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The Vietnam War. By : Vickie Phan. The war also known as…. The second Indochina war Vietnam conflict American War. The was was a conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia It lasted from November 1, 1955 – April 30, 1975.

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the vietnam war

The Vietnam War

By: Vickie Phan

the war also known as
The war also known as…
  • The second Indochina war
  • Vietnam conflict
  • American War

The was was a conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

  • It lasted from November 1, 1955 – April 30, 1975

The war was fought between the communist North Vietnam and South Vietnam

  • North Vietnam was supported by it’s communist allies.
  • South Vietnam was supported by the U.S and anti-communist nations.
the viet cong
The Viet Cong
  • The Viet Cong was a lightly armed South Vietnam common front controlled by the communist North.
  • The South fought largely in guerrilla war techniques.

On the other hand the North fought in more of a conventional war.

  • The often sent large numbers of troops in at one time.
  • The South relied on air forces, fire power and search and destroy operations.
the united states involvement
The United States involvement…
  • The U.S only entered the war because of their strategy of containment.
  • The didn’t want the communist takeover of South Vietnam.
  • The war was between Democracy and Communism.
viet minh
Viet Minh

•Viet Minh was a national independence movement

• Viet Minh’s support rose when it urged people to ransack rice warehouses and refuse to pay their taxes during the 1944-1945 famine

viet minh common front
Viet Minh common front

•Controlled by the Communist Party Of Vietnam

  • Funded by the United States and China in fight against Japanese occupation
power vacuum created
Power vacuum created…
  • In August 1945, the Japanese had been defeated and surrendered unconditionally.
  • Vietnam had no identifiable central authority
  • Viet Minh took this opportunity and grasped power across Vietnam in the “August Revolution”
ho chi minh
Ho Chi Minh
  • On September 20, 1945 Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the Viet Minh declared the independent republic of Vietnam before a crowd of 500,000 in Hanoi, Vietnam

The allied victors of world war II, the United Kingdom, The United States and the Soviet Union all agreed that the area belonged to the French


The French didn’t have weapons, ships or soldiers to immediately retake Vietnam

  • The Major powers made an agreement, The British troops would occupy the south while the nationalist Chinese forces would occupy the north
ho chi minh1
Ho Chi Minh
  • Ho Chi Minh attempted to negotiate with the French, who were slowly re-establishing their control
  • January 1946 the Viet Minh began winning elections across northern and central Vietnam
  • They began killing off opposition politicians

The French landed March 1946

  • They ousted the Viet Minh from the city
  • Soon after that the Viet Minh began a guerrilla war against the French union
  • That marked the beginning of the First Indochina war

The war spread to Cambodia and Laos

  • The Viet Minh lacked weapons, that changed when the Chinese Communists won the Chinese civil war and provided arms to their allies, the Vietnamese
  • January 1950, communist nations led by the People’s Republic of China recognized the Viet Minh as the government in Vietnam.
  • Non-communists recognized the French ruled state of Vietnam, led by former emperor Bao Dai
  • The outbreak of the war in Korea convinced the U.S that the Indochina was an example of communist expansion
  • The PRC began assisting the Viet Minh in July 1950.
  • The weapons, laborers and expertise transformed the Viet Minh from a guerrilla force into an army.
  • The U.S formed the Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) as a response to PRC
  • Aided the French and gave advice of strategy
  • The U.S paid for 80% of the war
the battle of dien bien phu
The Battle of Dien Bien Phu

-This battle marked the end of French involvement in the Indochina war

  • On May 7, 1954 the French Union surrendered after a stunning military defeat
geneva conference
Geneva Conference
  • At the Geneva conference the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement
  • Independence was give to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam
transition period
Transition Period
  • Vietnam was divided by the 17th parallel
  • Civilians were able to freely move between both sides for a 300 day period
  • Elections were to be held in 1950 to establish a unified government
  • Catholic northerners fled south because the feared persecution by the communists
deim era 1955 1963
Deim Era 1955-1963
  • The U.S believed that if one country fell into communist forces, than the surrounding countries will follow.
  • This was called the domino effect
  • The security of Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, the Philippines, Laos and Cambodia was threatened if the red tide of communism overflowed into Vietnam
  • Diem was a devout catholic, he was anti-communist, nationalist and socially conservative
  • As a wealthy catholic he was viewed as by the Vietnamese as part of the elite that helped the French rule Vietnam
  • The majority of the people were Buddhist and were alarmed of his dedication of the country of the Virgin Mary
  • Beginning in the summer of 1955 Deim launched the "Denounce the Communists" campaign
  • anti-government elements were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or executed
  • Diem instituted a policy of death penalty against any activity deemed communist in August 1956
during kennedy s administration
During Kennedy’s administration
  • Kennedy faced a crisis
  • If the United States failed to gain control and stop communist expansion it would damage the U.S credibility with it’s allies and his own reputation
  • In May 1961, Johnson visited Saigon and declared Diem the “Winston Churchill of Asia”
  • He referred Diem to that because he was “the only boy we got out here”
  • He assured him of more aid in molding a fighting force that could resist the communists
  • Kennedy was against deploying American troops to Vietnam
  • He assumed that Diem’s forces can ultimately defeat the guerillas on their own

