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THE VIETNAM WAR is a 10 part, 18-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. An immersive 360-degree narrative, the series tells the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. THE VIETNAM WAR features testimony from nearly 80 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.

Ten years in the making, the series brings the war and the chaotic epoch it encompassed viscerally to life. Written by Geoffrey C. Ward, produced by Sarah Botstein, Novick and Burns, it includes rarely seen, digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and revelatory audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations. The series features more than 100 iconic musical recordings from many of the greatest artists of the era, and original music from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross as well as the Silk Road Ensemble featuring Yo-Yo Ma.

For additional information and video, visit THE VIETNAM WAR website:

Episode Descriptions

Episode OneDéjà Vu (1858-1961)
After a long and brutal war, Vietnamese revolutionaries led by Ho Chi Minh end nearly a century of French colonial occupation. With the Cold War intensifying, Vietnam is divided in two at Geneva. Communists in the north aim to reunify the country, while America supports Ngo Dinh Diems untested regime in the south.

Episode TwoRiding the Tiger (1961-1963)
President Kennedy inspires idealistic young Americans to serve their country and wrestles with how deeply to get involved in South Vietnam. As the increasingly autocratic Diem regime faces a growing communist insurgency and widespread Buddhist protests, a grave political crisis unfolds.

Episode ThreeThe River Styx (January 1964-December 1965)
With South Vietnam in chaos, hardliners in Hanoi seize the initiative and send combat troops to the south, accelerating the insurgency. Fearing Saigons collapse, President Johnson escalates Americas military commitment, authorizing sustained bombing of the north and deploying ground troops in the south.

Episode FourResolve (January 1966-June 1967)
Defying American air power, North Vietnamese troops and materiel stream down the Ho Chi Minh Trail into the south, while Saigon struggles to pacify the countryside. As an antiwar movement builds back home, hundreds of thousands of soldiers and Marines discover that the war they are being asked to fight in Vietnam is nothing like their fatherswar.

Episode FiveThis Is What We Do (July 1967-December 1967)
American casualties and enemy body counts mount as Marines face deadly North Vietnamese ambushes and artillery south of the DMZ and Army units chase an elusive enemy in the central highlands. Hanoi lays plans for a massive surprise offensive, and the Johnson Administration reassures the American public that victory is in sight.

Episode SixThings Fall Apart (January 1968-July 1968)
On the eve of the Tet holiday, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launch surprise attacks on cities and military bases throughout the south, suffering devastating losses but casting grave doubt on Johnsons promise that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The president decides not to run again and the country is staggered by assassinations and unrest.

Episode SevenThe Veneer of Civilization (June 1968-May 1969)
Public support for the war declines, and American men of draft age face difficult decisions and wrenching moral choices. After police battle with demonstrators in the streets of Chicago, Richard Nixon wins the presidency, promising law and order at home and peace overseas. In Vietnam, the war goes on and soldiers on all sides witness terrible savagery and unflinching courage.

Episode EightThe History of the World (April 1969-May 1970)
With morale plummeting in Vietnam, President Nixon begins withdrawing American troops. As news breaks of an unthinkable massacre committed by American soldiers, the public debates the rectitude of the war, while an incursion into Cambodia reignites antiwar protests with tragic consequences.

Episode NineA Disrespectful Loyalty (May 1970-March 1973)
South Vietnamese forces fighting on their own in Laos suffer a terrible defeat. Massive U.S. air power makes the difference in halting an unprecedented North Vietnamese offensive. After being re-elected in a landslide, Nixon announces Hanoi has agreed to a peace deal. American prisoners of war will finally come hometo a bitterly divided country.

Episode TenThe Weight of Memory (March 1973-Onward)
While the Watergate scandal rivets Americansattention and forces President Nixon to resign, the Vietnamese continue to savage one another in a brutal civil war. When hundreds of thousands of North Vietnamese troops pour into the south, Saigon descends rapidly into chaos and collapses. For the next 40 years, Americans and Vietnamese from all sides search for healing and reconciliation.

Nebraska Stories: Vietnam

NET commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War with a special Nebraska Stories episode about veterans and others impacted by the Vietnam War.

Journey to The Wall
Four chartered jets flew 654 Nebraska Vietnam veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and several other war memorials. We follow the veterans on their journey as they share their memories of the war and are given a welcome home they'll never forget.

Honor Flight Reflection
Cheryl Feala was the only female veteran on board the recent Vietnam Veteran honor flight to Washington, D.C. From 1968 to 1969, Cheryl was an Army nurse stationed in a combat zone during the Vietnam War. Cheryl reflects on her honor flight experience.

A Duty to Protest
At 17, Tim Butz enlisted in the Air Force and did a tour of duty in Vietnam, following four generations of men in his family serving in uniform dating back to the Civil War. After being honorably discharged in 1969, he enrolled at Kent State University in Ohio. Just more than a year later, on May 4, 1970, the National Guard opened fire on protesters at Kent State and Butz was there. The Kent State shootings not only deeply intensified Butz’ own previously conflicted opposition to the war but increased the U.S. public’s concerns as well. Butz became one of the national organizers of the Vietnam veterans protest movement and spent the following three decades of his career fighting for the disabled, fair housing and civil liberties. A former Executive Director of ACLU Nebraska and the Nebraska Justice Center, and former Assistant Director of the Fair Housing Center of Nebraska and Iowa, Butz now volunteers at his local Disabled American Veterans office, connecting with veterans from various conflicts. He shares his perspective on the Vietnam War and how those issues reverberate still today.

Safe Harbor
Dr. Bich Chau of Lincoln was one of the “boat people” who escaped post-war Communist rule in Vietnam. She remembers living comfortably in Kiengiang Province where her father worked as a policeman. Then the communists came, and put her father in jail. When he was released, her family escaped in a boat crammed with 94 other people who would rather face Thai pirates and uncertain life in a refugee camp than stay in their homeland. Dr. Chau shares her story of culture shock, transformation, and life in Nebraska after the Vietnam War.

A Name to Remember All
A likeable young man from Norfolk enlisted in the Army when he was 19. He never saw 20. Through an interview with his childhood friend, Jan Einspahr, we explore VanAndel’s life and how the Norfolk native served as inspiration to memorialize all who perished in the Vietnam War on a wall in Washington, D.C.

Remembering Vietnam

NET producers sit down with Vietnam War veterans about their experiences. Topics range from PTSD, politics of the war, to letters from home. These Vets were on their way to a Freedom Flight from Omaha to Washington D.C. to see the wall and the Vietnam memorial. Use the playlist below to watch these one-minute segments and check back in the coming weeks as we will be adding more.

Click the playlist icon  in the top-left of the player to access the complete list of segments

Production Credits:
THE VIETNAM WAR is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington D.C. Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Written by Geoffrey C. Ward. Produced by Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick and Ken Burns.

Funding Credits:
Bank of America; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; PBS; David H.Koch; The Blavatnik Family Foundation; Park Foundation; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; National Endowment for the Humanities; The Pew Charitable Trusts; Ford Foundation Just Films; Rockefeller Brothers Fund; and

Members of The Better Angels Society:
Jonathan & Jeannie Lavine, Diane & Hal Brierley, Amy & David Abrams, John & Catherine Debs, Fullerton Family Charitable Fund, The Montrone Family, Lynda & Stewart Resnick, The Golkin Family Foundation, The Lynch Foundation, The Roger & Rosemary Enrico Foundation, Richard S. & Donna L. Strong Foundation, Bonnie & Tom McCloskey, Barbara K. & Cyrus B. Sweet III, The Lavender Butterfly Fund

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