Why Did the United StatesWhy Did the United StatesFight a War in Vietnam?Fight a War in Vietnam?• Basically to hold the line againstBasically to hold the line againstthe spread of worldthe spread of worldCommunism. America paid forCommunism. America paid forthe war the French foughtthe war the French foughtagainst Communist Vietnam as aagainst Communist Vietnam as apart of the Truman Doctrinepart of the Truman Doctrine(1947) “to help free peoples to(1947) “to help free peoples tomaintain their free institutionsmaintain their free institutionsand their national integrityand their national integrityagainst … totalitarian regimes.”against … totalitarian regimes.”In the 1950’s, America becameIn the 1950’s, America becameinvolved again.involved again.
Longest and Most Unpopular WarLongest and Most Unpopular War• The Vietnam War was the longestThe Vietnam War was the longestand most unpopular war inand most unpopular war inAmerican history. During the war:American history. During the war:– 58,000 Americans lost their lives.58,000 Americans lost their lives.• The oldest man killed was 62 years old;The oldest man killed was 62 years old;the youngest, 16.the youngest, 16.• 61% of the men killed were 21 or61% of the men killed were 21 oryounger.younger.– 304,000 were wounded.304,000 were wounded.– 75,000 were severely disabled.75,000 were severely disabled.– The United States spent over $200The United States spent over $200billion dollars on the war.billion dollars on the war.
Conflict Between France & VietnamConflict Between France & Vietnam• The Vietnam War grew out ofThe Vietnam War grew out ofthe long conflict betweenthe long conflict betweenFrance and Vietnam.France and Vietnam.– In July 1954, after one hundredIn July 1954, after one hundredyears of colonial rule, a defeatedyears of colonial rule, a defeatedFrance was forced to leaveFrance was forced to leaveVietnam.Vietnam.– Nationalist forces under theNationalist forces under thedirection of General Vo Nguyendirection of General Vo NguyenGiap defeated the allied FrenchGiap defeated the allied Frenchtroops at the remote mountaintroops at the remote mountainoutpost of Dien Bien Phu in theoutpost of Dien Bien Phu in thenorthwest corner of Vietnam.northwest corner of Vietnam.
The Geneva Peace AccordsThe Geneva Peace Accords• The Geneva Peace Accords,The Geneva Peace Accords,signed by France and Vietnamsigned by France and Vietnamin the summer of 1954,in the summer of 1954,provided for the temporaryprovided for the temporarypartition of Vietnam at the 17thpartition of Vietnam at the 17thparallel, with national electionsparallel, with national electionsin 1956 to reunify the country.in 1956 to reunify the country.• In the North, a communistIn the North, a communistregime, supportedregime, supported by the Sovietby the SovietUnion and the PeoplesUnion and the PeoplesRepublic of China,Republic of China, set up itsset up itsheadquarters in Hanoi underheadquarters in Hanoi underthe leadership of Ho Chi Minh.the leadership of Ho Chi Minh.
Opposition to Geneva AccordsOpposition to Geneva Accords• The United States prevented the elections that wereThe United States prevented the elections that werepromised under the Geneva conference because it knewpromised under the Geneva conference because it knewthat the Communists would win.that the Communists would win.– Secretary of State John Foster Dulles thought the GenevaSecretary of State John Foster Dulles thought the GenevaAccords granted too much power to the Communist Party ofAccords granted too much power to the Communist Party ofVietnam.Vietnam.– He and President Dwight D.He and President Dwight D.Eisenhower supported the creation of aEisenhower supported the creation of acounter-revolutionary alternative southcounter-revolutionary alternative southof the 17th parallel.of the 17th parallel.• This was accomplished throughThis was accomplished throughformation of the Southeast Asiaformation of the Southeast AsiaTreaty Organization (SEATO).Treaty Organization (SEATO).
