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  • 1. The Vietnam Conflict
  • 2. Location, Location, Location
    French Indochina
  • 3. A History of Foreign Control
    China occupied Vietnam on and off to the 1300’s.
    France moves in and colonizes in 1860
    Japan takes over during WWII
  • 4. A History of Foreign Control
    Ho Chi Minh leads fight against Japan
    Forms the Viet Minh
    army to fight Japan
    Aided by USA
    Minh felt Vietnam deserved self-determination after World War 2
    Who would he compare Vietnam to?
  • 5. France Reclaims Colony
    1946 Viet Minh start war against the French
    President Truman supports France (Why?)
    • Unwilling to back the Vietminh because many were Communists
    • 6. France a long time ally
    • 7. Helps containment policy
    • 8. Viewed as a Cold War conflict when Minh get support from China and USSR
  • Vietnam’s War for Independence
    French believe war will be easy:
    (thought it would be an 8 day police operation)
    Minh’s soldiers called “barefoot army”
    French unfamiliar with guerrilla warfare strategy
    Characteristics include:
    “Quicksand” war ends in defeat at Dienbienphu (a.k.aDien Bien Phu)
  • 9. Why called “Quicksand war?”
    The more the French tried to win, the more resistance they found and supporters Ho Chi Minh found
    French forces hope for American troops to enter…Eisenhower says “no”
    "You can kill 10 of my men for every one I kill of yours, yet even at those odds, you will lose and I will win."
  • 10. Geneva Conference
    The goal of the Geneva Conference was to work out a peace agreement and arrange for Indochina’s future.
  • 11. Results of Geneva Accords
    • Laos and Cambodia given independence
    • 12. Vietnam split at 17th parallel.
    • 13. N. Vietnam is communist w/ Ho Chi Minh in charge
    • 14. S. Vietnam a dictatorship under Ngo Dinh Diem
    General elections were to be held in July 1956 and would reunify the country under one government.
    The United States never fully supported the peace agreements fearing that Ho Chi Minh and the Communists would win the nationwide election.
  • 15. U.S. Involvement in Vietnam Grows
    • Believed in the Domino Theory
    • 16. Sent money and weapons to South Vietnam
    • 17. 650 Military advisors (Green Berets) sent to train new South Vietnamese army called “ARVN”
    • Also believed in the Domino Theory
    • 18. Increased the number of military advisors and army special forces, or Green Berets to 16,000
    • 19. Costs reach $1.5 million per day
  • 20. Ngo Dinh Diem:
    unelected president of South Vietnam
    Initially backed by USA
    Unpopular with countrymen
    Nepotism in administration
    Meaning? Problem?
    Relocated peasants to “strategic hamlets” to cut off from communists
    Viewed by most as?
    Catholic in a Buddhist nation
  • 21.
  • 22. Perception v. Reality
    Pres. Eisenhower greets Diem in 1955
    Buddhist monk immolates himself in protest 1963
  • 23. What Now?
    • USA withdrew support for Diem and he was murdered (coup d’etat) in 1963
    • 24. Kennedy assassinated 3 weeks later
  • Which LBJ to Believe?
    “I am not sending Americans boys thousands of miles to do what Asian boys ought to be doing”
    “I’m not going to be the president who saw Southeast Asia go the way China went.”
  • 25. President Johnson Goes to War 1964…sort of
    American shipsC. Turner Joy andMaddux reported being attacked
    • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed by huge margins giving President Johnson power to “take all necessary measures to repel any attack against the forces of the U.S. and prevent further aggression”
    88-2 Senate 416-0 House
    Vote =
    Blank Check
  • 26. Johnson Increases US Presence in Vietnam
    ARVAN unsuccessful as fighters
    25,000 troops at start of 1965, by 1968 number increases to nearly 550,000 troops – Escalation
    Eve Of Destruction
    By Barry McGuire, 1965
    The eastern world it is explodin',violence flarin', bullets loadin',you're old enough to kill but not for votin',you don't believe in war, what's that gun you're totin',and even the Jordan river has bodies floatin',but you tell me over and over and over again my friend,ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.
    Don't you understand, what I'm trying to say?Can't you see the fear that I'm feeling today?If the button is pushed, there's no running away,There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave,take a look around you, boy, it's bound to scare you, boy,but you tell me over and over and over again my friend,ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.
    Yeah, my blood's so mad, feels like coagulatin',I'm sittin' here, just contemplatin',I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation,handful of Senators don't pass legislation,and marches alone can't bring integration,when human respect is disintegratin',this whole crazy world is just too frustratin',and you tell me over and over and over again my friend,ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.
    Think of all the hate there is in Red China!Tehn take a look around to Selma, Alabama!Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,but when your return, it's the same old place,the poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace,you can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace,hate your next-door-neighbor, but don't forget to say grace,and you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.
    Pro -Johnson rally 1966
  • 27. I got a letter from L. B. J.It said this is your lucky day.It's time to put your khaki trousers on.Though it may seem very queerWe've got no jobs to give you hereSo we are sending you to Viet Nam
    [Cho:]Lyndon Johnson told the nation,"Have no fear of escalation.I am trying everyone to please.Though it isn't really war,We're sending fifty thousand more,To help save Viet nam from Viet Namese."
    I jumped off the old troop ship,And sank in mud up to my hips.I cussed until the captain called me down.Never mind how hard it's raining,Think of all the ground we're gaining,Just don't take one step outside of town. [Cho:]
    Every night the local gentry,Sneak out past the sleeping sentry.They go to join the old VC.In their nightly little dramas,They put on their black pajamas,And come lobbing mortar shells at me.
