The Vietnam
War
1954 - 1975
U.S. begins
involvement
 Domino

Theory – if South Vietnam
fell to communism, neighboring
countries would also fall to
co...
President Kennedy
1960-1963
z

Kennedy sent aid and
Military Advisors to assist
South Vietnam

z
z

Requested by South Vie...
z

z

z
z

President
Johnson
1963-1968
Under President Johnson,
the U.S. would become deeply
involved in Vietnam
U.S. ship...
Johnson
escalates the
Congress never officially declared war
War
Johnson used the Gulf of Tonkin

•
•

Resolution to escal...
1968 - The
Tet Offensive
z

Vietcong launched massive simultaneous
offensive throughout South

z
z
z

Vietcong committed b...
The Tet
Offensiv
e
1968 - The Tet
Offensive
z

1968 - The Tet
Offensive

Roy Benavidez 1935-1998

(CLICK HIS NAME FOR VIDEO-stop at 4 min)

z
z

z
z
z
z

Born in Cuer...
Anti-War
Movement
z

z
z
z
z
z

Media has a great influence in shaping
public opinion
Newspapers, radio, television

First...
Anti-War
Movement
z
z
z
z
z
z

z
z
z
z

z
z

Disconnect among young Americans who objected their
country’s involvement in ...
z
z

President
Nixon
Republican President Richard Nixon was
1969-1973
elected in 1969

Reasons for winning elections
z Div...
Vietnamization
Vietnamization – South Vietnam Army gradually took over the brunt fighting
allowing U.S. forces withdrawal,...
z

Nixon – Public
Anti-War
Increased with bombing of
INCREASES
Cambodia

z

1969 – National guardsmen
shoot and kill 4 stu...
z

Nixon – Public
Anti-War
Nixon and VP Agnew insisted most Americans
INCREASES
supported the war

z

“Silent Majority” is...
Anti-War
Demonstration
s

Student Protestors
at Univ. of CA
in Berkeley, 1968

Democratic Convention
in Chicago, 1968
The Fall of
Saigon

z Vietnamization gradually reduced U.S.
armed forces in Vietnam
z 1973 – Kissinger led negotiators in ...
The Fall of
Saigon

z South Vietnamese Army incapable of stopping
advance of North Vietnam Army
z April 30, 1975, Saigon (...
26th Amendment






Most states set the voting
age at 21
– Draft (take or selected)
age in the military was
18
Many Am...
Vietnam War Legacy
Death and Destruction – 58,000+ Americans died

1.

1.
2.

Many suffered physical and psychological inj...
Vietnam War Overview
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Vietnam War Overview

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Overview of the Vietnam War

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  • Kennedy’s advisors were clearly fighting a covert war by 1963.
    MacNamara has suggested that he believes Kennedy would have pulled the U.S. out, but evidence in inconclusive.
    JFK realizes Diem is a liability; offers quiet support to a Vietnamese military coup d’etat.
    The coup results in the brutal murders of Diem and his brother
    The Vietnamese generals overthrow one another. A relatively stable, but tyrannical government emerges. It is little better than Diem’s.
  • What Johnson told Congress
    What he didn’t tell Congress:
    He had already written the resolution before the “incident.”
    The U.S. naval vessels were aiding ARVN in commando raids in North Vietnam at the time.
    He learned that the attack probably hadn’t occurred.
    The U.S. navy was not on the “high seas” but in N. Vietnam’s 12 mile territorial limit.
  • Kennedy’s advisors were clearly fighting a covert war by 1963.
    MacNamara has suggested that he believes Kennedy would have pulled the U.S. out, but evidence in inconclusive.
    JFK realizes Diem is a liability; offers quiet support to a Vietnamese military coup d’etat.
    The coup results in the brutal murders of Diem and his brother
    The Vietnamese generals overthrow one another. A relatively stable, but tyrannical government emerges. It is little better than Diem’s.
  • Diversion of capital to the war indirectly caused economic recession: 11% inflation and 12% unemployment!
  • Vietnam War Overview

