LEQ: What were the causes and effectsof war in Southeast Asia, and what wasthe American role in this region?
Japan overran Southeast Asia duringWorld War II. After it was defeated, theFrench returned.• Nationalists in Southeast Asia were determined tobe free of foreign rule once and for all.• Vietnamese guerrillas led by communist Ho ChiMinh fought the French.• Vietnamese victory at the 1954 battle ofDienbienphu resulted in the French leaving.• Ho Chi Minh – a communist leader in Vietnam who fought the Japanese,fought the French, and battled U.S.-supported South Vietnam for control ofthe country• Dienbienphu – a bloody battle between the French and the Vietnamese in1954 that resulted in the French leaving Vietnam
Vietnam was divided into two countries at aninternational conference in 1954.Ho Chi Minh andhis communistregime controlledNorth Vietnam.A noncommunistgovernmentunder Ngo DinhDiem ruledSouth Vietnam,supported by theUnited States.
American foreign policy leaders developedthe domino theory.• They believed that if Vietnam fell to thecommunists, other Southeast Asia nationswould follow.• Ho Chi Minh wanted to unite Vietnam undercommunist rule, so he supported the Viet Cong.Vietnam became a major Cold War struggle.• Viet Cong – the communist rebels trying tooverthrow South Vietnam’s government
President Johnsongot Congress topass the Gulf ofTonkin Resolution,authorizing theuse of force inVietnam.NorthVietnameseattacked aU.S. Navyship, believingit had helpedin the raids.SouthVietnameseforcesraided NorthVietnameseislands in1964.
America faced a guerrilla war in Vietnam.• The rebels were friends withvillagers and knew the landscape.American troops were completelyout of their element.• In 1968, the North Vietnameselaunched the Tet Offensivein which cities were attackedby surprise all across SouthVietnam.• Tet Offensive – an unexpected 1968 guerrilla attackon American and South Vietnamese forces in cities allacross South Vietnam on the Vietnamese New Year
The Tet Offensivemarked a turningpoint in publicopinion againstthe Vietnam Warin the UnitedStates.• There were growingAmerican casualties,and high numbers ofcivilian deaths.• Young people joineda growing antiwarmovement andprotested in the streets.• American troops simplycould not destroy thecommunists’ will to fight.
The United States officiallywithdrew from Vietnamin 1973.• North Vietnam conqueredSouth Vietnam in 1975 andSaigon was renamed Ho ChiMinh City.• Communists imposed harshrule in the south, andthousands fled the countryin small boats.
Cambodia became communist.• The Khmer Rouge, made up of communist rebels,overthrew the Cambodian government in 1975.• This regime, led by Pol Pot, murdered a third ofthe Cambodia population in an effort to destroyWestern influence.• In the end, Vietnam invaded and set up anauthoritarian government, which put a stop tothe genocide.• Khmer Rouge – a force of Cambodian communist guerrillaswho overthrew the Cambodian government in 1975• Pol Pot – a brutal dictator who led the Khmer Rouge and killeda third of the population in an effort to destroy all Westerninfluences
Causes: A desire for independence led to warwith the French; struggle between communistand noncommunist groups led to a civil war thatbecame part of a larger Cold War.Effects: widespread death and destruction andthe spread of communist rule; America enteredthe war to preventthe spread of communism.LEQ: What were the causes and effects ofwar in Southeast Asia, and what was theAmerican role in this region?