Vietnam War
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Vietnam War. Background. Communism. Economic system Government control of property and resources Single political leader No individual rights. Domino Theory.

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Vietnam War

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Vietnam war

Vietnam War


Vietnam war

Background


Communism

Communism

  • Economic system

  • Government control of property and resources

  • Single political leader

  • No individual rights


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Domino Theory

  • American leaders believed that if the communists captured one country, nearby nations would also fall to communism, like dominoes falling


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Containment

The idea that America should keep communism “contained” and not allow it to spread to any more areas in the world


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French Indochina

  • France had controlled Vietnam since 1858

  • The colony became known as Indochina

  • Vietnamese fiercely resisted French control, demanding independence


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Indochina consisted of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia


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Dien Bien Phu

  • May 6, 1954

  • French forces waited in the fortress of Dien Bien Phu

  • Vietnamese forces surrounded the compound and began raining artillery

  • Eventually the French surrendered (similar to the Alamo)


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Dien Bien Phu


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Geneva Accords

  • May, 1954

  • After the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu, world leaders met at Geneva, Switzerland

  • Agreed to divide Vietnam at the 17th parallel

  • Ho Chi Minh would be the president of the communist North


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Geneva Accords

  • Ngo Dinh Diem would be the president of the non-communist south.

  • Elections were to be held in 1956 on the issue of unification.

  • However, the South refused to hold elections, claiming that the communists would not play fair.


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North Vietnam

  • DRVN

  • Democratic Republic of Vietnam

  • Communist dominated

  • President - Ho Chi Minh

  • Capital city - Hanoi


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South Vietnam

  • RVN

  • Republic of Vietnam

  • Anti-communist

  • President - Ngo Dinh Diem

  • Capital city - Saigon

  • America backs South Vietnam to prevent a communist takeover


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Ho Chi Minh

  • Leader of the League for the Independence of Vietnam

  • He combined many of the goals of communism with his desire to end the exploitation of Vietnam by outside countries


Ho chi minh

Ho Chi Minh


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Vietminh

League for the Independence of Vietnam. Vietnamese who supported the liberation of Vietnam from French control and unification of Vietnam


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Vietminh Soldiers


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Vietcong (VC)

The military wing of the North Vietnamese communist forces


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Vietcong Prisoner 1966


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A Vietcong Prisoner


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Saigon police chief murders a VC in 1968


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National Liberation Front

Political wing of the North Vietnamese push for unification of Vietnam


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Flag of the National Liberation Front


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American Intervention

  • President Eisenhower sends the first military advisors to Vietnam in the 1950s to provide on the ground intelligence to Washington D.C.

  • America also gives the French $25 million because they were our ally

  • Looks like the U.S. supports colonialism


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Dwight D. Eisenhower

  • 34th President

  • 1953 – 1961

  • Republican

  • New York


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MAAG

  • Military Assistance Advisory Group

  • Advised U.S. leaders that it would be unwise to get involved in Vietnam for these reasons:


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MAAG

  • The conflict was more about nationalism than communism since 80% of the Vietminh were NOT communists

  • The Vietminh were extremely popular

  • U.S. soldiers were not trained for guerilla warfare in jungles


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Aerial view of the jungle canopy in Vietnam


Vietnam

Vietnam


Vietnam1

Vietnam


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How many soldiers can you find hidden in the jungle?

Answer: 14


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John Fitzgerald Kennedy


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John F. Kennedy

  • Elected President in 1960

  • Increased spending on RVN’s efforts to repel the Vietminh

  • Increased U.S. military involvement in Vietnam

  • Wanted to prove to his critics in the U.S. that he was not weak on fighting the communists


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John F. Kennedy

  • But he was reluctant to become deeply involved in Vietnam

  • Top ranking military leaders advised him that the situation in Vietnam was growing worse daily - it was only a matter of time before the RVN fell to communist control


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Training Mission

  • Reluctantly, the U.S. military engaged in training RVN forces to be able to defend their own country against the communist forces


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RVN Trainees


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Ap Bac

  • January 2, 1963

  • Ap Bac was a village 40 miles southwest of Saigon in the Mekong Delta

  • RVN (South Vietnam) forces outnumbered the Viet Cong 4:1

  • The Viet Cong were well-supplied with captured American M-1 rifles and 30 caliber machine guns

