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VIETNAM. Major Carlos Rascon. SOURCES . Dupuy, Evolution of Weapons and Warfare , pp. 270-282 Preston and Wise, Men in Arms , pp. 343-354 Weigly, The American Way of War , ch. 18. LEARNING OBJECTIVES.

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VIETNAM


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vietnam
VIETNAM

Major Carlos Rascon

sources
SOURCES
  • Dupuy, Evolution of Weapons and Warfare, pp. 270-282
  • Preston and Wise, Men in Arms, pp. 343-354
  • Weigly, The American Way of War, ch. 18
learning objectives
LEARNING OBJECTIVES
  • Comprehend the voluntary limitation of the American military effort in the Indochin Conflict
  • The student will know and review the anti-communist military effort from the landing at DaNang in 1965 to the end of 1967
  • Comprehend and Contrast the military realities of the Tet offensive with its popular American perception and media coverage
  • Comprehend and explain the need for and implementation of a policy of Vietnamization
development of the revolutionary environment and anticolonialism under french rule
DEVELOPMENT OF THE REVOLUTIONARY ENVIRONMENT AND ANTICOLONIALISM UNDER FRENCH RULE
  • Origins of French rule
    • 1858: Conquest began to make Vietnam a French Colony
    • 1879: French civilian control established in Vietnam
    • 1897: Paul Doumer became Governor of French Indochina
      • Vietnam had been a drain on France for 40 years, Domer planned to turn this around
      • Enslaved hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese peasants
      • The laborers were treated like animals
      • Doumer does not consider well being of Vietnamese
vietnam background state of the country
VIETNAM BACKGROUNDSTATE OF THE COUNTRY
  • Absence of civil liberties
    • Development of a revolutionary mentality
  • Denial of participation in economics restricts development of a middle class
  • Japan seized control of Vietnam and most of Southeast Asia in WWII
vietnam background state of the country7
VIETNAM BACKGROUNDSTATE OF THE COUNTRY
  • After WWII two opposing forces try to gain control of Vietnam
    • French colonists
    • Vietminh
  • Persistent anticolonialism; orgins of the Viet Minh
    • Viet Minh starts as independence movement in 1941, adopts communism in 1950’s
vietnam background state of the country8
VIETNAM BACKGROUNDSTATE OF THE COUNTRY
  • France and Vietminh ask the United States for aid.
    • U.S. ignores them
  • French colonists drive Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh out of Hanoi
  • Vietminh forces gradually gain control of most of Vietnam
vietnam background state of the country9
VIETNAM BACKGROUNDSTATE OF THE COUNTRY
  • France asks U.S. for military aid
    • President Truman agrees
    • By 1954 the U.S, was paying for 80% of the war for France
  • Vietminh siege the French at Dien Bien Phu.
    • U.S. refuses to assist the French in escape.
diem bien phu
DIEM BIEN PHU
  • 10,000 French soldiers were trapped by 45,000 Vietminh
    • Food, fresh water and medical supplies cut off
  • May 7, 1954 French soldiers surrender
  • 10,000 marched for 60 days and 500 miles to a prison camp
    • Half of the soldiers die on the way
  • France withdraws from Vietnam
american limitation of the war
AMERICAN LIMITATION OF THE WAR
  • Concern for Soviet and Chinese involvement
  • Belief in monolithic communism and fears of other communist-inspired insurgencies elsewhere
    • DOMINO EFFECT
  • Ill-defined goals and failure to unite Americans for U.S. policy in Vietnam
vietnam divided
VIETNAM DIVIDED
  • July 21, 1954: The Geneva Accords divide Vietnam in half at the 17th parallel giving Ho Chi Minh’s communists the North and Bao Dai’s regime the south.
  • Vietminh forces begin a reign of terror in the south.
    • Bao Dai asks the U.S. for military aid
    • U.S begins its involvement in Vietnam.
north vietnam
NORTH VIETNAM
  • Communist
    • Backed by USSR and China
  • Govt. led by Ho Chi Minh
    • Spy for US OSS during WWII, became increasingly totalitarian.
  • Experienced, motivated army (NVA) led by Giap
south vietnam
SOUTH VIETNAM
  • South
    • Semi-democratic
      • Backed by US
    • Govt. led by Diem
      • Corrupt and filled with family-members
      • Favoritism for Catholics angered Buddhist majority.
      • Overthrown by group of generals in Nov ‘63.
    • Unreliable, conscript army (ARVN)
    • Viet Cong guerillas.
us involvement plan 34a gulf of tonkin
US INVOLVEMENT PLAN 34AGULF OF TONKIN
  • Operational plan 34A
    • Headed by the CIA (later transferred to DOD)
    • Covert attacks targeted offshore facilities
      • Radar towers
      • Communication buildings
    • Emphasized bombardment rather than commando insertions.
gulf of tonkin
GULF OF TONKIN
  • April 2, 1964: NVA gunboats attacked the USS MADDOX
