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The Vietnam War. Vietnam. Vietnam had been a French colony. After WWII, the Vietnamese fought against the French and they pulled out in 1954. The north and south became divided – the communists ruled in the north and anti-communists in the south.

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Presentation Transcript
  • Vietnam had been a French colony.
  • After WWII, the Vietnamese fought against the French and they pulled out in 1954.
  • The north and south became divided – the communists ruled in the north and anti-communists in the south.
  • In 1959, the northern government tried to encourage a communist revolution in the south.

Southern communists who had fled north now returned to fight – they were called the Vietcong.

  • The USA was afraid of more countries falling to communism because of the “domino theory.”
  • So the USA sent aid (help) to South Vietnam.
the usa gets more involved
The USA gets more involved
  • In November 1961, President Kennedy started providing support for the army in the south including ‘combat advisors.’
  • This did not help the south defeat the north.
  • The USA was not happy with Diem (the South Vietnamese leader) and agreed to have him overthrown in 1963.
sidenote kennedy gets assassinated
Sidenote: Kennedy gets assassinated
  • On November 22, 1963 JFK was shot and killed while in a car in Dallas, Texas.
  • Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder and was assassinated himself before he could be put on trial.
  • The country was shocked and saddened for years to come.
  • JFK’s Vice President, Lyndon Johnson, took over as president.
the gulf of tonkin incident
The Gulf of Tonkin Incident
  • In 1964, an American Navy ship was attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin.
  • No serious damage was done but President Johnson ordered the bombing of North Vietnam in retaliation.
  • Congress passed a law giving President Johnson power to “take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force” to defend South Vietnam.

By 1965, US bombers were regularly attacking targets in North Vietnam.

  • LBJ decided that the South needed American soldiers to help on the ground.
  • In July, 1965 LBJ agreed to send 180,000 American soldiers to Vietnam.
  • Over the next years, the numbers increased to more than ½ of a million.
pause homework class work
Pause: Homework/Class work
  • Read sources A-D and answer activity page 135.
the fighting i ntensifies
The Fighting Intensifies
  • The addition of American troops in South Vietnam helped to stop the collapse of the government.
  • The fighting became heavy and the US regularly bombed North Vietnam.
  • Many people in the USA were unhappy about the war.

American tactics did not work well.

  • The Vietcong used guerillatactics: sabotage and sudden ambushes.
  • The Americans responded with chemical defoliants to destroy land and bombing supply lines.
  • This made the Vietnamese more angry at the USA and supportive of the Vietcong.
  • In January 1968, North Vietnam launched a massive attack during the religious holiday called Tet.
  • They attacked towns all over the country.
  • More than 50,000 communist troops were killed in two months.
  • Often civilians (non-military) were killed in the fighting.
results of tet
Results of Tet
  • Although a failure for the North in the short-term, the Tet Offensive helped the North Vietnamese to win the war.
  • As a result of the communists determination, many Americans lost respect for the war.
  • The Anti-War movement in the US grew and leaders thought they could not win the war.
pause homework
Pause: Homework
  • Read sources F and G and do activity p. 137
johnson bows out
Johnson Bows Out
  • In 1968, President Johnson decided not to run for re-election – he said he had failed in Vietnam.
  • He reduced the level of bombing of North Vietnam and he called for peace talks.
  • Negotiations began in Paris in 1968.
  • A new president, Richard Nixon, took over in 1969.
paris peace talks
Paris Peace Talks
  • Nixon tried to find a way out of Vietnam without abandoning South Vietnam or humiliation.
  • In Paris, Nixon tried to persuade the North to withdraw from the South at the same time as American troops.
  • They refused.
paris peace talks1
Paris Peace Talks
  • Nixon also tried to convince China and the USSR to persuade the North to withdraw.
  • They saw no reason to help the USA.
  • Then Nixon tried to put more responsibility on the South Vietnamese and its government.
  • By 1971, there were only 157,000 American troops in Vietnam.
my lai
My Lai
  • In 1969, US troops had massacred a village called My Lai.
  • The officer in charge was court-martialed for the murder of 109 civilians.
  • The story horrified Americans and the internationals media alike.
  • The American soldiers were seen as wicked.
1973 cease fire
1973: Cease-fire
  • In 1972, the communists were able to attack again similar to the Tet offensive.
  • It was more effective but did not win the war.
  • By 1973, peace talks were accepted and a cease-fire (end of the war) was agreed.
the fall of the south 1975
The Fall of the South: 1975
  • The civil war continued on after the Americans left.