• What do you know about the Vietnam War?• What were the goals of the United States in thiswar?• What was the goal of the communist NorthVietnamese?
The French Connection• France had gained control of Indochina in a series ofcolonial wars in the mid-late 1800’s• During World War II, Vichy France worked withJapanese forces in controlling Indochina during WWII• After the Japanese surrender, the French fought toretain control of their former colony against the VietMinh independence movement, led by CommunistParty leader Ho Chi Minh• After the Viet Minh defeated the French colonial armyat the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the Frenchwithdrew, and the colony was granted independence
Geneva Conference-1954• Vietnam was partitioned temporarily into aNorthern and a Southern zone of Viet-Nam at the 17thparallel.• The North was to be ruled by Ho Chi Minh,while the South would be under the controlof Emperor Bao Dai.• In 1955, Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diembecame President of a new SouthVietnamese republic.
Geneva Conference• The Geneva Conference (1954) set upelections to unify the country by July, 1956.• Such elections were never held becauseneither side wanted to lose.
Who Fought?• The United States Armed Forces• The Army of the Republic of Viet Nam (ARVN—the South Vietnamese Army)• The NLF, a group of South Vietnamese guerillafighters(Vietcong)• The Peoples Army of Viet Nam (PAVN—theNorth Vietnamese Army, pronounced Pahvin)
Escalation-Truman through Johnson• President Truman began US involvement bysending money to help the French• President Eisenhower continued US supportby sending military advisors to givetemporary support to Diem’s government inthe South• President Kennedy continued sendingadvisors as well as special operationforces(green berets)• President Johnson sent more and morecombat forces
Kennedy and Vietnam• Kennedy strongly believed that if South Vietnam was astable and democratic country, it would keep communismout.• Aid to the South was often made on the condition that thegovernment would undertake certain political reforms.• South Vietnamese President Diem did not work well withthe US.• He would often go through the motions of these US-prescribed reforms, but ended up embarrassing the US.• Diem did not believe that US ideas of democracy weresuited for his government.• With CIA backing, Diem was overthrown by the SV militaryand killed due to his actions and beliefs.
Johnson and Vietnam• President Johnson had some doubts about whether the US should bein Vietnam, as shown in the following excerpts from a taped telephoneconversation he had with his National Security Advisor, McGeorgeBundy on May 27, 1964.• Johnson: Ill tell you the more that I stayed awake last night thinking ofthis thing, the more I think of it, I dont know what in the hell - it lookslike to me were getting into another Korea. It just worries the hell outof me. I dont see what we can ever hope to get out of there with, oncewere committed. I believe that the Chinese Communists are cominginto it. I dont think we can fight them ten thousand miles from home....I dont think its worth fighting for and I dont think we can get out. Itsjust the biggest damned mess that I ever saw.• Bundy: It is. Its an awful mess.• Johnson: And we just got to think about - I was looking at this sergeant ofmine this morning... and I just thought about ordering his kids in there andwhat in the hell am I ordering him out there for? What the hell is Vietnam worthto me? What is Laos worth to me? What is it worth to this country? Now wevegot a treaty but, hell, everybody elses got a treaty out there and theyre notdoing anything about it. Of course if you start running from the Communists,they may just chase you right into your own kitchen.• Bundy: Yeah, thats the trouble. And that is what the rest of that half of theworld is going to think if this thing comes apart on us. Thats the dilemma.
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution• Several US ships were supposedlyattacked by North Vietnamese torpedoesin the Gulf of Tonkin.
• Most experts today do not think the ships wereattacked.• This was Johnson’s ploy to get more involved inVietnam.• On August 7, 1964, Congress passed the Gulf ofTonkin Resolution giving President Johnson the power…to take all necessary measures to repel any armedattack against the forces of the United States and toprevent further aggression and ...to take allnecessary steps, including the use of armed force, toassist any member or protocol state of the SoutheastAsia Collective Treaty requesting assistance indefense of its freedom.• Only two people in Congress voted against it.
