell to followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, commonly known as the Khmer Rouge, on April 17, 1975. Over the next four years, the Khmer Rouge enacted a genocidal policy that would kill over one-fourth of all Cambodians, or more than 2 million people. UN investigation reported 2–3 million dead, while UNICEF estimated 3 million had been killed.[32] Demographic analysis by Patrick Heuveline suggests that between 1.17 and 3.42 million Cambodians were killed,[33] while Marek Sliwinski estimates that 1.8 million is a conservative figure.[34] Researcher Craig Etcheson of the Documentation Center of Cambodia suggests that the death toll was between 2 and 2.5 million, with a "most likely" figure of 2.2 million. After 5 years of researching grave sites, he concluded that "these mass graves contain the remains of 1,386,734 victims of execution".[35] Even the Khmer Rouge acknowledged that 2 million had been killed—though they attributed those deaths to a subsequent Vietnamese invasion.[36] By late 1979, UN and Red Cross officials were warning that another 2.25 million Cambodians faced death by starvation due to "the near destruction of Cambodian society under the regime of ousted Prime Minister Pol Pot,"[37][38][39] who were saved by American and international aid.

The Vietnamese Communists, led by Le Duan, perpetrated a huge bloodbath in South Vietnam, murdering hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese men, women, and children in cold blood. Up to 155,000 refugees fleeing the final NVA Spring Offensive were killed or abducted on the road to Tuy Hoa in 1975.[40] Sources have estimated that 165,000 South Vietnamese died in the re-education camps out of 2.5 million sent,[41][42] while the number executed could have been as high as 200,000[43] (Jacqueline Desbarats estimates an absolute minimum of 100,000 executions[41][44]). Victims were beheaded, eviscerated or buried alive.[45] Rummel estimates that slave labor in the "New Economic Zones" caused 50,000 deaths (out of a total 1 million deported).[41][46] The number of boat people who died is estimated between 200,000 and 400,000, out of the 2.5 million that fled (according to the UN).[47] There were also tens of thousands of suicides after the North Vietnamese take-over.[48] In 1988, Vietnam suffered a famine that afflicted millions.[49]

The Pathet Lao overthrew the Royalist Government of Laos in December 1975. They established a Communist dictatorship known as the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The Pathet Lao waged a campaign of genocide, exterminating an estimated over 100,000 Hmong tribespeople. They inflicted massacres, terror bombing, concentration camps, and mass rape.[50] The Communists killed over 184,000 people in Laos altogether.[51]

More than 3 million people fled Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos as “boat people,” about half of whom have been resettled by the United States.

After repeated border clashes in 1978, Vietnam invaded Cambodia and ousted the Khmer Rouge, installing a puppet government headed by Khmer Rouge defector Heng Samrin. From January until July 1979, according to CIA estimates, around 350,000 people were killed, primarily by Vietnam's refusal to allow foreign aid for a time. In addition, a comparable number of people fled Cambodia for Thailand.[52] The toll from the entire famine over the years 1979-81 is estimated at about 500,000 dead (according to Etcheson).[53] Some 25-50,000 Vietnamese died in combat,[54] while perhaps 100,000 Cambodian combatants and civilians died in the war itself.[53][54] Tens of thousands more were killed by the Khmer Rouge, which controlled parts of the country late into 1979 and waged a guerilla war against the Vietnamese-backed government.[53] The total number of people killed by the Samrin regime in democide has never been clearly documented. Rummel estimates 230,000;[53] but this is mere guesswork. As noted, scores of thousands more were killed in the civil war that followed the invasion and by Khmer Rouge guerillas. Rummel believes that the full toll from this period could be in excess of one million.[55] This claim may be an exaggeration, but as is common in post-genocide societies, the population growth rate for Cambodia in the eighties was exceptionally high—which could have masked the full extent of the democide.

In response to the Soviet-backed Vietnamese invasion, China invaded Vietnam in 1979. The two countries fought a brief border war, known as the Third Indochina War, which cost over 200,000 casualties, including some 30,000 deaths.