    1. 1. The Vietnam War 1954 - 1975
    2. 2. U.S. begins involvement  Domino Theory – if South Vietnam fell to communism, neighboring countries would also fall to communism like a row of dominos  Resisting communism in South Vietnam might prevent this collapse
    3. 3. President Kennedy 1960-1963 z Kennedy sent aid and Military Advisors to assist South Vietnam z z Requested by South Vietnamese Govt. JFK felt democracy in South Vietnam would serve as a model to other developing Asian, African, and Latin American countries President Kennedy
    4. 4. z z z z President Johnson 1963-1968 Under President Johnson, the U.S. would become deeply involved in Vietnam U.S. ships were attacked by the North Vietnamese in international waters Congress passed The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964 Congress voted to give Johnson full military, “blank check”, powers to stop North Vietnam aggression due to attacks.
    5. 5. Johnson escalates the Congress never officially declared war War Johnson used the Gulf of Tonkin • • Resolution to escalate (increase) the war LBJ ordered massive bombings raids over North Vietnam and sent more troops By 1968 - 500,000 U.S. soldiers in Vietnam New Weapons • • • • • Napalm – sticky gasoline-based jelly that burns; great damage Agent Orange – herbicide killed jungle cover used by VC President Johnson
    6. 6. 1968 - The Tet Offensive z Vietcong launched massive simultaneous offensive throughout South z z z Vietcong committed brutal acts of terror against South Vietnam officials American forces finally beat back the offensive z z z Seizing capital city of Saigon Turning point in the war Demonstrated to American public that victory was on the way Disproved the rhetoric of the US govt that the Vietcong were weak, under supplied, disorganized and low in morale
    7. 7. The Tet Offensiv e
    8. 8. 1968 - The Tet Offensive
    9. 9. z 1968 - The Tet Offensive Roy Benavidez 1935-1998 (CLICK HIS NAME FOR VIDEO-stop at 4 min) z z z z z z Born in Cuero, TX Master Sergeant in the Army Special Forces Facing constant fire, carried wounded members of his platoon to rescue-helicopters Critically wounded, Benavidez refused to stop gathering survivors Benavidez saved the lives of 8 men Awards z z z Distinguished Service Cross for heroism Congressional Medal of Honor by President Ronal Reagan in 1981 Benavidez dies in San Antonio in 1998
    10. 10. Anti-War Movement z z z z z z Media has a great influence in shaping public opinion Newspapers, radio, television First time America audiences could watch WAR President Johnson (LBJ) told U.S. public they were winning the war Journalist reported different story “Credibility Gap” is the name given when Americans lost faith in their government’s reliability on telling the truth about Vietnam War
    11. 11. Anti-War Movement z z z z z z z z z z z z Disconnect among young Americans who objected their country’s involvement in Vietnam Mass anti-war movements occurred from 1965 until the end of the war in 1975 Protesters burned draft cards, marched in Washington DC, held rallies and staged demonstrations By 1968, millions of young Americans actively protested the war Anti-War movement influenced Military policy American “doves” Wanted U.S. withdraw from Vietnam Saw war as a civil war between North and South Vietnam Believed U.S. leaders were acting immorally by bombing civilians and burning villages American “hawks” Supported the war Believed it was an attempted to protect South Vietnam from Communist takeover
    12. 12. z z President Nixon Republican President Richard Nixon was 1969-1973 elected in 1969 Reasons for winning elections z Division among Democratic Party z Assassination of Robert Kennedy (younger brother to JFK) z Staunch anti-communist z Promised Americans “peace with honor” in Vietnam z However war dragged on for 5 more years z Henry Kissinger aided Nixon z Introduced “Vietnamization” z Increased bombings and diplomacy
    13. 13. Vietnamization Vietnamization – South Vietnam Army gradually took over the brunt fighting allowing U.S. forces withdrawal, same time increase bombing of North Vietnam and provide military aid to South Vietnam Nixon’s Vietnam Policy Invasion of Cambodia – Nixon believed war would shorten if supply routes (Ho Chi Minh Trail) from North to South could be cut. 1970 U.S. invaded Cambodia Diplomatic Overtures – Nixon negotiated with Vietnam’s communist allies (China and Soviet Union) to put pressure on North Vietnam
    14. 14. z Nixon – Public Anti-War Increased with bombing of INCREASES Cambodia z 1969 – National guardsmen shoot and kill 4 students demonstrating at Kent State, Ohio z College campuses across the nation close due to student demonstrations z Student engaged in mass marches on Washington D.C. and other major cities Kent State University
    15. 15. z Nixon – Public Anti-War Nixon and VP Agnew insisted most Americans INCREASES supported the war z “Silent Majority” is what they called them z Exchanges between anti-war and pro-war supporters became violent z Pentagon Papers z leaked documents in 1971 New York Times z revealed several Presidents before Nixon LIED to America about Vietnam (goes back to “credibility gap”) z President felt Vietnam could not be won but didn’t want the disgrace of defeat with their Presidency
    16. 16. Anti-War Demonstration s Student Protestors at Univ. of CA in Berkeley, 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, 1968
    17. 17. The Fall of Saigon z Vietnamization gradually reduced U.S. armed forces in Vietnam z 1973 – Kissinger led negotiators in Paris to work a cease-fire agreement with North Vietnam z Nixon agreed to pull out all remaining U.S. troops from Vietnam if North Vietnam would release U.S. prisoners of war z After U.S. withdrawal fighting continued
    18. 18. The Fall of Saigon z South Vietnamese Army incapable of stopping advance of North Vietnam Army z April 30, 1975, Saigon (South Vietnam capital) fell to North Vietnam z Saigon (present day Ho Chi Minh City) marked the end of the Vietnam War z South Vietnamese government officials, military officers, and soldiers who supported American presence in Vietnam were sent to Communist “re-education camps” where they faced torture, disease and malnutrition
    19. 19. 26th Amendment    Most states set the voting age at 21 – Draft (take or selected) age in the military was 18 Many Americans protested the law during Vietnam War – Saying it was unfair to send someone to war without letting them vote Ratified in 1971 – Lowered the voting age to 18
    20. 20. Vietnam War Legacy Death and Destruction – 58,000+ Americans died 1. 1. 2. Many suffered physical and psychological injuries 1+ million Vietnamese killed; many more left homeless Impact at Home and abroad – expenses led end of some Great Society programs 2. 1. 2. 3. Brought rising inflation Demonstrated that public opinion can affect government policy Crisis in American self-confidence; next to the U.S. Civil War, Vietnam War was most divisive war in U.S. History Limits Presidential Power 3. 1. 2. 3. Both Korean and Vietnam Wars, U.S. President sent troops into extended combat without declaration of war from Congress 1973, Congress passed WAR POWERS ACT – sets limits on President’s power in a conflict without formal declaration of war by Congress The act requires the President to inform Congress within 48 hrs of sending troops to fight overseas; if within 60 days Congress doesn’t approve of usage of these forces, President must withdraw them

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