Talk:Vietnam War/Archive 22

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1972 Election Information

The following statement is in the text under Exit of the Americans: "In the November 1972 Election, McGovern lost 49 of 50 states to Richard Nixon, who was re-elected U.S. president. Despite supporting Nixon over McGovern, many American voters split their tickets, returning a Democratic majority to both houses of Congress." A map of the the 1972 Congressional Election showing distribution percentages by Rep and Dem is right below.

So my question is - what is the correlation between the number of Democrats in the House/Senate and people being anti-Vietnam War? Considering Kennedy and Johnson both escalated the war, the Democratic party by no shape or form "owned" the anti-war stance as there were doves in both parties (although McGovern was probably among the top). Yes, historically support for a war in Congress ebbed and flowed depending on what party held the Presidency (for a recent example, note how rhetoric from the Left against the war in Afghanistan subsided after Barack Obama was elected), but it seems that the part of the sentence that basically states Americans showed their dislike of the war by NOT electing McGovern and INSTEAD by installing a Democrat Congress is tenuous at best and smacks of someone's non-NPOV OR. It becomes an even sillier statement if you changed one word: Despite overwhelmingly supporting Nixon over McGovern, many American voters split their tickets... My stance is that this part of the sentence should be deleted along with the map. I've already flagged it as needing a citation Ckruschke (talk) 13:01, 9 January 2013 (UTC)Ckruschke

Off hand, Nixon presented himself as the man that would end the American presence in Vietnam in the 1972 election. When he instead launched the invasion of Cambodia, there was a public outrage at this apparent betrayal of his promise to deescalate and withdraw. Not surrendering per se, but implementing "Vietnamization", where the South Vietnamese government would gradually shoulder the burden of fighting the Communists until the Americans could withdraw completely. In this way, Nixon appealed to both the pro- and anti-war sentiments of the electorate - he would end the American presence in Vietnam (the draft being one of the factors driving the anti-war movement) but also appealed to those that didn't want to see Communism win in Vietnam. In the light of this, his electoral victory seems to me less puzzling. It is also the case that because of how the electoral college works, victories in US presidential elections look more overwhelming than they are. The winner of the majority of votes in a state get all of the votes of the electoral college of that state meaning that a presidential candidate can technically "lose" every state if he/she gets 45% of the votes in every state. As you may recall, presidents have won elections even though they didn't get the majority of the votes (Bush II 2000, Obama 2012). The war was put to an end when the (Democratic dominated) congress passed the Case-Church amendment. Now it is of course true that there is always some opportunism going on among politicians (as I recall Republicans were critical of the Kosovo War (Clinton) and the intervention in the Libyan situation recently) but the Democratic congressmen elected in 1972, even if they had supported JFK's/LBJ's Vietnam policies, were elected in another political atmosphere. Although it failed in its objective, the Tet offensive neatly destroyed the credibility of every American military and political leader who had said that the Viet Cong draw-down before the offensive was a "light at the end of the tunnel". After this point politicians were more likely to at least pretend to be anti-war. --Sus scrofa (talk) 15:55, 9 January 2013 (UTC)--Sus scrofa (talk) 13:46, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Were to you get the incorrect notion that Obama did win the popular vote in 2010? I think it is worth noting is worth noting that voters returned Democrats, who for the most part DID own the anti-war stance, to congress. I points out deservedly that despite the Presidential landslide the American people were DEEPLY divided over Vietnam. How divided? People were blowing stuff up. People were murdered. That's how a anti-war candidate got nominated. Jackhammer111 (talk) 06:16, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

I was wrong that Obama got a minority of the votes and a majority of the votes of the electoral college in the 2012 presidential elections, but this doesn't change the fact that it is possible to win the presidential election without getting a majority of the votes.--Sus scrofa (talk) 09:50, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
Agree - it's all good! Ckruschke (talk) 17:32, 11 January 2013 (UTC)Ckruschke
I agree with your view on Nixon and the Presidential Election (to a point - McGovern was creamed in both the electoral college and popular election). However, my point was "How does America putting in a larger Democrat Congress show a backlash against the war?" As I stated, there is nothing in the text to back up this tenuous and overly simplistic assessment of the election. Seems to me that this was put in by someone who did some OR and assumed "Democrat Congressional Win = Split Ticket due to Anti-War Backlash". And it may well have been - McGovern was obviously judged to be inferior for more than just his war stance and painting the election as Nixon/Hawk vs McGovern/Dove is also overly simplistic. Similarly, a simple look at the 1972 Congressional returns falls well below the proof requirement. Ckruschke (talk) 18:14, 9 January 2013 (UTC)Ckruschke
Polls show public support for the war gradually declining the longer it went on. But it is misleading to portray the 1972 congressional election as the turning point. The Democrats gained 2 seats in the Senate, lost 13 in the House, so strictly speaking they did not have a "larger majority" after the election. As soon as Nixon was elected president in 1968, the politics shifted and the war became Nixon's fault as far as the Democrats were concerned. In the those days, many southern Democrats voted with the Republicans, so Nixon could still win crucial votes in Congress, or at least he could during his first term. McGovern may have lost the presidential election, but he won the heart of the Democratic Party, which was committed to an anti-war stance from the time of his nomination onward. The crucial moment was in March 1973 when Nixon threatened to restart bombing the North if the communists tried another offensive. There was no public or congressional support for this idea. This reaction paved the way for the Case-Church Amendment banning direct U.S. military involvement, which was passed in June. Congress voted to cut off military aid to South Vietnam in August 1974. Within a few months, the South Vietnamese army ran out of fuel and ammunition and the communists were free to march into Saigon. Kauffner (talk) 22:48, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
"Within a few months, the South Vietnamese army ran out of fuel and ammunition and the communists were free to march into Saigon." The conflict in Indochina after the Vietnam War saw many ex-ARVN equipment used by the communists, and given there is still a number of them left in their inventory, so I don't think that South Vietnam only fall simply because the US didn't support them--Zeraful (talk) 14:07, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Agree Kauffner, but your argument really has nothing to do with the election itself and whether people split their ticket - per the statement I flagged. Ckruschke (talk) 18:45, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Ckruschke

Argument Without End citations are historical transposition?

There's something in the "Diem Era" section stating that McNamara wrote X about motivations in Argument Without End. I would be leery of ascribing this as a contemporary statement in the 1950s (which is what the phrase indicates), because McNamara wrote the book in 1999, one of several he wrote on Vietnam long after the fact. It's obviously important (as is the other work), but I think it benefits from hindsight more than being reliable to the times, and I would rather see it placed in its own "Legacy/Criticism/whatever" section than being used as a reliable historical source for this article. MSJapan (talk) 17:41, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

I'll change the wording to make it clear where in time the source is, but it might also be problematic to use Argument Without End as a source as it is written by someone who was deeply involved in the war, and therefore has an obvious motive to tell a narrative in his own defense. Now, it isn't automatically ruled out because of this, the question is what standing it has among historians of the relevant period. I don't know the literature well enough to say, so I won't remove it.--Sus scrofa (talk) 19:00, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Refusal to surrender

The American soldier in Vietnam, unlike soldiers in previous wars, refused to surrender, even when being overrun. It wasn't a topic that was talked about , it was a decision reached by the soldiers when we kept fighting even though we were losing. If the enemy was overrunning the position, the person in charge would put out the code words," Broken Arrow," which meant an American unit was being wiped out, need all available help. If there were Air Force planes available they would stack up( orbit at different altitudes) and wait until the controller called them and gave them an attack vector. Also any available artillery would report in and be controlled by the controller. Sometimes these tactics would save the imperiled unit, sometimes it was too late.when the person in charge( I say it this way, because sometimes there were no officers alive) would tell the controller that they were still losing and had no chance of fighting their way out. When this occurred, the artillery and/or Air Force would be given co-ordinates that was on top of the American unit. The reasoning being that there were always survivors of this tactic and without it everyone would die. The ground war was vicious as we didn't ask for quarter nor did we give it. Our war was to the knife!SkyGunner68 (talk) 00:39, 17 February 2013 (UTC)[1]

Please see WP:SOAPBOX. This isn't a place for general discussion of the war, but for suggesting improvements to the article.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 02:27, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
For interested editors, though, it does look like this points up a possible need for a new article. Broken Arrow#Other disambiguates two usages of that term, one of which -- the usage here -- does not have a wikilinked target. My guess is that an article on this would meet WP:GNG. See e.g.,
Use of the term Broken Arrow iin this context is mentioned in the Battle of Ia Drang and We Were Soldiers articles. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:48, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Mass killings

  • Benjamin Valentino includes the killing of between 45,000 to 80,000 by the NLF in a list of "Terrorist Mass Killings in the Twentieth Century".

