US Involvement in Vietnam by Erin and Mackenzie

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, the Vietnam Conflict, and, in Vietnam, the American War, occurred from 1959 to April 30, 1975. It was the longest war America has ever been involved in and it was also the most unpopular American war. It is the only war that the United States has ever lost. Once North Vietnam forced the French colonial leadership out of Vietnam territory, the north part of Vietnam became communist; however, South Vietnam stayed an anti-communist nation and fought to preserve a Vietnam more closely aligned with the West. The North and South parts of Vietnam were divided by the 17th parallel. The Soviet Union and China supplied North Vietnam while America supplied weapons and soldiers for South Vietnam.

One of the military strategies used during the Vietnam War was called Search and Destroy operations. Soldiers were sent to find the enemy and then destroy them. Once the enemy was destroyed, the soldiers immediately left the scene. Search and destroy missions involved sending out platoons, companies, or larger detachments of US troops from a certain position to locate and destroy Vietcong and NVA units in the countryside. These missions most commonly involved hiking out into the “boonies” and setting an ambush in the brush, near a suspected VC trail. Other offensive military strategies were used such as the Tet Offensive. On January 30, 1968, North Vietnam launched the Tet Offensive. Tet is a word that means the Vietnamese New Year. During this festival, North Vietnam launched a major surprise attack on South Vietnam that hit 36 major cities and towns. Both sides suffered heavy casualties. It showed that the war was not going to end soon and weakened the US public support of the war.

The US began to then reduce the number of troops in Vietnam. In 1973, the US withdrew their forces; two years later South Vietnam surrendered to North Vietnam and the country was united under communism. More than 3 million people were killed during the conflict, including roughly 58,000 Americans. The war estimated to cost around 200 billion dollars. Rallies and teach-ins were a few ways that Americans at home resisted the war. People lost pride and self-confidence in the United States and lost a little faith in our government. This war is significant because it showed how the US should not handle foreign conflicts in the future. We cannot always succeed when trying to help out other countries and this war helped us to learn that.