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Реферат: Вьетнамская война

At the Vienna conference in 1961 Kennedy and Khrushchev had agreed on the
establishment of a neutralist government in Laos. In South Vietnam, however,
increased pressure by the Communist-dominated nationalists known as the
Vietcong led Kennedy to expand US military aid for the government of Ngo Dinh
Diem. On November 1, 1963, Diem’s unpopular regime was deposed and Diem was
assassinated with tacit US approval. The succeeding military junta received
immediate US recognition.
Vietnam War, military struggle fought in Vietnam from 1959 to 1975. It began
as a determined attempt by Communist guerrillas (the so-called Vietcong) in
the South, backed by Communist North Vietnam, to overthrow the government of
South Vietnam. The struggle widened into a war between South Vietnam and
North Vietnam and ultimately into a limited international conflict. The
United States and some 40 other countries supported South Vietnam by
supplying troops and munitions, and the USSR and the People's Republic of
China furnished munitions to North Vietnam and the Vietcong. On both sides,
however, the burden of the war fell mainly on the civilians.
The war also engulfed  Laos, where the Communist Pathet Lao fought the
government from 1965 to 1973 and succeeded in abolishing the monarchy in
1975; and Cambodia, where the government surrendered in 1975 to the Communist
Khmer Rouge.
This article is concerned primarily with the military aspects of the war; for
further discussion of the historical and political issues involved, see 
Vietnam: History.
(1945-1954). The war developed as a sequel to the struggle (1946-1954)
between the French, who were the colonial rulers of Indo-China before World
War II, and the Communist-led Vietminh, or League for the Independence of
Vietnam, founded and headed by the revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh. Having
emerged as the strongest of the nationalist groups that fought the Japanese
occupation of French Indo-China during World War II, the league was
determined to resist the re-establishment of French colonial rule and to
implement political and social changes.
Following the surrender of Japan to the Allies in August 1945, Vietminh
guerrillas seized the capital city of Hanoi and forced the abdication of
Emperor Bao Dai. On September 2 they declared Vietnam to be independent and
announced the creation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, commonly called
North Vietnam, with Ho Chi Minh as president. France officially recognized
the new state, but the subsequent inability of the Vietminh and France to
reach satisfactory political and economic agreements led to armed conflict
beginning in December 1946. With French backing Bao Dai set up the state of
Vietnam, commonly called South Vietnam, on July 1, 1949, and established a
new capital at Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City).
The following year, the  United States officially recognized the Saigon
government, and to assist it, US President Harry S. Truman dispatched a
military assistance advisory group to train South Vietnam in the use of US
weapons. In the meantime, the two main adversaries in Vietnam—France and the
Vietminh—were steadily building up their forces. The decisive battle of the war
developed in the spring of 1954 as the Vietminh attacked the French fortress of
Điên Biên Phu (also known as Điên Biên) in
northern Vietnam. On May 8, 1954, after a 55-day siege, the French surrendered.
On the same day, both North and South Vietnamese delegates met with those of
France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, the United States, Communist China,
and the two neighbouring states, Laos and Cambodia, in Geneva, to discuss the
future of all of Indo-China. Under accords drawn up at the conference, France
and North Vietnam agreed to a truce. It was further agreed to partition the
country temporarily along the 17th parallel, with the north going to the
Communists and the south placed under the control of the Saigon government.
The agreement stipulated that elections for reunification of the country
would be held in 1956.
Neither the United States nor the Saigon government agreed to the Geneva
accords, but the United States announced it would do nothing to undermine the
agreement. Once the French had withdrawn from Vietnam, the United States
moved to bolster the Saigon government militarily and, as asserted by some
observers, engaged in covert activities against the Hanoi government. On
October 24, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower offered South Vietnam direct
economic aid, and the following February, US military advisers were
dispatched to train South Vietnamese forces. American support for the Saigon
government continued even after Bao Dai was deposed, in a referendum on
October 23, 1955, and South Vietnam was made a republic, with Ngo Dinh Diem
as president. One of Diem's first acts was to announce that his government
would refuse to hold reunification elections, on the grounds that the people
of North Vietnam would not be free to express their will and because of the
probability of falsified votes (although Diem and other South Vietnamese
officials were also accused of fraudulent election practices).