Both items are included by Benjamin Valentino as mass killings in the twentieth century but the first item is being removed from the article while the second is being re-added. Why? Dlv999 (talk) 18:51, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

110,000-310,000 is his estimate for Vietcong killed. He does not state that this is a war crime whereas he clearly refers to the Vietcong figures as terrorism. Stumink (talk) 18:53, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Claim re 110,000-310,000 is entirely your own original research, not supported by the source (the source does not say who the victims were in either case). Also he does not state that either case is a war crime. So if you remove one on that basis you must remove both. Dlv999 (talk) 19:04, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

He is referring to the suppression of the Vietcong an armed violent guerrilla movement controlled by the North which is trying to overthrow the south's government, anyway he does refer to the Vietcong as terrorism. However because it is vague I will remove his Vietcong terrorism figure. Stumink (talk) 19:18, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Unreliable sourcing

Appears to be a ridiculous selfpublished activist source. I removed various citations to this source but they have been re-added. I aim to remove them because they in no way constitute a reliable source for a historic article. Dlv999 (talk) 18:00, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Stumink, could you please read WP:SAYWHEREYOUREADIT: You have to cite exactly where you read the source. If all the material comes from the cite you cannot legitimately cite the material by simply removing the reference to that website. Dlv999 (talk) 19:21, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

This is sourced how all newspaper sources and book sources are cited, with date of publication and author etc. I am citing newspapers or books directly. Anyway the information is sourced correctly and I have actually read the newspaper articles. Stumink (talk) 19:29, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

The problem is your read the articles via an unreliable blog site, then you removed the link indicating where you read them when it was flagged as unreliable. Dlv999 (talk) 19:36, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
The newspapers were not reproduced by Paul Bogdanor. Bogdanor got an exact copy of the papers from ProQuest Historical Newspapers. You cannot say the sources are permanently tainted just because Bogdanor cites them. This is hardly the first case in Wikipedia history where a RS was linked to from his website.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 21:07, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
How do you know where Bogdanor got his material from? If someone wants to source the articles and verify them by legitimate means that is another matter, but simply deleting the Bogdanor link without verifying any of the content is not going to fly. Dlv999 (talk) 21:17, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
All of the ProQuest articles say where they're from right at the top of the page.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 21:29, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Since when is Readers Digest a source for verification of facts in a historical article? what is the story with support for ridiculously shitty sources in this article? Why can't we just write an article based on high quality academic sources and get rid of the rubbish? Dlv999 (talk) 22:31, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

I just don't see why John Kerry is a RS, that's all. (And I wonder why Reader's Digest published the first full investigation of the Cambodian Holocaust, when high quality academic sources were all saying it was bunk?) I find that news reports from the time and personal testimony from people like Kerry can provide an interesting perspective on past events, but if you think such sources are being given undue weight, I'd be fine with removing them.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 22:50, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Kerry is cited in a published work which is a collaboration between a historian specializing in the subject and a prominent journalist. If you have a similar source quoting the Readers Digest report then it merits inclusion, if not, then it does not. Dlv999 (talk) 22:56, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, John G. Hubbel is a published journalist and author who wrote extensively about the Vietnam war, and is therefore perhaps more reliable than Kerry. Nam: The Vietnam War in the Words of the Men and Women Who Fought There also describes Viet Cong use of castration and impalement. A Bright Shining Lie mentions Viet Cong use of disembowelment.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 23:48, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
Any contemporary news report is a primary source and not regarded as RS for a historical article: see WP:HISTRS. Regarding Nam: The Vietnam War in the Words of the Men and Women Who Fought There, and your other recent additional sources, please provide a page number for your citation. Dlv999 (talk) 08:51, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Please see Dlv999 (talk) 22:44, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

TheTimesAreAChanging, journalism is not generally regarded as RS for historical articles. Contemporary journalism should be avoided because it is a primary source. See the RSN discussion we had on this issue. Uninvolved contributors stated "Primary sources such as journalistic reports from the time shouldn't be used in historical articles, it amounts to original research, see WP:HISTRS" and another said "We should not use contemporaneous journalism as a source for events that occured decades ago".

Occasionally material published in newspapers can meet RS requirements for a historical article. In this case we have Nick Turse writing in the LA times. He is a trained historian who specialized in this area writing his PhD dissertation on the topic of war crimes in Vietnam. He is widely published and cited on the topic and has won awards for his work in this area. He is an excellent source for this material. The Turse article in question was written in 2009 so is not contemporary to the events it describes. Now just because individual cases occur when journalism does meet RS criteria it does not give us cart blanche to include journalism from around the time of the events. My application of policy is not selective, you are not comparing like with like. Dlv999 (talk) 17:11, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

WP:HISTRS is an essay, not a policy. Kirk and Becker are historians and experts on Indochina. Your only real argument appears to be that contemporary reports cannot be mentioned, even as an example of what was "reported" at the time.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 23:08, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Our job as Wikipedia editors is not to collate a selection of primary source material from the time of the events and present it to the readers, that is the job of the professional historian. What we should be doing is using modern scholarship on the topic. The North Vietnamese, Vietcong, and Khmer Rouge crimes section at the moment is highly problematic because it is largely based on a selection of primary sources that were collated by Paul Bogdanov and published on his personal blog. Dlv999 (talk) 09:18, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
Also if it would help to come to a compromise on this I could replace the LA Times article citation as there are three books that have covered the same material [1], [2], [3]. If you would agree to the removal of the Primary source material from the NVA section I would be happy to do that. Dlv999 (talk) 09:30, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
Fine.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 11:48, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

Loosing 14,000 SVN civilians

I'm reverting this deletion of content. I'm not doing it based on whether or not I understand or agree with what might have been the motivation for the attitude discussed, I'm doing it because I see that the removed content was inserted in this edit at the same time as the supporting source citation was added. The cited source is not previewable online, but I'm assuming good faith and presuming that the cited source does support this content. More information might be available in the source cited, or from the editor who added that content and cited that source to support the addition. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 11:37, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

A diary from one of the combatants in the conflict is a primary source and clearly not a reliable source for facts in a historical article. Dlv999 (talk) 11:49, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I might agree, going solely by the title of the cited source, Lurps: A Ranger's Diary of Tet, Khe Sanh, A Shau, and Quang Tri. The particular snippet at issue, though, "After the war, North Vietnamese officials acknowledged that the Tet Offensive caused grave damage to NLF movement, not by the killing of 1,000 Americans and 2,100 ARVN soldiers, but by the lost 14,000 South Vietnamese civilians and 32,000 NVA and Vietcong soldiers" doesn't sound like something which came from the author's personal day-by-day experience on long-range patrols. I have not seen the cited source myself, and don't know the context from which the content at issue was taken. Your response above seems unrelated to the edit summary giving your reasons for the deletion here. As I said, for me it's a WP:AGF matter at this point. This isn't a hot-button issue with me. I've raised this as a WP:BRD point here, and I'm content to let it play out as a matter of editorial consensus by regular editors of this article. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 12:40, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Inaccurate Assertion

The article currently states that "The major allied victors of World War II, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union, all agreed the area belonged to the French." This is a false statement. It was, after all, Ho Chi Minh who signed a modus vivendi with the French on March 6, 1946, point two of which declared his government’s willingness "to welcome amicably the French Army" when it returned to Vietnam--and who collaborated with French colonial forces to massacre thousands of Vietnamese nationalists. Ho's role in inviting the French back into Vietnam is not exactly a secret! Moreover, the Allies did not push for France to regain its former colony. French General Sainteny radioed his superiors in Calcutta that he was "face to face with a deliberate Allied maneuver to evict the French from Indochina," and that "at the present time the Allied attitude is more harmful than that of the Viet Minh" (The Two Vietnams, p. 68-69). The Pentagon Papers document that the U.S. prohibited the French from using American arms in their campaign to return to power in Indochina, and note that, in June 1948, the American ambassador in Paris was instructed "to 'apply such persuasion and/or pressure as is best calculated [to] produce desired result' of France's 'unequivocally and promptly approving the principle of Viet independence'" (Pentagon Papers, vol. 3, p. 32). Therefore, this inaccurate assertion should be removed.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 08:58, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Did the USA support Frances return to power? Did (for example) the USA discus the idea of using nuclear weapons to support the French?Slatersteven (talk) 12:29, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
It was only after the communist victory in China in 1949, and the subsequent delivery of large scale Chinese assistance to Ho Chi Minh's Viet Minh, that the United States concluded it was in its national interest to provide some assistance to the French in Indochina. Even then, the U.S. continued to pressure France to provide for eventual self-government in Indochina (Pentagon Papers, vol. 3, p. 199). It is false to say the Allies of WW2 tried to return the French to power, when Ho Chi Minh invited them back despite Allied attempts to evict them. Several years after WW2 ended, with the Cold War heating up, U.S. policy understandably changed.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 21:59, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────However, see the Operation Vulture article. The operation never materialized, but the info in that article somewhat illuminates high level U.S. thinking circa 1954 re French rule in Vietnam. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 07:20, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

