50 Insane Facts About Vietnam War You Didn’t Know

East vs West, Democracy vs Communism, USA
vs the Soviet Union- unfortunately for the residents of Vietnam they would become the
casualties of a struggle far greater than themselves as two superpowers jockeyed for
global domination, with their nation as one of countless proxy battlefields. How much do you really know about the Vietnam
War though? Hello and welcome to another episode of The
Infographics Show- today we’re taking a look at 50 incredible facts about the Vietnam War. 50. In the region, the Vietnam War was known as
the Second Indochina War, and only one in a series of conflicts between Indochinese
Communists and the US, France, China, and others. 49. The North Vietnamese Army was supported financially
and with war materials by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies, while the
South Vietnamese Army was supported by the USA, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia,
Thailand, and other anti-communist allies. 48. The war lasted 19 years and also caused the
Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, and despite the US’s best efforts would
result in all 3 countries becoming communist states in 1975. 47. Called Viet Cong by english language sources,
these guerilla fighters were actually formally known as the National Front for the Liberation
of South Vietnam. 46. US participation in Vietnam formally began
with support for a French effort to reconquer its former colony in Vietnam, after the nation
declared independence shortly after World War II. 45. When the Japanese invaded during World War
II, the Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh, resisted the invaders and were supported by the US,
the Soviet Union, and China. After Japan’s surrender, Ho Chi Minh initiated
an insurgency against French rule. 44. In January 1950 China and the Soviet Union
recognized the Viet Minh’s Democratic Republic of Vietnam, based in Hanoi, as the legitimate
government of Vietnam, while the US and Great Britain recognized the French-backed State
of Vietnam based in Saigon. The stage for war between north and south
was set. 43. Seeing it as an expansion of communism at
the direction of the Soviet Union, the United States feared a domino effect after the Korean
War that would see nations around the world fall to communism. 42. The French military effort in Vietnam went
very poorly, and by 1954 the US had spent $1 billion in support of the French, shouldering
80% of the cost of the war. 41. Facing mounting defeats, the French requested
the US use three tactical nuclear weapons against North Vietnamese forces, although
there is no indication the US took the proposal seriously. 40. US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was reluctant
of getting involved in yet another land war in Asia, and made any American participation
in the conflict contingent on British support- but the British remained opposed. 39. On May 7th, 1954 the French garrison at Dien
Bien Phu surrendered, and France negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh,
granting independence to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. 38. At the 1954 Geneva peace conference, Vietnam
was partitioned temporarily at the 17th parallel. Ho Chi Minh wanted to continue his military
push into the south, but the Chinese convinced him he could win control by electoral means
instead. 37. Around 1 million northerners- mostly minority
Catholics- fled south during the temporary peace. The CIA enacted a psychological warfare campaign
which exaggerated anti-Catholic sentiment among the Viet Minh and even planted false
rumors that the US was going to drop atomic bombs on Hanoi. 36. The US also funded a $93 million relocation
program to ferry refugees to the south. The end result was a South Vietnam full of
anti-communist Vietnamese. 35. While 1 million fled communism in the north,
only about 52,000 moved from the south to the north. 34. Soon an insurgency in the south broke out,
threatening to tear South Vietnam apart. President John F. Kennedy’s advisors suggested
that US special forces troops be sent to South Vietnam disguised as flood relief workers. 33. The South Vietnamese military was largely
ineffective due to massive corruption, low morale and little training. At the battle of Ap Bac on January 2nd, 1963,
350 Viet Cong guerillas defeated 1,500 South Vietnamese forces. 32. Believing the current regime led by Ngô Đình
Diệm to be ineffective and making the South’s civil war worst by repressing Buddhist minorities,
the US backed a coup attempt by senior South Vietnamese military leaders. Though the coup was successful, South Vietnam
fell into disarray as one military government after another was enacted and then toppled. 31. On August 2nd, 1964, the American destroyer
USS Maddox was on an intelligence mission inside the Gulf of Tonkin when it fired on
several torpedo boats its captain claimed had been stalking it. Two days later a second attack was reported
against the USS Turner Joy and the Maddox again in the same area. 30. The second attack against the USS Maddox and
the Turner Joy prompted congress to approve the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which informally
began the US’s war against North Vietnam. 29. In 2005 a declassified NSA publication revealed
that there had never been a second attack on August 4th, and its likely that the US
fabricated the entire event to have a reason to declare war against a North Vietnam that
was arming and training the guerillas fighting in the South Vietnamese civil war. 28. Between March 1965 and November 1968, Operation
Rolling Thunder dropped a million tons of missiles, rockets and bombs on North Vietnam,
with the goal of forcing the North to cease its support for guerillas in the south. Ho Chi Minh, who saw the opportunity to bring
the entire country under his rule, refused. 27. The use of the Ho Chi Minh trail through Laos
by North Vietnamese forces to avoid US bombs sparked a civil war in Laos, with Laotian
government forces backed by the US fighting against the Pathet Lao communist guerillas
