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Images of the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was an armed conflict between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The United States allied with the South Vietnamese to aid their fight against the communist north. The conflict began after the communist regime ousted the French government from the region. The northern government of Vietnam wanted to govern their country like China and Russia, which are both communist nations. The South Vietnamese government wanted to run the country similar to Western democracies. The result was a bloody conflict in which more than 58,000 American military soldiers and staff and an estimated 3.5 million Vietnamese people lost their lives. The following are images of this historic war that capture and poignantly tell its story.

French Indochina

Present-day countries like Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia were French colonies. After the French were ousted, conflicts ensued about how to govern the people, leading to the Vietnam War.

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North Vietnam

The Northern Vietnamese and the Viet Kong of the South wanted to transform the country into a communist nation.

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Gulf of Tonkin

As communist forces and clashes increased, the American presence increased, particularly after the Gulf of Tonkin event.

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Lyndon Johnson

After the Gulf of Tonkin conflict, US President Lyndon Johnson increased the presence of US soldiers in Vietnam from 23,000 to more than 180,000.

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American Soldiers in Vietnam

For many American soldiers, the jungle terrain and climate of Vietnam were altogether new.

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Heading to Vietnam

Many soldiers heading to Vietnam didn't know what to expect. 

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Camp Radcliff

Camp Radcliff was an army base located in the An Khe region of Vietnam. While it stood, it was the largest helicopter base in the world.

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The Viet Cong

The Viet Cong, a guerilla army that fought againt the South Vietnamese and Americans, enlisted women soldiers in their fight.

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Agent Orange

Americans sprayed the pesticide known as Agent Orange to kill the jungle vegetation hiding the Viet Cong and other northern troops.

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Ho Chi Minh Trail

President Johnson launched a campaign to bomb targets along the Ho Chi Minh Trail held by the Viet Cong.

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The US Military Draft

In 1965, the US increased the draft to include 35,000 new soldiers per month.

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Opposed to the Draft

Many Americans opposed the draft and were ideologically opposed to the war and the American presence in Vietnam.

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Battle of La Drang Valley

The battle of La Drang Valley is considered the first major battle of the Vietnam War. The battle killed roughly 300 Americans and injured hundreds more.

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Khe Sanh Seige

Americans and South Vietnamese soldiers fended off the Northern army for 77 days at the siege of Khe Sanh.

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Tet Offensive

The Tet Offensive was a highly coordinated combined assault by the Viet Minh and North Vietnamese armies.

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Hueys

Huey helicopters played a major role in the war, transporting soldiers and taking part in daring rescues.

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The Children

Many children got caught up in the destructive war. Some were sent to orphanages, and thousands were airlifted out of the country to foster homes in the US.

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Prisoners of War

Many American soldiers were captured and kept in appalling prison camps.

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The War Drags On

The war dragged on for nearly two decades. Soldiers endured many hardships.

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Hanoi Hilton

The notorious North Vietnamese prison camp dubbed "Hanoi Hilton" was demolished during the 1990s.

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The Bombs

Bombing raids were common throughout the war. Targets were strategically chosen, but civilian casualties were numerous.

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The Medics

War medics often needed to perform their life-saving work under fire from enemy troops. 

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War and Despair

 The war in Vietnam was highly politicized. Soldiers faced criticism at home for taking part in it. 

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Displacement

Thousands of Vietnamese on both sides of the war were left homeless and displaced.

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The Longest War

The Vietnam War is the longest war in U.S. history--it lasted 20 years.

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Jungle Terrain

Soldiers faced ambushes at every turn.

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More Protesting

As the war dragged on, the protests in the US increased.

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Evacuating Saigon

Pulling out of Saigon. The city fell to the North soon after the war ended.

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The Photographers

War photographers risked their lives to document the war through the images we see now. 

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The Wall

 The Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC contains the names of 58,200 military service people killed in the war. 

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Nathan, Heywise Staff

Article WriterNathan, Heywise Staff

<p>Let us introduce you to the Listicle Liege, the Article Aficionado, the one and only Nathan. Since creating his first photo collage at the age of five with images clipped from his mom’s Chatelaine magazines (all of them), it’s been nearly impossible to stem this one’s tide of visual learning. Be it the annals of history or the latest celeb gossip, Nathan has probably researched it, likely already has a folder of relevant photos on his desktop, and definitely learned a lot of interesting facts to go with those images. Whereas most well-read adults have bookshelves full of classic literature, Nathan’s stacks are composed of National Geographic and TIME special editions and a curated section of first-grade readers (for inspiration). If you prefer picture books to wordy novels, listicles by Nathan are right up your alley.</p>

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