slide1 n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
Vietnam War PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
Vietnam War

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 224

Vietnam War - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Vietnam War. Background. Communism. Economic system Government control of property and resources Single political leader No individual rights. Containment. The idea that America should keep communism “contained” and not allow it to spread to any more areas in the world.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Vietnam War' - flavia-newman

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
  • Economic system
  • Government control of property and resources
  • Single political leader
  • No individual rights


The idea that America should keep communism “contained” and not allow it to spread to any more areas in the world


Dwight D. Eisenhower

  • 34th President
  • 1953 – 1961
  • Republican
  • New York

Domino Theory

“The loss of any single country in South East Asia could lead to the loss of all Asia, then India and Japan, finally endangering the security of Europe. . . . You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one and what will happen to the last one is a certainty, that it will go over very quickly.”

U.S. President Eisenhower


Domino Theory

  • American leaders believed that if the communists captured one country, nearby nations would also fall to communism, like dominoes falling

French Indochina

  • France had controlled Vietnam since 1858
  • The colony became known as Indochina
  • Vietnamese fiercely resisted French control, demanding independence

Ho Chi Minh

  • Born May 19, 1880 in Vietnam
  • Son of a government official who resigned in protest against French rule
  • Worked as a cook on a French ocean liner
  • Lived in London and Paris after WWI
  • Helped found the French Communist Party
  • Soviet Communist Party summoned him to Moscow to be trained as a spy

Ho Chi Minh

  • Using various aliases, and disguised as a Buddhist monk or a Chinese journalist, he organized a revolutionary movement among Vietnamese exiles in China
  • In 1929 he organized the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) in Hong Kong
  • Soon exiled by authorities in Hong Kong
  • Returns in 1930 and writes this statement of his goals:

Ho Chi Minh

  • To overthrow French imperialism, feudalism, and the capitalist class
  • To make Indochina completely independent
  • To establish a worker­peasant and soldier government
  • To confiscate all of the plantations and property belonging to the imperialists and the capitalist class and distribute them to poor peasants

Ho Chi Minh

  • To implement the eight hour working day
  • To abolish poll tax and unjust taxes for the poor
  • To bring back all freedom to the masses
  • To carry out universal education
  • To implement equality between men and women

Ho Chi Minh

  • 1940 – The Japanese enter Vietnam
  • Ho Chi Minh returns to Vietnam (after 30 years)
  • Leads followers to fight both the Japanese and the French
  • Organizes the Viet Minh
  • Takes the name Ho Chi Minh (Bringer of Light)

Viet Minh

  • Vietnamese Independence League
  • Created by Ho Chi Minh in 1940
  • Supported the liberation of Vietnam from outside control
  • Seized power in 1945 when Japan surrendered at the end of WWII and set up a government in Hanoi


  • Military Assistance Advisory Group
  • President Eisenhower sends the first military advisors to Vietnam in the 1950s to gather intelligence on the situation
  • America gives the French $25 million to help maintain control of the country
  • Advised U.S. leaders that it would be unwise to get involved in Vietnam for the following 3 reasons:


  • The conflict was more about nationalism than communism since 80% of the Viet Minh were NOT communists
  • The Viet Minh were extremely popular with the people
  • U.S. soldiers were not trained for guerilla warfare in jungles

Dien Bien Phu

  • May 6, 1954
  • French forces were gathered in the fortress of Dien Bien Phu
  • Vietnamese forces surrounded the compound and began raining artillery
  • Eventually the French surrendered (similar to the Alamo)

Geneva Accords

  • May, 1954
  • After the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu, world leaders met at Geneva, Switzerland
  • Agreed to divide Vietnam at the 17th parallel
  • Elections were to be held in 1956 on the issue of unification.

Vietnam Remains Divided

  • But in 1956 the South refused to hold elections, claiming that the communists would prevent fair elections.

