The main reason for this was the so-called Ho Chi Minh trail, a supply line that stretched along the spine of the entire country that enabled the communist powers in the north to supply the communist guerrillas the Viet Cong in the south. However, most of this road network was actually located in neighbouring Cambodia and also ran through parts of Laos.
The regular bombing of both countries took place under the orders of American presidents Lyndon Johnson in office —69 and Richard Nixon — Unlisted CIA plans black ops were also carried out. They were unofficial and illegal , as America had never formally declared war or confirmed to the public that combat operations were taking place in either Cambodia or Laos. The instability caused by this unofficial military activity allowed the communists of North Vietnam to help support a communist revolution and civil war in Cambodia.
This would lead to the formation of the Khmer Rouge regime in power from —79 , which was responsible for the infamous Cambodian genocide. The country had never been split like this before; the two areas were artificial, with no natural boundary between them, so it was highly likely that one or both sides would attempt to reunite the country by force. However, the North was backed by communist China and the Soviet Union, and the South was backed by the west.
But in practical terms, with respect to both finances and equipment, it was America which supported the South.
Vietnam became a testing ground for weapons. Similarly, while the AK had been in use for nearly 20 years, this was the first time it was used wholesale against the American M The AK, with the larger clip of bullets 30 versus 20 and fewer moving parts, meant that it rarely jammed and was the perfect jungle ambush weapon. America and others feared that after China and North Korea had fallen to communism, Vietnam might well fall, too. Would Singapore or Australia fall?
Some of the grimmest stories about equipment malfunctions during the Vietnam War had to do with the M It was shipped from the US initially with incompatible ammunition, meaning that after firing only a few shots the gun would jam. Several dead Americans were found in the jungle next to their stripped-down rifles. They had attempted to dismantle, clean and rebuild their weapons under fire in order to try and shoot back.
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Similarly, the new Chinook helicopters were prone to catastrophic failures. It transpired that soldiers were overloading the cargo bays. Ground staff were filling the helicopters to capacity with heavy equipment, assuming the double-rotor aircraft could take it.
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Multiple Chinooks crashed, killing their crews, because of this fundamental fault. Tet is the biggest holiday of the year in Vietnam, and in there was an agreed ceasefire so that everyone could celebrate. Not all comments posted.
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This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. The United States got involved to prevent South Vietnam from falling into communist hands. At first, the U. Ho led the North, whereas the U. Elections were planned to reunite the country within two years, but Diem, with U.
Determined to prevent South Vietnam from falling into communist hands, the United States propped up Diem with billions of dollars in aid, as well as increasing numbers of military advisers. Yet their support for South Vietnam never wavered, no matter who occupied the White House. At first, the United States largely operated behind the scenes.
Johnson to commit combat troops and launch a massive bombing campaign, and U. By the time American forces finally withdrew in , about 2. The French and American experiences in Vietnam differed in many respects. Despite being in bad economic shape at the time, newly Communist China aided Ho during the war with the French, and did so again during the war with the Americans, providing weapons, expertise, and manpower.
For the most part, the Chinese stayed in the background, rebuilding areas destroyed by U. But perhaps their biggest role was preemptive: They made it clear that if U. Unlike during the Korean War , the United States yielded to this threat. As the original communist state, the Soviet Union aided North Vietnam, with increasing support in the late s. While the U.
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The two countries were undergoing a bitter split at the time. The Soviets even allegedly shot down some U. Overall, though, they pumped only about 3, troops into the conflict, far fewer than the Chinese.