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Vietnam War


Vietnam War

Vietnam War

Published in Education , News & Politics
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  • 1. Where is Vietnam?
  • 2. • Starting in 1858, the French colonized and controlled most of Southeast Asia and began to utilize their valuable resources. The region became known as French Indochina. • Located in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is rich in resources such as coal, iron ore, petroleum, mercury and tin.
  • 3. • During WWII, Vietnam is taken over by the Japanese. • Following the war, the French return to take back control of their land. • However, some people, such as Ho Chi Minh, who was a communist supporter, did not want to return the country to French control. • China sends support of the communists while the U.S. backs the French.
  • 4. Dien Bien Phu • In 1954, Ho Chi Minh sends his forces to attack the French at the fort Dien Bien Phu. • The French mistakenly underestimate their enemy and are defeated. • This marks start of the conflict and the end of French occupation of Vietnam. • The country is then divided into two states: North and South Vietnam.
  • 5. • The country is divided along the 17th parallel. • North Vietnam is Communist. • South Vietnam is Democratic.
  • 6. Why get involved?
  • 7. President Truman’s policy of containment – American policy of resisting further expansion of communism around the world. Rising communist sentiment in Vietnam leads U.S. President Eisenhower to describe the situation as the “domino theory.” (The fall of one country to communism will lead to the fall of its neighbors)
  • 8. The Domino Theory • American policymakers developed the “Domino Theory” as a justification for the involvement. This theory stated, “If South Vietnam falls to the Communist, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, India and Pakistan would also fall like dominos. The Pacific Islands and even Australia could be at risk”.
  • 9. The split in leadership Ho Chi Minh – leader of the North, supported by China and USSR – but also many in South Vietnam look to him for leadership •Hero because he broke up large estates and redistributed land to the peasants. •He had beaten the French Ngo Dihn Diem – “placed” into office by the United States and supported by France. •Corrupt government that suppressed opposition of any kind. •Offered little or no land distribution to peasants. •He is also Catholic, most Vietnamese are Buddhist
  • 10. Diem is a corrupt leader and is not popular amongst the people of South Vietnam. He creates many policies that are aimed at the persecution of communists and Buddhists. As a Result: Massive protests on the streets of Saigon took place including the self-immolation of many Buddhist monks.
  • 11. Why would these Buddhist monks perform such an act? The pictures of the monks engulfed in flames made world headlines, bringing attention to the corrupt government of Ngo Dinh Diem.
  • 12. More Opposition The National Liberation Front: Founded in 1960, this South Vietnamese group supported the unification of Vietnam and opposed Ngo Dinh Diem and the U.S. presence in Vietnam. The group came to be known as the Viet Cong (VC) which is slang for Vietnamese Communists.
  • 13. A Change in Leadership • Diem is assassinated in 1963. • New leaders are not anymore popular than Diem. • The U.S. fears a communist takeover is not far off and increases it’s military advisors in Vietnam.
  • 14. Soon, the number of planes, tanks and other military equipment sent to South Vietnam increases.
  • 15. The Spark of the Vietnam War! By August of 1964, the U.S. needed justification for its increasing presence in Vietnam. U.S. President Lyndon Johnson told Congress that North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked two American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. One of the attacks was actually never proven to have happened.
  • 16. President Johnson's Message to Congress August 5, 1964 “The North Vietnamese regime has conducted further deliberate attacks against U.S. naval vessels operating in international waters… These latest actions of the North Vietnamese regime has given a new and grave turn to the already serious situation in southeast Asia.” “I want to ask the Congress for a resolution expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in southeast Asia. This resolution obligates the United States and other members to act against Communist aggression in any nation.”
  • 17. Gulf of Tonkin Resolution On August 5, 1964 Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that authorized the President to use “war powers” and send American troops into Vietnam. Compare the amount of troops sent to Vietnam in 1964 to 1968.
  • 18. Did you know? • The United States never ACTUALLY declared war on North Vietnam? Interesting…
  • 19. At the same time, popular support for the Vietcong grew. Ho Chi Minh strongly supported the Vietcong with troops and munitions, as did the Soviet Union and China.
