2Why?During World War II, while working directly with American agents to rescue downed U.S. pilots, Ho Chi Minh sent six letters to the U.S. government asking for support and stating that the Vietnamese wished to pattern their constitution after America’s. Only after America refused to recognize and support their freedom, and instead supported the French suppression of their freedom, were the Vietnamese forced to turn to China and the Soviet Union.British colonial officer, Major-General Douglas Gracey, took surrender of the Japanese in September 1945, in Saigon, but “immediately rearmed them and ordered them to put down the Vietminh, who had already formed an administration in the South. Like the Vietminh of the North, they were a popular movement of Catholics, Buddhists, small businessmen, communists and farmers who looked to Ho Chi Minh as the ‘father of the nation’.”By 1947, thanks to the British and Gracey, the French were back in power in Saigon.Needing to get the French out of their country, Ho Chi Minh was still hoping for a U.S. alliance and he appealed again to President Truman insisting that he was “not a communist in the American sense”. Although he had lived and worked in Moscow, Ho considered himself a free agent; but he warned that he “would have to find allies if any were to be found; otherwise the Vietnamese would have to go it alone.” And alone they went until 1950 when Ho Chi Minh believed he could no longer delay accepting the formal ties and material assistance under offer from the Soviet Union and especially from China. It was the success of the Chinese revolution in 1949 that was to give the Vietminh the means to defeat the French: military training, arms and sanctuary across an open frontier.
3Agent Orange Herbicides between 1961 and 1971 Removed plant cover from large areasChemicals continue to change the landscape, cause diseases, and poison the food-chain in the areas where they were sprayedMarked with color-coded bands) included the Agent Pink, Agent Green, Agent Purple, Agent Blue, Agent White, and, most famously, the dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange~12 million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed over Southeast Asia…a prime area was the Mekong Delta, where the U.S. Navy patrol boats were vulnerable to attack from the undergrowth at the water's edgeKennedy administration destruction of rice crops, 1961~20 million U.S. gallons of concentrated herbicides over 6 million acres of crops and trees, estimated 13 percent of South Vietnam's landJapanese Science Council concluded that 3.8 million acres of foliage had been destroyed, possibly also leading to the deaths of 1,000 peasants and 13,000 pieces of livestockAs of 2006, the Vietnamese government estimates that there are over 4,000,000 victims of dioxin poisoningIn some areas of southern Vietnam, dioxin levels remain at over 100 times the accepted international standardU.S. Veterans Administration has listed prostate cancer, respiratory cancers, multiple mveloma, type II diabetes, Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, soft tissue sarcoma, chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, peripheral neuropathy, and spina bifida in children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange as possible side effects of their parent's exposure to the herbicides
5Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric illness that can occur following a traumatic event in which there was threat of injury or death to you or someone else(PTSD) may occur soon after a major trauma, or can be delayed for more than six months after the event...when it occurs soon after the trauma it usually resolves after three months, but some people experience a longer-term form of the condition, which can last for many yearsPTSD can occur at any age and can follow a natural disaster such as flood or fire, or events such as war or imprisonment, assault, domestic abuse, or rape...the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in the U.S. may have caused PTSD in some people who were involved, in people who witnessed the disaster, and in people who lost relatives and friends...these kinds of events produce stress in anyone, but not everyone develops PTSDWe do not know what causes PTSD, but psychological, genetic, physical, and social factors are involved…PTSD alters the body’s response to stress by affecting stress hormones and neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit information between our nerves)…Previous exposure to trauma may increase the risk, which suggests that this kind of a reaction may be a learned responseHaving good social support helps to protect against developing PTSD…In studies of Vietnam veterans, those with strong support systems were less likely to develop PTSD than those without social supportPeople with PTSD re-experience the event again and again in at least one of several ways...they may have recurrent distressing dreams and recollections of the event, a sense of reliving the experience (referred to as flashbacks), and/or become very distressed around the time of events that symbolize the event (such as anniversaries)Recurrent distressing memories of the eventRecurrent dreams of the eventFlashback episodes, where the event seems to be recurringBodily reactions to situations that remind them of the traumatic eventInability to remember important aspects of the traumaLack of interest in normal activitiesFeelings of detachmentSense of having no futureEmotional "numbing", or feeling as though they don’t care about anythingReduced expression of moodsStaying away from places, people, or objects that remind them of the eventIrritability or outbursts of angerSleeping difficultiesDifficulty concentratingExaggerated response to things that startle themHypervigilance