My "Marine's Guide to the Republic of Vietnam" prepared by G-2, HQ FMFPAC, MCBul 3480, 11 May 1966, states on page 2 that "In February, 1946, a Franco-Chinese agreement was concluded whereby China supported France's return to Indo-China in exchange for the surrender of all of France's extra-territorial rights in China". The Viet Minh were forced to deal with the French or lose Chinese support. --The French and Viet Minh could not get along, however, and Ho Chi Minh launched the first attack with the Viet Minh on Dec. 19, 1946, and thus began an 8 year war of depredation and misery for the Vietnamese people. (talk) 05:45, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Numbers don't make sense

For North Vietnam, the article says there are 287, 465 military while there are 400, 000 to 1.1 million dead or missing. Shouldn't this issue be fixed. (talk) 07:56, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

The number of dead is for the whole conflict, the number serving is the highest number at a given point (1968)Slatersteven (talk) 10:40, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 9 May 2013

I propose to add a section that discusses the sources of the Soviet Union's involvement in Vietnam. I think it fits under the Soviet Union section, in a subsection called "SOURCES OF THE CONFLICT" and "CONSEQUENCES." The research was done for a college-level class on Russian History and it is all footnoted. Considering that the existing section does not have scholarly sources, my section would add pertinent, reliable sources.


The single most important factor for the escalation of the Vietnam War was rooted in an ideological battle that had started long before the 1960s. The USSR saw North Vietnam as a proponent of socialism and they felt compelled to help North Vietnam succeed, which thereby propelled the United States to do everything in its power to contain North Vietnam’s communist state from spreading its ideology into nearby, bordering countries. The USSR – the emblem of Communism – and the capitalist United States had been antagonistic since the 1917 revolution. The Vietnamese Revolution was simply another opportunity for the two to collide ideologically, politically, and militarily in an effort to prove the other’s faults and their own ideological glory. The conflict illustrated each power’s will and ability to create and sustain confrontation. The Vietnam conflict began because of the interventionist mindset of the USSR and the US.[2] Ultimately, though, the conflict escalated because of the US’s and the USSR’s involvement in the war. The USSR and US involvement in the conflict did not fully begin until 1964. Before then, Moscow had maintained a policy of ‘nonengagment.’ This was part of Khrushchev’s attempt to maintain peaceful coexistence with the West and avoid conflicts of the kind that emerged during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Moscow considered this strategy possible so long as the Vietnam conflict remained internal since the Americans were concerned with containment. However, after the Tonkin Gulf crisis of 1964, there was a policy shift towards supporting the Vietnamese Communists. In addition, the deepening split between the USSR and the People’s Republic of China, a result of the Chinese attempt to thwart Soviet aid to Vietnam, made the USSR’s policy of noninvolvement impossible. After the Gulf of Tonkin crisis, it became clear that both the US and North Vietnam were going to solve the problem militarily. However, the apparent military necessity presented a problem for USSR foreign policy. There were two sides to the Soviet foreign policy: while Communist pride played a role, Soviet leadership also understood the importance of maintaining a relationship with the West. These two policies, though, collided: the USSR had to either entrench themselves in the war or completely disengage from the conflict. They could not stay completely uninvolved, though, because they wanted to keep their prospects for a stronger position in Southeast Asia.[3] Because Soviet foreign policy had two contradicting impulses, the USSR faced a dilemma.[4] The USSR, therefore, created a separate foreign policy during the Vietnam War. This form of policy had three critical levels: 1) Hanoi, a city in Northern Vietnam, would be provided with necessary military and economic assistance to pursue its war; 2) the USSR would not sacrifice the strategy of détente (peaceful existence with the US) in its relations with the West but would simply adjust Vietnamese policy as necessary; and 3) the USSR would make it clear that they wanted a negotiated settlement outcome of the war.[5] This passive form of involvement illustrates the Soviets’ overall aim in the Vietnam conflict: it was simply an ideological duty and response to US aggression. However, much of the US aggression stemmed from their unclear understanding of the Soviets’ roles in shaping Vietnamese strategy. The US did not understand that the USSR’s aim of the 1950s was merely to build a viable, successful socialist state in the northern Vietnam; it was not until the US military intervention in 1964 that the Soviets were convinced that they had to significantly increase their aid to Vietnam.[6] After 1966, however, the USSR started to change their estimates of North Vietnam’s endurance and the Communists’ fighting abilities in South Vietnam. Unexpected wins for the Vietnamese and President Johnson’s ensuing difficulties presented opportunities for victory – although Moscow knew they were treading water. Vietnam’s war against the United States morphed into an indirect symbol of successful resistance to the US – the shining, good, North-Vietnamese revolutionary. The years between 1968 and 1975 marked a period of superpower détente as a direct response to US involvement in Vietnam. For the Soviets, détente consisted of the idea of peaceful coexistence and Western recognition of the USSR as a superpower. [7]

In response to several issues with this proposed section:
  • The Soviets did provide aid to North Vietnam, ie economic aid and military aid (weapons, supplies etc) before 1964 to fight the South. The Soviets AND Chinese both in fact supported the Vietnamese communists with aid. So, it's incorrect to say that the Soviets had a policy of "disengagement", as provision of aid to the North and it's war effort is clearly an "engagement".
  • Soviet interests in SE Asia is not only about "spreading communism", they wanted to expand their international influence just as how the US, and later Chinese, wanted to expand their international influences.
  • "This passive form of involvement illustrates the Soviets’ overall aim in the Vietnam conflict: it was simply an ideological duty and response to US aggression". Ideological response to US aggression sound like POV. US involvement in VN was to stop the expansion of communism into more Asian countries, because the North Vietnamese were determined to invade and conquer South Vietnam, and supported communist forces into neighbouring Laos (Pathet Lao) and Cambodia (Khmer Rouge). The Soviets were just as aggressive in its policy of supporting communists in third-world nations to spread communism and expand the communist world.
  • "Unexpected wins for the Vietnamese" - I must clarify that the Vietnamese are NOT ALL ON ONE SIDE. The Vietnam War is not "all Vietnamese against the Americans" as what communists love to portray. The War is about communist (primarily North) Vietnamese and its allies (Soviet + Chinese), against anti-communist, republican South Vietnamese and its allies (US and others).
  • "Vietnam’s war against the United States morphed into an indirect symbol of successful resistance to the US – the shining, good, North-Vietnamese revolutionary" - same problem as the above point, plus a clearly POV statement of "the shining, good, North-Vietnamese revolutionary". So the South Vietnamese are traitors, sell-outs, US puppets? The North Vietnamese communists revolutionaries were so "good" that they massacred and waged war with their own people, denying basic human rights and civilian rights & freedoms to Northerners, and recognizing Chinese sovereignty in the Paracel Islands in 1958 which Vietnam also claims? (See Hue Massacre, Dak Son massacre, Nhan Van-Giai Pham, Pham Van Dong's 1958 letter to Beijing). Nguyen1310 (talk) 21:28, 16 May 2013 (UTC)


In the end, Vietnam had illustrated the USSR’s power and ability to assist an ally and contribute to their victory – a staple for any interventionist superpower. The USSR became a ‘little interventionist,’ as Brezhnev claimed, compared to the United States.[8] By 1973, the hostile parties signed an agreement to end the war and restore peace in Vietnam, which ended US direct involvement in Vietnam.[9] However, the tensions which had begun long before the Vietnam conflict and had been reignited during it were far from finished. In the aftermath of the war, the US learned that they no longer wished to be involved in the Third World, while the USSR was encouraged by its successes in Vietnam. The USSR therefore plunged into more Third World conflicts, such as Angola, Ethiopia, South Yemen, and then Afghanistan in 1979 – which many historians consider to be the USSR’s ‘Vietnam.’ Vietnam strengthened the USSR globally and weakened the US’s international standing. From this, the US concluded that they needed to rethink their fundamental strategy of using force. Each power, however, established different ‘lessons’ from the war: while the US learned that they needed to avoid escalation, that the USSR had become expansionist, and that Third-World revolutionaries are nationalistic, the USSR learned to pay more attention to the strengths of the communist side. However, Afghanistan changed all of this. While the Vietnam War kept the US out of direct involvement in Afghanistan, it brought the USSR quickly into the conflict.[10] Ultimately, the Vietnam War resulted in a reversal of roles: the US became self-conscious and aware, while the USSR took on the imperialistic role and attitude of a world power.