  • RVN was poorly led and unprepared


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Ap Bac

  • 5 U.S. helicopters were shot down

  • 3 U.S. advisors were killed and 8 wounded

  • First major victory for Viet Cong

  • VC used the victory for propaganda purposes

  • VC began to plan for full scale war against the RVN

  • U.S. realized we would need to send additional support for the RVN


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Downed chopper at Ap Bac

January 2, 1963


Ap bac

Ap Bac

January 2, 1963


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Downed choppers (flying bananas)

January 2, 1963


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Ap Bac (January 2, 1963)


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Ap Bac Casualties


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Ngo Dinh Diem


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Ngo Dinh Diem

  • 1954 -appointed prime minister of RVN

  • This alienated many South Vietnamese

  • He was seen as a U.S. puppetleader

  • He refused some basic land reforms

  • He seized peasant land and gave it to friends/family

  • He was Catholic

  • He persecuted the Buddhists


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Ngo Dinh Diem

  • U.S. advisors stated that even the non-communists preferred Ho Chi Minh

  • By 1963, we learned that Diem had been secretly trying to create a coalition government that would include the communists

  • U.S. helped to arrange a coup (the overthrow of a government)


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Catholic-Buddhist Crisis

  • May 8, 1963

  • On Buddha’s birthday, Diem banned the display of religious flags

  • Buddhists raised their prayer flags to celebrate anyway

  • Diem orders RVN troops to disperse the crowd


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Buddhist Prayer Flags


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Buddhist Prayer Flags


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Catholic-Buddhist Crisis

  • 8 Buddhist monks were killed

  • On June 11, the first of seven monks sets himself on fire in the street of Saigon to protest Diem’s leadership.

  • This becomes the symbol of Diem’s leadership to the American public.


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T. Quang Duc

First Buddhist Monk to commit self-immolation

June 11, 1963


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Warning:

Graphic disturbing images follow. Look away if you might be offended.


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Douses himself with gasoline and sits calmly in the lotus position


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Ignites the flame


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The remains are carried away


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The unburned heart is displayed in a Buddhist Temple


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Overthrow of Diem

  • Nov. 1, 1963, RVN forces overthrew Diem’s leadership

  • He and his family were supposed to be exiled to France

  • RVN army executed Diem and his brother


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Overthrow of Diem

  • Their bodies were found in a van in Saigon

  • Created chaos in RVN and instability in the government

  • 12 governments in 18 months


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Diem and his brother found murdered in the back of a van in Saigon


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Lyndon B. Johnson

  • 36th President

  • 1963 – 1969

  • Democrat

  • Texas

  • Became President when Kennedy was assassinated

  • Substantially increased U.S. involvement in Vietnam


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Lyndon B. Johnson

Sworn in on Air Force One by Judge Sarah T. Hughes


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William Westmoreland

  • American general in charge of U.S. forces in Vietnam

  • Continually pushed for increasing troop levels in Vietnam


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The War Begins


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Tonkin Gulf Incident

  • August 4, 1964

  • U.S. patrol ships off the coast of Vietnam claimed to have been attacked by DRVN torpedo boats.

  • President Johnson addressed the nation about the attacks and ordered retaliatory air strikes for the “unprovoked attack.”


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Gulf of Tonkin


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Tonkin Gulf Incident


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Tonkin Gulf Resolution

  • August 7, 1964

  • Legislation that allowed LBJ to take “all necessary measures to prevent further aggression” in Vietnam

  • Johnson said that “it was like Grandma’s night-skirt. It covered everything.”

  • It would be used to drastically escalate American involvement in the war


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LBJ signs the Tonkin Gulf Resolution


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Escalation

  • Increasing military pressure on an enemy’s forces

  • By 1967, we had over 470,000 troops in Vietnam.


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Pleiku

  • February, 1965

  • A U.S. Army base in RVN was mortared while National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy visited

  • 9 Americans died, and 126 more injured

  • It showed how unstable the situation was: we couldn’t even protect our high-ranking officials.


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Pleiku, 1965


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Pleiku airfield in 1967


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McGeorge

Bundy

National Security

Advisor


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Pleiku

  • McGeorge Bundy: “Pleikus are like street cars.” (If you wait a while, another one will come along.)

  • LBJ responded by authorizing bombings of North Vietnam.


