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The History of the Vietnam War

_Kitana_

Angel of Death
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#1
This is a thread to further educate ourselves in the Vietnam war. It is not a thread to bash Americans, It’s Vietnam vets or to say that Iraq is the new Vietnam or anything along those lines. This is not the place to try and pass judgment or support your own bias views. This is something we hear so much about, but know so little facts. Most of our school barely even touches on the subject and I find that sad.

If you want to participate that is fine. I am asking you to read articles, post links, read books or post general knowledge you have acquired about this subject matter. I asked that you give a good solid source and research your fact deeply before posting them. Also if you have any question, or heard about something and would like to know more about it, post it up. I will do my best to research it.

As of right now I am researching a few things. The history of the Vietnamese. The link below is one that gives a good bases of their ideas, culture and thinking.

http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/b/q/bqt104/history.htm

The next thing I am researching is the involvement of China, France, Russia in Vietnam before America entered the war. After all the French were trying to fight them first. Right now I am Reading more into the two leaders of Vietnam, Diem for the south and Ho Chi Minh of North Vietnam.

This link below gives a nice overview of the war and gives you a lot to research in depth for yourself….

http://ectc.aaps.k12.mi.us/AAOpen_detroit/JuneDone/JuneOthers/Vietnam.html

Well this first post is not very educational but as for right now it what I got. So hopefully more people join in. Be interesting to see what ways of this many sided war people take to research it.
 

Brain Spout

Wizard No More
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#2
our education systems probably don't teach most people enough about that war because the average history class doesn't even reach that far. i was taught in school thoroughly about the vietnam, the politics, why we went, and why we failed. Here is what i know as the history.

In the 1950's we had the Korean War, which if it taught us anything it is that the mentality of the people of southeast asia is not to surrender. We barely were able to end that conflict in peace. Even when we "peacibly" ended it fighting continued for two years.

Up until the mid 1950's the french had owned vietnam. And like anything the france ever owned they lost this too(sorry for the joke, but seriously the french aren't very good at keeping territories). Ho Chi Minh a vietnamese freedom fighter had been asking the U.S. for help which dates back to Woodrow Wilson. However over the years he had become increasingly more communist and the U.S. seeked more to oppose him than aid him because of his communist ties. The U.S. policy of containment essentially stated that any communist revolution in any country was a direct threat from the USSR. In 1954 Minh essentially defeated the french out of North Vietnam. Eisenhower, who was president at the time, wanted to send aid, but they had just come out of hte Korean War and sinking back into a conflict in SE asia wasn't the wisest idea.

Vietnam was now split at the 17th parallel, supposedly temporarily, but when Minh didn't hold his promised free elections it was clear that it was divided into a communist north and non communist south. Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles attempted to create the South East Asian Treaty Organization. Similar to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This didn't work to solve the problem.

The Diem government (South Vietnam) was very unstable and was being threatened by Minh constantly. To help maintain order JFK sent more and more troops to vietnam, but they usually fought and died which just meant more troops had to be sent. Then on November 22, 1963 John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. The vice president Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) took office. In 1964, using the Tonkin Gulf Incident, where North Vietnamese fired on American ships, LBJ got approved the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which essentially put no limits on the support we could offer the Vietnamese, for their war. By 1968 LBJ was paying over 30 billion annually to send more and more troops into vietnam. In 1968 the Tet Offensive came which pushed the U.S. farther back. Then on March 31 he said he would not send any more troops into vietnam and that he would not seek re-election. He sent the country into shock, no one knew he would step down from office. 1968 was a year of many events. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were both killed in 1968. There was also a lot of violence in protests from the wars and many other issues.

If there is one time in the vietnam war i mourn it is this part. I mourn becasuse i can only imagine the pain LBJ is in. He must keep sending more kids over to die because they didn't think that it would last as long as it did. In 1968 america was at a very low point.

Nixon proposed a policy in which he woud vietnamise the war. Troops would be pulled out so that the Vietnamese could fight their own war. The U.S. would still sell them weapons and such though.