He refused to send troops because he observed that “to introduce U.S forces in large numbers there today, while it might have a favorable military impact, would lead to political and military consequences in the long run

  • The quality of the south Vietnamese army remained poor
  • Bad leadership
  • Corruption
  • Political promotions

All these played a part in depriving the strength of the Army Republic of Vietnam

Guerrilla attacks increased as the insurgency (rebellion against leaders) gathered steam


On 23 July 1962, fourteen nations, including the People's Republic of China, South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, North Vietnam and the United States, signed an agreement promising the neutrality of Laos

  • Diem’s most trusted general Huynh Van Cao lacked skill, he was promoted because of his religion rather than experience
  • He failed in the battle of Ap Bac where is large fully equip army was beaten by a small group of guerillas
  • Diem was obviously incapable of defeating the communist

He might even make a deal with Ho Chi Minh

  • Robert F. Kennedy noted “Diem wouldn't even make the slightest concessions, he was difficult to reason with…”
  • The CIA was in contact with generals planning to remove Diem
  • Diem was overthrown and executed along with his brother November 2, 1963
  • Kennedy did not approve of Diem’s murder

Following the 1963 coup chaos ensued

  • Hanoi took advantage of this situation and increased it’s support for guerillas
  • South entered a period of political instability
  • Military governments toppled over and fought for control
johnson expands the war
Johnson expands the war
  • Took over after death of Kennedy
  • He was not concerned about Vietnam he was more concerned about his “Great Society”
  • “The battle against communism…must be joined… with strength and determination”

Johnson had reversed Kennedy’s disengagement policy from Vietnam

  • He withdrew 1,000 troops by the end of 1963 to expand the war
august 2 1964
August 2, 1964
  • The USS Maddox on an intelligence mission along North Vietnam's coast fired and damaged several torpedo boats in the Golf of Tonkin
  • Days later a seconded attack was launched at the same area
  • The second attack led to air strikes, that led Congress to approve the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, and gave the president power to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without declaring war

In the same month, Johnson announced that he was not "... committing American boys to fighting a war that I think ought to be fought by the boys of Asia to help protect their own land."

  • At the start of 1959 the Viet Cong had approx. 5,000 men
  • At the end of 1964 the army had doubled 10,000
  • Between 1961-1964 the army rose from 850,000 to nearly one million
national security council
National security council
  • The National security council recommended a three-stage escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam
  • The bombing campaign lasted 3 years
  • It’s goal was to force North Vietnam to stop supporting the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam
  • By threatening to destroy North Vietnam's air defenses and the base of its industry

Bombing was not restricted to North Vietnam

  • Other aerial campaigns targeted different parts of the NLF
  • These included the Ho Chi Minh Trail
  • The objective of forcing North Vietnam to stop its support for the NLF, however, was never reached

After several attacked launched on them the U.S air force needed more protection

  • The South Vietnamese military seemed incapable of providing security
  • On 8 March 1965, 3,500 United States Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam
  • This marked the beginning of the American ground war

The Marines assignment was to protect the U.S. Air Force bases from attack

  • Because the U.S. forces were trained for offensive warfare, the commanders were unsuited for a defensive position.
  • However, due to the failure of the South Vietnamese, the U.S. sidelined them and began to fight the war themselves.
tet offensive
Tet offensive
  • The North Vietnamese, after luring Gen. Westmoreland’s forces into Khe Sanh, launched the surprise Tet Offensive, hoping to begin a national uprising.
  • Over 100 cities were assaulted, including the U.S. Embassy in Saigon (American Headquarters)

At first the U.S. and South Vietnamese responded quickly and successfully, pushing back the Communists.

  • Another city that was attacked was Hue. North Vietnamese captured the Imperial Citadel and most of the city.
  • This led to the Battle of Hue.
the battle of hue
The Battle of Hue
  • The American forces used tremendous amounts of firepower, which destroyed eighty percent of the city.
  • During the battle, Communist insurgent forces massacred thousands of unarmed civilians.

