The BOOMERNET Guide to Remembering Vietnam
Special Interest Area: The DaNang Project
Most members of the Baby Boomer generation -- especially the older ones -- have vivid memories of the "Vietnam era" in their lives. Maybe they saw Vietnam in-country as one of the more than 2.5 million American men and women who served there. Or maybe they protested the war on campuses around the U.S. Or maybe they felt that living in Canada for a few years was their only choice at the time.
In all of those cases -- and in so many more -- Vietnam had an impact on their lives. Well, now the younger folks are reminding us that "Vietnam" means a country and not just a war. And they're right. Hopefully, those of us who lived through the era have reconciled our views with those who opposed us at the time. Whether or not that has happened, though, there is still value in remembering clearly what occurred there.
There are literally thousands of web pages available on the subject. Shown below are links to some of the more useful ones that we've found. Enjoy!
CHRONOLOGY: It seemed to many of us in the U.S. that "the war" went on forever. Major American ground forces were active there from 1965 until 1972, with U.S. air support of the South Vietnamese continuing until 1975, making this the longest war in U.S. history.
But for the people of Vietnam, combat had occurred there for a much, much longer time. Specific starting and ending dates of many of the following conflicts are still debated, although the overall length of the combat there is obvious to all.
- Japanese War, 1940 - 1945
- French War, 1946 - 1954
- Civil War, 1957 - 1964
- American War, 1964 - 1975
- Cambodian War, 1977 - 1991
- Chinese War, 1979 - 1980's
Details of many of these distinct eras in Vietnamese history can be found below:
- Battlefield: Vietnam - Timeline
- Chronology of U.S. - Vietnamese Relations
- History Place - Vietnam War
- Vietnam Online Timeline
- Wars of Vietnam
- East & West: The Japanese, British, French, Chinese, and Americans in Post-War Vietnam
AMERICAN WAR: It was known as the Vietnam War here in the states and as the American War over there. Hundreds of web sites are dedicated to recording and helping to understand the history of American involvement in the conflict in Vietnam from the mid-1950's to the mid-1970's. Some of the more informative sites include:
- Casualties - US vs NVA / VC
- Ground Combat Operations
- History of the U.S. War in Vietnam
- Vets With A Mission
- Vietnam Veterans Home Page or alternate site: vietvet.org
- Vietnam War Bibliography
- Vietnam War History Resources
- Vietnam War Master Resource Guide
- Vietnam Warriors: A Statistical Profile
COMMENTARY: Vietnam caused more dissension and debate than any other issue in modern American history. And many of the disagreements continue to this day. A sampling of some of the different views may be found at the sites listed below.
- Annals of Vietnam
- David H. Hackworth
- Grover Furr's Vietnam War Page
- James Webb
- Recalling the Vietnam War
- Vietnam Generation Journal Online
- Vietnam Today: A Different War
- Vietnam 25 Years Later
- Vietnam Veterans Against the War
ONLINE BOOKS & DOCUMENTS: There is a marvelous new trend of making research materials available online. Many of these books and other documents are scanned versions of the original hard copy items, with the inherent translation errors which are common to the genre. If you can overlook that little bit of confusion, however, these can prove to be a treasure-trove of reading pleasure.
- Avalon Project: Indochina - Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos
- eHistory.com: Vietnam: Books
- Online Bookshelves - Vietnam
- Vietnam Virtual Archive
- "Vietnam" documents at Defense Technical Information Center
MAPS: Battlefields with names you couldn't pronounce -- and destinations you'd never heard of, before you got there -- that was Vietnam. Luckily, the Army Map Service (and later the Defense Mapping Agency) prepared incredibly detailed maps to help us find the spots in question. The maps have been declassified today and many can still be purchased by the general public. See our How to Buy Maps of Vietnam page for details.
