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Discussion Questions. What did Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh want? How and with whom did he make his case? What was President Truman’s response? Why? Explain President Eisenhower’s Domino theory. According to Ike, what is the strategic importance of Indochina?

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discussion questions
Discussion Questions
  • What did Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh want? How and with whom did he make his case?
  • What was President Truman’s response? Why?
  • Explain President Eisenhower’s Domino theory.
  • According to Ike, what is the strategic importance of Indochina?
  • President Eisenhower's News Conference, April 7, 1954, Public Papers of the Presidents, 1954, p. 382
slide3

Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon…

Nearly 20 years of involvement…

58,195 American deaths

300,000 Americans wounded…

2.4 million Vietnamese deaths…

$120 billion spent between 1965-1973…

Pervasive legacy that divided the nation…

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

the vietnam conflict

The Vietnam Conflict

Thinking Skill: State implications of US involvement and the consequences of US escalation

vietnam history in brief
Vietnam History in Brief
  • 1887 French colonized Indochina (Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia)
  • 1945 Democratic Republic of Vietnam formed after defeat of Japan in WWII
  • 1947 Ho Chi Minh fled to the hills, led Vietminh resistance against French (guerilla warfare)
  • 1954 France suffered great defeat at Diembiemphou; withdrew despite US funding 80% of French war effort
  • 1954 Geneva Accords temporarily divided N & S;free elections promised for 1956.
      • Ho Chi Minh (N) v. Ngo Dinh Diem (S)
beginnings of us involvement
Beginnings of US Involvement
  • Promised countrywide elections never held…
    • Domino Effect
    • Ho Chi Minh (communist) would win
resistance intensifies
Resistance Intensifies
  • Vietminh/North Vietnamese “regulars”
  • National Liberation Front (NLF)/Vietcong (VC) blended into civilian populace
  • JFK deploys 15,000 “advisors” & Green Beret special forces
  • Buddhist monks protest with self-immolations
  • Ngo Dinh Diem assassinated Nov. 1963
gulf of tonkin incident
Gulf of Tonkin Incident
  • Aug 2, 1964 USS Maddox was attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats
  • Aug 4, 1964 2nd round of “attacks”
    • LBJ authorizes retaliatory airstrikes
  • LBJ uses outrage to press Congress to pass the Tonkin Gulf Resolution
    • granted extraordinary war-making powers
    • “Blank Check” (House 416-0, Senate 88-2)
dear america letters home from vietnam 1987
Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam (1987)

Discussion Questions

  • How did the soldiers’ views change over the course of the war?
  • What impact did the environment have on US ability to successfully wage war?
  • What effect did the American media have on the conflict?
  • What is the psychological impact of the statement, “We own the day, Charlie owns the night”?
dear america letters home from vietnam
Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam

Discussion Questions

  • What was the significance of the Tet Offensive?
  • How did the constant threat of attack impact morale?
  • Why did the US fail to achieve its military goals in Vietnam? Who is ultimately responsible?
  • Did LBJ have any realistic alternative to escalation?
pleiku attacks
Pleiku Attacks
  • American military base attacked, Feb. 1965
  • Effects:
    • Gen. Westmoreland called for massive retaliatory air strikes against N. Vietnam
      • Operations Flaming Dart, Rolling Thunder
    • US ground forces increased from 75,000 to 250,000; 1967- 485,000 and 1969- 543,000
    • LBJ made Vietnam an “American War”
slide19

Foot Soldier’s War

A Typical “Grunt”

slide20

Women in Vietnam…

About 11,000 women served from 1962-1973 (DoD)

slide21

Pontoon Boat

on patrol

slide28

Hitting the “LZ”

(landing zone)

vietnam conflict part ii

Vietnam Conflict – Part II

Thinking Skill: Examine information from more than one point of view

Objective: Assess the goals of all sides in the conflict through 1968

tet offensive
TET Offensive

What was the significance of the Vietnamese New Year in 1968?

  • N. Vietnamese and V.C. attack virtually all cities in S. Vietnam
  • Shocks US military, who eventually win
  • Public in US is demoralized (TV)
  • V.C. are re-energized and fight escalates
  • Anti-war protests increase in US
slide47

My Lai Massacre – March 16, 1968

  • Lt. William Calley
  • 347 -504 victims
slide50

LBJ: “How can we get out without losing face?”

Answer: “I’m afraid there are few acceptable alternatives…”

slide51

Soldiers become disconnected from war effort

Some turn to drugs, alcohol, and await the end of their tour

slide56

Privileged

Or

Protestors

slide58

Nixon Elected 1968

Plan to exit Vietnam?

slide59

The Pentagon Papers

Vietnamization Begins

slide60

Kent State 1970

“Ohio” Neil Young

Tin Soldiers and Nixon coming,

We’re finally on our own.

This summer I hear the drumming,

Four dead in Ohio…

slide63

Saigon falls in 1975. The Vietnam War is over; the Communist forces have won. Will the dominoes begin to fall?

slide65

Vietnam and Korea -- Comparisons

  • Cold War - Containment
  • US couldn’t claim total victory in either war
  • Both undeclared wars – constitutional issue
  • Civilian control over the military an issue in each
  • Fronts – different type of fighting
tet offensive1
TET Offensive
  • Vietnamese New Year 1968 : Tet offensive
  • N. Vietnamese and V.C. attack virtually all cities in S. Vietnam
  • shocks US military, who eventually win
  • Public in US is demoralized (TV)
  • V.C. are re-moralized and fight escalates
  • Anti-war protests increase in US
slide70

Vietnam and Korea -- Comparisons

  • Cold War - Containment
  • Proximity
  • US couldn’t claim total victory in either war
  • Both undeclared wars – constitutional issue
  • Civilian control over the military an issue in each
  • Fronts – different type of fighting
letters home from vietnam
Letters Home from Vietnam
  • LBJ
  • Gulf of Tonkin
  • Escalation of War

Questions:

    • How do the opinions of soldiers change over the course of the war?
    • What do you think of the conditions of Vietnam?
letters home cont d
Letters Home cont’d
  • Major Battles: Khe Sahn, Tet Offensive
  • War escalation
  • LBJ resigns
  • Nixon
  • Vietnamization
  • Atrocities
  • Questions:
    • How do US soldier’s morale change?
    • What were the psychological effects of war?
    • How do they respond to events at home?