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Vietnam War Explicitly Assess information and draw conclusions

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1 Vietnam War Explicitly Assess information and draw conclusions




5 The Beginnings of US Involvement
French Indochina Ho Chi Minh Vietminh Dien Bien Phu (1954) Domino Theory Geneva Accords (1954) 17th parallel Promised elections in 1956 Ngo Dinh Diem

6 U.S. Involvement in Vietnam
Began sending money and weapons to South Vietnam Military advisors sent to train South Vietnamese army Eisenhower Believed in the Domino Theory Increased the number of military advisors and army special forces, or Green Berets Advisors were not to take part in combat, but many did Kennedy Believed an expanded U.S. effort was the only way to prevent a Communist victory in Vietnam Asked Congress to pass the Tonkin Gulf Resolution Johnson 6

7 Resistance Intensifies
NLF (National Liberation Front) Vietcong VC (South Vietnamese rebels) NVA North Vietnamese Army (regular) JFK sends Advisors/ Green Berets “Hearts and Minds” Protests – Buddhist self-immolations Diem overthrown – coup Nov 1963

8 Gulf Of Tonkin Incident
Events: Aug 2nd and 4th 1964 - US destroyers “attacked” by N. Vietnamese patrol boats LBJ Tonkin Gulf Resolution, all necessary power to prevent aggression. “Fog of War” Clip -

9 Johnson Sends Ground Forces
-”I’m not going to be the president who saw Southeast Asia go the way China went.” -1964 campaign promise-”We are not going to send boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves” -Remembers Truman’s “loss” of China  Domino Theory revived What Johnson told Congress What he didn’t tell Congress: He had already written the resolution before the “incident.” The U.S. naval vessels were aiding ARVN in commando raids in North Vietnam at the time. He learned that the attack probably hadn’t occurred. The U.S. navy was not on the “high seas” but in N. Vietnam’s 12 mile territorial limit. 9

10 Escalation under LBJ

11 Operation Rolling Thunder
Why did U.S. superiority in the air war fail to win quickly in Vietnam? Operation Rolling Thunder A bombing campaign over North Vietnam Bombed military targets—army bases and airfields—as well as bridges, roads, railways, and power plants Main target was the Ho Chi Minh Trail Weapons of the Air War Agent Orange—defoliant, or chemical, that destroys vegetation Napalm—jellied form of gasoline used to create firebombs “Cluster bombs”—sprayed sharp metal fragments when exploded The Air War Bombing did not succeed Flow of goods from North to South Vietnam actually increased Vietcong repaired bridges, had bunkers underground, and used weapons from the Soviet Union and China 11

12 Operation Rolling Thunder

13 We can see the “light at the end of the tunnel.”
The Ground War General Westmoreland, late 1967: We can see the “light at the end of the tunnel.”

14 The Ground War 1965-1968 -No territorial goals
-Body counts on TV every night (first “living room” war) “ “Breakfast where the news is read, television, children fed..” – The Doors -Viet Cong supplies over the Ho Chi Minh Trail

15 U.S. Forces Mobilize The Draft Non-combat Positions
25 percent were excused for health reasons; 30 percent received deferments, or postponements of service. College students were deferred, so men from higher-income families were less likely to serve. A high percentage of combat soldiers were African Americans. A draft lottery began in 1969; the draft ended in 1973. 3 percent of eligible men escaped the draft by either refusing to register or by leaving the United States. Non-combat Positions Most Americans in Vietnam served in non-combat positions—administration, communications, engineering, medical care, and transportation. About 10,000 American military women served. Some 20,000 to 45,000 more women worked in civilian capacities, many as volunteers for the Red Cross or other humanitarian relief organizations. 15


17 Victims Patrols Search and Destroy Pontoon Boats Supplies

18 Hueys Where is the Enemy? Dangers on Patrol Soldier (Draft and Volunteer)

19 Strengths and Weaknesses
“We own the day, Charlie owns the night”

20 Who Is the Enemy? -Vietcong: -Farmers by day; guerillas at night.
-Very patient people willing to accept many casualties. -The US grossly underestimated their resolve and their resourcefulness. The guerilla wins if he does not lose, the conventional army loses if it does not win Mao Zedong


22 “Dear America – Letters Home from Vietnam”
Questions: How do the opinions of soldiers change over the course of the war? What do you think of the conditions of Vietnam? How do US soldiers’ morale change? What were the psychological effects of war? How do they respond to events at home? Remember: Average age of combat soldier = 19

23 War Protests Why did some people oppose the Vietnam War?

24 Public Opinion Regarding the Vietnam War
Media’s Impact Reporters and television crews went on patrol with the soldiers. Television brought scenes of firefights and burning villages into America’s living rooms. Criticized the government’s reports about the war Hawks and Doves Doves—people opposed to the war Hawks—people who supported the war’s goals Both criticized the war effort. Hawks wanted more troops and bombing. Doves opposed the war for many reasons. Antiwar Movement Movement attracted a broad range of participants Much antiwar activity took place on college campuses. Most vocal group—Students for a Democratic Society. Antiwar protesters made up a small percentage of the U.S. population. 24

