1949 Mao defeated Chiang and China became Communist.
Operations at Dien Bien Phu began at 10:35 on the morning of November 20, 1953. In Operation Castor, the French dropped or flew 9,000 troops into the area over three days. THE FRENCH WERE STILL OUTNUMBERED 5 TO 1.
On May 8, the Viet Minh counted 11,721 prisoners, of whom 4,436 were wounded . This was the greatest number the Viet Minh had ever captured The prisoners, French survivors of the battle at Dien Bien Phu, were starved, beaten, and heaped with abuse, and many died . Of 10,863 survivors held as prisoners, only 3,290 were repatriated four months later. The fate of 3,013 prisoners of Indochinese origin is unknown.
L to R: Ho, Bao Dai, Diem
A Buddhist monk commits self- immolation in Saigon, June 11, 1963 in protest of Diem’s persecution of Buddhists in South Vietnam. Diem promised reforms but continued attacks on Buddhist temples. In November a military coup toppled Diem’s govt.
In 1969 the NLF created the PRG in order to have government status and thus be able to attend the Peace Talks.
ARVN = Army pf the Republic of South Vietnam
Pronounced “Me Lie” - over 100 killed: Sentenced but released after only a couple of years.
Operation Ranch Hand 1961-1972
May 4, 1970
In 1972 the North allowed that the South’s gov’t could stay in place and there would be free elections so that the reunification of Vietnam could be “carried out step by step in a peaceful means.”
The USA cancelled the universal draft shortly after Vietnam.
French Indochina <ul><li>When Ho Chi Minh and the Communists in Indochina resisted the Japanese occupation, they were not fighting to return to colonization under the French. </li></ul><ul><li>At Potsdam it was decided Vietnam would be split between the Chiang’s China in the north and Britain in the south. Why would 1949 be an important date for Ho’s forces? </li></ul><ul><li>When the war ended, the Viet Minh started fighting the French who had returned. </li></ul>
Ho Chi Minh <ul><li>Communist / nationalist </li></ul><ul><li>Had been at Paris, 1919 </li></ul><ul><li>Had worked in the kitchens of the Carlton Hotel, London </li></ul><ul><li>"It is the fight between tiger and elephant. If the tiger stands his ground, the elephant will crush him with its mass. But, if he conserves his mobility, he will finally vanquish the elephant, who bleeds from a multitude of cuts." </li></ul>
General Nguyen Giap <ul><li>Led Viet Minh against the French </li></ul><ul><li>Viet Minh = League for Vietnamese Independence </li></ul><ul><li>Studied Sun Tsu, Mao and Napoleon </li></ul><ul><li>Continued the war against the USA </li></ul>
The 1945 - 54 War <ul><li>The French were spending more on the war than they were receiving in Marshall Aid. </li></ul><ul><li>The French underestimated the ability of the Vietnamese. The Viet Minh had the support of the peasants AND the non-communists. </li></ul><ul><li>The guerillas treated the peasants well. </li></ul><ul><li>French tactics were not winning the war; they tried a hedgehog approach. </li></ul>
<ul><li>A French hedgehog base 200 miles out from nearest support </li></ul><ul><li>Take the fight to the Viet Minh & bring them out in a pitched battle </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign Legion and colonial troops (ex. Algerians) </li></ul><ul><li>Inability of the French air force to adequately re-supply (Stalingrad?) </li></ul><ul><li>Underestimated the Vietminh’s ability to bring artillery through the jungle. </li></ul><ul><li>The USA gave France $1.2 billion to fight the war; after 1950 Ho had Mao’s support. </li></ul>This defeat broke the French will to fight
<ul><li>A valiant stand, but the outposts were picked off in turn; think of the Alamo! </li></ul>
Geneva Agreement, 1954 <ul><li>French Indochina was split into its 3 parts: Laos / Cambodia / Vietnam. </li></ul><ul><li>Vietnam was temporarily split at 17°N with the promise of elections (never held - most of the population in North = election would be done deal). </li></ul><ul><li>Ho and the Communists took the north, Emperor Bao Dai took the South, but was replaced by Ngo Dinh Diem, 1955 (a Catholic governing mostly Buddhists?). </li></ul>Elections in the south were never held; The USA was okay with that - dominoes
<ul><li>Ngo Denh Diem was corrupt. It was obvious he needed help and Ike gave it: $ + 500 “military advisors.” </li></ul><ul><li>In 1962, JFK raised the number to 10,000. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1963, the CIA helped over-throw Diem and he “committed suicide.” </li></ul>IKE DIEM
In Context… <ul><li>Cold War - dominoes can fall anywhere in the world…think of Korea (incidentally, Korea sent the 2nd most troops to fight in Vietnam) . </li></ul><ul><li>1954 SEATO : USA, France , Australia, New Zealand, UK, Thailand, Pakistan , Philippines. </li></ul>You see, it’s not just Western powers! Oh, we’re keen for more action here! US protectorate US aid vs. India Old ANZUS allies: US guaranteed their independence Malaya’s in SE Asia
Who’s Who Ho’s Vietminh : North Vietnam - fought for independence from French - become NV Army. National Liberation Front : Political movement in the South. (P.R.G. = Provisional Rev Gov’t - at Peace talks) Vietcong : N.L.F. guerilla fighters in the South. 17°N N.V.A. Regulars N.L.F. V.C.
