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Estimates of casualties of the Vietnam War vary widely. Estimates include both civilian and military deaths in North and South Vietnam , Laos , and Cambodia. The war persisted from to and most of the fighting took place in South Vietnam; accordingly it suffered the most casualties. The war also spilled over into the neighboring countries of Cambodia and Laos which also endured casualties from aerial and ground fighting.
Civilian deaths caused by both sides amounted to a significant percentage of total deaths.
Casualties of War
Civilian deaths were partly caused by assassinations, massacres and terror tactics. Civilian deaths were also caused by mortar and artillery, extensive aerial bombing and the use of firepower in military operations conducted in heavily populated areas. Some , Vietnamese civilians are estimated by one source to have died as a result of the war during the period of American involvement.
A number of incidents occurred during the war in which civilians were deliberately targeted or killed. Estimates of the total number of deaths in the Vietnam War vary widely.
The wide disparity among the estimates cited below is partially explained by the different time periods of the Vietnam War covered by the studies and whether casualties in Cambodia and Laos were included in the estimates.
Vietnam book 4 casualties of war true
Guenter Lewy in estimated 1,, total deaths in North and South Vietnam during the period — in which the U. His estimate of total deaths is reflected in the table.
A demographic study in Population and Development Review calculated ,—1,, war-related Vietnamese deaths, both soldiers and civilians, for all of Vietnam from — The study came up with a most likely Vietnamese death toll of ,, which included , adult males above 15 years of age , , adult females, and 84, children. Those totals include only Vietnamese deaths, and do not include American and other allied military deaths which amounted to about 64, In , the Vietnamese government released its estimate of war deaths for the more lengthy period of — These estimates probably include deaths of Vietnamese soldiers in Laos and Cambodia, but do not include deaths of South Vietnamese and allied soldiers which would add nearly , for a grand total of 3.
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For the period of the Vietnam War the totals are 1,, between and , 1,, between —74 and , between and The estimates for —64 are much higher than other estimates. The sum of those totals is 3,, war deaths between — Their estimates for conflict deaths in Vietnam are , from —64 and 1,, from —75 for a total of 1,, The database also estimates combat deaths in Cambodia for the years —75 to total , Data for deaths in Laos is incomplete. Rummel 's mid-range estimate in was that the total deaths due to the Vietnam War totaled 2,, from — Deaths in Cambodia and Laos were estimated at , and 62, respectively.
He suggests that another , civilians were counted as military deaths by the U.
In addition, at least 36, Southern civilians were executed for various reasons in the period — Thomas Thayer in estimated that during the —72 period the VC killed 33, South Vietnamese village officials and civil servants.
According to RJ Rummel, from to , an estimated 1, people died during the forced relocations of 1,, civilians, another 5, prisoners died from ill-treatment and about 30, suspected communists and fighters were executed.
RJ Rummel estimated that American forces committed around 5, intentional democidal mass-killings between and , from a range of between 4, and 10, killed in democide.
Vietnam: Casualties of War 4 by Chris Lynch (2013, Hardcover, Prebound)
Estimates for the number of North Vietnamese civilian deaths resulting from US bombing range from 30,—65, Vietnam's government claimed that , people were killed or maimed as a result of after effects, and that , children were born with birth defects.
According to the Information Bureau of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam PRG , between April and the end of American ground troops killed about 6, civilians in the course of twenty-one operations either on their own or alongside their allies. Three of the massacres reported on the American side were not mentioned on the PRG list. Nick Turse, in his book, Kill Anything that Moves , argues that a relentless drive toward higher body counts, a widespread use of free-fire zones, rules of engagement where civilians who ran from soldiers or helicopters could be viewed as VC, and a widespread disdain for Vietnamese civilians led to massive civilian casualties and endemic war crimes inflicted by U.
Air force captain, Brian Wilson, who carried out bomb-damage assessments in free-fire zones throughout the delta, saw the results firsthand. One of the times I counted bodies after an air strike—which always ended with two napalm bombs which would just fry everything that was left—I counted sixty-two bodies. In my report I described them as so many women between fifteen and twenty-five and so many children—usually in their mothers' arms or very close to them—and so many old people.