North Vietnam

  • DRVN
  • Democratic Republic of Vietnam
  • Communist dominated
  • President - Ho Chi Minh
  • Capital city - Hanoi

South Vietnam

  • RVN
  • Republic of Vietnam
  • Anti-communist
  • President - Ngo Dinh Diem
  • Capital city - Saigon
  • America backs South Vietnam to prevent a communist takeover

National Liberation Front

  • South Vietnamese rebels who organized to remove Diem from power and re-unite Vietnam as one nation
  • Carried out assassinations of Diem’s officers

Vietcong (VC)

  • Our name for the Communistmilitary wing of the National Liberation Front
  • A major difficulty throughout the war was to identify and eliminate Vietcong in South Vietnam

John F. Kennedy

  • Elected President in 1960
  • Increased spending on RVN’s efforts to repel the Vietminh
  • Increased U.S. military involvement in Vietnam
  • Wanted to prove to his critics in the U.S. that he was not weak on fighting the communists

John F. Kennedy

  • But he was reluctant to become deeply involved in Vietnam
  • Top ranking military leaders advised him that the situation in Vietnam was growing worse daily - it was only a matter of time before the RVN fell to communist control

Training Mission

  • Reluctantly, the U.S. military engaged in training RVN forces to be able to defend their own country against the communist forces

Ap Bac

  • January 2, 1963
  • Ap Bac was a village 40 miles southwest of Saigon in the Mekong Delta
  • RVN (South Vietnam) forces outnumbered the Viet Cong 4:1
  • The Viet Cong were well-supplied with captured American M-1 rifles and 30 caliber machine guns
  • RVN was poorly led and unprepared

Ap Bac

  • 5 U.S. helicopters were shot down
  • 3 U.S. advisors were killed and 8 wounded
  • First major victory for Viet Cong
  • VC used the victory for propaganda purposes
  • VC began to plan for full scale war against the RVN
  • U.S. realized we would need to send additional support for the RVN
ap bac
Ap Bac

January 2, 1963


Ngo Dinh Diem

  • 1954 -appointed prime minister of RVN
  • He was seen as a U.S. puppetleader
  • This alienated many South Vietnamese
  • He refused some basic land reforms
  • He seized peasant land and gave it to friends/family
  • He was Catholic
  • He persecuted the Buddhists

Ngo Dinh Diem

  • U.S. advisors stated that even the non-communists preferred Ho Chi Minh
  • By 1963, we learned that Diem had been secretly trying to create a coalition government that would include the communists
  • U.S. helped to arrange a coup (the overthrow of a government)

Catholic-Buddhist Crisis

  • May 8, 1963
  • On Buddha’s birthday, Diem banned the display of religious flags
  • Buddhists raised their prayer flags to celebrate anyway
  • Diem orders RVN troops to disperse the crowd

Catholic-Buddhist Crisis

  • 8 Buddhist monks were killed
  • On June 11, the first of seven monks sets himself on fire in the street of Saigon to protest Diem’s leadership.
  • This becomes the symbol of Diem’s leadership to the American public.

T. Quang Duc

First Buddhist Monk to commit self-immolation

June 11, 1963



Graphic disturbing images follow. Look away if you might be offended.


Overthrow of Diem

  • Nov. 1, 1963, RVN forces overthrew Diem’s leadership
  • He and his family were supposed to be exiled to France
  • RVN army executed Diem and his brother
  • Kennedy had approved the assassination

Overthrow of Diem

  • Created chaos in RVN and instability in the government
  • 12 governments in 18 months

Lyndon B. Johnson

  • 36th President
  • 1963 – 1969
  • Democrat
  • Texas
  • Became President when Kennedy was assassinated
  • Substantially increased U.S. involvement in Vietnam

Lyndon B. Johnson

Sworn in on Air Force One by Judge Sarah T. Hughes


William Westmoreland

  • American general in charge of U.S. forces in Vietnam
  • Continually pushed for increasing troop levels in Vietnam

Tonkin Gulf Incident

  • August 4, 1964
  • U.S. patrol ships off the coast of Vietnam claimed to have been attacked by DRVN torpedo boats.
  • President Johnson addressed the nation about the attacks and ordered retaliatory air strikes for the “unprovoked attack.”