Afishbei (talk) 19:49, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Not done, but not rejected either: I'm putting this on hold. The editprotected request thing is for minor edits (e.g. spelling fixes) or for bigger things that have consensus; bigger things without consensus shouldn't be added. You get consensus by having a discussion right at this page, so we should just wait for others to come and offer their opinions on adding this section. Nyttend (talk) 19:49, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

The war developes

Paris in 1919 was an exiting place to be for 28 year old Nguyen That Thanh. He was one of some 50000 Southeast Asians from the colony of French Indochina who were living in France at the end of World War 2. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:22, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

does this have a purpose?Slatersteven (talk) 15:36, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 15 April 2013

the dates should be, the war started May 7, 1954 and ended April 30, 1975 (talk) 00:55, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

May 7, 1954 is the date of the French defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. I see here that on November 1, 1955 the US had assumed responsibility from France for training South Vietnamese troops, sending a Military Assistance Advisory Group. That source notes that The DoD later declared November 1, 1955 the earliest "qualifying date for addition to the database and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial." and says that August 4, 1964 (the date of the Gulf of Tonkin incident) is the conventional start date. I also note that this source, which is cited in support of the article assertion, "the start date of the Vietnam War according to the US government was officially changed to 1 November 1955", doesn't appear to clearly support that assertion. That source says, "As a result of the review, the establishment of the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Vietnam, on Nov. 1, 1955, is now formally recognized as the earliest qualifying date for addition to the database and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial." See also . Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 02:57, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

That’s an interesting point of view, but most history books would disagree with you. I mean one could make the case that initial United States involvement in Vietnam can be traced back to the Administration of Harry S. Truman, which, as early as 1945, due to its fear of communist expansionism (reinforced by the on-going civil war between the Nationalists and communists in China), decided to support the French in Indochina. And, when the Korean War broke out in 1950, France was able to count on vastly increased military and financial support from the United States.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was President during the battle of Dien Bien Phu.. The United States had supported France in its fight in Southeast Asia, especially during the time that the U.S. was fighting in Korea; American pilots had flown cargo planes in support of the French at Dien Bien Phu, though the U.S. stopped short of providing the requested bombers of which the French were in dire need in order to avert defeat. In the days of the French, there was as yet no North or South Vietnam. The country would only be artificially split in half, as a result of the Geneva Conference of May 1954, when the defeated French were striving to extricate themselves from their debacle. The French were able to count on American fear of communism to elicit U.S. support for splitting Vietnam in two. Ironically, both the Chinese and the Soviets also supported the resolution to divide Vietnam. So, even though the French had been defeated and the Vietnamese had prevailed, the world’s three major powers of China, the Soviet Union and the United States (along with France) ultimately determined that the country of Vietnam should be “provisionally” divided until countrywide elections, as sanctioned by the Geneva Accords of 1954, could be conducted inside of the next two years to determine the political fate of the Vietnamese people. The Accords also prohibited foreign powers from having any military presence in the area. It should be noted that neither President Eisenhower nor Ngo Dinh Diem signed the Accords, and therefore did not consider themselves bound by them.

In 1954 the United States, which was already taking over from the French, endorsed Ngo Dinh Diem (who had spent the previous three years at a Catholic seminary in New Jersey) to lead southern Vietnam, initially as Prime Minister until he won election to the newly created office of President in 1955, after which he hastily proclaimed southern Vietnam the “Republic of Vietnam,” and refused to participate in any all-Vietnam elections as prescribed by the Geneva Accords.

By 1954, under the Presidency of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, American policymakers adopted the view that Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh were aligned with Moscow and Red China, and thus part of a burgeoning communist expansionism that posed a threat to the Free World. Eisenhower had pledged, during his campaign, to adopt a more aggressive anti-communist policy, and thus move beyond the passive containment policy of the Truman Administration, which many conservatives alleged had resulted in the loss of China to the communists in 1949. During 1954, Eisenhower’s second year in office, the United States was funding nearly 80% of France’s total military costs in Indochina.

Many history books still cite 1959 as the start of the Vietnam War, as this was the year that Ho Chi Minh declared a People’s War to unite all of Vietnam, which led to the formation of the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF), of which the Viet Cong (oftentimes written as Vietcong) constituted its (guerilla) army. 1959 was also the year in which Army Major Dale Buis was believed to be the first American to die in Vietnam when he was machine-gunned down by communists near Saigon on the 8th of July.

The Department of Defense would later acknowledge that the first American soldier to die in Vietnam was Air Force Tech Sergeant Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr., murdered by a fellow airman on the 8th of June 1956. His name would not be added to the Wall until 1999. Most U.S. government reports currently cite November 1, 1955, as the commencement date of the “Vietnam Conflict,” for this was the day when the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) in Indochina (deployed to Southeast Asia under President Truman), was reorganized into country-specific units and MAAG Vietnam was established. MAAG was comprised of American military advisors whose mission was to train the local armed forces. (talk) 05:47, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 17 July 2013

Request this chart, showing total U.S. deaths by year, be included in the section titled, Effect on the United States.

Recommend the following chart (total U.S. deaths by year, affirmed by the National Archives) be included in this section (sorry, I don't know how to align the figures to the right):

There were a total of 58,220 American deaths (Hostile and Non-Hostile) during the Vietnam War as set forth below:

Year Deaths
1956 1
1957 1
1959 2
1960 5
1961 16
1962 53
1963 122
1964 216
1965 1,928
1966 6,350
1967 11,363
1968 16,899
1969 11,780
1970 6,173
1971 2,414
1972 759
1973 68
1974 1
1975 62
>1975 7
Total 58,220 *
  • Seven (7) individuals died from war related causes after 1975.

Source: A. T. Lawrence, Crucible Vietnam (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2009), 223-24 (Appendix C). Figures obtained from Department of Defense Statistical Information Analysis Division (SIAD)/Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC). (, and the National Archives ( (talk) 01:15, 25 May 2013 (UTC). (talk) 01:26, 25 May 2013 (UTC). (talk) 01:32, 25 May 2013 (UTC). (talk) 01:34, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Presidential section division in article

I believe the article needs to be divided up into Presidential division: Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. Right now the article I believe only has Kennedy listed. This could help give further understanding of the Vietnam War since five Presidents were responsible for the war. Any objections. Cmguy777 (talk) 23:38, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Don't forget the Administration of Harry S. Truman, which, as early as 1945, due to its fear of communist expansionism (reinforced by the on-going civil war between the Nationalists and communists in China), decided to support the French in Indochina. And, when the Korean War broke out in 1950, France was able to count on vastly increased military and financial support from the United States. (talk) 07:33, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Casualty list

Many South Vietnamese civilians were killed by their own government or by US forces for supporting, or for being suspected to support, the Viet Cong or North Vietnam (a drastic case being My Lai, in South Vietnam). Isn't it strange to list such people as casualties on the side of "South Vietnam", as if they had been killed by the opposite side? Or are all such cases counted as Viet Cong casualties? -- (talk) 20:18, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

A list of casualties lists the casualties a side (or nation) took, not how many they inflicted.Slatersteven (talk) 14:34, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 31 May 2013

I would like to edit a dead link on this page.

