Vietnam War

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Vietnam War

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Vietnam War

  1. 1. Where is Vietnam?Where is Vietnam?
  2. 2. • Starting in 1858, the French colonized and controlled most of Southeast Asia and began to utilize their valuable resources. • The region became known as French Indochina. • Located in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is rich in resources such as coal, iron ore, petroleum, mercury and tin.
  3. 3. • During WWII, Vietnam is taken over by the Japanese. • Following the war, the French return to take back control of their land. • However, many Vietnamese, such as Ho Chi Minh, who was a communist, did not want to return the country to French control. • He defies French occupation. • China sends support of Ho Chi Minh and the communists while the U.S. backs the French.
  4. 4. Dien Bien Phu • In 1954, Ho Chi Minh sends his forces to attack the French at the fort Dien Bien Phu. • The French mistakenly underestimate their enemy and are defeated. • This marks start of the conflict and the end of French occupation of Vietnam. • The country is then divided into two states: North and South Vietnam.
  5. 5. • The country is divided along the 17th parallel. • North Vietnam is Communist. • South Vietnam is Democratic.
  6. 6. Why get involved?
  7. 7. Rising communist sentiment in Vietnam leads U.S. President Eisenhower to describe the situation as the “domino theory.” (The fall of one country to communism will lead to the fall of its neighbors) Following WWII, President Truman’s created a policy of containment – American policy of resisting further expansion of communism around the world.
  8. 8. The Domino Theory • American policymakers developed the “Domino Theory” as a justification for involvement in Vietnam. This theory stated, “If South Vietnam falls to the Communist, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, India and Pakistan would also fall like dominos. The Pacific Islands and even Australia could be at risk”.
  9. 9. The split in leadership Ngo Dihn Diem – “placed” into office by the United States and supported by France. •Corrupt government that suppressed opposition of any kind. •Offered little or no land distribution to peasants. •He is also Catholic, most Vietnamese are Buddhists Ho Chi Minh – leader of the North, supported by China and USSR – but also many in South Vietnam look to him for leadership •Hero because he broke up large estates and redistributed land to the peasants. •He had beaten the French
  10. 10. Diem is a corrupt leader and is not popular amongst the people of South Vietnam. He creates many policies that are aimed at the persecution of communists and Buddhists. As a Result: Massive protests on the streets of Saigon took place including the self-immolation of many Buddhist monks.
  11. 11. Why would these Buddhist monks perform such an act? The pictures of the monks engulfed in flames made world headlines, bringing attention to the corrupt government of Ngo Dinh Diem.
  12. 12. The National Liberation Front: Founded in 1960, this South Vietnamese group supported the unification of Vietnam and opposed Ngo Dinh Diem and the U.S. presence in Vietnam. The group came to be known as the Viet Cong (VC) which is slang for Vietnamese Communists. More Opposition
  13. 13. A Change in Leadership • Diem is assassinated in 1963. • New leaders are not anymore popular than Diem. • The U.S. fears a communist takeover is not far off and increases it’s military advisors in Vietnam.
  14. 14. Soon, the number of planes, tanks and other military equipment sent to South Vietnam increases.
  15. 15. In August of 1964, North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked two American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Spark of the Vietnam War!
  16. 16. President Johnson's Message to Congress August 5, 1964 Needing more justification for military involvement in Vietnam, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed congress: “The North Vietnamese regime has conducted further deliberate attacks against U.S. naval vessels operating in international waters… These latest actions of the North Vietnamese regime has given a new and grave turn to the already serious situation in southeast Asia.” “I want to ask the Congress for a resolution expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in southeast Asia. This resolution obligates the United States and other members to act against Communist aggression in any nation.”
  17. 17. Did you know? • One of the attacks was proven to never have actually happened!
  18. 18. On August 5, 1964 Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that authorized the President to use “war powers” and send American troops into Vietnam. Gulf of Tonkin Resolution Compare the amount of troops sent to Vietnam in 1964 to 1968.
