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The Vietnam Era. 1954 – 1975. The Time Frame. American society was changing. The era of 1954 – 1975 would bring unprecedented changes to American society politically, socially, and economically. Cold War Challenges. The Crisis in Cuba To review: 1. Failure of the Bay of Pigs

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The Vietnam Era

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the vietnam era

The Vietnam Era

1954 – 1975

the time frame
The Time Frame

American society was changing. The era of 1954 – 1975 would bring unprecedented changes to American society politically, socially, and economically.

cold war challenges
Cold War Challenges
  • The Crisis in Cuba

To review:

1. Failure of the Bay of Pigs

2. President Kennedy forces Soviet Union to remove missiles in

October 1962

the peace corps
The Peace Corps
  • Created in 1961 to help stop poverty, disease, and communism.
  • Volunteers lived among communities to give them practical help for their problems (i.e. growing food, sewage systems).
  • Problems in Africa which had been created with European centuries prior with colonialism.
israel and korea
Tensions in both countries with the Soviet Union and US as well.

In the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 an American – backed Israel quickly defeated a Soviet – backed Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

Israel and Korea
The Pueblo Incident: in January 1968 North Korea seizes an American spy ship that was in international waters and holds it for a year.
war in vietnam
War in Vietnam
  • Trouble in Southeast Asia: Soviets aided countries vying for national liberation.

1. The “Secret” War in Laos: Kennedy and Khrushchev agree to ceasefire in 1961.

2. Kennedy and Vietnam: divided into Communist North and Non – Communist in 1954.

historical occupation in vietnam
Vietnam was no stranger to foreign interference.

In the 19th century France seized Vietnam as part of its empire.

In WWII, Japan occupied Vietnam.

Following WWII France re – occupied Vietnam.

Communist leader Ho Chi Minh founds Communist movement in the country called the Viet Minh.

Historical Occupation in Vietnam
historical occupation continued
China and the Soviet Union send military aid to the Viet Minh to fight against the French.

In 1954, the Viet Minh successfully defeat the French occupation.

In Geneva in 1954, Vietnam is partitioned into two zones (North and South Vietnam).

Historical Occupation continued…
vietnam government
Vietnam Government
  • Ho Chi Minh consolidates power in North Vietnam.
  • In the South, an anti-Communist government is headed by Pres. Ngo Dinh Diem which is supported by the United States.
  • Diem and Pres. Eisenhower oppose elections because of the fear that 80% of Viet citizens would vote for Communism and elect Ho Chi Minh.
kennedy administration
Stopping the spread of Communism takes precedence over democracy.

Diem is not perceived as a strong enough leader to defeat Minh – he does not have enough support from the people.

November 2, 1963: with encouragement from the CIA, South Vietnam generals kill Diem and take control of the Vietnamese government.

Kennedy Administration
  • Gulf of Tonkin (August 2, 1964): supposed torpedoing of US ships by North Vietnam. Congress gives President Johnson unaccountable power to wage war.
  • A different kind of war: guerilla and terrorist warfare targets the stronger United States.
  • Search and destroy: heavy bombardment of suspected Viet Cong positions, using napalm.
president johnson
President Johnson
  • Johnson was faced with limited choices:

1. Admit defeat and pull out causing a domino effect in Southeast Asia

2. Limited support that would end in defeat

3. Actively attack North Vietnam with loss of American lives and high financial costs

resistance to peace
Resistance to Peace
  • North Vietnam resists peace attempts, believing they could outlast over the 500, 000 American forces stationed in the country.
the end in sight
The End in Sight?
  • In 1967 American Gen. Westmoreland said the end was in sight.
  • Viet Cong attacks turn the tide:
  • In March 1968 US bombing stops, but Peace Talks in Paris the same year fail.
protest and reaction
Protest and Reaction
  • On the home front, Americans did not support the Vietnam War (protests, riots, etc). Youth were violently against “the machine” of American government policy.
  • The Turning Point: 1968

Kennedy is assassinated and Pres. Johnson drops out of election race.

President Nixon narrowly wins.

protest and reaction22
Conservative backlash: lack of respect for order and government from wealthier children.

Student protests: college campuses became the grounds for many protests. Why do you think this is?

Protest and Reaction
government secrecy
Nixon wanted to end the war without losing or prolonging it because of limited support at home.

The Pentagon Papers: four presidents had lied about US involvement in Vietnam.

Government Secrecy
In 1973 Nixon announces Vietnamization: American troops replaced by South Vietnamese troops.

In 1974 North Viet attacks South Viet. In 1975, the war ends with the capture of Saigon.

  • The United States theoretically loses the Vietnam war.

Why? Because they lost support on the home front.

  • The legacy of Vietnam sets the stage for government mistrust and less American military involvement in the world.