    We go round in helicopters,Like a bunch of big grasshoppers,Searching for the Viet Cong in vain.They left a note that they had gone.They had to get down to Saigon,Their government positions to maintain.
    Well here I sit in this rice paddy,Wondering about Big Daddy,And I know that Lyndon loves me so.Yet how sadly I remember,Way back yonder in November,When he said I'd never have to go.
  • 28. What is happening after 1964?
    Draftees become larger proportion of USA forces -- Drafting begins in 1966
  • 29. Why would this escalation be called “the slippery slope”
    Couldn’t leave -- standing up to communism.
    Couldn’t admit that the U.S. armed forces could be beaten.
    Johnson’s desire to be successful
    We couldn’t expand the war
    The more we spend, the more resistance we get.
  • 30. Johnson Increases USA Presence in Vietnam
    Sec. Of Defense, Robert McNamara and Sec. of State Dean Rusk advised: “rout the communists”
    In 1965 Johnson launches “Operation Rolling Thunder”
    24/7 bombing for next 3 years
    American POW’s as pilots shot down.
  • 31.
    • American P.O.W.’s taken to places like the Hanoi Hilton
    • 32. Interrogated
    • 33. Abused
    Who am I?
  • 34. Ho Chi Minh Trail
    Network of trails and roads through jungle and small towns
    Used by Viet Minh to supply Viet Cong in South
    Main target of American bombing as war lingered on
    2x more bombs dropped than WW 2!
  • 35. Vietcong Tunnels
  • 36.
  • 37. Vietcong traps
    Ambush pit filled w/ spikes. Covered in dung to spread disease
  • 38. Vietcong traps
    Viet Cong traps, swinging spiked ball and “punji sticks” traps
  • 39. Americans Search for the Enemy
    • Looking for Viet Cong in the village
    • 40. Zippo Raids were common
  • Chemicals
    Napalm-jelly like substance that burns
  • 41. Chemicals
    Agent Orange: chemical defoliant
  • 42.
  • 43. A Change in USA Attitudes
    Tet=Lunar New Year
    Tet Offensive 1968
    Vo Nguyen Giap calls for daring move
    First all out, massive attack from the North and Viet Cong on key locations
    Rolling Thunder effective?
    Perception greater than reality
    Confidence in leaders shaken
    Suffered no lost battles
    William Westmoreland
  • 44.
  • 45. CBS Nightly News
  • 46.
  • 47. Disagreement within the USA Grows
    First protest groups in 1964-65 small and mostly unnoticed
    As deaths mount protests mount
    Country being divided into doves and hawks
    “Doves” symbol for anti-war Americans…younger
    “Hawks” support war effort…older
  • 48. War Reaches Family Time
  • 49. Disagreement within the USA
    Universities and colleges hot-bed of activity
    Teach-ins on college campuses told more of the story about the war
    Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) organize marches on the Pentagon, White House, and Capitol
    Avoiding War
    Burning draft cards
    Conscientious objection
    Fleeing to Canada
    Bribing doctors
  • 50. Democrats in1968
    Plan A:
    Lyndon Johnson
    Plan B:
    Robert Kennedy
    Plan C:?
    Hubert Humphrey
    Democrats blamed for the war and convention turns ugly in Chicago
    Mayor Daily gets tough with protesters
  • 51. My Lai massacre further jolts American public
    1968-U.S. troops from Charlie Company destroyed a village consisting mostly of 500 women and children and old people. 
    Lt. William Calley's troops went berserk and killed everyone.
    Becomes public in Nov. 1969 
    Public opinion against war grows more
    Americans unsure of what our mission truly is
  • 52. Vietnamization
    Richard Nixon elected President in 1968 +1972.
    “secret plan”
    Vietnamization Policy:
    Shift fighting responsibility to ARVN
    Bring American Troops home
    Conduct peace negotiations
  • 53. Secret Campaign
    • Peace talks had already begun
    • 54. Bomb Cambodia and Laos (eventually send troops) to cut supply lines (Ho Chi Minh Trail) and put pressure on Viet Cong
    • 55. Government denial and cover-up
    • 56. Public outraged
    Both nation become communist
    Killing fields in Cambodia
  • 57. Killings at Kent State University
    May 4th 1970
    Governor taking hard line stance
    National Guard shoot into unarmed crowd
    4 killed, others wounded at Kent
    Days later 2 killed and others wounded at Jackson State
    Have we lost it? Why Americans killing Americans over events in Asia?
  • 58.
  • 59. Peace (sort of)
    Cease fire (Paris Accords) arranged in early 1973
    USA promises to withdraw all ground troops
    American POW’s will be released
    All other troops will stay in place
    Final Charge
    North starts final campaign in 1975 (estimated 2 years for win, took only 55 days)…Saigon captured
    South asks for more aid - Congress says NO and USA pulls out completely.
    Le Duc Tho and Henry Kissinger in Paris
  • 60. US embassy evacuates as Saigon is falling
    Saigon renamed Ho Chi Minh City
  • 61. Changes in the Country
    War Powers Act passed limits president’s ability to command military without consent of Congress
    26th Amendment: voting Age 18
  • 62. Healing the Country
    National frustration over war outcome
    Government lies
    Conduct of soldiers
    Hostility towards vets
    Vietnam memorial 1982
    First parades in 1980s
    P.O.W. / M.I.A. issues being resolved
    Still over 1000 MIA’s
    President Clinton normalizes relations with Vietnam
  • 63. What did the Vietnam experience teach us?
    • Must have solid backing of country
    • 64. Must have clear objectives
    • 65. Must have understanding of fighting situation
    • 66. America is not always the good guy
    • 67. Does this sound like Iraq in any way?
    • 68. This issue still impacts us today!