My lectures on vietnam war lecture eleven


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This lecturer is purely compiled from the web sources just for the use of nluo students. This work is not mine and it shall not be cited.

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My lectures on vietnam war lecture eleven

  2. 2. MY LECTURES ON “VIETNAM WAR” 2010 VIETNAM Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by People's Republic of China (PRC) to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea, referred to as East Sea, to the east. With a population of over 86 million, Vietnam is the 13th most populous country in the world. VIETNAM WAR: AN OVERVIEW In the 19th Century Vietnam became a colony of the French. During World War II the Japanese defeated the French and occupied Vietnam. Later the French tried to re-impose their colonial rule but failed. From 1946 until 1954, the Vietnamese Army (Viet Minh) struggled for their independence from France during the First Indochina War. The second Vietnam War was the longest military battle during cold war that lasted from 1959 to April 30, 1975. This Vietnam War was also referred to as the Second Indochina War. Over 1.4 million military personnel and an estimated 2 million civilians were killed in the war. Fighting on one side was a coalition of forces including the United States, the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. Fighting on the other side was a coalition of forces including the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the National Liberation Front, a communist-led South Vietnamese guerrilla movement. The USSR provided military aid to the North Vietnamese and DR. AFROZ ALAM, NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA Page 2
  3. 3. MY LECTURES ON “VIETNAM WAR” 2010 to the NLF, but was not one of the military combatants. The war ended with the defeat of South Vietnam. Ultimately Vietnam was unified. Initially, the United States had little interest in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, however as it became clear that the post- World War II world would be dominated by the US and its allies and the Soviet Union and theirs, isolating communist movements took an increased importance. These concerns were ultimately formed into the doctrine of containment and domino theory. First spelled out 1947, containment identified that the goal of Communism was to spread to capitalist states and that the only way to stop it was to “contain” it within its present borders. Springing from containment was the concept of domino theory which stated that if one state in a region were to fall to Communism, then the surrounding states would inevitably fall as well. These concepts were to dominate and guide US foreign policy for much of the Cold War. In 1950, to combat the spread of Communism, the United States began supplying the French military in Vietnam with advisors and funding its efforts against the “red” Viet Minh. These efforts continued in 1956, when advisors were provided to train the army of the new Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). Despite their best efforts, the quality of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) was to remain consistently poor throughout its existence. Domino Theory THE GENEVA AGREEMENT AND AFTERMATH The Geneva accords of 1954 partitioned the country into two at the 17th parallel and promised to hold democratic elections throughout the country in 1956 to reunite the country. Under the terms of the Geneva Convention, civilians were to be given the opportunity to freely move between the two provisional states for a 300-day period. In 1954, the Viet Minh forces took over North Vietnam according to the Geneva Accord. Nearly one million North Vietnamese fled to South Vietnam. North Vietnam’s capital was Hanoi. The leader of North Vietnam was Ho Chi Minh. THE DIEM REGIME Ngo Dinh Diem was the president of South Vietnam. Diem was a Christian and an avowed anti-communist. He refused to hold elections. The United States refused to sign the Geneva agreement. A year after the Geneva Accords, Prime Minister Diem commenced a “Denounce the Communists” campaign in the south. Throughout the summer of DR. AFROZ ALAM, NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA Page 3
  4. 4. MY LECTURES ON “VIETNAM WAR” 2010 1955, communists and other oppositionists were imprisoned, arrested, tortured, or executed. In addition to attacking the communists, Diem assaulted Buddhist sects and organized crime, which further alienated the largely Buddhist Vietnamese people. Diem’s brutal repression and incompetent administration angered large parts of the South Vietnamese population and finally eroded his support. Later that year, Diem rigged a referendum on the future of the country and declared the formation of the Republic of Vietnam, with its capital at Saigon. Despite this, the US actively supported the Diem regime as a buttress against Ho Chi Minh’s communist forces in the north. In 1957, a low-level guerrilla movement began to emerge in the south, conducted by Viet Minh units that had not returned north after the accords. Two years later, these groups successfully pressured Ho’s government into issuing a secret resolution calling for an armed struggle in the south. Military supplies began to flow into the south along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the following year the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (Viet Cong) was formed to carry out the fight. FAILURE AND DEPOSING DIEM The situation in South Vietnam continued to deteriorate with corruption rife throughout the Diem government and the ARVN unable to