Tonkin Gulf Resolution

  • August 7, 1964
  • Legislation that allowed LBJ to take “all necessary measures to prevent further aggression” in Vietnam
  • Johnson said that “it was like Grandma’s night-skirt. It covered everything.”
  • It would be used to drastically escalate American involvement in the war


  • Increasing military pressure on an enemy’s forces
  • By 1967, we had over 470,000 troops in Vietnam.


  • February, 1965
  • A U.S. Army base in RVN was mortared while National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy visited
  • 9 Americans died, and 126 more injured
  • It showed how unstable the situation was: we couldn’t even protect our high-ranking officials.



National Security




  • McGeorge Bundy: “Pleikus are like street cars.” (If you wait a while, another one will come along.)
  • LBJ responded by authorizing bombings of North Vietnam.

Operation Rolling Thunder

Aerial bombings of North Vietnam which began in March of 1965


Operation Rolling Thunder

The U.S. wished to avoid a

ground war in the mountainous

jungle terrain of Vietnam


Operation Rolling Thunder

Gen. William Momyer, 7th Air Force commander, meets with President Johnson


Operation Rolling Thunder

LBJ boasted, “I won’t let those Air Force generals bomb the smallest outhouse without checking with me.”


Operation Rolling Thunder

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress – some able to carry 30 tons of bombs at a time






F 105 Thunderchief

  • Lead Sled, Thud
  • Flew 75 % of the strikes and took more losses over North Vietnam than any other kind of aircraft
  • When Rolling Thunder ended, more than half of the Air Force’s F-105s were gone.

Operation Rolling Thunder

At first, bombing missions were not allowed in areas around Hanoi or Haiphong


Operation Rolling Thunder

“Rolling North”

Bombing raids authorized farther north later in 1965 and 1966



  • Policy of wearing away an enemy’s forces until they cannot continue to fight
  • The U.S. strategy in Vietnam
  • We would bomb the VC until they could not continue replacing their casualties; then they would surrender

la Drang Valley

  • November 1965
  • First major battle between VC and U.S. troops
  • The U.S. 7th Cavalry delivered a substantial defeat to a VC unit
  • 2000 North Vietnamese killed
  • 300 American troops killed

la Drang Valley

  • U.S. saw it as proof that attrition works
  • The VC claimed that they had forced the U.S. into combat to inflict casualties and learn about U.S. tactics.
  • VC did not consider this a defeat.

la Drang Valley

U.S. Infantry disembarks


Operation Phoenix

  • U.S. assassination program
  • We tried to eliminate VC leaders
  • Thousands died in these related attacks.

Ho Chi Minh Trail

  • North Vietnamese supply line from DRVN and ending at various points near the South Vietnamese border
  • A honeycomb of routes through jungle and grassland areas that totaled 12,000 miles of trail
  • Although Laos was supposedly neutral (per the Geneva agreement of 1954), 100’s of miles of the trail passed through that country

Ho Chi Minh Trail

  • Before 1964, the trail was used by bicycles that were specially modified to carry pallets of rifles and ammunition weighing 400 pounds.
  • In 1964 the trail was upgraded with bridges, way stations, underground barracks, storage facilities, workshops, and fuel depots
  • In 1965 80,000 laborers were building 2 miles of new road each day

Ho Chi Minh Trail

  • 2,294 trucks passed through from Jan to May of 1965
  • 12,000 DRVN soldiers infiltrated into the South in 1965
  • 24,000 DRVN soldiers in 1966
  • It became of primary importance to stop this infiltration along the trail
  • April 1965, the U.S. began air strikes against the trail called “Steel Tiger”

Ho Chi Minh Trail

  • This led to the secret expansion of the war into Laos in 1965
  • In March of 1970 President Nixon finally admitted U.S. military operations in Laos, claiming that the North Vietnamese had violated the Geneva Accord “before the ink was dry” and that over ½ million North Vietnamese troops had entered the South though Laos
the cu chi tunnel
The Cu Chi Tunnel
  • Of major importance during the Vietnam War
  • About 250 kilometers long


  • Destructive gelled gasoline chemical that burns uncontrollably
  • Sticks to bodies and sears off flesh
  • Burns at 800 to 1200 degrees Celsius