The North Vietnamese had been using Cambodia as a way of gettoing past south vietnamese defenses and flood troops into south vietnam. Nixon recognized this and in 1970 ordered an invasion of Cambodia. As the "stalemated" seventies continued tensions against communism became more relaxed and several treaties were talked of and made. Anti ballistic missile treaty and the SALT talks. Unfortunately they weren't very successful in disarming either side.

Then Nixon ordered a massive bombing of North Vietnam which forced them to bargain for peace. ON january 23, 1973 they aggreed to sign a cease fire. Nixon withdrew many troops and got back some POWs. While the tape controversy and Watergate was unfolding (thanks in part to who we now know as Mark Felt) it was also discovered that Nixon had ordered bombings on neutral cambodia since early 1969 (when he took office). He ended the bombing mid year in 1973. Then in 1974 he resigned from office and Ford, the first unelected president took office.

In 1975 South Vietnam fell and remaining troops had to be rushed out by helicopter in many cases. America lost.

This is very brief history, i didnt do reasearch to give you all this, i looked up one or two dates to make sure they were right thorugh. Im pretty sure all my info is accurate.
 
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#3
I totally understand where you're coming from when you say that we aren't taught enough about history. I am Canadian (so I dont know much American history), but I don't really think that we learn enough history here. For example, you have compulsary and optional courses in school. You only have to take one compulsary History credit. Dosen't that seem like too little? Should'nt there be more? Question: Here in Canada, we have a course called "American History" which is optional to take. Do American schools (high schools) have an optional "Canadian History" course? *Or does Canada have too little history? - Face it, were not war-ly or anything... what's there to talk about really?* :(

Edit: P.S. - I learnt someting from wtf.com today.... *gasps* :thumbsup:
 
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#4
Be careful when looking for straight out answers on the Vietnam War. This war was one of the most contreversial wars in history so don't believe everything you hear. There is a great documentary called The Fog of War, it profiles a man who worked for Nixon and knows alot about the war.
 

_Kitana_

Angel of Death
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#5
Bane41 said:
Be careful when looking for straight out answers on the Vietnam War. This war was one of the most contreversial wars in history so don't believe everything you hear. There is a great documentary called The Fog of War, it profiles a man who worked for Nixon and knows alot about the war.
Hey thats why i said keep an open mind....

you remember the man's name in the documentary?

was the documentary a lot like moore's or where they more balanced?
 

countrygrl

Highly Excitable
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#6
It's really hard to say that we "lost" the vietnam war because technically we didn't go over there to fight the war. The soldiers sent over there were supposed to be "peace keepers" and in many ways their hands were effectively tied behind their backs. We didn't give the air support that we could have either.


The politics got real warped when the Vietnam war was going on and is a very large part of why we had so many killed and maimed over there and still came out "unvictorious".

Sad.
 

RageAgainst

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#7
_Kitana_ said:
After all the French were trying to fight them first.

Actually, you're right and wrong because there's more to it. Vietnam was a French colony, like India was an English colony, all of Latin America (except brazil) were Spanish colonies, and all of Africa's countries except Ethiopia were Europeean colonies at one point. The 1950s and 60's have been a period of decolonization : colonies across the globe fought in revolutions for their independance. Anyone with a little pride or patriotism would do the same. This was the case for Viet-Nam, and France didn't want to loose the colony so they fought the revolutionaries from the norh.. The US got in because the independantists wanted socialism as a type of government and economy (they didn't trust capitalism at the time and I don't blame them).

WizardlyFriend said:
Up until the mid 1950's the french had owned vietnam. And like anything the france ever owned they lost this too(sorry for the joke, but seriously the french aren't very good at keeping territories).
I don't agree, all the colonies of the world got their independance... Name one Asian country that is still "owned" by an european force... France couldn't keep it, but then again so did all the european countries who had colonies.
 

