Vietnam War

South Vietnam

The Vietnam War was a major conflict of the Cold War, ranging in dates from about 1955 to 1975.


Even though Vietnam was a country in Southeast Asia, very far from the United States, this war was the source of more political strife at home than any previous American military involvement abroad. Opinion was seriously divided over whether America had any business fighting in Vietnam, where harsh jungles and unfamiliar terrain proved lethal to many Americans. America experienced unprecedented civil unrest. Men burned their draft cards in public and some left the country to avoid having to go fight. Others were equally firm in supporting the government's decision and told resisters to “love America or leave it.”


Nevertheless, by 1966, 500,000 American troops had been deployed there, even though Secretary of Defense McNamara, when he resigned, declared that it was not possible to win the war.

Evacuation helicopter

So, after years of brutal combat with no clear victories in a war that was never officially declared, troops were evacuated in 1975; Communist forces of North Vietnam immediately took over Saigon (the capital of South Vietnam, now known as Ho Chi Minh City) where the United States were on the defensive, until they were graphically defeated.

Vietnam Vets War Memorial

At home most Americans felt that it was a war best forgotten, and the returning soldiers got no hero’s welcome. But, however, their response to their county’s call to service gained recognition at the end of the 20th century. The Vietnam Veteran’s War Memorial in Washington DC was built, following Maya Lin’s design, to honor the 58,000 Americans who died between 1959 and 1975. This monument receives nearly as many visitors as the Washington Monument.

La mayor parte de la gente creia que ésta habia sido una guerra de la que era mejor olvidarse, y no se les dio ningún recibimiento especial a los soldados que regresaban al pais. Hoy, sin embargo, su servicio a la patria está siendo reconocido con símbolos tales como el Monumento para los veteranos de la guerra de Vietnam en Washington DC.