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Operation Rolling Thunder

Aerial bombings of North Vietnam which began in March of 1965


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Operation Rolling Thunder

The U.S. wished to avoid a

ground war in the mountainous

jungle terrain of Vietnam


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Operation Rolling Thunder

Gen. William Momyer, 7th Air Force commander, meets with President Johnson


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Operation Rolling Thunder

LBJ boasted, “I won’t let those Air Force generals bomb the smallest outhouse without checking with me.”


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Operation Rolling Thunder

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress


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Operation Rolling Thunder


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B-52

Bomb

Bay


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May, 1965 – Bomber carrying 1000 pound bomb


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F 105 Thunderchief

  • Lead Sled, Thud

  • Flew 75 % of the strikes and took more losses over North Vietnam than any other kind of aircraft

  • When Rolling Thunder ended, more than half of the Air Force’s F-105s were gone.


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F 105 Thunderchief


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Operation Rolling Thunder

At first, bombing missions were not allowed in areas around Hanoi or Haiphong


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Operation Rolling Thunder

“Rolling North”

Bombing raids authorized farther north later in 1965 and 1966


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Attrition

  • Policy of wearing away an enemy’s forces until they cannot continue to fight

  • The U.S. strategy in Vietnam

  • We would bomb the VC until they could not continue replacing their casualties; then they would surrender


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la Drang Valley

  • November 1965

  • First major battle between VC and U.S. troops

  • The U.S. 7th Cavalry delivered a substantial defeat to a VC unit

  • 7 to 10 times as many VC died as did Americans


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la Drang Valley

  • U.S. saw it as proof that attrition works

  • The VC claimed that they had forced the U.S. into combat to inflict casualties and learn about U.S. tactics.

  • VC did not consider this a defeat.


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la Drang Valley


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la Drang Valley

U.S. Infantry disembarks


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la Drang Valley

Lt. Col. Moore checks VC casualties


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Scene from 2001 motion picture, We Were Soldiers


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Starring Mel Gibson


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Operation Phoenix

  • U.S. assassination program

  • We tried to eliminate VC leaders

  • Thousands died in these related attacks.


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Vietnamization

  • U.S. forces would be used to train RVN forces

  • Eventually, the U.S. would scale back our troop levels until the RVN could function self-sufficiently


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Ho Chi Minh Trail

  • North Vietnamese supply line from DRVN and ending at various points near the South Vietnamese border

  • A honeycomb of routes through jungle and grassland areas that totaled 12,000 miles of trail

  • Although Laos was supposedly neutral (per the Geneva agreement of 1954), 100’s of miles of the trail passed through that country


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Ho Chi Minh Trail


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Ho Chi Minh Trail


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Ho Chi Minh Trail

  • Before 1964, the trail was used by bicycles that were specially modified to carry pallets of rifles and ammunition weighing 400 pounds.

  • In 1964 the trail was upgraded with bridges, way stations, underground barracks, storage facilities, workshops, and fuel depots

  • In 1965 80,000 laborers were building 2 miles of new road each day


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Ho Chi Minh Trail


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Ho Chi Minh Trail

  • 2,294 trucks passed through from Jan to May of 1965

  • 12,000 DRVN soldiers infiltrated into the South in 1965

  • 24,000 DRVN soldiers in 1966

  • It became of primary importance to stop this infiltration along the trail

  • April 1965, the U.S. began air strikes against the trail called “Steel Tiger”


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Ho Chi Minh Trail


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Ho Chi Minh Trail

  • This led to the secret expansion of the war into Laos in 1965

  • In March of 1970 President Nixon finally admitted U.S. military operations in Laos, claiming that the North Vietnamese had violated the Geneva Accord “before the ink was dry” and that over ½ million North Vietnamese troops had entered the South though Laos


The cu chi tunnel

The Cu Chi Tunnel

  • Of major importance during the Vietnam War

  • About 250 kilometers long


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NAPALM

  • Destructive gelled gasoline chemical that burns uncontrollably

  • Sticks to bodies and sears off flesh

  • Burns at 800 to 1200 degrees Celsius


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NAPALM


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NAPALM


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NAPALM


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NAPALM


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Agent Orange

  • A deforesting agent that killed jungle life, exposing VC hiding places

  • Contained dioxin – extremely toxic

  • Reported to cause death, debilitating diseases, and genetic defects to those exposed


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Agent Orange


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Agent Orange


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Agent Orange


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Agent Orange

C 123 “Supplier” of Agent Orange


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Agent Orange

Service Patch awarded for flying Agent Orange “Ranch Hand” missions


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Immediate and Genetic Effects

of Agent Orange


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Agent Orange


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Agent Orange


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Agent Orange


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Agent Orange


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Agent Orange


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Agent Orange


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The American Public

is Misled

  • May 1967 – CIA estimates that 430,000 Viet Cong had infiltrated the South

  • Dec 1967 – 45% of American public said our involvement in Vietnam was a mistake


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The American Public

is Misled

  • Nov 1967 – Vice President Humphrey says on the “Today Show” – “We are on the offensive. Territory is being gained. We are making steady progress.”


