[[caption-width-right:350:[[Film/ForrestGump We were all looking for someone named Charlie.]] [[Film/ApocalypseNow But Charlie don't surf.]]]]

->''"'You know you never defeated us on the battlefield,' said the American colonel. The North Vietnamese colonel pondered this remark a moment. 'That may be so,' he replied, 'but it is also irrelevant.'"''
-->-- '''Colonel Harry G. Summers Jr. and Colonel Tu''', April 1975, described in the book ''On Strategy''.

UsefulNotes/WorldWarI aside, the Indochinese[[note]] ("Indochina" here refers to the area of Southeast Asia that is today Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos)[[/note]] Wars of the 20th century were the most controversial and divisive conflicts that the Anglosphere has ever been a part of, and are a close third behind UsefulNotes/{{Algeria}} and UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne in the Francosphere. The first war was fought between the armed forces of the newly-minted Fourth French Republic and the guerrilla forces of several Indochinese nationalist and socialist groups. Post-independence, the second war was fought by the USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, several Southeast-Asian countries and the forces of South Vietnam to prop up the latter's dictatorship as a bulwark against communism. Against them were arrayed the Soviet- and somewhat Chinese-backed (with some assistance from Cuba and North Korea – it's complicated) forces of the communist dictatorship of North Vietnam, and the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam (better known as the Viet Cong) – a communist guerrilla force operating in South Vietnam. The ''[[NumberedSequels third]]'' Indochinese war was a series of conflicts from the late 1970s to the end of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar, including a war between Vietnam and anti-Vietnamese factions in Cambodia, and a short "punitive war" started by China against Vietnam followed by a decade-long border skirmish. But first, some simplified background details.


[[folder: Decolonization]]

Following the Sino-French War of 1884-5, which ended in a decisive French victory, UsefulNotes/{{Vietnam}} was no longer a tributary of the Empire of the Qing, and soon integrated into France's Asian colony of Indochine. The [[UsefulNotes/{{Thailand}} Kingdom of Siam]] was preserved as a neutral buffer state between Indochine and the [[UsefulNotes/TheRaj British Raj]], which had extended into modern-day Burma, though both sides shaved off ever-increasing strips of Siamese territory as desired. Dissatisfaction with French rule was long and hardly unjustified – the Third- (later Fourth) Republic and its entrepreneurs proved rather more interested in developing the region's economic potential (mines, rubber and tropical hardwood plantations, and general agricultural products) than educating the locals or providing healthcare and other public works for them. While ostensibly there for the Viet people's benefit and with [[BreadAndCircuses more than a bit of truth to that]] given the aforementioned developments and the fact that the French were more pragmatic and dog-petting than [[UsefulNotes/DynastiesFromShangToQing the usual occupiers]], a lot of people didn't buy it. Chinese occupation and warfare had dominated Vietnam for nearly a millennium on and off and had imprinted on Vietnamese culture, which meant that huge swaths of the Vietnamese population had a tradition of going OccupiersOutOfOurCountry at the slightest opportunity and even more were prepared to support them.

All things considered – including the half a dozen or so armed rebellions – it's probably a slight miracle that total war did not come sooner. That's probably because the French were better at playing both the PR game and the "stomp resistance flat" game than the Chinese had managed. After about a decade or so following the conquest they were even able to maintain some degree of domestic harmony in spite of the obvious tensions and what they did, to the point where a major Vietnamese nationalist made a point of complaining that other Viet nationalists were more focused on triumphs over Cambodia, Siam, and China while being buddy with the French. However, this didn't mean that the Viets had become happy being a non-voting colony of France; it just meant that most were happier to try and fix it peacefully and were leaning towards some sort of negotiated self-rule in Indochina. On top of this, a ton of small revolts ''still'' peppered colonial history throughout the "quiet" 1900's; they just didn't go anywhere.

However, the tipping point probably came when a romantic and nationalist revival sprung up around the turn of the century, and increasing exposure to Western education and ideals collided and mixed. Suddenly huge swaths of the traditionally independent, traditionally militant Viet society started to imagine what ''their'' modern Vietnam would be like, and when France tried to keep things under control according to the same-old-same-old, things started turning into a ticking time bomb. As early as the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, a formal request was made for self-government by the Indochinese after participating in "The War to End All Wars" for the causes of democracy, liberty, and self-determination (mostly as colonial workers at home and in the Western Front). Ironically, it was during the Treaty of Versailles negotiations that a young Vietnamese waiter approached United States President UsefulNotes/WoodrowWilson to ask for help in negotiating with the French on behalf of Vietnam and the rest of French Indochina. Wilson – due to a combination of [[NobleBigotWithABadge racism]] and [[PunchClockHero having bigger fish to fry]] [[{{Realpolitik}} that entailed complex negotiations with the French, not to mention the British and the Japanese]] – refused. The Viet's name was [[YoungFutureFamousPeople Ho Chi Minh]], who went away from the meeting much disillusioned and went to study in UsefulNotes/{{Moscow}}. He ended up spending several years as a lecturer on socialist ideology at [[NoMoreEmperors Canton's Whampoa Military Academy]] under Academy Director [[UsefulNotes/ChiangKaiShek Chiang what's-his-name]]. There he helped lead a cadre of Vietnamese expatriates who shared his views on effecting political change in his homeland by means of [[DeadlyEuphemism direct action]].

When [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo France surrendered to Nazi Germany]], Indochina was occupied by the Japanese military as part of their [[UsefulNotes/SecondSinoJapaneseWar 'blockade' strategy for cutting the Kuomintang off from critically-needed sources of arms and equipment from the outside world]]. The USA used the occupation of Indochina as a pretext for embargoing Japan in the hope that this would bring Japan to the negotiating table… but anyhow, the amazingly successful Japanese offensive into South-East Asia which followed – launched to seize strategic resources that the embargo had denied them – was a catalyst for nationalism in the region and worldwide, since it conclusively proved that a)The European Colonial Powers could be defeated in decisive battles by non-Europeans, and b)Non-European powers could be bastards too, if not even bigger ones. When the Japanese realized that they were losing the war, they went about fostering nationalism and training militia and guerrilla forces in earnest throughout occupied Asia – partly as a final 'screw you' to the Allies, but also because they genuinely believed in pan-Asian anti-European solidarity on some level.

This all came to a head when the French puppet regime – which had nominally continued to run Indochina up 'til that point – were ousted on March 11, 1945. The Việt Minh, a party of [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything Vietnamese Marxist-Nationalists, modelled off and led by people associated with the early Kuomintang of China]], had successfully played the French and Japanese off against each other – and the various opposition groups against themselves ([[OldShame up to and including selling one of the early leaders of the Anti-French resistance]] [[EnemyMine out to the French]]) before seizing the day and trying to take [[OmnicidalNeutral both major powers out]] [[YouWillBeAssimilated while trying to bring the other resistance groups under its wing]]. The day the War formally ended – September 2, 1945 – they declared the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, an independent and sovereign nation with its capital at Hanoi.

Of course, the French were not to be so quickly denied. Sino-Anglo-Indian forces had just months before broken the three-year deadlock in Burma, and were at that time marching into (formerly Japanese-Allied) Siam. When the Japanese surrendered, the Anglo-Indian army pressed on into Indochina and aided French forces in restoring French control by the end of the month. France recognized the prevailing mood could not be denied entirely and created a French-associated government in Saigon – the "State of Vietnam" – to rival the Việt Minh and their contemporaries. The State of Vietnam was led by former emperor Bảo Đại, who had abdicated his throne August 25, 1945.[[note]] His contribution to the whole conflict is often overlooked. As Emperor, Bảo Đại had the "Mandate Of Heaven", but he was never very popular due to his being seen, correctly or not, as a foreign-controlled puppet – he was educated in France and was willing to work with them. When Japan invaded, they kept him on his throne and ruled through him just like the French had. Because of this questionable loyalty, Ho Chi Minh persuaded Bảo Đại to abdicate in favour of the Việt Minh. This created an immediate power vacuum and shifted the "Mandate Of Heaven" onto Ho Chi Minh himself, giving him legitimacy among the people that he likely would not have had otherwise. Ho kept Bảo Đại on as an advisor until the French ousted Ho's government and Bảo Đại fled to Hong Kong. It was only at France's request that he returned in 1949, this time as Head Of State for ''South'' Vietnam. During that time, he made some incredibly boneheaded decisions, not least of which was allowing literal crime syndicates to take over key portions of his government.[[/note]]

For a while, an uneasy peace punctuated by low level fighting endured while talks were conducted between the two sides. However, despite conceding that Vietnam would have autonomy within the Indochinese Union and French Union (a political association akin to The British Commonwealth), the French promptly demonstrated exactly what they ''really'' thought of said agreement by declaring the independence of Cochin China (the southern third of Vietnam) and launching an offensive to secure the rest of Indochina. The story of the First Indochina War (December 19, 1946 - August 1, 1954) was one of ever-escalating and intensifying conflict. When the Chinese Communists won their Civil War against the Nationalist Kuomintang on the Chinese mainland in 1950[[labelnote:†]] (aside from nominally-independent Tibet and the Uyghur Muslim territory of Xinjiang, which only fell under Beijing's thumb later)[[/labelnote]], they too committed forces (off the books) to supplement the USSR's (covert) aid to the Việt Minh. The Việt Minh were not the only ones stirring up trouble, either; several large left-wing nationalist groups (Pathet Lao, Khmer Issarak, United Issarak Front) entered the fight alongside the Việt Minh, alongside many smaller groups. Initially the French States of Indochina held their own, but increasingly they had to be propped up by direct intervention from France's government and military.

The result was a bloody, brutal war that led to an exhausted France – faced with an ambivalent NATO and United States whose anti-Communist streaks stopped far short of [[HarsherInHindsight directly intervening to support the government]] – withdrawing from Indochina after the bloody last stand at Dien Bien Phu.