6Fratricide Term used to refer to friendly fire incidents Frag is a term from the Vietnam War, most commonly meaning to assassinate an unpopular officer of one's own fighting unit, often by means of a fragmentation grenade...a hand grenade was often used because it would not leave any fingerprints, and because a ballistics test could not be done (as it could to match a bullet with a firearm)…a fragging victim could also be killed by intentional friendly fire during combat...in either case, the death would be blamed on the enemy, and, due to the dead man's unpopularity, it was assumed no one would contradict the storyFragging most often involved the murder of a commanding officer or a senior noncommissioned officer perceived as unpopular, harsh, or inept...if a C.O. was incompetent, fragging the officer was considered a means to the end of self preservation for the men serving under him…fragging might also occur if a commander freely took on dangerous or suicidal missions, especially if he was deemed to be seeking glory for himself…the very idea of fragging served to warn junior officers to avoid the ire of their enlisted men through recklessness, cowardice, or lack of leadershipDuring the Vietnam War, fragging was reportedly common...there are documented cases of at least 230 American officers killed by their own troops, and as many as 1,400 other officers' deaths could not be explained
7Gulf of Tonkin Resolution The Gulf of Tonkin Incident was an alleged pair of attacks by naval forces of North Vietnam against two American destroyers, USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy2 & 4 August in the Gulf of TonkinLater research, including a report released in 2005 by the National Security Agency, indicated that the second attack most likely did not occurBut also attempted to dispel the long-standing assumption that members of the administration of President Johnson knowingly lied about the incidentSoutheast Asia Resolution (better known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution), granted Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asain country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by “communist aggression“The resolution served as Johnson's legal justification for escalating American involvement in the Vietnam
8My Lai MassacreMassacre of hundreds of unarmed civilians, mostly women and children, by U.S. soldiers, 16 March, 1968During Tet Offensive, January 1968, attacks were carried out by the 48th Battalion of the NLFUS military intelligence formed the view that the 48th Battalion, having retreated, was taking refuge in the village of Song My.A number of specific hamlets within that village—labeled My Lai 1, 2, 3 and 4—were suspected of harboring the 48th...US forces planned a major offensive on those hamletsOn the eve of the attack, U.S. military command advised Charlie Company that any genuine civilians at My Lai would have left their homes to go to market by 7 a.m. the following dayTold they could assume that all who remained behind were either Viet Cong or active Viet Cong sympathizersInstructed to destroy the village…At the briefing, Captain Ernest Medina was asked whether the order included the killing of women and children; those present at the briefing later gave different accounts of Medina's responseNo insurgents found in the village...It was rumoured by Vietnamese that the soldiers asked the villagers where the Viet Cong were and that the villagers either didn't know or refused to reveal their locationMany suspected there were Viet Cong in the village, hiding underground in the homes of their elderly parents or their wives...American soldiers, one platoon which was led by Lt William Calley, killed hundreds of civilians — primarily old men, women, children and babiesDozens were herded into a ditch and executed with automatic firearms...At one stage, Calley expressed his intent to throw hand grenades into a trench filled with villagersThe precise number killed varies from source to source, with 347 and 504 being the most commonly cited figures