A New Nation in the SouthA New Nation in the South• Using SEATO for political cover, theUsing SEATO for political cover, theEisenhower administration helped createEisenhower administration helped createa new nation in southern Vietnam.a new nation in southern Vietnam.• In 1955, with the help of massiveIn 1955, with the help of massiveamounts of American military, political,amounts of American military, political,and economic aid, the government of theand economic aid, the government of theRepublic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam)was born.was born.• The following year, Ngo Dinh Diem, aThe following year, Ngo Dinh Diem, astaunchly anti-Communist figure fromstaunchly anti-Communist figure fromthe South, won a dubious election thatthe South, won a dubious election thatmade him president of South Vietnammade him president of South Vietnam
The Domino TheoryThe Domino Theory• American policymakers developed the “Domino Theory”American policymakers developed the “Domino Theory”as a justification for the involvement. This theory stated,as a justification for the involvement. This theory stated,“If South Vietnam falls to the Communist, Laos,“If South Vietnam falls to the Communist, Laos,Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, India and Pakistan wouldCambodia, Thailand, Burma, India and Pakistan wouldalso fall like dominos. The Pacific Islands and evenalso fall like dominos. The Pacific Islands and evenAustralia could be at risk”. Australia could be at risk”.
South Vietnam Under DiemSouth Vietnam Under Diem• Diem claimed that his newly createdDiem claimed that his newly createdgovernment was under attack fromgovernment was under attack fromCommunists in the north.Communists in the north.• In late 1957, with American militaryIn late 1957, with American militaryaid, Diem began to counterattack.aid, Diem began to counterattack.– He used the help of the CIA (throughHe used the help of the CIA (throughOperation Phoenix) to identify thoseOperation Phoenix) to identify thosewho sought to bring his governmentwho sought to bring his governmentdown and arrested thousands.down and arrested thousands.– He passed a repressive series of actsHe passed a repressive series of actsknown as Law 10/59 that made it legalknown as Law 10/59 that made it legalto hold suspected Communists in jailto hold suspected Communists in jailwithout bringing formal charges.without bringing formal charges.
Opposition to DiemOpposition to Diem• The outcry against Diems harsh and oppressive actionsThe outcry against Diems harsh and oppressive actionswas immediate.was immediate.– Buddhist monks and nuns were joined by students, businessBuddhist monks and nuns were joined by students, businesspeople, intellectuals, and peasants in opposition to Diem’speople, intellectuals, and peasants in opposition to Diem’scorrupt rule.corrupt rule.– The more these forces attacked Diems troops and secret police,The more these forces attacked Diems troops and secret police,the more Diem complained that the Communists were trying tothe more Diem complained that the Communists were trying totake South Vietnam by force. This was "a hostile act oftake South Vietnam by force. This was "a hostile act ofaggression by North Vietnam against peace-loving andaggression by North Vietnam against peace-loving anddemocratic South Vietnam."democratic South Vietnam."
The National Liberation FrontThe National Liberation Front• The CommunistsThe Communistssupported the creation ofsupported the creation ofa broad-based united fronta broad-based united frontto help mobilizeto help mobilizesoutherners in oppositionsoutherners in oppositionto the government into the government inSouth Vietnam.South Vietnam.• On December 20, 1960, the National Liberation FrontOn December 20, 1960, the National Liberation Front(NLF) was born.(NLF) was born.– It brought together Communists and non-Communists in anIt brought together Communists and non-Communists in anumbrella organization that had limited, but important goalsumbrella organization that had limited, but important goals– Anyone could join as long as they opposed Ngo Dinh Diem andAnyone could join as long as they opposed Ngo Dinh Diem andwanted to unify Vietnam.wanted to unify Vietnam.
Washington White PapersWashington White Papers• In a series of government "WhiteIn a series of government "WhitePapers," Washington insidersPapers," Washington insidersdenounced the NLF, claiming that itdenounced the NLF, claiming that itwas merely a puppet of Hanoi. Theywas merely a puppet of Hanoi. Theycalled it the "Viet Cong," acalled it the "Viet Cong," aderogatory and slang term meaningderogatory and slang term meaningVietnamese Communist.Vietnamese Communist.• The NLF, on the other hand, arguedThe NLF, on the other hand, arguedthat it was autonomous andthat it was autonomous andindependent of the Communists inindependent of the Communists inHanoi and that it was made upHanoi and that it was made upmostly of non-Communists. Manymostly of non-Communists. Manyanti-war activists supported theanti-war activists supported theNLFs claims.NLFs claims.
December 1961 White PaperDecember 1961 White Paper• In 1961, President KennedyIn 1961, President Kennedysent a team to Vietnam to reportsent a team to Vietnam to reporton conditions in the South andon conditions in the South andto assess future American aidto assess future American aidrequirements.requirements.• The report, known as theThe report, known as the"December 1961 White Paper,""December 1961 White Paper,"argued for:argued for:– An increase in military, technical, and economic aidAn increase in military, technical, and economic aid– The introduction of large-scale American "advisers"The introduction of large-scale American "advisers"to help stabilize the Diem regime and crush the NLF.to help stabilize the Diem regime and crush the NLF.