[[folder: Partition]]

After the 1954 Geneva Accords, Vietnam was partitioned into two countries: the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the State of Vietnam (South Vietnam), which became the Republic of Vietnam after a 1955 referendum that threw Bảo Đại (already back in France) out of power and replaced him with his prime minister Ngτ Đμnh Diệm – that referendum was marred by claims of widespread electoral fraud, with the Communists accusing the Saigon government of cooking the books to retain power and partition the country, and the Saigon government justifying partition because of Communist subversion attempts.[[note]] Although [[NotSoDifferent both sides did indeed have issues]] on this front, to avoid running afoul of the "Pox On Both Houses" Fallacy, it's necessary to note that the communists had a point; the vote was ''unmistakably rigged'' in favour of Diệm – advocacy of Bảo Đại was strictly forbidden, and Diệm ended up getting several hundred thousand more votes than there were voters, including from areas where the Viet Cong had disrupted the vote.[[/note]] As a result, the referendum was eventually scrapped, and open war broke out almost instantly thereafter. The United States replaced the French as political/military backing for the South Vietnamese regime after the French withdrawal (they had [[UsefulNotes/{{Algeria}} bigger problems closer to home]]), while the North Vietnamese regime was backed by the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, Cuba, and North Korea. However, Chinese support soon dropped off after the Sino-Soviet pact went bad in 1960 and got worse (to the point that a war between the USSR and PRC certainly looked possible if not likely). With North Vietnam choosing the Soviet camp, relations between Ho Chi Minh and Mao Tse-tung soured over, among other things, [[SeriousBusiness their differing interpretations of Socialist Ideology]].

Relations in the South were dominated by the South Vietnam President Ngτ Đμnh Diệm's increasingly repressive dictatorship[[labelnote:†]] (among many other atrocities great and small, Diệm was a Catholic, and he blatantly favoured his minority group over the Buddhist majority)[[/labelnote]] and the rise of the Viet Cong (officially the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam, which was largely a Southern auxiliary of the PVA). Which led to which (if either) is the subject of [[InternetBackdraft much controversy]], but they would both go on to terrorize South Vietnam in the latter half of the Fifties. On November 2, 1963, the corrupt and increasingly unpopular President Ngτ was overthrown and assassinated with the approval of the CIA.


[[folder: The Giants Step In]]

American involvement was initially in the form of equipment, money and "advisors", but by the 1960s, these "advisors" were many thousands. Foreign countries began actively fighting on both sides of the conflict (most on the side of South Vietnam). American ships were supposedly attacked by North Vietnamese ones in 1964[[note]] the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which to this day does not have an official version of what happened. Sailors claimed they were attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on two separate days, but the details were so widely varied that Johnson himself said "They might have been shooting at flying fish out there"[[/note]], and so President Lyndon Johnson ordered a massive military presence in Vietnam to "protect the freedom" of South-East Asia and curtail the advance of Communism. In strictly legal terms, the United States didn't enter a war, as Congress never wrote a declaration of war; the entire conflict was essentially an executive order. If you go into any U.S.-government-funded library, you'll likely have to search under "Vietnam Conflict". [[UsefulNotes/TheKoreanWar The Korean Conflict]] and [[TheWarOnTerror the Overseas Contingency Operation]] are likewise not officially wars (although Korea at least was authorized by the UN).

The United States COIN (counter-insurgency) methods left much to be desired initially. Despite drawing heavily on French treatises on ''Revolutionary Warfare'' written by Indochina-War veterans and implemented in [[UsefulNotes/{{Algeria}} The North African Crisis of 1954-62]], the 'lessons learned' from the French were arguably rather skewed. While they French ''had'' effectively destroyed the FLN-insurgency in the period c.1957-61 with their twin strategies of ''Quadrillage'' (garrisons) and ''Destruction'' ('search & destroy' missions and economic development programs), the brutal methods used in the ''Destruction'' missions effectively soured the French Communist Party and most of the French political left on the war. Worse, the ''Destruction'' strategy actually had two aspects and this was somewhat LostInTranslation: ''Destruction'' (of the insurgency) was the less important part, with ''Re-Construction'' doctrine being the part that French commanders lamented as being critically un-funded and thus claimed was the chief cause of the insurgency's continued survival until the peace of 1962.

The overwhelming focus of the US military's involvement, chiefly in the 1966-7 period, was thus "search and destroy" missions. This would involve forces entering hostile territory, destroying an enemy force, then leaving. However, these missions usually involved destroying houses and rice paddies (people's only means of avoiding death in a subsistence-agriculture economy), causing a considerable number of civilian deaths… that were not balanced out (in the locals' minds) by a proportional campaign of re-construction and economic development. The resulting destruction made the US forces unpopular. Many neutrals and even friendlies switched sides to the NLF. The US forces eventually realized that French unwillingness to properly fund their 'Re-Construction' doctrine had actually allowed the FLN to survive in Algeria, and so promoted their own program of "winning hearts and minds" through crash-development programs – but the damage had already been done.

It is important to remember that the USA was not just involved in a counter-insurgency operation in Vietnam, but also a conventional war, particularly in the air. The North Vietnamese had access to a number of Soviet-built aircraft, including the Mach 2 capable [=MiG=]-21 "Fishbed". While the aircraft were not as capable as the US ones, a number of factors evened things somewhat. Firstly, the US rules of engagement limited them to firing only at targets identified first, removing the long-range advantage of the US aircraft. The -21 was very good in a dogfight and the other North Vietnamese aircraft weren't that bad. Secondly, US air combat training was poor until the creation of Red Flag and TOPGUN, direct results of this war. Pilots had no experience of combat against types different from their own and were making bad mistakes in their early sorties. Red Flag, on discovering that if you got through 10 missions, you'd probably get through the rest alive, aimed to give pilots "the ten" in the form of as-close-to-reality-as-possible training missions. Thirdly, the USA had decided that missiles were the way of the future and decided to remove cannons from their aircraft. They were swiftly put back in, in the form of machine-gun pods until internal machine guns were re-introduced. Fourthly, there was the S-75/SA-2 "Guideline" (see above). This Soviet-built surface-to-air missile led to early missions being aborted by its very presence, tying up aircraft on jamming missions and reducing bomb loads to fit countermeasures. Even still, it claimed a fair number of aircraft, as did conventional AA guns. The US was fighting the air war in order to keep the skies clear for their bombers, which dropped 6 million tons of explosives, more than 5 times the amount used in World War II. Another factor was that the IFF of American airplanes were extremely unreliable, making beyond-visual-range missile launches risky for other American planes.

Although the Vietnam War is primarily portrayed as an "American conflict", and occupies a unique place in American culture and national memory, the USA and Vietnamese were not the only participants: South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand also fought in support of Saigon. Notably, and despite enormous pressure from the US, British prime minister UsefulNotes/HaroldWilson refused to countenance UK involvement for a number of reasons – the British had already spent years putting down a similar communist uprising in Malaya, the War was deeply unpopular in the UK, Wilson himself was bitterly opposed, Britain couldn't afford it, and the general ([[VindicatedByHistory and ultimately accurate]]) opinion of the UK's Defence Staff was that the war could not be won. For the other side, the Soviet Union provided arms, training, materiel and (allegedly) covert special operations troops. China provided anti-aircraft troops and logistical support, such as engineering battalions. UsefulNotes/NorthKorea sent over 200 pilots, two fighter squadrons, and an anti-air battalion to defend Hanoi, and Cuba sent some lovely [[TortureTechnician torture technicians]]. Amusingly, as Sino-Soviet relations deteriorated, the latter soon stopped sending arms shipments to Vietnam by rail because [[WeAreStrugglingTogether the Chinese had started pinching it for themselves]].


[[folder: Opposition At Home]]

Back in the United States, the population was becoming increasingly unhappy with the conduct of the war, and even the war itself. The war was broadcast, uncensored, on US TV every night. It generally looked bad. The military would trumpet the "body count" (the number of insurgents they had killed), but these figures were subject to manipulation by both sides.

As the war's popularity declined, the nub of the issue came to be national service, a.k.a. 'The Draft'. Selective Service (to give it its proper title), done on a lottery system, had been around in the past – Music/ElvisPresley was famously drafted for two years in the 1950s. The draft became increasingly wide-ranging and undiscriminating [[note]] (case in point, Project 100,000, which lowered the mental acumen standards for draftees. Film/ForrestGump was not entirely a fiction. As a matter of fact, the lieutenant responsible for the My Lai Massacre was only even ''allowed into the Army'' because of the reduced standards of Project 100,000)[[/note]] as U.S. involvement in Vietnam deepened; the U.S., after all, not only needed to send forces to Vietnam, but at the same time maintain considerable standing armies worldwide to deter Soviet aggression (for instance, for a good part of the war the bulk of high-quality American draftees weren't sent to Vietnam, but to ''Germany''). The draft, however, had some exemptions. You would not be drafted if you were in college. Since most poor people couldn't afford college, you can guess how that went over. This was changed toward the end of the war, but not before a number of now-powerful people (UsefulNotes/BillClinton among them) took advantage. Being married meant you were not drafted, although that rule was quickly changed so that you needed to have a child to avoid going. Congress effectively ended conscription in 1972, though men are still required to register for it just in case it's ever reinstated.

There were also many who protested the war because they wanted the North Vietnamese to win and were communist sympathizers if not communists themselves – this was back when the United States ''had'' a Left wing.[[note]] (the Second RedScare, the chaos surrounding the latter years of the Civil Rights Movement, and Vietnam all worked to ensure the faction's total destruction by TheSeventies)[[/note]] This included groups such as the Students for a Democratic Society and the Weathermen Underground, the former also often chanting "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh. NLF is gonna win" during their Anti-War protests, which are in reference to the leader of the North Vietnamese (the communists) and the Viet Cong/National Liberation Front, respectively.

In any case, this meant that poor Americans were being sent off to South-East Asia for a cause many of them didn't understand. Some within the country thought the US was just as bad as, if not worse than, the Soviet Union. The latter had in living memory helped Communist Hungary to suppress a revolution (in 1956) and invaded Czechoslovakia (in 1968) to topple its socialistically-unorthodox government, doing so in much the same way that the US had been intervening in Latin America as per the Monroe Doctrine for the better part of a century.[[note]] (the USA-backed 1954 coup in Guatemala and the 1961 'Bay of Pigs' failed invasion of Cuba, to name just two)[[/note]] A large-scale anti-war movement came to the fore, one that engaged in civil disobedience, sit-ins, and peace rallies. There were also violent demonstrations, such as the activities of The Weather Underground (some of the more radical elements received covert support from the KGB). Many burned their draft cards in public. Many others fled to Canada (UsefulNotes/GeraldFord issued a blanket pardon to draft dodgers in 1974). One of the most infamous events on the 'home-front' was the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings Kent State Shootings]] – On May 4th 1970, following a few days of various student demonstrations and civil unrest, the US National Guard (an army reservist citizen-soldier branch) opened fire on a crowd of protesters at Kent State University in Ohio for reasons we're still not sure of. It is known that the Guardsmen had gone without sleep for over 48 hours, and the protesters, while unarmed, were not entirely peaceful. Four people were killed and nine wounded. It is worth noting that two of the four killed were ''not'' part of the protest but were merely innocent passersby (in a tragic case of irony, one was also in the Reserve Officer Training Corps trying to avoid being tardy for his next class).