The position taken by Diem won the backing of the United States. The
Communist government in Hanoi, however, indicated its determination to
reunify the nation under their rule. The truce arranged at Geneva began to
crumble and by January 1957, the International Control Commission set up to
implement the Geneva accords was reporting armistice violations by both North
and South Vietnam. Throughout the rest of the year, Communist sympathizers
who had gone north after partition began returning south in increasing
numbers. Called Vietcong, they began launching attacks on US military
installations that had been established, and in 1959 began their guerrilla
attacks on the Diem government.
The attacks were intensified in 1960, the year in which North Vietnam
proclaimed its intention “to liberate South Vietnam from the ruling yoke of
the US imperialists and their henchmen”. The statement served to reinforce
the belief that the Vietcong were being directed by Hanoi. On November 10,
the Saigon government charged that regular North Vietnamese troops were
taking a direct part in Vietcong attacks in South Vietnam. To show that the
guerrilla movement was independent, however, the Vietcong set up their own
political arm, known as the National Liberation Front (NLF), with its
headquarters in Hanoi.
In the face of the deteriorating situation, the United States restated its
support for Saigon. In April 1961, a treaty of amity and economic relations
was signed with South Vietnam, and in December, President John F. Kennedy
pledged to help South Vietnam maintain its independence. Subsequently, US
economic and military assistance to the Diem government increased
significantly. In December 1961, the first US troops, consisting of 400
uniformed army personnel, arrived in Saigon in order to operate two
helicopter companies; the United States proclaimed, however, that the troops
were not combat units as such. A year later, US military strength in Vietnam
stood at 11,200.
The Diem government, meanwhile, proved unable to defeat the Communists or to
cope with growing unrest among South Vietnamese Buddhists and other religious
groups. Anti-government agitation among the Buddhists was especially strong,
with many burning themselves to death as a sign of protest. Still others were
placed under arrest, the government charging that the Buddhist groups had
become infiltrated by politically hostile individuals, including Communists.
Although this contention was supported by outside observers, including a US
fact-finding team, religious friction between the Buddhists and the Catholic-
led government was at least as powerful a force as political conflict.
On November 1, 1963, the Diem regime was overthrown in a military coup. Diem
and his brother and political adviser, Ngo Dinh Nhu, were executed. The
circumstances surrounding the coup were not fully clear at the time. In the
summer of 1971, however, with the publication by the US press of a secret
Pentagon study of the war (see Controversy in the United States below), it
was revealed that the coup had been known to be imminent and that the United
States was prepared to support a successor government.
The government that replaced the Diem regime was a revolutionary council
headed by Brigadier General Duong Van Minh. A series of other coups followed,
and in the 18 months after Diem's overthrow South Vietnam had ten different
governments. None of these proved capable of dealing effectively with the
country's military situation. A military council under General Nguyen Van
Thieu and General Nguyen Cao Ky was finally created in 1965, and it restored
basic political order. Later, in September 1967, elections were held and
Thieu became president of South Vietnam.
Unlike conventional wars, the war in Vietnam had no defined front lines. Much
of it consisted of hit-and-run attacks, with the guerrillas striking at
government outposts and retreating into the jungle. In the early 1960s some
North Vietnamese troops, however, began to infiltrate into South Vietnam to
help the Vietcong, and supplies sent to Hanoi from the USSR and China were
sent south down the so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail. The war began to escalate in
the first week of August 1964, when North Vietnamese torpedo boats were
reported to have attacked two US destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. Acting on
the resolution passed on August 7 by the US Senate (the so-called Tonkin Gulf
Resolution), authorizing increased military involvement, President Lyndon B.
Johnson ordered jets to South Vietnam and the retaliatory bombing of military
targets in North Vietnam. From 1964 to 1968 General William C. Westmoreland
was commander of US forces in   South Vietnam; he was replaced in 1968 by
General Creighton Abrams.
In February 1965, US planes began regular bombing raids over North Vietnam. A
halt was ordered in May in the hope of initiating peace talks, but when North
Vietnam rejected all negotiations, the bombings were resumed. In the meantime,
the United States continued to build up its troop strength in South Vietnam. On
March 6, 1965, a brigade of American marines landed at Đa Nãng,
south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that had originally been set up at the
time of partition. The marines, the first US combat ground-force units to serve
in the country, brought the number in the US military forces in Vietnam to some
27,000. By the end of the year American combat strength was nearly 200,000.
While continuing the military build-up in Vietnam, the United States made
another attempt to end the war. In December 1965, President Johnson again
halted the bombing of North Vietnam in an effort to achieve a peaceful
settlement. Again he was unsuccessful, and the raids were resumed. In June
1966, US planes began bombing major installations near Hanoi and the
neighbouring port of Haiphong, both of which had hitherto been spared.
In October 1966, government representatives from the United States,
Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea, and the Philippines—all of
which had contributed troops to South Vietnam—met in  Manila and pledged
their withdrawal within six months after North Vietnam abandoned the war. The
offer was rejected by North Vietnam. In June 1967, President Johnson met with
Soviet Premier Aleksey N. Kosygin and sought his help in bringing Hanoi to
the peace table. The war, however, dragged on.
Two months after the meeting, President Johnson announced that US forces in
Vietnam would be further increased to 525,000 by 1968. At the same time, US
planes extended their bombings of North Vietnam to within 16 km (10 mi) of
the Chinese border. Shortly thereafter, President Johnson again offered to
stop the bombardment of North Vietnam provided peace talks would follow. As
in the past, Hanoi rejected the offer.
The war continued, and casualty figures rose. In November 1967, the Pentagon
announced that total US casualties in Vietnam since the beginning of 1961 had
reached 15,058 killed and 109,527 wounded. The mounting toll was accompanied
by a growing call within the   United States for an end to the war, the cost
of which, apart from the loss of life, was estimated by the president at $25
billion per year.
From February 1965 to the end of all-out US involvement in 1973, South
Vietnamese forces mainly fought against the Vietcong guerrillas, while US and
allied troops fought the North Vietnamese in a war of attrition marked by
battles in such places as the Ia Dang Valley, Dak To, Loc Ninh, and Khe
Sanh—all victories for the non-Communist forces. During his 1967-68 campaign,
the North Vietnamese strategist, General Vo Nguyen Giap, launched the famous
Tet offensive (from the name of the Vietnamese lunar new year in mid-
February), a coordinated series of fierce attacks on more than 100 urban
targets. Despite its devastating psychological effect, the campaign, which
Giap hoped would be decisive, failed, and Vietcong forces were ultimately
driven back from most of the positions they had gained. In the fighting,
North Vietnam lost 85,000 of its best troops.
In spite of this US victory, however, by the early spring of 1968 much of the
American public had concluded that the war was unwinnable. On March 31
President Johnson announced a halt in US bombings over North Vietnam. (He
simultaneously announced that he would not be seeking re-election as
president.) The announcement, intended as a new peace gesture, evoked a
positive response from Hanoi, and in May peace talks between the United
States and North Vietnam opened in Paris. Later in the year, the talks were
expanded to include South Vietnam and the Vietcong NLF. The talks, however,
made no progress despite the fact that US raids on North Vietnam were
completely halted in November.
In 1969, within a few months after taking office, Johnson's successor,
President Richard M. Nixon, announced that 25,000 US troops would be
withdrawn from Vietnam by August 1969. Another withdrawal of 65,000 troops
was ordered by the end of the year. The programme, known as Vietnamization of
the war, came into effect, as President Nixon emphasized additional
responsibilities of the South Vietnamese. Neither the US troop reduction,
however, nor the death of North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh, on
September 3, 1969, served to break the stalemate in Paris; the North
Vietnamese delegates continued to insist upon complete US withdrawal as a
condition for peace.
In April 1970, US combat troops entered Cambodia following the political coup
there. Within three months, the US campaign in Cambodia ended, but air
attacks on North Vietnam were renewed.
By 1971 South Vietnamese forces were playing an increasing role in the war,
fighting in both Cambodia and Laos as well as in South Vietnam. At this
point, however, the Paris talks and the war itself were overshadowed by the
presidential election in South Vietnam. The chief contestants were Nguyen Van
Thieu, who was running for re-election, Vice-President Nguyen Cao Ky, and
General Duong Van Minh. Both Ky and Minh, after charging that the election
had been rigged, withdrew, and Thieu won another 4-year term.
Through the later months of 1971, American withdrawal continued. It
coincided, however, with a new military build-up in North Vietnam, thought to
be in preparation for a major drive down the Ho Chi Minh Trail into Laos and
Cambodia. Heavy US air attacks followed throughout the Indo-China war sector.
On the ground, meanwhile, Vietnamese Communist forces had launched massive
effective attacks against government forces in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and
Laos. It was feared also that  Hanoi might launch a major offensive in South
Vietnam's central highlands, timing the operation for the Tet observance.
Casualty figures in 1971 reflected the intensification of South Vietnam's own
fighting efforts against the Communists. While US deaths in Vietnam declined
dramatically to 1,380, compared to 4,221 in 1970, the Saigon forces, on the
other hand, suffered about 21,500 dead, some in Cambodia and Laos but the
majority in South Vietnam. The South Vietnamese claimed the enemy death toll
to be 97,000.
Before troop withdrawal,  US military strength in South Vietnam had peaked at
over 541,000 in 1969. In the United States itself, as military involvement
increased, the war issue had increasingly became highly controversial. A
peace movement developed and gathered momentum, organizing marches and
moratoriums against the war in major US cities. Accelerating this movement
was the issue of atrocities committed by US troops in   Vietnam. One widely
publicized case was the massacre of unarmed civilians at the village of My
Lai in 1968. Lieutenant William L. Calley, charged with responsibility for
their deaths, was found guilty by a military jury in 1971.
A major reinterpretation of US involvement in the Vietnam War was spurred by the
controversial publication in 1971 in the New York Times and other
newspapers of the so-called Pentagon Papers—a collection of classified US
government documents concerning the Vietnamese situation. The papers cast a
new, and to many, a dismaying, light on the US handling of the war and of the
peace negotiations through the 1960s.
On January 25, 1972, President Nixon publicly recounted the many proposals
that the administration had secretly put before the North Vietnamese during
the last two-and-a-half years. At the same time, he unveiled a new eight-
point plan for peace in Vietnam, including a new presidential election to be
held in South Vietnam.
The Nixon plan was followed by a revised version of a peace plan submitted by
the Vietcong in July 1971. The new version called for the immediate
resignation of President Thieu, to be followed by negotiations with the
Saigon administration once it had abandoned what the Vietcong described as
its policies of waging war and repression. The same insistence on the
immediate resignation of the South Vietnamese president was voiced by Hanoi
through the North Vietnamese delegation in Paris, which announced that US
prisoners of war would be released only when the United States had withdrawn
its support from the Thieu administration and the war was brought to an end.
South Vietnamese forces, meanwhile, conducted three drives into Cambodia
during February 1972. The United States announced that it would no longer
disclose the number of planes involved in raids over   North Vietnam. Peace
talks were broken off on March 23.
The tide of the war took an ominous turn for the worse one week later. On
March 30 North Vietnam launched a massive offensive south across the DMZ into
Quang Tri Province. In April, the United States retaliated with the first
deep-penetration bombing raids over the north since 1967.
On May 8 President Nixon ordered the mining of major ports of North Vietnam,
notably Haiphong, to destroy enemy supply routes. Air strikes were directed
against North Vietnamese railway lines, causing, as a Hanoi newspaper
admitted, serious economic problems. Quang Tri City, after being held by the
Communists for four-and-a-half months, was recaptured by South Vietnamese
forces on September 15.
As the war continued into the second half of 1972, secret peace meetings were
held at intervals in Paris between Henry Kissinger, assistant to the
president for national security affairs, and the North Vietnamese delegate Le
Duc Tho, beginning on October 8. A breakthrough was achieved when, for the
first time, the Communist side expressed acceptance of a peace plan
separating the military from the political settlement of the war,
relinquishing its demand for a coalition government in South Vietnam, and
agreeing to a formula for simultaneous discussion of the situation in Laos
and Cambodia. On October 26 Kissinger disclosed a nine-point peace plan, but
technical issues remained unresolved, and President Thieu of South Vietnam
called the plan a sellout.
With the resumption of talks between Kissinger and Tho on December 4, general
anticipation of a final, signed agreement was perhaps the highest it had been
since the beginning of the   Paris negotiations in 1968. But the talks
abruptly collapsed on December 16, and the following day President Nixon
ordered further massive bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong. Subsequent night raids
by B-52s and attack planes were termed the most severe aerial assaults in all
of history, and the reaction of both the American people and the world to the
sudden reescalation of the bitter conflict was for the most part one of
shock. The air attacks also resulted in the loss of 15 B-52s and in the loss
or capture of 93 US Air Force personnel.
Despite the stepping up of US bombing, both sides appeared anxious to salvage
the progress made in negotiation. On December 29, the United States announced
a halt to the bombing above the 20th parallel, effective the next day.
With the new year came the resumption of the secret peace meetings in Paris.
Sensing progress in the first days, President Nixon ordered a halt to all
bombing, mining, and artillery fire in North Vietnam. After six days of
conferring, Kissinger and Tho met once again on January 23, 1973, and, on
that evening, President Nixon announced over nationwide television that
agreement on all terms for a formal ceasefire had finally been reached.
On January 27, in Paris, delegations representing the United States, South
Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the Provisional Revolutionary Communist
Government of South Vietnam signed an Agreement on Ending the War and
Restoring Peace in Vietnam. The ceasefire officially went into effect on
January 28. Both the United States and North Vietnam asserted that there were
no secret peace terms.
The peace accord called for complete cessation of hostilities; withdrawal of
all US and allied forces from South Vietnam within 60 days of the signing;
return of all captured military personnel by both sides at 15-day intervals
within 60 days; recognition of the DMZ as “only provisional and not a
political or territorial boundary”; an international control commission
(composed of representatives of Canada, Hungary, Indonesia, and Poland) to
oversee implementation of the peace; and provision for an international
conference to be held within 30 days. The accord allowed some 145,000 North
Vietnamese troops to remain in South Vietnam, but with limitation on their
future replacement and supplies.
By the end of March 1973, all US fighting forces had been withdrawn. Although
President Nixon had apparently assured the Thieu government that US forces
would step in to support them in the event of a major treaty violation,
further military assistance to South Vietnam became politically impossible.
One of the reasons for this was the concurrent outbreak of the Watergate
Fighting between Vietnamese antagonists died down shortly after the ceasefire,
only to be renewed as each side attempted to hold or expand its military
positions. During 1974 fighting escalated, with major engagements occurring
throughout the year. US military aid was drastically cut, undermining the South
Vietnamese position. In December the North Vietnamese and their southern allies
launched a major offensive that quickly resulted in unprecedented success. The
government of South Vietnam lost control of numerous important cities; and by
the time that Huê was captured in mid-March 1975, the war had become a
rout, with a mass evacuation of remaining US personnel. On April 30, the
capital city of Saigon was captured, and the Republic of Vietnam surrendered
unconditionally to the Provisional Revolutionary Government.
The Vietnam War marked a turning point in the history of modern conventional
warfare both in the extent of guerrilla and antiguerrilla combat involved and
in the increased reliance on helicopters, which afforded mobility in a
difficult terrain. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Vietnam
War was essentially a people's war; because guerrilla fighters were not
easily distinguished from non-combatants and because most civilians were
mobilized into some sort of active participation, the civilian populace of
Vietnam suffered heavily, in unprecedented numbers. The extensive use of
napalm by US forces maimed and killed many thousands of civilians, and the
employment of defoliants to destroy heavy ground cover devastated the ecology
of an essentially agricultural country.
As a result of more than eight years of these methods of warfare, it is
estimated that more than 2 million Vietnamese were killed, 3 million wounded,
and hundreds of thousands of children orphaned. It has been estimated that
about 12 million people became refugees. Between April 1975 and July 1982,
approximately 1,218,000 were resettled in more than 16 countries. About
500,000, the so-called boat people, tried to flee Vietnam by sea; according
to rough estimates, 10 to 15 per cent of these died, and those who survived
the great hardships of their voyages were eventually faced with immigration
barriers, and quotas even in the countries that agreed to accept them for
In the Vietnam War US casualties rose to a total of 57,685 killed and about
153,303 wounded. At the time of the ceasefire agreement there were 587 US
military and civilian prisoners of war, all of whom were subsequently
released. A current unofficial estimate puts the number of personnel still
unaccounted for in the neighbourhood of 2,500.