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Moving Toward Conflict. Mr. White’s US History 2. Main Ideas and Objectives. Main idea – To stop the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, the United States used its military to support South Vietnam We should be able to:

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Moving Toward Conflict


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    1. Moving Toward Conflict Mr. White’s US History 2

    2. Main Ideas and Objectives • Main idea – To stop the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, the United States used its military to support South Vietnam • We should be able to: • Summarize Vietnam’s history as a French colony and its struggle for independence • Examine how the United States became involved in the Vietnam conflict • Describe the expansion of the U.S. military involvement under President Johnson

    3. French Rule in Vietnam • From the late 1800s until World War II, France ruled most of Indochina, which included Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia – used peasant land to grow rice and rubber • Resistance against the French by Vietnamese peasants began to grow • French rulers dealt with this harshly, restricting freedom of speech and jailing Vietnamese nationalists – opposition continued to grow

    4. Ho Chi Minh • The Indochinese Communist Party, founded in 1930, staged revolts under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh • French condemned Ho Chi Minh, but he was able to coordinate the growing Vietnamese independence movement from the Soviet Union and China

    5. Japanese Control • In 1940, the Japanese took control of Vietnam in World War II • Ho Chi Minh came back to Vietnam and formed the Vietminh to win Vietnam’s independence from foreign rule • When the U.S. forced Japan to leave Vietnam after WWII, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam independent

    6. France Disagrees • French troops returned to Vietnam after WWII to reclaim the country • Ho Chi Minh vowed to fight the French • United States began sending military aid to France, even though the U.S. had once been allied with Ho Chi Minh against the Japanese

    7. The Domino Theory • Eisenhower continued the policy of supplying aid to the French • Many Americans were afraid of the domino theory – if one country became communist, many others would topple soon after, like dominoes • French were unable to hold Vietnam, and lost in May of 1954 • The Geneva Accords temporarily divided Vietnam between a communist north and anticommunist south

    8. U.S. Steps In • Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations continued to provide economic and military aid • Ngo Dinh Diem – president of South Vietnam, supported by the United States • United States and Diem cancel elections, in return for Diem’s promise that he would set up a stable reform-based government

    9. Diem’s Regime • Diem doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain • Government is corrupt • Opposition of any kind was suppressed • Little or no land redistribution • Group opposed to Diem, the Vietcong, forms in South Vietnam (communist group) • Ho Chi Minh supports the Vietcong, and starts to supply them by the Ho Chi Minh trail, in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia

    10. Kennedy and Vietnam • Kennedy was accused of being “soft” on communism, so he increases financial aid to Diem’s regime • Kennedy also sends thousands of military advisors to South Vietnam • Diem’s popularity begins to decline • Starts moving villagers from their villagers to camps • Diem, a Catholic, also starts to attack Buddhism • Several Buddhist monks set themselves on fire publicly • United States steps in and topples Diem’s regime

    11. Johnson and Vietnam • Kennedy had announced his plans to withdraw U.S. forces from South Vietnam • After Diem is assassinated, a string of military leaders tries to lead the country, fails • Vietcong’s influence grows • Johnson also doesn’t want to be perceived as soft on communism, so he commits the U.S. to staying in Vietnam

    12. Gulf of Tonkin Resolution • August 2, 1964 – North Vietnamese patrol boat fires a torpedo at an American destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin – torpedo misses, U.S. destroyer inflicts heavy damage on the patrol boat • Two days later, destroyers reported torpedoes again, and opened fire on patrol boats • Johnson launches bombing strikes against North Vietnam • Asks Congress for a resolution to give U.S. forces right to repel any armed attack – not a declaration of war, but gives broad military powers • Congress passes Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

    13. Tonkin’s Results • Johnson didn’t tell Congress that U.S. had already been raiding North Vietnam • Destroyer that was fired on had been in the Gulf to collect information for these raids • Johnson’s Tonkin resolution had been prepared months beforehand, but he was waiting for the time to propose it to Congress • Johnson uses his newly granted powers to launch, “Operation Rolling Thunder,” bombings of North Vietnam • U.S. combat troops start arriving in March of 1965