Creator/JaneFonda, a major anti-war activist, went to North Vietnam in 1972 and was photographed sitting on a North Vietnamese antiaircraft gun, an act she later apologized for. It forever demolished her pin-up girl image, although according to her: "[T]he truth is that my career, far from being destroyed after the war, [[NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity flourished with a vigor]] it had not previously enjoyed." Fonda received two Oscars during the 1970s, along with the undying hatred of millions of Americans. This venom led to a ([[http://www.snopes.com/military/fonda.asp false]]) rumour that Jane Fonda also delivered a letter that an American prisoner entrusted to her to give to his American superiors into the waiting hands of the prison camp commander, which inevitably made conditions far worse for the soldier and his fellow prisoners. To this day, at the U.S. Naval Academy, when a plebe shouts out "Goodnight, Jane Fonda!", the entire company will reply "Goodnight, bitch!"

[[RealityIsUnrealistic The majority of those who were sent to Indochina were volunteers of one shade or another, not draftees]], and the war was not ''entirely'' responsible for the draft – it had actually never been rescinded following UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and the Pentagon used it as a way to make manpower ends meet when faced with the "long night" of Soviet supremacy following 1954 and especially 1956. Most draftees were sent abroad to places ''other'' than Vietnam both because it got to a point that the military viewed them as unreliable liabilities and the fact that the manpower crunch was that severe. However, the draft remained a dark symbol and a rallying cry against the war.

Thanks to massive advances in technology, live reports were sent home for the first time, giving a more complete view of warfare and horrifying the populace as they became aware of the atrocities and violence necessary in combat. The WarIsGlorious mentality, so common in newsreels during the previous two wars, faded from the minds of much of the populace, leading to several iconic photographs [of varying accuracy] of these scenes.


[[folder: Losing?(!)]]

Despite winning a few battles, the US-led coalition never seemed to make much progress in the war. As the war dragged on and graphic new reports appeared on TV, the war grew increasingly unpopular among Americans at home. The last straw for the American populace was also, ironically, a decisive battle that led to American victory – the North's Tet Offensive, which, thanks to reporting from Walter Cronkite giving American viewers a look at the guerrilla fighting close-up, allegedly made it seem as though the Americans lost the battle in a bloodbath (in reality it resulted in the Viet Cong being wiped out as an independent force; from that point on, nearly all forces the US faced were North Vietnamese). In later (1990s) US military thought, the Tet Offensive came to be seen as the ultimate proof that the idea that wars were always decided purely on the battlefield was wrong: although the US won every major engagement of the Tet Offensive[[note]] The Communist Vietnamese forces were spread far too thinly in attempts to start an uprising in ''every single town'', and consequently they were substantially outnumbered ''everywhere''[[/note]], they lost the war. This is because the US forces were subject to public opinion, and the public opinion was that the Tet Offensive demonstrated the fundamentally unwinnable nature of the war. This was not the North Vietnamese intention with the offensive, but they were pleasantly surprised by the results.

As an aside, at this point in the war, massive political changes were happening on both sides – UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson was replaced as president by UsefulNotes/RichardNixon as the old Democratic Party (which had held effective power almost continuously since 1933) tore itself apart; meanwhile in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh had left his leadership role due to declining health and died in 1969.

Seeing the need for a peace treaty but wanting to have the upper-hand during the negotiations, Nixon ordered an ''intensification'' of the bombing campaign (the height of which being 1972's Operation Linebacker II against the major cities; he also authorized bombings in Cambodia and Laos – both of which were moderate monarchies that would fall to communist revolutions a few years later [see below for details on the former]). However, ultra-modern Soviet anti-air weaponry "somehow" found its way into the hands of North Vietnamese forces, who used it to whittle away at the USA's supposedly-untouchable Air Force. More importantly, however, the bombing had little effect, as the USA had totally misread the effect of strategic bombing from UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo – they mistakenly believed that strategic bombing would be a way to reduce enemy morale, when in fact the bombing of Germany and Japan proved that it ''bolsters'' enemy morale by increasing civilian/popular hatred for the bombers. What it ''was'' good for was destroying the industry and infrastructure of the enemy – neither of which were really used by the Vietnamese Communist Party and its forces, as they imported all their weapons from overseas and their guerrillas had no use for a functional railway network. Today the Vietnamese Communist Party calls the failed bombing campaign "Dien Bien Phu in the air", claiming that Vietnam managed to 'crush the opposing army's best and proud war-machine and lead the war to an end with the peace treaty'… but in reality, it was simply (like the ground-war) a stalemate as the USA continued trying to use the methods of a regular/conventional/total war to win an unconventional/partisan/guerrilla war. This has been likened to trying to use a sledgehammer to fix a watch.

In the end, the US resigned their ambition to achieve anything from the war ("peace in honor") and American forces unconditionally withdrew ("retreating in shame") as the South Vietnamese government would be left alone to bolster its forces. The drawdown of the U.S. military did not immediately lead to the collapse of the South Vietnamese government, as the U.S. was committed to continued support of its allies in Saigon. Substantial quantities of military and economic aid still flowed in and the USAF stood ready to provide air support if necessary. The continued weight of the U.S. in Vietnam was demonstrated when the North Vietnamese launched a massive offensive with conventional arms in March 1972, termed the Easter Offensive. While the North Vietnamese were able to capture and retain a substantial chunk of South Vietnamese territory, they suffered very heavy losses, including most of their armor and artillery, under weight of U.S. air attacks and relatively competent defense conducted by ARVN forces. The Paris Peace Accords were signed on January 27, 1973, theoretically bringing the conflict to closure, but with no real practical impact. While no major military activities took place for nearly two years afterwards, that was due more to lack of the means to wage them, as PAVN was busy replenishing its lost equipment and the South lacked the will and, after summer of 1973, the resources, to do much. However, continued U.S. involvement in Vietnam remained unpopular among the American public and the June 1973 passage of the Case-Church amendment cut off all funding for U.S. activities in Southeast Asia, including the aid to South Vietnam. This not only precluded U.S. airstrikes against potential North Vietnamese offensives in the future, but rendered much of the US-supplied equipment of the South Vietnamese military inoperable. Small scale conflict continued throughout 1973 and 1974, until the final act of the Vietnamese phase of the war began at the end of 1974.

The final North Vietnamese offensive, popularly termed the Ho Chih Minh Offensive, began in December, 1974 after the PAVN replenished its stocks of tanks and artillery. The North Vietnamese leadership had planned only to capture additional territory from which to launch the real final offensive on Saigon in 1976, but the South Vietnamese army collapsed far more rapidly than they had expected, allowing for a march on Saigon itself a full year ahead of schedule. The war ended on April 30, 1975 with the PAVN rolling into Saigon, forming the new South Vietnamese government, which unified with North Vietnam the following year.

Who "won" the war – and if the USA "lost" it, who is responsible for the loss – has been a touchy topic for decades. The blunting of the 1972 Easter Offensive showed that ARVN with effective support from US, could perform fairly adequately and that, if the Case-Church amendment had not deprived them of the support, they could have held on longer. However, even in 1972, despite being far more numerous and much better equipped than their Northern counterparts, not even mentioning massive US air support, South Vietnamese military still wound up losing a substantial chunk of strategic territory. The North Vietnamese general staff planned the Ho Chih Minh offensive with the expectation that U.S. would resume its support of the South Vietnamese and that they would encounter both heavy US air raids and reasonably competent defense by ARVN, and anticipated another round of offensives would be needed to finish off South Vietnam. The absence of both allowed them to win the war a few years earlier than expected, but it is unlikely that continuation of U.S. support would have prevented the fall of South Vietnam much longer. Nevertheless, some people believe that America had effectively won the war by early 1970s, feeling that the bombing raids issued by Nixon had actually sealed the coffin on North Vietnam; many of these people feel that the only reason the South Vietnamese lost and were overwhelmed was because certain members of Congress stabbed the American military in the back – deliberately holding back relief aid efforts to the South Vietnamese. No evidence supports these claims of deliberate sabotage, but they remain a politically-powerful myth among certain segments of the population to this day.


[[folder: More War]]

Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge overthrew Lon Nol's government in neighboring Cambodia on April 17, 1975. Despite both Vietnam and Cambodia[[note]] (called "Democratic Kampuchea" by 1976)[[/note]] being communist countries, they soon had a falling-out due to unresolved disputes over maritime borders and refugees fleeing into Vietnam from Pol Pot's genocide. The year 1977 saw some border clashes between the two countries; the Khmer Rouge massacred hundreds of Vietnamese civilians in a cross-border attack on September 24th, and Vietnam responded with an offensive into Cambodia's eastern regions in December.

The Third Indochina War began on December 1978 when Vietnam launched a full-scale invasion of Cambodia, which deposed the Khmer Rouge and set up a puppet government called the People's Republic of Kampuchea. The war lasted throughout the 1980s as anti-Vietnamese factions (including the Khmer Rouge) in Cambodia carried on fighting a bitter guerrilla war, with the Vietnamese Army launching large offensives to destroy guerrilla camps in western Cambodia and across the border into Thailand; the latter would bring Vietnamese forces into battle against the Thai Army.

The Cold War continued to have a significant influence in the region; Vietnam signed a security treaty with the Soviet Union in 1978 while China secretly supported the Khmer Rouge with military aid. After the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, both China and the USA would support Thailand and the anti-Vietnamese Cambodian factions. China would carry out a punitive attack of its own "to teach a lesson to Vietnam" on February 1979, starting the short Sino-Vietnamese War.

During the three weeks of intense fighting, China deployed over 250,000 men and managed to occupy three provincial capitals before withdrawing in March. Both sides suffered heavy casualties. In any case, the war was something of a draw - both sides claimed victory, but the Chinese had taken heavy numbers of casualties in the process as the military had been severely weakened due to Mao's Cultural Revolution years earlier.