RageAgainst

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#8
countrygrl said:
It's really hard to say that we "lost" the vietnam war because technically we didn't go over there to fight the war. The soldiers sent over there were supposed to be "peace keepers" and in many ways their hands were effectively tied behind their backs. We didn't give the air support that we could have either.


The politics got real warped when the Vietnam war was going on and is a very large part of why we had so many killed and maimed over there and still came out "unvictorious".

Sad.
What the fuck are you talking about? Seriously. Didn't go over there to fight? Peace keepers? What the fuck? Their mission was to take control of the North controlled by socialist revolutionaries. Mission failed. They lost the war.

You fucking saying they were peace keepers is an insult to the kids that caught fire in Napalm bombings. I suggest you inform yourself next time you want to participate in a such a debate... "country girl".
 

Brain Spout

Wizard No More
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#9
RageAgainst said:
I don't agree, all the colonies of the world got their independance... Name one Asian country that is still "owned" by an european force... France couldn't keep it, but then again so did all the european countries who had colonies.
so you dont agree with me then say what i said? i didnt say that all the other countries of the world kept their territories.

WizardlyFriend said:
Up until the mid 1950's the french had owned vietnam. And like anything the france ever owned they lost this too(sorry for the joke, but seriously the french aren't very good at keeping territories).
im saying that once again france lost. it's a joke because france are horrible at this military thing:
joke: how many men does it take to defend paris?
i don't know it hasn't been done yet.

my quote was also a joke. they lost in the americas, in africa, and then in asia. not to mention at home.

RageAgainst said:
What the fuck are you talking about? Seriously. Didn't go over there to fight? Peace keepers? What the fuck? Their mission was to take control of the North controlled by socialist revolutionaries. Mission failed. They lost the war.

You fucking saying they were peace keepers is an insult to the kids that caught fire in Napalm bombings. I suggest you inform yourself next time you want to participate in a such a debate... "country girl".
okay they WERE sent over as peace keepers. kennedy sent them over to stop the communist north from taking over the entire country. containment: any communist revolutions is seen as a direct threat from the USSR. they went over to help south vietnam from falling. they were "peace keeper", that was the plan initially, unfortunately it didn't work out so well.
 

countrygrl

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#10
Why don't you read? I didn't say that's what I happened. I said that's the way that it was supposed to be. The US did not go over there and declare all out war.


They were supposed to AID the south and stay as uninvolved as possible. The north did not allow that...of course not we were in the middle of the war aiding and abetting the other side.

Had they given our guys the go ahead and backed them up with the firepower and equipment that we had available there would have been a very quick end to the war and the turn out would have been different.


You don't fucking send soldiers into a battle field and then restrict them to playing tiddlywinks. It was bullshit.

I suggest that you read the post that you are attempting to debate against before you go flaming people.
 

RageAgainst

Chaotic Neutral
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#11
countrygrl said:
Why don't you read? I didn't say that's what I happened. I said that's the way that it was supposed to be. The US did not go over there and declare all out war.


They were supposed to AID the south and stay as uninvolved as possible. The north did not allow that...of course not we were in the middle of the war aiding and abetting the other side.

Had they given our guys the go ahead and backed them up with the firepower and equipment that we had available there would have been a very quick end to the war and the turn out would have been different.


You don't fucking send soldiers into a battle field and then restrict them to playing tiddlywinks. It was bullshit.

I suggest that you read the post that you are attempting to debate against before you go flaming people.
Unless all the movies I saw about the war are totally full of shit, the US did have air support, but the viet kongs just shot their planes down.
 

_Kitana_

Angel of Death
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#12
RageAgainst said:
What the fuck are you talking about? Seriously. Didn't go over there to fight? Peace keepers? What the fuck? Their mission was to take control of the North controlled by socialist revolutionaries. Mission failed. They lost the war.

You fucking saying they were peace keepers is an insult to the kids that caught fire in Napalm bombings. I suggest you inform yourself next time you want to participate in a such a debate... "country girl".
This is to educate people and you are to be RESPECTFUL. Let me tell it to you this way America at that time never thought of Vietnam as a full blown war and simply was a policing. In a lot of situations our Military fighting men and woman over there were not allowed to use affective tactics against the Viet cong.