  • Aug 7, 1964: Congress passes the “Tonkin Gulf Resolution”
    • Gives the president the ability to use “all necessary measures” to deal with the “aggression” in Vietnam
u s air strikes
U.S. AIR STRIKES
  • Johnson places extensive restrictions on targets due to concerns over public opinion and Soviet and Chinese response.
  • Massive tonnage of bombs dropped, often on questionable targets.
    • US drops greater tonnage of aviation ordnance around Khe Sahn in three months than it had dropped on Japan during all of WWII.
    • NVA avoid large troop concentrations or other opportunities for strategic bombing.
u s air strikes20
U.S. AIR STRIKES
  • OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER
    • Constant bombing of North Vietnam
    • Escalated U.S. involvement
    • Planned for eight weeks, lasted three years.
    • 500 US aircraft shot down
      • NV use captured US aviators as propaganda weapons.
        • Aimed at US CV… popular support.
  • Video 10min Rolling Thunder
vietnam 1965
VIETNAM 1965
  • March 1965: Send in the Marines
    • Two Marine battalions wade ashore at Da Nang
  • Operation Starlite
    • 5,000 Marines move against Viet Cong destroying major stronghold near Van Tuong
counterinsurgency campaigns
COUNTERINSURGENCY CAMPAIGNS
  • Nature of War – Frustrations
  • Deny enemy access to key areas
  • “Search and destroy” missions become main method of combat
vietnam 1966
VIETNAM 1966
  • War becomes a protracted war of attrition
  • Total number of personnel in country
    • 389,000
  • Tremendous limits on U.S. forces
  • Off limits
    • Laos, Cambodia, North Vietnam
khe sahn
Khe Sahn
  • Khe Sahn
    • Marine Corps base
    • One of the largest battles of the war
  • 21 January 1968 NVA begin siege of Khe Sahn
    • Tens of thousands of NVA regulars begin siege of Khe Sahn
    • 6,000 Marines hold them off
khe sahn25
Khe Sahn
  • Diversion for the Tet offensive
    • General Vo Nguyen Giap sought another Dien Bien Phu
  • Marines were surrounded and had to rely on aircraft for resupply
    • Operation PEGUSUS
khe sahn27
Khe Sahn
  • Air support could not get through due to weather
    • March 1 the weather cleared up
    • 38 days after the battle had started
  • B-52 bombers
    • Every 30 seconds a bomber would complete its mission
  • Profitless battle
    • Base was not used for any serious strategic aim
    • Marines did not hold the base for any significant amount of time
tet offensive
TET OFFENSIVE
  • 30 Jan 1968, estimated 85k NVA and VC launch attacks throughout SV.
    • Sought max psychological impact by attacking political centers, including Saigon, Hue, and US Embassy.
    • Sought to incite a general uprising among RVN populace.
    • Achieve strategic and tactical surprise by attacking during Lunar New Year, when many RVN and US troops on leave, reduced alert, etc.
tet offensive30
TET OFFENSIVE
  • Impact of television reporting/ media coverage
  • US/SV win tactical victories, but North (with help of media) achieves strategic victory.
    • Viet Cong losses so great that it is not a factor for remainder of war, but…
    • Johnson has been assuring US public that victory is in sight.
    • After Tet, public believes war will go on indefinitely.
tet offensive31
TET OFFENSIVE
  • Americans begin to question both the morality and practicality of U.S. involvement.
  • March: Johnson announces end to bombing N of 20th parallel and that he will not seek reelection.
hue city
HUE CITY
  • 12,000 NVA move in on 30 January 1968
    • Occupied all of the city except
      • The 1st ARVN division complex
      • A compound housing military advisors
  • Americans arrive to reinforce the 2 points
    • Urban warfare began
  • By the end there were 5,800 civilians dead or missing
    • Mass graves
american withdrawl
AMERICAN WITHDRAWL
  • Peace talks begin in Paris.
  • My Lai: 300 RVN civilians killed by USA platoon. Not “discovered” until a year later.
  • June: announced 25k troop reduction (reduction from 540k) is balanced by promises to increase aid to RVN and bombing of NV by US.
  • Nixon elected.
  • “Vietnamization” policy seeks to turn fighting over to South Vietnamese.
    • US commanders instructed to minimize casualties.
american withdrawl35
AMERICAN WITHDRAWL
  • US and RVN forces invade Cambodia in Spring 1970 to attack NVA staging areas.
  • US planes bomb Cambodia and Laos to cut off Ho Chi Minh trail.
  • Anti-war protests increase.
    • 4 students killed at Kent State.
  • US troops reduced to 350k.
    • Bulk of USMC leaves by April
  • Peace treaty signed on 27 Jan 1973.
    • US would withdraw all forces.
    • NV would repatriate all POWs.
summary
SUMMARY
  • US attempts to fight war of attrition while NVA/VC fight maneuver-style campaign
  • Limitation of the American military effort in the Indochin Conflict need for and implementation of a policy of Vietnamization