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The Vietnam War Lecture #2 1965 – 1968. Part I. LBJ Feels Pressured to Send American Troops to ‘Do the Job Right’ Soon after Diem was killed, JFK was.

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Presentation on theme: "The Vietnam War Lecture #2 1965 – 1968. Part I. LBJ Feels Pressured to Send American Troops to ‘Do the Job Right’ Soon after Diem was killed, JFK was."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Vietnam War Lecture # – 1968

2 Part I. LBJ Feels Pressured to Send American Troops to ‘Do the Job Right’ Soon after Diem was killed, JFK was assassinated LBJ (Lyndon B. Johnson), JFK’s Vice President, took over – Vietnam becomes his problem A presidential election is scheduled in a bit over a year – LBJ hopes to put Vietnam on the back burner until after the election, but isn’t given that luxury

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4 The Gulf of Tonkin ‘Incident’ As the election draws near, U.S. forces report on being fired at in the Gulf of Tonkin – Where is the Gulf of Tonkin? LBJ doesn’t think he can afford to look weak – Orders air strikes on North Vietnam ‘funny’ story – It later turned out that a U.S. sonar operator on an American ship had made a mistake. The U.S. was never fired on. – Oops! – Responding to the Gulf of Tonkin ‘Incident’, congress gave LBJ war powers in South Asia No official declaration of war, ever, in Vietnam!!! – LBJ later said, “For all I know, we were shooting out whales out there,” referring to the supposed firefight in the Gulf of Tonkin

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6 Vietcong Response to Bombing of North Vietnam Vietnamese attacked an American air base that was stationed in South Vietnam LBJ has had it  orders American marines to land in Vietnam in 1965 – The ‘war’ has begun

7 Part II. The Vietnamese Communists Choose to Continue Guerrilla Tactics French military officials told U.S., ‘you will be beaten the same way we were’ U.S. responded, ‘Nope, because we have Air Cavalry.’ – Helicopters can respond to guerrilla fighters – Can show up with no warning and drop troops anywhere in the country In late 1965, there was a giant battle between U.S. helicopter troops and the Vietcong – Called the battle of Ia Drang

8 Ia Drang – VC decided to go head to head with U.S. to learn our tactics – 24 hour battle in the jungle Vietnamese Communists lost 1200 men U.S. lost 300 men

9 Prolonged Guerrilla Warfare After Ia Drang, Vietminh/Vietcong decided to stretch the war out – No conventional battles – Hit and run guerrilla tactics They only need to not lose, right? – U.S. will eventually tire of the fight

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11 Part III. U.S. Strategy

12 Escalation of U.S. Troops

13 LBJ Felt Forced to Fight a Limited War goal  prop up South Vietnam, not topple North Vietnam Why? –U.S. public won’t stand for high casualties –Soviet Union and China might not stand for an invasion of the north –Vietnam War sold as a defensive war  we are there to ‘help’ Thus, no invasion of North Vietnam

14 War of Attrition U.S. will win when we have killed so many of the enemy that it ceases to be a fighting force Why was this the necessary strategy? – Seizing land is irrelevant; the guerrilla ‘fish’ simply swim to other parts of the ‘ocean’ and then return when the U.S. troops are gone

15 Search and Destroy Missions- – Find VC and kill them Destroy Vietcong friendly villages- – “ dry the sea the enemy swims in”… – free fire zones... Bombing campaign- destroy North Vietnam’s ability to wage war… – a major target here was the Ho Chi Minh trail. – Quote: “We’ll bomb them back to the stone age.” (U.S. general). Problem? __________________ – Later estimated that it cost $10 to destroy every $1 of NVA or VC materiel To accomplish attrition U.S. Used a Three-Pronged Strategy

16 How to measure success in the war of attrition? Body count

17 Part IV. Down Sides of U.S. Strategy

18 War of Attrition Conflicts with ‘Battle for Hearts and Minds’ What does this phrase ‘Hearts and Minds’ mean? _____________________________ ___________________________________ Attrition says: – demolish villages – Use defoliants like agent orange See the Contradiction?

