The Impact of the U.S. War in Vietnam

A boy dies after U.S. forces bomb Hai Phong August 1972. NARA
Quaker Amputee Center. Quang Ngai. South Vietnam. P. J. Griffith/Magnum Photos
A village burns after U.S. Marines conducted a search and destroy mission.

Lives destroyed (1965-1975)

Out of a total population of 19 million people:

2.5 million Vietnamese were killed. 

4 million were wounded and 250,000 went missing in action. 

2.5 MILLION Vietnamese were killed.

Up to 500,000 Vietnamese women forced into sex work.

11 million civilians were driven from their lands and made homeless at one time or another.

3 million (est.) disabled street people are in Vietnam.

Vietnamese Continue to be killed and maimed

Unexploded bombs and mines have caused 50,000 post-war deaths.

67,000 people have been maimed.

Birth deformities from spraying herbicides containing dioxin, including Agent Orange, still occur at the rate of 35,000 a year.


The impact on the land of Vietnam (1965-1975)

More than 5,778 Vietnamese villages, 15,100 bridges, 2,923 high schools and universities, 1,500 maternity hospitals and 484 churches were destroyed or damaged.

In the northernmost province of South Vietnam, Quang Tri, only 11 of 35,000 villages were not damaged by bombing or artillery.

The environmental damage was enormous, ranging from devastated forests to petrol-poisoned rice fields.

“Vietnamese villagers of every type — supporters of the revolution, sympathizers of the Saigon regime, and those who merely wanted to be left alone — all perished in vast numbers.

“For the Vietnamese, the American War was an endless gauntlet of potential calamities. Killed for the sake of a bounty or shot in a garbage dump, forced into prostitution or gang raped by GIs, run down for sport on a roadway, or locked away in jail to be tortured without benefit of a trial — the range of disasters was nearly endless.”

– Nick Turse

– Martha Hess, And Then the Americans Came: Voices from Vietnam
– Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam
– statistics collected by Harvard Medical School, the University of Washington, and work by author Edward Tick