Begin a conversation on Vietnam and it soon becomes clear that tensions about the war continue to run high decades after it ended. In the 1960’s Americans were overwhelmed by the war. Almost 3 million U.S. men and women were sent to Vietnam. Many who were sent, and those who stayed behind were unclear about the purpose of the war, who was fighting or if the physical cost of the war, with an estimated 2 million to 3 millon dead, was worth it. Protests at home and abroad shook city streets and debate about the war was constant. The Vietnam War resulted in more than 58,000 Americans dead, and a price tag of more than $150 billion. After all the debates and breast-beating, it appears that the only thing that we can all agree on is the horrendous suffering and sorrow that the war generated
US Soldiers Carrying a Wounded Comrade
Further Investigation and Research: The United States in the Vietnam War
According to official sources, 2,594,000 U.S. personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam between January 1, 1965 and March 28, 1973. More than 58,000 U.S. personnel died.
- U.S. soldiers were held as prisoners of war in North Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Laos, and South Vietnam. For 12 years Americans were scattered in a dozen prisons. U.S. soldiers gave them nicknames such as Alcatraz, Briarpatch, Dirty Bird, Hanoi Hilton, and the Zoo. Investigate prison conditions, length of stay, and information on release. Research material on the Son Tay Prison raid and include this information in your report.
- It is uncertain how many women served in Vietnam from 1962 to1973. Department of Defense claims the number to be 7,500, the Veteran’s Administration indicates that the number was around 11,000 and independent surveys put the number as high as 35,000. The majority of women who served in Vietnam were nurses. Research the role of women in the Vietnam War. Report on their training, work they performed in Vietnam, and how they reaclimated upon return to the United States.
- The President Bush signed a bill in 2001 that admitted to the possibility that every U.S. veteran who served in Vietnam was exposed to Agent Orange. Research veterans’ claims that Agent Orange is linked to respiratory cancers. Report on the effects of Agent Orange, its use in Vietnam and previously in Korea, and the benefits afforded through the signing of the 2001 bill.