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Vietnam War. Honors Foreign Policy. Timeline. Korea vs. Vietnam. Guerilla Warfare. Aim to capture “hearts and minds” of ordinary citizens and to undermine their confidence in the regime

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Vietnam war

Vietnam War

Honors Foreign Policy

Guerilla warfare
Guerilla Warfare

  • Aim to capture “hearts and minds” of ordinary citizens and to undermine their confidence in the regime

  • Long term strategy – Guerillas do not have to inflict complete defeat upon enemy or compel them to surrender

  • Guerillas need support of people for food, shelter, and information

French colonization
French Colonization

  • French colonized Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia at the end of the 1800s until 1954, with brief period of Japanese rule during WWII

  • Japanese ruled Vietnam during WWII and exploited its natural resources

Dien bien phu
Dien Bien Phu

  • March 13th – May 7th, 1954

  • Battle between French Union troops and North Vietnamese troops in northwestern Vietnam

  • French forces surrounded and forced to surrender

Geneva accords 1954
Geneva Accords 1954

  • Granted independence to Indochina

  • Divided Vietnam at 17th parallel

  • Called for internationally supervised free elections to be held in July 1956

  • Established International Control Commission composed of India, Canada, and Poland

Geneva accords 19541
Geneva Accords 1954

  • 450,000 Catholic Vietnamese moved to South Vietnam; 50,000 communist Vietnamese moved to North Vietnam

  • Both sides violated the agreement; North Vietnam supported the Vietcong in the South; South Vietnam and the U.S. sent forces to sabotage installations in the north

Strategic hamlet
Strategic Hamlet

  • The Strategic Hamlet program was an attempt to isolate rural peasants from contact and infiltration by the Vietminh by creating fortified villages from 1962 - 1964

  • Several thousand fortified villages were constructed and millions of peasants relocated by the program failed due to corruption and peasant resentment

Diem s buddhist crisis
Diem’s Buddhist Crisis

  • Buddhists not allowed to fly religious flags at religious festival

  • Buddhists staged protests in May in the city of Hue. Diem’s soldiers shot and killed 9 protestors leading to more protests and retributions

  • Buddhists called for freedom to fly religious flags, end to arbitrary arrests, and religious equality with Catholics

Immolation of thich quang duc

Immolation of ThichQuangDuc

Gulf of tonkin incident
Gulf of Tonkin Incident

  • August 2nd, 1964 – The USS Maddox engaged by 3 North Vietnamese Torpedo boats

  • August 4th, 1964 – The USS Maddox allegedly engaged by North Vietnamese Torpedo boats

  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution – Joint resolution passed by Congress on August 7th, 1964

    • Wayne Morse D – Oregon

    • Ernest Gruening D - Alaska

U s commits troops
U.S. Commits Troops

  • March 1965, L.B.J. sends marines to Vietnam to protect U.S. air bases. Marines were supposed to perform defensive duties.

  • By December 1965, nearly 200,000 U.S. troops were in Vietnam performing offensive operations. Their task was to seek and destroy the Vietcong.

Vietnamese strategy
Vietnamese Strategy

  • Continue to send supplies to Vietcong insurgents in South Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail

  • Expand Ho Chi Minh Trail and protect key points with antiaircraft weapons

  • Begin to send large North Vietnamese regular units to the south to help Vietcong

  • Continue hit and run tactics, avoid conventional battles

U s strategy
U.S. Strategy

  • Bomb military targets in North Vietnam such as harbor facilities, railroads, and key points on the Ho Chi Minh Trail

  • Use overwhelming U.S. firepower to seek and destroy enemy

  • Wear down the morale and war fighting capability of North Vietnam until they asked for peace

Operation rolling thunder1
Operation Rolling Thunder

  • Needs of North Vietnamese forces minimal. All forces in South Vietnam needed only 15 tons of supplies a day to carry on the war

  • China and Soviet Union supplied N. Vietnam with 6000 tons of aid a day

  • N. Vietnam was only a staging point, it had few factories

  • By 1967, N. Vietnam had suffered 300 million in damage but the U.S. had lost 700 aircraft

Tet offensive
Tet Offensive

  • Major North Vietnamese offensive on the Lunar New Year, January 1968

  • North Vietnamese forces broke a truce and simultaneously attacked U.S. Forces across Vietnam

  • NVA forces attacked U.S. embassy in Saigon and briefly took over strategic points in Saigon

Battle of hue
Battle of Hue

  • NVA forces took over the ancient capital of Vietnam, Hue, during the Tet Offensive

  • Hue was one of the few urban battles during the Vietnam War

  • Casualties – 150 U.S. Marines, over 5000 NVA

Tet outcomes
Tet Outcomes

Nixon doctrine
Nixon Doctrine

  • LBJ did not run for reelection, Richard Nixon was elected as President

  • Nixon promised he would end the war and bring peace with honor

  • Promoted the idea of Vietnamization, a slow withdrawal of U.S. forces in conjunction with training and improving the South Vietnam military

Nixon doctrine1
Nixon Doctrine

  • Nixon focused on improving relations with the Soviet Union and China

  • He hoped the Soviet Union and China would reduce aid to the North Vietnamese

  • Nixon was the first U.S. President to travel to communist China and meet with Chinese officials

Nixon policy
Nixon Policy

  • Nixon gradually reduced U.S. troops in Vietnam

  • Approved the secret bombing of Vietnamese positions in Cambodia in 1969, Codenamed Operation menu

  • Approved Operation Linebacker, a continuous bombing campaign of North Vietnam from May to October of 1972


  • Cambodia was granted independence by France in November 1953

  • Government was constitutional monarchy under Prince Norodom

  • Norodom adopted policy of neutrality during the Vietnam War

  • North Vietnamese established bases in Cambodia with knowledge of Norodom


  • U.S. Forces secretly bombed and conducted special forces operations in Cambodia against Vietcong

  • In 1970, Prince Norodom was ousted by Prime Minister Lon Nol

  • Khmer Rouge, Cambodian communists with support of North Vietnamese began civil war against Lon Nol’s government forces

  • U.S. bombed Khmer Rouge bases and briefly invaded country

Paris peace accords
Paris Peace Accords

  • 27 January 1973 – ceasefire

  • After ceasefire was in effect U.S. troops and other foreign troops would withdraw

  • U.S. prisoners of war would be released

  • Reunification of Vietnam to be carried out by step by step through peaceful means