The Vietnam War

In the first episode of the Vietnam War, which lasted from 1858 to 1961, the Vietnamese revolutionaries headed by Chi Minh put an end to a century of French colonialist rule. As the cold war heats up, we witness the division of Vietnam in Geneva. While America backs Ngo Dinh Diem's unproven government in the south, the communists in the north sought to reunite the nation. Nguyen Thoi Bung, a deceased NLF officer who took part in the battle of Binh Gia, is one of the film participants who is first presented in episode one. Max Cleland who was an officer with the airmobile and was injured.

Le Quan a veteran of the guerrilla warfare against the French, Bui Diem also an ambassador of the united states of America, Huy Duc lived in the north of Vietnam and later became a journalist, Ron Fedrizzi, and Leslie Gelb, an analyst in the department of the defense. The Vietnam War tells the great story about one of the most events in America that were divisive, consequential and also is controversial; it gives a story better than it has ever been filmed. It deeply explores the human's dimensions of the war by hearing testimonies of 80 people, for instance, the people who fought in the war or the people who opposed the war, also the soldiers and civilians from Vietnam.

In 1945, people came together to hear and witness Ho Chi Minh declared independence. After a century or so of the French colonial rule, Vietnam came out independent but greatly divided due to the intensifying cold war. By 1953, about 100,000 casualties were experienced in France, so it was called the "Dirty War." By the time the episode was over in 1961, French had been defeated. The most revealing scenes are when American soldiers find themselves in the same predicament as the French, walking through a minefield as the soldiers in the Vietnam say just to walk was brave.

Riding the Tiger (1961-1963)

President Kennedy idealistically inspires young Americans to serve their country; he wrestles with how deep to get involved in the South of Vietnam. As Diem regime faces a communist insurgency and widespread Buddhist protests, the political crisis unfolds. Burns and Novick take us to 1967 and terrifying experience of Musgrave who was sent with two soldiers to set all-night post, the enemy's soldiers came so close, and this seemed to be the scariest time in Vietnam. The U.S. veterans are the essential primary role players in this project, Ken's and Margrave's interviews are the most important and the most referred to.

Back to 1961-1963, we get to the inauguration of John Kennedy and then to his assassination, along the way we see increased American commitment to the Vietnam War from hundreds to 16000. Administration of JFK deceived the public that its troops were not advising the South Vietnamese forces, not using bombing would have been more critical of the lying and only grow worse with each administration. The Vietnam War does not make it clear that the lies by JFK even when magnified under Lyndon Johnson would be criticized.

We hear from the witnesses that the only way to win the political loyalty of the people is to provide a worthy alternative to the communists. For instance, if you kill one man you create ten more enemies to your territory, according to Robert Rheault he said that if you destroy one village, you generate another town of resistance. The most important segment in episode 2 is the one about the battle of Ap Bac; this action was significant because it proved to the Viet that it could be able to achieve success against the American technology and also their firepower. It also demonstrated the weakness of significant portions of the South Vietnam government, and it's military.

Buddhist uprising showed profoundly how a president of South Vietnam Diem was unpopular even among his people. Kennedy gave the green light to overthrowing of the person, who had been in power for nine years, he was shocked that Junta ordered the murder of Diem and his brother Dinh Nhu, a few weeks later he was assassinated. Sheehan, the reporter, concluded by saying that, ‘We thought we were exceptions and history didn't apply to us, the Americans, we could never fight a wrong war, we could never represent the false case which stands as the evidence of whatever vaccine Burns and Novick intended to produce.

The River Styx

The Vietnam War covers the period between 1964 and 1965. This episode begins with president Lyndon who was torn between demonstrating against communism and realizing that Vietnam looks more like Korea, instability at leadership levels engineered uneasiness of Lyndon, he thinks fighting wasn't worth, and yet they couldn't also get out. But with chaos in the South Vietnam, the combat troops were sent by the hardliners in Hanoi; this eventually accelerated insurgency triggering more attacks by the Viet Cong.

Lyndon fearing the collapse of Saigon, he encourages military commitments by the Americans, he increased military personnel and equipment, he also ensures all decisions regarding Vietnam are kept a secret. These episodes even start the story of Crocker Jr a teenager who is idealistic and patriotic; he begs his parents for him to be enlisted.


This episode covers the period between 1966 and 1967; president Lyndon Johnson is increasing the American involvement and also trying to remove the shaky government of the South Vietnam. General William, the commander of the U.S. forces in the Vietnam, insists that he would win the war if he had more troops. There were 184,300 soldiers from America in Vietnam at the end of 1965, and there would be 385,300 by the end of 1966.The North Vietnamese troops defied the American air power and streamed down the Ho Minh trail into South.

While the antiwar movement builds, the soldiers and Marines realized that the war they were preparing to fight in Vietnam was nothing like their fathers' war. One veteran who recall finding this lesson was Musgrave who is enlisted in the Marines, a unit that will take the most massive casualties is referred to as the "walking dead." Back home Johnson received opposition to the draft he had made, which is as the troop grows; it is the beginning of touching of the middle class.

