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The Vietnam War

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The Vietnam War. 1954-1975. Ho Chi Minh. Who Supports the Vietminh?. Who Supports the French back Government?. Marshall Plan . US supported 1.2 billion dollars in military aid under the Marshall Plan

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marshall plan
Marshall Plan
  • US supported 1.2 billion dollars in military aid under the Marshall Plan
  • The cost of the war had so far been twice what they had received from the United States under the Marshall Plan
dien bien phu
Dien Bien Phu

Air-supplied base

Cut off Viet Minh supply lines

Draw the Viet Minh into a fixed battle

Viet Minh's possession of heavy artillery and anti-aircraft guns

battle of dien bien phu
Battle of Dien Bien Phu

March 13 – May 7

Massive Vietnamese causalities

Airfield eventually destroyed

fall of dien bien phu
Fall of Dien Bien Phu

Garrison was a tenth of the total French Union manpower

17,000 dead

10,000 Prisoners

3,290 repatriated

french war weariness
French War weariness
  • French War weariness
    • 1946-1952: 90,000 French troops had been killed, wounded or captured
  • Public dissatisfaction
  • Damaged prestige
    • 1954 Algerian War starts
    • 1956 Moroccan and Tunisian


  • Sets up Geneva Agreements
geneva agreements 1954
Geneva Agreements 1954
  • Cessation of hostilities
  • Supported the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Indochina
  • Laos and Cambodia to be independent
  • End of Foreign involvement
  • Partitioned 17th Parallel into northern and southern zones
  • Unification on the basis of internationally supervised free elections to be held in July 1956
refugee crisis
Refugee Crisis
  • 300,000 leave North
  • Secretary of State Dulles “Neither the United States Government nor the Government of Viet-Nam is, of course, a party to the Geneva armistice agreements. We did not sign them, and the Government of Viet-Nam did not sign them and, indeed, protested against them.”
  • Diem: “skeptical concerning the possibility of fulfilling the conditions of free elections in the North. ”
ngo dinh diem

laws by decree

emergency powers

Corrupt / Nepotistic

Ngo Dinh Diem
hamlet protection
Hamlet Protection
  • Development of the hamlet model
  • Added security protection
  • “hearts and minds”


  • Working in fields
  • Enemy within
growing unrest
Growing unrest
  • Coup attempt – 1960
  • Assassination attempt – 1962
  • August 23, 1963 – Buddhist strike and raids
  • Coup and execution
  • USA support
lyndon b johnson years 1964 1968

Lyndon B Johnson Years 1964-1968

“Hey Hey LBJ

How Many Babies did you kill today”

Anti War Protest chant

  • 1964 election – ran anti-war
  • 1964 Election Ad: Daisy Girl (1964)
  • Great Society / Civil Rights movement
  • Great expansion of US war effort
gulf of tonkin
Gulf of Tonkin

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson authorization, without a formal declaration of war by Congress, for the use of military force in Southeast Asia.

declassifed nsa report
Declassifed NSA report
  • It is not simply that there is a different story as to what happened; it is that no attack happened that night. [...] In truth, Hanoi's navy was engaged in nothing that night but the salvage of two of the boats damaged on 2 August.
curtis lamay
Curtis LaMay
  • Strategic bombing campaign (Pacific Theatre) of World War II.
  • States Strategic Bombing Survey
    • 330,000 people killed,
    • 476,000 injured,
    • 8.5 million people homeless
  • “they’ve got to draw in their horns and stop their aggression, or we’re going to bomb them back into the Stone Age.”
horrors of war
Horrors of War