• What did this resolution really do?• On August 26, 1964, President Johnson wasnominated as the Democratic candidate for thepresidency of the United States.• During his campaign he promised that “We arenot about to send American boys nine or tenthousand miles away from home to do whatAsian boys ought to be doing for themselves”.• Johnson easily defeated Barry Goldwater in the1964 election.
• President Johnson and General WilliamWestmoreland kept saying that with more troops wewill win the war.• Most Americans tended to believe this at first.• The American publics faith was shattered, on January30, 1968, when the enemy, supposedly on the vergeof collapse, mounted the Tet Offensive in which nearlyevery major city in South Vietnam was attacked.• Named after the lunar new year festival which is themost important Vietnamese holiday in South Vietnam.• Although we crushed the enemy militarily, thesurprising huge offensive attack from an enemy thatwas supposedly almost defeated convinced manyAmericans that victory was impossible.
Losses during Tet OffensiveCountry/Force Killed Wounded MissingUS, Korea, Australia 1,536 7,764 11South Viet Nam 2,788 8,299 587North Viet Nam and VietCong45,000 not known notknownCivilian 14,000 24,000 630,000homeless
• There was an increasing sense among manypeople that the government was misleading theAmerican people about a war without a clearbeginning or end.• When General Westmoreland called for still moretroops to be sent to Vietnam after the TetOffensive, more and more people startedprotesting.• The support of the government and war effortsuffered even more when the New York Timespublished the Pentagon Papers.• It was a top-secret historical study about the war,that showed how the government wasmisleading the US public in all stages of the war.
Operation Rolling Thunder• Operation Rolling Thunderwas the code name for thenon-stop bombing raids inNorth Vietnam conducted bythe United States armedforces.• Its purpose was to destroythe will of the NorthVietnamese to fight, todestroy industrial bases andair defenses and to stop theflow of men and suppliesdown the Ho Chi Minh Trail.• Was not successful indestroying the will of theNorth.
Anti-War• Why were so many people against thewar?1. Tet Offensive2. Pentagon Papers3. Injuring/killing innocent people(My LaiMassacre)4. Supporting a bad government in South5. The power of the press
My Lai Massacre March 1968• US soldiers killed 504Vietnamesecivilians.• The dead civiliansincluded fifty age 3or younger, 69between 4 and 7,and 27 in their 70sor 80s.• Women were rapedand bodiesmutilated.
How did people get out ofserving?1. Went to Canada or Sweden2. Went to college(student deferment)3. Got married4. Medically unfit for service5. Joined the National Guard or PeaceCorps6. Claimed to be homosexual7. Being rich
Nixon and Vietnam• Nixon called for the “vietnamization” of thewar.• “Peace with Honor”• Gradually pull US troops out and train theARVN to take our place in fighting theNorth.• Expanded the war into Laos andCambodia leading to college protests(KentSt.)
• On January 15, 1973, President Nixonannounced the suspension of offensiveaction in North Vietnam.• The Paris Peace Accords were latersigned on January 27, 1973 whichofficially ended US involvement in theVietnam conflict.1. Fighting stopped2. US would pull out of Vietnam3. North and South Vietnam would recognizeeach other’s independence
Peace???• The peace agreement did not last.• In March, 1975, the North invaded the South.• The South was not strong enough and fellquickly.• Saigon, the South’s capital fell on April 30, 1975.• US did not live up to it’s promise to come to theiraid if the North attacked.• North Vietnam united both North and SouthVietnam on July 2, 1976 to form the SocialistRepublic of Vietnam.• Saigon was re-named Ho Chi Minh City in honorof the former president of North Vietnam.• Vietnam is still communist today.
War Powers Act1973• Limits the power of the President of the US towage war without the approval of the Congress.• It requires the President to consult withCongress prior to the start of any hostilities aswell as regularly until U.S. armed forces are nolonger engaged in hostilities.• President must remove U.S. armed forces fromhostilities if Congress has not declared war orpassed a resolution authorizing the use of forcewithin 60 days.
Vietnam Remembered• Vets were not treatedwell upon their returnto the US.• The VietnamVeteran’sMemorial(The Wall)was built as aremembrance tothose that died in theVietnam War.