The Vietnam War in Color: Evocative Images of a Turbulent Time

April 24, 2024

The Vietnam War Kicked Into Overdrive In 1965

The Vietnam War, a tumultuous and divisive conflict that raged from 1955 to 1975, continues to captivate and haunt the collective memory of nations involved. These colorized photos offer a fresh perspective on the vivid realities of this era, breathing new life into iconic images that have long defined our understanding of the war. From the dense jungles of Southeast Asia to the bustling streets of Saigon, these vibrant visuals provide a window into the experiences of soldiers, civilians, and the landscape itself, shedding light on the complexities and human stories behind this pivotal moment in history.

Royston Leonard

In March 1965, faced with mounting pressure and escalating tensions in Vietnam, President Johnson made the pivotal decision to deploy American combat forces into the fray, a move met with resounding support from the American people. Swiftly implementing his strategy, by June of that year, 82,000 combat troops had been dispatched to Vietnam, with military leaders advocating for an additional 175,000 by year's end to bolster the embattled South Vietnamese army. Despite lingering reservations among some of his advisers regarding the wisdom of such escalation and the broader war effort, Johnson remained steadfast in his resolve, authorizing the immediate dispatch of 100,000 troops by the end of July 1965, followed by another 100,000 the following year.

The American Military's Bombardment Over Vietnam Was Exceeded That of World War II


The scale and intensity of the American air campaign during the Vietnam War dwarfed even the largest aerial assaults of World War II. Over the course of their intervention in Indochina, the United States unleashed a staggering 7 million tons of bombs, missiles, and rockets. This unprecedented bombardment far exceeded the 2.1 million tons dropped over Europe and Asia combined during World War II. Interestingly, a significant portion of these explosives, totaling 4 million tons, were targeted at South Vietnamese territory in an effort to root out communist guerrillas entrenched in the countryside. The sheer magnitude of this aerial onslaught reflects the immense technological and logistical capabilities brought to bear during one of the most contentious conflicts in modern history.