Event Page

Vietnam War

(1954—1975)

President Truman’s policy of containment led the United States into the most disliked war of the twentieth century. When North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam to aid the rebel Viet Cong, the U.S. entered the conflict to defend a democracy in need. The U.S. became caught in the horrific Vietnam conflict, and nearly fifteen years later, the U.S. withdrew its demoralized troops. The Vietnam War defined a generation and is regrettably remembered for its poor management and most importantly for the soldiers who valiantly gave their lives to defend a foreign country’s democracy.

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QUANG TIN, SOUTH VIETNAM

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Walter Cronkite In Vietnam

Walter Cronkite on CBS 2.jpg

Walter Cronkite, the CBS television news anchor, reported from Vietnam beginning in February 1968, in time to witness the Tet Offensive by the North Vietnamese. This tragic U.S. military defeat shocked Cronkite who returned to the States with a different attitude towards the war. Usually an objective and unemotional anchorman, he made a great exception on February 27, 1968. Cronkite declared, "It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is a stalemate."[1] He asked the government to negotiate peace in order that the U.S. could stop the fighting as an “honorable people.” This broadcast helped change the mood toward the war for the American people. Some reports state that when President Johnson heard the broadcast he claimed, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.” Not long after the broadcast, Johnson withdrew from his re-election campaign and sought negotiations with Vietnam. For the first time, television influenced the popular opinion of a war. Not only was the war televised on local stations, but influential figures like Cronkite spoke out to oppose the war in Vietnam. For centuries, governments and resistance groups used printed propaganda to sway the public in support of or opposition to a war, but in the 1960s the public could watch live footage, view death and destruction, and see, for themselves, the grim reality of war.

 

[1] http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/C/htmlC/cronkitewal/cronkitewal.htm; accessed August 18, 2008

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Event Details

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Date:
From: 1959 1
To: 30 Apr 1975 1
Event:
Also known as: Second Indochina War, Vietnam Conflict 1
Name: Vietnam War 1
Major Military Leaders:
General Creighton Abrams: U.S. Commander in Vietnam 1968-72 1
Vo Nguyen Giap: North Vietnam Commander 1
All remaining combat soldiers leave Vietnam:
March 1973 2
All warring parties sign cease-fire agreement in P:
27 Jan 1973 2
American forces in Vietnam reach 385,000:
December 1966 2
At 4:03 a.m. last two Americans are killed:
30 Apr 1975 2
Congress passes Gulf of Tonkin Resolution:
07 Aug 1964 2
Gulf of Tonkin Affair:
July 30, 1964--August 4, 1964 2
Ho Chi Minh Trail organized:
1959 2
Kennedy sends military advisors to South Vietnam:
1961 2
My Lai Massacre:
16 Mar 1968 2
Number of troops reaches peak at 543,482:
30 Apr 1968 2
Only 133,000 U.S. troops remain in Vietnam:
01 Jan 1972 2
Operation Rolling Thunder:
February 13, 1965- November 1, 1968 2
Pres Johnson increases American forces to 60,000+:
April 1965 2
Tet Offensive begins:
31 Jan 1968 2
U.S. air-lift evacuation of Saigon:
29 Apr 1975 2
U.S. invades Cambodia:
29 Apr 1970 2
Vietnamese gain independence over French:
07 May 1954 2
U.S. Presidents Involved in Vietnam:
John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford 1
People or Groups:
Name: James Larry Kiestler 3
Role: U.S. Army - SP4 - E4 198th Light Infantry Brigade 3
Place:
Location: QUANG TIN, SOUTH VIETNAM 3
Place:
Location: Vietnam 1
Quote:
Richard Nixon, New York Times, March 28, 1985: No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. 1
U.S. Numbers:
Number of troops killed: 58,202 4
Number of troops wounded: 303,704 4
Troops deployed to East Asia: 3,403,000 4

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