The End of the Vietnam War

By Dr Aurélie Basha i Novosejt, published 25th September 2023

The Vietnam War was one of many conflicts born partly out of the tumultuous global shift of the end of European Empires for which the Second World War had acted as a catalyst. What marked the Vietnam War out from some of the other political changes in the Indo-Chinese and Southeast Asian regions was the intervention of the United States and its rising fear of Communism and regional partnerships.

Those fears plunged the US into a military campaign that spanned two decades and has left a legacy for many more. In the US, whether or not you were drafted or dodged the draft to serve in Vietnam can have huge political repercussions; in the UK on the other hand, the Vietnam War is known to many only through its popular and often brutal portrayal in the Hollywood films of the late 1970s and early 80s.

In this podcast, leading expert on the Vietnam War and the politics of the region, Dr Aurélie Basha i Novosejt of the University of Kent, sets out a clear history that brings understanding and breadth to many portrayals of the conflict. Questions about the two sides’ military tactics as well as the political motivations of the US at different stages are addressed. Careful consideration is given to the impact of the war in the US and Vietnam as well as how historians have contributed to our understanding of those events and legacies.

This podcast is part of a wider series looking at the political history of the whole region in the post-war period.

1. What were the strengths of the Viet Cong and guerrilla warfare?
2. How unified were the North Vietnamese?
3. Why did the US rely on bombing campaigns? What impact did it have?
4. What was the significance of the Tet offensive?
5. What role did the media play in transforming American opinions about the war?
6. How does the relationship between the media and the presidency change between 1960-74?
7. How successful were Nixon’s policies on Vietnam? What was the impact of Vietnamization?
8. What were the outcomes of the Paris Peace talks from 1967-1973?
9. What impact did détente with the USSR and rapprochement with China have on developments with Vietnam?
10. What led to the victory of North Vietnam and the fall of Saigon?
11. What was the legacy of the Vietnam war?
12. How did Vietnam progress after the war?
13. How have historians’ interpretations of this period of Vietnamese and US history changed over time?

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