The Sino-Vietnamese War was fought for reasons which are still somewhat unclear - both countries haven't exactly been very forthright about the matter as both countries want to avoid harming current relations. What ''is'' known is that China was unhappy with Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia. Why the Chinese leadership thought that a limited war wherein they would sustain heavy casualties - in what would only be the first and most difficult phase of a proper war in which they would almost certainly go on to break the back of Vietnamese resistance - is anyone's guess. To most outsiders, it seemed that China had ended up as the worst-off after the war, as they failed to force Vietnam to withdraw from Cambodia. More recently, historians pointed out that the purpose of the war was for Deng Xiaoping to demonstrate that the Soviet Union was incapable of militarily supporting Vietnam in case of an attack; to show that China was capable as an ally of the United States; and to use the Sino-Vietnamese War experience as a "lessons learned" platform for the Chinese military leadership to reform the armed forces. In addition, after reunification, many members of the large ethnic Chinese community in Vietnam were subject to harsh treatment and many were effectively expelled (they made up a disproportionate fraction of the "Boat People" leaving communist Vietnam in late 1970s) and the Chinese government may have also been displeased at the treatment of "their" people in addition to the geostrategic reasons above.

After the 1979 war a constant conflict occurred along the Sino-Vietnamese border through the 1980s; the biggest clashes since 1979 occurred in 1981 in Lang Son and the Yunnan-Ha Tuyen border; in 1984 at Friendship Pass in Lang Son and at Laoshan/Vi Xuyen; and in 1987 in Laoshan/Vi Xuyen again. The fighting consisted of sporadic artillery duels, squad-level raids, and division-sized assaults to seize hills on both sides of the border; both sides' outposts and trenches were often only a few yards away from each other. In 1988, several islands in the South China Sea were secured for China after a naval battle there. As China and Vietnam began to normalize relations by the end of the 1980s, Chinese forces withdrew from their border positions beginning in 1989 and the last combat troops left the border zone in 1992.

The Third Indochina War ended in the late 1980s as the end of the Cold War allowed the belligerents to settle on a peace agreement, which led to the establishment of a United Nations nation-building mission in the early 1990s to found a new Cambodian state.


[[folder: The Bill]]

Note that these are estimates; the civilian death-figures are largely based off of demographic estimates, seeing as nobody at the time bothered with the expense of a population-census. They may well be under-estimates. Vietnamese 'wounded' are only listed when dead; no Vietnamese fighting force had the money for pensions, so when a soldier on either side was too wounded to serve anymore [[SomebodyElsesProblem they were simply discharged and left to fend for themselves]]. Contrast France and the USA, which had (meagre) state pensions for those of their personnel who had been too badly wounded to be useful to them.

''First Indochinese War''

Vietmin: c.175-500k dead.
France: 75,581 dead, 64,127 wounded.
French Indochina: 18,714 dead.

Total Viet: c.195-520k dead

''Second Indochinese War''

North Vietnam (inc. Viet Cong): c.60k civilian and c.400k-1.1kk military dead & missing.
South Vietnam: c.200k-400k civilian and c.171k-220k military dead & missing.

Total Viet: c.260k-460k civilian and c.571k-1.32m military dead and missing, for a total of c.831k-1.72m dead and missing.

USA: 58,220 dead, 303,644 wounded.
South Korea: 5,099 dead, 10,962 wounded, 4 missing.
PRC: 1,466 dead, 4200 wounded.
Australia: 500 dead, 3,129 wounded.
Thailand: 351 dead, 1,358 wounded.
New Zealand: 37 dead, 187 wounded.
USSR: 16 dead.

''Third Indochinese/Sino-Vietnamese War''

PRC: ~26k military dead[[note]] (8,000 ''claimed'' dead, but the PRC is a habitual liar on this front and 8,000 dead is suspiciously low)[[/note]], ~20k military wounded
Vietnam: c.10k civilian dead, military dead unknown.


[[folder: The War in Anglo Culture]]

It was a very popular area for war films from the late '70s to the early '90s. American films may show the war from an exclusively American perspective (or at least an exclusively Hollywood perspective). Many American films are opposed to the war, with Creator/JohnWayne's ''The Green Berets'' being the only real exception.

Expect a bunch of drugged-up draftees (which wasn't actually the case for everyone, since 2/3s of the American soldiers were volunteers, including three future major party US presidential nominees[[labelnote:†]] those would be John [=McCain=], John Kerry, and Al Gore ([[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer yes, he served]]); UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush also did a stint in the military, but he remained stateside in the Texas Air National Guard[[/labelnote]]) who will shoot anyone who looks Southeast Asian, whether they are the enemy, their own side, or civilians. Also expect an emphasis on U.S. dead and wounded, even though a minimum of some 260k-460k civilians were killed versus only 58,000 U.S. soldiers. Expect incompetent officers, stuffed-up academy cadets being "fragged" (killed with grenades) by their own soldiers, various wanton atrocities, and even Literature/CatchTwentyTwo explanations about "having to destroy the village in order to save it".

According to [[HollywoodHistory Hollywood]], Vietnam Veterans tend to be old[[note]] (obviously TruthInTelevision now; the youngest men subject to the Vietnam draft were born in 1952, and most veterans are up to a decade older)[[/note]], grizzled, and broken from their experience. [[RealLife But in reality]], things are more complicated. Many people believed they were doing their patriotic duty to stop the Communist Menace[[superscript:[[TradeSnark TM]]]], especially in the early years of the war. It wasn't until 1968 that public opinion, or at least media opinion, started turning against the war in large numbers, although the majority of civilians nonetheless felt that regardless of whether they liked it, they should vote for the war to continue. It is worth noting that Baby Boomers (who were getting drafted) were actually among the groups ''most'' likely to support the war, especially if they were White. The ''least'' likely American to support the war would have been an old poor Black woman from the inner city.

National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam insurgents (known as Vietcong – a derogatory term meaning "Vietnamese Communist", VC, Victor Charlie, or just Charlie) and NVA soldiers don't feature very much, except as sources of weapons fire, evil torturers, punji trap layers, or occasionally corpses. But of course, all of these are reversed in ''their'' war movies… [[WrittenByTheWinners when produced in Vietnam itself, given rather iron-fisted censorship that would not cop well to voicing the complaints the South and other non-Communist Vietnamese had]].

Expect much use of napalm, because it smells like the victory the Americans allegedly never got. It's worth noting, however, the North Vietnamese forces never won a major battle themselves – in the Tet Offensive, a military campaign by the Viet Cong, the VC actually took so many losses they played no further major part in the war. Their secret is in part that no matter what the Americans threw at them, the North Vietnamese took the blows willingly as part of the price to pay for the cause and ''[[{{Determinator}} just kept coming]]''; they wanted to win more than the Americans wanted them to lose. This is the only way insurgencies are ever resolved.

This is also the first American war (the French first used them to great effect in Algeria) to feature helicopters as a weapon and primary transport – in [[UsefulNotes/KoreanWar Korea]] they were very small, and limited to recon and [[Series/{{Mash}} light medical evacuation]]. The UH-1 Huey, with both side doors open, flying low over the canopy of a jungle with a grizzled soldier manning the door gun is one of the war's most enduring images.

Someone '''will''' use the word "klick" at some point, meaning a kilometer.[[note]] This was the first war in which the U.S. military regularly used metric units. Unlike most of the rest of America, the military is pretty much entirely metric because it's vital for international coordination (this is the same reason why NASA went metric in 1983).[[/note]]

Finally, most importantly, and probably most accurately, there is the music. The Hollywood-Approved Soundtrack[[superscript:TM]] to the Vietnam War (and probably anything relating to the social culture of TheSixties) is Music/CreedenceClearwaterRevival. "Fortunate Son" from ''Music/WillyAndThePoorBoys'' is the most popular, but "Who'll Stop the Rain", "Run Through the Jungle", "Have You Ever Seen The Rain", and "Suzie Q" will also show up. One has to wonder what CCR's legacy would be without Vietnam-Era films. Music/TheRollingStones and Music/TheDoors will also occasionally play if a studio can afford it. In terms of other songs, expect Music/BuffaloSpringfield's "For What It's Worth"[[note]] [[RefrainFromAssuming "Stop, children, what's that sound? / Everybody look what's going down..."]][[/note]] and Music/JimiHendrix's version of "All Along the Watchtower" from ''Music/ElectricLadyland'' to play somewhere. If it's a protest movie, also expect "Ohio" by Music/CrosbyStillsNashAndYoung, [[RunningGag Garfunkel, Oates, and Cher]]. The song is about four students that were killed by the National Guard during an anti-Vietnam War protest on the campus of Kent State in Ohio (mentioned several paragraphs above), and is the go-to song to highlight how divisive the war was back in America. On the other hand, if you see choppers, expect "Music/RideOfTheValkyries", because you're probably watching ''Film/ApocalypseNow'' or something making a {{homage}} to it.

To the popular mind, TheSixties or anything about it was the war, the Hippies, the CivilRightsMovement, and Music/TheBeatles or protest song-based PsychedelicRock. Remember that.

Because this was both an insurgency and a conventional war, you can also set air combat stories here. The F-4 Phantom II, the [=MiG-17=] and the [=MiG-21=] feature heavily here, with the war also seeing major use of the S-25/SA-2 "Guideline" SAM (although the bulk of shoot-downs were due to conventional AAA fire).

If the work involves secret operations, expect to become familiar with MAC-V SOG (Military Assistance Command-Vietnam, Special Operations Group, later Studies and Observations Group) and Project Phoenix (an assassination campaign aimed at killing civilians that supported the NVA). Both were black ops run by the CIA, and kept very secret since the Phoenix Program was illegal in international law, and the Studies and Observations Group really didn't just study and observe.

The Vietnam War has also provided the backstory for a number of other works of fiction, including ''Series/TheATeam'', ''Series/{{Airwolf}}'', ''Series/MagnumPI'', ''Franchise/{{Rambo}}'', ''Film/TaxiDriver'', ''Literature/TheBourneSeries'' and ''ComicBook/JonSableFreelance''. Leo [=McGarry=] in ''Series/TheWestWing'' was a Vietnam vet.

In fact, any grizzled action hero during TheEighties has a fair chance of being a Vietnam veteran – it became such a common source of angst that some movie reviewers took to abbreviating it to "Vietvet".