The Kennedy ResponseThe Kennedy Response• As Kennedy weighed the merits ofAs Kennedy weighed the merits ofthese recommendations, some ofthese recommendations, some ofhis other advisers urged thehis other advisers urged thepresident to withdraw frompresident to withdraw fromVietnam altogether.Vietnam altogether.• In typical Kennedy fashion, theIn typical Kennedy fashion, thepresident chose a middle route.president chose a middle route.– Instead of a large-scale militaryInstead of a large-scale militarybuildup or a negotiated settlement,buildup or a negotiated settlement,the United States would increase thethe United States would increase thelevel of its military involvement inlevel of its military involvement inSouth Vietnam through moreSouth Vietnam through moremachinery and advisers, but nomachinery and advisers, but nomilitary troops.military troops.
The Strategic Hamlet ProgramThe Strategic Hamlet Program• To counteract the NLFs successTo counteract the NLFs successin the countryside, Washingtonin the countryside, Washingtonand Saigon launched anand Saigon launched anambitious military effort in theambitious military effort in therural areas.rural areas.– Called the Strategic HamletCalled the Strategic HamletProgram, the newProgram, the newcounterinsurgency plan roundedcounterinsurgency plan roundedup villagers and placed them inup villagers and placed them in"safe hamlets" controlled by the"safe hamlets" controlled by thegovernment of South Vietnam.government of South Vietnam.– The idea was to isolate the NLFThe idea was to isolate the NLFfrom villagers, its base of supportfrom villagers, its base of support
NFL SuccessesNFL Successes• This culturally-insensitive planThis culturally-insensitive planfurther alienated the peasants fromfurther alienated the peasants fromthe Saigon regime and producedthe Saigon regime and producedmore recruits for the NLF.more recruits for the NLF.• By the summer of 1963, because ofBy the summer of 1963, because ofNLF successes and its own failures,NLF successes and its own failures,it was clear that the government ofit was clear that the government ofSouth Vietnam was on the verge ofSouth Vietnam was on the verge ofpolitical collapse.political collapse.
Buddhist Self-ImmolationsBuddhist Self-Immolations• Diems brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, hadDiems brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, hadraided the Buddhist pagodas of Southraided the Buddhist pagodas of SouthVietnam, claiming that they had harboredVietnam, claiming that they had harboredthe Communists that were creating thethe Communists that were creating thepolitical instability.political instability.• The result was massive protests on theThe result was massive protests on thestreets of Saigon that led Buddhist monksstreets of Saigon that led Buddhist monksto self-immolation.to self-immolation.• The pictures of the monks engulfed inThe pictures of the monks engulfed inflames made world headlines and causedflames made world headlines and causedconsiderable consternation in Washington.considerable consternation in Washington.
Military CoupMilitary Coup• By late September, the BuddhistBy late September, the Buddhistprotest had created such disloca-protest had created such disloca-tion in the south that the Kennedytion in the south that the Kennedyadministration supported a coup.administration supported a coup.• In 1963, some of Diems ownIn 1963, some of Diems owngenerals approached the Americangenerals approached the AmericanEmbassy in Saigon with plans to overthrow Diem.Embassy in Saigon with plans to overthrow Diem.• With Washingtons tacit approval, Diem and his brother wereWith Washingtons tacit approval, Diem and his brother werecaptured and later killed.captured and later killed.• Three weeks later, President Kennedy was assassinated on theThree weeks later, President Kennedy was assassinated on thestreets of Dallas.streets of Dallas.
Escalation of the ConflictEscalation of the Conflict• At the time of the Kennedy and DiemAt the time of the Kennedy and Diemassassinations, there were 16,000assassinations, there were 16,000military advisers in Vietnam.military advisers in Vietnam.– The Kennedy administration hadThe Kennedy administration hadmanaged to run the war from Washingtonmanaged to run the war from Washingtonwithout the large-scale introduction ofwithout the large-scale introduction ofAmerican combat troops.American combat troops.– The continuing political problems inThe continuing political problems inSaigon, however, convinced the newSaigon, however, convinced the newpresident, Lyndon Baines Johnson, thatpresident, Lyndon Baines Johnson, thatmore aggressive action was needed.more aggressive action was needed.• After a dubious North Vietnamese raid on two U.S. ships in the Gulf ofAfter a dubious North Vietnamese raid on two U.S. ships in the Gulf ofTonkin, the Johnson administration argued for expansive war powersTonkin, the Johnson administration argued for expansive war powersfor the president.for the president.
