This documentary begins with the Vietnamese revolution against the French colonial occupation of Vietnam in 1858, which led to the divide of Vietnam in Geneva. From there, the United States sided with the southern Vietnamese. Burns takes us from this point through the fall of Saigon in 1975 and its aftermath. He spends a great deal of time covering all aspects of the war, including: what our military went through as they fought against the Viet Cong, the reasons for our presence in Vietnam, and the resistance America’s participation in the war from the home front. The show does not try to explain the war itself or to change people’s minds about it. I would have liked to know more about the war, rather than what was happening in the United States at the time, although our actions at home did help to change the course of the war.
Some questions that do come up during the documentary are: Was it worth it to leave the South Vietnamese people to fend for themselves? If we could have finished the job in Vietnam, what impact would that have had on the Cold War? Overall, I wasn’t as impressed with this particular documentary by Burns, although I did learn some things about this war that I didn’t know before. In the end, it is a pass.