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Brief Vietnamese HistoryBrief Vietnamese History  Vietnam had been a hot commodity for thousands of years  China controlled it as early as 200 BC 

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Presentation on theme: "Brief Vietnamese HistoryBrief Vietnamese History  Vietnam had been a hot commodity for thousands of years  China controlled it as early as 200 BC "— Presentation transcript:


2 Brief Vietnamese HistoryBrief Vietnamese History  Vietnam had been a hot commodity for thousands of years  China controlled it as early as 200 BC  Gained independence in the 1400s  Overtaken by the French in the late 1800s, forming French Indochina with Laos and Cambodia  Controlled by the Japanese during WWII  Ho Chi Minh, committed to independence, organized the League for the Independence for Vietnam  Better known as the Vietminh  Declared independence on September 2, 1945  Hoped to bring the US in to support the nation  However, France and Vietnam quickly began fighting again

3 Brief Vietnamese HistoryBrief Vietnamese History  The United States hoped to contain communism in Asia after WWII  Supported France because of Ho Chi Minh’s Communist ties  President Eisenhower issued a warning that became known as the domino theory  If Vietnam fell to communism, the rest of SE Asia would fall  The French slowly began losing ground throughout Vietnam  The French finally fell in 1954 to the Vietminh  Decimated by Vietminh guerilla warfare  Greatly outnumbered and surrounded at Dien Bien Phu  The Geneva Conference, after French surrender, split the nation at the 17 th parallel  Communist North Vietnam  Nationalist (free) South Vietnam

4 Brief Vietnamese HistoryBrief Vietnamese History  Anticommunist Ngo Dinh Diem became dictator of South Vietnam  Catholic leader, much of the nation was Buddist  Favored wealthy land owners, alienating the peasants  Tortured and imprisoned political opponents  Many wanted to ovethrow Diem’s government  Vietminh whom had stayed in the South formed the National Liberation Front (NLF)  Better known as the Vietcong (Vietnamese Communists)  Not all NLF were Communist, however  Gained a strong following, especially from peasants  The US secretly began to support a coup attempt, but Diem was assassinated in Nov. 1963  JFK continued the domino theory policies of Eisenhower  Increased US troops to 16,000 during his presidency

5 Brief Vietnamese HistoryBrief Vietnamese History

6 American EscalationAmerican Escalation  Gulf of Tonkin Incident  August 2, 1964: American ships were allegedly attacked by N. Vietnamese boats  August 4, 1964: President Johnson authorized use of force in retaliation for attacks  Gulf of Tonkin Resolution: passed by Congress, gave Johnson power to take “all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against forces of the United States”  Johnson could now escalate American involvement in Vietnam  Men were drafted for service  Drafted men were overwhelming black or Hispanic, poor and undereducated  Many draftees were exempted for health reasons or given deferments because of college enrollments  Many women served in non-combat roles, mostly as nurses

7 The Early WarThe Early War  Operation Rolling Thunder  March 1965-1968  Intense bombing campaign against the North, designed to weaken their will to fight  Keyed on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a network that brought supplies from the North to the Vietcong in the South  Snaked into Cambodia and Laos  Quickly repaired and did not disrupt supply routes  Used massive bombs and defoliants  Agent Orange and napalm  Ground troops were sent in when the air campaign failed  Almost 500,000 troops by 1967  Used search and destroy missions to root out the VC  Seldom drove VC from villages  More and more South Vietnamese joined the VC  Progress was shown in enemy dead

8 The War at HomeThe War at Home  Vietnam became a “living room war”  Images of the dead and destruction were shown on the nightly news  Images were contrary to gov’t reports of the war going well  News of horrific events, like the My Lai Massacre, horrified people  People and gov’t officials split into two camps  Hawks: those for the war, criticizing how it was fought  Doves: those against the war, for a multitude of reasons  Very strong antiwar movement born out of Vietnam  Very strong on college campuses through the Students for a Democratic Society chapters (SDS)  Formed in 1962  Issued the Port Huron Statement outlining the group’s objectives  Other citizens also joined the movement  Although a very small percentage of the population, these people organized several protests to the war, the draft, etc.  Many people were anti antiwar protesters, claiming them to be “un- American”

9 1968  1968 was a huge turning point in Vietnam for several reasons  Tet Offensive: intense fighting around Tet, the Vietnamese New Year  Vietcong attacked US and S. Vietnamese forces throughout Vietnam  Declared a victory because of the over 40K dead VC  However, proved that no place in Vietnam was secure and intensified the antiwar movement  Election of 1968  LBJ declined to run for reelection  Opened the door for VP Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy to run as Democrats  RFK seemed destined to win the nomination  However, struck down by Sirhan Sirhan in June, shocking the nation  Richard Nixon ran as a Republican