Attack on American ShipsAttack on American Ships• In August 1964, in response toIn August 1964, in response toAmerican and South VietnameseAmerican and South Vietnameseespionage along its coast, Northespionage along its coast, NorthVietnam launched an attack againstVietnam launched an attack againstthe C. Turner Joy and the U.S.S.the C. Turner Joy and the U.S.S.Maddox, two American ships on callMaddox, two American ships on callin the Gulf of Tonkin.in the Gulf of Tonkin.– The first attack occurred onThe first attack occurred onAugust 2, 1964.August 2, 1964.– A second attack was supposed to haveA second attack was supposed to havetaken place on August 4, but authoritiestaken place on August 4, but authoritieshave recently concluded that no secondhave recently concluded that no secondattack ever took place.attack ever took place.
The Gulf of Tonkin ResolutionThe Gulf of Tonkin Resolution• The JohnsonThe Johnsonadministration used theadministration used theAugust 4 attack toAugust 4 attack toobtain a Congressionalobtain a Congressionalresolution, now knownresolution, now knownas the Gulf of Tonkinas the Gulf of TonkinResolution, that gaveResolution, that gavethe president broad warthe president broad warpowers.powers.• The Resolution wasThe Resolution wasfollowed by limitedfollowed by limitedreprisal air attacksreprisal air attacksagainst North Vietnam.against North Vietnam.
Operation Rolling ThunderOperation Rolling Thunder• In early 1965, the NLF attacked two U.S. armyIn early 1965, the NLF attacked two U.S. armyinstallations in South Vietnam, and as a result,installations in South Vietnam, and as a result,Johnson ordered sustained bombing missionsJohnson ordered sustained bombing missionsover North Vietnam.over North Vietnam.• The bombing missions, known as “OperationThe bombing missions, known as “OperationRolling Thunder,” caused the Communist Party toRolling Thunder,” caused the Communist Party toreassess its own war strategyreassess its own war strategy
Phosphorous & Napalm BombsPhosphorous & Napalm Bombs• ““Operation RollingOperation RollingThunder” was backed upThunder” was backed upby phosphorous andby phosphorous andnapalm bombs – thenapalm bombs – thelatter causing dreadfullatter causing dreadfulburns to thousand ofburns to thousand ofinnocent civilians.innocent civilians.
Operation Ranch HandOperation Ranch Hand• When this failed to break down the jungle cover the USAFWhen this failed to break down the jungle cover the USAFstarted “Operation Ranch Hand” – the defoliation program,started “Operation Ranch Hand” – the defoliation program,using Agent Orange.using Agent Orange.– This deadly chemical cocktail, containing dioxin, killed off millionsThis deadly chemical cocktail, containing dioxin, killed off millionsof acres of jungle to try to weaken the Vietcong – but left aof acres of jungle to try to weaken the Vietcong – but left ahorrendous legacy in Vietnam.horrendous legacy in Vietnam.– The dioxin got into the food chain causing chromosome damageThe dioxin got into the food chain causing chromosome damageto humans. There were hundreds of cases of children born withto humans. There were hundreds of cases of children born withdeformities.deformities.
HelicoptersHelicopters• Of all aircraft, theOf all aircraft, thehelicopter was thehelicopter was themost useful,most useful,dropping platoonsdropping platoonsin the junglein the jungleclearings and outclearings and outagain. They wereagain. They wereexcellent airexcellent airambulances.ambulances.
How did the North VietnameseHow did the North VietnameseFight Back Against the U.S. Invaders?Fight Back Against the U.S. Invaders?• The North Vietnamese used classic MaoistThe North Vietnamese used classic Maoistguerrilla tactics. “Guerrillas must move throughguerrilla tactics. “Guerrillas must move throughthe peasants like fish through sea,” i.e., thethe peasants like fish through sea,” i.e., thepeasants will support them as much as they canpeasants will support them as much as they canwith shelter, food, weapons, storage, intelligence,with shelter, food, weapons, storage, intelligence,recruits.recruits.
