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The Vietnam War What were the main reasons the United States fought in Vietnam and was it the right decision?

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Presentation on theme: "The Vietnam War What were the main reasons the United States fought in Vietnam and was it the right decision?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Vietnam War What were the main reasons the United States fought in Vietnam and was it the right decision?

2 Pre 1954: Ho Chi Minh vs. Imperialism 1919: Ho Chi Minh wants to meet President Wilson to discuss Vietnamese “self-determination” After being rejected by Wilson, Ho Chi Minh joins the Communist Party Agrees with Lenin that western countries are imperialists 1941: Ho Chi Minh forms a resistance army called the Vietminh to fight Japanese invaders 1945: Believing US will support him, Ho Chi Minh declares Vietnam’s independence & uses the US Declaration of Independence as a model French won’t accept an independent Vietnam & quickly restore colonial control in southern Vietnam, while the Vietminh retreat to north.

3 Southeast Asia Info North Vietnam & Laos are influenced by the Soviets South Vietnam & Thailand are influenced by the United States Cambodia’s government is influenced by the United States (Communist rebels are trying to overthrow the Cambodian Govt) Put this info at the bottom of your note sheet

4 Vietnam becomes two nations (1954-1959) 1954: Vietminh attack the French Govt in Southern Vietnam French are defeated at Dien Bien Phu Geneva Accords ends the war and will split Vietnam at the 17th parallel until nationwide elections in 1956 Communists will control north & non-communists control south 1955: Eisenhower fears Ho Chi Minh will win the election & create a unified communist country Ho Chi Minh forms Democratic Republic of Vietnam (N. Vietnam) & in 1959 declares war on S. Vietnam US encourages Ngo Dinh Diem to declare an independent “Republic of Vietnam (S. Vietnam)” & cancel the elections

5 US “Advisors” in Vietnam (1959-1964) 1959: Afraid S. Vietnam will fall to communism (“Domino Theory”), US sends military advisors to aid Diem in war with N. Vietnam 1960: southern communists form the National Liberation Front also known as the Vietcong VC will aid N. Vietnam by using guerilla warfare against South Vietnam’s Army and its ally, the United States 1961: Pres. Kennedy begins to send more “advisors” to S. Vietnam, new policy is Flexible Response However, Diem is very unpopular with the South Vietnamese people – JFK unsure

6 1963: Diem is assassinated in November during a coup de tat. JFK is assassinated a few days later in Dallas. President Johnson steps up the military campaign by launching a massive bombing campaign against North Vietnam Aug. 1964: The Maddox, U.S. destroyer, is slightly damaged by NV boats in Tonkin Gulf After a “reported” second attack on the USS Turner Joy, Congress passes Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving Johnson authority to intensify the war

7 US Expands the War under LBJ (1965-1968) 1964: General Westmoreland takes command in Vietnam. Advocates large American force to inflict many casualties (Search & Destroy) March 1965: First US combat troops land in Da Nang, SV 1966: LBJ asks Congress for $12.8 billion to finance war War debated in Congress, but money is approved. Anti-war protests occur in 40 US Cities 1967: Public opinion poll find most American disagree w/ war Boxing champion Muhammad Ali refuses induction into the armed forces, citing religious reasons. “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong” Dec 67: LBJ & Westmoreland assure the US public the enemy is nearly defeated

8 Jan 1968: US troop levels near 500,000 North Vietnamese Army & Vietcong launch a massive campaign known as Tet Offensive, reach U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Even though US gains back all territory, American public realizes the war is far from over like LBJ stated. Antiwar movement grows. March 1968: Johnson decides not to seek re-election. Former Vice-President Richard Nixon runs with a campaign promise of ending the war by achieving “peace with honor”.

9 Vietnamization & the Fall of Saigon (1969-1975) 1969: Nixon calls for Vietnamization of the war by pulling out US troops and replacing them with South Vietnam’s Army (ARVN) 1972: Nixon does bring home troops but expands the bombing campaign against North Vietnam during Operation Linebacker. Nixon further expands the war by invading neighboring Cambodia 1973: Paris Peace Accords - US, North Vietnam and South Vietnam sign a peace treaty ending the war (Kissinger negotiates treaty) 1974-75: North Vietnam invades South Vietnam. President Ford asks Congress to help and the Congress refuses. Saigon, the South Vietnamese capital falls in April of 1975. Vietnam is unified in 1976.

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