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Vietnam War. US Involvement 1954 to 1963. Response to Geneva Accords. Exodus Roughly 1 million (numbers disputed) Vietnamese from the north move south About 50000 move north Mostly Catholic and/or associated with French Strongly encouraged by US. US response.

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Vietnam war

Vietnam War

US Involvement

1954 to 1963


Response to geneva accords
Response to Geneva Accords

  • Exodus

    • Roughly 1 million (numbers disputed) Vietnamese from the north move south

    • About 50000 move north

    • Mostly Catholic and/or associated with French

    • Strongly encouraged by US


Us response
US response

  • Eisenhower determines that following French defeat that communism cannot be allowed to expand further

  • Domino theory put forth

  • Eisenhower opposed direct military intervention – Ridgeway determined that a force at least the size of forces committed to Korea would be required



Rise of diem
Rise of Diem

  • Anti-communist nationalist

    • Was not tainted by association with France

    • Staunchly Catholic –

  • Consolidates Rule in South – ousts last Emperor and declares himself president of Republic of Vietnam

  • Opposes elections in 1956 with US support


Communists consolidate rule in north
Communists consolidate rule in north

  • Prosecute landlords and potential counter revolutionaries

    • Between 2000 and 50000 people killed or imprisoned

  • Promoted communist insurgencies in Laos and Cambodia


Development of resistance in south
Development of resistance in South

  • Heavy handed prosecution of opposition by Diem sparks resistance

  • Cancellation of elections in 1956 incite ex Viet Minh in south to appeal to North for help

  • Low level insurgency begins in 1957

  • Work on Ho Chi Minh Trail begins


Birth of the viet cong
Birth of the Viet Cong

  • Southern insurgency faced destruction by Diems secret police in 1959

  • Hanoi decides to begin support

  • National Liberation Front established in Dec 1960 with Northern support and North Vietnemese (NVA) officers in command

  • Goal is to overthrow Diem’s government\



Kennedy era
Kennedy Era officials from 1961 to 1963

  • Kennedy had bigger problems than Vietnam

    • Bay of Pigs, Berlin Wall Crisis, Laos

    • Sought to enhance credibility and anti-communist credentials

  • New Foreign Policy initiative stresses counter-insurgency program

    • National liberation movements and anti-colonialism exploited by Moscow

    • Created Green Berets for that purpose

    • Sent to assist South Vietnamese - MACV


  • Encouraged Diem to pursue true democratic reforms and include non-communist opposition in government

  • Diem resists and continues repressive policies and nepotism

    • “Buddhist Barbeque” comment made by wife

    • Family members given top government posts

    • Corruption rampent


  • Kennedy administration made aware of impending coup include non-communist opposition in government

    • No warning sent to Diem

  • Diem is killed during coup in Nov 1 1963

    • Military Leaders replace Diem

  • Amid Chaos and political instability Viet Cong step up attacks

    • Giap prepares NVA to invade

  • 23000 US advisors in South Vietnam


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