Vietnam Conflict: U.S. Involvement & Escalation - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Vietnam Conflict: U.S. Involvement & Escalation

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  1. Vietnam Conflict: U.S. Involvement & Escalation US History 11 The Americans Chapter 22 Section 2 & 3

  2. President Johnson Escalates U.S. troops in Vietnam a. Johnson’s campaign promise in 1964 was “not to send American boys 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” b. However, 1965 Johnson began to send in troops. c. Most Americans at this time supported the President as “following an established & popular policy of confronting communism..”

  3. Escalation of troops (cont) d. By the end of 1965: more than 180,000 troops sent to Vietnam e. By 1967: 500,000 combat troops were in Vietnam

  4. U.S. Military Advantages over the Vietcong Superior weapons a. Machine guns b. Aircraft c. Tanks d. Bayonets e. Chemical weapons

  5. U.S. Military Strategies used against the Vietcong a. Bombings b. Use of Napalm & Agent Orange (chemicals) c. Search & destroy missions

  6. Vietcong Military Advantages over the U.S. a. Knowledge of terrain b. Ability to blend in with civilians c. Extensive tunnel system d. Willingness to pay any price for victory e. “elusive enemy”

  7. Vietcong Military Strategies used against the U.S. a. Hit & run ambushes b. Booby traps & land mines c. Surprise attacks d. Guerrilla warfare

  8. (inside the Viet Cong: Viet Cong propaganda film) (16 minutes)

  9. Napalm a. Gasoline based bomb used to set fire to jungle b. Used to expose the Vietcong tunnels & hideouts c. Wounded civilians, destroyed homes & villages

  10. Agent Orange a. Leaf-killing toxic chemical b. Used to destroy the jungle foliage to expose the Vietcong c. Wounded civilians, destroyed homes & villages d. Later blamed for cancers & deformities in both Vietnamese civilians & American Veterans

  11. The “napalm girl”

  12. Search & Destroy Missions a. U.S. soldiers would uproot civilians, kill livestock & burn villages to find the Vietcong b. “We had to destroy the town in order to save it.”

  13. Sinking Morale a. “elusive enemy” b. Brutal jungle conditions c. Failure to make any headway against the Vietcong d. Some soldiers who were drafted fighting a war they did not support e. Corruption & instability of South Vietnamese gov (fighting a civil war within a civil war)

  14. A “Living Room War” a. Combat footage on news every night by millions of Americans b. Body bags/death count of U.S. soldiers c. Credibility Gap: what was being shown & reported by the news was contradicting what the Johnson administration was telling the American public; 2 different stories! d. Johnson’s popularity began to suffer as a result

  15. Draft a. Selective Service System b. All males required to register with draft board when turn 18 c. In event of war, males 18-26 could be called into military service

  16. A “Manipulatable” Draft (cont) d. Medical deferment e. College deferment

  17. “Working-class” war a. 80 % of soldiers drafted were from lower economic levels (white & minorities) b. Those who could afford college tended to be white c. African Americans made up about 20% of soldiers in Vietnam

  18. Doves a. People who strongly opposed the war b. Felt the U.S. should withdraw troops c. War did not concern the US d. War was immoral e. War was draining U.S. strength

  19. Hawks a. People who supported the war b. Felt the US should send more troops & increase military strength c. Felt that Johnson should escalate the war more quickly

  20. American feelings about Vietnam a. Despite all the protests, the majority of Americans still supported the US involvement in the war in Vietnam (1967) b. 70% of Americans felt that war protests were an act of disloyalty “Support our men in Vietnam” “America-Love it or Leave it”

  21. Tet Offensive • January 30 is Vietnamese holiday of Tet (similar to U.S. New Year) • In 1968 a week long truce was declared to celebrate with festivities throughout the country • North Vietnamese used this to launch a surprise attack on the South Vietnamese • Became known as the TET OFFENSIVE

  22. While celebrations were occurring throughout the streets of South Vietnam, funerals for war victims were also taking place • Vietcong agents discussed themselves as villagers and used coffins to smuggle in weapons • After a day of celebration the Vietcong launched an all out attack on over 100 towns & cities in South Vietnam

  23. Attacks continued for about a month until the U.S. and South Vietnamese were about to regain control of the cities • While the attack was considered a military victory for the U.S. & the South, it greatly shook the American public • The Tet Offensive changed the minds of millions of Americans who had supported the war effort & President Johnson’s credibility fell drastically.

  24. Public opinion polls taken just before the attacks showed about 28% of Americans called themselves Doves, while 56% were Hawks • After Tet the opinions were split at about 40% • The media began to openly criticize the war (supposed to remain neutral when reporting)

  25. Well-respected journalist Walter Cronkite said it seemed “more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.” • President Johnson’s reaction was that “If I’ve lost Walter then it’s over. I’ve lost Mr. Average Citizen.” • Public support of the war was dwindling & Johnson’s popularity was plummeting!