A lot of times our soldiers were torn between moral choices and life and death. Meaning the kids you say Americans killed a lot times were armed with bombs and guns. Some as young as 5 year olds. They don’t teach that in history class.

A 5 year olds got a bomb strapped to them ready to blow and armed with a gun. Do you let him walk into your camp and destroy your unit and yourself or do you kill him?

RageAgainst said:
Unless all the movies I saw about the war are totally full of shit, the US did have air support, but the viet kongs just shot their planes down.
A lot of the movies you see about the vietnam war are bullshit and put it an a very ill light. A lot of the facts and things are twisted around about them. From what I am reading, there was very little rapping and murdering of inoccent woman and children.

A lot of supposed vietnam vets "lied" about servering over there and seeing that stuff. Only by the time anyone found out they weren't true Vets... it was to little to late and the damage had been done. Thats why I created this thread. Because there are so many false truths out their about the war. I figured instead of running down each other we could work together to uncover history hidden secrets and figure out where it all started. Were our soldiers over there just rapist and baby killers?


So far waht I am seeing is a lot of incedents over there where twisted by activist groups and a lot of lies by both our goverment and people claiming to tell the truth.

Now with all this being said let me once again state the rules
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This thread is to discuss and educate facts about the war.
It is to remain Respectful at all Times.
Please try to keep your information back up by respectful sources....
and lets try to stay on topic....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Brain Spout

Wizard No More
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#13
all the raping and murdering and pillaging that is claimed that the us military did isnt really true. there were a couple of massacres in which troops slaughtered villages, but that is isolated cases. some of the troops in vietnam considered themselves "hippies". there were bombings of vietnam, but the american people weren't supposed to know about it. thats one of the reason everybody got so pissed off at nixon. his secret bombings of cambodia
 

_Kitana_

Angel of Death
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#14
This tells of how the french lost control of Vietnam...

Dienbienphu
Related: Vietnam Geography

(dyĕn´byĕn´foo´) or Dien Bien Phu , former French military base, N Vietnam, near the Laos border. It was the scene in 1954 of the last great battle between the French and the Viet Minh forces of Ho Chi Minh in Indochina. The French occupied the base by parachute drop in Nov., 1953; this move prevented a Viet Minh thrust into Laos and provided support for indigenous forces opposing the Viet Minh in that area. Although the base could be supplied only by air, the French military felt its position was tenable. Weary of inconclusive guerrilla warfare, they were willing to invite an open Viet Minh attack in an area where their superior weaponry could be used to full advantage. The Viet Minh army, under the command of Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, chose to engage the French, and by Mar., 1954, some 49,500 Viet Minh troops had encircled Dienbienphu, where some 13,000 soldiers, under the leadership of Col. (later Gen.) Christian de Castries, were firmly entrenched in strong positions. The first Viet Minh assault came on Mar. 13, and by the end of April, despite massive French air bombardment, the French defense area had been reduced to 2 sq mi (5 sq km). Desperate pleas for U.S. intervention were unsuccessful, and on May 7, after a 56-day siege, the French positions fell. This defeat signaled the end of French power in Indochina.

So Kennedy wanted Vietnam ruled by the Vietnamese not by communist russia or china or even france for that matter.

This is an Interviews with JFK...

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/kentv.htm

It sound like if Kennedy had stayed alive we would be reading about Vietnam in a different way.

America didn't really want to be involved in Vietnam and was asked by South Vietnam to help aid them. It sounds like Kennedy hands were pretty tied with trade treaties. We were forced to aid them, south Vietnam. Kennedy tried to influence the, South Vietnam leader Diem to change his policy so it was more fair to help win back the southern Vietnamese. But Diem would not listen and became corrupt. So from what I am reading, USA help aid the South in over throwing him and killing him.

Shortly after that Johnson took over as Presdient. You can see Johnson and Kennedy views differ greatly.