  19. 19. Did you know? • The United States never ACTUALLY declared war on North Vietnam! Interesting…
  20. 20. At the same time, popular support for the Viet Cong grew. Ho Chi Minh strongly supported the Viet Cong with troops and munitions, as did the Soviet Union and China.
  21. 21. Strategies for the War United States • Will use its superior firepower to force the enemy to surrender • Will use air strikes to bomb the enemy into submission • Will use search and destroy missions to pinpoint enemy bases and supplies. • Will set up blockades to prevent supplies from reaching the enemy. North Vietnam • Will avoid major head to head battles by relying on the guerilla tactics of surprise and mobility. They will fighting during the night and use underground tunnels to confuse enemy. •Will use knowledge of terrain to their advantage. (Home field advantage.) •Will not fight to win, but to prolong the war and never lose.
  22. 22. War in the Jungle • Vietnam’s vast jungle posed many problems for U.S. troops. • There were many foreign plants that would cut or cause rashes. • The thickness helped the enemy hide. • Mines, tripwires, traps and holes with punji stakes were all over the jungle. • Insects were a constant nuisance. • Many times, rain would fall for weeks on end making it very difficult.
  23. 23. Helicopters • Of all aircraft, the helicopter was the most associated with Vietnam. • They were useful in dropping platoons in the jungle clearings and out again. They were excellent air ambulances.
  24. 24. Tunnel Complexes • In addition to the war in the jungle, the Vietnamese built large tunnel complexes such as the ones at Cu Chi near Saigon. This protected them from bombing raids by the Americans and gave them cover for attacking the invaders.
  25. 25. • Unable to win a decisive victory on the ground, the U.S. turned to air power and bombed millions of acres of forest in an attempt to destroy enemy hideouts. • The bombing missions were known as “Operation Rolling Thunder”. Bombing Campaign
  26. 26. Napalm Bombs • “Operation Rolling Thunder” was backed up by napalm bombs – an incendiary, which is extremely flammable and designed to burn. • The bombings of “Rolling Thunder” not only burned the forest, it destroyed millions of acres of farmland. • The napalm also causes dreadful burns to thousands of innocent civilians.
  27. 27. Operation Ranch Hand • When this “Rolling Thunder” failed to effectively break down the jungle cover the US started “Operation Ranch Hand” – the defoliation program, using Agent Orange. – This deadly chemical cocktail, containing dioxin, killed off millions of acres of jungle to try to weaken the Viet Cong – but left a horrendous legacy in Vietnam. – The dioxin got into the food chain causing chromosome damage to humans. – There were thousands of cases of children born with deformities.
  28. 28. • To Destroy the North Vietnamese economy • To Hinder the flow of supplies and men • To Reduce morale and the will to fight
  29. 29. Protracted War Strategy • After “Operation Rolling Thunder,” the Vietnamese moved to a protracted war strategy: the idea was to get the United States bogged down in a war that it could not win militarily and create unfavorable conditions for political victory.
  30. 30. Major Turning Points The Tet Offensive On January 31, 1968, during the Vietnamese New Year known as Tet, the North Vietnamese communist forces initiated a large scale attack on major South Vietnamese cities and bases.
  31. 31. Results of the Tet Offensive • Up to 40,000 communists were killed in action • The U.S. military quickly responded to the surprise attacks and defeated the communists • Almost all territory was regained by the U.S. within a few days • However, the public saw bloody street fighting and the communist’s temporary occupation of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. A South Vietnamese officer questions then executes a man following the Tet Offensive. Caught on camera and video.
  32. 32. Search & Destroy Tactics • The United States countered with “Search and Destroy” tactics. In areas where the Viet Cong were thought to be operating, troops went in and checked for weapons. If they found them,• they rounded up the villagers and burned the villages down. • This often alienated the peasants from the American/South Vietnamese cause. – As one marine said – “If they weren’t Viet Cong before we got there, they sure as hell were by the time we left”. – The Viet Cong often helped the villager’s re-build their homes and bury their dead.