Agent Orange

  • A deforesting agent that killed jungle life, exposing VC hiding places
  • Contained dioxin – extremely toxic
  • Reported to cause death, debilitating diseases, and genetic defects to those exposed

Agent Orange

C 123 “Supplier” of Agent Orange


Agent Orange

Service Patch awarded for flying Agent Orange “Ranch Hand” missions


The American Public

is Misled

  • May 1967 – CIA estimates that 430,000 Viet Cong had infiltrated the South
  • Dec 1967 – 45% of American public said our involvement in Vietnam was a mistake

The American Public

is Misled

  • Nov 1967 – Vice President Humphrey says on the “Today Show” – “We are on the offensive. Territory is being gained. We are making steady progress.”

The American Public

is Misled

  • Nov 21, 1967 – General Westmoreland says that DRVN was “unable to mount a major offensive . . . I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing.”
  • Westmoreland says in interview with Time Magazine, “I hope they try something, because we are looking forward for a fight.”

Tet Offensive

  • Tết Nguyên Dán – January 31 - the lunar new year– most important Vietnamese holiday
  • Both North and South Vietnam had announced on national radio that there would be a three-day cease-fire during the Tet celebration

Tet Offensive

  • Jan 31, 1968 - The VC launched a series of unexpected highly coordinated attacks all across South Vietnam.
  • 80,000 VC troops struck more than 100 towns and cities – including Saigon
  • U.S. embassy in Saigon was invaded
  • The largest military operation by either side in the war up until then

Tet Offensive

Saigon burns


Tet Offensive

  • The North Vietnamese had hoped to spark a nationwide Communist rebellion among the people of South Vietnam.
  • They were unsuccessful.
  • But it showed the American public that our government had not been truthful about the situation in Vietnam.

Tet Offensive

  • Attacks continued until September 1968.
  • Ended U.S. hopes of winning the war
  • After Tet, we were looking for a way out.

My Lai Massacre

  • March 16, 1968
  • “Search and destroy” mission
  • A small village in South Vietnam where 250 VC were rumored to be hiding
  • When we arrived, we found only women and children

My Lai Massacre

  • Lt. William Calley ordered all of the inhabitants rounded up and executed
  • Only one U.S. chopper crew flew in and stopped the slaughter.
  • 407 villagers were killed
  • American public was shocked and outraged

Lt. William Calley

  • Lt. William Calley was tried for murder
  • Claimed he was only following orders to kill everyone in the village
  • Dishonorably discharged and received a life term in prison
  • His sentence was later reduced by President Nixon
  • Released on parole in November 1975

My Lai Massacre

My Lai Memorial at the site of the massacre


Operation Menu

  • The U.S. launched secret attacks on Cambodia starting in 1969, looking for rumored VC headquarters.
  • By 1975, the VC continued to use Cambodian supply lines
  • Protests erupted across the U.S. when the public found out about these bombings.


Dewey Canyon

  • February 1971
  • RVN forces were to attack the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos to cut off VC supply lines.
  • Would prove that Vietnamization was working


Dewey Canyon

  • But as the RVN forces prepared, the VC attacked.
  • Only U.S. B-52 bombers saved the day.
  • It was a disaster that proved that the RVN existed only through massive U.S. support.

The Anti-War Movement

  • Sit-ins
  • Marches
  • Burning of draft cards
  • Blocking troops trains
  • Self-immolation
  • Teach-ins

Video: 1965, Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction”

Social Protest in Song – Then and Now



  • Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee
  • Helped organize many of the war protests on college campuses


Students would pick public businesses or college campuses and simply sit there in protest of the war. Made national news as they were dragged out by police.



University of Berkley 1965



University of Berkley 1965



  • A series of nationwide debates and lectures about U.S. presence in Vietnam
  • The goal was to educate the public and increase pressure on the government to change its Vietnam policy.


