Vietnam War documents

This collection of Vietnam War documents has been selected and compiled by Alpha History authors. New documents and extracts will be added regularly. If you would like to contribute or suggest a document for inclusion here, please contact Alpha History.

Vietnam before 1954

Edict of Emperor Minh Mang against Christians in Vietnam (1833)
The suicide note of Hanoi governor Hoang Dieu (1882)
Augustine Heard, an American traveller, reports on Indochina (1886)
Anonymous poem about French oppression in Vietnam (1900)
Conscription of Vietnamese peasants for service in World War I (1916)
Ho Chi Minh seeks Vietnamese independence in Paris (1919)
Ho Chi Minh on the founding of the Inodchinese Communist Party (1930)
A report into French atrocities in Vietnam (1933)
Ho Chi Minh recalls his conversion to Leninism (1967)
Ho Chi Minh calls for Vietnamese unity against the French (February 1930)
Viet Minh call to arms against the Japanese (March 1945)
Ho Chi Minh’s declaration of independence for Vietnam (September 1945)

North and South Vietnam

Final declaration of the Geneva Conference on Indochina (July 1954)
Pham Van Dong (North Vietnam) on Geneva and Vietnamese independence (July 1954)
The White House’s response to the Geneva declaration (July 1954)
Eisenhower’s letter of support to Ngo Dinh Diem (October 1954)
An American press report on the Binh Xuyen (April 1955)
Ngo Dinh Diem explains why he rejects national elections (July 1955)
Le Duan: ‘The path of revolution in the South’ (1956)
Ngo Dinh Diem addresses a joint session of the US Congress (1957)
US security briefings on Ngo Dinh Diem and his regime (1958-1960)
Ngo Dinh Diem decrees the death sentence for a wide range of crimes (May 1959)
The Caravelle Manifesto criticises Diem and his regime (April 1960)
Eisenhower praises the progress in South Vietnam (October 1960)

American escalation

John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech (January 1961)
John F. Kennedy addresses the UN on Laos and Vietnam (September 1961)
Rusk and McNamara urge US involvement in Vietnam (November 1961)
General Taylor’s recommendations for US action in Vietnam (November 1961)
Kennedy pledges support for Diem and South Vietnam (December 1961)
Kennedy responds to a question on Vietnam (February 1962)
Program of the National Liberation Front or Viet Cong (1962)
A US intelligence report on the Buddhist crisis in South Vietnam (July 1963)
‘Cable 243’ discusses the removal of Ngo Dinh Diem (August 1963)
McNamara and Taylor’s report on South Vietnam (October 1963)
NSC memorandum on US policy in South Vietnam
The US Congress’ Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (August 1964)
US Senate debate on the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (August 1964)
McGeorge Bundy memo on attacking North Vietnam (February 1965)
President Johnson justifies American involvement in Vietnam (April 1965)
Robert McNamara proposes increases in US troops in Vietnam (July 1965)
A CIA report on Viet Cong weaknesses and vulnerabilities (July 1965)
A US intelligence report on Soviet aid to North Vietnam (November 1965)

Military tactics

US Military Assistance Command memo on winning the Vietnam War (September 1965)
Le Duan reminds communist agents in the South of tactics (November 1965)
General Vo Nguyen Giap on why the US will lose in Vietnam (1966)
US Department of Defence pamphlet: Know Your Enemy: the Viet Cong (March 1966)
Lyndon Johnson on the political aims of the Vietnam War (June 1966)
A Viet Cong guerrilla tells of the Tet offensive (1968)
An Australian press report on the Tet offensive (February 1968)
An American reporter discusses South Vietnamese military weaknesses (1973)
An American general reflects on US and North Vietnamese tactics (1984)
A Viet Cong member reflects on the movement’s approach to war (1985)
Robert McNamara reflects on America’s failures in Vietnam (1995)
A journalist reports on the ‘fragging’ of American officers and NCOs (January 1972)

The My Lai massacre

Ron Ridenhour letter to the US Congress exposing My Lai (March 1969)
Quotations about the massacre at My Lai hamlet (1968)
Seymour Hersh breaks the story of the My Lai killings (1969)
PFC Paul Meadlo recalls his role in the killings at My Lai (November 1969)
Cross examination of Lieutenant William Calley (1970)
Cross examination of Captain Ernest Medina (1970)

The anti-war movement

Muhammad Ali explains his refusal to fight in Vietnam (March 1967)
Martin Luther King’s ‘Beyond Vietnam’ speech (April 1967)
An American draft-dodger explains his actions (1967)
Robert F. Kennedy’s Kansas State University speech (March 1968)
John Kerry anti-war testimony to the US Senate (April 1971)
Colonel Robert Heinl: The Collapse of the Armed Forces (1971)
‘Hanoi Jane’ Fonda’s broadcast from North Vietnam (August 1972)
Noam Chomsky on the meaning of Vietnam (1975)

Towards a conclusion

Richard Nixon announces his policy of Vietnamisation (November 1969)
A broadcast by Viet Cong propagandist ‘Hanoi Hannah’ (April 1970)
Richard Nixon announces the deployment of US troops in Cambodia (April 1970)
North Vietnamese peace proposal (June 1971)
US news report on the signing of the Paris peace agreement (January 1973)
Excerpts from the Paris Peace Accords (January 1973)
The War Powers Act curtails the president’s authority to wage war (November 1973)
A US intelligence briefing on the military situation in Vietnam (August 1974)
South Vietnam’s president Nguyen Van Thieu resigns (April 1975)
The inauguration speech of Duong Van Minh (April 1975)
US news report on the imminent fall of Saigon (April 1975)
President Gerald Ford on America’s post-Vietnam recovery (April 1975)

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