In 1981, Pol Pot made his famous declaration denying guilt for the brutalities committed by the organization he led:

Pol Pot said that he knows that many people in the country hate him and think he’s responsible for the killings. He said that he knows many people died. When he said this he nearly broke down and cried. He said he must accept responsibility because the line was too far to the left, and because he didn’t keep proper track of what was going on. He said he was like the master in a house he didn’t know what the kids were up to, and that he trusted people too much. For example, he allowed [one person] to take care of central committee business for him, [another person] to take care of intellectuals, and [a third person] to take care of political education.... These were the people to whom he felt very close, and he trusted them completely. Then in the end ... they made a mess of everything.... They would tell him things that were not true, that everything was fine, that this person or that was a traitor. In the end they were the real traitors. The major problem had been cadres formed by the Vietnamese.

Communist Vietnam's refusal to allow international food aid into Cambodia after 1979 so as to starve out whatever remained of the Khmer Rouge resistance nearly led to the mass death of millions of people from starvation and disease.[38]

Vietnam fought three more wars after 1975 and armed Communist insurgencies with billions of dollars in an attempt to overrun Thailand and Malaysia. In South Vietnam, a nightmarish police state was established based on the Stalinist model: Political parties were outlawed; all music, books, literature, movies, and other media published prior to 1975 were banned completely; rationing, malnutrition, and famine ensued; ongoing class discrimination, xenophobic ethnic cleansing, and religious persecution continue to this day.[56][57][58][59][60]

The US and other Western countries covertly armed the non-Communist forces of Son Sann and Prince Sihanouk in an attempt to force out the Vietnamese troops occupying Cambodia. These brave guerillas also engaged in extensive fighting with the Khmer Rouge.[61] (See Reagan Doctrine)

Far from bringing peace, American defeat vastly increased the scale of the bloodshed in Indochina, as 3-4 million people were slaughtered in a bloodbath far surpassing the expectations of even the most fervent supporters of the war. Although North Vietnam agreed to "peace" in 1973; no one protested its subsequent invasion of South Vietnam, let alone Vietnam's wars with China, Laos, and Cambodia. The campuses were silent on the Holocaust in Cambodia, despite their hysterical response to the limited US incursion in 1970. The bloodbath received little media coverage at the time.

Evidence exists that the United States left behind POWs in Vietnam when it withdrew, even though the government denied such claims.[62]

Failure of US campaign to help the South

Military, political, and social historians have ever after debated why the United States was unable to defeat the North Vietnamese.

James Q. Wilson wrote: "First, Presidents Kennedy and Johnson both wanted to avoid losing Vietnam without waging a major war in Asia." [63]

Another factor was careerism of the officer corps. The number of officers in the US army grew disproportionately from the end of World War II, with a 1-in-15 ratio dropping to 1 in 6. Competition for promotions was handled badly by General Westmoreland, who permitted a six-month tour of duty for officers. This was hardly enough time to learn how to engage the enemy successfully, and gave rise to resentment among the largely working-class enlisted men.[Citation Needed]

America at first operated on the assumption that victory by body count was possible and would eventually bring the North Vietnamese to the peace table. There were in fact peace negotiations following Operation Linebacker II in December 1972, but these succeeded mostly in giving the United States its prisoners back and time to withdraw from the fight. It was simply impossible for the North Vietnamese leadership, which had been fighting in some form for 30 years, to imagine the indefinite existence of South Vietnam apart from unification under their rule.

Cost of the War

195,000-430,000 South Vietnamese civilians died in the war.[64][65] 50,000-65,000 North Vietnamese civilians died in the war.[64][66] The Army of the Republic of Vietnam lost between 171,331 and 220,357 men during the war.[64][67] The official US Department of Defense figure was 950,765 communist forces killed in Vietnam from 1965 to 1974. Defense Department officials believed that these body count figures need to be deflated by 30 percent. In addition, Guenter Lewy assumes that one-third of the reported "enemy" killed may have been civilians, concluding that the actual number of deaths of communist military forces was probably closer to 444,000.[64] During the peak war years, almost a third of civilian deaths were the result of Viet Cong atrocities.[68] Between 200,000 and 300,000 Cambodians died in the war,[33][69][70] as well as 20,000 Laotians.[71]

