+ Think it Through! Infer & Predict: 1) What kind of war would make a soldier feel this way? 2) What country do you think this soldier was from? 3) What do you think he was fighting for? Dear Mom and Dad, Today we went on a mission, and I am not very proud of myself, my friends, or my country.
+ The Vietnam War ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS: Why did the US get involved in another war overseas? What were the US’ primary motives? What was the outcome? Was it a just / fair war?
+ The Vietnam War (in short) Two decades long (including the civil war, longer if you include the First Indochina War). Began with a revolutionary movement in Vietnam to fight for independence. It was a war of modern military technology (U.S.) vs. organized human beings (Vietnam). The human beings won. The Vietnam war created the biggest anti-war movement the U.S. had ever seen.
+ Vietnam Basics Location: In Southeast Asia, near Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and parts of China Population 83 Million People Mostly Buddhist Strong minority of Catholics Resources Very fertile, hot and wet climate, many resources
+ Declaring Independence WW2 Ends and September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh declares Vietnam independent !! Ho Chi Minh reads from US Declaration of Independence Some see Ho Chi Minh’s Declaration of Independence as evidence of being a nationalist rather than being a communist. They refer to this example has him expressing his interest in having a relationship with the United States. BUT, the French want Indochina back, and they do not recognize Vietnamese independence. Reclaim colony. What should the US do? Support Vietnamese or help France regain its colonial empire?
+ Divided American State Department European Experts in American Government support backing France. STOP spread of Communism in Asia !! Asia Experts in American Government support backing Ho Chi Minh Feel he is a Nationalist PRO - WARANTI - WAR SO? US Backs France. Truman Adminstration then Eisenhower Administration back France. Due to the following factors: -Korean War, Loss of China to communists, Idea of stopping communism, Cold War, Strong France helps stop communism in Western Europe, Containment, and belief that Ho Chi Minh was more of a communist than nationalist!!
+ Other interests / benefits for the US…?? A secret US govt. memo from 1952 talked about SE Asia’s valuable resources: Rubber Tin Oil were important to the US … if the Vietnam govt. won against France and took over they might be hostile towards the US and not trade with them.
+ First Indo-China War France vs. Viet Minh French try to keep Vietnam, Viet Minh fight for Independence 70% of French costs are paid by US Dien Bien Phu 1954 Final defeat of French by Vietnamese, French Surrender 1954 Geneva Conference End Hostilities between French and Vietnamese Temporarily divide Vietnam at 17 th parallel until French leave. Elections in 1956
+ If Vietnam turns Communist… Containment theory fails. Domino Theory, fear of monolithic (solid block) communist alliance of China, Vietnam, and USSR
+ South Vietnam Instead of supporting Geneva Agreement and allowing unification elections and a Communist victory, US supports creation of a non-Communist, South Vietnam. American war in Vietnam is fought to keep South Vietnam Non-Communist!
+ JFK & Vietnam ( ) Views Vietnam as important to Cold War like Truman and Eisenhower. Sends thousands of advisors, Special Forces and helicopters to South Vietnam (but not many regular troops). Begins the Strategic Hamlet Program. Overall picture unsure due to assassination JFK believed the best way to stop communists in Vietnam was to build South Vietnam into a nation.
+ Assassination of Diem November 1963 Kennedy either knew of the plot and ignored it or supported it. South Vietnamese government would never be stable. Increased American involvement in South Vietnam’s Internal Affairs.
+ Check in # 1 When Eisenhower left office, less than 1,000 US soldiers were in Vietnam At the time of Kennedy’s assassination (1963), over 16,000 soldiers were in Vietnam. By 1969, Vietnam had 543,000 US soliders Many of the soldiers under JFK were Special Forces and under Johnson, regular ground troops were introduced.
