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Vietnam: Introductory Notes


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Introductory notes regarding background and presidential involvement in Vietnam.

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Vietnam: Introductory Notes

  1. 4. Who rules? CHINA FRANCE Who rules? CHINA JAPAN FRANCE When? Ruler/Occupier Notes 208 B.C.—949 Rich agricultural resources in the Red River Delta 949—1400 the Vietnamese gain limited independence from the Chinese 1400-1428 Again for agricultural and resource purposes, China asserts control In 1428, Le Loi leads guerilla fighters, using methods that would be seen centuries later in wars against the French and the Americans, to take control of Vietnam. 1862—1940 Seeking Asian trade and converts to Catholicism, France’s imperialistic tendencies of the 19 th century gain possession of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia (French Indochina); French Indochina officially becomes a colony in 1867 and a protectorate in 1883 1940—1945 Capitalizing on France’s attention on the Nazis, control of French colonies is loosened, Japan gains military control of French Indochina (Vietnam). With Japan’s defeat in World War II, Japan loses control of Vietnam. Vietnam celebrates its independence. 1946 To the victors go the spoils… France, being on the Allied side of World War II, seeks to regain its imperial territories. America has a choice—France (its ally) or Vietnam (whose situation was similar to ours almost 200 years prior) 1954 ? Geneva Conference divides at the 17 th parallel: the North will be governed by Ho Chi Minh; the South by the non-Communist Ngo Dinh Diem
  2. 5. Get your roster! Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) Republic of Vietnam Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) Ho Chi Minh Ngo Dinh Diem Hanoi Saigon Vietminh National Liberation Front (In South, but for North) Pathet Lao United States North South Official name Armies Initial leaders Capital cities Others
  3. 6. Truman’s decision On V-J Day (September 2, 1945), the Vietnamese celebrate their independence from France and Japan . A half million people gather to hear Ho Chi Minh speak, where—in an attempt to win US support—he quotes the Declaration of Independence . US army officers celebrate with Vietnamese leaders. Independence would be short-lived as the French sought to re-claim Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh would repeatedly request aid from Truman over the next months.
  4. 7. <ul><li>Who does Truman (and the US) ultimately support? </li></ul><ul><li>The French </li></ul>B. The Vietnamese
  5. 8. <ul><li>2. Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Fear of global spread of communism </li></ul><ul><li>Policy of containment : provide resistance where communism seeks to expand </li></ul><ul><li>Truman Doctrine : provide aid to subjugated people </li></ul><ul><li>France is an ally in the fight against communism </li></ul>
  6. 9. <ul><li>3. How? </li></ul><ul><li>300 advisers; $3 billion </li></ul>
  7. 10. Eisenhower’s Philosophy President Eisenhower subscribes to the idea that if one country falls to Communism, this will lead to other surrounding countries doing the same; this is called the domino theory .
  8. 11. <ul><li>Why was Vietnam important? </li></ul><ul><li>Resources to aid modern economy </li></ul><ul><li>Strategically important geographically </li></ul><ul><li>Eisenhower will send money but not troops to support the French . </li></ul>
  9. 12. 5. Why can’t the French beat the Vietnamese? Guerilla warfare —a method of combat by which small groups of combatants attempt to use mobile and surprise tactics (ambushes, raids, etc) to defeat a foe, often a larger, less mobile, army.
  10. 14. <ul><li>6. What was significant about Dien Bien Phu? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conventional battle </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Vietnamese rout French </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>France is done in Vietnam </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 15. <ul><li>The aftermath of Dien Bien Phu: the Geneva conference </li></ul><ul><li>The dividing line: the 17 th parallel </li></ul>
  12. 16. North South Ho Chi Minh (Vietminh) Ngo Dinh Diem
  13. 17. <ul><li>Aid under Eisenhower: 700 advisers; $7 billion </li></ul>
  14. 18. <ul><li>Geneva Conference </li></ul><ul><ul><li>17 th parallel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No FOREIGN TROOP involvement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internationally supervised ELECTIONS to be held in 1956 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>US DID NOT SIGN </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 19. <ul><li>Diem as a leader </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Catholic in a Buddhist nation (90%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Imprisoned opponents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gave family members prominent positions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Favored wealthy </li></ul></ul>
  16. 20. <ul><li>Election held in South Vietnam in 1955 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fraud: out of 450,000 voters, Diem received 605,000 VOTES </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Green vs. red </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brutality for not voting a certain way </li></ul></ul>
  17. 21. <ul><li>“ Our choice was between a bad government that was friendly and a worse government that was hostile toward us.” –Walter Judd </li></ul><ul><li>“ the Churchill of Asia” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Sh--, Diem’s the only boy we got out there.” --LBJ </li></ul>
  18. 22. <ul><li>Strategic Hamlet Program </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Population transfer: isolate peasants from NLF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By 1962, 4.3 million people in 3,225 hamlets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By 1963, 8.5 million people in 7,205 hamlets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Failed: No defense; no sympathy </li></ul></ul>Laos is essential
  19. 23. The situation : “Vietnam was the cornerstone of the Free World in Southeast Asia” --JFK Schlesinger: “The President unquestionably felt that an American retreat in Asia might upset the whole world balance.” Kennedy needs a Cold War win: Space race, Bay of Pigs, Berlin Wall, Vienna Conference
  20. 24. <ul><li>Laos : Soviets aiding Pathet Lao </li></ul><ul><li>JFK responds: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fleet to South China Sea </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advisors in Laos should wear military uniforms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5,000 advisors to Thailand in 1962 </li></ul></ul>
  21. 25. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam —advisers can be offensive Green Berets are sent
  22. 26. <ul><li>Diem being Diem </li></ul><ul><li>Could not fly Buddhist flag to celebrate Buddha’s birthday </li></ul><ul><li>SV troops fire and kill 9 unarmed Buddhists </li></ul><ul><li>Quang Duc: Immolation </li></ul><ul><li>Insensitivity: Madane Nhu—barbeque show </li></ul>
  23. 28. Diem is assassinated Kennedy aid: $1.5 billion; 16,000 “advisors”