Presentation on theme: "Case Study: Vietnam How was a small country like Vietnam able to win a war against the USA? Essay Question."— Presentation transcript:
1 Case Study: Vietnam How was a small country like Vietnam able to win a war against the USA?Essay Question
2 This section includes: Background1957 to 1965 – Struggle in Vietnam between the South Vietnamese army and the communist-trained rebels (Viet Cong)1965 to 1969 – North Vietnamese-USA struggleThe war from the Vietnamese and USA perspectiveThe war as a world issue1969 to 1975 – USA withdrawal from VietnamConclusion: How the war is remembered today(Refer to CAPS, p26)
4 BackgroundIn the 19th century France colonised a large part of SE Asia including modern day Vietnam.1941: Japan invaded and occupied SE Asia.1941: Two communists / Vietnamese nationalists (Ho Chi Minh and Nguyen Vo Giap) set up Viet Minh (League for the Independence of Vietnam)Viet Minh funded by the US.
5 Post-War SettlementThe Geneva Agreement1945: Japan was defeated in WWII, withdrew from SE AsiaSeptember 1945 Ho Chi Minh announced Vietnam was an independent and democratic republic.The French attempted to re-establish their empire and took back control of the southVietminh continued to fight for full independence and a united Vietnam1954 French surrenderedThis division was supposed to be temporary. One of the clauses of the Geneva agreement was that an election would be held in 1956 to re-unite Vietnam.In May 1954, Britain, France, China, the Soviet Union, the USA and Vietnam met in Geneva to decide the future of Vietnam
6 1954-1965 struggle between South Vietnamese army and communist trained rebels (NFL / Viet Cong) 1955 Diem (supported by USA) officially elected president of South Vietnam in rigged electionsDiem was a dictator. He was a Catholic and persecuted the Buddhist majority. Land was taken from peasants and given to Diem’s supportersDiem refused to allow elections to re-unite North and South Vietnam.
7 Opposition to Diem’s Government 1959: Vietminh supporters in South Vietnam formed the National Liberation Front (NFL) Diem and USA called them ‘Viet Cong’ (Vietnamese Communists)1963: an elderly monk named Thich Quang Duc, set himself ablaze in protest against Diem’s corrupt regime .1963: a CIA funded coup in South Vietnam which overthrew and killed Diem.President Kennedy was unwilling to commit US troops but wanted a stronger less popular leader in South Vietnam. He approved the CIA plan to topple Diem but was allegedly shocked that Diem and his brother were killed in the process. JF Kennedy was, himself assassinated less than 2 months later. Plus image opens issue of morality of war photography. Vietnam 1st and last televised war. (use BBC documentary footage)Malcolm Brown who took this photograph
8 Why did America become involved in a war in Vietnam? American Presidents during the period of US involvement in Vietnam:Dwight D Eisenhower (Rep):John F. Kennedy (Dem):Lyndon B Johnson (Dem):Richard Nixon (Rep):
9 The ‘Domino Effect’ (Strategic importance of Vietnam) Note the Cold War Context.In 1949 the Chinese Communist Party, led by Mao Zedong won their civil war and established a communist government. USA feared that other countries in the region would fall to communism unless the USA actively prevented it.
10 Gulf of Tonkin Incident (Trigger) On 2 August 1964 the US destroyer Maddox was fired at by North Vietnamese patrol boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Maddox was gathering intelligence information. Two days later there was a second alleged attack. Evidence has since shown that this did not happen. US President Johnson used these attacks to persuade Congress to support greater US involvement in Vietnam.1965 – by end of year 200,000 US combat soldiers had been sent to Vietnam.Use SHEG lesson Plan to investigate this turning point / significant event.