9My Lai Massacre17 March, 1970, the U.S. Army charged 14 officers with suppressing information related to the incident…most of these charges were droppedUS Army Lt William Calley was convicted in 1971 of premeditated murder in ordering the shootingsInitially sentenced to life in prison2 days later, President Nixon ordered him released from prison, pending appealServed 3½ years of house arrest in his quarters at Fort Benning, Ga, and was then ordered freed by Federal JudgeCalley claimed he was following orders from his captain, Ernest Medina; Medina denied giving the orders and was acquitted at a separate trialMost of the soldiers involved in the My Lai incident were no longer enlistedOf the 26 men initially charged, Lt Calley's was the only convictionSome argue that My Lai was a reversal of the rules of war set in the Nuremberg and Tokyo War Crimes TribunalsSet a precedent in history that no one may be excused from reprimand for war crimes because they were ordered to do soSecretary of the Army stating that Calley's sentence was reduced because Calley honestly believed that what he did was a part of his ordersThis is in direct contradiction to the standards set in Nuremberg and Tokyo where German and Japanese soldiers were executed for similar actions
10Opposition to the Vietnam War Began slowly in small numbers in 1964 on various college campusesDuring a time of unprecedented student activismGrew to include a wide and varied cross-section of AmericansPartly attributed to greater access to uncensored information compared with previous wars and extensive television media coverageA system of conscription (draft) that provided exemptions and deferments more easily claimed by middle and upper class registrants - and thus inducted disproportionate numbers of poor, working-class, and minority registrants - drove much of the protestBy the end of 1967, as the war ground on with no end in sight, public opinion polls showed a majority of Americans opposed the warBy 1967, it was commonplace for the most radical or outspoken among the anti-war marchers to prominently display the flag of the Viet Cong 'enemy', which only served to alienate many who were otherwise morally opposedFebruary 1968, Gallup poll showed 35% approved of Johnson's handling of the war; 50% disapproved; the rest, no opinionDuring the 1968 Democratic National Convention, anti-war protesters assembled throughout the city...tensions between police and protesters quickly escalated, resulting in a “police riot”a riot erupted in New York when police, some mounted on horseback, brutally attempted to enforce a newly-passed curfew…bystanders, artists, residents, homeless people and political activists were caught up in the police action
12Kent StateRichard Nixon elected President in 1968, promising to end the Vietnam WarNovember 1969, My Lai massacre was exposed, prompting widespread outrage around the world and leading to increased public opposition to the warThe following month saw the first draft lottery instituted since WWIIThe war had appeared to be winding down throughout 1969 so a new invasion of Cambodia angered those who felt it only exacerbated the conflict.Many young people, including college students and teachers, were concerned about being drafted to fight in a war that they strongly opposed. The expansion of that war into another country appeared to them to have increased that risk. Across the country, campuses erupted in protests, setting the stage for the events of early May 1970At Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, involved the shooting of students by members of the Ohio National Guard on 4 May students were killed and 9 woundedProtesting the American invasion of Cambodia which President Nixon launched on 25 April, and announced in a television address five days laterSignificant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, high schools, and even elementary schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of 8M students, and the event further divided the country along political lines
13Kent State 8 guardsmen were indicted by a grand jury Guardsmen claimed to have fired in self-defenseGenerally accepted by the criminal justice systemCharges dismissed against all 8 on the basis that the prosecution's case was too weak to warrant a trial"no premeditation but simply an over-response in the heat of anger that results in a killing”Forced the National Guard to re-examine its methods of crowd controlOnly instruments the Guardsmen had that day to dispel demonstrators were bayonets, CS gas grenades, and ball ammunitionIn the years that followed, the U.S. Army began developing less lethal means of dispersing demonstrators (such as rubber bullets) and changed its crowd control and riot tactics to avoid casualties amongst the demonstratorsMany of the crowd control changes brought on by the Kent State events are used today by police and military forces in the United States when facing similar situations, such as the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and civil disorder during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005
15Opposition to the Vietnam War 8 Feb 1968, around 200 protesters had gathered on the campus of South Carolina State Univ to protest the segregation of a bowling alleyStudents set grass fires and tried to burn down a vacant houseA highway patrolman was hit in the face by a banister from the house, and an altercation ensued in which several South Carolina Highway Patrol officers were struck with thrown objects...officers also stated that they believed they were receiving small arms fire during the incidentEvidence that they were being fired on was inconclusive, and there would appear to be no evidence that the protesters were armed or had fired on officersOfficers responded by firing into the crowd, killing 3 young men, and wounding 27