North Vietnamese TacticsNorth Vietnamese Tactics• In areas held by the NLF, theIn areas held by the NLF, theCommunists distributed theCommunists distributed theland to the peasants. (By 1973,land to the peasants. (By 1973,the NLF held about half ofthe NLF held about half ofSouth Vietnam.)South Vietnam.)• Their weapons were cheapTheir weapons were cheapand reliable.and reliable.– The AK47 assault rifle out-performed the American M16The AK47 assault rifle out-performed the American M16– The portable rocket launcher took out many US vehicles & aircraft.The portable rocket launcher took out many US vehicles & aircraft.– They recycledThey recycled dud bombs dropped by the Americans. Deadlydud bombs dropped by the Americans. Deadlybooby-traps could inflict huge damage on young Americanbooby-traps could inflict huge damage on young Americanconscripts!conscripts!
Tunnel ComplexesTunnel Complexes• The Vietnamese built large tunnel complexesThe Vietnamese built large tunnel complexessuch as the ones at Cu Chi near Saigon. Thissuch as the ones at Cu Chi near Saigon. Thisprotected them from the bombing raids by theprotected them from the bombing raids by theAmericans and gave them cover for attacking theAmericans and gave them cover for attacking theinvaders.invaders.
Search & Destroy TacticsSearch & Destroy Tactics• The United States counteredThe United States counteredwith “Search and Destroy”with “Search and Destroy”tactics. In areas where the NLFtactics. In areas where the NLFwere thought to be operating,were thought to be operating,troops went in and checked fortroops went in and checked forweapons. If they found them,weapons. If they found them,they rounded up the villagers and burned the villages down.they rounded up the villagers and burned the villages down.• This often alienated the peasants from the American/SouthThis often alienated the peasants from the American/SouthVietnamese cause.Vietnamese cause.– As one marine said – “If they weren’t Vietcong before we got there,As one marine said – “If they weren’t Vietcong before we got there,they sure as hell were by the time we left”.they sure as hell were by the time we left”.– The NFL often helped the villager’s re-build their homes and buryThe NFL often helped the villager’s re-build their homes and burytheir dead.their dead.
Protracted War StrategyProtracted War Strategy• After “OperationAfter “OperationRolling Thunder,” theRolling Thunder,” theCommunist PartyCommunist Partymoved to a protractedmoved to a protractedwar strategy: the ideawar strategy: the ideawas to get the Unitedwas to get the UnitedStates bogged down inStates bogged down ina war that it could nota war that it could notwin militarily and createwin militarily and createunfavorable conditionsunfavorable conditionsfor political victory.for political victory.
The War in AmericaThe War in America• The Vietnam War had a majorThe Vietnam War had a majorimpact on everyday life inimpact on everyday life inAmerica, and the JohnsonAmerica, and the Johnsonadministration was forced toadministration was forced toconsider domestic consequencesconsider domestic consequencesof its decisions daily.of its decisions daily.• Since there were not enoughSince there were not enoughvolunteers to continue to fight avolunteers to continue to fight aprotracted war, the governmentprotracted war, the governmentinstituted a draft.instituted a draft.
Anti-War SentimentsAnti-War Sentiments• As the deaths mountedAs the deaths mountedand Americansand Americanscontinued to leave forcontinued to leave forSoutheast Asia, theSoutheast Asia, theJohnson administrationJohnson administrationwas met with the fullwas met with the fullweight of American anti-weight of American anti-war sentiments.war sentiments.
Anti-War ProtestsAnti-War Protests• Protests erupted on college campuses and inProtests erupted on college campuses and inmajor cities at first, but by 1968 every corner ofmajor cities at first, but by 1968 every corner ofthe country seemed to have felt the wars impact.the country seemed to have felt the wars impact.
1968 Democratic Convention1968 Democratic Convention• One of the most famous incidentsOne of the most famous incidentsin the anti-war movement was thein the anti-war movement was thepolice riot in Chicago during thepolice riot in Chicago during the1968 Democratic National1968 Democratic NationalConvention.Convention.• Hundreds of thousands of peopleHundreds of thousands of peoplecame to Chicago in August 1968came to Chicago in August 1968to protest American interventionto protest American interventionin Vietnam and the leaders of thein Vietnam and the leaders of theDemocratic Party who continuedDemocratic Party who continuedto prosecute the war.to prosecute the war.
