NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

U.S. Didn't Lose Vietnam War

April 30, 2001

Tomorrow will mark the 26th anniversary of South Vietnam's surrender to North Vietnam. However, according to some historians, it will not mark -- as some academicians, media and foreign policy specialists will claim -- "the first war America ever lost."

Rather, it was the end of the Second Vietnam War, in which no U.S. forces were involved.

  • U.S. forces began building up in 1961 under Kennedy and Johnson, and were reduced to virtually zero by Richard Nixon in late 1973.
  • During their dozen years in Vietnam, U.S. forces didn't lose a single battle -- not even the Tet Offensive in 1968 -- despite the media and antiwar misrepresentation.
  • The Paris accords ended U.S. involvement, at which point U.S. and South Vietnamese forces had thwarted the Soviet-supported North and achieved a status quo ante situation like that which ended the Korean War.
  • Not until January 1975 did the North begin the Second Vietnam War against an essentially abandoned South -- a war made winnable by Nixon's involvement in Watergate, antiwar Democrat control of the Congress and Hanoi's certainty that Gerald Ford wouldn't intervene.

The North's victory came April 30, 1975, not over U.S. forces that had departed, but over the South, whose military and political support had been decimated by Congress. Finally, historians point out, the predicted bloodbath following a Northern victory did in fact occur. There were tens of thousands of summary executions, millions herded into brutal "re-education" camps and hundreds of thousands of boat people fleeing communism.

Source: Jim Guirard (TrueSpeak Institute), "U.S. Didn't Lose Vietnam War," Dallas Morning News, April 27, 2001.


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