25 Reasons that Doves Opposed the War
Argued that Vietnam was not crucial to American national security (Ex. George Kennan) Argued that the United States was fighting against the wishes of a majority of Vietnamese (Ex. Dr. Benjamin Spock) Argued that the war was draining needed resources from Great Society programs (Ex. Martin Luther King Jr.) Argued that it was unfair for African Americans to fight for democracy in a foreign land when discrimination continued at home (Ex. Civil rights activists) Argued that Johnson’s policies were too extreme (Ex. J. William Fulbright) 25

26 Counterculture Values
Rock and Roll Drug use Free Love Communal living Eastern philosophy Hippies Youth Pro-Environment Pro Civil Rights Anti-imperialism Anti-establishment Anti-war

27 Reflecting on Counterculture Values
David Crosby: "We were right about a lot of things. We were right about the war. We were right about the environment. We were right about civil rights and women's issues. But we were wrong about the drugs."

28 March on Washington (1965 and 1967) Jan.- MLK speaks out (1967)
Anti- War March on Washington (1965 and 1967) Jan.- MLK speaks out (1967)

29 “New Left” Origins Berkeley, CA Free Speech Movement 1964 SDS
(Students for a Democratic Society) Port Huron Statement, 1962 Berkeley, CA Free Speech Movement 1964 “New Left”

30 Tactics Teach-ins Marches and Protests Draft Card Burning

31 The Pentagon, 1967

32 Universities Police Columbia 1968 Privileged Or Protestors

33 Soldiers become disconnected from war effort
Some turn to drugs, alcohol, and awaiting the end of their tour

34 1968- The Turning Point Events: Tet Offensive MLK and RFK Assassinated
LBJ Drops out Wallace and AIP Dem. Nat. Convention Columbia Univ. Nixon Elected Themes Clash of Values Violence and Protest Vietnam quagmire Loss of leaders Youth Disillusionment Return of Conservatism

35 TET Offensive Vietnamese New Year 1968 : Tet offensive
shocks US military US is demoralized (TV) V.C. and fight escalates South Vietnamese Soldier shooting a VC prisoner

36 Khe Sahn Khe Sahn 1968

37 Effects of the Tet Offensive
Growing Doubts Walter Cronkite broadcast a television report in which he gave his personal assessment of the situation in Vietnam. Major national magazines such as Time and Newsweek also expressed doubts about the war and began to call for its end. Public criticism of the government’s policies grew louder and more intense. Leaders within Johnson’s administration began to criticize Johnson’s policies. Robert S. McNamara began to seek ways to end the war. Democratic Challengers Roughly 3 out of 4 Americans opposed his policies in Vietnam. Minnesota senator Eugene McCarthy challenged Johnson for the Democratic Party’s nomination. New York senator Robert Kennedy entered the race. Shaken by the divisions within his party, Johnson announced that he would not seek nor accept the office of the presidency. 37

38 The Credibilty Gap - Johnson’s popularity dropped in 1968 from 48% to 36%.

39 Impact of the Vietnam War
Johnson announces (March, 1968): …I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.


41 Chicago- Democratic National Convention
1968 Humphrey Nominated Chicago- Democratic National Convention Mayor Daley


43 Nixon Elected 1968 ‘Silent Majority’ Plan to exit Nam?

44 Nixon’s Vietnamization Plan Nixon Doctrine Protests from Vietnam Vets
US troops begin to pull out of Vietnam… Nixon’s Vietnamization Plan Nixon Doctrine Protests from Vietnam Vets 44

45 Expansion of the Conflict
-1969 Bombings -1970 US Troops -Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge

46 Expansion Leads to More War Protests
In 1970 Nixon announced that he had ordered troops into Cambodia. Antiwar protests intensified—especially on college campuses. Antiwar protests erupted into violence. Nixon believed that antiwar protesters represented only a minority of Americans. Radical antiwar groups turned to violent measures to oppose the war. More and more Americans began to oppose the war when they learned about the My Lai massacre and the Pentagon Papers. 46

47 Increasing Protests My Lai Massacre Pentagon Papers
Troops under Lieutenant William Calley killed at least 450 men, women, and children in the village of My Lai while on a search-and-destroy mission. No Vietcong were found in the village. The My Lai massacre was kept quiet at first, but former soldiers began talking about it. This atrocity intensified the divisions between war supporters and opponents. Calley was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison; he was paroled in 1974. Pentagon Papers A collection of secret government documents that traced the history of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam since the Truman years Revealed that government officials had been misleading the American people about the war for years Daniel Ellsberg leaked the papers to the press. Ellsberg originally supported the war, but then concluded that few South Vietnamese civilians supported the U.S.-backed government. 47

48 Anti-War Demonstrations
-May 4, 1970 -4 students shot dead. -11 students wounded -Jackson State University -May 10, 1970 -2 dead; 12 wounded Kent State University

