Explaining the outcome of the Vietnam War has challenged diplomats, strategists, and politicians for three decades. Searching for reasons that such a small nation pushed a superpower from its borders, some have criticized U.S. policy, found errors in American strategy, and commented on the overall effort of the United States. Most, however, have ignored the real strength of the enemy: the female warriors. This group of women, comprising a large part of the Vietnamese nationalist force, assumed many different combat roles. Thousands who actively defended their homeland earlier against the French were more than ready to rid the country of American invaders. Without their effort, the outcome of the war might have been completely different.

Because little information has been published about these females in conflict, this report from primary sources such as the personal interviews stored at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, highlights individual women who assumed extraordinary roles. By examining their motives and viewing the women as real individuals, we can understand why their will to survive was stronger than all the bombs delivered by U.S. planes.

Researching such an intriguing subject raises related questions of whether the women’s efforts actually contributed to improving their status in Vietnamese society today. Did the country they fought so valiantly to defend reward them for their efforts, or did their own countrymen overlook them, too? How many of these women are still alive today with their stories of combat still untold and unrecorded? And more importantly, will the spirit and commitment of these women teach us to make wise judgments before our country decides to invade another nation?

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