Over the course of the war, the United States suffered 46,226 battle deaths with 153,311 wounded 5,486 missing and 10,326 non-battle deaths. 3.3 million troops fought over the course of the war, with the largest number of 625,866 reached on March 27, 1969. The North Vietnamese claimed to have lost 1 million men.[72] Such a casualty rate, if applied to the United States, would have meant 13 million Americans killed and 3.9 million missing in action.[73]

They were quite a group, the boys of Vietnam -- boys who fought a terrible and vicious war without enough support from home, boys who were dodging bullets while we debated the efficacy of the battle. It was often our poor who fought in that war; it was the unpampered boys of the working class who picked up the rifles and went on the march. They learned not to rely on us; they learned to rely on each other. And they were special in another way: They chose to be faithful. They chose to reject the fashionable skepticism of their time. They chose to believe and answer the call of duty. They had the wild, wild courage of youth. They seized certainty from the heart of an ambivalent age; they stood for something.

And we owe them something, those boys. We owe them first a promise: That just as they did not forget their missing comrades, neither, ever, will we. And there are other promises. We must always remember that peace is a fragile thing that needs constant vigilance. We owe them a promise to look at the world with a steady gaze and, perhaps, a resigned toughness, knowing that we have adversaries in the world and challenges and the only way to meet them and maintain the peace is by staying strong. ---President Ronald Reagan, 1986

The death toll from US defeat far surpassed that exacted by the war itself.

Controversies about the War

Max Boot wrote:

Numerous bits of conventional wisdom have accreted around the Vietnam War. It is commonly held that Ho Chi Minh was a Vietnamese nationalist above all, not a true communist, and that his victory was inevitable. That Ngo Dinh Diem was an unpopular and repressive reactionary. That the United States had no vital strategic interest in defending South Vietnam. That the ‘domino theory’ was a myth. That the U.S. was right not to invade North Vietnam or Laos for fear of triggering Chinese intervention. Mark Moyar, a young, bold, and iconoclastic historian, takes a sledge hammer to these hoary beliefs. [His book] is ‘revisionist’ in the best sense of the word.” [3]

Jeffrey Record contends that the military was relegated, as a result of its constitutional position, to the role of an accomplice in what Record states was the most strategically reckless American enterprise of the 20th century. He charges President Lyndon B. Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara with harshly suppressing their military advisers, with Johnson believing that his hawkish Joint Chiefs of Staff were out to destroy his Great Society by their wild-eyed schemes.[74]

Many politically correct "history books" make the My Lai Massacre into an important event of the war. In March 1968 in the hamlet of My Lai, approximately 400 civilians were killed by American troops under the command of 2nd Lt. William Calley. Many troops present that day protested and did not take part in the event. After the event, the U.S. Army conducted an investigation and concluded there had been poor training in the Laws and Rules of Engagement, poor discipline and poor leadership up to the brigade commander. Atrocities on some level occur in every war. Since the 19th century, the U.S. is one of the few nations who prosecute its soldiers for such acts when they happen. The enemy in Viet Nam "conveniently" overlooked their far more numerous acts of atrocities and used this event for propaganda.[75] This does not justify the massacre, but 3 to 5,000 civilians were killed and found in mass graves after the retaking of Hue following the Tet Offensive, a point not often noted. Other atrocities are listed in other sections of this article.

Largely because of misreporting during the war (see Media Bias below) as well as the anti-war movement, various returning veterans in Vietnam were treated horribly by the anti-war crowd, where they often were spat upon and denounced as "baby killers.[76] Ironically, as Leftists, many of the anti-war protestors tended to support abortion.

