Vietnam: A Television History

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    T Willy

    First, a handful of advisors. Then the Marines. Finally, an army of half a million. That was the Vietnam War. It was an undeclared war. A war without front lines or clear objectives. A war against an elusive enemy.

    A war.

    Originally aired in 1983, co-produced of WGBH Boston, Central Independent Television/UK and Antenne-2 France and in association with LHE Productions, Vietnam: A Television History delves into the most controversial war of the 20th century, a war that spanned over four countries, resulting in 58,000 American deaths and untold numbers of civilian casualties. From the end of World War II to the last last flight from the American Embassy in Saigon in 1975, this series puts a tremendous amount of detail in documenting the conflict from a number of perspectives.

    The series is packed with interviews, and includes top ranking politicians, military commanders, civil rights activists, GI’s, CIA agents, South and North Vietnamese soldiers, American citizens, people who saw and lived the horror.

    It’s an old series, but DVDs are available online. I personally recommend this to anyone who enjoys studying history, but there are a lot of things preppers can learn too!

    The series is quite violent. There’s lots of blood. Many of the video clips give a very realistic look at what it’s like to be in a city as rockets and artillery rain down from above, or in the dense jungle, firing your weapon at an enemy you can’t even see. Panicked crowds. Aggressive protests. Crying children. Loneliness. Despair. Death. You will feel it all.


    I) Roots of a War (1945-1953): World War II is over. Vietnam has survived the Japanese invasion of Indochina, but now the French want to claim the coastal nation as their colony. Tensions rise as cries for independence resound around the world. Charismatic leader Ho Chi Min aims to give them just that, using the American declaration of 1776 to model his own.

    II) The First Vietnam War (1946-1954): Political negotiations with the French have collapsed. The Vietnamese are now fully committed to drive them out. Being at the height of the Cold War, the USA orders special forces units who have been in the country for decades, to start investigating reports of communist activity in the nation, fearing the Soviet Union might be involved. They leave military actions to the French, who have underestimated their enemy.

    III) America’s Mandarin (1964-1965): JFK is dead.The French have been defeated. Vietnam is now split into Communist North and Democratic South. The new President, Lindon B. Johnson, sends military advisors to assist the South beef up its military strength to fight the North, who seek to unite the country under one flag: theirs.

    IV) LBJ Goes to War (1965-1967): The Golf of Tonkin incident has given LBJ the excuse he needs to commit US military strength in South Vietnam. Tens of thousands of troops pour into the country. The first major battle takes place on November 14th, at the La Drang Valley. Colonel Harold Moore commands the 7th Cavalry against nearly 2,000 NVA troops over a grueling three day battle. The nightmare has only begun.

    V) America Takes Charge (1965-1967): Military escalation continues in the south, with American forces taking the brunt of the NVA advance.

    VI) America’s Enemy: This episode delves into the inner workings of the NVA (the professional communist military) and the Viet Cong (their covert, guerilla force), and their tactics.

    VII) Tet (1968): TV viewers at home watch in horror as every US military base in South Vietnam is hit simultaneously in the largest NVA/VC assault to date. Enemy forces manage to enter the American embassy in Saigon, but the attack is ultimately crushed. Nevertheless, the people are now demanding withdrawal.

    VIII) Vietnamizing the War (1969-1973): As politicians in Washington try to desperately figure out how to appease the angry American people, the GI’s train their Southern allies in hopes that, soon, they will be able to handle the war on their own.

    VIX) Cambodia and Laos: Two nations east of Vietnam have tried to remain neutral throughout the fighting. In Laos, communist sympathizers allow the Viet Cong to stockpile supplies in key areas along the border. The US beings a covert supply run to help anti-communist forces eliminate them, and provides air support. But political heat forces President Nixon to withdraw this aid. The anti-communit Laosians are defeated by the communist Pathet Lao. Meanwhile, further south, Cambodia’s era of peace and prosperity ends in disaster as the Khmer Rouge (commanded by Pol Pot) take power, after defeating anti-communist forces in the capital. They then order the people to leave their homes, claiming the Americans are going to bomb the city. The people listen. Traumatized by previous attacks, they follow their new government into the country side. The civil war is over. Starvation and slaughter await.

    VX) Peace is At Hand (1968-1973): Americans want out of the war yesterday. Peace talks in Paris commence, in hopes that the US can withdraw, leaving South Vietnam intact, and somehow appease the Communists, who make it abundantly clear they will not give up in their quest to unite the nation.

    VXI) Homefront USA: Social conditions in the US are deteriorating rapidly. The Civil Rights Act, Dr King’s assassination, race riots, the draft, mass protests. It seems Vietnam is everywhere.

    VXII) End of the Tunnel (1973-1975): Richard Nixon resigns as the Water Gate scandal plagues his administration. Gerald Ford is in charge now, and any hope of America staying in Vietnam is gone. The army of the South crumbles. On April 30th, 1975, NVA forces capture Saigon. It’s finally over.

    VXIII) Legacies: The world breathes a sigh as the fog of war lifts. America collects her dead and wounded as she reexamines her place in the world, and the lessons that MUST be learned if she is to have any part of its future.

    Here’s a link for the first episode. Only two of them are on YouTube, but I hope this is enough to get you interested!” onclick=”;return false

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