19 A little more about Defoliants Room in American War Crimes Museum Destroy cover and food for guerilla fighters. Bad for the U.S. because… world outrage, loss of villager support, and riots at home. It is against the law to use weaponize poison ever since mustard gas was used in WWI. U.S. argues that it is using poison against plants in areas where no one lives. The problem is… poisons, most notably the most famous (Agent Orange) doesn’t just evaporate after it kills plants. It ends up killing people too. There were other agent colors in Vietnam. It is extremely difficult to test a person for Dioxin poisoning, which is what you can get from Agent Orange. For example it was used on Victor Yashenko in the Ukrainian election campaign. It costs about $ $2000 dollars even today to test one person for Dioxin exposure. U.S. never has to admit what it has done. Still debated…

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21 What is the Impact the U.S. strategy on the U.S. soldier? -Mere Gook Rule …brutality is OK Inflated body count (for promotion) makes it impossible for the U.S. gov to tell how well it is actually doing - Killing is anesthetized - … poem…

22 ‘Glided Baskets’ Poem “Eight Six Foxtrot- Eight Six Foxtrot. This is One One Zulu. Over. The woman in blue Carried the weight swiftly, with grace, Her face hidden by her Conical rice straw hat One One Zulu- this is Eight Six Foxtrot. Go. Roger Eight Six. I have Fire Mission. Dink in the open, Grid: Bravo Sierra Five Six Niner, Four Six Five, Range: Three thousand, Proximity; Eight hundred, Over. The two heavy baskets balanced on tips of the springing Chogi stick Glided close to the hard smooth path Read back, One One Zulu. Roger Copy, Eight Six. Shot on the way, wait. Shot out, Eight Six. A sighing 105 mm round slides through its parabola. Then the explosive tearing at the steel which surrounds it, And the shrapnel catches the gliding baskets, And they crumple with the woman in blue “ VS

23 Part V. The U.S. Public is Lied To

24 The Math Doesn’t Work! One study showed that, if one assumed a kill rate that matched that of the highest 6 month period between 1965 the end of 1968 and assuming that U.S. wasn’t fibbing its #s about body counts, which it was, (why?) that it would take 15 ½ years to sap the communists’ ability to wage significant resistance Why a problem? – TOO LONG!!! U.S. taxpayers, draftees, unwilling to spend 15 years and a trillion dollars on Vietnam!

25 Despite Evidence to the Contrary, Administration Gave Rosy Reports Westmoreland (commanding general) tells congress in “ We can see the light at the end of the tunnel” – Why tell a false story? Can you admit that we are losing? Why or why not? In private, there is a much gloomier outlook… – The secretary of defense later admitted that he knew the war would not be won years before he shared this opinion publicly

26 Part VI. As the War Stretched On, Problems for the U.S. Grew Rapidly

27 The Changing Makeup of the U.S. Forces In 1965, most of the troops were volunteers… – Gung Ho attitude – Soldiers want to be there But as the war stretched on and American troop strength grew and volunteers finished their year-long-tour… – more and more of the men were draftees – Why does this matter? VSVS

28 Anti-War Protest Grew between 1965 and 1968 Carleton story LBJ said he was “caught in the middle of the ocean standing on a piece of cardboard” by the Vietnam War

29 Can We See How The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement Became Intertwined…? Racism- Whites against blacks/Vietnamese U.S. government priorities with tax revenues – Look at the cartoon to understand

