Vietnam. 1963-1975. French colony till 1941. Japanese colony from 1941-1945. Back to French in 1945. U.S. helped France regain the colony in order to fight communism. We supplied money and arms.
Growth of Vietnamese Nationalism.
A desire to control and rule ones own country.
Political parties and armed groups struggle to rid your country of foreign control.
Ho Chi Minh was a communist nationalist.
He lead the fight to rid Vietnam of foreign rulers. “Uncle Ho.”
Vietnam Declares Independence.1949.
Vietnamese Nationalist fighters were called “Vietminh.”
U.S. supported independence for colonies, EXCEPT if the country might go communist.
Guerrilla Warfare. Hard to know your enemy. Make government look weak. Only attack when certain of victory. Retreat when over matched. Return when enemy vacates territory. Harass lines of communication and support.
Dien Bien Phu. 1954.
BLUNDER by French.
Wanted to lure Vietminh out to open fight.
Thought that airpower and artillery would defeat them.
Vietminh surrounded fortress and crushed it. French leave Vietnam.
Geneva Accords 1956.
Divided Vietnam into two countries-17th parallel.
Vietminh controlled North. Ho Chi Minh.
U.S. Backed regime controlled South under Ngo Dinh Diem.
Supposed to have elections to determine fate of country. Never happened.
U.S. Involvement Deepens.
Viet Minh become Viet Cong.
American personal went from 2,000 in 1961 to 15,000 by 1963. “Advisors.”
Diem, a Catholic, in a mostly Buddhist country discriminated them.
The Buddhist monks protested.
Overthrow of Diem. Kennedy said that Diem had to go! He was killed. U.S./C.I.A. supported a coup to replace him with a military Junta. The Military Junta wasn't very popular either. Junta was corrupt and and poor administrators of country.
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. 1964.
American ships fired upon by North Vietnamese torpedo boats.
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave all war powers to the President to fight in Vietnam.
U.S. Bombing Begins.
More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than U.S. dropped during WWII!.
“Operation Rolling Thunder.”
First combat troops ordered into Vietnam.
By 1965-500,000 troops in Vietnam fighting.
Viet Cong used ambushes, booby traps, and guerilla tactics.
Who is the enemy? Just like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Viet Cong would also ”Hang on to our belt buckle” so that we could not bring our full power to bare.
Body counts not territory.
“Win the hearts and minds” of the people.
Use overwhelming fire power. “Bomb them back to the stone age!”
Napalm and Agent Orange.
No precision weapons then.
China and Soviet Union Help North Vietnam.
These countries sent money, food, medicine, arms, and military advisors to North Vietnam.
Without this help, North Vietnam could not have kept up the fight.
Why didn’t U.S. invade the North?
U.S. relied on massive bombing raids on North.
Soviets supplied North with the MOST sophisticated air defense system in the world.
U.S. lost many pilots and planes over Vietnam.
Senator John McCain.
Micro Managed War.
Johnson and staff tries to micro manage the war.
Long delays for battle field decisions.
Important target off limits due to “Political” concerns.
Haiphong Harbor never mined till END of war.
At first 66 percent of U.S. supported war.
General Westmoreland promised the war would be won soon.
T.V. showed grim images of war every night. NO censorship like today.
Credibility gap began.
Anti War Movement.
Anger at the Draft.
Government not truthful about war.
Hawks v. Doves.
Tet Offensive. 1968.
Viet Cong launch massive country-wide attacks in South.
The attack, after a lot of effort, is crushed by U.S. military.
This was a military victory, BUT a political defeat for U.S.
Johnson does not run for reelection.
Americans turn against war.
Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinated.
Nixon elected president.
Nixon Tries to End the War.
Nixon appoints Henry Kissinger to negotiate an end to war.
Nixon also tried to improve relations with China/Soviet Union. “Linkage.”
Keystone of withdrawal: “Vietnamization” of war.
North Vietnam wasn’t negotiating.
Spent month arguing about shape of table at Paris Peace Talks!
Linebacker I and II. Massive bombing off North.
Haiphong Harbor FINALLY mined.
Wheat deal with Soviets?
Turmoil and Scandals.
My Lai Massacre. At least 200 civilians murdered by U.S. soldiers. Men. Women, and children.
Lt. Calley sent to prison. Nixon pardoned him.
Invasion of Cambodia. 1970.
Military invades Cambodia to attack Viet Cong bases and Ho Chi Minh Trail.
This sparks massive protests in U.S.
Kent State tragedy. Four killed, nine wounded.
10 days later two African-Americans killed at Jackson State College.
Daniel Ellsberg leaked secret documents to the NEW YORK TIMES.
Several presidents lied to congress about war.
Decisions made by presidents without consent of congress: Secret Cambodia bombings.
This widened the “credibility gap.”
U.S. Pulls Out of Vietnam.
1971 polls: 66 percent want OUT of Vietnam.
Nixon defeats McGovern by a landslide.
Nixon puts MORE pressure on North Vietnam.
War ends for U.S. 1973.
South Vietnam Falls. 1975.
North Vietnam launches conventional attack on North.
The South falls in a couple of weeks.
War Powers Act. 1973.
Inform congress within 48 hours of commitment of troops aboard.
MUST withdraw them between 60-90 days unless congress VOTES to approve it.