49 Increasing Protests Campus Violence Kent State University in Ohio
4 students were killed and 9 injured Jackson State College in Mississippi 2 students were killed and 9 wounded Antiwar Movement Polls showed that fifty percent of Americans opposed the war. Coalition of clergy, trade unionists, and veterans established a nationwide day of protest called Moratorium Day. 250,000 protesters made up the largest antiwar demonstration in U.S. history. Radical Protests Some antiwar groups turned to violent measures. The Weathermen set off more than 5,000 bombs and carried out the Days of Rage. Most antiwar protesters did not support extremist groups or terrorist measures. 49

50 Are We Becoming the Enemy?
Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry -Mylai Massacre, 1968 (revealed in 1970_ unarmed villagers -Lt. William Calley, Platoon Leader

51 The Secret War Pentagon Papers 1971
Daniel Ellsberg War from Gov. has been lying about success in Vietnam

52 U.S. Involvement in Vietnam Ends
Senator from South Dakota who criticized war Insisted that the Vietnam War be brought to an immediate end George McGovern Lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 McGovern hoped the ratification of this amendment would boost his election chances. 26th Amendment Nixon stressed law and order at home and told voters he would end the war. Kissinger announced a breakthrough in the peace talks just weeks before the election. The announcement helped Nixon win by a landslide. 1972 Election 52

53 Détente and Diplomacy Détente-(hope they will help end the war)
China 1972 Russia 1972 SALT I Henry Kissinger & Le Duc Tho "Peace Is At Hand“ 1972 Election Christmas bombings   1973 Paris Peace Accords End of draft – 1973

54 The Ceasefire, 1973 U.S. to remove all troops
Conditions: “Peace With Honor” U.S. to remove all troops North Vietnam could leave troops already in S.V. North Vietnam would resume war No provision for POWs or MIAs Last American troops left South Vietnam on March 29, 1973 1975: North Vietnam defeats South Vietnam Saigon renamed Ho Chi Minh City Many U.S.-loyal South Vietnamese attempt to flee for fear of execution by the North. 54

55 i.e. – it reversed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
War Powers Act – this provides that the President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by authorization of Congress or in case of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces." i.e. – it reversed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution Nixon Resigns Saigon falls -1975 US Embassy Evacuated


57 The Legacy of the War Southeast Asia
635,000 South Vietnamese died; Vietcong and NVA war dead equaled 1 million Severe environmental damage from bombs and defoliants More than 1.5 million South Vietnamese fled the country after the fall of Saigon. Veterans 58,000 Americans were killed; 600 were held as POWs; 2,500 soldiers reported MIA; 300,000 wounded Experienced a negative reception upon return Trouble readjusting to civilian life (post-traumatic stress disorder) Political Impact United States failed to prevent Communists from taking over South Vietnam. Spent more than $150 billion on the war Changed how many Americans viewed government Congress passed the War Powers Act in 1973. 57

58 Vietnam and Korea -- Comparisons
Cold War - Containment No total victory Both undeclared wars – constitutional issue Civilian control over the military Fronts – different type of fighting

59 -President Clinton formally recognized Vietnam on July 11, 1995
-President Carter Pardoned all Vietnam War draft dodgers on January 21,1977 -President Clinton formally recognized Vietnam on July 11, 1995

60 Lessons for Future American Presidents
Wars must be of short duration. Wars must yield few American casualties. Restrict media access to battlefields. Develop and maintain Congressional and public support. Set clear, winnable goals. Set deadline for troop withdrawals. “We’ve Kicked the Vietnam Syndrome” – G H.W. Bush, 1991 60


62 Memorial to US Servicemen in Vietnam

63 58,000

64 The Vietnam Memorial, Washington, D.C.

65 Protest event 1. In general, what was the background and experiences of your person? How did this influence you? Provide any significant biographical information here 2.) In general, how did your person feel about the war in Vietnam? 3.) Did you produce anything in regards to the war in Vietnam? (Books, Pamphlets, laws, military action, news coverage, protest activities, speeches) Explain. What was the work about? 4.) How did/might you view people who held opposite opinions from yourself on our involvement in the war? Give reasons/ Explain. 5.) Were you involved in any specific events related to the Vietnam War or counterculture movement? If so, explain

66 Specific views on some of the following:
6)- the domino theory 7)-Gulf of Tonkin incident 8)-Operation Rolling Thunder 9)-The credibility gap 10)-impact of war on the Great Society and Civil Rights movement 11)-student activism, the impact of the protest movement on the war 12)- hippie and drug culture, counterculture values, music 13)- the Tet Offensive 14)- the role of the media 15)-the My Lai Massacre 16)-the draft 17)-Troop morale, combat experience Impact on returning soldiers 18)-The democratic convention of 1968 19)-Vietnamization 20)-Widening the war (Cambodia, Laos) 21)-Kent State 22)-Withdrawal and legacy 23) Are there any people that you might side with? Explain who and why.

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