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NUMBER 3: AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1999
The Vietnam Conflict: Facts and Figures
1950 -- President Truman provides U.S. aid to French military in Indochina; 35 American advisers sent to Vietnam.
1954 -- Geneva Conference on Indochina. | President Eisenhower pledges aid to South Vietnam.
1961 -- President Kennedy increases number of military advisers to South Vietnam.
1964 -- American and North Vietnamese forces clash in the Gulf of Tonkin. | Congress grants president Johnson authority to "take all necessary steps to repel armed attacks against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression" (Gulf of Tonkin Resolution).
1968 -- Tet offensive. | Johnson orders bombing halt, providing basis for negotiations.
1969 -- Paris peace talks begin in earnest. | President Nixon calls for "Vietnamization" of the war, orders staged withdrawal of American troops.
1970 -- U.S. troops enter Cambodia to destroy North Vietnamese supply bases.
1971 -- Secret peace negotiations with North Vietnamese begun by presidential adviser Henry Kissinger.
1972 -- Last U.S. combat troops leave South Vietnam. | Christmas bombing of Hanoi/Haiphong.
1973 -- Truce agreement signed in Paris, cease-fire in Vietnam. | Last U.S. military personnel leave South Vietnam. U.S. prisoners of war released.
1975 -- Fall of Saigon. | Evacuation of American Embassy.
National Liberation Front (Vietcong)
B-52s bomb North Vietnamese targets near the
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), September 1968
South Vietnam military
Other Allied forces
Battle of Khe Sanh, 1968
At the Height of the War, 1968-69:
American troops: 543,000
South Vietnamese troops: 819,200
Allied troops: 1,593,300
Communist forces: 810,000 (in South Vietnam: 250,000)
American ground attacks (battalion or larger): 1,100/year
American air attacks: 400,000/year
Bombs dropped: 1.2 million tons/year
U.S. expenditures for bombing: $14 billion/year
Military defoliation: 1,195,500 acres/year
Military crop destruction: 220,000 acres/year
Americans killed in action: 20,000/year
Communists killed in action: 200,000/year
Refugees generated: 585,000/year
Civilian casualties: 130,000/month
(L) Protesters burn draft cards in Central Park, 1967 ; (R) President Lyndon Johnson announces that he will not run for re-election, 1968
(All photos on this page are from Multieducator)
The American Commitment:
Americans who served: 3,300,000
Americans killed: 57,605
Americans wounded: 303,700
Americans taken prisoner: 766
Americans who died in captivity: 114
Americans declared missing (1965-75): 5,011
American aid to South Vietnam (1955-75): $24 billion
Direct American expenditures for the conflict: $165 billion
The Evacuation, April 1975:
Americans evacuated: 1,373
Vietnamese evacuated: 5,595
Value of U.S. military equipment seized by the Communists: $1 billion
Military and civilian dead (all forces): 1,313,000
Disabled U.S. Vietnam veterans: 519,000
Americans awarded Medal of Honor (as of 3/81): 237
Land defoliated: 5.2 million acres
Indochinese refugees generated: 9,000,000
Indochinese refugees resettled in the U.S. (4/79): 220,000
All figures are estimated.
Note: Because of the nature of the Vietnam War and its aftermath, definitive statistics on all aspects of the war are difficult to obtain. The figures cited above, many of them approximate, have been reviewed with appropriate government agencies.
Vietnam War Bibliography
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Copyright © 1999 Michael H. Burchett
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