How Many Vietnamese Died In The Vietnam War?

When most Americans talk about the Vietnam war, we speak about the American casualties and the lives lost during the War. Every life lost during the War is important, but it is also good to understand how many Vietnamese also lost their lives during the Vietnam war.

It is estimated that about 3,350,000 Vietnamese on both sides of the Vietnamese conflict lost their lives during the Vietnam war. Over 65,000 American forces and other nationalities lost their lives during the Vietnam War. In terms of numbers, that means that over 51 Vietnamese died for every American or different nationalities killed during the Vietnam War.

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Many Vietnamese Lost Their Lives During The Vietnam War

It was not until 1995, about 20 years after the Vietnam war ended, that the Vietnamese government released an official estimate of the number of people killed during the Vietnam war. The estimated number of deaths is as follows.

  • 2,000,000 Vietnamese Civilian Deaths – The civilian deaths would have included civilians in Vietnam’s north and south.
  • 1,100,000 Soldiers – The Vietnamese government estimated that 1,000,100 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters that were fighting for north Vietnam died during the Vietnam war
  • 200,000 To 250,000 South Vietnamese Fighters – The U.S. military has estimated that between 200,000 to 250,000 south Vietnamese soldiers who fought on the American side died during the Vietnam war

If you add all these together, that means that at least 3,350,000 Vietnamese on both sides of the conflict died during the Vietnam war. This is a staggering amount of people and does not include civilians and others in Laos and Cambodia, which were also affected by the War.

South Vietnamese soldiers escort terrified children after a napalm attack in June 1972. Photograph: Nick Ut/AP

Many of the civilian deaths would have come due to the bombs dropped on North Vietnam during the War and civilians caught up in the conflict and fighting.

Burial of 300 victims of the 1968 Hue Massacre

It is estimated that between 1965 and 1975, the United States and the allies dropped over 6,100,000 tons of bombs and other ordnances on Vietnam. Even today, these bombs are being cleaned up, and still, every once in a while, an unexploded bomb will be found.

Others Who Lost Their Lives During The Vietnam War

There is no doubt that many more Vietnamese died during the Vietnam war than any other nationality. But we still cannot discount the importance of every life lost due to the Vietnam war.

Here are others who lost their lives in Vietnam due to the Vietnam war:

  • American Servicemen – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington has about 58,300 names of members of the U.S. armed forces that died; today, there are still finding bones of some of the men and women who lost their lives during the Vietnam war.
  • South Korea – South Korea lost about 4,000 soldiers.
  • Thailand – Thailand lost 400 soldiers.
  • Australia – Australia lost 500 soldiers.
  • New Zealand – New Zealand lost about 36 soldiers.

When we add all these up, 65,236 allied forces’ lives were lost due to the Vietnam War. This does not include the countless other lives that were forever changed or destroyed due to the War or their time in the Vietnam war.

Vietnam War And The Loss Of Life

South Vietnamese Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing suspected Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem in Saigon, South Vietnam, February 1, 1968.

There is little doubt that the Vietnam War brought a massive loss of human life on both sides. It was the Northern Vietnamese leader who famously said this to the French when the Vietnamese were fighting the French forces:

“You can kill ten of my men for everyone I kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and I will win.”

Viet Minh Leader Ho Chi Minh to French COLONIALIST in 1946

Even before the Americans got involved in the Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh clearly understood the cost to the Vietnamese people would be high. I am not sure if he understood how high the price would be, but he also knew that the Vietnamese wanted liberation from colonial powers.

Vietnam spent 1,000 years under Chinese rule and about 100 years under Frelawrule; like most people in the world, the Vietnamese wanted to be in charge of their destiny and to rule themselves.

The Vietnamese saw this victory happen in 1975 when the American and allied forces were forced to leave Vietnam and admit defeat.

Over 51 Vietnamese Died for Every Allied Death

At the end of the Vietnam war, we can see that many more Vietnamese did lose their lives. But the odds of a Vietnamese dying in the Vietnam War were much more significant than one in ten, but instead, the numbers and odds were more like one in fifty-one.

For every American or allied soldier that died in Vietnam, over 51 Vietnamese died; that is a 1 in 51 odds which is a staggering number. That is how many Vietnamese lost their lives in the Vietnam War, and in the end, Ho Chi Minh was right; even with that massive price of human life, the Vietnamese did win the War.

The Vietnamese War was a tragic one that many believe did not need to happen. The truth of the Vietnam War is that many more Vietnamese on both sides lost their lives than Americans or any other nationalities. The human cost of the Vietnam War to the Vietnamese was staggering.

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What Was The Main Reason For US Involvement In Vietnam?

The main reason for the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War was the belief in the Domino theory; the Domino theory was a principle used to describe the effects on the world if Vietnam fell to communism. It was believed if Vietnam became communist, the rest of Asia, New Zealand, and Australia would eventually become communist. At the time, American leaders felt they were fighting for the survival of democracy throughout the world.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading What Was The Main Reason For U.S. Involvement In Vietnam? 

How Many Vietnam War-era Bombs Are Still in Vietnam?

It is estimated that at least 350,000 tonnes of bombs, or about 5% of Vietnam War-era bombs, remain in Vietnam. At the present clear-up rate of the explosives, it will take at least 300 years to remove the unexploded ordinances from Vietnam’s landscape.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading How Many Vietnam War-era Bombs Are Still in Vietnam? by clicking here.

Why did the U.S. Army Call The Vietnamese “Charlie” During The War?

In Sweden, most of the population can’t speak fluent English. But even if they can not speak English, the Swedish government offers many courses to immigrants and professionals who will live and work in Sweden. They offer these courses because they believe learning Swedish will help you integrate into Swedish society.

To learn more, you can read our blog on Why did the U.S. Army Call The Vietnamese “Charlie” During The War? by clicking here.

Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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How Many Vietnamese Died In The Vietnam War?