Media Bias

Charges of western media bias in favor of the Communist side have often been made by critics,[77] who see such alleged bias as being crucial in turning military victories by America into a loss of the war, much by means of propaganda. Underlying the importance of such is the often quoted exchange between Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr. and his North Vietnamese counterpart, Colonel Tu. During one of his liaison trips to Hanoi, Colonel Summers, Jr. told Tu, "You know, you never beat us on the battlefield," Colonel Tu responded, "That may be so, but it is also irrelevant."[78]

The success of the propaganda war has seemed enigmatic to many. “If there is to be an inquiry related to the Vietnam War, it should be into the reasons why enemy propaganda was so widespread in this country, and why the enemy was able to condition the public to such an extent that the best educated segments of our population (that is, media and university elite) gave credence to the most incredible allegations.” (Final Report - Chief of Military History - U.S. Government)

British "Encounter" journalist Robert Elegant stated,

For the first time in modern history, the outcome of a war was determined not on the battlefield but on the printed page and, above all, on the television screen. Looking back coolly, I believe it can be said (surprising as it may still sound) that South Vietnamese and American forces actually won the limited military struggle. They virtually crushed the Viet Cong in the South, the "native" guerrillas who were directed, reinforced, and equipped from Hanoi; and thereafter they threw back the invasion by regular North Vietnamese divisions. Nonetheless, the war was finally lost to the invaders after the U.S. disengagement because the political pressures built up by the media had made it quite impossible for Washington to maintain even the minimal material and moral support that would have enabled the Saigon regime to continue effective resistance....Never before Vietnam had the collective policy of the media sought by graphic and unremitting distortion, the victory of the enemies of the correspondents own side.[79]

Some journalists have admitted that their reporting was decidedly biased, and had profound effects on history. West German correspondent Uwe Siemon-Netto confessed, "Having covered the Viet Nam war over a period of five years for West German publications, I am now haunted by the role we journalists have played over there.

In relation to not reporting the true nature of the Hanoi regime and its actions resulting from the American withdrawal, he stated,

"Those of us who had wanted to find out knew of the evil nature of the Hanoi regime. We knew that, in 1956, close to 50,000 peasants were executed in North Viet Nam. We knew that after the division of the country nearly one million North Vietnamese had fled to the South. Many of us have seen the tortured and carved-up bodies of men, women, and children executed by the Viet Cong in the early phases of the war. And many of us saw, in 1968, the mass graves of Hue, saw the corpses of thousands of civilians still festively dressed for Tet, the Vietnamese New Year."

"Why, for heaven's sake, did we not report about these expressions of deliberate North Vietnamese strategy at least as extensively as of the My Lai massacre and other such isolated incidents that were definitely not part of the U.S. policy in Viet Nam?. What prompted us to make our readers believe that the Communists, once in power in all of Viet Nam, would behave benignly? What made us, first and foremost Anthony Lewis, belittle warnings by U.S. officials that a Communist victory would result in a massacre?

Why did we ignore the fact that the man responsible for the executions of 50,000 peasants, Truong Chinh, was—and still is—one of the most powerful figures in Hanoi. What made us think that he and his comrades would have mercy for the vanquished South Vietnamese? What compelled, for example, Anthony Lewis shortly after the fall of Saigon to pat himself on the shoulder and write, "so much for the talk of a massacre?"

"...Are we journalists not in part responsible for the death of the tens of thousands who drowned? And are we not in part responsible for the hostile reception accorded to those who survive?...However, the media have been rather coy; they have not declared that they played a key role in the conflict. They have not proudly trumpeted Hanoi's repeated expressions of gratitude to the mass media of the non-Communist world, although Hanoi has indeed affirmed that it could not have won "without the Western press."[80]

CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite regularly carried news reports from its Moscow Bureau Chief, Bernard Redmont. When peace negotiations commenced with North Vietnam in Paris, Redmont became CBS News Paris Bureau Chief. What Redmont never reported during the ten year conflict was, Redmont had been a KGB operative since the 1930s, and member of the notorious Silvermaster group.[81] Redmont was the only journalist to whom his fellow Comintern party member, and North Vietnamese chief negotiator, Mai Van Bo, granted an interview to bring the Communist point of view into American living rooms in what has been called, "the living room war."

The most manifest example of such biased reporting is held to be the portrayal of the TET offensive, in which western media was charged with inspiring and aiding the propaganda war of the communists.

