Vietnam: A Television History (1983): S01E08 – Vietnamising the War (1968-1973)


Vietnam: A Television History (1983) is a 13-part American documentary and television mini-series about the Vietnam War (1955-1975) from the perspective of the United States.

It was produced for public television by WGBH-TV in Boston, and it was originally broadcast on PBS between 04 October and 20 December 1983.


By Christmas 1969, American troops were being withdrawn under President Nixon’s policy of having more of the ground fighting transferred to the South Vietnamese army. That year as many as 4000 South Vietnamese soldiers were being killed every week. The South Vietnamese government was recognized by most countries in the West and had survived for 15 years on more than $100 billion in US aid. At its peak, US troops numbered 500,000. The Vietnamese economy was overheated and the black market and prostitution thrived. The Paris peace talks had not stopped the bombing in South Vietnam as forces attempted to eliminate the Viet Cong but many native South Vietnamese were fighting for the VC. In two years the number of American troops were reduced by over 300,000. In 1969, more than 9,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam; the following year that number was cut in half. South Vietnamese President Thieu was not popular and protests began against his government. The anti-war sentiment was growing however among US troops and morale was low. There were 200 fragging incidents in 1970 and racial polarisation among US troops was a major issue. In May 1972 the North invaded and the South Vietnamese were having a difficult time without US troops. President Nixon reacted by mining Haiphong harbour. In October 1972, the US reached an agreement with North, one that was not supported by Thieu.

Vietnam: A Television History Series

You can find a full index and overview of Vietnam: A Television History here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 15 November 1983.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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