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Modern U.S. History.  Election of 1968  Richard Nixon had promised to end the war in Vietnam if he became president  Henry Kissinger ▪ National Security.

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Presentation on theme: "Modern U.S. History.  Election of 1968  Richard Nixon had promised to end the war in Vietnam if he became president  Henry Kissinger ▪ National Security."— Presentation transcript:

1 Modern U.S. History

2  Election of 1968  Richard Nixon had promised to end the war in Vietnam if he became president  Henry Kissinger ▪ National Security Advisor to President Nixon ▪ Begins secret negotiations in 1969 with the North Vietnamese

3  Vietnamization  Nixon wanted “peace with honor” ▪ Wanted to remove American troops from Vietnam without embarrassing the country and avoid the appearance of defeat  Nixon wins the election

4  Vietnamization ▪ Nixon’s plan to gradually turn more of the fighting over to the South Vietnamese troops ▪ Wanted to give South Vietnam time to create a stable (anti-communist) government  Troop withdrawal ▪ 540,000 troops in Vietnam in 1969, only 24,000 by 1972  Mixed public opinion ▪ Many disliked Vietnamization because it took longer to completely end America’s involvement

5  Expanding the war (secretly)  While Nixon was withdrawing troops, he was also secretly expanding the war into Laos and Cambodia ▪ Bombed Cambodia in 1969 to disrupt the Ho Chi Minh Trail ▪ Sent American and ARVN troops into Cambodia in 1970 and into Laos in 1971 to attack North Vietnamese military bases ▪ Renewed the bombing of North Vietnam

6  Nixon wanted to show the North Vietnamese that he was willing to expand the war into territories other than Vietnam ▪ Also wanted them to think he was a “madman” that would do anything to stop the war

7  Atrocities and cover- ups  My Lai massacre (March 1968) ▪ American troops on a search-and-destroy mission entered the village of My Lai to find Vietcong troops under the command of Lieutenant William Calley ▪ No Vietcong were found, but the American troops shot and killed 450 women, children, and elderly men

8  Calley was accused of murder in September 1969 and sentenced to life in prison; he got parole in 1974

9  Pentagon Papers ▪ Secret government documents that told the history of America’s involvement in Vietnam going back to President Truman ▪ Published by the New York Times in 1971

10  Pentagon Papers cont. ▪ Leaked by Daniel Ellsberg, a journalist ▪ Showed that the U.S. government had been misleading the public about the war

11  Peace talks  Henry Kissinger announces in 1972 (just before the election, what a coincidence) that peace is at hand ▪ In reality, peace talks stalled ▪ “Christmas bombing”- in December 1972, Nixon has cities in North Vietnam bombed constantly in order to get the North Vietnamese to give in to demands, doesn’t work

12  January 1973 ▪ North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the United States reach a settlement ▪ U.S. agrees to withdraw troops and help rebuild South Vietnam ▪ Both sides release prisoners of war (POWs) ▪ Agreement does not settle the issue of the political future of South Vietnam

13  North Vietnam invades South Vietnam and takes Saigon by April 1975  Americans working at the embassy are airlifted out of the country  Some Vietnamese who were afraid of retribution (130,000) were also evacuated

14  April 30, 1975  South Vietnam surrenders to North Vietnam  Vietnam, after over 20 years of division, is reunited under Communism  Casualties  185,000 South Vietnamese soldiers and 450,000 South Vietnamese civilians killed  About 1 million Vietcong and NVA killed

15  Domino theory  U.S. fear that if Vietnam becomes communist, other Southeast countries will follow, comes true ▪ Cambodia and Laos both become Communist after 1975

16  In Cambodia, a communist group called the Khmer Rouge takes power in 1975  Formerly supported by the North Vietnamese, had allowed the NVA to set up camps along Cambodia’s border

17  Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge  Capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh is evacuated and people are sent to work camps known as the “killing fields”  Leader of the Khmer Rouge is Pol Pot (known as Brother No. 1) ▪ Brother No. 1 wanted to create a society free of all social institutions and become a totally agrarian society

18  "What is rotten must be removed” ▪ Pol Pot began an extermination program that eliminated anyone who didn’t fit in with his new society, intellectuals, businessmen, Buddhists and foreigners were all killed  1-2 million people were killed before Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia in 1979 and defeated the Khmer Rouge

19  The Khmer Rouge was led by Pol Pot as an insurgent group until he died in 1998; he never faced any charges

20  Hmong involvement in the Vietnam War  Laos was supposed to be neutral in the Vietnam War, but it was also divided between Communism and anti-Communism ▪ Royal Lao Army- trained and supported by the U.S. ▪ The Pathet Lao- backed by the Soviet Union  Ho Chi Minh Trail ▪ The trail went through the Laotian mountains, home of the Hmong ▪ U.S. couldn’t use ground troops in Laos because Laos was neutral

21  CIA secretly begins “Operation Momentum” ▪ CIA convinced the Hmong people that they would be invaded and conquered by the Vietnamese ▪ CIA promises to help the Hmong people if they help the American troops fight the Vietnamese in Laos ▪ 30,000 Hmong troops begin fighting a ground war for the U.S.

22  Mission of the “secret army” under General Vang Pao (1960s) ▪ Cut off supply lines on the Ho Chi Minh Trail ▪ Guide U.S. bombing missions ▪ Rescue U.S. pilots who had been shot down

23  After the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam ▪ Laos becomes of communist country in 1975 ▪ Hmong people who had supported the U.S. were killed ▪ Laotian government newspaper in 1975 says "We must eradicate the Hmong minority completely." ▪ Thousands of Hmong people fled to Thailand and other sympathetic countries

24  Veterans  Casualties ▪ 58,000 Americans killed in Vietnam, 300,000 wounded ▪ 600 POWs, many were held in North Vietnamese prisons and tortured for years before they were released ▪ Agent Orange- exposure to chemical weapons caused cancer and other diseases in many soldiers  Post-traumatic stress disorder ▪ Caused nightmares, violent behavior, flashbacks

25  Political impact  U.S. spent $150 billion in its failed attempt to prevent the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia  War Powers Act 1973 ▪ Reaffirmed Congress’ constitutional right to declare war ▪ Presidents can’t commit U.S. troops to foreign conflict for more than 60 days without authorization from Congress or a declaration of war

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