The Tet Offensive was the turning point for America’s involvement in the war.

  • It had a large impact on American support for the war.
  • The U.S. began peace talks with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam

At the end of his term as president, Johnson refused to send any more troops to Vietnam

  • this was seen as his admission that the war was lost
  • Massive Communist losses during the Tet Offensive gave new U.S. president Richard M. Nixon the opportunity to begin troop withdraws.
the nixon doctrine
The Nixon Doctrine
  • Plan to build up the South Vietnamese forces so that they could defend themselves against the communists without U.S. help.
nuclear weapons
Nuclear Weapons
  • On October 10,1969, Nixon ordered a pack bombers with nuclear weapons to go to the border of the Soviet Union’s airspace.
  • This was to convince the Soviets that Nixon was capable of doing anything to end the Vietnam War.

In September 1969, Ho Chi Minh died at the age of seventy nine

  • Nixon tried to pursue Détente with the Soviet Union
  • The policy helped decrease global tensisons
  • The invasion of Cambodia resulted in a nation wide protest in the U.S.
  • 4 students were killed during the protest by National Grards men at Kent State University in Ohio
  • 1971- Pentagon Papers revealed to public, it detailed long series of public deception, Supreme court ruled it illegal

Feb 1971- Operation Lam Son 719- aim at cutting the Ho Chi Minh Trail

  • Half of ARVN troops captured or killed
  • Proved Vietnamization was a failure
  • Also in 1971 Australia and New Zealand withdrew their troops
  • U.S. troop count- 196,700
  • Fragging- murders of unpopular officer
1972 election and p aris peace accords
1972 election and Paris peace accords
  • Nixon v.s. George McGovern
  • Started negotiations
  • When North Vietnam went public with the negotiations Nixon administration claimed it was an attempt to embarrass the president

To show his support for south Vietnam and force Hanoi back to the negotiating table

  • Nixon ordered Operation Linebacker II
  • Massively bombing Hanoi and Haiphoung
  • Nixon threatened to cut off American aid
  • Jan 27, 1973- Paris Peace Accord- officially ended U.S. involvement in the war and there was a ceasefire, U.S. POWs released, and a call for elections
exit of the americans
Exit of the Americans
  • After the Paris Peace Accords were signed, the U.S. began drastically reducing its troop count.
  • On March 5, 1971, the U.S. returned the 5th Special Forces Group, which was the first American unit deployed in Vietnam, back to Fort Bragg, North Carolina
  • Gerald Ford took over as president after Nixon resigned due to the Watergate scandal

South Vietnamese President Thieu announced the restart of the war after the Vietcong attacked them and recaptured their territories they had lost during the previous dry season.

january 6 1975
January 6, 1975
  • Phuoc Binh, the provincial capital fell
  • North Vietnamese attacked the province on December 13 and it fell on January 6, 1975.
  • Ford asked Congress for funds to assist and re-supply the South before they were overrun by the Communists, but Congress refused

The Fall of Phuoc Binh left the South Vietnamese leaders totally hopeless and almost defeated completely

campaign 275
Campaign 275
  • Gen. Dung launched a limited offensive into South Vietnam’s Central Highlands.
  • This was to be the last North Vietnamese offensive of the war, and it was against the South’s Saigon
final vietnamese offensive
Final Vietnamese offensive
  • With the northern half of the country under control, they launched the final offensive against Saigon
  • For two bloody weeks severe fighting raged
  • ARVN 18th defenders made a last stand to try and block out the North Vietnamese advance

President of Vietnam, Thieu resigned on the same day

  • He declared that the U.S had betrayed the south
  • He said the Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had tricked him into signing the Paris peace agreement which promised military aid which failed to materialize

Gen. Dung launched a limited

fall of saigon
Fall of Saigon
  • In the U.S South Vietnam was basically doomed
  • President Ford made a speech declaring an end to the war and a complete cut off of American aid
  • A tank crashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace and at 11:30, the North Vietnamese flag was raised over it.
  • President Duong Van Minh surrendered.
  • By the end of the war, the Vietnamese had been fighting foreign occupation for 116 years.
chemical defoliants
Chemical Defoliants
  • They were used to defoliate the countryside
  • Killing off trees, bushes and other natural surrounding that the Viet Cong would hide behind
  • Caused diseases, birth defects, and poisoned the food chain

Agent Pink

  • Agent Green
  • Agent Purple
  • Agent Blue
  • Agent White

Mostly famous agent orange

  • NLF suffered 1.1 million deads and 600,000 wounded
  • Civilians deaths were put at 2 million I North and South Vietnam
  • Between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war