Presentation on theme: "The Vietnam Wars Mr. Daniel Lazar. Lecture Outline I.Imperial Roots II.On the Back of a Tiger III.The Arrogance of Power IV.Opposition V.Peace with Honor."— Presentation transcript:
Roots of the War: La Mission Civilisature in the Age of Imperialism (Late 1887 – 1954) –A foot in the door for gains in the future (The China Market) –French influence in Indochina (Nam, Laos & Cambodia) Reform: government, education, land and economic No free speech No self-determination nor nationalistic sentiments –Smatters of rebellion: Phan Boi Chou (1867-1940) Reformation Society (Duy Tân Hội) In 1921, Phan Boi Chou studied Socialism and the Soviet Union in the hope of gaining assistance from the Soviet Union or socialist groups. In 1925, French agents seized him in Shanghai. He was convicted of treason and spent the rest of his life under house arrest in Hue.
Uncle Ho and the ICP From 1919-1923, while living in France, Ho Chí Minh embraced communism Following World War I, under the name of Nguyễn Ái Quốc (Nguyen the Patriot), he petitioned for recognition of the civil rights of the Vietnamese people in French Indochina to the Western powers at the Versailles peace talks, but was ignored. Citing the language and the spirit of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Ho petitioned Woodrow Wilson for help to remove the French from Vietnam and replace it with a new, nationalist government. His request was ignored.
Uncle Ho and the ICP In 1930, he was operative in establishing the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP). In June 1931, he was arrested in Hong Kong and incarcerated by British police until his release in 1933. He then made his way back to the Soviet Union, where he spent several more years recovering from tuberculosis. In 1938, he returned to China and served as an adviser with Chinese Communist armed forces. In 1941, Ho returned to Vietnam to lead the Viet Minh independence movement. He oversaw many successful military actions against the Vichy French and Japanese occupation of Vietnam during World War II, He was also jailed in China for many months by Chiang Kai-shek's local authorities. After his release in 1943, he again returned to Vietnam. He was treated for malaria and dysentery by American OSS doctors. Following WWII, Ho repeatedly petitioned American President Harry Truman for support for Vietnamese independence, citing the Atlantic Charter, but Truman never responded.
Bao Dai: The Christmas Tree Falls Ho was able to persuade Bảo Đại to abdicate on 25 August 1945, handing power over to the Việt Minh — an event which greatly enhanced Hồ's legitimacy in the eyes of the Vietnamese people. Bảo Đại was appointed "supreme advisor" to the new government in Hanoi, which asserted its independence on 2 September. He explained his abdication in 1945 saying "I would prefer to be a citizen of an independent country rather than Emperor of an enslaved one."
Victory for Ho and the Vietminh WWII influenced desire for self-determination French troops arrive in 1946 (French occupy SVN/ Ho in NVN) Ho + Vietminh = Communism + Nationalism Won Battle of Dien Bien Phu (5/5/54): In a battle of inspiration versus equipment, the French surrender. Yet the international community learns no lessons. Ho declared an independent Vietnam on 9/2/46
The US Reaction France is crippled from WWII SEATO (1954) justifies US involvement Truman, with NSC-68 & SEATO support, provides $20 million IKE ups the ante to $2.6 billion
The Geneva Accords (1954) cessation of hostilities No foreign involvement in internal Indochina affairs 17th Parallel NVN/Hanoi/Ho SVN/Saigon/Diem 1956 Elections…
The New Puppet No Buddhists –Diệm also used slogans such as "Christ has gone south" and "the Virgin Mary had departed from the North", alleging anti-Catholic persecution under Ho Chi Minh. –Over 60% of northern Catholics moved to Diệm's South Vietnam, providing him with a source of loyal support. No 1956 Elections –A referendum rigged by his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu saw Diem gain 98% of the vote, with 133% in Saigon. –American advisors had suggested that he win by a lesser margin since it was felt that he would be able to win any fair poll against Emperor Bao Dai. –After pressure from within the country and the US, Diệm agreed to hold elections in August 1959 to form a national legislature. Newspapers were not allowed to publish names of independent candidates or their policies, and political meetings exceeding five people were prohibited.
The New Puppet No Land Reform Mass Corruption –His most trusted official was his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, leader of the primary pro-Diệm Can Lao political party, who was an opium addict and admirer of Adolf Hitler. He modeled the Can Lao secret police's marching style and torture styles on Nazi designs –He also used Army of the Republic of Vietnam personnel to work on his timber and construction projects. –During her brother-in-law's presidency Madame Nhu pushed for the passing of 'morality laws'. These included such things as outlawing abortion, adultery, divorce, contraceptives, dance halls, beauty pageants, boxing matches, and animal fighting, and closed down the brothels and opium dens.
Opposition to Diem People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) National Liberation Front (NLF) aka The Vietcong (VC) Led by Ho The Ho Chi Minh Trail
The Kennedy Response Democrats accused of being “soft” on communism JFK deploys “advisors” and “flood crews” The Strategic Hamlet Program Diem Coup (11/2/63) likely by ARVN soldiers Kennedy assassinated three weeks later
The Diem Coup The McNamara-Taylor Report (from Retrospect) –There are serious political tensions in Saigon.... Further repressive actions by Diem and Nhu could change the present favorable military trends.... It is not clear that pressures exerted by the U.S. will move Diem and Nhu toward moderation.... The prospects that a replacement regime would be an improvement appear to be about 50-50. Time Magazine 6/30/75: –The coup against Diem was planned with the knowledge of Dean Rusk and Averell Harriman at the State Department, Robert S. McNamara and Roswell Gilpatric at the Defense Department and the late Edward R. Murrow at the U.S. Information Agency.