16Opposition to the Vietnam War 14-15 May 1970, at Jackson State College (now Jackson State University)Student protesters were confronted by ~75 city and state police...police opened fire, killing 2 students and injuring 12~100 black students had gathered on a street that bisected the campusStudents had started fires and overturned vehicles, including a large truck...Firefighters dispatched to the scene quickly requested police supportPolice responded in force...at least 75 city and Mississippi State police attempted to control the crowd while the firemen extinguished the firesAfter the firefighters had left, shortly before midnight, the police moved to disperse the crowd now gathered in front of a women's on-campus dormitoryAdvancing to within 50 to 100 feet of the crowd, police opened fireThe exact cause of the shooting and the moments leading up to it is unclear…Authorities claim they saw a sniper on one of the building's upper floors, while the students say police fired for no reasonThe crowd scattered, some were trampled or cut by falling glassPhillip Lafayette Gibbs, 21, a junior and James Earl Green, 17, a student at nearby Jim Hill High School, were killed, and 12 others were wounded...Gibbs was killed near the dormitory by buckshot, while Green was killed behind the police line, also with a shotgunThe police fired in excess of 460 rounds of ammunition (FBI estimate) in less than a minute, leaving over 160 holes in the walls of Alexander Hall…then took some time to gather their spent shell casing before withdrawing, leaving the scene in the hands of the National Guard
17Opposition to the Vietnam War "Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids have you killed today?"The slogan "One, two, three, four! We don't want your *%^$ war!" was chanted repeatedly at demonstrations throughout the U.S. in the late 1960s and early 1970s"Draft Beer, not boys", "Hell no, we won't go", "Make love, not war" and "Eighteen today, dead tomorrow" were a few of the anti war slogans"Fight the VD, Not the VC!" displayed sentiments to concentrate more on the familiar problem of venereal diseases than the foreign group, the Vietcong"Love our country", "America, love it or leave it" and "No glory like old glory" are examples of pro-war slogans
18PressOf the many myths that mushroomed from the carnage of the Vietnam War perhaps none is more specious than the fable about how a bold, aggressive mainstream media turned America against the war.Beginning months after My Lai, evidence of the massacre was presented to top national news media by Vietnam veteran Ron Ridenhour and others, but not one outlet would touch the story. It wasn't until November 1969, more than a year and a half after the My Lai slaughter, the story was finally published by the small, alternative Dispatch News Service and dogged investigative reporter Seymour Hersh.The war, especially on TV, that was largely sanitized, as a result of media coziness with government and military sources and network TV policies against airing footage that might offend soldiers' families. Pictures of U.S. casualties were rare, Vietnamese civilian victims almost nonexistent.With few exceptions, network coverage prior to 1968 was "strongly supportive" of the war.As the war dragged on, upbeat government press releases were consistently challenged by journalists' reports from the field and finally how, as public sentiment shifted against the war, Presidents Johnson and Nixon each tried to manage the news media, sparking a heated exchange of recriminations.
19PressThe horrors of war entered the living rooms of Americans for the first time during the Vietnam War. For almost a decade in between school, work, and dinners, the American public could watch villages being destroyed, Vietnamese children burning to death, and American body bags being sent home. Though initial coverage generally supported U.S involvement in the war, television news dramatically changed its frame of the war after the Tet Offensive. Images of the U.S led massacre at My Lai dominated the television, yet the daily atrocities committed by North Vietnam and the Viet Cong rarely made the evening news. Moreover, the anti-war movement at home gained increasing media attention while the U.S soldier was forgotten.Tet was actually a U.S victory because the North suffered enormous casualties. Television, however, portrayed the attack as a brutal defeat for the U.S.Though the media had been covering the anti-war movement before 1968, it now overshadowed the war itself. Draft-card burning and demonstrations provided television with fresher conflict, human impact, and moral issues.In the rush to avoid controversy at any cost, the U.S public was left with one climactic image of their soldiers in Vietnam-losing the Tet Offensive while massacring civilians at My Lai.
