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
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?
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
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” Why? French unfamiliar with guerrilla warfare strategy Characteristics include: “Quicksand” war ends in defeat at Dienbienphu (a.k.aDien Bien Phu)
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” Why? "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."
Geneva Conference The goal of the Geneva Conference was to work out a peace agreement and arrange for Indochina’s future.
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.
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
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.”
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
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
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. [Cho:] 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. [Cho:] 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.
What is happening after 1964? Draftees become larger proportion of USA forces -- Drafting begins in 1966
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.
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 Effectiveness? American POW’s as pilots shot down.
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!
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 General William Westmoreland
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 VS. “Hawks” support war effort…older
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
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
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
Vietnamization Richard Nixon elected President in 1968 +1972. “secret plan” Vietnamization Policy: Shift fighting responsibility to ARVN Bring American Troops home Conduct peace negotiations
Both nation become communist Killing fields in Cambodia
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?
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
US embassy evacuates as Saigon is falling Saigon renamed Ho Chi Minh City
Changes in the Country War Powers Act passed limits president’s ability to command military without consent of Congress 26th Amendment: voting Age 18
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