Truong Nhu Tang stated years later,

The Tet Offensive proved catastrophic to our plans. It is a major irony of the Vietnam War that our propaganda transformed this debacle into a brilliant victory. The truth was that Tet cost us half our forces. Our losses were so immense that we were unable to replace them with new recruits. (Truong Nhu Tang - Minister of Justice - Viet Cong Provisional Revolutionary Government - The New York Review, October 21, 1982)

In addition to his biased reporting, FBI documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act by Yahoo news, evidence that legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite collaborated with anti-Vietnam War activists in the 1960s, going so far as to offer advice on how to raise the public profile of protests and even promising that CBS News would rent a helicopter to take liberal Senator Edmund Muskie to and from the site of an anti-war rally.[82]

An ongoing example of such liberal bias is the work on Vietnam by the extreme left-wing propagandist, historical revisionist and genocide-denier Marilyn Young, which is required reading in many universities, even though she denies the North Vietnamese "land reform" bloodbath by relying entirely on official Communist press releases (as well as Moise and Porter, who in turn rely entirely on official North Vietnamese press releases). According to her, Communist Vietnam killed only 15,000(!) people at most during the "reform" and all other accounts of its atrocities were fabrications made up by the Western media (hence North Vietnamese media is a more reliable source than any in the West—a point she quite explicitly argues); even though official North Vietnamese government records document over 172,000 executions of individuals named as landowners during the 1954-6 period alone.[6]

Young ignores the testimony of former North Vietnamese government officials like Hoang Van Chi, as well as foreign witnesses like Gerard Tongas; she denies the irrefutable evidence of the "disappearance" of at least 150,000 landowners from 1953-6;[83] she dismisses US intelligence; accuses Vietnamese experts like Lam Thanh Liem of lying; and mocks the survivors of Communist genocide as CIA propagandists. She endorses Noam Chomsky's nonsensical lies, supports the North Vietnamese invasion of South Vietnam, paints a glowing picture of the concentration camps, and reduces the role of Khmer Rouge atrocities to 500-1,000,000 by citing the obscure and unknown Pol Pot apologist Michael Vickery—despite the 1,386,734 victims of execution in the mass graves!

Young further blames America for Pol Pot's rise, attributes all of the deaths in the entire war solely to the United States, and (on page 310) argues that the "boat people" really fled Vietnam not due to Communist repression, but rather the US trade embargo. She also simply denies the Hue Massacre.

Finally, Young claims that South Vietnam was the aggressor and that its imaginary “violation” of the 1973 cease-fire prompted the invasion from the “peace-loving” North—which is not surprising in the light of her reliance on official Communist sources, although it suggests quite a chasm between their claims and reality.[84]

Notably, all of Young's sources on North Vietnamese crimes come from the North Vietnamese government itself, and she fails to cite a single dissident Vietnamese publication independent of that government in her entire work, while casting suspicion on the honesty of Vietnamese refugees. That she is a respected Professor indoctrinating American youth is consistent with the overall liberal propaganda that has come to characterize American higher education.

Paul Bogdanor notes: "The bloodbath deniers simply ignore or dismiss the evidence from dissident publications, communist defectors and foreign witnesses. They rely on official North Vietnamese publications, which they take at face value. This is what passes for scholarship on the 'anti-imperialist' left."[83] And Young is but one gulag-denying professor out of many.

Young's denial of the "land reform" bloodbath is not unique. Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national security policy, wrote the key bloodbath-denial work, titled simply "The Myth of the Bloodbath." Professor Robert F. Turner, drawing on his knowledge of thousands of captured Viet Cong documents, scores of interviews with Communist defectors, and extensive research on the "land reform;" carefully refuted all of Porter's charges, demonstrating that they could not withstand any serious critical scrutiny and that some 300,000 people were, in fact, killed during the genocide.[85]

Porter is shown repeatedly contradicting himself, lying, making judgments that lack evidence and credibility, and accusing others of mistranslating a language he could barely speak. Although Porter's work was apparently sufficient to convince Young, its manifest sloppiness is contrary to honest scholarship. Vietnamese scholar Hoang Van Chi (1913-1988), who worked as a revolutionary and diplomat writing history and political science, also responded to Porter, who accused him of being a CIA propagandist in a ridiculous ad hominem attack.[86] Porter would later deny the Cambodian genocide and express admiration and outspoken support for Pol Pot in the infamous Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution.