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The American Public

is Misled

  • Nov 21, 1967 – General Westmoreland says that DRVN was “unable to mount a major offensive . . . I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing.”

  • Westmoreland says in interview with Time Magazine, “I hope they try something, because we are looking forward for a fight.”


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Tet Offensive

  • Tết Nguyên Dán – January 31 - the lunar new year– most important Vietnamese holiday

  • Both North and South Vietnam had announced on national radio that there would be a three-day cease-fire during the Tet celebration


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Tet Offensive

  • The VC launched a series of unexpected highly coordinated attacks all across South Vietnam.

  • 80,000 VC troops struck more than 100 towns and cities – included Saigon

  • U.S. embassy in Saigon was invaded


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Tet Offensive


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Tet Offensive

Saigon burns


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Tet Offensive

  • It showed the public that the government had not been truthful about the situation and our chances in Vietnam.


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Tet Offensive

  • The largest military operation by either side in the war up until then

  • Attacks continued until September 1968

  • Ended U.S. hopes of winning the war.

  • After Tet, we were looking for a way out.


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My Lai Massacre

  • March 16, 1968

  • “Search and destroy” mission

  • A small village in South Vietnam where 250 VC were rumored to be hiding

  • When we arrived, we found only women and children


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My Lai Massacre

  • Lt. William Calley ordered all of the inhabitants rounded up and executed

  • Only one U.S. chopper crew flew in and stopped the slaughter.

  • 407 villagers were killed

  • American public was shocked and outraged


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My Lai Massacre


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My Lai Massacre


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My Lai Massacre


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My Lai Massacre


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My Lai Massacre


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Lt. William Calley

  • Lt. William Calley was tried for murder

  • Claimed he was only following orders to kill everyone in the village

  • Dishonorably discharged and received a life term in prison

  • His sentence was later reduced by President Nixon

  • Released on parole in November 1975


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Lt. William Calley


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Lt. Calley escorted to Ft. Benning stockade March 31, 1971


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My Lai Massacre

My Lai Memorial at the site of the massacre


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Operation Menu

  • The U.S. launched secret attacks on Cambodia starting in 1969, looking for rumored VC headquarters.

  • By 1975, the VC continued to use Cambodian supply lines

  • Protests erupted across the U.S. when the public found out about these bombings.


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Operation Menu

Cambodia


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Operation

Dewey Canyon

  • February 1971

  • RVN forces were to attack the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos to cut off VC supply lines.

  • Would prove that Vietnamization was working


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Operation

Dewey Canyon

  • But as the RVN forces prepared, the VC attacked.

  • Only U.S. B-52 bombers saved the day.

  • It was a disaster that proved that the RVN existed only through massive U.S. support.


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The Anti-War Movement


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The Anti-War Movement

  • Sit-ins

  • Marches

  • Burning of draft cards

  • Blocking troops trains

  • Self-immolation

  • Teach-ins


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SNCC

  • Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee

  • Helped organize many of the war protests on college campuses


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Sit-ins

Students would pick public businesses or college campuses and simply sit there in protest of the war. Made national news as they were dragged out by police.


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Sit-ins

University of Berkley 1965


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Sit-ins

University of Berkley 1965


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Teach-ins

  • A series of nationwide debates and lectures about U.S. presence in Vietnam

  • The goal was to educate the public and increase pressure on the government to change its Vietnam policy.


