The Vietnam War Background• Vietnam ( Indochina) was a colony of France fordecades• From 1939-1945 Vietnam was controlled by Japan• After WWII, just like in Korea, Vietnam was divided(17th parallel) North Vietnam was controlled by theCommunist, while South Vietnam was allied to the U.S.• The North was lead by Ho Chi Minh , his goal was tounite Vietnam into one nation
The French and Vietnam But the French had no intention ofseeing Vietnam become independentor communist. The French asked the US to help—this put the US in a difficult position.
• The US didn’t want the French to have Vietnam but it didn’t want Vietnam to become communist either—remember the Cold War is still going on.• So the US helped the French with money and war materials.• But after much fighting, the French gave up. The US was left holding up South Vietnam
• after the French left Vietnam it remained divided.TheSouth being governed Diem. His government was veryunstable. But the U.S. still supported the South.• Ho Chi Minh’s goals had not changed
Elections President Diem refused to have elections—saidthat Ho Chi Minh would not have fair elections.So Ho Chi Minh organized a new guerrilla army,Vietcong, and sent them down to South Vietnam. The US increased aid to South Vietnam but despite all the aid and advisors, the Vietcong continued to be powerful.
• One reason the Vietcong was so powerful was because the South Vietnamese did not like President Diem—he was corrupt and catholic and increasingly discriminatory against the Buddhists—the majority religion in the area.
• The assisination of Diem with the approval of the Kennedy’s admistration only made matters worse in Vietnam. It grew increasingly weak and unstable. The US became even more deeply involved. The President Kennedy was killed. Now the problem became Johnson’s.
The United States Goes To Vietnam• In the 1950’s President Eisenhower, sent some advisors andmoney to aid the French in their fight• In 1960 President Kennedy sent 2,000 advisors to SouthVietnam• After Kennedy was assassinated President Johnson wasdetermined not to let Vietnam meet the same fate as China andNorth Korea• American involvement in Vietnam was based on the “DominoTheory” that if Vietnam fell to the communist so would all ofSouth East Asia
Johnson and VietnamNo President wanted to appear soft on Communism. He did not want the fate that Truman had had in regards to China. On one hand he says “we do not seek to widen this conflict” and on the other hand he sought a way to “win” this struggle.
1965 The Escalation Begins• The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, andResolution• In 1965 an American warship wasattacked by North Vietnamese forces inthe Gulf Of Tonkin. LBJ used thisincident to say “ The U.S. would useany means possible to defend SouthVietnam from Communism”.
The1965 to In Vietnam 1965-1972 years from War 1968.• Between 1965 and 1968 U.S. forcesescalated from about 150,000 to over 500,00men
Vietnam The Soldiers War• The average age of the Vietnam War soldier was 18years old, many of whom were drafted. They faced manyhardships.The geography and climate of Vietnam wasvery difficult. The enemy was also very difficult he couldbe your friend by day and killing you by night.
The Vietnam War 1960-1965• Starting in around 1960 the North began guerillaattacks into the South using a citizen army called theViet Cong, Charlie, V.C., Ghosts
• And as the war dragged on, they faced a veryunpopular war• They also faced all kinds of Booby Traps.
1968 The Turning Point Year• Up to 1968 President Johnson, General Westmoreland assured theAmerican people we were winning in Vietnam• The Vietcong and the regular North Vietnamese army executed theTet Offensive. They attacked every major city in South Vietnamincluding Saigon
Effects of the Tet Offensive• Although the Tet Offensive was not a military victory,it had dramatic effects in America, public opinionbegan to turn against the war. The anti-war protestbecame larger and louder. LBJ under extremepressure chooses not to run for re-election in 1968.
1968-A year of Violence MLK killed in April http://youtu.be/_E3-_z5YP0M
The Election of 1968 Republican Richard M. Nixon runs for President pledging to end the War-with a secret plan.Many Democrats try to get the nomination: Robert Kennedy Eugene McCarthy Hubert Humphrey
California Primary• http://youtu.be/ilZuAnBXeM8
Chicago Democratic Convention• Stung by the loss of the one candidate who might have been able to win the election and end the war, demonstrators set out to Chicago. Thousands stormed into Chicago, where Mayor Richard Daley prepared 12,000 policeman—armed with billy clubs, tear gas and guns-- to keep order—the result massive confrontation
“The whole world is watching”• http://youtu.be/oQkgCZylkBc• http://youtu.be/epxmX_58tOo• http://youtu.be/eaBwgsZhZJA• 1968- The Conventions• http://youtu.be/0l4n5uw_GFM• 1968 Mexico Olympics• http://youtu.be/uqhv1g0sIpY• http://youtu.be/k9NsN0ybTec -trailer
Nixon Becomes President• He becomes President and starts Vietnamization—the process of gradual withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam. And at the same time starts to bomb Cambodia
Nixon and the Vietnam War• Nixon was elected on the promise he would get useout of Vietnam “ Peace With Honor• He began a process of Vietnamization, turning thewar over to South Vietnam.• After negotiations with China and Russia, andcontinued bombing he was able to secure the peace• Jan 1973, Nixon announced the suspension of allmilitary action in Vietnam• The terms were simple The North would not invadethe South and we would leave Vietnam
The Fall of Saigon 1975http://youtu.be/IdR2Iktffaw
The Effects of the Vietnam War• 58,000 Americans died, thousands were wounded.Millions of Vietnamese died• Cost America millions of dollars• Americans began to distrust and question thegovernment• We did not win. Wars had to be short and decisive• The War Power Act, said the President could notsend troops anywhere without congressional approval
Despite the belief in the Domino Theory, communism did not spread to the rest of Southeast Asia. However in Cambodia a horrible and repressive regime came into power onder the government of Pol Pot.
• He wanted to completely erase any western, capitalist, or colonialist influence on his people. Estimates are that he killed ¼ of the population. Vietnam will overthrow that regime.