    14. U.S. Involvement and Escalation Mr. White Jr’s US History 2

    15. Main Ideas and Objectives • Main idea – The United States sent troops to fight in Vietnam, but the war quickly turned into a stalemate. • We want to be able to: • Explain the reasons for the escalation of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam • Describe the military tactics and weapons used by U.S. forces and the Vietcong • Explain the impact of the war on American society

    16. Containment • Lyndon Johnson was determined to contain communism in Vietnam • At first, Johnson wasn’t enthusiastic about sending American troops into Vietnam • Working with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Johnson began sending U.S. soldiers to Vietnam

    17. Disagreement and Support • Some Americans saw what Johnson was doing as a contradiction of what he said before • Many others felt he was carrying on a tradition of confronting communism wherever it came up • About 61% of Americans supported what Johnson was doing

    18. Troop Buildup • By the end of 1965, over 180,000 American troops were in Vietnam • General William Westmoreland, in command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, kept asking for more troops • Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) – army of South Vietnam, were not fighting very well, Westmoreland didn’t trust their ability • By the end of 1967, about 500,000 U.S. troops were in Vietnam

    19. Jungle Fighting • U.S. believed superior weaponry and tactics would lead to victory over the Vietcong • Vietcong, largely in the jungles, used hit-and-run and ambush tactics • Hit-and-run – attack important, vulnerable points, cause damage, then disappear • Ambush – wait in a location good for a surprise attack, allow U.S. forces to enter, attack and cause maximum damage, then disappear

    20. Irregular Tactics • Vietcong also blended in with civilian population • Difficult for U.S. troops to tell friend from enemy • Vietcong used tunnel systems in the jungle to hide and move around the jungle • Booby traps and land mines also used • Vietnam’s jungles – sweltering heat, leeches, insects, etc.

    21. Tunnel Systems

    22. Tunnel Systems, Part 2

    23. War of Attrition • Westmoreland wanted to destroy Vietnamese morale through a war of attrition – wearing down an enemy by continuous attack and harassment • Body count – tracking Vietcong killed during a battle as a measurement of success • Vietcong were prepared to take massive casualties to fight the U.S. – saw it as a struggle for existence

    24. “Hearts and Minds” • Another part of American strategy was to keep the Vietcong from winning support in South Vietnam • Guerillas – (not gorillas) irregular fighters who do not wear uniforms to blend in with the civilian population • Guerillas would hide among the people – if you win the people over, guerillas have nowhere to hide • U.S. wanted to win over Vietnamese “hearts and minds”

    25. U.S. planes dropped napalm, a gasoline-based burning jelly that set fires to villages, as well as the jungle U.S. also used Agent Orange – defoliant (kills leaves) that was also a toxic chemical U.S. soldiers used search-and-destroy missions, investigating, arresting, and sometimes killing civilians with suspected ties to the Vietcong – also killed livestock, burned villages Problems with “Hearts and Minds”

    26. Napalm

    27. Sinking Morale • Frustrations of guerilla warfare, jungle conditions, failure to make large successes took toll on U.S. troop morale • Many soldiers had been drafted and felt forced into the war, so morale dropped • Some turned to alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use • As the U.S. was planning to pull out, morale and fighting spirit dropped, as well

    28. Soldiers and Duty • Many Americans still felt that they were fulfilling a patriotic duty, and still took pride and fought well • Some ended up as prisoners of war, and endured hardships in North Vietnamese prison camps – John McCain

    29. The Great Society Suffers • The Great Society suffered because of the war in Vietnam • Inflation rate climbed • Johnson asked for a tax increase • Money was taken from Johnson’s domestic programs • One of the main reasons the Great Society did not succeed more was because of the money it lost to Vietnam

    30. Vietnam became U.S.’s first living-room war United States government was giving Americans a generally positive picture of what was happening in Vietnam Combat footage from Vietnam showed a different, more horrific picture The Living-room War

    31. Brutality of War

    32. Body Count and Credibility Gap • Westmoreland use the numbers of Vietcong killed in battle to encourage the American public • However, U.S. soldiers were dying at high rates, as well – over 16,000 between 1961 and 1967 • Credibility gap – difference between what the government was saying and what was really happening • By 1967, many Americans were evenly split over their support for the Vietnam war