Robert E. Cushman Jr.
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The ARVN suffered , recorded combat deaths between and , with the highest number of recorded deaths being in , with 39, combat deaths. Rummel estimated that ARVN suffered between , and , deaths during the war including in and prior to There has been considerable controversy about the exact numbers of deaths inflicted on the Communist side by U. Shelby Stanton, writing in The Rise and Fall of an American Army , declined to include casualty statistics because of their 'general unreliability.
Defense Department officials believed that these body count figures need to be deflated by 30 percent. For this figure, Guenter Lewy assumes that one-third of the reported enemy killed may have been civilians, concluding that the actual number of deaths of the VC and PAVN military forces was probably closer to , Author Mark Woodruff noted that when the Vietnamese Government finally revealed its losses in April as being 1.
Historian Christian Appy states " search and destroy was the principal tactic; and the enemy body count was the primary measure of progress" in the US strategy of attrition. Search and destroy was a term to describe operations aimed at flushing the Viet Cong out of hiding, while body count was the measuring stick for operation success. Competitions were held between units for the highest number of Vietnamese killed.
Army and marine officers knew that promotions were largely based on confirmed kills. The pressure to produce confirmed kills resulted in massive fraud. One of the most thorough studies found that American commanders exaggerated body counts by percent. Furthermore there was little distinction made between armed combatants, neutral civilians and unarmed individuals for "enemy KIA". The total number of American personnel who were KIA or died non-hostile deaths, were enlisted personnel with a casualty number of 50, The total number of officer casualties,commissioned and warrant, are 7, The following is a chart of all casualties, listed by race, and in descending order.
The total number of casualties, both KIA and non-hostile deaths, for drafted and volunteer service personnel figures are approximated :  :. African Americans suffered disproportionately high casualty rates in Vietnam. In alone they comprised In October , Defense Secretary Robert McNamara initiated Project , which further lowered military standards for , additional draftees per year.
McNamara claimed this program would provide valuable training, skills and opportunity to America's poor — a promise that was never carried out. Many black men who had previously been ineligible could now be drafted, along with many poor and racially intolerant white men from the southern states. This led to increased racial tension in the military.
The number of US military personnel in Vietnam jumped from 23, in to , by the end of This group was made up almost entirely of either work-class or rural youth. College students who did not avoid the draft were generally sent to non-combat and service roles or made officers, while high school drop-outs and the working class were sent into combat roles.
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Civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. Commander George L. Jackson said, "In response to this criticism, the Department of Defense took steps to readjust force levels in order to achieve an equitable proportion and employment of Negroes in Vietnam. Unexploded ordnance , especially bombs dropped by the United States, continue to detonate and kill people today.
The Vietnamese government claims that unexploded ordnance has killed some 42, people since the official end of the war. Agent Orange and similar chemical defoliants have also caused a considerable number of deaths and injuries over the years, including among the US Air Force crew that handled them.
The government of Vietnam says that 4 million of its citizens were exposed to Agent Orange, and as many as 3 million have suffered illnesses because of it; these figures include the children of people who were exposed. On 9 August , the United States and Vietnam began a cooperative cleaning up of the toxic chemical from part of Da Nang International Airport , marking the first time Washington has been involved in cleaning up Agent Orange in Vietnam.
Da Nang was the primary storage site of the chemical. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear. Republic of China Taiwan.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Two major war memorials commemorating the dead soldiers in the Second Indochina War a.
See also: List of massacres in Vietnam. See Table 3 for most estimates. America in Vietnam. New York: Oxford University Press.
Appendix 1, pp.
Vietnam War casualties
Boulder: Westview Press. New York: Greenwood Press. New York: Columbia University Press. War without Fronts: The American experience in Vietnam. Westview Press. The New York Times. Retrieved Cornell University Press.
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Volume Two. Santa Barbara, CA, p.
Retrieved 31 October The Walrus October : 62— Calculating U.