+ Golf of Tonkin Resolution President Lyndon B. Johnson took over after Kennedy assassinated. North Vietnamese “attack” on two US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin is Johnson’s excuse to get congressional approval for major escalation in Vietnam. TERMS: Hanoi – refers to North Vietnamese government NVA – North Vietnamese Army VC/Charlie- Viet Cong: Communist rebels in South Vietnam ARVN – South Vietnamese Army POW – Prisoner of War MIA – Missing in Action
+ Who did America Fight in Vietnam? North Vietnamese Army Professional army, using standard tactics. Viet Cong Irregular troops (both professional and untrained), using guerilla tactics. Both groups were heavily supplied from USSR via China
+ Johnson & Limited War Johnson was afraid of conflict spreading to involve USSR & China. Strict rules of engagement – limited targets for US Troops and Air Strikes Areas of North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos North Vietnamese Communists can attack, move supplies from and retreat AMERICAN TROOPS CANNOT GO North Vietnam Wants a unified, Communist Vietnam Wants Americans Out Wants One Vietnam
+ Early American Support for War in Vietnam Americans initially supported the war Hit Song “The Green Berets” Public is told troops will be home soon, and the war is almost over. Vietnam is the first war that is heavily covered by television networks. American public sees daily images of casualties Public begins to turn against the war.
+ Images of the Vietnam War
+ LBJ Escalates ( ) Johnson attempts to limit the war while at the same time constantly increasing the number of soldiers in Vietnam Over 500,000 soldiers by 1969 LBJ would attempt negotiations at the same time he would scale back offensive operations in Vietnam North Vietnamese take advantage of this.
+ Tet Offensive Tet – most important holiday in Vietnam, Vietnamese New Year. It is the most popular festival in Vietnam Cease Fire 1968 Viet Cong attack every major US base in South Vietnam North Vietnamese Army takes city of Hue and kills many inhabitants. US Embassy in Saigon is attacked.
+ Effects of Tet Major Military victory for the US Viet Cong is devasted American media turns against the war. American public turns against the war. Political and psychological victory for North Vietnam. American Anti-War Movement Strong anti-war movement in US War divides American population
+ Richard Nixon ( ) Elected in 1968 Claims to have a “secret plan” to end war in Vietnam
+ Cambodia Neutral Viet Cong & North Vietnamese use Cambodia as a sanctuary US troops cannot enter Cambodian government is powerless from preventing Communists from entering Bad history between Vietnam & Cambodia
+ Nixon & Cambodia Nixon: Supports coup that puts strong anti-Communist government in charge Expands conflict Secretly bombs and invades Cambodia Bombing & Invasion fails to make any significance in war Cambodian communists go deeper into Cambodia Vietnamese were using Cambodia to attack Americans Public Opinion: War is illegal Public is outraged at expansion of the conflict Massive protests
+ Nixon & Ending Vietnam War Uses combination of increased bombing of North Vietnam and Secret Negotations Diplomacy with China and USSR Vietnamization – Nixon’s Plan Turn the war over to the South Vietnamese Train & equip South Vietnamese to fight the North US Troops withdraw Last US troops leave by 1973 South Vietnam Betrayed? South Vietnam is promised that the US would send troops, money, and supplies if North Vietnamese launched a massive attack. Nixon resigns due to Watergate Congress and American people do not support further involvement
& Results of Wars North Vietnam takes over South Vietnam US doesn’t prevent the take over. Vietnam is unified under one communist state Results: 60,000 Americans killed 75,000 French killed 175, ,000 Vietnamese killed (First Indochina War) 415, ,000 South Vietnamese killed, 450,000-1,165,000 North Vietnamese killed (Civil War and Second Indochina War) US reluctant to use military power American public is divided Americans don’t trust government Vietnam is Communist Cambodia falls to Communists Khmer Rouge/Cambodian Communist take power Pol Pot is leader Killing Fields – Genocide of 1/3 of the Cambodian population Vietnam invades and occupies Cambodia to defeat Khmer Rouge
War between Vietnam & China China supports Khmer Rouge and is upset that Vietnam defeats it. China attempts to invade Vietnam to “teach lesson” Chinese leave after 1 month Vietnamese put up much stronger fight than Chinese expected China improved relations with US after Nixon’s visit Vietnam moved closer to USSR
+ Think it Through! Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most outspoken opponents of the Vietnam War. He said: “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” 1) What do you think he meant? Put this quote in your own words. 2) Think of a situation, personally meaningful to you, where this quote would apply.
+ Closing Questions On a separate sheet of paper, answer the following: How was Tet a turning point in the Vietnam War? How did TV affect people’s view of the Vietnam War? What country did President Nixon expand the Vietnam War into? Which US President is associated with escalating the number of US troops in Vietnam? What year did the last US troops leave Vietnam?