Chart. Why did Americans fail to win the “hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese?. Use of napalm and agent orange harmed the rural Vietnam; U.S. search-and-destroy missions uprooted civilians and burned their villages, creating millions of refugees. PRESIDENT JOHNSON.
Why did Americans fail to win the “hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese? Use of napalm and agent orange harmed the rural Vietnam; U.S. search-and-destroy missions uprooted civilians and burned their villages, creating millions of refugees.
PRESIDENT JOHNSON • LBJ won the November 1964 election by promising the American people he was “not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” • However by March of 1965 LBJ will use the Tonkin Gulf Resolution to begin sending U.S. troops to Vietnam. 180,000 sent by end of 1965.
ROBERT MCNAMARA • Secretary of Defense McNamara worked closely with LBJ and suggested the use of “Operation Rolling Thunder” and sending combat troops into South Vietnam even though he did not believe either would work unless we established a stable and secure government in South Vietnam.
PROBLEMS WITHIN THE WHITE HOUSE • Members of LBJ’s cabinet in the White House all openly disagreed on what to do about the war in Vietnam. • The disagreements not only created bigger disagreements within Congress but it made the White House and all other politicians look incompetent. • The military also openly disagreed with the war tactics and decisions used by the White House. • Discontent spread within the White House –Congress-Military-American People.
CREDIBILITY GAP • Vietnam became known as the “living room war” because the media was (specifically TV) showing nightly combat footage. • The U.S. government kept telling the American people that “VC surrender was imminent.” However the media was telling a different story. • Credibility Gap=Public distrust of statements made by the government.
GENERAL WESTMORELAND • General Westmoreland was in charge of the Vietnam War. • Highly decorated officer from WWII and Korean War. • Requested U.S. combat troops to be sent to support the incompetent “Army of the Republic of Vietnam” (ARVN-South Vietnamese Army). Received 500,000 by 1967. • Thought the U.S. could break the morale of the Vietcong by racking up a high body count total. Claimed the U.S. never lost a battle.
SEARCH AND DESTROY • The Vietcong lived among the people so the U.S. wanted to win the civilians over so the VC would not have any where to hide. • The U.S. started conducting “Search and Destroy” missions to uproot civilians who had suspected ties to the VC. • Livestock was killed, crops destroyed, and villages burned down. • “We had to destroy their town in order to save it.”
The Battle for “Hearts and Minds” • Napalm-gas bomb dropped from airplanes to set fire to the jungle (40,000 tons used in the Vietnam War). • Agent Orange-toxic leaf killing chemical sprayed from airplanes. Found to cause cancer and birth defects. • South Vietnamese civilians turned against the U.S.
9 year old Kim Phuk was burned by American Napalm. She suffered 3rd degree burns and endured 17 grueling operations.
VIETCONG TUNNELS • The Vietcong used guerilla warfare fighting tactics to frustrate the Americans. Most VC stayed in the tunnels during the day but came out at night to attack the U.S. soldiers. • The VC used elaborate tunnels to connect villages throughout the country side. • They also used the tunnels to withstand air strikes and to launch surprise attacks and then disappear quickly. • The VC also laced the terrain with booby traps and land mines. • Today 3.5 million mines remain active in Vietnam, causing 160 civilian casualties each month.