Americans who joined to fight in Vietnam did so as they saw it as part of them fighting the spread of communism; some thought the military would make them tough and also give them the chance to be heroes. Some figured out that if they die during the war, their families will be provided for. They didn't necessarily know what they were getting themselves into, but they just knew was going to last long before their bosses were willing to admit.

This is What We Do

This episode of Vietnam War lasted for six months between July 1967 and December 1967; Roger Harris says in the opening, "This is War," soldiers adapt, killing, dying after a while doesn't bother you. In January 1966, 2400 soldiers from America had been killed in the Vietnam War, when this is what we do was open the number increased to 14624-75000 casualties and the carnage was just beginning. Victory is not so close at hand and may be beyond our reach no matter how much we try we might end up failing. The methodology of winning people's hearts and minds is not working Saigon still controls only a fraction of a country and his government is full of corruption.

President Lyndon has been forced to increase taxes to meet the costs of war and his social program. Burn has been giving the viewer credit for intelligence, and this is due to his ability to think and make conclusions for himself. "This is What We Do" points out the tension in the US homeland, the wealthy and those from the white classes received deferments. It only took a short while before social injustice and inequality came out to the open, in Vietnam soldiers were living at the moment as they were praying and hoping they would see the next moment. The Vietnamese didn't care where you were from, they saw you as an American and want to kill you for that. This was crazy.

War crime proved to be an issue that would galvanize anti-war protestors, Karl Marlantes learnt that in war we are not the top species just because we are nice, he says they are aggressive, and it is in them, and people claim that military people turn children into killing machines, but Karl argues that it's just finishing school. We may be the top species, but one thing that is never far away from us are the primal instincts.

Things Fall Apart

The Vietnam period covers just two months time. After Gen William assures the press that there will be no significant offensive attacks the Americans are surprised by coordinated series of acute attacks. NorthVietnamese and Viet Cong respond to the message received from Hanoi saying that, crack the sky, shake the earth. They launch surprise attacks on all cities in the south and military bases, causing great doubt on president Lyndon who believed there is light at the end of the tunnel. The brutality unfolds all over the media, increasing opposition to the war.

Tet has devastating effects on an opinion of the America about their involvement in the Vietnam, The next month; Johnson shocks the nation announcing that he was not going to seek or even accept the nomination of his party for any other term as the America's president. The country is left staggered by assassinations and unrest.

The Veneer of Civilization

Episode 7 covers the period from June 1968 to May 1969. Months after 1968 January the public support for the war is declining. Men from America of draft age face problems in making decisions and the wrenching moral choices. Television viewers watch as the police from Chicago clash with the protestors during the Democratic National Convention. The war goes on in Vietnam, and the soldiers see terrible savagery and unclenched courage.

A decorated veteran Army remembers the courage and the loyalty that he observed from his fellow young men who took part or who were committed to their country and took part in the Vietnam War. These are among the positive virtues that the veterans learned during the war in Vietnam.

Richard Nixon wins the presidency; he promises law and order both at home and overseas.

France took control of Vietnam in the late 1800s; the most prominent was led by Ho Chi Minh, who founded Viet Minh.In 1945, Minh's forces took the capital of Hanoi, and he declared Vietnam an independent country. Geneva accords led to the division of Vietnam to North ND South by declaring a cease-fire. Diem's regime was known to be so corrupt, oppressive and unpopular; the resistance against Diem was engineered by Minh, who backed Viet Cong.

In 1963, U.S.A. backed a coup that overthrew Diem and installed a new leader. The new leader was as corrupt and as ineffective. The U.S wanted to bury the communist's forces of the Vietnam, but their troops were frustrated and demoralized by the guerilla attacks waged by the Vietnamese. Nixon promised to withdraw the U.S troops and hand over the management of the war effort to the South Vietnamese. Nixon authorized the bombing of the Viet Cong without the consent of the U.S congress which was a great mistake that led to pushing for the peace settlement.

Vietnam War revealed the fragility of human decency, people who fought on both sides during the war talk about crossing the lines. Sometimes those people who were deemed as enemies were hacked to death; people went to live in the houses of the people who had been killed. From these episodes, Burns talks about he knew the soldiers in all manner of ways in war and hearing them talk about engaging in terrible things and even criminal offenses.

Work cited

Lyon, P. (1967). Vietnam and the United States, Witness, War Without Guns: American Civilians in Rural Vietnam, The Lost Revolution: Vietnam 1945–1965 and South Vietnam: Nations Under Stress. International Affairs, 43(1), pp.185-186.

Mcmahon, R. (2010). Remembering, and Forgetting, the Vietnam War. Diplomatic History, 35(1), pp.163-169.

Hunt, D. (2011). Vietnam at war. Cold War History, 11(2), pp.282-283.

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