When a cold war becomes hot.

33 startling facts about the American – Vietnam War 1961 (1964) – 1973. Really startling facts.

  1. The reason for the Vietnam War was the attack of North Vietnamese boats on American destroyers – was forged by the US intelligence and protests of Vietnamese military against falsified information were ignored.
  2. According to the Geneva Conventions, the United States had the right to keep in South Vietnam 685 observers.
  3. In 1963 there were 16,000 “advisers”involved in military actions, and in the beginning of 1964 (long before the Vietnam War) the United States held in Vietnam 25 thousand soldiers who were actively involved in military actions. Losses are unknown.
  4. The United States were spending around 3 billion dollars a year on funding South Vietnamese soldiers (and that number is in those dollars), which is equal to 1.5 million dollars a day.
  5. In 1963 Buddhist monks carried out a series of self-immolations in protest against sanctions on Buddhism by the ruling regime of South Vietnam. Immediately thereafter, South Vietnamese soldiers attacked Buddhists. Hundreds of monks were arrestedor killed.
  6. The highest head count of the American troops in Vietnam was in 1969 – more than 543 thousand people, while at the beginning of the war there were only 185,000 American troops.
  7. 14 million tons of bombs were dropped on Vietnam, which is 5 times more than all the bombs of World War II.
  8. During the Vietnam War, according to various estimates anywhere from 3,300 to 5,000 of the United States aircrafts were brought down.
  9. Due to the use of chemical weapons by the United States – defoliants – crippled children are still being born in Vietnam.
  10. US presidential candidate, Senator John McCain was a pilot during the Vietnam War. His plane was shot down by a Russian rocket, and the future senator spent 5.5 years in a North Vietnamese prison.
  11. Over the course of the Vietnam War more than 3,000,000 civilians were killed.
  12. In Vietnam, the Vietnam War is called the “Liberation War”, and also the “American War.”
  13. In Vietnam around 58,200 Americans were killed.
  14. Approximately 75,000 Americans returned disabled.
  15. An infantry soldier of the United States Army fought in Vietnam 240 days out of a year thanks to the mobility of helicopters that delivered soldiers to battlefields, and vigilant “care” by North Vietnamese. A ride in a helicopter was considered a rest.
  16. The number of suicides among those who fought in Vietnam was approximately 50 thousand.
  17. Veterans of the Vietnam War, who returned to America, often received a slap on the face instead of an enthusiastic reception at the airport.
  18. One-third of the American military in Vietnam by the end of the war were using drugs.
  19. In the American army there were numerous cases when unpopular orders led to the death of the person who gave such orders.
  20. Russian were not directly involved in the battles of the Vietnam War, they only acted as instructors and advisors.
  21. Of the Russian advisers, 13 died in the Vietnam War, and most of them – from tropical diseases.
  22. Russians supplied to Vietnam overland arms and military equipment.
  23. Russians created the air defense system for Vietnam, which due to its flexibility was almost indestructible, but led to the enormous losses for the US Army.
  24. During the World War II, the United States were officially helping Ho Chi Minh, who together with his supporters was hiding from the Japanese occupation of Vietnam in China. US President Franklin Roosevelt called Ho Chi Minh and his supporters “patriots” and “freedom fighters.”
  25. The United States actively bombed neighboring Laos, while officially recognizing it as a neutral country.
  26. To this day each year anywhere from 200 to 300 people in Laos get blown up by the bombs dropped by the United States.
  27. Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan were determined guilty by the Russell Tribunal in assisting in the aggression committed by the United States against Vietnam. According to the Russell Tribunal, the United States were found guilty of genocide (total extermination) of the population of Vietnam.
  28. In 1968, American soldiers carried out a massacre in the village of My Lai (Province My Lai). To a large extent the event became widely known because of the photographer who shot the massacre. Murders were accompanied by torture and rape. At least 504 people were killed, including 173 children (56 babies), 182 women (17 – pregnant).
  29. A pilot of the American observation helicopter Hugh Thompson saw the massacre in the village of My Lai from the air and landed the helicopter between American soldiers-killers and still alive Vietnamese peasants. Under the risk of being shot by machine guns he managed to ward off the killers. 11 Vietnamese survived. Hugh Thompson was subjected to persecution upon his return to the United States.
  30. Only one of the American soldiers from the massacre after years of investigation received a suspended sentence.
  31. In 1974, the American President Gerald Ford offered a pardon to deserters and those who evaded to be drafted to Vietnam. About 27,000 people took advantage of his offer.
  32. In 1967 several thousand Americans participated in “Pentagon March” against military draft. A part of the protesters broke into the Pentagon building through the cordons of police and military. The following anti-war marches gathered up to 600,000 people.
  33. In 1971 800 American veterans of the Vietnam War came to the Capitol and after pronouncing their names and military rank threw the awards received from the US Government on the steps of the Capitol building. The process of returning military awards lasted for more than two hours.


US Marine Corps /PFC G. Durbin (1965)


Women and children dead on a road in the My Lai (1968) / Ronald L. Haeberle

These are some of Vietnam War facts.


To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

We are glad to discover Russia together with you!

We put our heart into the project. Join us on Facebook or Twitter: