Vietnam War protest in Washington DC April 1971

By Aisha Tabala, Age 11

The Vietnam War began on November 1, 1955. The United States started sending troops to South Vietnam in 1965 to fight the Viet Cong, the pro-North force in South Vietnam, which was armed by North Vietnam and supported by the communist nations, the Soviet Union and China. The U.S. got involved in the war as part of a strategy to contain communism during the Cold War.

Around 2 million young American men were drafted and sent to fight in the war, sometimes against their will. The war caused much destruction and devastation to Vietnam and its people.

There were about 2 million innocent Vietnamese civilians who were killed during the war in the North and the South. The war also took the lives of nearly 60,000 Americans.

This destructive war prompted anti-Vietnam War protests worldwide. One of the largest protests took place on November 15, 1969. Almost half a million people attended the mostly peaceful demonstration in Washington, D.C.

The growing antiwar protests prompted then-U.S. President Richard Nixon to start reducing U.S. ground troops in Vietnam after 1969.

After 20 years of war and protest, the war ended on April 30, 1975.

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Glossary

Communism: A political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating for a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.

Cold War: The Cold War was a long period of tension between “Western countries” such as in Western Europe, as well as the United States, Canada and Australia, who were considered capitalist democracies, and the communist countries of Eastern Europe and China. Western countries followed the lead of the United States, and Eastern Europe was led by the Soviet Union. There were a number of Cold War battles throughout Asia, Latin America and Africa. The United States and the Soviet Union (of which Russia was a major nation) became known as superpowers and supported many small conflicts taking place around the world in this political environment.

Protest: A statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something.

Drafted: Select a person or group of people and bring them somewhere for a certain purpose, often used in the military. ________________________________

 

This part of our coverage: THE REVOLUTIONARY LIBERATION STRUGGLES OF 1969. Read other stories from this series.