War and Conflict

Vietnam War

What was the My Lai Massacre?

It was a horrific chapter in American military history, during which U.S. troops fighting in South Vietnam took the small village of My Lai on March 16, 1968. The incident did not come to light until more than a year later, after which time it became clear that the unit of 105 soldiers who entered My Lai that morning had faced no opposition from the villagers. Even so, at the end of the day as many as 500 civilians, including women and children, lay dead. Though charges were brought against some of the men, only the commander of the company, Lt. William Calley, was convicted. His sentence of life imprisonment for the murder of at least 22 people was later reduced to 20 years, and he was released on full parole in November 1974.


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