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15 Interesting Facts on the Vietnam War

Since completing university, Paul has worked as a bookseller, librarian, and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.

Interesting facts on the Vietnam War: Burning building.  Over the ten year war, Operation Ranch Hand sprayed around eleven million gallons of Agent Orange on the South Vietnamese landscape.

Interesting facts on the Vietnam War: Burning building. Over the ten year war, Operation Ranch Hand sprayed around eleven million gallons of Agent Orange on the South Vietnamese landscape.

Over the decades since the conflict ended, the Vietnam War has become an integral part of American cultural history, featuring in numerous movies, books, songs, and television documentaries.

Although, the war was a resounding military defeat for the USA and caused a great deal of political turmoil and personal trauma in the US, some historians argue that it succeeded in helping to prevent the spread of communism in the Indochina Peninsula.

Here are 15 interesting facts on the Vietnam War:

  • The Vietnam War began on 1 November 1955 and ended with the fall of Saigon 30 April 1975, lasting 19 and 1/2 years.
  • From the end of the 19th Century up until the 1940s Vietnam had been a French colony and formed part of French Indochina.
  • Most of the conflict took place in Vietnam, but later the fighting spilled over into neighboring Laos and Cambodia in the early 1970s.
  • The conflict took place during the Cold War, the global struggle for supremacy between two superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union. It was essentially a war between communist and anti-communist forces. The USA was concerned that if the whole of Vietnam became communist, it would spread to other countries in the region - this idea was known as the “Domino Effect” - and the war for the US was about preventing this from happening.
  • The Communist North Vietnamese forces were supported by the Viet Cong in South Vietnam, the People's Republic of China, and the Soviet Union. The anti-Communist forces consisted of Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the USA, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Laos.
  • The leader of the North Vietnamese was called Ho Chi Minh. He led the independence movement from 1941 onwards, established Communist rule in 1945, and although he offically stepped down from power in 1965, he remained a figurehead throughout the war.
  • North Vietnam and its allies had around 500,000 fighters. The forces of South Vietnam and its allies peaked at approximately 1,830,000 in 1968.
  • More than 3 million people died in total. The U.S alone suffered 58,220 deaths in action. North Vietnam plus the Viet Cong had 1,100,000 soldiers and up to 2,000,000 civilians killed.
  • The average age of Americans that died was just over 23 years. 11,465 of the personnel who were killed were under the age of 20.
  • 12,000 American helicopters saw action in the conflict.
  • Between 1962 and 1971, the US sprayed a herbicide called Agent Orange over large areas of forest in an attempt to reduce hit and run attacks by pro-communist forces, causing 400,000 people to be killed or injured, and 500,000 children to be born with birth defects.
Young American soldier in the Vietnam War.  There is a myth that the average age of US soldiers killed in Vietnam was 19 years of age, but the true figure is actually 22.  Still young, but not teenage.

Young American soldier in the Vietnam War. There is a myth that the average age of US soldiers killed in Vietnam was 19 years of age, but the true figure is actually 22. Still young, but not teenage.

  • The conflict was also financially costly. Between 1965 and 1975, the US spent $111 billion on the war.
  • President Nixon started reducing troop numbers in 1969, as massive anti-war demonstrations and protests took place in the US, with the public bitterly divided over the conflict.
  • A cease-fire to end the war was signed in Paris in 1973, but it didn’t hold and hostilities broke out again.
  • North Vietnam's victory in 1975 meant that the war had ended for good.
Richard Nixon with Elvis Presley in 1970.  Nixon played a politically controversial role in the Vietnam War.  Elvis served in the army between 1958 and 1960. He spent most of his time in Germany, and never went to the developing Vietnam conflict.

Richard Nixon with Elvis Presley in 1970. Nixon played a politically controversial role in the Vietnam War. Elvis served in the army between 1958 and 1960. He spent most of his time in Germany, and never went to the developing Vietnam conflict.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: What was the Vietnam war all about?

Answer: There were competing ideas over what the war was about. In some ways, it was a civil war between North and South Vietnam, which had different political systems. The USA and its allies generally perceived the war as a fight to stop the spread of communism and supported the South Vietnamese. The communist North Vietnamese saw it more as a revolutionary war of liberation against colonialism and interference from Western powers.

Question: How did the Vietnam War end?

Answer: The beginning of the end was President Nixon declaring in 1969 that the USA would now be following a new program called “Vietnamization.” This involved the South Vietnamese military being built up so that American forces could gradually withdraw. The fighting continued, however, despite the gradual American withdrawal, and in 1972 the North Vietnamese launched a massive invasion of South Vietnam. The Paris Peace Accords were signed in January 1973, and the remaining U.S. forces were all withdrawn. The fighting between the Vietnamese continued until April 1975 when Saigon fell to the communists.

Question: How did the Vietnam War change the world?