30 In 1968, the Whole Thing Exploded… Next Lecture

31 HansenName ___________________ Vietnam Vietnam War Lecture # Note-taking Guide Part I. LBJ Felt Pressured to Send American Troops to ‘Do the Job Right’ Soon after Diem was killed, _________________________ LBJ (Lyndon B. Johnson), JFK’s _____________________, took over –Vietnam ___________________________________ A presidential election is scheduled in a bit over a year –LBJ hopes to put Vietnam on _____________________________ ___________________________________, but isn’t given that luxury The Gulf of Tonkin _________________________ –As the election drew near, U.S. forces report on being _____________in the Gulf of Tonkin Where is the Gulf of Tonkin? ______________________________ –LBJ doesn’t think he can afford _____________________________ Orders ________________________ on North Vietnam –‘funny’ story It later turned out that a U.S. sonar operator on an American ship had made a mistake. _________________________________________ _______! Responding to the Gulf of Tonkin ‘Incident’, congress gave LBJ _____ ________________________________________________________ –No ______________________________, ever, in Vietnam!!! ___________________, “For all I know, we were shooting out whales out there,” referring to the supposed firefight in the Gulf of Tonkin Vietcong Response to the Bombing of North Vietnam –Vietnamese ________________________________________ __________________________________________________ –LBJ has had it  orders _______________________________ _______________________ in 1965 The _____________ has begun Part II. The Vietnamese Communists Choose to Continue Guerrilla Tactics French military officials told U.S., ‘you will be __________________ __________________________________________’ U.S. responded, ‘Nope, because ____________________________.’ –_____________________ can respond to guerrilla fighters –Can show up with no warning and _____________________________ In late 1965, there was a giant battle between U.S. helicopter troops and the Vietcong –Called the battle of _______________________ Ia Drang –VC decided to go _____________________ with U.S. to learn our tactics –24 hour battle in the jungle Vietnamese Communists lost __________________ U.S. lost ____________ Prolonged Guerrilla Warfare –After Ia Drang, Vietminh/Vietcong decided to ___________ _____________________ No conventional battles Hit and run guerrilla tactics –They only need to not lose, right? ____________________________________________ Part III. U.S. Strategy Escalation (stats) _______________________ LBJ Felt Forced to Fight a Limited War –goal  prop up South Vietnam, not _________________________ –Why? U.S. public won’t stand _______________________________ ____________________________might not stand for an invasion of the north Vietnam War sold as a ___________________  we are there to ‘help’ –Thus, no _____________________________________________ War of Attrition –U.S. will win when we have killed so many of the enemy that it ceases to be a fighting force –Why was this the necessary strategy? ________________________________ ; the guerrilla ‘fish’ simply swim to other parts of the ‘ocean’ and then return when the U.S. troops are gone To Accomplish This the U.S. Adopted a 3- Pronged Strategy –Search and Destroy Missions- _______________________________________ –Destroy Vietcong friendly villages- ___________________________________ free fire zones... ___________________________________

32 –Bombing campaign- destroy North Vietnam’s ability to wage war… a major target here was the ___________________. Quote: “We’ll bomb them back to the stone age.” (U.S. general). Problem? __________________ Later estimated that it cost ____ to destroy every ____ of NVA or VC materiel How to Measure Success in a War of Attrition –______________________________ Part IV. Down Sides of the U.S. Strategy War of Attrition Conflicts with ‘Battle for Hearts and Minds’ What does this phrase ‘Hearts and Minds’ mean? _____________________________ ___________________________________ Attrition says: –demolish villages –Use defoliants like __________________________ See the Contradiction? ___________________________________ _____________________________________________________ What is the Impact of this Strategy on the U.S. Soldier? –_________________________…brutality is OK –Inflated body count (_____________________) makes it impossible for the U.S. gov to tell how well it ___________ ________________________________________________ -Killing is anesthetized -… poem… -Part V. The U.S. Public is Lied To -The Math _______________________________!!! –One study showed that, if one assumed a kill rate that matched that of the highest 6 month period between 1965 the end of 1968 and assuming that U.S. wasn’t fibbing its #s about body counts, which it was, (why?) that it would take ___________________ to sap the communists’ ability to wage significant resistance – Why a problem? _________________!!! U.S. taxpayers, draftees, unwilling to spend 15 years and _____________ on Vietnam! Despite Evidence to the Contrary, Administration ________________ – Westmoreland (commanding general) tells congress in “We can see _______________________________________” Why tell a false story? Can you admit that we are losing? Why or why not? ________________________ ____________________________________________ –In private, there is a much gloomier outlook… The secretary of defense later admitted that he knew the war would not be won _____________ he shared this opinion publicly Part VI. As the War Stretched On, Problems for the U.S. Grew Rapidly The Changing Make-Up of the U.S. Forces –In 1965, most of the troops were volunteers… ________________________________ –But as the war stretched on and American troop strength grew and volunteers finished their year-long-tour… ____________________________________________ Why does this matter? _________________________ ___________________________________________ Anti-War Protest Grew between 1965 and 1968 –Carleton Story –LBJ said he was “caught in the middle of the ocean standing on a piece of cardboard” by the Vietnam War. Get it? Can We See How The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement Became Intertwined…? –___________________________________________________ __________________, the Whole Thing Exploded…


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