and their North Vietnamese allies. 26. Trying to deny the use of the Ho Chi Minh
trail to North Vietnam, and to prevent the collapse of the Laotian government, the US
dropped 2 million tons of bombs on Laos- almost equal to the 2.1 million tons dropped by the
US during the entire second world war. 25. Relative to its population, Laos is the most
heavily bombed country in the world. 24. Between 1961 and 1964 the Viet Cong grew from
around 5,000 to 100,000, the North Vietnamese army went from 850,000 to nearly 1 million,
but US forces only grew from 2,000 to 16,500. 23. The American ground war began on the 8th of
March, 1965, with the deployment of 3,500 US Marines to South Vietnam, increasing to
200,000 by December. 22. US troops were initially dispatched on a defensive
mission, but the US military had for decades been trained to act as an offensive force
and observers believe that US commanders were institutionally and psychologically unsuited
to a defensive mission. 21. In 1965 US General William Westmoreland engineered,
and pushed for, a plan to shift the US from its defensive operations to a full-fledged
offensive against the Vietcong and its North Vietnamese supporters. He predicted victory by 1967 and the plan
was approved by President Johnson. 20. Seeking international aid, the US’s South
East Asia allies to include Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and the Philippines all
agreed to send military troops. Most NATO nations however did not. 19. The US’s first major battle against the North
Vietnamese army came in November of 1965 during the Battle of Ia Drang. It would be the first large scale helicopter
assault in history. 18. The battle involved two separate engagements
at two helicopter landing zones, LZ X-Ray and LZ Albany. US forces totaled at around 1,000 and North
Vietnamese were nearly three times as many at 2,500. 17. The battle at LZ X-ray saw far outnumbered
US troops still achieve a 10:1 kill ratio thanks to intense fire support, and resulted
in an overwhelming American victory. 16. The battle at LZ Albany however saw US forces
ambushed at close quarters, and thus denied their fire support. The fighting took place without any air or
artillery support from either side and resulted in a US defeat with US forces suffering an
over 50% casualty rate. 15. The US suffered between 499 and 1,700 casualties
and North Vietnam suffered between 1070 and 1,753 casualties. Because of the two separate engagements, both
sides claimed victory. 14. The battle of the Ia Drang valley would later
become the Mel Gibson led film, We Were Soldiers Once. 13. Throughout the war the Vietcong and NVA forces
would initiate 90% of large firefights, with 80% of them being clear and well-planned operations. Despite overwhelming US force and firepower,
the NVA and Vietcong retained strategic initiative throughout the war. 12. Trying to avoid US air power, the NVA and
Viet Cong both dug hundreds of miles of underground tunnels, which had to be cleared by combat
engineers nicknamed ‘tunnel rats’. 11. Tunnel rats were made up of volunteer soldiers
from the Australian, New Zealand, and US armies, and their motto Non Gratus Anus Rodentum translates
from Latin to english as “not worth a rat’s ass”. 10. Viet Cong tunnel complexes were so massive
they included hospitals, training areas, storage facilities, headquarters, and barracks. 9. Tunnel rats often had to clear tunnels of
enemy soldiers armed only with a flashlight, bayonet, and a pistol. 8. The intense muzzle blast of the standard-issue
.45 caliber pistol would leave tunnel rats temporarily deaf when fired in a tunnel, so
tunnel rats took to using their own personal weapons ranging from .25 caliber automatic
rifles to sawed-off shotguns- with the most in-demand weapon being a .22 automatic pistol
made in World War II! 7. Tunnels were dangerous environments and were
often poorly constructed, leading to frequent cave-ins for tunnel rats. These brave soldiers also had to deal with
bobby traps such as hand grenades, anti-personnel mines, punji sticks, and even venomous snakes
left behind as living booby traps. Tunnels were also constructed with sharp U-bends
that could be flooded easily to drown tunnel rats, and poison gases were sometimes used
to asphyxiate them. 6. Planned US attacks against Viet Cong and NVA
forces made up only 14.3% of all engagements, a shocking statistic that proves how poorly
US commanders performed during the war and how the Viet Cong and NVA routinely outmaneuvered
them. 5. 9,087,000 total military personnel served
on active duty in the US armed forces during the Vietnam era, with 2,709,918 serving in
Vietnam. 4. 240 men were awarded the Medal of Honor during
the Vietnam War, the highest honor a US serviceman can achieve and given only in extreme cases
of heroism, gallantry, and self-sacrifice. 3. The first US soldier to die in Vietnam was
James Davis in 1961, serving with the 509thRadio Research Station, a US cryptologist leading
a team of South Vietnamese soldiers which were ambushed. 2. Four US soldiers killed in Vietnam were only
16 years old, the oldest US soldier killed in Vietnam was 62 years old. 1. 58,141 US soldiers were killed in Vietnam,
and 75,000 were severely disabled. Of those killed, 61% were younger than 21. The war in Vietnam was a disastrous affair
for the United States, and marked a rare low point in the performance of its armed forces. Conscription and a war waged with poorly defined
objectives, along with great national resistance against the conflict led to a US military
crippled for years after Vietnam by incompetent leadership and poor morale, and despite its
best efforts the war would see the North triumph and communism reign- yet the dreaded domino
effect theory would never come to be. In the end, the war is mostly remembered as
a pointless, costly affair. What other facts about Vietnam do you know
of? Should the US ever have intervened in the
South’s civil war? And be sure to check out our other video 50
Facts About Cold War You Didn’t Know! Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

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