Compare HolidayInCambodia.

'''Important Note''': As if you couldn't tell by this article, this war and its outcome is still a ''very'' strong point of contention in the USA more than 40 years later, even among people who weren't even alive at the time! Along with The Civil Rights Movement, [[NewAgeRetroHippie hippies]], [[UsefulNotes/RichardNixon the 'Watergate Scandal']], and all the lingering cultural debates of TheSixties and TheSeventies, it was/is one of the key {{base breaker}}s in [[BrokenBase modern American politics]]. Communists, Socialists, Anarchists[[labelnote:†]] (none of the preceding three groups exist to any significant extent in the USA anymore, though there are still enough Americans willing to declare themselves "Socialist" that the label is only ''mostly'' toxic)[[/labelnote]] and Modern Liberals – as well as most Libertarians, "Paleoconservatives", and many moderate right-wingers – still consider the war a [[WhatASenselessWasteOfHumanLife senseless waste of human life]] and point to the 'My Lai Massacre', President-for-life Diem's dictatorial rule, and 'Operation Phoenix' as evidence that there [[HeWhoFightsMonsters wasn't]] [[BlackAndGrayMorality much]] [[BlackAndBlackMorality difference]] between the "good guys" and the DirtyCommunists. By '''''stark''''' contrast, the USA's Conservatives, Nationalists, and Old-Style liberals[[labelnote:†]] (this group in particular ended up thoroughly discredited in the long run, though some politicians like Hillary Clinton retain the worldview)[[/labelnote]] continue to believe that the USA – and France before them – would have won if not for the (left-wing) public's "betrayal" of the country's military forces, that the BananaRepublic of South Vietnam was still ALighterShadeOfGrey than its Communist counterpart, and contend that more people died because the USA left than were killed by the USA's troops or by its enemies during the war [[note]] In what had once been South Vietnam, ''far'' more people were 're-educated' than executed, though said process wasn't all daisies, sunshine, and rainbows, and it still sent hundreds of thousands fleeing for their lives. But just across the border in Cambodia, the anti-Soviet/Chinese-backed communist regime ''[[Film/TheKillingFields exterminated one-quarter of its own population]]'' (1.4-2.2 million), something that was at least delayed by US airpower hammering the Khmer Rouge and preventing them from overthrowing the ramshackle BananaRepublic there. The common argument is that if the USA had stayed on, they would have prevented Pol Pot – and the other Communist leaders – coming to power, or at least have intervened had the signs become obvious. As it was, the genocide dragged on until Soviet-backed ''Communist Vietnam'' got fed up with Khmer Rouge provocations and rivalries and decided to topple their regime and install a puppet government of their own there[[/note]] and would have been killed if the war had continued.

To cut a long story short, there's not enough evidence to decisively rule whether things would have gotten better if the USA had continued trying to kill all the rebels and suspected-socialists in Indochina for another year, or five years, or decade(s). What ''is'' known is that it was fought between [[EvilVersusEvil a corrupt kleptocratic dictatorship and a brutal Stalinist-Communist dictatorship]] [[WasItReallyWorthIt that cost between 882,000 and 1.8 million people their lives, and left another 2 million maimed or crippled]].

After all this was, with good reasons[[note]] (more than 2.882 million of them)[[/note]], the Anglosphere's most unpopular war.

Be on alert, the RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement regulations apply in the non-YMMV discussion-sectors. For Vietnam the country, click [[UsefulNotes/{{Vietnam}} here]].



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The Sankei Newspaper comic strip version of ''Manga/AstroBoy'' had a TimeTravel plot that involved Astro being captured by arms dealers who tried to sell him to one or more of the participants in the war. After he escapes he tries to save a small village from being bombed by the US military. This is probably the darkest storyline in Astro's long career & possibly one of the darkest in Creator/OsamuTezuka's as well. Not only was this one of the few times Astro actually kills humans beings, blowing up several tanks & bombers, but it's all in vain, as more show up the next day & kill everybody anyway, with Astro running out of energy & sinking to the bottom of the Mekong river, where he remains until TheNineties.
* Dutch from ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' is a Vietnam veteran. Also, Yellow Flag, the BadGuyBar the cast go to was built by South Vietnamese refugees.
** [[spoiler:Evidence points to Dutch lying about being in Vietnam. He claims to have participated in an operation that his supposed division never saw action in, and he doesn't understand codes and slang that any Vietnam vet would pick up on instantly.]]
* The Vietnam War features into the backstories of several characters in ''Anime/BloodPlus''. David and Akihiro Okamura both had parents in the jungle, while Saya, Haji and Karl fought one another there.
** The original Manga/BloodTheLastVampire was actually set immediately before the war on an American base in Japan.
* The manga ''Manga/CatShitOne'', a.k.a. ''Manga/ApocalypseMeow''; The Vietnam War [-[[RecycledInSPACE WITH]] {{FUNNY ANIMAL}}S!!-]
* In the original Manga/{{Cyborg 009}} manga, the protagonists attempted to stop their enemy, the evil Black Ghost organization's WarForFunAndProfit plans to escalating the war in order to sell advanced weapons & mass-produced SuperSoldier versions of the titular character to both sides. In the newer anime, settled several decades later in time, this was changed to the fictional country in DarkestAfrica that was the homeland of 008.
* The relatively obscure manga series ''Dien Bien Phu'' (named after the decisive battle in the war of independence) is set in the Vietnam War. While focusing on Americans (with the main character being a [[ButNotTooForeign Japanese-American]] photographer), it also includes Vietnamese civilians and insurgents, including a mysterious but deadly hot fighter chick.
* In ''Manga/{{Area 88}}'', Mickey Simon is a US Navy fighter pilot who'd fought in Vietnam and joined up for the [[{{Qurac}} Aslan]] Foreign Legion air force because he couldn't adjust to civilian life. A Vietnamese pilot named Nguyen also appears in the OVA, along with one of Mickey's former comrades.
* Two major characters in ''Manga/BananaFish'' are Vietnam veterans, and the post-war chaos figures in the backstory.
* Appropriately for a story about American politics, the war forms an important part of the backstory of Senator Yamaoka and several other characters in ''Manga/EagleTheMakingOfAnAsianAmericanPresident''.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The ''ComicBook/ThePunisherMAX'' miniseries ''Born'' shows Frank Castle's decision to become the Punisher during the end of the Vietnam War.
* ComicBook/CaptainAtom was the leader of an American special ops unit in the Vietnam War before the experiment that gave him his powers.
* The war is used as a plot device in one story of ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}'' called "When Johnny Comes Marching Home".
* ComicBook/IronMan's original SuperHeroOrigin story involved Tony Stark being injured and captured in Vietnam, while demonstrating a new weapons system developed for the Americans to use in the war.
* ''ComicBook/JonSableFreelance'': Jon served in Vietnam (as a clerk/typist) before the events that led to him becoming a mercenary. One story arc involved him returning to Vietnam in search of missing [=POWs=].
* In ''ComicBook/MsTree'', Mike Sr., Roger and Dan's brother Victor all served in the same unit in Vietnam. In "To Live and Die and Vietnam", Michael, Roger and Dan travel to Vietnam in search of Victor's remains.
* Marvel had ''The 'Nam'', a series that was originally intended to be a seven year MythArc of soldiers trying to do their duty through the major years of the United States' involvement in Vietnam.
* Frank Castle aka Comicbook/ThePunisher was a Vietnam veteran with the special forces before he became a vigilante. Mentioned often in the [[ComicBook/ThePunisherMAX MAX-series]], as well as in the above mentioned mini series ''Born'', marking one of the turning points for Castle.
* Flynn "Flyin'" Ryan from ''ComicBook/SteelgripStarkeyAndTheAllPurposePowerTool'' was taken prisoner in the Vietnam war. He sports [[GoodScarsEvilScars a scarred "R" in his forehead]] from an act of unified defiance when he and his fellow prisoners were ordered to make an anti-American propaganda video.
* In the background of the ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' comic, the Vietnam War ended with a decisive American victory. This was due to the godlike super-being Doctor Manhattan showing up at the request of UsefulNotes/RichardNixon and transmuting all the jungles into poison gas, forcing the insurgents to surrender or face complete genocide.
* '''68'' by Image Comics, about a ZombieApocalypse during the war.