effectively combat the Viet Cong. In 1961, the newly elected Kennedy Administration promised more aid and additional money, weapons, and supplies were sent with little effect. Discussions then began in Washington regarding the need to force a regime change in Saigon. This was accomplished on November 2, 1963, when the CIA aided a group of ARVN officers to overthrow Diem. To help deal with the post-coup chaos, Kennedy increased the number of US advisors in South Vietnam to 16,000. Chaos ensued following the coup. Taking advantage of the situation, Hanoi increased its support for the guerrillas. Between 1963 and 1967, South Vietnam entered a period of instability as no government lasted for long. The NLF scored some important military victories. In 1965 the US, decided to send troops to South Vietnam to secure the country and started to bomb North Vietnam. However, in 1968, the NLF launched a massive and surprise “Tet offensive” attacking almost all major cities in South Vietnam over the Vietnamese New Year. In the months following the “Tet Offensive”, an American unit massacred civilian villagers, suspected to be sheltering Viet Cong (NLF guerillas), in the village of My Lai causing worldwide condemnation. In 1969, Ho Chí Minh died. Even though the Tet Offensive was a disastrous military defeat for the Viet Cong, it led many Americans to think that the war was not winnable. VIETNAMIZATION The serving US president Richard Nixon proposed “Vietnamization” of the war, with South Vietnamese troops taking charge of the fighting, yet still receiving American aid and, if required, air and naval support. This new strategy started to show some effects. In 1970, South Vietnamese troops successfully conducted raids against North Vietnamese bases in Cambodia. Vietnamization was tested by the Easter Offensive of 1972, a massive conventional invasion of South Vietnam. The VPA(Vietnams People’s Army) a part of the North Korean army and NLF quickly overran the northern provinces and in coordination with other forces attacked from Cambodia, threatening to cut the country in half. U.S. troop withdrawals continued. But American airpower came to the rescue with "Operation Linebacker" and the invasion was halted. However, it was apparent that without American airpower South Vietnam could not survive. The last remaining American ground troops were withdrawn by August. DR. AFROZ ALAM, NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA Page 4
  5. 5. MY LECTURES ON “VIETNAM WAR” 2010 THE PARIS AGREEMENT The Paris Peace Accord, agreed between North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho and Henry Kissinger was reluctantly signed in January 1973 by President Thieu of South Vietnam. This produced a ceasefire and allowed for the exchange of prisoners of war. On December 13, 1974, North Vietnam attacked the South violating the Paris peace treaty. By 1975 the South Vietnamese Army faced a, highly motivated, well-organized and well-funded North Vietnam. Much of the North's material and financial support came from the communist countries (mainly the Soviet Union and China). Within South Vietnam, there was chaos. Their abandonment by the American military had weakened an economy dependent on U.S. financial support and the presence of large numbers of U.S. troops. In early 1975, the North Vietnamese military launched a massive attack against the Central Highland province of Buon Me Thuot. The South Vietnamese troops previously anticipated attack against the neighbouring province of Pleiku, and were caught off guard. President Nguyen Van Thieu ordered the moving of all troops from the Central Highland to the coastal areas, as with ever reducing American aid, South Vietnamese forces could not afford to spread too thin. However, whole South Vietnamese Second Corp got stuck on narrow mountain roads, flooded with thousands of civilian refugees, and was frequently ambushed. END OF THE WAR Although many South Vietnamese units were ready to defend Saigon, the serving president Duong Van Minh ordered surrender on April 30 1975. This spared Saigon from destruction. Hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese fled the country by all means: ships, fishing boats, barges, airplanes, helicopters, etc. Most were picked up by the U.S Seventh fleet in the South China Sea or landed in Thailand. CASUALTIES OF THE VIETNAM WAR During Vietnam War, the United States suffered 58,119 killed, 153,303 wounded, and 1,948 missing in action. Casualty figures for the Republic of Vietnam are estimated at 230,000 killed and 1,169,763 wounded. Combined the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong suffered approximately 1,100,000 killed in action and an unknown number of wounded. It is estimated that between 2 to 4 million Vietnamese civilians were killed during the conflict. AFTERMATH North and South Vietnam were unified into a single country. The Vietnamese Communists did not commit a “blood bath” or effected radical changes. The social order in South Vietnam was preserved. Most technocrats or low ranking government workers retained their jobs. Some North Vietnamese soldiers and cadres began to realize that they had been indoctrinated into thinking that the South Vietnamese people were very poor and exploited by the imperialists and foreign capitalists. Contradictory to what they were taught, they saw an abundance of food and consumer goods, fashionable clothes, plenty of books and music; things that were scarce in the North. From the mid-1980s, Vietnam has enjoyed substantial economic growth and some reduction in political repression. DR. AFROZ ALAM, NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ORISSA Page 5