  • American youth movement that blamed “the establishment” for the war
  • The establishment – old white men


Beliefs included:

  • questioning authority
  • seeking personal pleasure
  • alternative lifestyles
  • different clothing styles
  • rock music
  • drugs


  • A group that was part of the counterculture
  • Valued youth, individuality, spontaneity, “living for today”
  • Promoted non-materialism, peace, love of nature, and sexual freedom


  • August 1969
  • 3 day music festival at Max Yazgur’s farm in upstate New York
  • Organizers expected 10,000 – 20,000
  • 400,000 counterculture youth showed up
  • Concert organizers abandoned the plan to set up fences and made the concert free


Jimi Hendrix



  • Youth International Party
  • “Anarchist hippies” – Planned several fictional events to alarm the public
  • Planned to go the Democratic Convention in 1968 and protest by nominating a pig named “Pigasus” for president and then eating him
  • Invaded Disneyland in August of 1970, where they planned to barbeque Porky Pig

Candlelight March

  • November 1969
  • Thousands marched on Washington D.C. to protest the war
  • At night they lit candles and marched silently in honor of the dead

Candlelight March

  • Even government officials’ families participated, such as Vice Pres. Agnew’s daughter.
  • Showed that mainstream Americans were opposed to the war, not just Hippies

Kent State

  • An Ohio working-class commuter university
  • May 2, 1970 - Students gathered on the grounds to protest the war
  • A fire broke out in the ROTC building
  • The Ohio National Guard was called in

Kent State

  • On May 4, the National Guard threw tear gas into the crowd of students and ordered them to disperse.
  • Students responded by throwing rocks at the armed guards.
  • The guards fired into the crowd of students
  • 4 killed; 13 wounded – some not even participants in the protest
Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,We're finally on our own.This summer I hear the drumming,Four dead in Ohio.Gotta get down to itSoldiers are gunning us downShould have been gone long ago.What if you knew herAnd found her dead on the groundHow can you run when you know?

“Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young




and the

War's End



Those who favored the war



Those who favored peace


1968 Election

  • LBJ announced that he would not run for reelection, mainly because of the war in Vietnam.
  • The election was highly turbulent as Americans protested and debated the war.

Robert F. Kennedy

  • JFK’s younger brother
  • U.S. Attorney General under JFK
  • Entered Presidential race when LBJ announced he would not run again
  • Supported civil rights and the end of the war in Vietnam

George Wallace

  • Democrat - Governor of Alabama (16 years total)
  • Opposed integration – “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”
  • Physically stood in the doorway to block entry of two black students to the University of Alabama in June 1963

George Wallace

  • 1968 - Ran as an American Independent Party candidate in the Presidential election
  • Took away enough votes from the Democrats to allow Nixon to win the election.
  • Ran for President again in 1972 and was shot and paralyzed by a attempted assassin

Richard M. Nixon

  • Eisenhower’s Vice President
  • Republican
  • Ran against JFK in 1960 and lost an extremely close election

Richard M. Nixon

  • Won Presidency in 1968 by promising a “secret plan” to win the war in Vietnam
  • Secretly widened the war in Vietnam into Cambodia and Laos

26th Amendment

  • Passed in 1971
  • Lowered the voting age to 18
  • People believed that if a young person is old enough to die for his nation at age 18, then he is old enough to vote.


  • Nixon’s term
  • U.S. forces would be used to train RVN forces
  • Eventually, the U.S. would scale back our troop levels until the RVN could function self-sufficiently
  • By 1972, U.S. troops in Vietnam had been reduced to 24,000

Dr. Henry Kissinger

  • Secretary of State under Nixon
  • Helped ease tensions between the U.S., China and the USSR
  • Helped negotiate the peace settlement in Vietnam

Paris Peace Talks

  • Began May 1968
  • Made little progress
  • Stalled over various important issues
    • Permanent international boundary between North and South Vietnam
    • Withdrawal of all American troops
    • Continued American aid to the South
    • Return of all American prisoners of war
    • Continuation of President Thieu in the South

Peace Talks

and Politics

  • Paris Peace Talks had stalled and the 1972 election was approaching.
  • Jan. 1972, Nixon announced that the North Vietnamese had refused to accept our settlement offer.
  • Just days before the election, Kissinger announced that “Peace is at hand,” even though the settlement was not final.
  • Nixon was re-elected in Nov 1972.

