Vietnam. War, 1955-1975
Type of conflict: War
Conflict: The United States try to halt the spread of communism in Vietnam
Parties involved: South Vietnam and the US, North Vietnam, the Vietcong, the Khmer Rouge (Cambodia), Russia, China
Estimated number of victims: Somewhere between 1.5 and 4 million deaths
In 1955 the United States support the government of South Vietnam in its battle against communists. The communist government of North Vietnam wants to take over the entire country with the help of the Vietcong, the communists in the south. The US fear that Russia (at that time the communist Soviet Union) and China will acquire too much influence throughout south-east Asia. North Vietnam sees the conflict as a war of independence. The conflict lasts 20 years. The Vietcong also uses the neighbouring countries of Laos and Cambodia as bases from which to carry out attacks. American bombardments kill hundreds of thousands of people there too. In 1973 the US pulls out of Vietnam. North Vietnam occupies the south in 1975 and Vietnam becomes communist. Many south Vietnamese people flee to other countries.land.
The war conducted by the United States in Vietnam is clearly marked in the minds of millions of people. That’s because of the world-wide anti-war protests, the numerous Hollywood films and the many, many pop songs about it. A generation of Americans stands up and calls on its government to stop the senseless violence. They appeal for peace, and the ultimate protest song against the war is ‘Give Peace a Chance’, sung in 1969 by John Lennon of The Beatles. In 1970, Neil Young protests against the shooting of demonstrating students by American police in his song ‘Ohio’. And the popular musical ‘Hair’ deals with the anti-war protests. A youth culture emerges around the world focused on peace, love and respect for everybody.