Test Your Knowledge



9 Questions

What was Operation Menu?

What was the purpose of the ARVN taking over combat operations throughout Vietnam?

What was the deadline for removing additional American troops announced by Nixon in 1970?

Who was Prince Sihanouk and what happened to him in March 1970?

What was the total number of American troops in Vietnam after the withdrawal of an additional 150,000 troops announced by Nixon in 1970?

What was the purpose of the bombing campaign launched by Nixon in 1969?

Who demanded that North Vietnamese troops leave Cambodia or face military action in 1970?

What was the effect of Nixon's announcement to withdraw additional American troops in 1970?

What was the role of the ARVN in Vietnam after American troops were redeployed in 1969?


Cold War Conflict in Southeast Asia: The Vietnam War

  • The Vietnam War was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1955 to 1975, fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam, with the north supported by communist states and the south supported by anti-communist allies.

  • The war was a Cold War-era proxy war and lasted almost 20 years, with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973.

  • The conflict spilled over into neighboring states, exacerbating the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, which ended with all three countries becoming communist states by 1975.

  • The war began after the French military withdrawal from Indochina in 1954, and the U.S. assumed financial and military support for the South Vietnamese state.

  • The Viet Cong, a South Vietnamese common front under the direction of the north, initiated a guerrilla war in the south, while the People's Army of Vietnam engaged in more conventional warfare with U.S. and South Vietnamese forces.

  • U.S. involvement increased under President John F. Kennedy, and following the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution that gave President Lyndon B. Johnson broad authority to increase U.S. military presence in Vietnam.

  • Johnson ordered the deployment of combat units for the first time and dramatically increased the number of American troops to 184,000.

  • U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, and airstrikes, and the U.S. also conducted a large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam.

  • In 1968, North Vietnamese forces launched the Tet Offensive, causing U.S. domestic support for the war to fade.

  • The 1970 deposing of the Cambodian monarch resulted in a PAVN invasion of the country, escalating the Cambodian Civil War.

  • After the election of Richard Nixon in 1969, a policy of "Vietnamization" began, which saw the conflict fought by an expanded ARVN, while U.S. forces withdrew in the face of increasing domestic opposition.

  • The war exacted an enormous human cost, with estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed ranging from 966,000 to 3 million, and over 58,000 U.S. service members also died in the conflict.The Vietnam War: A Summary of Key Events

  • The Cold War policy of the domino theory was first proposed by the Eisenhower administration, which argued that if one country fell to communism, then all of the surrounding countries would follow.

  • Ngo Dinh Diem, a devout Roman Catholic, was fervently anti-communist, nationalist, and socially conservative. He launched the "Denounce the Communists" campaign, during which suspected communists and other anti-government elements were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or executed.

  • In October 1956, Diem launched a land reform program limiting the size of rice farms per owner. By 1960, the land reform process had stalled because many of Diem's biggest supporters were large landowners.

  • Between 1954 and 1957, the Diem government succeeded in preventing large-scale organized unrest in the countryside. In April 1957, insurgents launched an assassination campaign, referred to as "extermination of traitors".

  • In September 1960, COSVN, North Vietnam's southern headquarters, gave an order for a full-scale coordinated uprising in South Vietnam against the government and 1/3 of the population was soon living in areas of communist control. In December 1960, North Vietnam formally created the Viet Cong with the intent of uniting all anti-GVN insurgents, including non-communists.

  • In 1961, Kennedy believed that yet another failure to gain control and stop communist expansion would irreparably damage U.S. credibility. He was determined to "draw a line in the sand" and prevent a communist victory in Vietnam.

  • Kennedy's policy toward South Vietnam assumed that Diem and his forces had to ultimately defeat the guerrillas on their own. He was against the deployment of American combat troops.

  • The Strategic Hamlet Program was initiated in late 1961. This joint U.S.–South Vietnamese program attempted to resettle the rural population into fortified villages. It officially ended in 1964.

  • Discontent with Diem's policies exploded in May 1963 following the Huế Phật Đản shootings of nine unarmed Buddhists protesting against the ban on displaying the Buddhist flag on Vesak, the Buddha's birthday.

  • U.S. officials began discussing the possibility of a regime change during the middle of 1963. The CIA contacted generals planning to remove Diem and told them that the United States would not oppose such a move nor punish the generals by cutting off aid.

  • President Diệm was overthrown and executed, along with his brother, on 2 November 1963. When Kennedy was informed, he "rushed from the room with a look of shock and dismay on his face."

  • The Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred on August 2, 1964, when the USS Maddox, a US Navy destroyer, was attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. It led to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized the President to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.