mai lai
Mai Lai


agent orange
Agent Orange
  • 4,000,000 victims of dioxin poisoning (Vietnam Government 2006 estimates)
  • destroy rice crops (food supply for the Vietcong)
  • Destroy Jungle cover (enemy were hiding their activities in thick jungle canopy)
agent orange2
Agent Orange
  • Dr. Huong ushered me into a large room, perhaps twenty-five feet long by fifteen feet wide, its walls covered with floor to ceiling shelves. Everywhere were two-and-a-half gallon, formalin-filled Bell jars, in each of which floated an aborted or full-term fetus. Many were genetic monstrosities: twinned or triple conjoined, hydrocephalic, some covered with cancerous growths, their eyes staring blankly through the glass at sights they would never see. Dr. Huong, sadly told me, "They're not babies. They're monsters." And they were. The genetics of one fetus had gone so awry that its genitals were growing out of the middle of its face!”
us draft
US Draft
  • 1950’s – 600 -1000 advisors
  • 1961 – 16,000
  • 1964 – 23,000
  • 1965 – 165,000
  • 1967 – 500,000 +
tet offensive 1968
Tet offensive 1968

nixon years and the end of the war

Nixon Years and the end of the War





nixon 1968 campaign slogans
Nixon – 1968 Campaign Slogans
  • Peace with honor
  • "new leadership will end the war and win the peace in the Pacific."
  • Very ambigious / Nixon’s secret plan
  • 1972 "peace is at hand".[
  • gradually building up the strength of the South Vietnamese armed forces
  • re-equipping it with modern weapons so that they could defend their nation on their own.
secret negotiations
Secret Negotiations
  • Started in 1968
  • Conducted in Paris
  • Little progress on key issues

“There was a length debate concerned the table to be used at the conference. The North favored a circular table, in which all parties, including NLF (Vietcong) representatives, would appear to be 'equal' in importance. The South Vietnamese argued that only a rectangular table was acceptable, for only a rectangle could show two distinct sides to the conflict. Eventually a compromise was reached, in which representatives of the northern and southern governments would sit at a circular table, with members representing all other parties sitting on individual square tables around them.”

henry kissinger
Henry Kissinger
  • To achieve its full effect on Hanoi's thinking, the action must be brutal."
problem tunnels
Problem: Tunnels
peace anti war movement

Peace / Anti War Movement

Songs from the era

1972 events

1972 Events

Escalation and “Peace” Agreement

easter or nguyen hue offensive
Easter or Nguyen Hue Offensive
  • Large scale conventional invasion
  • Gained territory in 4 Northern Provinces
  • North: 100,000 casualties and 450 tanks destroyed
  • “Operation Linebacker” 198 US Causalities
the paris peace accords 1973
The Paris Peace Accords 1973
  • A cease-fire was declared
  • All foreign troops withdrawn within 60 days
  • U.S. prisoners of war would be released
  • Negotiations between the two South Vietnamese parties — Saigon and the Vietcong — towards a political settlement
  • Reunification of Vietnam was to be "carried out step by step through peaceful means."
  • Territory respected – 17th parallel
foreign assistance act of 1974
Foreign Assistance Act of 1974
  • No further military funding to the South Vietnamese army
campaign 275 1975
Campaign 275 - 1975
  • March 10 Limited assault to test resolve of the South Vietnam army
  • Little resistance and panic
  • April 30th –Saigon falls
cambodia s khmer rouge killing fields
Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge Killing Fields
  • Khmer Rouge wanted to eliminate anyone suspected of "involvement in free-market activities". Suspected capitalists encompassed professionals and almost everyone with an education, many urban dwellers, and people with connections to foreign governments
  • deaths of an estimated 1.5 million people or 1/5 of the country's total population
cambodia s khmer rouge killing fields1
Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge Killing Fields
  • Kiernan:"Pol Pot's revolution would not have won power without U.S. economic and military destabilisation of Cambodia" and that the U.S. carpet bombing "was probably the most significant factor in Pol Pot's rise.“
  • Taylor Owen: using a combination of satellite mapping, recently unclassified data about the extent of bombing activities, and peasant testimony, “there was a strong correlation between villages targeted by U.S. bombing and recruitment of peasants by the Khmer Rouge”.
  • The Vietnam War Vietnam Interactive Portfolio Vietnam War Internet Project
  • Timelines:
  • From PBS:Timeline of the Vietnam War