10 1968  Democratic Convention, August 1968  Held in Chicago  Hubert Humphrey received the nomination  Antiwar protests were held in the city during the convention  Mayor Richard Daley ordered the police to clear the protests  Police used batons and tear gas to clear the crowds, arresting and injuring hundreds  George Wallace  Ran as a member of the new American Independent Party  Won support from white southerners  Richard Nixon  Won a close election  Promised to end Vietnam and crack down on the protesters

11 Richard M. Nixon 1969-1974Richard M. Nixon 1969-1974

12 Nixon and VietnamNixon and Vietnam  Nixon made foreign policy and Vietnam his biggest priority  Worked closely with his National Security advisor Henry Kissinger  Had advised Eisenhower, JFK, and LBJ  Won Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his work in ending Vietnam  Also worked to improve relations with China and USSR  Devised a plan to end the war called Vietnamization  Turn bulk of the fight over to South Vietnam  Withdraw troops from Vietnam  Hoped to stabilize Vietnam at least long enough to bring “peace with honor”  Troop withdrawals began in August 1969  540,000 troops when Nixon took over  Still 24,000 in Dec. 1972

13 Henry KissingerHenry Kissinger

14 Nixon and VietnamNixon and Vietnam  Nixon felt that success in the war meant disruption of the Ho Chi Minh Trail  Because the trail went through neighboring Laos and Cambodia, Nixon ordered bombing of Cambodia in 1969  Bombed Cambodia in secret  Feared international uproar if he made the bombing public  Came public about the bombing when Cambodia installed a pro-American ruler in 1970  Justified sending in ground troops and bombings to “help an American ally”  Much of Cambodia destroyed when NVA troops moved inland further to escape the invading Americans  Anti War protesting in the United States increased after the bombings of Cambodia were made public

15 The War Continues…The War Continues…  Kent State University and Jackson State College  Antiwar protests increased  4 students dead, 9 wounded in Ohio when the National Guard fired on a crowd of students on May 4, 1970  Retaliation for the ROTC building burning days early  2 killed, 9 wounded in MS after police fired on protesters on May 14, 1970  Congress repealed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in Dec. 1970  Began to cut off funding for the war as troops were withdrawn  Pentagon Papers, 1971  Secret documents that proved government deception of the war to the American public  Leaked by a former Dept of Defense worker named Daniel Ellsberg  Published in the New York Times  Nixon tried to suppress them for national security concerns, but to no avail


17 The War Continues…The War Continues…  After the invasion of Cambodia, Nixon also reinstated bombing of North Vietnam  Retaliation for a NVA invasion of the South in March 1972  Hoped to wear down the North, without success  Election of 1972  Vietnam most pressing issue of the election  Democrats nominated George McGovern  Republicans nominated Nixon again; won in a landslide  Twenty-Sixth Amendment  Passed in 1971  Voting age 18  Those drafted to fight in Vietnam could now vote

18 Cease FireCease Fire  Kissinger and North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho met secretly in Paris starting in 1969  For three years, the two sides worked on a peace agreement  All troops withdrawn from Vietnam  End of military aid to Vietnam  New South Vietnamese gov’t, to which S. Vietnam rejected, and in turn, the US rejected  Nixon ordered nonstop bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong in December 1972 when a deal couldn’t be reached  Known as the Christmas bombing  Stopped bombing only on Christmas Day  Finally, on January 23, 1973, a cease-fire deal was reached  All troops would be pulled  Prisoners would be exchanged  US pledged (secretly) to support S. Vietnam if the fighting started again

19 End of the WarEnd of the War  Two years after the cease-fire, the South Vietnamese government collapsed  North Vietnam invaded the South in January 1975  By April, Saigon was surrounded and people were trying to leave  Thousands of Americans and Vietnamese were airlifted from Saigon, many from the roof of the US Embassy  On April 30, 1975, South Vietnam surrendered unconditionally  The dead were numerous for all sides  58,000 American  185,000 South Vietnamese military dead  500,000 South Vietnamese civilian dead  Estimate 1 million NVA and Vietcong dead  Thousands disabled from battle or Agent Orange  Millions fled the nation, many settling in the United States


21 Aftermath  Soldiers returning were not welcomed home like they had been in wars past  Many were disabled  Thousands suffered from mental illness  Numerous became homeless  War Powers Act of 1974  Passed to curb presidential war powers  President has 60 days to act; afterward, must get Congressional approval or a war declaration  Future wars are shaped because of the negative legacy of Vietnam  In 1982, a memorial was opened in Washington, DC  Created by Maya Ying Lin  Black granite with the name of each person that died in Vietnam carved in chronologically

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