Small Town American Soldier (07:24)
Tim O'Brien grew-up in Worthington, MN; he recalls receiving his draft notice. News reports show protests around the world. U.S. and Communist diplomats were at a stalemate; the antiwar movement intensified in America.
New Command in Vietnam (02:09)
The American military broke the siege at Khe Sanh and then abandoned the base. Gen. Creighton Abrams replaced Gen. Westmoreland.
Lt. Vincent Okamoto (09:33)
Okamoto recalls the emphasis on body count, making his first kill, and the courage of fellow soldiers. During his 23rd assault, Okamoto was dropped near the Cambodian border to help stop the escape of a NVA battalion near Tay Ninh; he received the Distinguished Service Cross.
North Vietnamese Propaganda and Draftees (04:38)
The North Vietnamese did not talk about lives lost or defeats; few families received death notices until the end of the war. Many party officials sent their children to study in the Soviet Union. Thousands of draftees traveled the Ho Chi Minh Trail to replace those killed and wounded in battle.
Chicago, 1968 (04:44)
Ending the Vietnam War was part of Richard Nixon's presidential platform. War protesters gathered outside the Democratic National Convention; police, army troops, national guardsmen, and intelligence experts were on alert.
Democratic National Convention, 1968 (08:57)
Hubert Humphrey was a Democratic front runner, but many supported Eugene McCarthy. Antiwar delegates erupted during a platform debate and confusion among the party increased. Antiwar protesters clashed with police in the streets; Richard Nixon opened is campaign with a motorcade through Chicago.
Pvt. Michael Holmes (05:25)
Holmes arrived in Vietnam the day after the Democratic National Convention. He sent recordings from Vietnam to loved ones in Williamsville; they made recordings for him. Holmes' APC hit a buried bomb and he was injured; he was killed six months later.
Phoenix Program (05:19)
Liz Trotta reports on Pacification in Long An Province. The CIA developed a program to take down the Viet Cong's political infrastructure; Provincial Reconnaissance Units were in charge of day-to-day enforcement. Nguyen Van Thieu's government remained unpopular.
Presidential Campaigns (07:02)
Richard Nixon and George Wallace caused problems for Humphrey's campaign. On October 31st, President Johnson declared a pause on bombing. President Thieu announced he would not talk with the North Vietnamese government; Nixon's people had contacted him.
Young Warriors (05:59)
Karl Marlantes reflects on the mindset of 19-year-old soldiers; hear a letter to his parents about his decision to go on active duty. Tim O'Brien considered fleeing to Canada but fear of ridicule stopped him; he regrets his failure of nerve.
Prisoners of War (03:36)
The fall of 1968 was the toughest time for Hal Kushner and fellow POWs living in jungle prison camps. Kushner recalls killing the commander's cat and the repercussions.
Impacts of War (04:54)
American presence in South Vietnam created a false economy; crime and corruption grew. The number of Vietnamese living in cities significantly increased; cholera and typhoid killed thousands. The South Vietnamese had more freedom than those in the North.
Savagery of War (04:19)
Nguyen Ngoc reflects on killing enemy combatants. Gen. Julian Ewell was in charge of destroying the Viet Cong south of Saigon; the Army Inspector General estimated over half of the claimed VC deaths were innocent civilians.
Political Independence (04:53)
Carol Crocker reflects on moving away from family ideology and her changing beliefs after entering college. Eva Jefferson demanded African American studies at college, despite her parent's protest.
War Changes Families (07:42)
Anne Harrison Bowman and Matt Harrison discuss their brother Robin. Matt volunteered for a second tour in Vietnam to protect him; Robin went AWOL twice. Matt recalls commanding Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division.
Air Power (09:33)
Maj. Merril McPeak missed his bombing target, but hit an ammunition cache. His unit, "Misty," sought to locate men on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos; he reflects on fighting for the correct side. Hundreds of women, including Nguyen Nguyet Anh, ferried supplies and men on the trail.
Political Plans (03:24)
President Nixon and Henry Kissinger vowed to end the war in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese launched another offensive in February 1969; Nixon ordered secret attacks in Cambodia.
Hill 484 (04:57)
Marlantes discusses the two sides of heroism. In March 1969, his unit was ordered to attack a NVA regiment; Marlantes recalls charging the hill and hitting the bunkers.
Credits: The Veneer of Civilization (June 1968-May 1969) (03:12)
Credits: The Veneer of Civilization (June 1968-May 1969)
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