* ''Film/AcrossTheUniverse''
* ''Film/AirAmerica''
* ''Film/ApocalypseNow'' - possibly the TropeCodifier
* ''Film/{{BAT 21}}''
* ''Film/TheBigLebowski'', although not a war movie and actually set during the first Gulf War, makes the legacy of 'Nam definitely felt throughout the film, mostly by unstable veteran Walter and his frequent, often out-of-place, references.
* ''Film/CasualtiesOfWar''
* ''Film/TheDeerHunter''
* ''Film/DontCryItsOnlyThunder''
* ''Film/FlightOfTheIntruder''
* ''Film/FullMetalJacket''
* ''Film/GoodMorningVietnam''
* ''Film/HamburgerHill''
* ''Film/OperationDumboDrop''
* Oliver Stone's Vietnam trilogy:
** ''Film/{{Platoon}}''
** ''Film/BornOnTheFourthOfJuly''
** ''Film/HeavenAndEarth''
** His "more political" movies ''Film/{{JFK}}'' and ''Film/{{Nixon}}'' also refers to Vietnam.
* ''Film/StrikeCommando''
* ''Film/WeWereSoldiers''
* ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'' explores an AlternateHistory involving mutants. The 1973 segment is set during the tail end of the Vietnam War, which includes a scene of American troops withdrawing from Saigon, and the main protagonists attempt to prevent an assassination just before the start of the Paris Peace Accords (which formally ended the USA's involvement in the conflict).
* John Woo's ''Film/HeroesShedNoTears'' and ''Film/BulletInTheHead''
* ''Go Tell the Spartans''
* ''The Boys in Company C'', notable for featuring Creator/RLeeErmey in an early DrillSergeantNasty role.
* ''The Hanoi Hilton''
* ''A Bright Shining Lie'', adapted from Neil Sheehan's nonfiction book
* ''Who'll Stop the Rain'' aka ''Dog Soldiers''
* Part of ''Film/ForrestGump''
* Portions of ''Film/AmericanGangster''
* The obscure ''The Walking Dead'' film, now [[IThoughtThatWas overshadowed]] by an [[Series/TheWalkingDead unrelated series of the same name]], portrays a mostly-black platoon in a search-and-rescue mission gone sour.
* The film-within-a-film ''Film/TropicThunder'' features a cast of dim-witted actors (including Creator/RobertDowneyJr as a very dedicated white actor who plays a black character ''via surgery''), which is TheFilmOfTheBook. However, [[spoiler: the author never went to Vietnam]].
* ''Film/FirstBloodPartII'', which is about John Franchise/{{Rambo}} going back into Vietnam to rescue American [=POW-MIAs=] who had been left behind.
* ''Film/UncommonValor'' and the Creator/ChuckNorris film ''Film/MissingInAction'' had similar plots to the above.
* ''The Odd Angry Shot'' about Australian soldiers in Vietnam.
* The John Wayne movie ''Film/TheGreenBerets''. Its unabashedly pro-war tone and such technical and narrative goofs as having the sun set in the East[[labelnote:†]] (there's only two places in Vietnam with a west coast, both of which are far from where any action was; one is an island just off the Cambodian coast)[[/labelnote]] in the final scene make this an example of 'Nam {{Narm}} for many.
* The film ''Film/ComingHome'' deals with an injured Vietnam vet's attempts to re-enter civilian life after the war.
* ''Big Wednesday'' involves the attempts of a close-knit group of California surfers to avoid fighting in the war.
* ''Film/TheKillingFields'' deals with the Cambodian civil war that erupted in the wake of the Vietnam conflict.
* Originally intended to be mentioned in the Film/JamesBond film ''Film/TomorrowNeverDies''. Bond was warned that if he was caught scuba-diving in Vietnamese waters, he could provoke another war with Vietnam - 'only this time, we ''might'' win.' The US military requested the line be censored from the film.
* ''Film/TakingWoodstock'' (referenced many times)
* Referenced in ''Three Seasons'': one of the characters is a former GI who comes back to Vietnam looking for the daughter he had with a local prostitute during his tour of duty.
* ''Film/TheWar'', starring Kevin Costner.
* At the end of ''Film/AmericanGraffiti'' the WhereAreTheyNow stated that Terry became missing in action in Vietnam. In ''More American Graffiti'' it is revealed he faked his own death and went AWOL.
* ''R-Point'', a 2004 South Korean horror film, centering on a squad South Korean troops in the war.
* ''For the Boys'' (1991) was the saga of a singing-and-dancing comedy team (played by Bette Midler and James Caan) whose partnership originated in [=USO=] shows in UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo. During ''this'' war, they perform at a base where her son is one of the soldiers. Right after she wins over the jeering, rowdy crowd with "In My Life", the enemy attacks with an airstrike and admist the carnage, her son dies in her arms. Since her partner was partially responsible for inspiring him to join the Army in the first place, she blames him for the tragedy, and the climax (set in what was then the present) hinges on whether or not they can reconcile in time for a televised reunion.
* ''Film/TheFogOfWar'' provides first-person commentary on the Conflict from Defense Secretary Robert [=McNamara=], who along with Presidents Johnson and Nixon was seen by anti-war protesters as a face of The Establishment. Among other things, he states that the U.S. saw themselves as liberators, saving South Vietnam from Communism. The Vietnamese saw the U.S. as another in a long line of invaders. According to [=McNamara=], it was only years after the war's conclusion that he finally learned from a senior Vietnamese commander just how [[TheDeterminator determined]] North Vietnam was to win at all costs.
* ''Film/TheSapphires'' follows an Australian GirlGroup touring Vietnam and entertaining the troops.
* ''84 Charlie [=MoPic=]''.
* ''The Iron Triangle'', based on the diary of an unknown Viet Cong soldier. It was widely advertised as the very first American-made film told from both sides of the war.
* ''Film/UniversalSoldier'' starts with Luc and Scott killing each other during the war in 1969 before being turned into [=UniSols=]. Likewise, ''Day of Reckoning'' featured many Vietnam War weapons and uniforms, being used by the renegade [=UniSols=].
* President James Marshall from ''Film/AirForceOne'' is a veteran of the war, fighting in it as a helicopter pilot.
* Uwe Boll's ''Tunnel Rats''. Arguably his ''only'' good movie, [[VideoGameMoviesSuck considering his filmography]]...
* ''The Siege of Firebase Gloria'', notable for starring Creator/RLeeErmey in a non-DrillSergeantNasty role and for being told from both sides of the war.
* ''Purple Hearts'' starring Ken Wahl and Cheryl Ladd as a Navy surgeon and a Navy nurse who [[BattleCouple become lovers]] while serving in Vietnam.
* ''Hearts and Minds'', Peter Davis' Oscar-winning 1974 documentary.
* ''Film/GirlInterrupted'' is set during the era, and Creator/JaredLeto's character is drafted. He tries to get Susanna to go to Canada with him, but she refuses.