  33. 33. Search and Destroy
  34. 34. The My Lai Massacre On March 16, 1968 a “search and destroy mission” unfolded in My Lai, a heavily mined area controlled by the VC. Many soldiers of Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, had been maimed or killed in the area during the preceding weeks. The agitated troops, under the command of Lt. William Calley, entered the village poised for engagement with the elusive Viet Cong.
  35. 35. My Lai • Robert Haeberle – Army photographer that took pictures of the “mission.” • His pictures will be released 2 years later. • After My Lai – many Americans view all Vietnam veterans as “baby killers.”
  36. 36. The Tet Offensive and the My Lai Massacre were turning points in the Vietnam War. Discuss.
  37. 37. The War in America • The Vietnam War had a major impact on everyday life in America, and the Johnson administration was forced to consider domestic consequences of its decisions daily. • Since there were not enough volunteers to continue to fight a protracted war, the government instituted a draft. – The U.S. requires all male citizens to register their name within 30 days of their 18th birthday. – There are exemptions or deferments, such as attending college or a university. – Most draftees, therefore, came from poor, working class families who could not afford college.
  38. 38. Anti-War Protests on the Homefront As a result of the ongoing deaths, military draft, civil rights movement, and television coverage of the war, many people began to protest the war.
  39. 39. Anti-War Protests • Protests erupted on college campuses and in major cities at first, but by 1968 every corner of the country seemed to have felt the war's impact.
  40. 40. Woodstock Music Festival - 1969 • As public approval of the Vietnam War dwindled in the latter half of the 1960s, popular music artists began to record songs that reflected this disapproval and ultimately became a new method of protest. • The 1969 Woodstock Music Festival is arguably the most influential musical event that spread the message of peace towards the close of the decade. • Hundreds of thousands of concertgoers, came to see the lineup of several well-known rock artists such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, The Who, The Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix.
  41. 41. Nixon Elected President in 1968 • During the late 1960’s, protests against the war became more popular in the U.S. The disgrace and stress of the war causes Lyndon B. Johnson not to run for President for a second term. • Republican Richard Nixon wins the presidency and promises to start withdrawing troops from Vietnam.
  42. 42. Vietnamization • Nixon's plan involved a process called “Vietnamization.” • This strategy would withdraw American ground troops and bring them home while increasing the air war over North Vietnam. • We would also rely more on the South Vietnamese army.
  43. 43. Paris Peace Accords After years of stalled talks, a cease-fire was finally signed on January 27, 1973 by the United States, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam. Its provisions were: •Cease-fire in-place and troop withdrawal • All parties committed to no further acts of force on ground, in the air, and on the sea. • Return of all captured military personnel and foreign civilians within 60 day period The agreement effectively ended all U.S. involvement in Vietnam. By March, the U.S. had completely withdrawn. To date; the Vietnam War is the longest conflict in which the United States has been involved in.
  44. 44. The War Not Over • The Paris Peace Agreement; however, did not end the conflict in Vietnam, as the South continued to battle Communist forces.
  45. 45. By March 1973, the last U.S. forces left Vietnam. The North Vietnamese overran South Vietnam two years later. Peace with Honor The last Americans leave the American Embassy in South Vietnam
  46. 46. The Communist rename Saigon, the capital of the South, to Ho Chi Minh City. North Vietnamese troops march into South Vietnam. The Fall of Saigon
  47. 47. South Vietnamese trying to flee with U.S. personnel during the fall of Saigon. Many people wanted out for fear that the Communists would kill them. Sadly, most were left behind and many died.
  48. 48. Results of the Vietnam War • There is an estimated 3+ million total deaths as a result of the war. •There were 58,000 Americans, 400,000 South Vietnamese, and over 900,000 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese killed in Action. • 304,000 Americans wounded • Over 10,000 American MIA/POW’s •14,000 are permanently disabled. •800,000 Vietnam veterans diagnosed as having “significant” to “severe” problems of readjustment (PTSD). • U.S. officially recognized Vietnam in 1989 • Vietnam still remains a united nation under a communist government •The conflict is the longest in U.S. history.
  49. 49. The Vietnam War Memorial The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in 1982, seven years after the end of the war.

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