  • 20. Strategies for the War United States North Vietnam to force the enemy to surrender • Will rely on the Guerilla tactics of surprise and mobility. • Will use air strikes to bomb the enemy into submission • Will avoid major head to head battles • Will use search and destroy missions to pinpoint enemy bases and supplies. • Will use knowledge of terrain to their advantage • Will use its superior firepower • Will set up blockades to prevent supplies from reaching the enemy. • Will fight during the night and use underground tunnels to confuse enemy. • Will not fight to win, but to prolong the war and never lose.
  • 21. Tunnel Complexes • The Vietnamese built large tunnel complexes such as the ones at Cu Chi near Saigon. This protected them from the bombing raids by the Americans and gave them cover for attacking the invaders.
  • 22. War in the Jungle • Vietnam’s vast jungle posed many problems for U.S. troops. • There were many foreign plants that would cut or cause rashes. • The thickness helped the enemy hide. • Mines, tripwires, traps and holes with punji stakes were all over the jungle. • Insects were a constant nuisance. • Many times, rain would fall for weeks on end making it very difficult.
  • 23. Helicopters • Of all aircraft, the helicopter was the most useful, dropping platoons in the jungle clearings and out again. They were excellent air ambulances.
  • 24. Bombing Campaign • Unable to win a decisive victory on the ground, the U.S. turned to air power and bombed millions of acres of farmland and forest in an attempt to destroy enemy hideouts. • The bombing missions, known as “Operation Rolling Thunder,” caused the Communist Party to reassess its own war strategy. The U.S. continued to drop bombs on more targets through 1967 causing an estimated $300 million in damage.
  • 25. Phosphorous & Napalm Bombs • “Operation Rolling Thunder” was backed up by phosphorous and napalm bombs – the latter causing dreadful burns to thousand of innocent civilians.
  • 26. Operation Ranch Hand • When this failed to break down the jungle cover the USAF started “Operation Ranch Hand” – the defoliation program, using Agent Orange. – This deadly chemical cocktail, containing dioxin, killed off millions of acres of jungle to try to weaken the Vietcong – but left a horrendous legacy in Vietnam. – The dioxin got into the food chain causing chromosome damage to humans. There were hundreds of cases of children born with deformities.
  • 27. • To Destroy the North Vietnamese economy • To Hinder the flow of supplies and men • To Reduce morale and the will to fight
  • 28. Protracted War Strategy • After “Operation Rolling Thunder,” the Communist Party moved to a protracted war strategy: the idea was to get the United States bogged down in a war that it could not win militarily and create unfavorable conditions for political victory.
  • 29. Major Turning Points The Tet Offensive On January 31, 1968, during the Vietnamese New Year known as Tet, the North Vietnamese communist forces initiated a large scale attack on major South Vietnamese cities and bases. Why did the north use the Ho Chi Minh Trail and why was it effective?
  • 30. Results of the Tet Offensive • Up to 40,000 communists were killed in action • The U.S. military quickly responded to the surprise attacks and defeated the communists • Almost all territory was regained by the U.S. within a few days • However, the public saw bloody street fighting and the communist’s temporary occupation of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. A South Vietnamese officer questions then executes a man following the Tet Offensive. Caught on camera and video.
  • 31. Search & Destroy Tactics • The United States countered with “Search and Destroy” tactics. In areas where the Vietcong were thought to be operating, troops went in and checked for weapons. If they found them, they rounded up the villagers and burned the villages down. • This often alienated the peasants from the American/South Vietnamese cause. – As one marine said – “If they weren’t Vietcong before we got there, they sure as hell were by the time we left”. – The NFL often helped the villager’s re-build their homes and bury their dead.
  • 32. The My Lai Massacre On March 16, 1968 a “search and destroy mission” unfolded in My Lai, a heavily mined area controlled by the VC. Many soldiers of Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, had been maimed or killed in the area during the preceding weeks. The agitated troops, under the command of Lt. William Calley, entered the village poised for engagement with the elusive Vietcong.
  • 33. My Lai • Robert Haeberle – Army photographer that took pictures of the “mission.” • His pictures will be released 2 years later. • After My Lai – many Americans view all Vietnam veterans as “baby killers.”
