When Did the Vietnam War Start and End?

When Did the Vietnam War Start and End?

Possible Answers:

It started in 1954 (the same year the Algerian War for Independence from France began) and ended in 1975. It went on longer in Vietnam until the North Vietnamese took over South Vietnam and made the entire country communist governed. The Vietnamese had been fighting for a lot longer than before the United States stepped in to help.

1. If one could think about direct army involvement then it would be Oct. 27, 1932 U.S. establishes the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Indochina (MAAG) in Saigon to aid the French military (the French had been fighting communist rebels in Vietnam, their pre-WWII colony, since 1945 A.D.).

2. If one could think about direct combat engagement then it would be November 1, 1955 — The U.S. re designates MACG, Indochina, as MACG, Vietnam to specify its new direct combat advisory role with the North Vietnamese Army. The U.S. essentially took over the advisory role from the French, who were leaving Vietnam after their defeat at Diem Bi en Po in 1954. The Department of Defense views this date as the latest qualifying date for inclusion on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In fact this allows US military personnel to use live weapons in Vietnam aka ‘to win’!

3. March 1959 — Ho Chi Minh declares a People’s War to unite all of Vietnam under his leadership. His Politburo orders a changeover to an all-out military struggle. From the communist perspective, the “Vietnam War” against the U.S. has now officially started.

4. December 11, 1961 — US. Aircraft carrier “Core” arrives in Saigon with 65 helicopters and 4000 air and ground crewmen assigned to operate them for the North Vietnamese Army. Also, US. Pilots start to train & fly support missions with the North Vietnamese Air Force. This really marks the first larger scale participation of U.S. military “advisers.

5. August 7, 1964 — In response to the incidents involving U.S. naval vessels USS. Maddox and the USS. Turner Joy, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passes the “Gulf of Ton-kin Resolution,” allowing the President “to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force” to prevent further attacks against U.S. forces. Many people view this as the “official” start of the war, although there was never a declaration of war.

6. March 8, 1965 — The first U.S. combat troops arrive in Vietnam, as 3,500 Marines land at China Beach to defend the American air base at Da Nang. They join 23,000 American military advisers already in Vietnam. The arrival of combat troops is considered by some the start of the war, although American military advisers have been in Vietnam for over 10 years.

Here is more input and answers from others:

  • For the US, the start date would have to be around July of 1961. My battalion was on patrol in the South China Sea when President Kennedy ordered us to Laos. We were to be issued live ammo and to wait for further instructions. We floated in the South China Sea for several months before we were ordered back to our home base of Okinawa. I was with 2nd bat. 9th Marines on the USS Paul Revere when all of this happened.
  • The US military typically views the beginning of its official military deployment in 1961, when we sent 400 helicopters (as well as the crews to fly & maintain them) to South Vietnam. Others point to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the subsequent massive build-up of US forces in 1964 as the real beginning of the “war.” Of course, American military “advisers” had been in South Vietnam since the late 1950’s.
  • After the French defeat in 1954 the communists agreed to a partitioned country. The US. sent advisers to Vietnam in late 1959 and early 1960 under President Kennedy. It escalated from this point on until the US. withdrew in 1973. Vietnam was at war from 1945 until 1973

Confused?  I should think so.

This is a difficult question, because there was no official declaration of war. But here are some helpful dates. When the war “started” often depends on which event people are referring to: POSSIBLE START DATES FOR THE WAR:

1. Sept. 27, 1950 — U.S. establishes the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Indochina (MAAG) in Saigon to aid the French military (the French had been fighting communist rebels in Vietnam, their pre-WWII colony, since 1945).

2. November 1, 1955 — The U.S. designates MAAG, Indochina, as MAAG, Vietnam to specify its new direct combat advisory role with the South Vietnamese Army. The U.S. essentially took over the advisory role from the French, who were leaving Vietnam after their defeat at Diem Bien Phu in 1954. The Department of Defense views this date as the earliest qualifying date for inclusion on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

3. March 1959 — Ho Chi Minh declares a People’s War to unite all of Vietnam under his leadership. His Politburo orders a changeover to an all-out military struggle. From the communist’s perspective, the “Vietnam War” against the U.S. has now officially started.

4. December 11, 1961 — U.S. aircraft carrier “Core” arrives in Saigon with 33 helicopters and 400 air and ground crewmen assigned to operate them for the South Vietnamese Army. Also, U.S. pilots start to train & fly support missions with the South Vietnamese Air Force. This really marks the first larger scale      participation of U.S. military “advisors”.

5. August 7, 1964 — In response to the incidents involving U.S> naval vessels U.S.S. Maddox and the U.S.S. Turner Joy, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passes the “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,” allowing the President “to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force” to prevent further attacks against U.S. forces. Many people view this as the “official” start of the war, although there was never a declaration of war.

6. March 8, 1965 — The first U.S. combat troops arrive in Vietnam, as 3,500 Marines land at China Beach to defend the American air base at Da Nang. They join 23,000 American military advisors already in Vietnam. The arrival of combat troops is considered by some the start of the war, although American military advisors have been in Vietnam for over 10 years.

SOURCE: wiki.answers.com

2 thoughts on “When Did the Vietnam War Start and End?

  1. Guys: Your “statement” about the start of the Vietnam War is not completely correct. I studied it at UCSB in the ’70s, both in my major of Asian and African History and in US Military History, when I took ROTC. Our involvement started during the Truman Administration, when we provided the French with about 75% of the “costs”, as we wanted the French to get back on their economical feet, with “raw materials” (selling Vietnamese rice), so they wouldn’t be taken (both France and Italy, as well as Greece were on the edge) over by the communists shortly after WWII. Initially, our OSS (CIA forerunner) blessed Uncle Ho’s independence, with a “flyover”, as he was giving his “Declaration of Independence” speech, But shortly, we backed the French return to Vietnam. Our “troop involvement” was in 1956, 2 year after the Diem Bien Pho debacle. We initially said the we would back, though not sign, the Geneva Accords, but as we saw that Ho would win the election, both North and South, in 1956, we torpedoed it and backed Emperor Bao Di. But he didn’t want to rule, so he called in the powerful “Catholic” Diem/Nu family, in the South to at least declare their independence from the North, and so it went. With that said, and I know most will not believe this, BUT our underlying reason for “involvement” in Vietnam, after 1954, was not just the “China Lobby’;s” “egg on their face”, after Mao’s take over of China or the “Domino theory”, but “OIL”, and after 40 years of research, I can safely say that I can prove it, but that is for another “comment”.

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