20Prisoners of WarConditions were appalling; food was watery soup and bread. Prisoners were variously isolated, starved, beaten, tortured for countless hours and paraded in anti-American propaganda. "It's easy to die but hard to live," a prison guard told one new arrival, "and we'll show you just how hard it is to live.“Americans were held as prisoners of war in North Vietnam, but also in Cambodia, China, Laos, and South VietnamAfter the war, the search for the missing in action and POWs still goes on and the truth about the POWs has been in question for many yearsIn 1993, while searching through the former Soviet Union’s Communist Party Central Committee document archives, Stephen Morris, a Harvard scholar, found what he says is an “incontrovertible smoking gun”30 page document from the North Vietnamese dated September 15, 1972 says that Hanoi lied about U.S. prisonersReport says 1,205 American POWs were being held in North Vietnam, but only 591 were returned in 1973Translation of these documents are said to be skepticalSimilar accusations were made in 1979 by Lt. Col. Le Dinh when he was debriefed by the Pentagon after he defected from the North Vietnamese ArmyDinh told the Pentagon that in 1975, North Vietnam still had 700 Americans captive
21Prisoners of WarThe first American taken prisoner by the Viet Cong was Army Spec. 4 George F. Fryett, seized Dec. 26, 1961, while riding a bicycle on the way to a swimming pool on the outskirts of Saigon. He was freed in June 1962: His captors simply came out of the jungle at a main road and put him on a bus back to Saigon.The last POW was seized Jan. 27, 1973-the day the cease-fire was signed in Paris. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Phillip A. Kientzler, shot down near the Demilitarized Zone, was held for two months in North Vietnam under perhaps the most benign conditions of the war, with captives and captors awaiting prisoner releases. Kientzler was freed March 27, 1973, with the last wave of captives to go home.Prisoners captured and held in South Vietnam had a far different experience than the aviator officers shot down and held in the North. During the early years, 1 out of 3 Americans taken prisoner was expected to die in captivity--a toll reduced to 1 out of 5 by war's end. In the North, only 1 in 20 captives died in prison.The longest held POW was captured in the South and spent much of his imprisonment there. Army Ranger Capt. Floyd J. "Jim" Thompson, commander of a Special Forces detachment in Quang Tri Province, was captured March 26, 1964, following the shootdown near the DMZ of his low-flying reconnaissance aircraft. He was held at a dozen jungle sites during the nearly nine years before his release on March 16, Thompson's captivity made him the longest held Prisoner of War in American history.In the North, Navy Lt. j.g. Everett Alvarez Jr. became the first American pilot shot down. His carrier-based A-4 Skyhawk was hit during retaliatory airstrikes on Vietnamese patrol boats and oil storage facilities Aug. 5, Alvarez, who ejected not far from shore, was captured by armed Vietnamese in a fishing vessel. By Aug. 11, he had been taken to Hanoi's notorious Hoa Lo Prison, a turn-of-the-century French-built facility with thick two-story concrete walls known in Vietnamese as the "fiery furnace." Rats infested his cell. Food, consisting of animal hooves, chicken heads, rotten fish, and meat covered with hair, was sickening.Prisoners in the North suffered far more extensive and systematic torture than comrades held captive in the South. "With the expanding American war effort, prison authorities were under increasing pressure to obtain information and statements that could be used for propaganda purposes," the historians said. "To produce these they had to break down the PWs' resistance.“The most systematic torture of American POWs during the conflict began in fall 1965 and didn't end until fall 1969, when the Nixon Administration finally went public with evidence of the mistreatment. An estimated 95 percent of the prisoners in the North experienced some form of torture.
23DRAFTBy 1967, almost 50 percent of the enlisted men in the army were draftees. By 1969, draftees comprised over 50 percent of all combat deaths and 88 percent of army infantrymen in VietnamAt first, from 1965 through 1967, African Americans especially served and died in Vietnam in disproportionate numbers