Viridium (talk) 03:27, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Question: Which link, and what is the correction? Thanks for the request, but we need to know the details of the proposed edit so that it can be made for you, if the {{Edit semi-protected}} template is used.
However, whilst it's fine to suggest the edit, and it can be made for you, I think from the age of your account, and number of edits, you should be WP:AUTOCONFIRMED, and thus able to make the edit yourself if you want to. Begoontalk 05:12, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Number of South Korean Troops

I believe the number of South Korean troops who served in the war should be changed. It sounds like the Osprey number (50,000) was of troops in-country at one time, rather than total served. [11], gives 300,000, and the Wiki article here: [12] also lists 312,853. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:48, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

The Koreans began arriving in Vietnam during September of 1965 and they fought until the end of the American presence -- into 1973. More than 300,000 ROK soldiers served in Vietnam during which time they suffered 4,687 killed. Source: Charles K. Armstrong, “America’s Korea, Korea’s Vietnam.” Article published in Critical Asian Studies, Volume 33, Issue 4 by Taylor & Francis Group Ltd, Oxford, UK, December 2001, and, James Sterngold, South Korea’s Vietnam Veterans Begin to Be Heard, New York Times article, May 10, 1992. (talk) 20:42, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 19 June 2013

This page does not mention any British Army involvement with the surrender of the Japanese in 1945 - 46, and does not offer any link to the page which I believe it should.

The page as it stands makes it appear that the Americans alone liberated the whols of Vietnam after the japanese surrender. (talk) 06:14, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

It's not true that the British aren't mentioned: As the French did not have the ships, weapons, or soldiers to immediately retake Vietnam, the major powers came to an agreement that British troops would occupy the south while Nationalist Chinese forces would move in from the north.[61] Nationalist Chinese troops entered the country to disarm Japanese troops north of the 16th parallel on 14 September 1945.[68] When the British landed in the south, they rearmed the interned French forces as well as parts of the surrendered Japanese forces to aid them in retaking southern Vietnam, as they did not have enough troops to do this themselves.[61]. I don't think that this needs to be expanded upon a lot since this article should be about the Vietnam War (1963-1975) and should only include information that is relevant to the the background of that conflict. Frankly, I don't know where you're getting that the Americans alone liberated Vietnam after WWII, they are barely mentioned in this context. --Sus scrofa (talk) 08:28, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
There's also a link to War in Vietnam (1945–1946) in the Background to 1949 section already. Begoontalk 08:44, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Perspective of the article still is too American: Anyone can help?

In the introduction, the war is described as a war primarily between South Vietnam and North Vietnam. However, afterwards the perspective of the text is almost exclusively American, all the photographs are American, most of them show U.S. Marines. That doesn't quite match. I know, this is the English Wikipedia, but since the English Wikipedia has always been also the most international one, I would strongly encourage Vietnamese persons or native English speakers with access to Vietnamese sources to support this article with more material.--JakobvS (talk) 12:13, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

*Comment - "The Wikipedia project strives for a neutral point of view in its coverage of subjects, but it is inhibited by systemic bias that discriminates against underrepresented cultures and topics. The systemic bias is created by the shared social and cultural characteristics of most editors, and it results in an imbalanced coverage of subjects on Wikipedia." =>>> source:
Just wanted to point this out as a long-standing complaint not specific or unique to just this article... Azx2 02:19, 15 August 2013 (UTC)

(Section) Exit of the Americans: 1973–1975

I couldn't locate anything in the article about the US military evacuation that ended on March 29, 1973 (e.g., the C-141 carrying Sgt. Max Beilke, et al.) Isn't the actual exit of US troops a topic appropriate to this section? (talk) 13:32, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

17,000 Soviets in North Vietnam

I suppose some mention should be made of the 17,000 Soviets that were sent to North Vietnam in 1965 as SAM missile technicians/operators/instructors. Of the 48 aircraft the North Vietnamese shot down in 1965-66, most of them were shot down by Soviet missile operators and one of the Soviet operators, a Lt. Vadim Petrovich Shcherbakov, is credited with 12 aircraft kills. ("F-105 Wild Weasel vs SA-2 Guideline SAM, Vietnam 1965-73", Osprey 2011, ISBN 978-1-84908-471-0. (talk) 13:57, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

There is a brief mention of Soviet SAM crews in the Soviet Union subsection of the pro-Hanoi aid section: "Soviet crews fired USSR-made surface-to-air missiles at the F-4 Phantom, which were shot down over Thanh Hoa in 1965. Over a dozen Soviet citizens lost their lives in this conflict. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russian officials acknowledged that the Soviet Union had stationed up to 3,000 troops in Vietnam during the war." I guess the info you provided could be added there. Is the 17,000 the total number throughout the war or the highest total presence? Was there 17,000 SAM operators or does the number include all Soviet military personnel in Vietnam?--Sus scrofa (talk) 14:52, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
My understanding is that the 17,000 Soviets were sent there all at once in 1965 to man the SA-2 Guideline batteries. --The Soviets sent an entire Army of SA-2 specialist operators since they had to do something to counter the USA air presence that dominated the skies over Vietnam. This was the escalating moment that saw the Soviets and North Vietnamese come to eventually build the most formidable air defense system in the world. Meantime, the Soviets trained thousands of North Vietnamese to operate the SA-2 system. It took about 6 to 9 months of schooling to train a SA-2 operator. (talk) 20:29, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Whoa - just curious, but what's the reliable source for the figure of 17,000 and the claim that they were all deployed "all at once in 1965"? Azx2 02:22, 15 August 2013 (UTC)
I referenced the book noted above: "F-105 Wild Weasel vs SA-2 Guideline SAM". When the USA started dominating the skies over Vietnam in 1964-65, Russia became alarmed and deployed the SA-2 to North Vietnam. It took a lot of training to man a SA-2 site so apparently the Russians sent Soviet operators until the North Vietnamese were trained. Interesting note: the top North Vietnamese flying ace downed 9 aircraft but the Soviet SAM operator Lt. Vadim Shcherbakov shot down 12 aircraft. So a Russian was the top North Vietnam ace in the Vietnam War. (talk) 18:08, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

Effect on the United States -- Section

Just curious as to why no action was taken on this edit request:

No one felt it was that useful?Slatersteven (talk) 10:27, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, at least that's a reason, however the chart does show that more than 70% of the American deaths in the Vietnam War occurred within just three years (1967, 1968, and 1969), such that the chart clearly reflects the intensity of the fighting by U.S. forces. (talk) 17:25, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Really, when are you going to add the chart? It is much more “useful” than some of the photographs. It has true historical significance that will enhance the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:08, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 31 July 2013

Request this chart, showing total U.S. deaths by year, be included in the section titled, Effect on the United States.

Recommend the following chart (total U.S. deaths by year, affirmed by the National Archives) be included in this section:

There were a total of 58,220 American deaths (Hostile and Non-Hostile) during the Vietnam War as set forth below:

Year Deaths
1956 1
1957 1
1959 2
1960 5
1961 16
1962 53
1963 122
1964 216
1965 1,928
1966 6,350
1967 11,363
1968 16,899
1969 11,780
1970 6,173
1971 2,414
1972 759
1973 68
1974 1
1975 62
>1975 7
Total 58,220 *
  • Seven (7) individuals died from war related causes after 1975.

Sources: The National Archives (, and A. T. Lawrence, Crucible Vietnam (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2009), 223-24 (Appendix C). ( . (talk) 23:58, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

 Done I added it near into the casualties section. LudicrousTripe (talk) 09:38, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Pleased you added this table, though the true source of the data, as cited in the Lawrence book, was Director (Roger D. Jorstad) of the Department of Defense Statistical Information Analysis Division (SIAD)/Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) who made this data available during December 2007. (talk) 01:27, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

Picture of marine at da nang beach

"Da Nang, Vietnam - A young Marine private waits on the beach during the Marine landing. - August 3, 1965 "

The boy in the picture is not a marine and the picture is not from 65, its a commercial photo shoot from the late 80s

can somebody please remove the picture?, I know its a good one but its not real and the text is absolute bogus. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:15, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

The National Archives lists this photo as described. Unless you can provide some proof from reliable sources the photo is incorrectly labeled, we will continue to accept the NA's classification. The picture itself is regarded as one of the finest on the pedia, and has undergone a fair amount of vetting to be so rated. If you have some information (other than your opinion) to share with us, please do so. If we're using the picture incorrectly, we'd want to hear about it. BusterD (talk) 03:25, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 17 September 2013

In the sections of strengths and casualties it says that the Chinese had a force of 170,000 men and suffered 1,446 dead and 4,200 wounded. There's no source for this available and I can't find anything that would comfirm these numbers or even hint of that level of involvement from the chinese in the Vietnam war.