An in interview with John McCone, the head of CIA at the time, was asked:

What should Johnson have done differently in his conduct of the war?

and which he replied;

In the fist place, he should not have conducted it. You see, Kennedy made a mistake when he accepted the recommendations of Walt Rostow and General Maxwell Taylor to violate the 1954 agreement which restricted the military assistance group provided for the South Vietnamese to, I think, 850 military personnel, and that is the number Eisenhower held to. He said, "An agreement is an agreement, and we're not going to increase that military assistance group." And Eisenhower stood steadfast against the recommendations of the joint chiefs of staff, who were insisting that it be increased.

Eisenhower, among other things, in addition to standing by the treaty, said: "If you increase the United States presence in South Vietnam, then it will become our war. It won't be the South Vietnamese; they will walk away from it." Now Kennedy won the 1960 election by a narrow margin, and one of his cries was that Eisenhower had been soft on communism in Vietnam and soft on communism in Cuba.

The first thing that he did was send Maxwell Taylor and Walt Rostow over to examine the situation in South Vietnam. And they came back recommending that the military assistance group be increased from 800 or 850 up to 25,000. Kennedy embraced that, but after a year he saw the folly of that agreement. He was prepared to withdraw a very substantial amount of our presence in South Vietnam -- possibly getting down to 850. I don't know.... If my memory serves me correctly, he had ordered the first 1,000 men withdrawn. But I am not sure about that. But Johnson, on the other hand, ignored all of this, and he just accepted it as a war that we had to win.

He gradually built up to about 50,000 over there in small increments. From 25,000 we built up to about 50,000. I was very unhappy about the first 25,000, and I was desperately unhappy about the build-up, and then when Johnson, in response to some North Vietnamese actions against some of our bases, agreed with the recommendation of McNamara that he put our troops on the offensive, that is when I parted company with them.
http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/conversations/McCone/mccone-con5.html
 

countrygrl

Highly Excitable
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#15
This is one of the best summaries of the Vietnam war that I have ever read.

http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/vietnam/anderson.htm

Kennedy was determined to help the South Vietnamese and prevent the communist North from taking over. Eisenhour started out providing training and support but when Kennedy got in office he increased the number of troops in Vietnam, increased the aid and and started fortifying the area with heavy equipment.

When Johnson got in office he continued to increase the number of troops but the main goal was protection of the south and not aggression toward the north. Johnson was playing the reelection ticket hard and he was more interested in domestic issues than he was Vietnam.

The president wanted to concentrate on his ambitious domestic program, the Great Society, but his political instincts told him that his leadership would be damaged fatally if America's client state in South Vietnam succumbed. Instability mounted in South Vietnam as rival military and civilian factions vied for power and as Vietcong strength grew. A consensus formed among Johnson's advisers that the United States would have to initiate air warfare against North Vietnam. Bombing could boost Saigon's morale and might persuade the North to cease its support of the insurgency. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) favored a massive bombing campaign, but civilians in the State and Defense Departments preferred a gradual escalation.
Operation Rolling Thunder was initiated. Rolling Thunder was "gradually intensifying air bombardment of military bases, supply depots, and infiltration routes in North Vietnam. Flying out of bases in Thailand, U.S. Air Force fighter-bombers--primarily F-105 Thunderchiefs and later F-4 Phantoms--joined U.S. Navy Phantoms and A-4 Skyhawks from a powerful carrier task force located at a point called Yankee Station, seventy-five miles off the North Vietnamese coast in the Gulf of Tonkin. In 1965, U.S. aircraft flew 25,000 sorties against North Vietnam, and that number grew to 79,000 in 1966 and 108,000 in 1967." It was more or less a failure and was carried out despite the fact that American strategist didn't think that it would be effective. Rolling Thunder pushed America across the line from protecting the south to actually fighting the war.