* Literature/FiveYearsToFreedom is an autobiography written by James N. Rowe. He was held as a POW by the Vietcong for half a decade.
* Creator/GeorgeRRMartin's ''Literature/TheArmageddonRag'' features a main character who was anti-Vietnam, and got married to avoid the draft. One of his friends was less lucky.
* Robert Mason's autobiography ''Chickenhawk'' tells of his time as a UH-1 pilot in Vietnam.
* ''Run Between the Raindrops'' (aka ''Citadel'') a novel by Vietnam veteran turned Hollywood actor/advisor Dale Dye, and inspired by his own experiences in the Battle for Hue.
* Just about anything written by O'Brien, but most notably ''The Things They Carried.''
* ''Literature/TheExecutioner''. {{Vigilante}} Mack Bolan was a Vietnam veteran (the series of action novels was started in 1969) and later [[ExtrudedBookProduct Gold Eagle publications]] had origin stories set during that era.
* ''In Country'', a Bobbie Ann Mason novel later adapted to film.
* ''Over The Wall'', a children's book by John H. Ritter in which overwhelming Vietnam guilt haunts every major character in the book. There's also an incest plot involving the loose cannon main character and his SoapboxSadie cousin, in case the book might have seemed too juvenile for its audience.
* ''Literature/TheQuietAmerican'' is about Vietnam before direct American intervention and was published in 1955.
** Interestingly there were two film adaptations. The first was made in 1958 and changed the story significantly to make the titular American a hero. It was considered pro-American propaganda in the prelude to the later war. The 2002 remake is a much more faithful adaptation of the novel.
* In the novel (and film) ''Literature/{{Firefox}}'', Michael Gant is a Vietnam veteran hired by British intelligence (with US help) to steal a Soviet superfighter. He suffers from flashbacks. At really inconvenient moments.
* ''Literature/TheForeverWar'': Vietnam. In space.
** The author (Creator/JoeHaldeman) also wrote a fictionalized version of his time in Vietnam ''War Year''.
* The eponymous story in Creator/StephenKing's ''Literature/HeartsInAtlantis'' covered the college protest angle of Vietnam, while "Blind Willie" and "Why We're In Vietnam" covered two soldiers' lives after the war.
* ''Literature/FlightOfTheIntruder'', also adapted as a film, involving A-6 Intruder strike fighters.
* ''Forgotten Honor'', by Eric Poole, is the biography of Sgt. Leslie Sabo, who was killed on Mother's Day 1970 and recommended for the Medal of Honor, after which the Army lost his paperwork for 30 years.
* Several of Creator/TomClancy's characters in the ''Literature/JackRyan'' series are explicitly stated to have backgrounds involving the war.
** John Clark's background is detailed in ''Without Remorse.'' He was a member of 3rd SOG, a SEAL before they were public, and participated in the Phoenix Program. [[spoiler: Includes the Clancy staple StrawmanPolitical liberal in the form of an America-hating drug addict who got a government job just to have secrets to sell to the Soviets.]]
* Roger Durling, the president after Fowler's breakdown at the end of ''Literature/TheSumOfAllFears'', served in the 101st Airborne Division during the war. When discussing the war with Japan in ''Debt of Honor'', he dryly notes that letting the other side set the rules, when it seemed like Japan's position was unassailable, didn't work out so well in Vietnam.
* ''We Were Soldiers Once...And Young'', the inspiration for the Randall Wallace-Creator/MelGibson [[TheFilmOfTheBook film]] ''WeWereSoldiers'', and the follow-on ''We Are Soldiers Still''; both were co-authored by Harold Moore, the most well-known American commander in the battle depicted, and Joe Galloway, a reporter who covered the fighting from the thick of the action.
* ''Some Kind Of Hero'' Creator/JamesKirkwood's tragicomic novel about a Vietnam veteran and his time as a P.O.W. and his adventures after his release. Good book.
* In ''Literature/TheGuardians'', Jake Hawkins fought in the war and died there, though he was murdered by a nosferatu enjoying the chaos of war.
* The Creator/JohnLeCarre novel "[[Literature/TheQuestForKarla The Honourable Schoolboy]]" is set in the closing weeks of the war.
* "Devil's Guard," by George Robert Elford, is about a former Waffen SS (he fought guerrillas) and his old Nazi buddies fighting in the French Foreign Legion.
* ''Literature/TheThingsTheyCarried''. It's a memoir of the narrator's time in the Vietnam War, and discusses the realities and sentiments of his platoon.
* Ellen Emerson White's ''The Road Home'', while officially classified as a young adult novel, is a darkly compelling fictitious account of a young woman who decides the serve in Vietnam as an Army nurse - and the physical and mental aftermath of coming to terms with her year there.
* ''Year of the Jungle'' by [[Literature/TheHungerGames Suzanne Collins]] is about Suzanne's childhood in the States while her dad was in Vietnam. It's a picture book for four-year-olds.
* The Graham Greene novel (and subsequent films) ''Literature/TheQuietAmerican''.
* Nayan Chanda's book ''Brother Enemy'' covers realpolitik in Indochina after the fall of Saigon up to 1986.
* Mentioned in ''Literature/TheFifthWave'' by Rick Yancey.
--> '''World:''' You be America, alien invaders, and we'll be Vietnam.
--> '''[[NotUsingTheZWord Others]]:''' Yeah, okay, right.
* Former [[SemperFi United States Marine Corps]] Lieutenant Philip Caputo was deployed in the early years of the war, describing his experiences in vivid, eloquent detail in his non-fictional account ''A Rumor Of War''.
* [[Creator/MichaelConnelly Michael Connelly's]] main protagonist, LAPD homicide detective Hieronymus(Harry) Bosch was a tunnel rat in the war and played into the themes of darkness and light that were prevalent for his character. This background also played a significant role in ''The Black Echo'' in which the victim was a fellow tunnel rat who was involved in a plot to tunnel under bank vaults and rip off the safety deposit boxes.
* ''Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace RobinOlds'' spends a sizable chunk of the book on General Olds' time as a Wing Commander in the war, in addition to his time spent flying in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. For his part, he reflects on the fact that the younger pilots had little to no training or experience in air to air combat before coming to Vietnam, unlike the older pilots who fought in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII or the UsefulNotes/KoreanWar. He also mentions how one of his first actions on arriving in Vietnam was to inadvertently start a BarBrawl in the Officer's Club. He was [[TheLastDJ that]] [[MilitaryMaverick kind]] [[BadassGrandpa of guy.]]
* ''Literature/TheScream'' : Jake is a Vietnam vet, and a few flashback scenes are set during his time in the jungle.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheATeam'' was one of the first shows to use Vietnam as a backstory, and possibly ''the'' first one to present it in a positive light.
* In ''Series/QuantumLeap'', Al was a POW in Vietnam. Also, one episode had Sam leap into the body of one of his brother's squadmates and save his life during the war.
** In fact, Sam's actions during this episode led directly to Al's capture (and in turn the formation of much of Al's character [[spoiler: when his wife moved on after presuming Al was dead]].) The series finale redeems matters when Sam [[spoiler: is able to contact Al's wife and inform her that Al was safe and would return home, thus saving their marriage and resulting in a completely different Al--from lecherous old man to devoted father of four daughters.]]
* ''Series/MacGyver'': the main character Angus MacGyver served in a bomb disposal unit in Vietnam.
* The TV series ''Series/CallOfDuty'', ''Series/ChinaBeach'' and ''Series/TourOfDuty''. The latter was quite well-liked because of its realistic view of the war ([[JumpingTheShark at least at the beginning]]), [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff and was pretty popular in Europe and Latin America as well]].
* In ''Series/{{Airwolf}}'', Vietnam vet Stringfellow Hawke refused to return the helicopter to the F.I.R.M. until his MIA brother was found.
* ''Series/{{Lexx}}'''s characteristically UsefulNotes/{{Dada}}ist take involved unexplained time travel, countless golf puns, a sexy aerobics lesson, and a trip upriver to [[spoiler:''eat the Pope''.]]
* Detective Sonny Crockett in ''Series/MiamiVice'' is a Vietnam vet. It's also hinted that his boss Lt. Castillo served in Cambodia with the DEA. Castillo also served in Vietnam.
* A major element in ''Series/MagnumPI.''
* Glenn Corbett played Vietnam vet Linc Case on ''Series/{{Route 66}}'' in 1963. He also played a Vietnam vet as guest star on a 1965 episode of ''Series/TheManFromUNCLE.''
* "In Praise of Pip," a fifth season episode of the original ''Series/TheTwilightZone''. Notable for possibly being the first television program to mention a Vietnam casuality. Originally it was supposed to be Laos, but the show's fact-checkers pointed out that hostilities in Laos had recently ceased, suggesting South Vietnam instead. Which led to the following speech (from a bookie who has received word his son was severely wounded in action):
-->"He's dying. Pip is dying. In a place called South Vietnam. There isn't even supposed to be a war there, but he's dying. My boy is dying... It is to laugh. I swear to God it is to laugh."
** "The Road Less Traveled," from the 1980s incarnation of the show, is about a draft-dodger who meets an AlternateHistory version of himself, who went to Vietnam and lost his legs.
* ''Series/BlueHeelers'' used Vietnam as part of the back story for Tom and several episodes revolve around the conflict.
* While the 1999 miniseries "The Sixties" focuses on many events of that decade, a large portion of the plot revolves around Jerry O'Connell's character joining the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in Vietnam, and coming back a rather ShellShockedVeteran.
** Also, the 2002-2005 television series ''Series/AmericanDreams'' dealt with the character JJ coming also somewhat [[ShellShockedVeteran troubled]] but not quite so badly.
* ''Series/LawAndOrder'''s Captain Cragen and Lennie Briscoe are both mentioned as veterans of the war.
* In the pilot of ''Series/{{Angel}}'', Angel mentions fighting in fourteen wars but not Vietnam as "They never declared it".
* Andy Sipowicz of ''Series/NYPDBlue'' fought in the war, as did his actor Dennis Franz. He didn't speak of it often but did [[BerserkButton become enraged at a fellow officer who lied about serving.]]
* Stu Gharty in ''Series/HomicideLifeOnTheStreet'' fought in Vietnam and was somewhat traumatized by it. One episode had detectives investigating a case, based on a true story, of two men killing each other in an argument over which was more important, the Air Force or the Marine Corps. It is later revealed that both were too young to have served.
* John Winchester of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' dropped out of high school and joined the Marines, fighting in Vietnam.
* Lieutenant John Stillman on ''Series/ColdCase'' dropped out of high school to join the Navy and served in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Riverine_Force Vietnam as a river rat]].
* ''Series/MadMen'' takes place during the Sixties. Joan Holloway Harris's husband, a doctor, joins the Army Medical Corps and is sent to Vietnam at the end of the fourth season(set in 1965). In the sixth season premiere while vacationing with Megan in Hawaii, Don meets a soldier on leave who asks him to give away his bride at a small wedding ceremony on the beach. Don accidentally switches lighters with him.
** Stan Rizzo's cousin is in the navy and is killed over in Vietnam.
* The patriarchs of ''Series/ModernFamily'', ''Series/{{Parenthood}}'', and ''Series/BlueBloods'' are all Vietnam veterans.
* On ''Series/StargateSG1'', Colonel O'Neill, General Hammond, and General Landry are all Vietnam veterans.
* ''Series/TheWonderYears'' takes place in the late Sixties and features in many episodes. Waynes friend Wart, joins the Army and is sent out. Returning a ShellShockedVeteran.
** And, of course, during the Pilot, [[spoiler: Winnie's brother is killed]].
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': Harmon Rabb's dad was a Naval aviator who was shot down and went MIA during the war. Harm's quest to find out his father's final fate makes up an important part of his character arc for the first part of the show. In addition, a number of older characters including Captain "[[EverybodyCallsHimBarkeep CAG]]" Boone and Rear Admiral Chegwidden served in Vietnam (the former as an aviator alongside Harm's dad, and the latter as a Navy SEAL.)
* Officer John Baker on ''Series/CHiPS'' is a Vietnam veteran.
* Court clerk Mac Robinson on ''Series/NightCourt'' served in Vietnam.
* On ''Series/TheDukesOfHazzard'', Luke Duke was [[SemperFi Marine]] Sergeant and he served in Vietnam with Force Recon.
* Gerald [=McRaney=] played Vietnam vet Rick Simon on ''Simon & Simon''. His character Major [=McGillis=] on ''Series/MajorDad'' also fought in Vietnam. Earlier, [=McRaney=] played a heroin addicted Vietnam vet in an episode of the original ''Series/HawaiiFiveO''.
* ''Series/BarneyMiller'': In the episode titled "Agent Orange", it's revealed that Detective Wojciehowicz fought in the war when he books a fellow vet for a liquor store robbery and learns about suspect's illnesses as a result of being exposed to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_Orange the chemicals]] while he was over there.
* On ''Series/ChicoAndTheMan'', Chico is a veteran of the war.

* The sheer wealth of Vietnam War protest songs should have its own page. In fact, many entire genres were borne from the musical protest climate of the late '60s, the most evident being the revival of folk music and the creation HeavyMetal and, later and indirectly, punk.
** Of those, though, the "Feel Like I'm Fixin To Die Rag" by Country Joe and the Fish deserves special mention for its LyricalDissonance and for being one of the iconic songs of Woodstock (though not quite as much so as Hendrix's rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner mentioned below).
--> And it's one, two, three, what are we fightin' for?
--> Don't ask me, I don't give a damn
--> Next stop is Vietnam
* BillyJoel's "Goodnight Saigon".
* The song and video of Music/AliceInChains' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAE6Il6OTcs "Rooster"]], inspired by Jerry Cantrell's father having served in Vietnam.
* German Thrash Metal act Sodom derived lots of inspiration from its mainman's Tom Angelripper's fascination with the Vietnam conflict. As a German teenager in the 70s Tom was quite used to the sight of US military personnel (stationed in German NATO bases), in the songs and albums devoted to the topic the band manages to denounce the many horrors of the conflict while also expressing understanding and a kind of human piety for the soldiers having to navigate that hell. The album ''Agent Orange'' is the best-selling German thrash metal platter ever.
** Their 2001 album M-16 is another take on the subject.
* "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MC0HNPiy18 Big Time in the Jungle]]" by OldCrowMedicineShow is the story of a young man from [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutaw,_Alabama Eutaw, Alabama]] who gets duped into volunteering to serve in Vietnam. [[spoiler:He dies, apparently from friendly fire.]]
* SabatonSabatons songs "Purple Heart" and "Into the fire" are about the horrors of the Vietnam war.
* BruceSpringsteen's ''Born in the USA'', which despite some MisaimedFandom is quite ironic with the whole "born in the USA" thing.
* JimiHendrix's song "Machine Gun" is about the war, although it's more about the horrific nature of war in general.
** His [[TheCoverChangesTheMeaning iconic cover]] of "The Star Spangled Banner" is also recognized as an anti Vietnam message as well, since the song features heavily manipulated feedback and guitar noise that horrifically evokes the sounds of an air raid.
** Although it's originally a BobDylan song, Hendrix's cover of "All Along The Watchtower" is pretty ubiquitously known as the theme song to Vietnam.
* Orange Crush by R.E.M. [[WordSaladLyrics Probably.]]
** Not to mention the MindScrew that is the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mSmOcmk7uQ official music video...]]
* Australian rock group Cold Chisel's "Khe Sanh", which is about a [[ShellShockedVeteran Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD]].
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfAPhJW5fOY "Wild Irish Rose"]] by George Jones is a about a homeless, alcoholic Vietnam vet.
** Also by The Possum: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou7y8AyTwIY "50,000 Names"]] is about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
* "More Than A Name On The Wall" by The Statler Brothers.
* "Still in Saigon", by the Charlie Daniels Band, is about a [[ShellShockedVeteran Vietnam veteran]] finding [[StrangerInAFamiliarLand he can't truly go back home]].
* "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3LdMAqUMnM 19]]" by Paul Hardcastle was a huge hit when it came out in 1985. The quote in it, that the average age of a soldier was 19, compared to 26 in UsefulNotes/WW2, comes from a 1982 TV documentary and is slightly inaccurate, the average age in the Vietnam War was probably 22, but this is still very young.
* "Sam Stone (The Great Society Conflict Veteran's Blues)" by John Prine.
* The EltonJohn song, "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA78e27R_J4 Daniel]]" is about an shellshocked American Vietnam War soldier who returns home, is hailed as a hero, but who really wants to be left alone. The final verse, which explained the situation more clearly, was left off by Elton during the song's recording as he felt it made the song too long, leaving the context of the song very vague. It was lyricist Bernie Taupin's only statement about the war.
* ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzbvB-20rwU Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story]]'' (no relation to the film), by Music/JediMindTricks and R.A. The Rugged Man.
* ''Music/AlicesRestaurant'' ends its long, rambling anecdotal story with a message about the absurdity of the draft and how a young Arlo Guthrie was able to avoid it.
* Music/KennyRogers' ''Ruby'', about a seriously disabled vet whose reward for his "patriotic chore" in "that crazy Asian war" is to come home, paraplegic and utterly dependent, to a wife who cannot cope, who drugs hi up in the evening to go out and pretend she's single; the undertone is that he knows she'll help his end along to be rid of her burden. A startlingly bitter song in the politically conservative Country and Western genre.
* Even Music/TheMonkees got into the act, though [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar quite subtly]]: "Last Train to Clarksville" is a sly reference to Clarksdale, Tennessee, which happens to be one of the towns nearest to an Army basic training camp, and was a frequent meeting place for soldiers and their girlfriends just before they shipped out.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The ridiculously lethal RPG ''Recon'' is set in the Vietnam War, and is a great way for a group to play a really, really short game, because nobody will be left alive by the third encounter.
* The Catachan Jungle Fighters of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' are equal parts Franchise/{{Rambo}}, Franchise/{{Predator}} and CrazySurvivalist. [[DeathWorld Their homeworld]] is basically how the jungles of Vietnam would have seemed to newcomers and then turned UpToEleven (Vietnam presumably doesn't have man-eating plants or thirty meter-long scorpion-centipedes).
* As if the real war weren't horrific enough, the ''''TabletopGame/CallOfChthulu'' supplement ''Delta Green'' adds {{Eldritch Abomination}}s to the mix.

