Introduction to Vietnam War Myths


There are myriad of myths about the Vietnam War that have been created by poor journalism and perpetuated by TV and film portrayals that paint all Vietnam Veterans with the same brush as a few miscreants.

Misrepresentations, failure and/or inability to validate sources, the loss of objectivity, and an overall lack of knowledge about military tactics and strategies, were among the challenges faced by many of the younger journalists that replaced the old guard as they retired around 1963.

The situation was exacerbated by a defeatist attitude that permeated the US news media as the coverage of the War continued.

The film and television industries´ portrayal of Vietnam Veterans and the Vietnam War certainly did not help.

For example it is often stated that the United States lost the Vietnam War. The facts demonstrate that this is simply not true.

The most obvious fact is that the South Vietnamese government lost the War two years after United States combat involvement ended.

A peace treaty (The Paris Accords) was signed in January of 1973 and the last US combat troops left Vietnam before the end of April 1973. Saigon fell in April of 1975, two years after the last US combat troops left Vietnam.

Three years of full time graduate research on this topic culminated in my capstone project published at the Gerald R. Sherratt Library at Southern Utah University: Smokescreens, Lies and Deceptions: The media and the Vietnam War.

Ongoing part time research has continued for more than two years since then. My upcoming book Smokescreens, Lies and Deceptions: Popular myths about the Vietnam War, is currently being written (as time permits) and will expound on the topics discussed in this blog and more.

This research includes primary sources, memoirs and secondary sources, including literally hundreds of books, articles and declassified documents about the Vietnam War written by players on all sides.

These sources include North Vietnamese, South Vietnamese, Viet Cong, neutralists, Soviets leaders, Chinese Communists, American leaders, American journalists, anti-war activists, American Presidents and the list continues ad nauseum.

Correcting these myths with facts, figures and anecdotal evidence is the topic of my work.

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