Causes of the vietnam war

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Causes of the vietnam war

  1. 1. Causes of the Vietnam War<br />What to do with the “problem” of Vietnam?<br />
  2. 2. No fixed beginning<br />Other wars have a clear beginning:<br />Battles of Lexington & Concord 1775<br />Capture of Ft. Sumter 1861<br />Pearl Harbor 1941<br />N.Korea invades S. Korea 1950<br />
  3. 3. Entered the war in steps<br />1. Truman gave aid in 1950 to help France maintain their Indochina Colony<br />(including Laos & Cambodia)<br />2. Dienbienphu- 1954 French defeat by Vietnamese Nationalist (communist led Vietminh)<br />
  4. 4. Dienbienphu-1954<br />Now French must surrender and Communist State established above 17th parallel (North Vietnam)<br />
  5. 5. Dienbienphu<br />The United States refused to accept the arrangement. <br />The administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower undertook instead to build a nation from the spurious political entity that was South Vietnam by fabricating a government there, taking over control from the French, dispatching military advisers to train a South Vietnamese army, and unleashing the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to conduct psychological warfare against the North.<br />
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  15. 15. JFK- Vietnam War<br />President John F. Kennedy-<br />3. -early 1961 secretly sent 400 Special Operations Forces-trained (Green Beret) soldiers to teach the South Vietnamese how to fight what was called counterinsurgency war against Communist guerrillas in South Vietnam<br />
  16. 16. JFK assassinated<br />November 1963-<br />more than 16,000 U.S. military advisers in South Vietnam<br />more than 100 Americans had been killed <br />Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, committed the United States most fully to the war. <br />
  17. 17. Lyndon Johnson<br /> In August 1964, he secured from Congress a functional (not actual) declaration of war: the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. <br />http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Tonkin_incident#cite_note-5<br />
  18. 18. In 1965, President Johnson commented privately: "For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there."<br />
  19. 19. Causes of VietnamWar<br />1. regarded as infected w/ Communism<br />Why Truman gave French aid – “Domino Theory”<br />2. Non-communist countries (France and Britain) would need either Indochina resources or markets to fully recover<br />(thus to stop domino need economic control-vital)<br />
  20. 20. Causes, cont’d<br />3. Inertia had developed throughout engagement and now pressure to stay in war<br />U.S. withdrawal would result in a Communist victory-<br />no U.S. president wanted to lose a country to communism. <br />Democrats in particular, like Kennedy and Johnson, feared a right-wing backlash should they give up the fight; they remembered vividly the accusatory tone of the Republicans' 1950 question, "Who lost China?" <br />
  21. 21. Causes, cont’d<br /> now no rational <br />Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy all gave their word that the United States would stand by its South Vietnamese allies. <br />If the United States abandoned the South Vietnamese, its word would be regarded as unreliable by other governments, friendly or not. So U.S. credibility seemed at stake.<br />
  22. 22. President Personalities<br />Dwight Eisenhower restrained U.S. involvement because, having commanded troops in battle, he doubted the United States could fight a land war in Southeast Asia.<br />
  23. 23. Presidential Personalities<br />The youthful John Kennedy, on the other hand, felt he had to prove his resolve to the American people and his Communist adversaries, especially in the aftermath of several foreign policy blunders early in his administration. <br />
  24. 24. Presidential Personalities<br />Lyndon Johnson saw the Vietnam War as a test of his mettle, as a Southerner and as a man. He exhorted his soldiers to "nail the coonskin to the wall" in Vietnam, likening victory to a successful hunting expedition.<br />
  25. 25. Johnson<br />Johnson began bombing N. Vietnam in 1965<br />Sent Marines to S. Vietnam<br />Didn’t expect long fight<br />Military could never find right strategy (bombing has little effect on decentralized economy)<br />
  26. 26. Kennedy had favored counterinsurgency warfare in the South Vietnamese countryside <br />Johnson endorsed this strategy <br />but the political side of counterinsurgeny--the effort to win the "hearts and minds" of the Vietnamese peasantry-- was at best underdeveloped and probably doomed. <br />Presidents proved reluctant to mobilize American society to the extent the generals thought necessary to defeat the enemy.<br />
  27. 27. Name that goal!<br />few voices were raised in dissent in 1965 <br />Within the Johnson administration, Undersecretary of State George Ball warned that the South Vietnamese government was a functional nonentity and simply could not be sustained by the United States, even with a major effort. <br />Antiwar protest groups formed on many of the nation's campuses; in June, the leftist organization Students for a Democratic Society decided to make the war its principal target. <br />But major dissent would not begin until 1966 or later. By and large in 1965, Americans supported the administration's claim that it was fighting to stop communism in Southeast Asia, or people simply shrugged and went about their daily lives, unaware that this gradually escalating war would tear American society apart.<br />

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