11 1965 - 1969: North Vietnamese-USA struggle USA’s TacticsNorth Vietnamese Tactics7 Feb 1965: USA launched ‘Operation Rolling Thunder’:- Widespread aerial bombing using cluster bombs and Chemical weapons (‘Agent Orange’ and Napalm used)Search and Destroy (used airmobility to move troops)16 March 1968: My Lai massacreDefence of South Vietnamese government against North Vietnamese expansion.Winning South Vietnam hearts and mindsGuerrilla tacticsBooby traps and minesSuicide squad fought their way into US embassy31 January Vietcong launched an attack on over 100 towns and cities in the south during New Year (or Tet) holiday – (Turning point: US public realised that US was NOT winning the war!)More bombs dropped by USA on Vietnam than by Allies in whole of WWII. Napalm a form of burning petroleum which burns at 800 degrees ie burns skin to the bone.
12 1969 to 1975 – USA withdrawal from Vietnam “From , the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the history of the world made a maximum military effort, with everything short of atomic bombs, to defeat a nationalist revolutionary movement in a tiny peasant country – and failed”.(H. Zinn, A People’s History of the USA, (New York, 1980, p460)WHY?
13 A Soviet cartoon mocking the large number of US casualties in Vietnam.
14 Deforestation caused by USA spraying Agent Orange (TCDD Dioxin) The Vietnamese Red Cross estimates that up to three million Vietnamese have suffered health effects from dioxin exposure, of whom 150,000 are children with birth defects
15 Ten year old Phan Thi Kim Phuc running naked down a street having torn off her burning clothes after an American Napalm attack.
16 The Massacre at My Lai - 16 March 1968 We huddled the villagers up.We made them squat down. I poured about four clips into the group.The mothers were hugging their children.While we kept on firing . (An extract from the evidence of Paul Meadlo who was a US soldier at My Lai.)Women and children shot dead by American soldiers lie in the road at the village of My Lai, 1968.
17 Conscripted Soldiers: ‘Cherries’ Of the 3 million Americans involved in Vietnam war – about two-thirds were conscripts (‘cherries’)Average age of conscript = 19 years12 month – ‘tour of duty’Anti-conscription campaign in USAConscripts were inexperienced and made mistakes. Often used to carry equipment and put on ‘point’ (they would be first to be killed by booby traps and mines)A student burns his draft card during an anti-war demonstration. Over 200,000 young men dodged the draft.
19 Kent State Massacre (4 May 1970) National Guardsmen opened fire on student protestors in Ohio, killing four. This picture shows one of the dead students,Jeffrey Miller.
20 Casualties of War Category Year Range Low estimates Medium estimates HighNorth Vietnamese civilian deaths from bombing65,000North Vietnamese soldiers killed500,000Viet Cong deaths172,000251,000329,000Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers deaths combined533,0001,011,0001,489,000South Vietnamese civilian deaths from gunfire / bombing361,000391,000720,000South Vietnamese soldiers killed219,000266,000313,000US military deaths46,00047,00058,000Source: Rudolph Rummel, Statistics of Vietnamese Democide: Estimates, Calculations and Sources, 1997.
22 Why did the USA lose the Vietnam War? US Army’s military tactics - ineffective and unpopularGrowth of the anti-war movement in USA.Media coverage of the war – 1st TV warUnpopularity of South Vietnamese GovernmentNorth Vietnamese soldiers’ Guerrilla warfare tacticsNorth Vietnam and NLA were fighting a war of liberation to free their country from foreign intervention.Support for North Vietnamese from China and USSRUS Army’s military tactics. Anti-war movement in USA. Media coverage of the war. Unpopularity of South Vietnamese Government North Vietnamese soldiers’ tactics / determination to fight until their country was free. Support for North Vietnamese from China and USSR
23 How has the Vietnam War been remembered? Memorials in USA and VietnamFilm (Hollywood has presented different views of war in different periods)MusicPersonal accounts / Auto-biographiesAcademic historiesTourist sites
24 Impact of Vietnam WarFor Vietnam – Horrific: 5 Million Vietnamese peasants displaced, Large numbers killed, or maimed. Huge areas of forest destroyed by American chemicals – long term implications for agriculture.For America - A major psychological as well as military defeat. Probably sped up the ‘Domino effect’ ie lots of other countries in Asia ‘went red’ (ie became communist) A propaganda disaster (US troops involved in human rights violations, massacres, use of chemical weapons)
25 Audio-Visual Resources BBC – News coverage of Vietnam WarAnti- Vietnam war songs