It would be great if someone could revise this info or add a "citation needed" mark atleast. Thank you. Vanodi (talk) 20:33, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Done I've added citation needed tags to the information on Chinese forces and casualties in the infobox. The "China" section (11.1.1) gives a better description of their involvement, with more sources, but does not include numbers of troops or casualties. Dana boomer (talk) 22:00, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 1 October 2013

Re the picture with the caption "A Japanese naval officer surrenders his sword to a French Lieutenant in Saigon on 13th September 1945." They are not French but British naval personel. (talk) 15:34, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Done. Thanks. The same error occurred in the French Indochina article too, and that has been corrected as well. --Stfg (talk) 20:43, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Falsification of Sliwinski (1995) spotted and corrected

I have apprehended, within the article, what I believe to be a mendacious and egregious misrepresentation of a source. The latter is in French, which is why I presume whoever committed this misdeed thought they might get away with it.

Here was the claim, which I have now corrected:

During the war, the Khmer Rouge caused several times more civilian casualties than the entire US bombing of Cambodia.[27]

Now, I know the Khmer Rouge were nothing until the American bombing swooped Cambodians into their arms, and I know the truly staggering amount of ordnance the Americans devastated Cambodia with, so I looked at that claim and thought, "Bollocks." My suspicion was further inflated when I discerned that no page number was given. Now, my French is good enough, and so I ventured to check that [27] (a book by Marek Sliwinksi) for myself; indeed, the claim was a banquet of bollocks.

Here's the relevant text from p. 42 of Sliwinksi:

Le bilan humain de cette période de guerre civile est difficle a établir. Les chiffres avancés […] oscillent, pour le nombre des morts, entre 600 000 et 700 000, soit entre 7.7% et 9.6% de la population du pays selon évaluations les plus extremes. La cause principale de ces pertes serait les bombardment massifs de l'aviation américaine.

Here's the translation, which is straightforward enough even if one only has a schoolchild's command of French:

The human toll during this period of the civil war is difficult to establish. The figures advanced vary, for the number of deaths, between 600,000 and 700,000—in other words, between 7.7% and 9.6% of the population of the country, according to the most extreme estimates. The principal cause of these losses was the massive American aerial bombardment.

The underlined being the case, one is puzzled as to know how, in the period up to 1973 (the US bombing was brought to an end, if memory serves, on 15 October 1973), "the Khmer Rouge caused several times more civilian casualties than the entire US bombing of Cambodia". Yes, and so that is a truly outrageous misrepresentation of the source.

I was prepared to go through the history of article to see if a registered user had committed this misdeed, but have been advised not to bother. Thank you for your time. LudicrousTripe (talk) 20:31, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

With regards to the line saying most died from American bombing, the table figure n6 in the book says 17.1 percent of war deaths were as a result of bombing, 31 percent from assassination and 46 percent from gun fire and 5 percent from accident. Stumink (talk) 21:22, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

The table is for the years 1970–75. The line I mention is concerned with the period up to October 1973; the US bombing began before 1970. LudicrousTripe (talk) 21:57, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Le bilan humain de cette période de guerre civile est difficle a établir. Les chiffres avancés ne sont pas irrefutables, et ils peuvent bien avoir ete lances a des fins de propogande ou d'intoxication. oscillent, pour le nombre des morts, entre 600 000 et 700 000, soit entre 7.7% et 9.6% de la population du pays selon évaluations les plus extremes. La cause principale de ces pertes serait les bombardment massifs de l'aviation américaine.

La cause principale de ces pertes serait les bombardment massifs de l'aviation américaine dont le but principales etait l'aneantissements des pistes ho chi minh regions situees et la destruction d'un G.Q du Viet Cong. A cet egard, il est interesant de rappeller que la population de toute les regions situees sur la rive guache de Mekong, ne comptait au total qu'environ 1,165,000 personnes, et que les trois plus grand provinces longeant la frontierre loatienne et vietnamienne, sung treng, ratanakiri et mondolkiri, etaient pratiquement inhabitees. L'impact des bombardement americain sur l'etat de la population du cambodge durant les annees 1970-1975 ne parait donc pas aussi evident que certain auteurs le supposent. Nos propres statistiques sur les cause precises des deces ne situent d'ailleurs les bombardement qu'a la troisieme place. le loin derriere les victimes des armes feu portatives et des assassinats.

The full literal translation is:

The human toll of the Civil War period is difficult to establish. The figures advanced are not irrefutable, and they may well have been spears for propoganda or poisoning and vary for the number of dead between 600,000 and 700,000, between 7.7% and 9.6% of the country's population according to the most extreme evaluations.

The main cause of these losses would be massive bombardment by the U.S. Air Force, whose main goal was annihilation of the Ho Chi Minh trail areas and the destruction of a Viet Cong HQ. In this regard, it is interesting to recall that the population of all the regions located on the left bank of the Mekong, there were a total of approximately 1,165,000 people, and the three largest provinces along the Vietnamese and Loatian border, Sung Treng, Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri were virtually uninhabited. The impact of American bombing on the state of the population of Cambodia during the years 1970-1975 was therefore also not as clear as some authors assume. Our own statistics on the precise cause of death, places bombing deaths at third place. far behind the victims of small arms fire and assassinations.

As he says, he does not state that US bombing is the leading cause of death even if you include US bombing in 1969. Also the point of the study is to calculate the real war deaths in Cambodia and therefore show that the 700,000 figure is clearly unreliable. This figure is not supported by any of the current reliable sources. Stumink (talk) 22:28, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

His figure for US bombing is 40,000 whcih includes all US bombing including the half year of Menu prior to 1970. This works out at approximately 17.1% of his total 240,000 figure as mentioned in his table in the book. Stumink (talk) 22:37, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Do you not understand the source. He clearly states that US bombing is not the primary source. Sense the tone in which he has written these paragraphs. Also it is POV to mention who killed the most who in this section. Do you want to mention who killed the most VC or who killed the most Khmer Rouge. Stumink (talk) 17:00, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi. You have misunderstood my line of thinking. I know he is not in favour of the 600,000–700,000 figure etc.; I am attempting to use Sliwinski to source the existence of estimates that during the period of the US bombing as a whole, up to mid-August 1973, it was the principal cause of death. I have a few quibbles:
Firstly, the bombing of Cambodia began not under not Nixon in 1969, but under Johnson:

The still-incomplete database (it has several "dark" periods) reveals that from October 4, 1965, to August 15, 1973, the United States dropped far more ordnance on Cambodia than was previously believed: 2,756,941 tons' worth, dropped in 230,516 sorties on 113,716 sites. Just over 10 percent of this bombing was indiscriminate, with 3,580 of the sites listed as having "unknown" targets and another 8,238 sites having no target listed at all. The database also shows that the bombing began four years earlier than is widely believed—not under Nixon, but under Lyndon Johnson. […] Previously, it was estimated that between 50,000 and 150,000 Cambodian civilians were killed by the bombing. Given the fivefold increase in tonnage revealed by the database, the number of casualties is surely higher.

Secondly, the period of the US bombing (4 October 1965 – 15 August 1973) is not congruent with the period Sliwinski chooses to focus on: 1970–75. If the US bombing ceased in mid-August '73, that gives almost 21/2 years for other modes of death, like assassination etc., to "catch up", while excluding the contributions of the five years of US bombing during 1965–69. If all of this is true, and let us further assume Sliwinski is correct about 1970–75, his comparison can, I believe, be construed as an unfair one.
What are your thoughts? LudicrousTripe (talk) 17:27, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure it is fine as it is and Sliwinski's figure includes everything after and including Menu. There are also no sources that talk about heavy deaths before Menu and I seriously doubt it would make much of a difference. Does it really matter if the comparison isn't or is fair? The norm for the total figures seems to be to include the part of Menu prior to the start of Civil War. It would probably be impossible to differentiate which bombing deaths occurred prior to the start of the civil war and what happended after. It is likely for obvious reasons that far more Cambodians died during Freedom Deal than in Menu. Sliwinski says that the 600k to 700k for the Civil war(including Menu) was the common figure then and that it was generally thought that the principle cause of death(combatant and civilian) was from US bombing. He finds that this is wrong. Is there anything more to it? Stumink (talk) 18:01, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Stumink is correct. 700,000 is not considered a viable figure by modern scholarship, as Sliwinski attests. Sliwinski cites the earlier, outdated figure to discredit it. LudicrousTripe, if you disagree, you should find a recent demographic study that endorses the higher estimate. The four demographers cited--Heuveline, Sliwinski, Banister, and Johnson--all give figures ranging from 200,000 to 300,000. To include the "700,000" claim--without a supporting citation, based on your original research synthesizing Kiernan's report with Sliwinski's--is unacceptable. It is misleading to treat the range of estimates as though all are equally valid.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 21:48, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
"Sliwinski's comparison can, I believe, be construed as an unfair one." I don't care what you believe; that's OR.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 22:13, 11 October 2013 (UTC)


Following on this edit, I've changed the characterization from "Sliwinski 1995, p. 42, mentions old, discredited estimates of 600,000-700,000." to "Sliwinski 1995, p. 42 characterizes other estimates ranging from 600,000-700,000 as "the most extreme evaluations".

