Eight documentaries chronicling the entire course of the Vietnam War.
Into the Quagmire 1954-1964 After the 1954 French defeat in Vietnam, the country was divided between a communist north and capitalist oriented south. The north was eager to unify the country and rid it of western influence. The Americans saw this as part of the great global communist conspiracy for world domination and slowly moved forces into the south. The Vietnam War had begun. Next Stop is Vietnam 1964-1966 In 1964, the U.S. had just 21,000 troops in Vietnam, mostly advisors or specialist troops. By the summer of 1966 that number had risen to 430,000 and many of these were conscripts. In '64 American military theorists speculated that U.S. technology and sheer strength of numbers could win the war, particularly through the use of airpower. It was a disastrous miscalculation. America's War 1966-1967 The United States was deeply committed to the war by 1966. Nearly 200,000 troops were 'in country'. The U.S. had virtually taken military control away from the South Vietnamese. The main strategy was to employ 'search and destroy' missions to kill as many enemy fighters as possible. High body counts, not solving Vietnam's political problems, was the goal. The Bloody Slog Towards Tet 1968 As January and the new year of 1968 approached, American generals boasted of victory. Commander William Westmoreland said he could 'see the light at the end of the tunnel'. For the Americans in the jungles, that light was often the muzzle flashes of enemy AK-47s. Statistics said the Americans were winning, but the number of body bags heading stateside kept growing. The Fading Light 1969-1970 In 1969 Richard Nixon became president and wanted the South Vietnamese Army to take more responsibility in combat. U.S. forces turned to large scale offensive operations away from population centers, aimed at invading North Vietnamese soldiers. The Americans were trying to get out, desperate to achieve Peace with Honor, but little of either could be found in Vietnam. Dust Off 1970-1975 By 1971, America was in retreat from Vietnam, its air force providing covering fire, as troops withdrew. They would be leaving their South Vietnamese allies to their own fate. The end would soon come. In April 1973, a mass of North Vietnamese forces crossed the border and swept down on Saigon, almost without a fight. The 10,000 Day War was over. Prisoners of War Hundreds of American servicemen, mostly aircrew, were POWs in North Vietnam between 1964 and 1973. The highest ranking and longest held among them was navy officer James Stockdale. He endured much pain and torture during his seven year captivity but proved virtually unbreakable under the harshest of conditions. He would be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. An Assasin's View They were the 'bad boys' of the military in Vietnam, the men who made up the Special Forces. The Army Green Berets, the Navy Seals and the Air Force Commandoes. They had learned from the British Special Air Service in Malaya the techniques of winning a guerrilla war; winning hearts and minds. But they could also be cold-blooded killers when called upon for 'special missions'.