Transcripts and Credits
The landmark series Vietnam: A Television History, first broadcast in 1983, is a special presentation of the award-winning PBS history series, American Experience.
Vietnam examines America's longest war in the context of France's earlier colonial experience as well as Southeast Asia and Vietnam's 2,000-year history of resistance to foreign invaders. Originally broadcast as 13 programs, the series was later edited to its current 11-program length. The programs provide a rich tapestry of archival footage combined with provocative interviews with participants on all sides of the conflict.
Access program transcripts and credits:
Roots of a War (1945-1953)
This program traces the rise of a pro-American Vietnamese nationalist, Ho Chi Minh, whose Viet Minh guerrillas grab a stunning victory over French colonial forces.
America's Mandarin (1954-1963)
The United States is drawn into Vietnam through its support -- then abandonment -- of South Vietnam's president, Ngo Dinh Diem, who is assassinated in a coup.
LBJ Goes to War (1964-1965)
Charging that North Vietnam has attacked American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin, President Lyndon B. Johnson orders bombing raids and sends 200,000 troops into an undeclared war.
America Takes Charge (1965-1967)
With the South Vietnamese army in disarray, the U.S. military assumes control of the war, leading to increased American casualties in a country both beautiful and horrific.
America's Enemy (1954-1967)
The war Americans seldom saw: the view from North Vietnam, featuring the perspectives of communist leaders, Vietcong guerrillas and American prisoners of war.
North Vietnam's dramatic offensive on the lunar New Year stuns American military and political leaders, leading to calls for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Vietnamizing the War (1969-1973)
As the U.S. turns over the war to the South Vietnamese army, American soldiers and Vietnamese citizens feel the dimming prospects for victory.
Cambodia and Laos
With fighting already spread to neighboring Laos, President Richard Nixon orders a secret bombing campaign against Cambodia, which will soon endure a nightmarish post-war holocaust.
Peace Is at Hand (1968-1973)
As President Nixon escalates the bombing of Hanoi and North Vietnamese troops advance, negotiators struggle for four years to sign a peace treaty that will be broken quickly.
Americans at home divide over a distant war, clashing in the streets as demonstrations lead to bloodshed, bitterness and increasing doubts.
The End of the Tunnel (1973-1975)
This episode rebroadcast with the title The Fall of Saigon in April 2005, on the 30th anniversary of the South Vietnamese capitulation. Ten years after American ground troops arrived in South Vietnam, communists seize Saigon in a lightning attack that brings the war to a startling conclusion.