Vietnam: 50 Years Remembered

Featuring personal stories from veterans and detailing the battles, strategy, and politics of a war that consumed multiple U.S. Presidents, Vietnam: 50 Years Remembered is a chronicle of the tragedy that tested the strength of the United States and forever changed the social and political landscape of the world. In 1965, the U.S. officially became involved in the conflict in Southeast Asia, where decades of turmoil had been building since the beginning of World War II.

The fall of French Indochina and the spread of Communism catapulted the country into one of its longest and deadliest wars. French colonies in Indochina fell to the Imperial Japanese after Nazi Germany occupied France during World War II. After the Japanese were defeated, the power vacuum left in the Indochina region set the stage for a major conflict. As it became clear the South Vietnamese security forces would not provide adequate security for the US Air Force bases in Southeast Asia, President Lyndon Johnson authorized the beginning of the ground war.

During the course of the war, the National Liberation Front captured thousands of US soldiers, some of whom were never recovered. They were used as part of Nixon’s justification for continuing the war. The political costs of the war began to add up for the Nixon Administration, and the South Vietnamese were now on their own. The American troops were home, but there was little celebration. The scars of the war would linger in American culture for decades to come.