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The Vietnam War, was a Cold War-era proxy war that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975.
See the fact file below for more information on the Vietnam War or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Vietnam War worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
NORTH vs. SOUTH
- North Vietnam – Communist Ho Chi Minh formed the Viet Minh, or the League for the Independence of Vietnam at the height of fighting the Japanese during World War II.
- After the war, Ho’s Viet Minh forces immediately took over the northern city of Hanoi and declared a Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) with him as president.
- South Vietnam – The South Vietnamese government fought to preserve a Vietnam more closely aligned with the West, even after the war.
- Seeking to regain control of the region, France backed Emperor Bao and set up the state of Vietnam in July 1949, with the city of Saigon as its capital.
- Armed conflict between northern and southern armies ensued until a decisive battle at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954 ended in victory for northern Viet Minh forces.
- The battle resulted in the Geneva Conference in July 1954 establishing the 17th parallel (latitude 17° N) as a temporary demarcation line separating North and South Vietnam.
- The treaty also called for nationwide elections for reunification to be held in 1956. It was not realized.
- In 1955, anti-communist politician Ngo Dinh Diem dethroned Emperor Bao to become president of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam.
- US involvement rooted from the intensified Cold War. President Eisenhower reiterated its policies against any allies of the Soviet Union – which included North Vietnam.
- Supporting South Vietnam, the US provided intelligence and equipment to Diem to track down communist operatives and sympathizers.
- Now called Viet Cong (or Vietnamese Communist), arrests were made to 100,000 people, many of whom were brutally tortured and executed.
- This resulted in Viet Cong’s strengthened desire to retaliate. Ranks swelled by many non-communist Vietnamese people who had been alienated by the corruption of local officials. Local fire fights began in 1959.
- Internal strife within the South also affected the war as Diem was assassinated and Viet Cong advanced by infiltrating key positions in the government.
- With poorly trained South Vietnamese soldiers, Pres. Johnson opted for military support with a secondary reason to retaliate after a US submarine was bombed at Gulf of Tonkin in 1964.
- By June 1965, 82,000 combat troops were stationed in Vietnam, and military leaders were calling for 175,000 more by the end of 1965.
- DRV and Viet Cong troops refused to stop fighting. In fact, their manpower and supplies were strengthened by China and the Soviet Union’s support. North Vietnam also strengthened its air defenses.
- With an assumption that U.S. forces, with their enormous and superior firepower, that the war would be over in few months. This proved to be wrong.
- By November 1967, the number of American troops in Vietnam was approaching 500,000, and US casualties had reached 15,058 killed and 109,527 wounded.
THE STRESS OF WAR
- By 1967, growing numbers of Americans were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the war.
- Physical and psychological deterioration among American soldiers began to manifest. Drug use, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mutinies, and attacks by soldiers against officers and noncommissioned officers happened.
THE TET OFFENSIVE and VIETNAMIZATION
- Between July 1966 and December 1973, more than 503,000 US military personnel deserted the war.
- On January 31, 1968, 70,000 DRV forces under General Vo Nguyen Giap launched the Tet Offensive, a series of attacks on more than 100 cities and towns in South Vietnam.
- Protests caused Johnson to halt the bombing in North Vietnam and he promised to dedicate the rest of his term to seeking peace rather than reelection.
- On the same year, newly-elected President Richard Nixon sought to deflate the anti-war movement by appealing to a “silent majority” of Americans who he believed supported the war effort.
ATROCITIES OF THE WAR
- News of the My Lai Massacre, a mass murder by US soldiers of several hundred civilians in Quang Ngai province in 1968, became public at the end of 1969.
- This questioned the convictions about the righteousness of the US military effort in Vietnam.
- The violence was just as brutal since US POWS also go through torture and death at the hands of their captors. This furthered the atrocities of both parties against each other.
- Before and at the end of the war, more than 30,000 Vietnam related US military personnel received dishonourable discharges for desertion.
- In 1970, a joint US-South Vietnamese operation invaded Cambodia, hoping to wipe out DRV supply bases there. This violated International Laws.
- Public dissatisfaction of the war began as early as 1967. The primary reason is the number of casualties of American soldiers.
- In October 1967, at least 35,000 demonstrators staged a mass protest outside the Pentagon.
- Protesters argued that civilians were the primary victims and that the United States was supporting a corrupt dictatorship in Saigon.
- As soon as the My Lai Massacre was publicized, it created an outrage among the American People. On November 15, 1969, the largest anti-war demonstration in America took place in Washington, D.C.
- Over 250,000 Americans gathered peacefully, calling for the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. The anti-war movement was particularly strong on college campuses.
- Violence reached its peak in the US when six student protesters were shot and killed.
- Demonstrations were not as large scale after the events made the war unpopular. The majority of Americans believed that the United States had “made a mistake” in sending troops to Vietnam and found the war “immoral.”
END OF THE WAR
- War between North and South continued and on March 30, 1972, the Hanoi leadership launched an all-out invasion. It initially defeated the Southern forces, but the US intervened. The North decided to compromise.
- In January 1973, the United States and North Vietnam reached a final peace agreement, ending open hostilities between the two nations.
- On April 30, what remained of the South Vietnamese government surrendered unconditionally, and NVA tank columns occupied Saigon without a struggle.
- The remaining Americans escaped in a series of frantic air and sea lifts with Vietnamese friends and coworkers.
- A military government was carried out, and on July 2, 1976, the country was officially united as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam with its capital in Hanoi.
COSTS OF WAR
- An estimated 2 million Vietnamese were killed, while 3 million were wounded and another 12 million became refugees.
- The US spent more than $120 billion on the conflict in Vietnam from 1965-73.
- In 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was unveiled in Washington, D.C. and stated that 58,200 U.S. personnel died during the war.
Vietnam War Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Vietnam War across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Vietnam War worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Vietnam War, was a Cold War-era proxy war that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- The Viet-war
- North and South
- Political Ideologies
- Allies in War
- Viet-rule and others
- War Support
- War Heroics
- The Memorial
- Post-war Vietnam
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Link will appear as Vietnam War Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, November 6, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.