The Johnson Administration: The Tonkin Gulf “Incident” The US was carrying out a program of covert naval commando attacks against North Vietnam and had been engaged in this effort since its approval by Johnson in January 1964. There was, in fact, fighting during the day of 4 August. But the certainty of the "second attack" would never be so clear as the first. The initial battle took place in daylight. On the night of August 4, both ships thought they had come under attack again and sent messages reporting enemy contacts, torpedoes in the water, and so on, while directing a good deal of fire at the supposed adversary. This was a supposed repeat challenge to "innocent passage"
The Johnson Administration: The Tonkin Gulf “Incident” But the certainty of the "second attack" would never be so clear as the first. The initial battle took place in daylight.. However, there was no physical evidence at all for the August 4 attack claims. The supposed surface action took place at night and in poor weather. But there was no wreckage, nor bodies of dead sailors. No photographs or other physical evidence existed. Radar and sonar sightings provided an exceedingly confusing set of data at best. In Washington, at 9:43 a.m. on August 4, Secretary McNamara had another conversation with President Johnson. Their discussion reflects McNamara's knowledge of the intercepts where he says, referring to the U.S. destroyer "this ship is allegedly, uh, to be attacked tonight.".McNamara and the president went on to discuss what retaliation they could carry out for the attack (that had not happened), including bombing targets in North Vietnam or undertaking more 34-A maritime assaults. An hour later, when McNamara called in the first report that the alleged attack had begun, he was already prepared with a list of options.
The Johnson Administration: The Tonkin Gulf “Incident” As a result of McNamara’s testimony, on 7 August, Congress passed a joint resolution (H.J. RES 1145), titled the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted President Johnson the authority to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without the benefit of a declaration of war. The Resolution gave President Johnson approval "to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force, to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty requesting assistance in defense of its freedom." In 2005, it was revealed in an official NSA declassified report that the Maddox first fired warning shots on the August 2 incident and that there may have been no North Vietnamese boats at the August 4 incident. The report said: –It is not simply that there is a different story as to what happened; it is that no attack happened that night. In truth, Hanoi's navy was engaged in nothing that night. Squadron commander James Stockdale was one of the U.S. pilots flying overhead during the second alleged attack. Stockdale wrote in his 1984 book Love and War: –"[I] had the best seat in the house to watch that event, and our destroyers were just shooting at phantom targets—there were no PT boats there… There was nothing there but black water and American fire power." Stockdale said his superiors ordered him to keep quiet about this.” –"There was absolutely no gunfire except our own, no PT boat wakes, not a candle light let alone a burning ship. None could have been there and not have been seen on such a black night." The history of U.S. destroyers carried on the Navy's official website no longer contains any reference to a naval engagement having occurred on August 4.
LBJ & Operation Rolling Thunder Four Objectives: To bolster the sagging morale of the Saigon regime in the Republic of Vietnam To convince North Vietnam to cease its support for the communist insurgency in South Vietnam To destroy North Vietnam's transportation system, industrial base, and air defenses To interdict the flow of men and material into South Vietnam. Results: Between March 1965 and November 1968, aircraft of the U.S. Air Force had flown 153,784 attack sorties against North Vietnam, while the Navy and Marine Corps had added another 152,399.On 31 December 1967, the DOD announced that 864,000 tons of American bombs had been dropped on North Vietnam during Rolling Thunder, compared with 653,000 tons dropped during the entire Korean Conflict and 503,000 tons in the Pacific theater during the Second World War. The CIA estimated on 1 January 1968 that damage inflicted in the north totaled $370 million in physical destruction, including $164 million worth of damage to capital assets (such as factories, bridges, and power plants). The agency also estimated that approximately 1,000 casualties had been inflicted on the North Vietnamese population per week, or approximately 90,000 for the 44-month period, 72,000 of whom were civilians.
United We Stand… Hawks Robert MacNamara—Secretary of Defense Dean Rusk—Secretary of State William Westmoreland— Commander of ARVN forces Doves John McNaughton—Assistant Secretary of Defense George Ball—Undersec. of State William Fulbright—Senator on Foreign Relations Committee LBJ between Rusk & Mac
The Arrogance of Power Bombing to the Negotiating Table The Body Count: the US never lost a battle Search and Destroy--“destroy the city in order to save it”
US Soldier Morale Drugs Fragging Deserting Race Relations UUUU: the unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful A civil war within a civil war left the soldiers mystified
The War at Home Living Room War & The Credibility Gap Working Class War (85% from lower SES) –MLK and the “Cruel Irony” –African-Americans as 20% of combat deaths Civil Rights Movement Women’s Rights Movement Student Movement: Tune In, Turn on, Drop Out The Great Society? Maybe Later. –$6 billion domestic budget cut in 1967 –Inflation rate at 6% (3 times that of 1960)
“Peace With Honor” Tet Offensive--three-phase military campaign conducted between 30 January and 23 September 1968, by the combined forces of the NLF and the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) during the Vietnam War. LBJ steps down…Enter Nixon (1968) to “restore law and order” and appease The Silent Majority Vietnamization –gradual withdrawal and shifting power –bombing to the Negotiating Table (troops out planes in) Ma Lai Massacre--he mass murder of 347 to 504 unarmed citizens in South Vietnam, almost entirely civilians and majority of them women and children, conducted by U.S. Army forces on March 16, 1968 58,022 vs. 1,600,000 (plus 9,000,000 refugees, plus 5,500,000 maimed and wounded) 12/17/72 = Christmas Bombings (11 days/100,000 bombs) 3/29/73 = last US troops go home 4/30/75 = NVN takes Saigon with little resistance