2 Cold WarPresident Johnson believed that Vietnam was a key battle in the Cold War.He would not settle for a communist government in South Vietnam!!Remember that in 1949 China became a communist country and the Soviet Union would gain access to atomic weapons.
4 -Lyndon Johnson President of the United States 1963 - 1968 “I am not going to be the president who saw Southeast Asia go the way China went.”-Lyndon JohnsonPresident of the United States
5 Lyndon Baines Johnson Vice President under Kennedy Johnson had been a senator. He had limited foreign policy experience.He keptSec. of State Dean RuskSec. of Defense Robert McNamaraNational Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy(All had been appointed by JFK)
12 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution Allowed Johnson to “take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the U.S. and to prevent further aggression.”This was NOT a declaration of war however it did allow Johnson to widen the war.
14 Unprovked?The U.S. destroyer, U.S.S. Maddox, had been helping the South Vietnamese commandoes raid two North Vietnamese islands. They had proved the attack!President Johnson did not give Congress all of the information. He withheld some to get permission to widen the war efforts.
15 February 1965Vietcong (VC) forces attacked the U.S. military base at Pleiku, South Vietnam. Eight Americans were killed.U.S. reaction was code-named Operation Rolling ThunderThe bombing lasted for three years.
20 1967 Nguyen Van Thieu New leader in the South Did not have support of the populationThis helped build NLF (National Liberation Front) numbersNLF controlled many rural areas and villagesJohnson felt that Saigon, government of South Vietnam would fall without American support
27 Johnson believed that peace was close. 1965 – 180,000 soldiers1966 – 360,000 soldiers1967 – 500,000 soldiersNot so close…..
28 Optimistic First troops in VN were optimistic. Believed that the VC would be beaten quickly.
29 1967 optimism turns sour Americans and troops become frustrated Success would be measured through body counts. Number killed v. Number we killed.This would help Americans feel as though the U.S. was winning the war.U.S. underestimated the VC and the NLF.
34 Air WarBombing cost fewer American lives than ground combat. U.S. relied more and more on air power.Operation Rolling Thunder25,000 bombing raids in 1965108,000 in 1967
35 TargetsInitially limited to military targets and supply routes in NVN.Soon it includedRoadsRailwaysFactoriesHomes
36 By 1967U.S. had dropped more bombs on Vietnam than the Allies dropped during all of WWII.All of the fire power failed to defeat the Vietcong.VC would go underground—tunnelsThere were over 30,000 miles of tunnels
37 Ground WarU.S. ground troops used the “search and destroy” policy for land missions.Finding the enemy was a challenge.
53 U.S. was losing the war.The guerrilla wins if he does not lose; the conventional army loses if it does not win.”
54 Advantages of Guerrilla Tactics VC knew the terrain and could move through the mountains and jungles without being seen.Terrorism and the nationalist message would help to convince the peasants. Peasants would provide food and information to the fighters.
55 Pacification ProgramUprooting entire villages and forcing the people to move to the cities or refugee camps surrounded by barbed wire (hamlets).The army would then burn the fields and empty villages.
57 Pacification did not work! This didn’t stop the VC.Pacification created more enemies.
58 Hearts and MindsU.S. sent advisers over to help with medical and farming issues. It didn’t really work.We couldn’t win. We had more power but as one reporter put it, “it was like a sledgehammer on a floating cork….Somehow the cork refused to stay down.”