I don't have a copy of the cited Sliniwinski book and don't know whether the "old, discredited" characterization comes from Sliniwinski or from a Wikipedia editor. Slinowski here, however, uses language on p.42 which is close to what I have used. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:38, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

You're right--it's better to use Sliwinski's own words. Thanks,TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 22:49, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Lewy on NVA/VC casualties

I left a message on LudicrousTripe's talk page prior to making this edit, but for the record: "Defense Departnment officials believed that these body count figures need to be deflated by 30 percent" is not an unsourced claim. All three of the following sentences were covered in the source: "The official US Department of Defense figure was 950,765 communist forces killed in Vietnam from 1965 to 1974. Defense Departnment 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." Omitting that sentence makes Lewy's reasoning impossible to follow.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 23:04, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

I prefer the figures cited in the Stanly Karnow book: Though enemy casualty numbers were difficult to pin down with any accuracy, a senior officer in Hanoi, after the war, disclosed that “nearly a million” North Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers were killed during the war, along with “millions” of soldiers wounded, and this assessment did not even factor in civilian casualties (Source: Stanley Karnow, Vietnam: A History. (NY: Penguin Books, 1983), p. 23.). (talk) 05:54, 13 October 2013 (UTC)
From WP:DUE: "Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represents all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources." Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 22:02, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 24 October 2013

There is a missing comma in the 'Background to 1949' section. The beginning of the 6th paragraph reads, 'On 22 August 1945, following the Japanese surrender OSS agents...'. This should be, 'On 22 August 1945, following the Japanese surrender, OSS agents...' Om6655 (talk) 17:46, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Done.--Sus scrofa (talk) 18:44, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Edit Request on 28 October 2013

In the 'Exit of the Americans: 1973-1975' section, paragraph 6, the second sentence is missing a word. It reads, 'The Vietcong resumed offensive operations when dry season began...' It should read, 'The Vietcong resumed offensive operations when the dry season began...' Or alternatively, 'Vietcong troops resumed offensive operations when the dry season began...' to avoid using the article twice in that portion of the sentence. The latter change sounds better. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Om6655 (talkcontribs) 15:25, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Done.--Sus scrofa (talk) 16:59, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Consensus check: which terms to use for the Vietnamese communist forces

I've recently looked over the article and in a bold move I changed the name of the "People's Army of Vietnam/Vietnam People's Army" to "North Vietnamese Army" and "NLF" to "Viet Cong" (two words, capitalized as this is the form used in the WP article about the VC). It improves the readability of the article to consistently use the same terms. I did this because it is my impression that "North Vietnamese Army" and "Viet Cong" are the most common names for those two entities in English language sources about the Vietnam War. If you know otherwise please speak up, changing the names is not hard, but again they should be consistent throughout the article.--Sus scrofa (talk) 23:10, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

I agree with the changes. Nguyen1310 (talk) 01:56, 1 November 2013 (UTC)


How does North Vietnam have only 450,000 troops, yet lose 400,000-over one million troops. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:00, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Their troop strength at any given point is not the same as the total number of soldiers that fought for their side.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 23:05, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Head image edit war

Please discuss here which image is to be used at the top of the page instead of reverting further.--Sus scrofa (talk) 19:16, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

I think the new one is OK. Darkness Shines (talk) 19:28, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Its fine but is there not a less US centric one with at least 1 pic that relates to the ARVN or communists? I mean all 4 pics are related to the US war but none to the other prominent factions. Stumink (talk) 19:37, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Well drop one and add another? Face-smile.svg Darkness Shines (talk) 19:41, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

The current image is fine. Its more illustrative, complete and follows a pattern in other war articles (WWI, WWII, Korea, Gulf War, etc). I believe its a lot better. And Stumink, you are worried about the current pic being too "US centric", well the other pic was just a bunch of american soldiers and that's all. This one is way better than the other one. Coltsfan (talk) 20:31, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

Montage must include a photo of the Hue Massacre, the largest massacre in the War, for the montage to be balanced. Nguyen1310 (talk) 23:30, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, it shows the My Lai Massacre, the most notorious (and most publicized) massacre in the war. Coltsfan (talk) 00:07, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
The commies killed ten times as many people at Hue.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 00:23, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Well, the "commies" lost over 2 million people. The US only lost 58k. But I don't think that is the point. Compared to the other pic, this one is more complete and more illustrative, as I said before. Coltsfan (talk) 11:07, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Well the commies did not lose "2 million", up to 2 million Vietnamese of all allegiances died but that is not the point. All Im saying is there should be pics relating to the communists and the ARVN, something from before heavy US intervention and from the period after heavy US intervention. Stumink (talk) 12:39, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
You may have a good point. The current pic may be deficient, however it's still way better than the other one, can we agree on that? So, untill someone upload a better one, the current pic should stay where it is. Coltsfan (talk) 14:02, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
How about using this one? Images were arranged in roughly chronological order Nguyen1310 (talk) 22:45, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Yeh that's much better although could you not cut out a few of the pics.Stumink (talk) 23:43, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Which 2 to cut? And is this important enough to throw in? Nguyen1310 (talk) 00:10, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Well I suppose it should be balanced. You could remove the Khe San one(poor quality) and one of the NVA ones. We maybe don't need 2 massacre ones. The one you linked is also accecctable. Maybe we could have one from pre-1965.Stumink (talk) 22:00, 28 October 2013 (UTC)
Updated image I deleted the Khe Sanh one, i didn't like in the beginning tbh but i wanted to add something pre-1968 (couldn't really find any appealing images in wiki for the early war stages), deleted one massacre image, and deleted an NVA image in the Kon Tum Easter Offensive and replaced it with a photo of fleeing Quang Tri residents during the Easter Offensive there (which somewhat has resemblance to most instances when Southerners had to flee the fighting in their hometowns and many "convoys of tears") Nguyen1310 (talk) 03:27, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Thats better. I definitely think a pre-1965 one is needed. Then it would be fine.

Is six pics really necessary? Why not only four? Coltsfan (talk) 16:42, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

I don't mind if there is 4 or 6. The pic can be cut down more. WW2 has 6 pics for example. So its not particularly odd.Stumink (talk) 18:15, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Which pic is better: This one Operation Pierce Arrow or this Operation Rolling Thunder, in terms of of visual appeal and significance? And one of these would replace which of the current 6 images? I'm starting to see a disproportionate amount of images for Central Vietnam... Nguyen1310 (talk) 01:34, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
1st one and replace the image on the centre right. I still think there should be one from pre-1965. Are you sure you can't find one? Stumink (talk) 14:13, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Updated. I tried looking for pre-1964 war images in wiki commons, but i found only around 2 or so of USAF planes, and they were grainy, blurry, and dark images that would be very poor candidates for use. Its really difficult for me to find anything pre-1966. Tbh i would've made a better montage if there weren't copyright restrictions on Life magazine photos being used on here Nguyen1310 (talk) 19:46, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
The new image is fine. I would say replace the current one. Stumink (talk) 00:08, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 00:11, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Same. Nguyen1310 (talk) 01:51, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Nice. Why not? Coltsfan (talk) 10:33, 1 November 2013 (UTC)
Anybody going to change this? Stumink (talk) 18:48, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Done. Also, there's an edit war gradually building up in North Vietnam, with an editor trying to assert that "only dissidents" view the Viet Cong government in South VN as a puppet of North Vietnam. This is the second attempt. Nguyen1310 (talk) 17:01, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

love to add references to this locked page but this "free" encyclopedia isn't

For lowdown on the Binh Xuyen gang see:
  The Politics of Heroin by Alfred McCoy  ISBN: 978-1-55652-483-7  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:09, 3 November 2013 (UTC) 

