How were the Australians in Vietnam

Fallen US soldiers in Vietnam 1961-75

Published by Bernhard Weidenbach, 01/20/2021
Around 58,000 US soldiers died in the Vietnam War between 1961 and 1975. The year with the most losses in this Vietnamese civil war between North and South Vietnam, at whose side the United States of America intervened in the war, was 1968 with almost 16,600 deaths (year of the Tet Offensive). There are no concrete figures for the killed Vietnamese soldiers and civilians; the estimates range from one to five million deaths.
After the two world wars, the Vietnam War was the war with the most losses in the 20th and 21st centuries for the USA.

Causes of war

The war in Vietnam began as the Indochina War (1946 to 1954) between the colonial power France and the Vietnamese independence movement. In 1954 Vietnam was divided into a communist-ruled north and an anti-communist South Vietnam, which led from 1955 to a civil war in the south, started by the communist National Liberation Force (NLF) and supported by North Vietnam. The USA, which was in the Cold War with the Soviet Union, feared a communist takeover of South Vietnam ("domino theory") and thereupon supported South Vietnam with military aid and advisers.

Escalation and withdrawal

From 1961 President Kennedy doubled the number of military advisors in South Vietnam. When his successor Lyndon B. Johnson dispatched regular combat units to Southeast Asia in 1965, losses skyrocketed and culminated in the 1968 Tet Offensive. In 1969 Richard Nixon was elected president, who gradually withdrew the ground troops and increasingly relied on air strikes, in 1973 the USA declared a ceasefire and withdrew its soldiers. In 1975 the South Vietnamese capital Saigon (today: Ho Chi Minh City) fell to the North Vietnamese troops.

Further information on historical topics can be found here.

Number of US soldiers killed in the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1975