The Tet OffensiveThe Tet Offensive• By 1968, things had gone from bad to worse for the JohnsonBy 1968, things had gone from bad to worse for the Johnsonadministration. In late January, North Vietnam and the NLFadministration. In late January, North Vietnam and the NLFlaunched coordinated attacks against major southern cities.launched coordinated attacks against major southern cities.• These attacks, known as the Tet Offensive, were designed toThese attacks, known as the Tet Offensive, were designed toforce the Johnson administration to the bargaining table.force the Johnson administration to the bargaining table.
The My Lai MassacreThe My Lai Massacre• A serious blow to U.S. credibility came with theA serious blow to U.S. credibility came with theexposure of the My Lai massacre (March 1968).exposure of the My Lai massacre (March 1968).• Hushed up at the time and only discovered by aHushed up at the time and only discovered by atenacious journalist, this involved the killing oftenacious journalist, this involved the killing of400 men, women and children by US troops. 400 men, women and children by US troops.
A Secret Plan to End the WarA Secret Plan to End the War• In late March 1968, a disgracedIn late March 1968, a disgracedLyndon Johnson announced that heLyndon Johnson announced that hewould not seek the Democraticwould not seek the DemocraticPartys re-nomination for presidentPartys re-nomination for presidentand hinted that he would go to theand hinted that he would go to thebargaining table with thebargaining table with theCommunists to end the war.Communists to end the war.• Negotiations began in the spring ofNegotiations began in the spring of1968, but the Democratic Party1968, but the Democratic Partycould not rescue the presidencycould not rescue the presidencyfrom Republican challenger Richardfrom Republican challenger RichardNixon who claimed he had a secretNixon who claimed he had a secretplan to end the war.plan to end the war.
VietnamizationVietnamization• Nixons secret plan involved aNixons secret plan involved aprocess called “Vietnamization.”process called “Vietnamization.”This strategy brought AmericanThis strategy brought Americantroops home while increasingtroops home while increasingthe air war over North Vietnamthe air war over North Vietnamand relying more on the Southand relying more on the SouthVietnamese army for groundVietnamese army for groundattacks.attacks.
Expansion to Laos & CambodiaExpansion to Laos & Cambodia• The Nixon years also saw the expansion of the war intoThe Nixon years also saw the expansion of the war intoneighboring Laos and Cambodia, violating theneighboring Laos and Cambodia, violating theinternational rights of these countries in secretinternational rights of these countries in secretcampaigns, as the White House tried desperately to routcampaigns, as the White House tried desperately to routout Communist sanctuaries and supply routes.out Communist sanctuaries and supply routes.
Campus Protests & ShootingsCampus Protests & Shootings• The intense bombingThe intense bombingcampaigns andcampaigns andintervention inintervention inCambodia in lateCambodia in lateApril 1970 sparkedApril 1970 sparkedintense campusintense campusprotests all acrossprotests all acrossAmerica.America.
Kent StateKent State• At Kent State inAt Kent State inOhio, four studentsOhio, four studentswere killed bywere killed byNational GuardsmenNational Guardsmenwho were called outwho were called outto preserve order onto preserve order oncampus after days ofcampus after days ofanti-Nixon protest.anti-Nixon protest.
Jackson StateJackson State• Shock waves crossed theShock waves crossed thenation as students atnation as students atJackson State in MississippiJackson State in Mississippiwere also shot and killed forwere also shot and killed forpolitical reasons, promptingpolitical reasons, promptingone mother to cry, "Theyone mother to cry, "Theyare killing our babies inare killing our babies inVietnam and in our ownVietnam and in our ownbackyard."backyard."
The Christmas BombingsThe Christmas Bombings• In December 1972, the Nixon administration unleashed aIn December 1972, the Nixon administration unleashed aseries of deadly bombing raids against targets in Northseries of deadly bombing raids against targets in NorthVietnam’s largest cities, Hanoi and Haiphong.Vietnam’s largest cities, Hanoi and Haiphong.• These attacks, now known as the Christmas bombings,These attacks, now known as the Christmas bombings,brought immediate condemnation from the internationalbrought immediate condemnation from the internationalcommunity and forced the Nixon administration tocommunity and forced the Nixon administration toreconsider its tactics and negotiation strategy.reconsider its tactics and negotiation strategy.
