Presentation on theme: "The Vietnam War 1954 - 1975 Background to the War: Why did the US become involved? zSoutheast Asia zVietnam, Cambodia, Laos zSlightly larger than Texas."— Presentation transcript:
Background to the War: Why did the US become involved? zSoutheast Asia zVietnam, Cambodia, Laos zSlightly larger than Texas z27 million people zFrance controlled “Indochina” since the late 19 th century zRuled with an iron fist zHigh taxes, French law, etc
Why did the US become involved? zVietnamese rebelled against France (Ho Chi Minh:Communist) zWWII strengthened Nationalism and weakened France zJapan took control of Vietnam during World War II zWith U.S. aid, France attempted re-colonization in the postwar period zUS wanted French support against Soviets in Cold War
Domino Theory You have a row of dominos set up, you knock over the 1 st one, and what will happen to the last one is the certinaity that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences. Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954 If Vietnam falls to communism then Japan, the Philippines, and Australia might fall as well.
Why did the US become involved? zThe French lost control to Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam) forces in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu zNW Vietnam military base
Why did the US become involved? zInternational Conference at Geneva granted to Vietnam P Vietnam was divided at 17 th parallel O Ho Chi Minh’s nationalist forces controlled the North (communist) O Ngo Dinh Diem, a French- educated, Roman Catholic claimed control of the South (US support) O Treaty also called free election in 1965 to unify Vietnam election in 1965 to unify Vietnam
Why did the US become involved? zA date was set for democratic elections to reunify Vietnam in 1965 zAnalysits predicted that Diem would lose to Ho Chi Mihn z Diem backed out of the elections, leading to military conflict between North and South
U.S. Military Involvement Begins zThe zThe U.S. aided Diem b/c he was anticommunist P SEATO P SEATO (Financial and military aid) zRepressive zRepressive rule by Diem weakened his popularity P Wealth P Wealth is hoarded by the elite P Buddhist P Buddhist majority persecuted P Torture, P Torture, lack of political freedom zVietcong: zVietcong: weaken Diem’s power in S. Vietnam zUndermine zUndermine Diem’s government & unite Vietnan under communism zDestroy zDestroy bridges, roads, and assassinated politcal officals P Diem P Diem is removed from power & assassinated
Self-Emolation by a Buddhist Monk U.S. Military Involvement Begins
zRemembers Truman’s “loss” of China Domino Theory I’m not going to be the president who saw Southeast Asia go the way China went. U.S. Military Involvement Begins
zTonkin Gulf Incident 1964 zUSS Maddox fired on by by N.Vietnam torpedo ships z (according to Johnson, the attacks were unprovoked) zTonkin Gulf Resolution P “The Blank Check” * P “To take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against forces of US and to prevent further agression. U.S. Military Involvement Begins
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