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Vietnam - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Vietnam. 1954-1975. Background. Japan had seized power of Vietnam during World War II. China had controlled the region at different times for hundreds of years as well. Vietnam was constantly controlled by foreigners. From the late 1900’s

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  • Japan had seized power of Vietnam during World War II. China had controlled the region at different times for hundreds of years as well. Vietnam was constantly controlled by foreigners. From the late 1900’s
  • 800’s till World War II France ruled Vietnam as well as Laos and Cambodia. This region was known as Indochina

By 1900’s Vietnamese Nationalist began pushing for independence from France.

  • Ho Chi Minh- Nationalist Party leader. Communist. Fled Vietnam fearing for his life in 1930 when he returned in 1941 WWII had started and Japan was controlling Vietnam.
  • He organized a nationalist group called the Vietminh

Ho Chi Minh and the Nationalist united both the Communists and the Non-Communists in the struggle to force Japan out of Vietnam. For this reason the United States began sending aid to the Vietminh.

  • Once the Allies had defeated Japan in WWII Ho Chi Minh announced Vietnam and independent nation.
  • France did not agree and wanted to regain the control over the region that it had prior to Japan’s take over of Vietnam.

1946 French troops returned to Vietnam and pushed the Vietminh out. By 1949 French had set up a govt in Vietnam.

  • The Vietminh began fighting back and now FRANCE was asking America for help even though America had assisted the Vietminh earlier against Japan.
events that impacted us decision
Events that Impacted US decision
  • China fell the Communism
  • Korean War broke out over Communist wanting to control all of Korea.
  • After those two events transpired Pres. Truman made the decision that Colonialism was a lesser threat than Communism and decided to support the French in hopes of stopping Communism in Vietnam

America’s decision was difficult on who to support. We did not support Colonialism and thought that the people of a country should run the country not foreigners. However, We did not want Vietnam to become Communist and the Vietminh were promoting Communism


By 1954 America was paying almost ¾ of France’s war cost.

  • Even with the aid of America France proved no match for the Guerilla warfare tactics of the Vietminh. The Geneva Accords would put and end to France’s occupation of Vietnam and divide Vietnam at the 17th parallel with Ho Chin Minh in power( Communist). Cambodia and Laos also gained independence

Southern section of Vietnam still did not want to be Communist so U.S. went in immediately to aid the Nationalist leader Ngo Dinh Diem.( anti-communist)

  • He was Catholic

Vietcong backed by Communist North Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh began attacking South Vietnam led by Ngo Dinh Diem.

  • Diem even though anti communist was growing unpopular with the South Vietnamese because of his policies, especially his policies against the Buddhist Religion

When Pres. Kennedy took office he needed to appear tough on Communism so he sent more troops to aid the South Vietnamese.

  • Diem was overthrown on Nov. 1 1963 and executed soon after. After his removal South Vietnamese grew weaker.

Pres. Kennedy would be assassinated and V.P Lyndon B. Johnson would now be faced with what to do about Vietnam. The Vietnam war was becoming very unpopular.


Gulf of Tonkin Resolution- The U.S. enters the war officially. Prior we had just provided aid.

    • Due to the fact that North Vietnamese torpedo boats had fired upon two American Destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. ( Pres. Johnson did not reveal the fact that the U.S destroyers were aiding the south Vietnamese.)

U.S began using Napalm and Agent Orange

    • Napalm- jellied gasoline that explodes on contact
    • Agent Orange-a chemical that strips leaves from trees and shrubs, turning farmland and forest into wastelands.

Vietcong showed to be a determined enemy and tough to defeat.

  • 220,000 Vietnamese were killed by Bombing from American Air-bombers from 1965-1967 and the Vietcong showed no sign of surrendering.
  • End of 1967 6,700 American soldiers had been killed.

Flower Power-

  • Anti-Draft Rallies- Many opposed the draft and between 1965-1968 Govt prosecuted 3,300 Americans for refusing to serve.

Tet Offensive-

    • January 1968 During the Veitnamese New Year of TET, the Vietcong and North Vietnamese launched a huge surprise attack on American troops and South Vietnamese. Took Americans 4 weeks to push them back.
      • Thousands buried in mass graves that Vietcong had massacred.

Tet offensive outcome for communist was bad but it was also bad for the war’s approval rating and the approval rating of Pres. Johnson. Johnson had been telling the American public that the conflict was coming to and end yet after Tet Offensive a total of 706,000 American troops were called to serve.

  • Many believed now that Vietnam was a war we could not win

Johnson would not run for re-election

  • MLK Jr. was assassinated during this era as well.
  • 1968 Richard M. Nixon would win Presidential election
bringing war to an end
Bringing War to an End
  • Nixon appointed Henry Kissinger as Special Assistant for national security. Kissinger began negotiating with the North Vietnamese for peace. They were making progress then North Vietnamese refused to continue talks.
  • Nixon’s blasts North Vietnam for with air raids for 12 straight days only taking Christmas Day off. Became known as the “Christmas Bombings”

North Vietnam resumed negotiations and on January 27 1973 The Vietnam Conflict was over.

  • The US agreed to withdraw the rest of its troops and both sides agreed to an exchange of prisoners of war.

By March of 1975 though North Vietnam would launch a full scale invasion of South Vietnam. S. Vietnam asked for help from the US which Nixon had promised but Nixon had resigned due to the Watergate Scandal. VP Henry Ford who became Pres ask Congress to aid the South Vietnamese but Congress refused. By April 30 1975 the North had captured Saigon-South Vietnam’s capital and Vietnam was united under communist rule

vietnams cost to the u s
Vietnams Cost to the U.S
  • $170 billion in direct costs
  • 58,000 soldiers killed
  • 300,000+ wounded
  • (1 million north and south Vietnamese soldiers died and an untold number of civilians died as well)