Gulf of Tonkin Incident NVA torpedo boats attack USS Maddox (acting as an intelligence ship) 02 August, 1964
Gulf Of Tonkin Resolution (Southeast Asia Resolution) = ESCALATION! <ul><li>LBJ seeks “all necessary powers” and “all necessary measures.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Changed “ advisors” to “ troops” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From 100,000 in 1962 to 200,000 in 1965 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Raised to 600,000 in 1968 </li></ul></ul>
Op Rolling Thunder 1965 - 1968 More dropped on North Vietnam than on Germany and Japan in WW2
Tet Offensive Jan – Feb 1968 <ul><li>Initially very successful </li></ul><ul><li>Over time, US and ARVN forces proved superior in the conventional battles that followed </li></ul><ul><li>10 VC deaths for every US/ARVN one </li></ul><ul><li>This event was the turning point in US public opinion. </li></ul>
The US was never able to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail Ho Chi Minh Trail
Iconic American Images <ul><li>Anti-war protesters / Kent State / Civil Rights </li></ul><ul><li>Draft Dodgers </li></ul><ul><li>Helicopters </li></ul><ul><li>Napalm </li></ul><ul><li>Peace signs / hippies / free love / flower power </li></ul><ul><li>Folk/protest songs </li></ul><ul><li>6 o’clock news / body counts </li></ul><ul><li>Bombing campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>POWs / MIAs </li></ul><ul><li>Watergate / Impeachment </li></ul>S O S
John Kerry, 2004 Democratic candidate / John Lennon Some other guy
<ul><li>Kent State University: Four dead in Ohio </li></ul>
Not embedded: what’s the difference? 'Vietnam syndrome' " Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America - not on the battlefields of Vietnam. " Marshall McLuhan, 1975
<ul><li>Gaining Public Support for bombing in Cambodia (no incursions - right) </li></ul>VIETNAMIZATION 1969
<ul><li>Nixon Doctrine: in Nixon's own words (Address to the Nation on the War in Vietnam November 3, 1969) </li></ul><ul><li>First, the United States will keep all of its treaty commitments. </li></ul><ul><li>Second, we shall provide a shield if a nuclear power threatens the freedom of a nation allied with us or of a nation whose survival we consider vital to our security. </li></ul><ul><li>Third, in cases involving other types of aggression, we shall furnish military and economic assistance when requested in accordance with our treaty commitments. But we shall look to the nation directly threatened to assume the primary responsibility of providing the manpower for its defense. </li></ul>
Summary etc. See page 160 - 162 in the Handbook <ul><li>Oct 1972: the North’s Easter Offensive was slowing and they feared Nixon’s détente with other communist nations would isolate Vietnam, so they moved past their impasse (USSR + China = $). </li></ul><ul><li>1973: Henry Kissinger completed on-going Paris peace talks (60 days US out + POWs returned). </li></ul><ul><li>After the USA left, the North fought to take the South - successful in 1975 = first round of boat people. </li></ul><ul><li>1978 Vietnam invaded Kampuchia (Cambodia). </li></ul><ul><li>1979 China retaliated and invaded Vietnam = second round of boat people (many to Canada). </li></ul>
Conclusions: <ul><li>Limitations of even a superpower </li></ul><ul><li>Ineffectiveness of bombing campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>Need for popular support in a democracy </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulty in fighting a popular nationalist uprising </li></ul><ul><li>Unreliability of a conscript army </li></ul><ul><li>Need for limitations on Presidential power to wage war </li></ul><ul><li>Untruthfulness of political rhetoric about dominoes </li></ul><ul><li>Maybe it wasn’t worth trying to STOP the spread of communism </li></ul>
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