* TheMusical ''MissSaigon'', which is ''Madam Butterfly'' [[AC:[[RecycledInSpace IN VIETNAM!]]]]
* The musical ''Theatre/{{Hair}}'', which is more about TheSixties but does include the shadow of Vietnam.
* ''Theatre/APieceOfMyHeart'', a play about the experiences of women serving (or otherwise involved in) the Vietnam War.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Generally, the video game industry has largely ignored Vietnam as a source of setting for its games, instead opting for either World War II or the modern/post-modern era. This is perhaps largely due to the fact that with World War II, so many fronts and so many militaries were involved, and it's generally seen as a noble war; in modern settings, there is more creative leeway and an enemy most gamers can recognize - terrorists or rogue nations. With Vietnam, the common theme is that there was no clear victor, no front, and the war was filled with too much NightmareFuel for any practical shooter.
* ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield}} Vietnam'' is a team-based FirstPersonShooter set in Vietnam. It brought some important things to the combat model established in the WWII-set ''Battlefield 1942'', notably the rise of the helicopter, boat combat on inland waterways, jet aircraft, and jungle fighting. CompetitiveBalance concerns kept it from accurately simulating asymmetric warfare. Despite not having very high sales numbers, the industry smelled a trend, and a wave of FollowTheLeader games set in 'Nam arrived, most of them {{shovelware}}; but, unlike the endless parade of WWII shooters, this trend fizzled rather shortly afterwards when everyone remembered that almost no one actually liked this war. It is fondly remembered for the ability to blast period appropriate music whenever you were in a vehicle. If you hopped into a helicopter, you could start playing "Music/RideOfTheValkyries" and other players could hear you coming.
** The Vietnam expansion pack for ''VideoGame/BattlefieldBadCompany 2'' has been very well received, in contrast.
** The ''Battlefield 2'' mod ''VideoGame/ProjectReality'' had a Vietnam-themed version released in April 2012.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Vietcong}}'' series of {{First Person Shooter}}s, quite notorious for its high difficulty, managed to capture the atmosphere of Vietnam War. The games are notable for quite realistic portrayal of hardened soldiers and their environment as well as for including less popular themes, such as supporting the Montagnard tribes and urban combat during the Tet Offensive. With helicopters, plethora of military tropes and music from the '60s added for good measure.
* ''Shellshock: 'Nam 67'' portrayed several elements of the war, from torture and butchery to going into towns and visiting hookers.
** ''VideoGame/{{Shellshock 2}}: Blood Trails'', the sequel, is also set in Vietnam, but adds a [[WeirdHistoricalWar decidedly non-historical element]]: [[ZombieApocalypse zombies]].
* VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps is set during the '60s, with the Vietnam war being a major part of the story and has missions that take place during the Battle of Khe Sanh and the Tet Offensive, as well as a DeathFromAbove segment over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Being Call of Duty, it manages to capture a good bit of the feel of the panic of Vietnam, but the chapter is quickly finished.
* The first expansion for ''{{Magicka}}'' is ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs2DsoiA54Y&feature=player_embedded Magicka: Vietnam]]''. Since ''Magicka'' is a humorous send-up of the high-fantasy genre, the expansion's tagline of "You didn't see this coming, did you?" is pretty accurate.
* ''VideoGame/RedAlert3Paradox'', being the [[{{Deconstruction}} deconstructive]] GameMod that it is, has the Vietnam War in its UsefulNotes/ColdWar setting.
* Despite his various back stories being retconned (just trust us, too long to list here), one constant fact that stays true throughout the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' series is that Big Boss served in the Vietnam War, for three different parts of the US Army, no less. Big Boss's involvement in Vietnam started first as part of a top secret mission in the early 1960s which isn't given much detail on what it was about, then as a Military Adviser assessing the progress of the war in its early days, and then as an actual commander in the field. In addition, during the Big Boss section of the Metal Gear Solid saga (ie, ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'', ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPortableOps'' and ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker''), there were references to Vietnam throughout the story, namely in regards to weapons of the era and the war's relationship to the Quagmire of the Cold War as a whole. Peace Walker also implies that several of the soldiers within the Peace Sentinels had just gotten out of Vietnam, and some of their statements (when recruited into the Militaires Sans Frontieres) imply that they only served the Peace Sentinels/the MSF because they had nowhere else to go thanks in part to their being told down by the people.
** Several minor characters have their backstories involving the war as well: Gray Fox (although his story has been retconned), Night Fright and Predator.
* ''VideoGame/{{NAM 1975}}'', Neo-Geo's launch title. The players must rescue Dr. R. Muckly from Vietcong troops (armed with [[RuleOfCool super tanks]], [[SchizoTech laser weaponry]], and [[HumongousMecha giant mechas]]), [[spoiler:only to learn that he's a MadScientist trying to TakeOverTheWorld and ultimately fight him as the final boss.]]
* ''Kuma\War: WWII[=/=]Vietnam'': Takes place in both, well, ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin.
* Like the '''68'' and ''Shellshock 2'' examples above, the ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'' mod ''VideoGame/HeartOfEvil'' is ''Apocalypse Now'' with zombies.
* ''Operation Vietnam'' for the NintendoDS. Like ''NAM-1975'' above, this game has a healthy dose of RuleOfCool and SovietSuperscience, with the bosses being hi-tech, anachronistic NVA vehicles.
* ''Lost Patrol'', an ActionRPG which is probably the closest we can get to a Vietnam War movie simulator.
* The ''VideoGame/RushNAttack'' sequel ''MIA: Missing in Action'' takes place during the war.
* ''VideoGame/MenOfValor'', from the same company who made ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonor: Allied Assault''.
* The SteelPanthers series covers the conflicts fairly extensively, with the additional distinction that Steel Panthers: World At War focuses on the little-covered [[UsefulNotes/GaulsWithGrenades First]] war.
* The computer based board game ''NAM 1965-75'', released in 1991, lets the player control US forces and their allies on a strategic level.
* ''Conflict: Vietnam'', a squad-based tactical shooter from the ''Conflict'' series featuring a 4-men squad of [=GIs=], like ''Vietcong'' it features the Tet Offensive & interaction with the Montagnards, as well as period-appropriate music & M50 Ontos, a rarely-touched-upon light tank destroyer with [[MoreDakka six 106mm recoilless rifles]].
* ''[[VideoGame/MenOfWar Men of War: Vietnam]]'', a real-time tactics which in a rare move, has a Viet Cong campaign & plays on speculations of Soviet covert operations by featuring two Soviet special forces operators in it.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The Vietnam War is actually presented as an example of the HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct in ''Webcomic/ManlyGuysDoingManlyThings'': CommanderBadass went back in time to that time period twice: Once to win the war for America, and again to prevent himself from doing that because winning the war caused the {{Rambo}} movies to not exist... and that's just too bizarre a world to contemplate.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Principal Skinner is a Vietnam veteran.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', Stan's uncle Jimbo Kearns and his friend Ned are Vietnam veterans.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' episode "In Country...Club", Stan has his son Steve join him in participating in a Vietnam War reenactment at the local golf club. Steve then gets post-traumatic stress disorder afterwards. Roger also mentioned the war with Stan saying, paraphrased, "I was in the Viet Cong, did I ever tell you about that? We won."
* ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'':
** In the ChristmasEpisode, Arnold notes that his neighbor Mr. Hyunh seems kind of sad, and asks him about it. Mr. Hyunh tells Arnold about how his village was attacked, and soldiers were airlifting civilians to safety, but they could only take one villager with them. [[TearJerker He gave up his then two-year-old daughter Mai]]. Arnold then sets out to find Mai and reunite her with her father as his Christmas present to Mr. Hyunh.
** In the episode, "Veteran's Day", Gerald's dad, Martin, served the Vietnam War as a clerk and never experienced actual combat. However, he did save the life of a private who was injured in combat. Twenty years later, the private thanked Martin for his heroic deeds.