GCSE MODERN WORLD HISTORY
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GCSE MODERN WORLD HISTORY. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1945-1975 VIETNAM WAR INTERACTIVE. WHY DID THE USA FAIL TO WIN THE VIETNAM WAR?. 8. Diem's government proved corrupt, oppressive , and extremely unpopular. Nonetheless, the United States continued to support it.

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GCSE MODERN WORLD HISTORY

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Gcse modern world history

GCSE MODERN WORLD HISTORY

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 1945-1975

VIETNAM WAR

INTERACTIVE

WHY DID THE USA FAIL TO WIN THE VIETNAM WAR?


Gcse modern world history

8

Diem's government proved corrupt, oppressive, and extremely unpopular. Nonetheless, the United States continued to support it.

Ho Chi Minh launched a guerilla campaign in South Vietnam, led by Vietcong units, with the aim of uniting the country under communist rule. In 1962, American president John F Kennedysent American “military advisors” to Vietnam to help train the South Vietnamese army, the ARVN. This marked the first official U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

The USA was afraid that if South Vietnam turned communist then country after country in Asia would fall to communism. This was called the ‘Domino Theory’. During Kennedy’s presidency, American ‘advisers’ in Vietnam were increased from 500 to 10,000. By 1968, there were 500,000 Americans in Vietnam, with 300 dying per week, at a cost of 30 billion dollars a year. America quickly realised that it was not possible to save Diem’s government. Therefore, in 1963, the United States backed a coup that overthrew Diem and installed a new leader. The new American-backed leaders proved just as corrupt and ineffective. Just weeks later, Kennedy was assassinated, and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson became president.

THE DOMINO THEORY

This theory was first argued by President Harry S Truman. The idea was that if South Vietnam fell to the Communists, the other countries of Southeast Asia (Laos, Cambodia, Thailand) and perhaps South Korea, Taiwan, Burma, and even India would also fall and be added to the communist camp in quick succession. This was part of the American policy of containment.

GCSE Modern World History The Vietnam War


Gcse modern world history

American involvement in the Vietnam War

Support the capitalist South Vietnam.

The Gulf of Tonkin incident.

10

Fear of the Domino Theory.

The National Liberation Front was set up in South Vietnam.

The American policy of ‘containment’.

  • President Nixon

  • (1969-74)

  • After escalating the war, negotiated a peace treaty in 1973 and withdrew American troops.

  • President Kennedy

  • (1961-63)

  • Increased involvement in Vietnam. He sent American ‘advisers’, the CIA and U.S. ambassadors.

  • President Johnson

  • (1963-69)

  • After the Gulf of Tonkin incident, sent U.S. combat troops. By 1964, it cost $30 billion every year.

Kennedy sent ‘advisers’ to support the South Vietnamese government.

Johnson wanted a more aggressive war against the communists.

GCSE Modern World History The Vietnam War


Gcse modern world history

TET: A TURNING POINT?

17

The Battle of Hamo Village during the Tet Offensive 1968. U.S. Marines and ARVN troops working together to defend a position against a Vietcong attack.

THE TET OFFENSIVE

  • North Vietnamese leaders believed they could not sustain the heavy losses inflicted by the Americans indefinitely and had to win the war with an all-out military effort.

  • The attacks began on January 31, 1968, the first day of the Lunar New Year, Vietnam's most important holiday. All the major cities of South Vietnam, more than 100 altogether were attacked. The Vietcong sent 4,500 troops into Saigon to try to hold out for forty-eight hours until reinforcement arrived but they were cut off and killed by the U.S. forces and the ARVN. It took weeks for U.S. and South Vietnamese troops to retake all of the captured cities, including the former imperial capital of Hue.

  • Why was the Tet Offensive important?

  • The Tet Offensive came at a time when U.S. forces appeared to be winning the war. This made the shock even greater.

  •  Although Vietcong losses were frightful, it showed that the Vietcong could strike anywhere and at any time and that there was nothing that the Americans could do about it.

  • It was clear that the war in Vietnam could not be won.

Was the Tet Offensive a turning point in the war?

Turning point means when an action or an event takes a turn for the better or for the worse. It is the point at which a very significant change occurs; a decisive moment.

GCSE Modern World History The Vietnam War


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