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Objective 5/19. SWBAT Examine the causes of the Vietnam War Identify important people and the role they played during the Vietnam War In terms of U.S. Foreign Policy what was the Domino Theory. The Vietnam War.

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Objective 5/19

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Objective 5/19


Examine the causes of the Vietnam War

Identify important people and the role they played during the Vietnam War

In terms of U.S. Foreign Policy what was the Domino Theory

The Vietnam War

  • For over 11 years the Vietnam War unites and divides the United States by class, politics, and generation.

  • Over 58,000 Americans lose their lives in Southeast Asia. Millions more are affected by the war’s controversy and aftermath.

Causes of the Vietnam War

  • The Vietnamese struggle for unification is based on nationalism under the banner of communism.

  • U.S. involvement is based on the Cold War policy of containment.

  • Action in Southeast Asia was justified by the “Domino Theory” of the spread of communism.

Individuals of the Conflict

  • Ho Chi Minh is the revolutionary leader of Vietnam.

  • He was born in Central Vietnam, 1890.

  • In 1917 he left Vietnam to study in France. During the 1930’s he lived in Moscow and works as a Communist agent.

  • In 1941 he returned to Vietnam to regain its independence from France.

  • After the defeat of France in 1954 he became President of North Vietnam until 1969.

  • Ngo Dinh Diem is the Prime Minister of South Vietnam from 1954 until 1963. He is French educated, a Catholic, and anti-Communist.

  • General William Westmoreland is the commander of the U.S. Military Advisory mission in Vietnam from 1964-68.

  • Robert McNamara was the Secretary of Defense from 1961-68. He was the senior policy maker in Vietnam. He resigned in ’68 disenchanted by the war.

Vietnam Timeline

  • 1940- France falls to Germany in WWII. The Japanese were given control of French-Indochina.

  • 1941- Ho Chi Minh returns to Vietnam, organizes the nationalistic Vietminh to fight the French-Japanese rule.

  • 1945- WWII ends and the Germans and Japanese give up their Asian territories. Ho Chi Minh proclaims Vietnam’s independence on Sept. 2nd.

  • 1946- France recognizes Vietnam as a “free state” within the French Union.

  • 1949- Mao Zedong proclaims the People’s Republic of China.

  • 1950- Ho Chi Minh declares the Democratic Republic of Vietnam is the only legal government of Vietnam. He is backed by both the Soviet Union and China.

  • 1954- French are defeated at Diembienphu. The Geneva Conference establishes a North/South border along the 17th Parallel.

  • 1955- The United States begins to send aid to Saigon (S.V.) in support of the Diem regime.

  • 1956- Communist insurgence begins in the South, headed by the nationalistic Vietminh.

  • 1959- Eisenhower sends advisors with aid to the South.

  • 1962- American military assistance command formed in South Vietnam.

  • 1963- Vietcong defeat the South Vietnamese Army in January. Buddhist monks burn themselves in protest of Diem regime. Diem in later killed in a coup. The U.S. spends $500 million in aid that year.

  • 1964- General Nguyen Khanh assumes control of South.

  • On August 2nd a North Vietnamese PT boat attacks the U.S.S. Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin.

  • Two days later a second alleged attack occurs.

  • This prompts LBJ to commit to all out action in Vietnam with the Tonkin Resolution (Aug. 7th, 1964).

Objective 5/20


Examine documents relating to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

Determine if the U.S. had intentions of going to war in Vietnam before the Resolution?

Opening Question: What did the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution allow the President to do?

Objective 5/21


Complete Vietnam Webquest

Opening Question: Pull out work from yesterday: Was the U.S. planning on sending troops to Vietnam before 1964?

  • 1965- “Escalation” begins in Vietnam. The Vietcong begin to attack U.S. installations in the South. LBJ approves Operation Rolling Thunder to bomb the North. By December there are over 200,000 U.S. troops there.

  • Over the next several years, the troops in Vietnam will escalate to over 550,000.

  • 1967-40,000 NVA attack just over 6,000 marines at the Marine Air Base at Khe Sahn.

  • 1968—January, the NVA and Vietcong launch a major offensive during the Tet Holiday. Over 100 towns, villages, and cities were attacked. Vietcong penetrate the U.S. embassy in Saigon.

  • Tet will be a military failure for Communist, but a political success as America becomes disheartened by the images of the seemingly “endless war”.

  • 1969—Time magazine reports on the Massacre at My Lai, further fueling anti-war sentiment. President Nixon begins the policy of “Vietnamization”; turning the fighting of the war over to the South Vietnamese. De-escalation begins.

  • 1970—President begins the secret bombing of neighboring Cambodia. National Guard troops kill four students at Kent State anti-war protest.

  • 1971-73—Nixon politically negotiates the ability for complete withdrawal from Vietnam. The last of the U.S. troops leave by mid 1973.

  • April 30, 1975—Saigon falls to the communists, thus ending the war.

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