Vietnam war

I changed the result of the Vietnam war to North Vietnamese victory because it's more precise,specific, and matches with other sources outside of wikipedia.Nguyen Do Hoang Dai (talk) 21:30, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Vietnam War article

This is the Vietnam war though the fighting was mostly in Vietnam. The Khmer Rouge and Pathet Lao was belligerents in another war. The result should be North Vietnamese victory because the conflict was mostly between two sides south and north.Nguyen Do Hoang Dai (talk) 21:47, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

The Vietnam War is commonly used in the West to refer to all the conflicts that took place in Indochina from around 1959-1975 and not just the fighting in Vietnam. If we are referring only to the fighting in Vietnam then yes there was a North Vietnamese victory, however given its wider meaning the outcome of the Vietnam War just can't be described in that way. There is a separate page for the Cambodian Civil War which states a Khmer Rouge victory and a separate page for the Laotian Civil War which states a Pathet Lao victory, however as previously stated, it is inaccurate to describe the outcome of the Vietnam War as a North Vietnamese victory, Communist victory is correct. Mztourist (talk) 08:31, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
Agree with Mztourist. Common use in the West lumps this stuff together. Intothatdarkness 15:40, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
Seems fair, we do say that capitalism lost.Slatersteven (talk) 11:16, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Shouldn't the articles represent a international perspective and not only a western perspective? In Vietnam the war was not so much about communism but about freedom from colonialists. I don't think we should replace "communist victory" in the results section but I think adding North Vietnamese victory to the results would be correct. Vanodi (talk) 15:11, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Infobox edit war: "North Vietnamese victory" or "Communist victory" in result field

Please discuss this change here instead of reverting further. Thank you.--Sus scrofa (talk) 21:32, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

The Pathet Lao and Khmer Rouge were originally offshoots of the North Vietnamese army, but by 1975 the Khmer Rouge were independent of Hanoi's political control. Thus, a "communist victory" for all of Indochina, not just a North Vietnamese victory.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 21:35, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
(EC)"North Vietnamese victory" isn't more precise at's just more narrow. The opening sentence of the article says the Vietnam War "was a Cold War-era proxy war that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955..." Simply saying it resulted in a "North Vietnamese victory" doesn't address the whole of the war and is therefore not "more precise". The result of the war was a North Vietnamese, Khmer Rouge, Pathet Lao, Communist China and Soviet (in short: Communist) victory.--William Thweatt TalkContribs 21:42, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

This is the Vietnam war though the fighting was mostly in Vietnam. The Khmer Rouge and Pathet Lao was belligerents in another war. The result should be North Vietnamese victory because the conflict was mostly between two sides south and north.Nguyen Do Hoang Dai (talk) 21:47, 18 November 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nguyen Do Hoang Dai (talkcontribs)

It seems that calling it "communist" victory is influenced by political purposes rather than historical fact. North Vietnam won the war, United States of America lost the war. Stop weaseling. ScienceApe (talk) 22:03, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Trial balloon

What exactly is a "trial balloon"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:05, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

See Trial balloon. "Testing the waters" has roughly the same meaning--Sus scrofa (talk) 09:33, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Reference no. 14 is unreliable?

Reference number 14 would comfirm 320,000 Chinese troops fought in Vietnam and that they had 4000 casualties. The problem with this reference is that it's taken from The Blade (a local newspaper in Ohio) who in turn cites Reuters. I can't find the Reuters article and I can't find any other reliable source which would comfirm the doubtful information provided.

I suggest that the information is removed if no other reliable source can be found to support the chinese troop involvement. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vanodi (talkcontribs) 12:45, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

As far as those sources, I don't know, but depending on one's definition of "fought", according to China and the Vietnam Wars by Qiang Zhai, roughly 320,000 PLA soldiers were stationed in North Vietnam at some time during the war, with a peak of 170,000 in 1967.-- (talk) 21:59, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

Why nothing on social/political importance in intro?

I feel like there should be at least a couple sentences in the intro about the broader social and political importance of the war -- presumably also in Vietnam, but I was especially thinking about in the U.S. This is the case for other war articles (World War II, American Civil War), but I feel like it's especially important here, given that the U.S. primarily lost the war not in Vietnam, but in the court of U.S. public opinion. The war played a huge role in U.S. politics & society -- helping build 60's protest & counterculture movements, changing future U.S. military strategy, resulting in LBJ's decision not to run in 1968, and indirectly resulting in the end of Bretton Woods & the gold standard. I feel like some of this stuff should be mentioned in the intro, rather than just the military dimension. CircleAdrian (talk) 01:09, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

I agree.--Sus scrofa (talk) 14:08, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

I guess I agree, too, but given the broad social upheavals throughout the Western world during the late sixties, how much of it can we specifically, reliably lay at the door of Vietnam?-- (talk) 22:04, 9 February 2014 (UTC)

A matter of protocol

It is deprecated, indeed bad manners, to refer to a war with reference to only one side. Any historian worth tuppence would say "American-Vietnamese" war (it is usual to place the agressor first).

The implication of "the Vietnam war" is "the war we made against Vietnam." WE? It pre-supposes a nationalistic point of view that has no place in any encyclopaedia, not even this one.

To put my point into perspective: what could "the French war" possibly mean, and who could blame any Frenchman for being annoyed by such a label? Who waged "the Russian war?" Or "the American war?" So why is this form acceptable for American aggressions?

~~Percy William Jr. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:30, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Naming wars after the place where it was fought isn't that unusual (Crimean War, Balkan Wars, the First Indochina War or even the World Wars), and, I think, makes no real value judgment regarding who was the aggressor. In any case, "Vietnam War" is the most common name used in reliable sources, whose practice we should follow.--Sus scrofa (talk) 22:33, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Sus scrofa's point is well taken. Strongly suggest we keep the title. Jusdafax 05:56, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Unheralded Victory: The Defeat of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army, 1961-1973

I quoted 100% in this book:

Two Different Countries, Many Different Wars

...Ho Chi Minh’s government was installed in North Vietnam, while the government of one-time emperor (1925–1945) Bao Dai was installed in South Vietnam. While it is often said that Ho Chi Minh could have won an election in 1954, when South Vietnam was in chaos and he was riding a crest of popularity from having ousted the French, the situation changed quickly. Within a few weeks, 850,000 people fled from North Vietnam to South Vietnam, most of them Catholics and small landowners fearful of the Communists. Only some 80,000 people went to the North, almost all of them guerrilla cadres who had fought the French.

The actual effect of this massive population shift was never tested at the polls. The elections were not held. South Vietnam, which had not signed the Geneva Accords, did not believe the Communists in North Vietnam would allow a fair election. In January 1957, the International Control Commission (ICC), comprising observers from India, Poland, and Canada, agreed with this perception, reporting that neither South nor North Vietnam had honored the armistice agreement. With the French gone, a return to the traditional power struggle between north and south had begun again. At the 15th Meeting of the Party’s Central Committee in May of 1959, North Vietnam formally decided to take up arms against the government of South Vietnam...

"Neither South nor North", not only "north" as your old quote. Please don't modidy only because you don't like it, @TheTimeAreChangingMiG29VN (talk) 06:50, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

That part of your edit can stay.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 18:05, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ personnel experience
    • ^ Westad, Odd Arne (2005). The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 
    • ^ Gaĭduk, I.V. (1996). The Soviet Union and the Vietnam War. Chicago: I.R. Dee. pp. ix – 22. 
    • ^ Westad. The Global Cold War. pp. 179 – 206. 
    • ^ Gaĭduk. The Soviet Union and the Vietnam War. pp. ix – 22. 
    • ^ Westad. The Global Cold War. pp. 179–206. 
    • ^ Westad. The Global Cold war. pp. 189–206. 
    • ^ Westad. The Global Cold War. p. 206. 
    • ^ Gaĭduk. The Soviet Union and the Vietnam War. pp. ix – 22. 
    • ^ "The "Lessons" of Vietnam and Soviet Foreign Policy". World Politics, Cambridge University Press. 1. 34: 1 – 24. 1981.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
    • ^ The Battle for Asia: From Decolonization to Globalization by Mark T. Berger, pg 248
    • ^