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The Vietnam War 1954 - 1975 Background to the War zThe French lost control to Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh forces in 1954 at battle of Dien Bien Phu zPeace.

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Presentation on theme: "The Vietnam War 1954 - 1975 Background to the War zThe French lost control to Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh forces in 1954 at battle of Dien Bien Phu zPeace."— Presentation transcript:


2 The Vietnam War 1954 - 1975

3 Background to the War zThe French lost control to Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh forces in 1954 at battle of Dien Bien Phu zPeace Conference :Geneva P Vietnam was divided at 17 th parallel O Ho Chi Minh: leader of nationalist forces controlled the North O Ngo Dinh Diem: French-educated, Catholic. Claimed control of the South

4 Background to the War zA date was set for democratic elections to reunify Vietnam zDiem backed out of the elections, leading to military conflict between North and South

5 U.S. Military Involvement Begins zDictatorial zDictatorial rule by Diem P Diem’s P Diem’s family holds all power P Wealth P Wealth is hoarded by the elite P Buddhist P Buddhist majority persecuted P Torture, P Torture, lack of political freedom prevail P The P The U.S. aided Diem’s government P 675 P 675 U.S. Army advisors sent by 1960.

6 Early Protests of Diem’s Government Self-immolation by a Buddhist Monk

7 U.S. Military Involvement Begins zKennedy increases military “advisors” to 16,000 z1963: zDiem’s unpopularity worries JFK zUS supports military coup d’etat zARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) zARVN overthrew the government on November 1, 1963. z Diem and his brother are murdered (Nov. 2)

8 Johnson Sends Ground Forces zRemembers Truman’s “loss” of China  Domino Theory revived I’m not going to be the president who saw Southeast Asia go the way China went.

9 Johnson Sends Ground Forces zAdvised to rout the communists by Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara zTonkin Gulf Incident  1964 (acc. to Johnson, the attacks were unprovoked) zTonkin Gulf Resolution P “The Blank Check” * P A joint resolution of Congress  What is a Joint Resolution? P Gave Johnson authorization for war - without a formal declaration of war

10 U.S. Troop Deployments in Vietnam

11 The Ground War 1965-1968 zNo clear territorial goals for the US. zBody counts on TV every night (first “living room” war) zViet Cong supplies war via the Ho Chi Minh Trail a path from North Vietnam to South Vietnam via Laos & Cambodia.

12 The Air War 1965-1968 z1965: Sustained bombing of North Vietnam zOperation Rolling Thunder (March 2, 1965) z1966-68: Ongoing bombing of Hanoi nonstop for 3 years. ztargets the Ho Chi Minh Trail. zCarpet Bombing – napalm

13 The Air War: A Napalm Attack

14 Who Is the Enemy? zVietcong zVietcong: P Farmers by day; guerillas at night. P Willing to accept many casualties. P US underestimated resolve and resourcefulness. The guerilla wins if he does not lose, the conventional army loses if it does not win. -- M MM Mao Zedong

15 The Tet Offensive, January 1968 zN. Vietnamese Army + Viet Cong attack South simultaneously z(67,000 attack 100 cities, bases, and the US embassy in Saigon) zTake every major southern city zU.S. + ARVN beat back the offensive zViet Cong all but destroyed zN. Vietnamese army debilitated zBUT the IMPACT….

16 The Tet Offensive, January 1968

17 Impact of the Tet Offensive zDomestic U.S. Reaction: Disbelief, Anger, Distrust of Johnson Administration zJohnson’s popularity dropped in 1968 from 48% to 36%. z‘z‘z‘z‘Hey, Hey LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?’

18 Are We Becoming the Enemy? zLt. William Calley, Platoon Leader zConvicted of premeditated murder of 22 Vietnamese civilians zConvicted of premeditated murder of 22 Vietnamese civilians. Calley was sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor zMylai Massacre, 1968 z200-500 unarmed villagers Charlie Company, 1 st Battalion, 20 th Infantry

19 1968 Presidential Election – A Critical Election: The Era of Divided Government

20 Nixon on Vietnam zNixon’s campaign promised : Peace with Honor zVietnamization : Encouraged the South Vietnamese to take more responsibility for fighting the war. zHoped to enable the United States to withdraw (gradually) from ‘Nam zThe “Secret War” P Cambodia – US forces famously invade & bomb. Destabilize the nation. P Laos

21 “Pentagon Papers,” 1971 zFormer defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked govt. docs. about the Johnson administration and Vietnam zNew York Times. zDocs.  Govt. misled Congress & Americans about Vietnam during mid-1960s. P Fighting not to eliminate communism, but to avoid humiliating defeat.

22 The Ceasefire, 1973 zPeace is at hand  Kissinger, 1972 P North Vietnam attacks South P Most Massive U.S. bombing commences z1973: Ceasefire signed between P U.S., South Vietnam, & North Vietnam zPeace with honor (President Nixon)

23 The Ceasefire, 1973 zConditions: 1. U.S. to remove all troops 2. North Vietnam could leave troops already in S.V. 3. North Vietnam would resume war 4. No provision for POWs or MIAs zLast American troops left South Vietnam on March 29, 1973 z1975: North Vietnam defeats South Vietnam zSaigon renamed Ho Chi Minh City

24 The Fall of Saigon America Abandons Its Embassy April 30, 1975

25 The Costs 1.3,000,000 Vietnamese killed 2.58,000 Americans killed; 300,000 wounded 3.Under-funding of Great Society programs 4.$150,000,000,000 in U.S. spending 5.U.S. morale, self-confidence, trust of government, decimated

26 The Impact z26 th Amendment: 18-year-olds vote zNixon abolished the draft  all-volunteer army zWar Powers Act, 1973 ٭ P President must notify Congress within 48 hours of deploying military force P President must withdraw forces unless he gains Congressional approval within 90 days

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