With U.S. bombs pounding North Vietnam, Westmoreland turned America’s massive firepower on the southern insurgents. Johnson's choice of gradual escalation of bombing and incremental troop deployments was based upon the concept of limited warfare. Risks of a wider war with China and the Soviet Union meant that the United States would not go all out to annihilate North Vietnam. Thus, Westmoreland chose a strategy of attrition in the South. Using mobility and powerful weapons, the MACV commander could limit U.S. casualties while exhausting the enemy, that is, inflicting heavier losses than could be replaced.

I'm going to stop there. The rest is very interesting but basically says what I said earlier. That the sent a lot of soldiers over there and basically tied their hands behind thier backs. Sure there were some pretty heavy attacks and a lot of successful ones but every time that we gained any ground we gave it back up.

They didn't go over there to kick the North's ass and when you engage in war that should be the purpose.

I've always said that we never should have been there in the first place but after reading this I wonder where China, Russia and Vietnam would be now if we hadn't of done what we did do. If we had of just let the North go in and take over the south inside of holding out at least long enough for the treaty would we have won the cold war? Would the cold war still be going on if there wasn't a seperation now between north and south Vietnam?
 

_Kitana_

Angel of Death
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#16
countrygrl said:
I've always said that we never should have been there in the first place but after reading this I wonder where China, Russia and Vietnam would be now if we hadn't of done what we did do. If we had of just let the North go in and take over the south inside of holding out at least long enough for the treaty would we have won the cold war? Would the cold war still be going on if there wasn't a seperation now between north and south Vietnam?
Funny how I kind of thought the same thing. The more I read and learn about this war. The more I understand why America had to be involved. Funny that the Director of the CIA didn't agree with Johnson or Kennedy beliefs and thought that we shouldn't get some involved but if we did we should go all out.

Also important to note that we were acting mostly under the UN... A lot of people blame USA for melding in foreign affairs but we were asked by the UN in Korea and asked by Southern Vietnam.

Also important to note how much Johnson pushed for this war and only told half-truths, I think i am going to see if I can find Johnson book he wrote. Be interesting to see what the man has to say and how he justifies the war in Vietnam.
 

_Kitana_

Angel of Death
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#19
Those of us who were of age during the Vietnam War remember the My Lai Massacre of 1968, in which a company of American soldiers poured automatic rifle fire into groups of unarmed villagers, killing perhaps 500 people, many of them women and children. But when I spoke last fall to a group of 100 high school honors students in history and asked who knew about the My Lai Massacre, no one raised a hand.

My Lai Massecre happened on march 16,1968. The Men of Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, Americal Division were angry and frustrated with was taking foot in Vietnam. They Walked into the village of My Laie after destroying a system of underground tunnels and unleashed the most dishonerable rage.

MY Lai is a village that rest in the Southern Vietnamese district of son My, an area that was extremly enterlaced with Vietcong. Charlie Company had suffered a great many loses in this area already and many of their men had been maimed and killed in the following weeks. The troops at the time were under the command of Lt. William Calley and they entered the villiage with the fear of engagement and threat from a very elusive enemy. It was quite clear that the Vietnam war had worn on these men and that the villiage was at risk.

"This is what you've been waiting for -- search and destroy -- and you've got it," said their superior officers
Search and Destroy mission soon turned into a bloodly nightmare. Over 300 woman, children and elderly persons were unexcusably murdered in cold blood. The men were ordered to enter this village while firing their weapons even though no one reported of having seen or heard opposing fire.

What was to follow in the upcoming minutes was the slaying of elderly men with bayonets. Woman and children shot in the back of the head while praying. The raping of at least one girl, who was than killed.

Calley, himself rounded up a group of inoccent villagers, ordered them into a ditch and shot them in a blind furry of rage in the back of the head.

Calley claimed that the orders came from Captain Ernest Medina to kill everyone in the villiage. However, there was no strong proof of this happening and only enough evidents to convict Calley. He was dishonerably discharged from the military and sentenced to life in prison until his released in 1974, after a great number of apeals.
 

_Kitana_

Angel of Death
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#20
guess no one cares to learn the fact of history hehe....

Oh well. I am reading a book on the moutain tribes of Vietnam atm