Naturally, many of these old maps have also found their way onto the internet. Special mention should be made of Jim Henthorn's Project MapScan. He has scanned every 1:250,000 scale map of Southeast Asia in the 1965 - 1975 era and made them available online, complete with graphical index and zoom capabilities. Wow! What a fantastic resource!
- Primary site: Maps of South East Asia
There are also a wide variety of other maps and map data available to help you figure out who was where, including many at the more detailed 1:50,000 scale. Some of the more interesting general interest sites are shown below, along with our list of links to sites with collections of maps and military locations specific to certain areas of the country.
- BOOMERNET's Vietnam Map Links Page
- Firebases, Landing Zones, and Base Camps -- list of coordinates
- Maps of the Vietnam War from eHistory.com
- Maps of Vietnam from vietvet.org
VIETNAM TODAY: Vietnam -- the country, not the war -- continues to fascinate westerners today, as it has for centuries. You can learn about some of the current projects being done by Vets With A Mission in the country and sample some of the basic information sites listed below.
- AsiaPROFILES: Vietnam
- CIA - The World Factbook - Vietnam
- Internet Resources on Vietnam
- Viet Nam News
- VietNam Pictures Archive
- VietVentures Vietnam Information Guide
FICTION: Novels about the Vietnam War can help to paint a more complete picture in a reader's mind than simply reading about the facts of the matter. They can often better express the emotion and the flavor of the events and the settings. Shown below are links to both novels and shorter stories, including those recommended by us.
- BOOMERNET Recommendations: Fiction of the Vietnam War
- Fiction about Vietnam at Amazon.com
- Vietnam Veterans' War Stories
- Vietnam War Fiction Books
NON-FICTION: Both scholarly works and more popular non-fiction texts are available for delving into and trying to understand the American involvement in the conflicts in Vietnam. Shown below are links to many such works, including those recommended by us.
- BOOMERNET Recommendations: Non-fiction of the Vietnam War
- Edwin Moise Bibliography of the Vietnam War
- History books about Vietnam at Amazon.com
MOVIES: Movies about the Vietnam War are available to suit every viewpoint, from documentaries to combat epics and from soap operas to anti-war pleas. Shown below are links to listings and commentaries on them, including those recommended by us for your viewing pleasure.
- BOOMERNET Recommendations: Movies of the Vietnam War
- Vietnam War Documentary Videos Online
- War Movie Database: Vietnam War Movies
TELEVISION: There have been several successful movies about Vietnam, but very few successful TV series. The lone commercial exception to this is shown below, along with two outstanding documentary series produced by PBS. It should also be noted, of course, that many of the movies listed in the previous section do appear on TV from time to time. Use the "search" capability noted below to locate what will be showing in your area in the next two weeks.
- China Beach
- PBS's Battlefield: Vietnam
- PBS's Vietnam: A Television History
- TV Guide Online -- Click on "Search" and type in keyword "Vietnam"
MUSIC: Music played a key role in the Vietnam era, both as a form of protest and as a way to allow our troops overseas to still enjoy reminders of home. Listings, links to online tunes, and even scholarly studies are available today. So enjoy a little trip down memory lane...
- AFVN - Armed Forces Vietnam Network
- Battle Notes: Music of the Vietnam War
- "Gooood Morning Vietnam!!!" -- The "Music" that got us Home (MIDI files)
- Music of the Vietnam War Era - The First Decade, 1954-64
- Music of the Vietnam War Era - The Second Decade, 1965-75
THE DA NANG PROJECT: The author was stationed in DaNang in 1970-1971. Like many of us there, I knew very little about it before arrival and gained only limited knowledge of it while I was there. Now, almost 40 years later, I've made it a personal mission to gather information about DaNang -- the city, the huge military complex there, and which major units were active between 1965 and 1972.
Please visit the DaNang Project and help me to fill in the blanks and add to the base of information available. In particular, if you can add to the list of major units stationed there and/or identify links to web sites for them, that would be great. Likewise, if you could provide map coordinates for the military locations which have only been approximated, I would appreciate it.