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What did the Pentagon Papers reveal?

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Quick Answer

The Pentagon Papers revealed that at least three sitting Presidents and their administrations purposefully deceived the people of the United States by escalating the Vietnam War while stating the opposite. The Presidents included in the report that became known as the Pentagon Papers include Harry S. Truman, Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy, according to NBC News and the University of Virginia.

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Full Answer

In 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara decided that a comprehensive analysis of the United States' involvement in Vietnam after 1945 was needed to help relieve his frustration over the war, according to the University of Virginia. The resulting document was approximately 7,000 pages long and chronicled the involvement of the United States in Vietnam from the end of World War II until the end of the 1968 Tet Offensive, according to the University of Virginia. Parts of the Pentagon Papers were leaked to the press by Daniel Ellsberg, one of the analyst who had helped create the report. According to NBC, the Nixon administration retaliated by attempting to suppress publication of the papers. The Supreme Court ruled that the printing of the papers was covered under the First Amendment and was legal, according to NBC. NBC also notes that in 2011, the National Archives declassified the Pentagon Papers, making the entire document available to the public.

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  • Q:

    How many people died in Vietnam?

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    It is estimated that over 3 million people died during the Vietnam War. The majority of these deaths were civilians on both sides of the conflict, totaling over 2 million people.

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  • Q:

    Where can you find a list of names of the soldiers who fought in Vietnam?

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    Find a list of the names of soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War by visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., or by viewing the names online at TheWall-USA.com. Both the physical location of The Wall and the virtual wall honor those soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War, whether living or dead. As of 2015, there are 58,272 names listed on the memorial.

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  • Q:

    What is the number of Vietnam casualties by state?

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    The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) maintains lists of Vietnam War casualties organized by state and other statistical categories on Archives.gov. For example, New York suffered 4,119 casualties, while the state casualty list counts 1,056 Kentuckians and 396 Nebraskans among its numbers.

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  • Q:

    What was the Tet Offensive?

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    The Tet Offensive was a major military assault on South Vietnam by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops during the Vietnam War in 1968. Both South Vietnam and U.S. military forces suffered massive casualties, and the assault had severely detrimental effects on civilian support for the war in the United States.

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