  • 34. The Tet Offensive and the My Lai Massacre were turning points in the Vietnam War. Discuss.
  • 35. The War in America • The Vietnam War had a major impact on everyday life in America, and the Johnson administration was forced to consider domestic consequences of its decisions daily. • Since there were not enough volunteers to continue to fight a protracted war, the government instituted a draft.
  • 36. Anti-War Protests on the Homefront As a result of the ongoing deaths, military draft, civil rights movement, and television coverage of the war, many people began to protest the war. 300,000 protested in New York City in August 1967.
  • 37. Anti-War Protests • Protests erupted on college campuses and in major cities at first, but by 1968 every corner of the country seemed to have felt the war's impact.
  • 38. Nixon Elected President in 1968 • During the late 1960’s, protests against the war became more popular in the U.S. The disgrace and stress of the war causes Lyndon B. Johnson not to run for President for a second term. • Republican Richard Nixon wins the presidency and promises to start withdrawing troops from Vietnam.
  • 39. Vietnamization • Nixon's plan involved a process called “Vietnamization.” • This strategy brought American troops home while increasing the air war over North Vietnam and relying more on the South Vietnamese army for ground attacks.
  • 40. Paris Peace Accords After years of stalled talks, a cease-fire was finally signed on January 27, 1973 by the United States, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam. Its provisions were: •Cease-fire in-place and troop withdrawal • All parties committed to no further acts of force on ground, in the air, and on the sea. • Return of all captured military personnel and foreign civilians within 60 day period The agreement effectively ended all U.S. involvement in Vietnam. By March, the U.S. had completely withdrawn. To date; the Vietnam War is the longest conflict in which the United States has been involved in.
  • 41. The War Not Over • The Paris Peace Agreement; however, did not end the conflict in Vietnam, as the South continued to battle Communist forces.
  • 42. Peace with Honor By March 1973, the last U.S. forces left Vietnam. The North Vietnamese overran South Vietnam two years later. The last Americans leave the American Embassy in South Vietnam
  • 43. The Fall of Saigon North Vietnamese troops march into South Vietnam. The Communist rename Saigon, the capital of the South, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • 44. South Vietnamese trying to flee with U.S. personnel during the fall of Saigon. Many people wanted out for fear that the Communists would kill them. Sadly, most were left behind and many died.
  • 45. Results of the Vietnam War • There were 58,000 Americans, 400,000 South Vietnamese, and over 900,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese killed in Action. • 304,000 Americans wounded • Over 10,000 American MIA/POW’s •14,000 are permanently disabled. •800,000 Vietnam veterans diagnosed as having “significant” to “severe” problems of readjustment. • U.S. officially recognized Vietnam in 1989 • Vietnam still remains a united nation under a communist government
  • 46. The Vietnam War Memorial The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was not dedicated until 1982, more than seven years after the end of the war.
  • 47. Why Did the United States Lose the Vietnam War? 1. They underestimated the tenacity and organization of the North Vietnamese and the National Liberation Front.
  • 48. 2. Despite dropping more tonnage of high explosive on Vietnam than the whole of World War II, the Americans could not stop the movement of troops or supplies to the south along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
  • 49. 3. The North Vietnamese conducted a “Peoples war” in which everyone played a part.
  • 50. 4. At first, most Americans supported the war. But by 1970, the Peace Movement had support from all parts of society and no government could ignore it.
  • 51. 5. After 1969, there were deep questions about the efficiency of US troops. There was a serious drug problem; desertion rates were high and morale low. Many troops were “time-servers,” i.e., counted the days until the tour was over.
  • 52. 6. The US never really understood the culture of the Vietnamese people. Coca Cola, chewing gum, ball point pens, and ice cream cones could not dislodge their ancient beliefs.
  • 53. 7. America was not prepared to keep losing high numbers of casualties for such limited progress in a difficult jungle war, for which they were not suited.
  • 54. 8. The strength and resourcefulness of the NLF. For example, the highly complex Cu Chi tunnel system the U.S. never shut down.