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Tim O’Brien. Began in 1946 when the Vietnamese fought France for control of Vietnam. Defeated France in 1954 and Vietnam was divided into Communist-ruled.

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Presentation on theme: "Tim O’Brien. Began in 1946 when the Vietnamese fought France for control of Vietnam. Defeated France in 1954 and Vietnam was divided into Communist-ruled."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tim O’Brien

2 Began in 1946 when the Vietnamese fought France for control of Vietnam. Defeated France in 1954 and Vietnam was divided into Communist-ruled North Vietnam and non- Communist South Vietnam.

3 the war was primarily between the South Vietnam army and the Viet Cong (VC - Communist-trained South Vietnamese rebels ). November 1963: North Vietnamese and Viet Cong executed the South Vietnamese President, Ngo Dinh Diem. What seems different about these soldiers?

4 The next year, the North Vietnamese began a massive drive to conquer the whole country aided by China and Russia By late 1964, the Viet Cong controlled about 75 percent of South Vietnam.

5 The United States got involved because they feared the spread of communism. Communism - a political system in which the government controls and owns most economic activity (banks, farms, factories, etc.) and there is no privately owned property Ho Chi Minh Founder and President of Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Communist North)

6 US leaders were worried that an attack on North Vietnam by the US would create more tension with the Chinese and Russians and may lead to WWIII. In August 1964, US newspapers reported that North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched two attacks on US destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. Captain John J. Herrick, task force commander in the Gulf, cabled Washington DC, to say that no such attack had occurred President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered immediate air strikes against Vietnam. He knew the reports were false.

7 March 1965 – first US combat forces are sent to South Vietnam. The US did not attempt to conquer North Vietnam, but to force them to stop fighting. Americans were divided into two groups: Hawks – supported the US fight against Communism Doves – protested US involvement

8 US top commander - General William Westmoreland Young men were placed in an environment that was totally alien to them. There was no clear front to the conflict and the enemy could be hiding anywhere and everywhere.

9 Viet Cong dressed like civilians and consisted of men, women and children. Guerrilla Warfare - small unofficial military group that fight in small groups Life in the jungle was torturous and there were few positive home comforts Drugs and other stimulants filtered their way into the daily routine of many servicemen and morale quickly started to fall.

10 For the first time, people resisted the draft. Riots and demonstrations against the war became the norm. Numerous veterans taking part in the efforts to stop the war strengthened the issue.

11 Vietnam was the first war that was covered by the media. Americans were able to turn on their televisions to see what was happening and also see the caskets arrive. Political figures believed this created negativity towards the war – encouraged riots and demonstrations against the war.

12 1969 – approximately 540,000 US soldiers were involved and the US began to withdraw its forces – a cease-fire was arranged and the last US ground troops left within two months. Fighting soon resumed, but US troops did not return. April 30, 1975 – South Vietnam surrendered to North Vietnam, ending the war. Mops of South Vietnamese evacuate Vietnam with the assistance of the last Americans to be deported.

13 About 58,000 Americans were killed and 300,000 wounded. Over 1,000,000 South Vietnamese killed. Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 North Vietnamese killed. Countless civilians died in the war. An estimated ten million South Vietnamese became refugees. Much of Vietnam lay in ruins.

14 Because this was the first foreign war in which the US forces failed to achieve their goals, many Americans were left with damaged pride and bitter, painful memories. Returning veterans faced criticism and refection. Many were left with deep psychological problems. American still disagree about whether or not the US should have been involved in the Vietnam War.

15 US Air Strikes contained the chemical, Napalm. Napalm – a gasoline- aluminum jelly mix used in weapons that causes prolonged burning

16 In 1972, Kim Phuc was about 8. The bombing caused her body to catch fire... She ran out of the house, naked, on the street, crying in terror while her body was aflame.

17 Women in war.

18 Tet Offensive – The combined forces of the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese Regular Army about 85,000 strong, launched a major offensive throughout South Vietnam. The attacks began on January 31, 1968, the first day of the Lunar New Year, Vietnam's most important holiday.

19 Execution of a Viet Cong.

20 10/1/1946 – born in Austin, Minnesota Received a degree in political science from Macalester College in Drafted in 1968 and served with the third Platoon, A Company, fifth Battalion, Forty- sixth Infantry ( ). He received the Purple Heart.

21 After the military, O’Brien did post-graduate work at Harvard University in He became a newspaper reporter for the Washington Post. He has written many books about his war experience.


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