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The Vietnam War America’s Longest War: 1950-1975.

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Presentation on theme: "The Vietnam War America’s Longest War: 1950-1975."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Vietnam War America’s Longest War:

2 Conquest and colonialism in Indochina 200 B.C. Chinese invade Red River Delta 939 A.D. After nearly 1000 years of Chinese control, the Vietnamese win independence but the Chinese remained a threat Mid-1800s French imperialism begins on the Indochina peninsula By 1883 Vietnam is completely controlled by the French Over the next several decades, France adds Laos and Cambodia to French Indochina

3 Ho Chi Minh The roots of the Vietnam War date back to WWII when Japan occupied Indochina. In 1941, a Vietnamese nationalist movement, the Viet Minh, was formed by Ho Chi Minh to resist the occupiers. A communist, Ho Chi Minh waged a guerilla war against the Japanese with the support of the United States. Near the end of the war, the Japanese began to promote Vietnamese nationalism and granted Vietnam limited independence

4 September 2, 1945 In 1945, after the Japanese defeat in the Pacific, Ho declares independence. "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" “Nevertheless, for more than eighty years, the French imperialists, abusing the standard of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow-citizens. They have acted contrary to the ideals of humanity and justice. In the field of politics, they have deprived our people of every democratic liberty.” “They have built more prisons than schools. They have mercilessly slain our patriots- they have drowned our uprisings in rivers of blood.”

5 The French attempt to reclaim their colony In 1946 France attempts to reclaim Vietnam U.S. must choose between self- determination for communist Vietnam or support a democratic ally--France Truman makes his choice: He authorizes $10 million to aid the French in Indochina fighting a war against guerilla forces led by Ho The Domino Effect

6 The Eisenhower Years July 1954:Geneva Accords 1. Establishes a temporary division at 17 th parallel (northern half to be governed by the Vietminh, the southern half to be governed by the State of Vietnam then led by Bao-Dai) 2. Provides for free elections to be held by July 1956 May 1954: French colonial presence ends with a Vietnamese victory at Dien Bien Phu

7 Eisenhower backs Diem Diem ousts emperor Bao Dai in 1955 This anti-communist earned U.S. support in an election many considered fraudulent Ike backs Diem regime in South Vietnam by sending weapons and military “advisers” Diem consolidated his power in South Vietnam His rule proved authoritarian, nepotistic, and corrupt. A Roman Catholic, Diem, pursued policies that rankled and oppressed the Buddhist majority. Ngo Dinh Diem

8 Kennedy & Vietnam Kennedy sends 9,000 military “advisers” to Vietnam and doubles aid to the South Vietnamese army (ARVN) Diem is overthrown after JFK gives tacit approval to a coup Strategic Hamlet program Operation Ranch Hand

9 LBJ: Escalation On Aug. 4, 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin were alleged to have attacked without provocation 2 U.S. destroyers that were reporting intelligence information to South Vietnam. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his advisers decided upon immediate air attacks on North Vietnam in retaliation; he also asked Congress for a mandate for future military action. On Aug. 7, Congress passed the “Tonkin Gulf Resolution” According to Johnson, like grandma’s nightshirt, “it covered everything”

10 "For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there." Resolved… that the Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression. USS Maddox

11 1965: Operation Rolling Thunder U.S. military aircraft attacked targets throughout North Vietnam from March 1965 to October 1968 During this period, the U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft engaged in a bombing campaign designed to force Ho Chi Minh to abandon his ambition to take over South Vietnam.

12 Stalemate: Number of U.S. troops in Vietnam increases, reaching 543,000 in 1968, but U.S. and ARVN forces make only limited progress against the guerilla forces. Eddie Adams – Saigon Execution – photograph – 1968 – Vietnam

13 Jan. 30, 1968: Tet Offensive The Tet Offensive causes widespread destruction and heavy casualties.

14 My Lai Massacre: March 16, 1968 The mass murder conducted by a unit of the U.S. Army of 347–504 unarmed citizens in South Vietnam, all of whom were civilians and a majority of whom were women, children (including babies) and elderly people. W. L. Calley

15 Presidential politics 1968 March 31, LBJ announces a reduction in bombing, plans for peace talks, and his decision not to run for reelection.

16 Vietnamization:1969 Nixon administration initiates the secret bombing of Cambodia, increases the bombing of N. Vietnam while reducing U.S. troops in the South, and pursues peace talks.

17 1970: Nixon orders joint U.S.-ARVN invasion of Cambodia The Kent State massacre occurred at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4, The national guardsmen killed four students and wounded nine others. Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia.

18 Pentagon Papers:1971 was a top-secret U.S. Department of Defense history of the United States' political-military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to The papers were first brought to the attention of the public on the front page of the New York Times in The Pentagon Papers "demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress.” Daniel Ellsberg

19 :U.S. troops in Vietnam decrease from 334,600 to 140, : With peace talks stalled, the Nixon administration orders the most devastating bombing of North Vietnam of war. General Westmoreland

20 1973: Peace Accords U.S., North Vietnam, and South Vietnam sign a formal accord in Paris.

21 1975: Fall of Saigon North Vietnam launches new offensive in South Vietnam, defeating ARVN. Vietcong troops occupy Saigon, remaining it Ho Chi Minh City.

22 The Aftermath Turmoil and healing.

23 The War Powers Act The War Powers Resolution of 1973 was a United States Congress joint resolution providing that the President can send U.S. armed forces into action abroad only by authorization of Congress or if the United States is already under attack or serious threat. The War Powers Resolution requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a presidential veto.

24 The Wall The Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors the men and women who served in the Vietnam War. Its main monument, known as 'The Wall' is the most visited memorial in Washington.


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