Presentation on theme: "Vietnam -Overview Longest war in U.S. history ( )"— Presentation transcript:
1Vietnam -Overview Longest war in U.S. history (1955-1975) More than 58,000 US soldiers killed300,000 wounded14,000 + disabled800,000 Vietnam veterans diagnosed as having “significant” to “severe” problems of readjustment.
2Overview In Vietnam – over 2 million killed (including civilians) In Vietnam – 4 million wounded and 10 million displaced from their homes.
3Background of the WarVietnam/French Indochina – was a French colony that was invaded by the Japanese during WWII.Ho Chi Minh – leader of the Vietnamese – called the Vietminh.Ho Chi Minh supported Communism
4Background 1945 – French returned to control Vietnam Ho Chi Minh & Vietminh forces – controlled North Vietnam and received aid from the People’s Republic of China.France – received aid from the United States1950 – Pres. Truman sent $15 million to France to help with the war. Ultimately the US paid up to 75%-80% of France’s military costs.
5Reasons for U.S. Involvement Pres. Truman’s policy of containment – American policy of resisting further expansion of communism around the world.Pres. Eisenhower’s – domino theory – belief that if one country falls to communism, neighboring countries would fall.
7France in Trouble May 1954 –Battle of Dien Bien Phu France held area for 50 days but it fell to Ho Chi Minh and his troops. Major turning point – France pulled out of Vietnam after this defeat.
8A Divided VietnamJuly 1954 = Geneva Accords – Vietnam was divided near the 17th parallel into two separate nations:- North Vietnam, Communist, led by Ho Chi Minh- South Vietnam, non-Communist, looking for leader
9The Two Leaders of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh – leader of the North – but also many in South Vietnam look to him for leadershipHero because he broke up large estates and redistributed land to the peasants.He had beaten the French
11The Two LeadersNgo Dihn Diem – “placed” in office by the United States.Told to hold free elections – never held due to US’s refusal.Corrupt gov’t that suppressed opposition of any kind.Offered little or no land distribution to peasants.
13Violence increases1957- Vietcong, called VC by the Americans, - they were guerrilla fighters who wanted Diem out of South Vietnam.
14VC get helpHo Chi Minh used the Ho Chi Minh Trail – a network of paths used by N. Vietnam to transport supplies to the Vietcong (VC) in S. Vietnam
15JFK and Vietnam Called Vietnam – the “cornerstone of the free world.” Sent members of his administration on a “fact finding mission” recommend sending 8,000 combat troopsJFK – sent “advisors” – help the South Vietnamese gov’t
16Trouble for DiemIn protest to Diem- Buddhist monks set themselves on fire.VC increasingly gained support within South Vietnam
17Diem Out Increased discontent with Diem’s gov’t U.S.-supported military coupNov. 1, 1963 – Diem was executedUS General William Westmoreland = overall commander of Vietnam
18Johnson and VietnamLBJ significantly increased U.S. involvement in the war.Sec. of Defense – Robert McNamara – recommended the U.S. send more troops
19Trouble in the Gulf Aug. 1964 – Gulf of Tonkin incident The U.S.S. Maddox was attacked by N. Vietnamese torpedo boats2 days later – ship C. Turner Joy is “supposedly” attackedLBJ asked Congress to act
20Tonkin Resolution August 1964, little opposition in US Congress Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave LBJ a “blank check” to take whatever steps were needed to stop North VN attacks.Like “grandma’s nightgown”
21Escalation 1965 - 200,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam Operation Rolling Thunder (March 1965 – Nov. 1968) intense bombing of N. Vietnam.Main target = Ho Chi Minh Trail
22Tet OffensiveJan. 31, 1968 =Vietnamese New Year 70,000 North Vietnamese and Vietcong attack cities in South Vietnam.Boldest move – 19 VC attacked the U.S. Embassy in Saigon and killed 5 American soldiers.
23Tet – a turning point in the war A. Military victory for the U.S. but a psychological victory for the VC.B. American public thought U.S. was winning the war – but watched “live” as Americans were killed at the U.S. EmbassyC. Contributed to widening the credibility gap – fewer Americans trusted the gov’t
24D. Pres. Johnson said he would halt bombing of N D. Pres. Johnson said he would halt bombing of N. Vietnam – not completely trueE. Pres. Johnson announced that he would not seek re-election
25My Lai – US public opininon March 16, 1968Charlie Company – a group of U.S. troops under the command of Lt. William CalleyOn a “search and destroy” missionUS soldiers killed 300 civilians – mostly old men, women and children
26“Battle for Heart and Minds” Clearing the jungle – strategy to expose the Vietcong’s tunnels and hideoutsU.S. planes dropped napalm – a gasoline-based bomb that set fire to the jungle.
27“Battle for Hearts and Minds” U.S. also used Agent Orange – leaf-killing toxic chemical that devastated the landscape.U.S. dumped over 13 million gallons.Name comes from the orange barrels that stored the chemical.
28Why not “win their hearts?” The U.S. did not “win the hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese people.Why?A. Villages burnedB. Livestock killedC. Use of chemicals poisoned the water, caused skin diseases, birth defects, and cancer
29“One does not use napalm on village and hamlets sheltering civilians if one is attempting to persuade these people of the rightness of one’s cause. One does not defoilate the country and deform its people with chemicals if one is attempting to persuade them of the foe’s evil nature.” - an American commentator on the US policy failure in Vietnam
30Pres. Nixon and the WarSaid he represented the “silent majority” = those individuals who did not demonstrate against the war or speak out against the governmentPromised to start bringing the “boys” home from Vietnam.
31NixonHis approach – Vietnamization – called for the gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops and for the Army of South Vietnam to take more control of the war.Said that he would cease bombingHe initiated Operation Linebacker – the bombing of Cambodia to cut the supply lines of the Vietcong.
32Nixon“Peace with Honor” – Pres. Nixon wanted to maintain U.S. dignity in the face of withdrawal from the war.
33Policies Changed 1971 - Constitutional Amendment 26 – Lowered the voting age from 21 to 181973 – War Powers Act – limited the President’s power to engage troops in undeclared wars.- Must notify Congress within 48 hrs. Of sending troops abroad.- Am. troops may not remain abroad longer than 60 days without congressional approval.
34Start for HomeApril 1975 Operation Frequent Wind – the largest evacuation on record. Started moving all Americans out of Saigon.April 30th, 1975 – Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City at the end of the war.
35Why did the US lose? Failure of military tactics Unpopularity of South Vietnamese regimeExperience of VC vs. inexperience of American soldiers in unfamiliar conditionsOverwhelming popular opposition to the warPRC & USSR support for the VC
36Failure of Containment in Vietnam Led to changes in US relations with Communist statesImproved relations with China (PRC)in United NationsNixon’s visit to ChinaImproved relations with the USSRUS now wary of military involvement on foreign soil
37The Vietnam War’s Legacy 58,000 killed365,000 woundedN. and S. Vietnam – 1.5 million deathsDelayed stress syndrome – recurring nightmares, etc.1982 – Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.