Many US reporters admired the Khmer Rouge, while prominent intellectuals openly denied the Cambodian genocide. During the genocide, human rights abuses in Chile and South Korea got more coverage than Cambodia.[87] Some journalists, mocking the claims of a bloodbath, were so bold as to sing the following lyrics to the tune of "She Was Poor But She Was Honest": "Oh will there be a dreadful bloodbath/ When the Khmer Rouge come to town?/ Aye, there'll be a dreadful bloodbath/ When the Khmer Rouge come to town."[88]

Vietnam War in Popular Culture

The war and its aftermath were the inspiration for several films, including The Green Berets, The Deer Hunter, Platoon, Hamburger Hill, and We Were Soldiers.

The TV series Tour of Duty was about a U.S. Army platoon in country around the time of the Tet Offensive. The series Magnum, P.I, Night Court, Airwolf, and Area 88 all had Vietnam veterans as main or major characters. In the military drama series JAG, the main character's father was a US Navy pilot lost over North Vietnam, and the main character's desire to find out what happened to him is the focus of a major story arc over the first few seasons. In addition, the spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles has the major character Henrietta Lang having conducted operations during Vietnam, and at least two arcs during the 8th and 9th seasons involving her dealt with the Vietnam War, or more accurately, the aftermath.


See: Vietnam War Quotes.

