Military Innovations in the Vietnam War
No Regard for Human Life
The Vietnam War started on November 1, 1955 and ended on April 30, 1975. In that time a shocking 1.3 million to 3.9 million people died. America got involved in the war because of its goal to stop the spread of communism, and it was willing to do anything to achieve its mission. It wasn’t just the large amount of people that died that made the war so horrific, but it was the manner in which they died. Due to the use of chemical warfare, the increased use of air strikes, and the use of advanced weaponry, the Vietnam War was the most brutal war and caused the most horrific deaths in American history (Vietnam War).
When President Lyndon B. Johnson escalated American involvement in the war in 1965 the American military did not have any regards for the citizens, soldiers, or land of North Vietnam. This was shown through America’s use of chemicals during the war. The two most common chemical concoctions were Napalm and Agent Orange. Napalm is a mixture of plastic polystyrene, gasoline, and hydrocarbon benzene. This blend thickened the gasoline and was used in flamethrowers and firebombs. These devices were used to clear away the forests of Vietnam, and as weapons that would cause 3rd degree burns and would often lead to death (Napalm | Chemical Compound). Another chemical used during the war was Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a toxic herbicide used by the United States during Operation Ranch Hand. The goal of the operation was to cut off the Vietnamese farmers and soldiers from food and water as well to clear out the dense vegetation of the area. Agent Orange also had lots of side effects on the soldiers such as cancer and birth defects in newborn babies. The use of these chemicals showed the ruthless policies of the American army in their attempt to win the war (Napalm, Agent Orange). American commanders did not care what, or who was destroyed in their efforts to win the war, so the use of airstrikes became a common war tactic. The most used plane was the B-52 bomber. The bomber could carry more bombs than fighter planes and could fly from up to 30000 feet in the air. Which was effective because it put the plane out of range from gunfire and it was hard to spot. These bombers would often drop cluster bombs, which were bombs that would release seven million steel pellets. These pellets ripped through human flesh and were often inaccurate and killed innocent civilians (Hay). The use of these bombs showed that the United States had no regard for human life. Another symbol of the Vietnam War was the Huey Helicopter. It was known as a symbol of the war because it changed modern day warfare and more than 7000 of them were used during