  • By the end of 1965, there were over 184,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam. By 1968, there were over half a million U.S. troops in Vietnam. The war ended on April 30, 1975, when North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace in Saigon.The Vietnam War: Gulf of Tonkin, American Ground War, and Tet Offensive

  • Following the coup in South Vietnam, Hanoi took advantage of the situation and increased its support for the guerrillas.

  • U.S. military advisors were criticized for ignoring the political nature of the insurgency while the Kennedy administration sought to refocus U.S. efforts on pacification.

  • General Paul Harkins, the commander of U.S. forces in South Vietnam, predicted victory by Christmas 1963, but the CIA warned that the Viet Cong retained control of much of the countryside.

  • The CIA's Special Activities Division trained and led Hmong tribesmen in Laos and into Vietnam, while participating in Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MAC-V SOG).

  • The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution granted President Johnson power "to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression," and prompted retaliatory airstrikes.

  • Operation Rolling Thunder and Operation Arc Light expanded aerial bombardment and ground support operations, bombing not only North Vietnam but also Laos and Cambodia.

  • Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos, making it the most heavily bombed country in history relative to the size of its population.

  • The Viet Cong's ranks grew from approximately 5,000 at the start of 1959 to about 100,000 at the end of 1964, while the Army's strength rose from about 850,000 to nearly a million men.

  • The American ground war began on March 8, 1965, with 3,500 U.S. Marines landing near Da Nang, South Vietnam, and the deployment increased to nearly 200,000 by December.

  • General William Westmoreland outlined a three-point plan to win the war, approved by Johnson, that marked a profound departure from the previous administration's insistence that the government of South Vietnam was responsible for defeating the guerrillas.

  • The political situation in South Vietnam began to stabilize with the coming to power of prime minister Air Marshal Nguyễn Cao Kỳ and figurehead chief of state, General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, in mid-1965 at the head of a military junta.

  • The Johnson administration employed a "policy of minimum candor" in its dealings with the media, damaging the public trust in official pronouncements and creating a credibility gap.

  • In late 1967, the PAVN lured American forces into the hinterlands at Đắk Tô and at the Marine Khe Sanh Combat Base, while launching the Tet Offensive in January 1968, which marked a turning point in the war.The Vietnam War: Tet Offensive, Nixon's Vietnamization, and Collapsing U.S. Morale

  • The Tet Offensive began on January 30, 1968, with over 85,000 VC/PAVN troops attacking over 100 cities in South Vietnam, including key military installations and the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

  • The offensive was initially successful, with the PAVN/Viet Cong capturing most of the city of Huế and executing approximately 2,800 unarmed civilians and foreigners.

  • The U.S. and ARVN forces eventually recaptured most cities within weeks, but the offensive demonstrated an intelligence failure on the scale of Pearl Harbor and caused a shift in public opinion against the war.

  • The failure to spark a general uprising and the lack of defections among the ARVN units meant both war goals of Hanoi had fallen flat at enormous costs.

  • The war became a major political issue during the United States presidential election in 1968, which was won by Republican party candidate Richard Nixon who claimed to have a secret plan to end the war.

  • Nixon's plan to build up the ARVN so that it could take over the defense of South Vietnam became known as "Vietnamization."

  • Hanoi's war strategy shifted from an unconventional victory to a strategy built on conventional victory through conquest, with large-scale offensives rolled back in favor of small-unit and sapper attacks.

  • U.S. forces began a period of morale collapse, disillusionment, and disobedience, with open refusal to engage in patrols or carry out orders and disobedience beginning to emerge.

  • Drug usage increased rapidly among U.S. forces, and search-and-destroy operations became referred to as "search and evade" or "search and avoid" operations, falsifying battle reports while avoiding guerrilla fighters.

  • U.S. forces were withdrawn from border areas where most of the fighting took place and redeployed along the coast and interior, with the ARVN taking over combat operations throughout the country.

  • In 1970, Nixon announced the withdrawal of an additional 150,000 American troops, reducing the number of Americans to 265,500, with a deadline to remove another 45,000 troops by February 1972.

  • In March 1969, Nixon launched a massive secret bombing campaign, called Operation Menu, against communist sanctuaries along the Cambodia/Vietnam border, and in March 1970, Prince Sihanouk was deposed by his pro-American prime minister Lon Nol, who demanded that North Vietnamese troops leave Cambodia or face military action.


Test your knowledge of one of the most significant conflicts in Cold War history with our quiz on the Vietnam War. From the Gulf of Tonkin incident to the Tet Offensive, this quiz will challenge your understanding of the complex political and military strategies that shaped the conflict in Southeast Asia. With questions covering major events, key figures, and the impact of the war on both American and Vietnamese societies, this quiz is perfect for history buffs and students alike. So, put your thinking cap on and see how much you

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