The Vietnam War was started in 1959 in an attempt to stop the spread of communism to neighboring countries. The country had split at the 17th parallel in 1954 when the French had attempted to takeover the country but was defeated at Dien Bien Phu. The split wasn’t supposed to last, but an election was never held to reunite the North and South. The ruler in the North, Ho Chi Minh, did not agree with the anti-communist government in the South and started to support southern groups who rebelled against them, who became known as the Viet Cong. The Viet Cong did their best to fight the Southern Government but eventually North Vietnam infiltrated and the fighting became a full-fledged war. The United States had signed the Truman Doctrine in which they agreed to help in the assistance of any government who was trying to resist being taken over by communism and to stop the spreading of communism to neighboring countries. This was known as the domino theory.
They became involved in the early 1960’s and starting deploying troops in 1965. While most people think a large number of these soldiers were drafted, 2/3 of them actually volunteered. Richard Nixon signed the Nixon doctrine after an attack in 1968 to withdraw troops in a process called Vietnamization. All U.S. troops were withdrawn by 1973 when the Paris Peace Accords were signed, although they continued to give economic aid to South Vietnam until North Vietnam ended the war in 1975 with the capture of Saigon.
There was a variety of weapons used in the Vietnam War including 40 different rifle types, 22 machine guns, grenades, rocket propelled grenades, artillery, armored vehicles, and chemical weapons. Some of the more popular tpyes of rifles were the M14, M16, and SKS carbine. the M3A1 “Grease Gun”, and M60 were some of the machine guns. The AC130, AC119G, and Ac47 were some of the gunships that were used. There were also attack helicopters, fighters, bombers, tanks, jeeps, and naval patrol craft used.
The fatalities of the Vietnam War were astronomical. Over 3 million Vietnamese soldiers were killed, over 1.5 million soldiers from Laos and Cambodia were lost, and over 58,000 from the United States. Over 900,000 of the survivors of the war had to deal with wounds, amputations, and post traumatic stress disorder.
The Vietnam War has been publicly portrayed in a number of prominent films. Tax Driver, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket and Platoon are just some of those.