See also


  1. Jan Dodd, Mark Lewis, Ron Emmons. The Rough Guide to Vietnam, Vol. 4, 2003. p. 509: "After 1975, the Marxist-Leninist government of reunified Vietnam declared the state atheist while theoretically allowing people the right to practice their religion under the constitution."
  2. Triumph Forsaken, book by Mike Moyar
  3. The Pentagon Papers (Beacon Press, 1971), vol. 3, p661.
  4. Robert F. Turner, Vietnamese Communism: Its Origins and Development (Hoover Institution Press, 1975), pp57-9, 67-9, 74 and “Myths of the Vietnam War,” Southeast Asian Perspectives, September 1972, pp14-8
  5. Alec Holcombe, Politburo's Directive Issued on May 4, 1953, on Some Special Issues regarding Mass Mobilization Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Summer 2010), pp. 243-247, quoting a translated Politburo directive from May 4, 1953. This directive was published in Complete Collection of Party Documents (Van Kien Dang Toan Tap), a 54 volume work authorized by the Vietnamese Communist Party.
  6. 6.0 6.1
  7. Alec Holcombe, Politburo's Directive Issued on May 4, 1953, on Some Special Issues regarding Mass Mobilization Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Summer 2010), pp. 243-247, quoting a translated Politburo directive from May 4, 1953. This directive was published in Complete Collection of Party Documents (Van Kien Dang Toan Tap), a 54 volume work authorized by the Vietnamese Communist Party.
  8. Nhan Dan, August 13, 1957.
  9. Time, July 1, 1957, p. 13, says they were given a proper burial.
  10. Gittinger, J. Price, "Communist Land Policy in Viet Nam", Far Eastern Survey, Vol. 29, No. 8, 1957, p. 118.
  11. Lam Thanh Liem (1990), "Chinh sach cai cach ruong dat cua Ho Chi Minh: sai lam hay toi ac?" in Jean-Francois Revel et al., Ho Chi Minh, Nam A, pp. 179-214. "Vo Nhan Tri found and read a top-secret report on the number of communist cadres falsely accused and executed: 15,000."
  12. Lam Thanh Liem (1990), "Chinh sach cai cach ruong dat cua Ho Chi Minh: sai lam hay toi ac?" in Jean-Francois Revel et al., Ho Chi Minh, Nam A, pp. 179-214.
  13. Dommen, Arthur J. (2001), The Indochinese Experience of the French and the Americans, Indiana University Press, p. 340, quotes comparable figures for communist cadre executed.
  14. The History of the Vietnamese Economy (2005), Vol. 2, edited by Dang Phong of the Institute of Economy, Vietnamese Institute of Social Sciences. Landlords were classified as 5.68% of the population, but only a fraction of them were killed. These figures are proportionally comparable to those for China's land reform, in which millions of "landlords" were slaughtered.
  15. Nhan Vhan, November 5, 1956: "In the agrarian reform, illegal arrests, imprisonments, investigations (with barbarous torture), executions, requisitions of property, and the quarantining of landowners’ houses (or houses of peasants wrongly classified as landowners), which left innocent children to die of starvation, are not exclusively due to the shortcomings of the leadership, but also due to the lack of a complete legal code. If the cadres had felt that they were closely observed by the god of justice... calamities might have been avoided for the masses." Nhan Vhan was one of the best-known opposition periodicals that was allowed during the three-month period of relative intellectual freedom in the fall of 1956, modeled on Mao's "Hundred Flowers" campaign.
  16. Turner, Robert F. "Expert Punctures 'No Bloodbath' Myth". Human Events, November 11, 1972.
  17. 17.0 17.1
  20. The Economist, February 26, 1983; Washington Post, April 23, 1985.
  21. Marek Sliwinski, Le Génocide Khmer Rouge: Une Analyse Démographique (L’Harmattan, 1995), pp41-8.
  23. 23.0 23.1
  24. Marek Sliwinski, Le Génocide Khmer Rouge: Une Analyse Démographique
  26. Dmitry Mosyakov, “The Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese Communists: A History of Their Relations as Told in the Soviet Archives,” in Susan E. Cook, ed., Genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda (Yale Genocide Studies Program Monograph Series No. 1, 2004), p54ff. Availible online at: "In April–May 1970, many North Vietnamese forces entered Cambodia in response to the call for help addressed to Vietnam not by Pol Pot, but by his deputy Nuon Chea. Nguyen Co Thach recalls: “Nuon Chea has asked for help and we have liberated five provinces of Cambodia in ten days.”"
  28. 28.0 28.1
  32. William Shawcross, The Quality of Mercy: Cambodia, Holocaust, and Modern Conscience (Touchstone, 1985), p115-6.
  33. 33.0 33.1 Heuveline, Patrick (2001). "The Demographic Analysis of Mortality in Cambodia." In Forced Migration and Mortality, eds. Holly E. Reed and Charles B. Keely. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
  34. Marek Sliwinski, Le Génocide Khmer Rouge: Une Analyse Démographique (L'Harmattan, 1995).
  35. Sharp, Bruce (April 1, 2005). Counting Hell: The Death Toll of the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia. Retrieved on January 9, 2013.
  36. Khieu Samphan, Interview, Time, March 10, 1980
  37. New York Times, August 8, 1979.
  38. 38.0 38.1,8816,947511,00.html
  40. Wiesner, Louis, Victims and Survivors: Displaced Persons and Other War Victims in Viet-Nam, 1954-1975 (Greenwood Press, 1988), pp. 318-9.