The Paris Peace AgreementThe Paris Peace Agreement• In early January 1973, the NixonIn early January 1973, the NixonWhite House convinced SaigonWhite House convinced Saigonthat they would not abandon thethat they would not abandon theSouth Vietnamese army if theySouth Vietnamese army if theysigned the peace accord.signed the peace accord.• On January 23, therefore, the finalOn January 23, therefore, the finaldraft was initialed, ending opendraft was initialed, ending openhostilities between the Unitedhostilities between the UnitedStates and North Vietnam.States and North Vietnam.• The Paris Peace Agreement didThe Paris Peace Agreement didnot end the conflict in Vietnam,not end the conflict in Vietnam,however, as Saigon continued tohowever, as Saigon continued tobattle Communist forces.battle Communist forces.
The Fall to CommunismThe Fall to Communism• From March 1973 until the fall ofFrom March 1973 until the fall ofSaigon on April 30, 1975, the SouthSaigon on April 30, 1975, the SouthVietnamese army tried desperately toVietnamese army tried desperately tosave the South from political andsave the South from political andmilitary collapse.military collapse.• The end finally came when NorthThe end finally came when NorthVietnamese tanks rolled south alongVietnamese tanks rolled south alongNational Highway One.National Highway One.• On the morning of April 30,On the morning of April 30,Communist forces captured theCommunist forces captured thepresidential palace in Saigon, endingpresidential palace in Saigon, endingthe Vietnam War.the Vietnam War.
Why Did the United StatesWhy Did the United StatesLose the Vietnam War?Lose the Vietnam War?1.1. They underestimated the tenacity andThey underestimated the tenacity andorganization of the North Vietnamese and theorganization of the North Vietnamese and theNational Liberation Front. National Liberation Front.
2.2. Despite droppingDespite droppingmore tonnage of highmore tonnage of highexplosive on Vietnamexplosive on Vietnamthan the whole ofthan the whole ofWorld War II, theWorld War II, theAmericans could notAmericans could notstop the movementstop the movementof troops or suppliesof troops or suppliesto the south alongto the south alongthe Ho Chi Minhthe Ho Chi MinhTrail. Trail.
3.3. The North VietnameseThe North Vietnameseconducted a “Peoplesconducted a “Peopleswar” in which everyonewar” in which everyoneplayed a part.played a part.
4.4. At first, most Americans supported the war.At first, most Americans supported the war.But by 1970, the Peace Movement hadBut by 1970, the Peace Movement hadsupport from all parts of society and nosupport from all parts of society and nogovernment could ignore it.government could ignore it.
5.5. After 1969, there wereAfter 1969, there weredeep questions aboutdeep questions aboutthe efficiency of USthe efficiency of UStroops. There was atroops. There was aserious drug problem;serious drug problem;desertion rates weredesertion rates werehigh and morale low.high and morale low.Many troops wereMany troops were“time-servers,” i.e.,“time-servers,” i.e.,counted the days untilcounted the days untilthe tour was over.the tour was over.
6.6. The US never reallyThe US never reallyunderstood the culture ofunderstood the culture ofthe Vietnamese people.the Vietnamese people.Coca Cola, chewing gum,Coca Cola, chewing gum,ball point pens, and iceball point pens, and icecream cones could notcream cones could notdislodge their ancientdislodge their ancientbeliefs.beliefs.
7.7. America was not prepared to keep losing highAmerica was not prepared to keep losing highnumbers of casualties for such limited progressnumbers of casualties for such limited progressin a difficult jungle war, for which they werein a difficult jungle war, for which they werenot suited. not suited.
8.8. The strength and resourcefulness of the NLF.The strength and resourcefulness of the NLF.For example, the highly complex Cu ChiFor example, the highly complex Cu Chitunnel system the U.S. never shut down. tunnel system the U.S. never shut down.
SourcesSources• Battlefield Vietnam: A Brief HistoryBattlefield Vietnam: A Brief Historyhttp://www.pbs.org/battlefieldvietnam/history/index.htmlhttp://www.pbs.org/battlefieldvietnam/history/index.html• Vietnam Revision GuideVietnam Revision Guidehttp://www.learnhistory.org.uk/vietnam/ustactics.htmhttp://www.learnhistory.org.uk/vietnam/ustactics.htm