Operation Linebacker II

  • Dec. 1972 - “The Christmas Bombings”
  • The last American battle of the war
  • Nixon’s goal was to force the North Vietnamese back to the Paris peace talks
  • Originally planned as a 3 day attack (Dec. 18 -20) on Hanoi and Haiphong
  • Operation was planned by SAC (Strategic Air Command) Headquarters in Omaha

Operation Linebacker II

  • They attacked at night in waves timed just a few minutes apart
  • About100 B 52’s approached Hanoi in groups of 3, traveling in straight lines of exactly the same altitude, making it easy for SAM’s (Surface to Air Missiles) to track and shoot them down
  • In the first 3 nights, 8 American B52’s were shot down

Operation Linebacker II

  • On Dec. 21st Nixon ordered the attacks be extended past the original 3 days
  • SAC reviewed and revised its tactics to reduce further losses of aircraft
  • Bombings continued everyday (except Christmas) until Dec. 29th
  • North Vietnam finally agreed to return to the Paris negotiations

Operation Linebacker II

  • 729 night time B52 sorties and 650 daytime smaller fighter craft flown
  • Over 40,000 tons of bombs were dropped on the Hanoi/Haiphong area.
  • Over 2000 killed
  • 1600 civilians killed
  • 15 B52s lost / 12 smaller aircraft lost
  • 33 crew members killed/ 33 became POWs
  • World leaders denounced the bombings.
  • Nixon’s approval rating in U.S. fell to 39%.

Peace Talks Resume

  • The North Vietnamese insisted that Americans are told the bombings were not the reason they returned to the peace talks.
  • Jan. 1973 – final agreement signed:
    • U.S. would withdraw all troops within 60 days
    • All prisoners of war would be released
    • Ended military activities in Cambodia and Laos
    • 17th parallel would remain a “temporary” dividing line
  • Nixon believed he had achieved “peace with honor.”

Cost of the War

  • 58,000 dead
  • 300,000 wounded
  • 2,500 POW’s and MIA’s
  • $150 billion spent

to America



  • Prisoners of war
  • Hundreds of U.S. soldiers had been captured and detained by VC forces.
  • Some had been executed and some were tortured before being returned at the end of the war.


  • “Missing in action”
  • Hundreds of U.S. soldiers remained unaccounted for at the end of the war.
  • We weren’t sure if they had been killed, captured, had deserted, or something else.

Gerald R. Ford

  • 1974 – 1977
  • Republican
  • Became Vice President when Agnew resigned
  • Became President when Nixon resigned in Aug. 1974
  • Brought Vietnam War to a final conclusion

The Struggle Continues

  • North Vietnam continued to invade the South after American troops withdrew
  • In 1972, Nixon had secretly promised President Thieu of South Vietnam that America would begin bombing the North again if they violated the Paris peace agreement.
  • In 1974, Ford asked Congress for aid, but they refused to send any more money or troops to help the South

Fall of Saigon

  • April 29, 1975 Communist forces surrounded Saigon.
  • The U.S. frantically evacuated our embassy.
  • Helicopters airlifted over 1,000 Americans and 6,000 Vietnamese out of the city to aircraft carriers.
  • April 30, 1975 – Saigon government officially surrendered to the North
  • Vietnam became a single Communist nation

The Dominoes Fall

  • In 1975, Laos and Cambodia fell to Communism
  • Cambodia was overtaken by the Khmer Rouge, a radical Communist group
  • They killed 1.5 million Cambodians – anyone they believed was tainted by “Western” ways
  • Over 1.5 million Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians fled their countries, many coming to the U.S. as refugees

War Powers Act

  • 1973 - A law designed to limit a President’s ability to wage war without Congressional approval. Passed over Nixon’s veto
    • Requires a President to notify Congress within 48 hours after deployment of troops, including reasons for and the expected length of the mission.
    • Limits troop involvement to 60 days without Congressional approval.
    • Congress can demand that the President bring the troops home.