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Desbarats, Jacqueline. "Repression in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Executions and Population Relocation", from The Vietnam Debate (1990) by John Morton Moore. "We know now from a 1985 statement by Nguyen Co Tach that two and a half million, rather than one million, people went through fact, possibly more than 100,000 Vietnamese people were victims of extrajudicial executions in the last ten is likely that, overall, at least one million Vietnamese were the victims of forced population transfers."
  42. Anh Do and Hieu Tran Phan, Camp Z30-D: The Survivors, Orange County Register, April 29, 2001.
  43. Al Santoli, ed., To Bear Any Burden (Indiana University Press, 1999), pp272, 292-3.
  44. Morris, Stephen J. Glastnost and the Gulag: The Numbers Game, Vietnam Commentary, May–June 1988.
  45. Jacqueline Desbarats and Karl D. Jackson, "Research Among Vietnamese Refugees Reveals a Bloodbath," Wall Street Journal, April 22, 1985.
  46. Rummel, Rudolph, Statistics of Vietnamese Democide, in his Statistics of Democide.
  47. Associated Press, June 23, 1979; San Diego Union, July 20, 1986. See generally Nghia M. Vo (2006), The Vietnamese Boat People, 1954 and 1975-1992, McFarland.
  48. Le Thi Anh, "The New Vietnam", National Review, April 29, 1977, estimated some 20,000 post-war mass suicides.
  49. Crossette, Barbara, Hanoi, Citing Famine Fears, Seeks Emergency Aid, The New York Times, May 15, 1988.
  50. Forced Back and Forgotten (Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, 1989); and Jane Hamilton-Merrit, Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos (Indiana University Press, 1999)
  53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 53.3
  54. 54.0 54.1
  61. Far Eastern Economic Review, December 22, 1988
  62. Kirkwood, R. Cort (September 1, 2018). Evidence of POWs From Vietnam. The New American. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
    See also:
  63. When Richard Nixon became president, he wanted to end the war by pulling out American troops, and he did so. None of the three presidents wanted to win, but all wanted to report "progress." All three administrations instructed military commanders always to report gains and rely on suspect body counts as a way of measuring progress. [1]
  64. 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.3 Lewy, Guenter (1978). America in Vietnam. New York: Oxford University Press. Appendix 1, pp.450-453
  65. Thayer, Thomas C (1985). War Without Fronts: The American Experience in Vietnam. Boulder: Westview Press. Ch. 12.
  66. Wiesner, Louis A. (1988). Victims and Survivors Displaced Persons and Other War Victims in Viet-Nam. New York: Greenwood Press. p.310
  67. Thayer, Thomas C (1985). War Without Fronts: The American Experience in Vietnam. Boulder: Westview Press. p.106.
  68. Guenter Lewy, America in Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 1978), pp272-3, 448-9.
  69. Marek Sliwinski, Le Génocide Khmer Rouge: Une Analyse Démographique (L’Harmattan, 1995)
  70. Banister, Judith, and Paige Johnson (1993). "After the Nightmare: The Population of Cambodia." In Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia: The Khmer Rouge, the United Nations and the International Community, ed. Ben Kiernan. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Southeast Asia Studies.
  71. Small, Melvin & Joel David Singer, Resort to Arms: International and Civil Wars 1816–1980.
  72. Encyclopedia of Military History, Dupuy & Dupuy, 1979, Chart Page 1221
  73. Who Lost Vietnam?, by Joseph L. Galloway, a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report
  74. The wrong war. Why We Lost in Vietnam, by Jeffrey Record.
  75. Dunnigan & Nofi, Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War (1999)
  77. Leonard Magruder, “I was there and that’s not the way it was”
  78. On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, Harry G. Summers
  79. How to Lose A War: The Press and Viet Nam; Encounter (London), vol. LVII, No. 2, August 1981, pp. 73-90
  80. Uwe Siemon-Netto in the International Herald Tribune, reprinted in Encounter, October 1979
  81. KGB file 43173 vol. 2 (v) pp. 46-55, Alexander Vassiliev, Notes on A. Gorsky’s Report to Savchenko S.R., 23 December 1949. Original document from KGB Archives [2].
  83. 83.0 83.1
  84. Vietnam Wars, 1945-90 by Marilyn Young.
  87. "Irvine derived from the Television News Index and Abstracts a statistical table on media coverage of human rights in Chile, South Korea, North Korea, Cuba and Cambodia. The news organizations covered were the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the three television networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC in 1976. The findings were startling. In table 4.1, the reader will see that, contrary to the Porter-Hildebrand-Chomsky-Herman claims, the New York Times and Washington Post published four and nine stories on human rights in Cambodia, respectively. According to table 4.1, Chile received more than eight times the coverage "on human rights problems" as did Cambodia. South Korea was covered merely 5.6 times more often. The total allocation of media resources to Cambodia paled in comparison to the massive campaign against Chile and South Korea, two non-communist countries. Perhaps the reason why Chomsky and Herman used anecdotal evidence to prove their theories was because they knew that aggregate analysis would show they were wrong." Sophal Ear. "The Khmer Rouge Canon."

Further reading

  • Prados, John. Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945–1975 (2009) 704 pages
  • Jennings, Phillip. America's victory in Vietnam 244 pages "A well-researched, brisk review of the central myths of the Vietnam War, set in historical context." (James S. Robbins, Washington Times)

External links