Answer: Proponents of the Vietnam War argue that it blunted the expansion of Communism in Asia by showing the seriousness and commitment of the USA. Detractors argue that the war showed the limitations of American military power and effectively emboldened its enemies.

© 2014 Paul Goodman

Comments

paintitblack on February 20, 2020:

Vietnam Never Forgotten 1955-1975

noahbeast12 on January 24, 2020:

this helped me alot with my research project. Thank you!!!

Sky11th on January 15, 2020:

Vietnam was a crucial war in American history and to all the people who don't realize it those Men that fought for us over there went through total Chaos for the U.S. Be proud that we have people to do that for us and we don't have to die ourselves through war and in balance of political stand point of the Nations.

shithole on August 19, 2019:

damn this cray cray

Ur mom on May 15, 2019:

Y can’t life b eezy?

Madison on April 24, 2019:

Nice

Ezra on March 06, 2019:

This website is very useless and has nothing of great importance. I hate it.

big boy chan on February 18, 2019:

this website was interesting but useless

Cooper on November 29, 2018:

Using some of this for my project, Thanks.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on October 24, 2018:

Wars will never end, so do not participate. Move instead. Do something constructive.

2334 on October 23, 2018:

wars will never end and thx for the information

freddy on October 22, 2018:

thank you this really helped me on my project

Anonymous on September 17, 2018:

My uncle was in the car and has no injuries he has six adpoted kids. And he was a police officer after the war.

unknown on May 21, 2018:

It was so fun learning all these facts i wish to know more.

polar on May 02, 2018:

thx great advice

coo on March 20, 2018:

This helped so much on Vietnam assignment.

Joseph on March 19, 2018:

How are orangutans related to Vietnam

Joseph on February 01, 2018:

Nice that helped me a lot.

Gabriel Waincroft on January 11, 2018:

This helped

jesusaj on January 10, 2018:

this helped on my project thank you

Anon on November 09, 2017:

Nice website :)

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on October 22, 2017:

Let people resolve not to kill or harm another person.

Thou shalt not kill, harm or torture.

If there is violence, move out of the way.

Do Not run to trouble.

Love one another and help them.

We are all of One Body.

annoymous on October 22, 2017:

this website didn't teach me anything you seem like a nice man so I would make your facts short and easy but apart from that it was ok I would rate it a 5 out of 10

Boomer Music Man on July 19, 2016:

Very interesting facts about the Vietnam war. Superb writing. Kudos.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on December 01, 2014:

Wonderful layout. Visually the facts were really easy to peruse.

Great job.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 22, 2014:

I am in Hanoi now and staying right beside the Hoa Lo prison. I know of Vietnamese families who have lost loved ones. I asked one of them how it felt then, and she just said they had to do what they had to do. The Americans still look for the missing. I just takes to the ones doing this work. They have had not much success recently. It is sad. Thanks for doing this hub. Well done!

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on November 22, 2014:

Very good hub. Korea was the same way, then there is Iraq and Afghanistan. It is better for individuals and the nation to refuse to go to combat overseas. The US needs to learn to stay out of trouble, not run to trouble. Teach your children to walk away from a fight.

Hooks and Needles on November 22, 2014:

One of my cousin's died in that war. He was 19 or 20 at the time. What a shame. Many more young men I knew came home with wounds or mental problems or both. What a shame and what a waste.

biblicaliving from U.S.A. on November 22, 2014:

I know several Vietnam Veterans. One of them hated the place and volunteered for permanent guard duty. Another Vet (a Marine) loved it and actually signed up for a second tour. Yet two other Vet's that I know have died from medical complications due to agent orange exposure. Sadly enough, the Vietnam conflict's true cost will never be known, nor appreciated.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on November 22, 2014:

Congratulations on HOTD! This is a very interesting and informative hub. I remember the war years but the statistics of the war I did not remember. You have done an excellent comprehensive look at this sad time in our history. I just read or heard recently that there are still 1600 soldiers unaccounted for from the war and are still considered MIA's. Amazing. This is still a sore spot in our national history. How sad!

Janice Horner on November 22, 2014:

This was really interesting. I remember the war well. I reside in the UK. I lived near an American air base, RAF Chicksands in Shefford, Bedfordshire. There was a young couple called Suzanne and Art who many of us come acquainted with. I remember Suzanne, mentioning that Art was going to Vietnam, and I wondered if he ever came back. Many like you say lost their lives, it must have been a horrendous time for families whose loved ones were out there.

Brilliant hub, voted up, and congratulations on your article being put has hub of the day.

mySuccess8 on November 22, 2014:

You have picked some of the most interesting facts on one of the top biggest and bloodiest wars in history, the Vietnam War. This is well-supported by a good selection of great videos. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

TheFisherMan531 from Los Angeles County on November 22, 2014:

Congrats on getting Hub of the day!

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on October 11, 2014:

One interesting fact is that while New Zealand sent troops the government of New Zealand told the US in the early sixties that it was a war they believed the US couldn't win

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