    33. A Nation Divided Mr. White’s US History 2

    34. Main Idea and Objectives • Main idea – An antiwar movement in the U.S. pitted supporters of the government’s war policy against those who opposed it. • We should be able to: • Explain the draft policies that led to the Vietnam war becoming a working-class war • Trace the roots of opposition to the war • Describe the antiwar movement and the growing divisions in U.S. public opinion about the war

    35. The Draft • Most soldiers in the Vietnam war were called up using the Selective Service Act – draft • All males had to register with their local draft boards when they turned 18 – still today • Men could be called to serve from the ages of 18 to 26

    36. Manipulation of the Draft • Many young men looked for ways to avoid the draft, which was very easy to manipulate • Sympathetic doctors – would grant medical exemptions • Some changed where they lived to go to a different, more lenient draft board • Some joined National Guard or Coast Guard

    37. College Deferment • If a young man was enrolled in a university or college, they could put off their military service • University students in the 1960s tended to be white and financially well-off • Many of the men who fought in Vietnam were those who couldn’t afford college – lower class whites and blacks

    38. African-Americans in Vietnam • Served in much larger numbers than most groups as ground combat troops – most hazardous place to be • Blacks accounted for over 20% of U.S. combat deaths, even though they were only 10% of the U.S. population • Martin Luther King spoke out against the injustice of blacks fighting for freedom in another country, when theirs did not grant them freedom • Racism in military units led to lower troop morale

    39. Women in the Military • Women were still not allowed to serve in combat roles • Over 10,000 women did serve, mostly as nurses • Also served in the USO and Red Cross • USO – provided hospitality and entertainment • Red Cross

    40. Roots of Opposition – New Left • In the 1960s, there was a growing youth movement known as the New Left • Followers demanded sweeping changes in American society • Students for a Democratic Society • Charged that corporations and government had taken over America • Wanted more “participatory government” and greater freedom • Free Speech Movement – focused criticism on the American “machine” – business and government

    41. Campus Activism • SDS and FSM ideas spread across campuses of colleges and universities • Protested dress codes • Curfews • Campus issues • Students started joining together in protest against these issues, but would later protest the Vietnam War

    42. The Protest Movement Emerges • April, 1965 – SDS helped organize a march on Washington, D.C., by 20,000 protesters, other marches followed • Johnson changed college deferment rules, requiring students to be in good academic standing • Protests erupted after this – SDS calls for civil disobedience at campuses

    43. Opposition to the War • Youths opposed the war for many different reasons: • Most common belief was that the war in Vietnam was a civil war, and the U.S. had no business there • Some said Diem’s South Vietnamese government wasn’t any better than North Vietnam • Some thought war was draining America’s strength • Some just saw the war as morally unjust

    44. The Movement Grows • Movement grew beyond college campuses • Returning veterans • Folk singers • “Eve of Destruction,” a protest song by Barry McGuire, talked about the wrongs of the Vietnam war

    45. Protest to Resistance • 1967 – antiwar movement had intensified • Spring of 1967 – protesters marched on New York City’s Central Park - many people burned their draft cards • Draft resistance continued up until President Nixon phased it out in the early 1970s • Some Americans had fled to Canada to avoid the draft

    46. March on the Pentagon • In October of 1967, a demonstration at the Lincoln Memorial drew 75,000 protesters • About 30,000 demonstrators marched on the Pentagon to “disrupt the center of the American war machine.” • Protesters were turned back with tear gas and clubs – about 700 arrested

    47. War Divides the Nation • Americans were increasingly divided into two camps: • Doves – those who were opposed to the war and thought it should end • Hawks – felt America should use its military might to win the war • Some believed that the protests were acts of disloyalty

    48. Johnson Remains Determined • Johnson remained firm • Doves attacked him for continuing the war • Hawks attacked him for not increasing military power • Johnson continued his policy of slow escalation • Johnson’s own administration started to doubt the war – Robert McNamara resigns

    49. 1968: A Really Messed Up Year Mr. White’s US History 2

    50. Main Idea and Objectives • Main Idea – An enemy attack in Vietnam, two assassinations, and a chaotic political convention made 1968 an explosive year • We should be able to: • Describe the Tet offensive and its effect on the American public • Explain the domestic turbulence of 1968 • Describe the 1968 presidential election