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Counterculture

  • American youth movement that blamed “the establishment” for the war

  • The establishment – old white men


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Counterculture

Beliefs included:

  • questioning authority

  • seeking personal pleasure

  • alternative lifestyles

  • different clothing styles

  • rock music

  • drugs


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Hippies

  • A group that was part of the counterculture

  • Valued youth, individuality, and spontaneity

  • Promoted peace, love, and freedom


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Hippies


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Hippies


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Woodstock


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Woodstock

  • August 1969

  • 3 day music festival at Max Yazgur’s farm in upstate New York

  • Organizers expected 10,000 – 20,000

  • 400,000 counterculture youth showed up

  • Concert organizers abandoned the plan to set up fences and made the concert free


Vietnam war

Woodstock


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Woodstock


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Woodstock


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Woodstock


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Woodstock

Jimi Hendrix


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Kent State

  • An Ohio working-class commuter university—average for “middle-class” America

  • May 2, 1970 - Student anti-war protesters were demonstrating

  • A fire broke out in the ROTC building


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Kent State

  • On May 4, students began throwing things at the armed guards

  • The guards fired into the crowd of students

  • 4 killed; 13 wounded – some not even participants in the protest


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Kent State


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Candlelight March

  • Thousands marched on Washington D.C. at night with candles to protest the war


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Candlelight March

  • Even government officials’ families participated, such as Vice Pres. Agnew’s daughter.

  • Showed that mainstream Americans were opposed to the war, not just Hippies


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Politics

of War


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HAWKS

Those who favored the war


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DOVES

Those who favored peace


1968 election

1968 ELECTION

LBJ announced that he would not run for reelection, mainly because of the war in Vietnam. The 1968 election was highly turbulent as Americans protested and debated the war. Eventually, it would be Richard Nixon that emerges as the “peace” candidate and wins.


Yippies

“YIPPIES”

Youth International Party. Young American anti-war protesters who wanted to go the Democratic Convention in 1968 to protest by nominating a pig named “Pigasus” for president and then eating him. Similar to the Hippies in that they wanted free love and peace in Vietnam.


Robert f kennedy

ROBERT F. KENNEDY

U.S. attorney general who decides to run for president after LBJ announces he was not running for a 2nd term. He was assassinated in 1968 after giving a speech at a hotel.


George wallace

GEORGE WALLACE

Ran as a 3rd party candidate in the 1968 election. He took away enough votes from the Democrats to allow Nixon to win the election.


Richard m nixon

RICHARD M. NIXON

Quaker. Republican. Ran against JFK in 1960 and lost an extremely close election. He wins the presidency in 1968 and is reelected in 1972. Despite his promises to seek peace, Nixon secretly widened the war in Vietnam into neighboring countries and continually bombed N. Vietnam.


26th amendment 1971

26th Amendment (1971)

lowered the voting age to 18. People felt that if you were old enough to die for the nation at age 18, you should have the right to vote.


The vietnam war

THE VIETNAM WAR

V. THE END OF THE WAR


Henry kissinger

HENRY KISSINGER

Nixon’s Secretary of State. Kissinger was responsible for helping to ease tensions between the U.S., China and the Soviet Union. He was also involved in negotiating the peace settlement in Vietnam.


Operation linebacker ii the christmas bombings

Operation Linebacker II (the Christmas Bombings)

1

Over 200 B-52 bombers flew round-the-clock missions for 11 days. Over 40,000 tons of bombs were dropped. Over 2000 killed with sufficient collateral damaged to DRVN.


Operation linebacker ii the christmas bombings1

Operation Linebacker II (the Christmas Bombings)

Nixon’s approval rate fell to 39%, world leaders denounced the bombings, and we were forced back to negotiations with DRVN representatives.


Gerald r ford

GERALD R. FORD

Became the President after Nixon’s resignation. Ford would order the remaining U.S. troops out of Vietnam.


Fall of saigon

FALL OF SAIGON

Even though the peace terms called for 2 separate nations, VC forces overran Saigon even as the last U.S. troops departed with refugees. We weren’t even gone yet, and the North had taken over South Vietnam.


P o w s

P.O.W.’S

Prisoners of war. Hundreds of U.S. soldiers had been captured and detained by VC forces. Some had been tortured and executed before being returned at the end of the war.


M i a s

M.I.A.’S

Missing in Action. Hundreds of U.S. soldiers were unaccounted for at the end of the war. We weren’t sure if they had been killed, captured, deserted, or something else.


War powers act 1973

War Powers Act (1973)

A law designed to limit a president’s ability to wage war without congressional approval. 1) Required president to notify Congress within 48 hours after deployment of troops, including reasons for and the expected length of the mission.

1


War powers act 19731

War Powers Act (1973)

2) Limit to 60 days without congressional approval. 3) Congress can demand that the President bring the troops home.


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