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The Vietnam War. US History. The Root of the Problem. Ho Chi Minh Declares indep. from Japan – 1941 Communism would be the path By 1945 – 5,000 soldiers anchor North Vietnam French given control of Indochina (1946) Truman backs the French Containment policy = $2.6 billion.

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the vietnam war

The Vietnam War

US History

the root of the problem
The Root of the Problem
  • Ho Chi Minh
    • Declares indep. from Japan – 1941
    • Communism would be the path
    • By 1945 – 5,000 soldiers anchor North Vietnam
  • French given control of Indochina (1946)
    • Truman backs the French
    • Containment policy = $2.6 billion
the root of the problem1
The Root of the Problem
  • Geneva Accords (May 1954)
    • Vietnam divided along 17th Parallel
    • French agree to leave abandon South Vietnam
      • Ho & Vietminh – victorious at Dien Bien Phu
    • National Elections to reunify (1956)
    • US refuses to sign
      • Eisenhower announces Domino Theory as justification
the root of the problem2
The Root of the Problem
  • US backs Diem (1954)
    • Send another $1 billion during Eisenhower’s Admin.
    • Diem cancels promised Geneva elections
  • Vietcong rise up against Diem, demand
    • Reunification with North Vietnam
    • Economic reform
  • JFK expands the US’s role in Vietnam
    • Advisors, weapons & technology sent
    • Increased civil unrest
    • Agrees to assassination of Diem (Aug. 1963)
hey hey lbj how many kids you kill today
“Hey, hey LBJ – How many kids you kill today?”
  • LBJ – “I’m not going to be the president who saw SE Asia go the way China went.”
  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolutions (Aug. 1964)
    • Fearful Congress gives LBJ unlimited control
  • Operation Rolling Thunder (Feb. 1965)
    • Vietcong attack US military based
    • Offensive strategy into North Vietnam
      • Air raids: military bases, Ho Chi Minh Trail, villages
    • Three continuous years
hey hey lbj how many kids you kill today1
“Hey, hey LBJ – How many kids you kill today?”
  • Gen. W. Westmoreland & US Marines
    • Ordered to Vietnam (March 1965)
    • LBJ: “Peace on the Horizon”
  • Optimism results in Overconfidence
    • Success different in Vietnam
      • # of Vietcong killed misconception
      • Territory gained insignificant
    • Ho’s Philosophy
      • “You can kill 10 of my men for every 1 I kill of yours, but even at those odds, you will lose and I will win.”
hey hey lbj how many kids you kill today2
“Hey, hey LBJ – How many kids you kill today?”
  • A different type of war
    • Operation Rolling Thunder
      • Why – less causalties
      • Results: 108,000 air raids in 1967 alone
      • More bombs in 3 years than in all of WW II
    • Ground Offensive
      • Search & Destroy Missions
      • Guerilla Tactics
      • Pacification Program - backfires
hey hey lbj how many kids you kill today3
“Hey, hey LBJ – How many kids you kill today?”
  • 1968 – Things Getting Worse
    • Contrary to Gen. Westmoreland’s Speech
    • Ho, Vietminh & Vietcong launch Tet Offensive
      • Tet = Jan. 20, 1968 – Vietnamese New Year
      • Communists strike military & civilian targets
      • 100 South Vietnam cities & 12 US bases attacked
    • US uses brute force to counter
      • Huge casualties
        • 33,000 – VC
        • 16,000 – US & Allies
      • “We had to destroy the village to save it.”
criticism begins to mount
Criticism Begins to Mount
  • Media
    • First war in which the media was on the front lines
    • Evolution
      • 1962-3: Diem great leader, We’re stopping communism
      • Walter Cronkite (CBS) – 1968
        • “What the hell is going on? I thought we were winning the war! It seems no more than ever that Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.”
        • LBJ: “If we’ve lost Walter, we’ve lost Mr. Average Citizen.”
    • My Lai Massacre (March 1968 – November 1969)
      • Reporters uncover senseless execution of 350 Vietnamese
    • Editorials call for settlement & withdrawal
criticism begins to mount1
Criticism Begins to Mount
  • Students Protest
    • SDS – Students for a Democratic Society
      • “We are people of this generation, bred in at least modest comfort, housed in universities, looking uncomfortably on the nation we now inherit.”
      • April 1965 – March on Washington – 20,000 students
    • Deferment, Consciences Objectors & Draft Dodgers
criticism begins to mount2
Criticism Begins to Mount
  • LBJ’s approval rating – 26%
    • Euguen McCarthy & Robert Kennedy challenge LBJ for President
    • March 31: “I’ve decided that I shall not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as our President.”
    • Same Speech
      • Will limit bombing
      • Seek Negotiations
      • Westmoreland has asked for 200,000 more troops
      • Other Generals counter – “No amount of troops will help.”
johnson s war becomes nixon s war
Johnson’s War Becomes Nixon’s War
  • Nixon narrowly defeats H.H. Humphrey (VP)
  • New Philosophy: Vietnamization
    • Train & equip S. Vietnamese to replace US Soldiers
    • Nixon Doctrine: no more troops, just $ and weapons
  • Withdrawal Begins (Nov. 1969)
    • 60,000 troops return home
    • Plan – 400,000 to evacuate in next 3 years
  • Escalation
    • Madman Theory: secretly orders more bombings
    • Carrot & Stick Policy: sending troops to Cambodia & Laos
johnson s war becomes nixon s war1
Johnson’s War Becomes Nixon’s War
  • Students Rise-up Again (May 1970)
    • Kent State
      • Students protest at ROTC – not so civil
      • Governor calls in National Guard to disperse students
      • National Guard fires into the student protesters
        • 4 killed, 9 wounded
    • Jackson State
      • All black school in Mississippi
      • 1 week after Kent State
      • National Guard called in b/c of vandalism in the city
      • Confrontation results in 2 killed & 12 wounded
johnson s war becomes nixon s war2
Johnson’s War Becomes Nixon’s War
  • Nixon continues “Diplomacy through Terror”
    • Christmas Bombings (Dec. 1972)
  • January 1973 – Peace Talks
    • South Vietnamese President Thieu signs

cease-fire with the Vietcong

    • US to provide $1 Billion in military aid and will respond will full force if cease-fire violated
    • March 1973 – last US troops exit Vietnam
  • March 1975 – Vietcong launch offensive
    • Saigon falls by April
    • US does nothing, dealing with aftermath of Watergate (Ford)
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