Early American Involvement • American gov’t saw Vietnam as important in stopping the spread of communism • Late 1800s till WWII France ruled Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia – French Indochina • 1900s – nationalism (movement for independence). Leader of movement named Ho Chi Minh Ho Chi Minh • Founded Indochinese Communist Party and worked towards overthrowing French • Spent several years in exile • 1941 – When Japan took over – organized Nationalist group called Vietminh • Group united communist and non-communist in struggle for independence. US begins to send aid to the Vietminh US Switches Sides • After WWII Japan no longer controls – Ho Chi Minh declares Vietnam independent • France had no intention of seeing Vietnam independent • French troops began to drive Vietminh into hiding • As fighting escalated US sends support to French Domino Theory • If one country falls to Communism – so will the rest • Two events convinced Truman to help France – Fall of China to Communism – Korean War • Truman orders massive aid program to help French resist Vietminh • Ike continues policies and pays ¾ of French military costs Domino Theory • If one country falls to Communism – so will the rest • Two events convinced Truman to help France – Fall of China to Communism – Korean War • Truman orders massive aid program to help French resist Vietminh • Ike continues policies and pays ¾ of French military costs Geneva Accords • Peace meetings in Geneva Switzerland • Temporarily divides Vietnam along 17th parallel – Ho Chi Minh and Vietminh in control of the North – Democratic supporters in the South • 1956 – elections were supposed to be held to re-unite country • US immediately steps in and becomes protector of government in the South and supports new leader Ngo Dinh Diem • 1956 – Diem refuses elections b/c he knows Ho Chi Minh will win. • Eisenhower supports Diem – Nation headed towards Civil War Defeat at Dien Bien Phu • 1954 – French order forces to take over town of Dien Bien Phu • Huge Vietminh forces surround and bombard the town • May 7, 1954 French forces surrender. Defeat convinces French to make peace and leave Indochina Vietcong • After Diem refuses elections – followers of Ho Chi Minh decide to use force • Reorganize and call new group “Vietcong” • Ike sends more and more aid and military advisers to Vietnam II. The United States Steps In • South Vietnamese president Ngo Dign Diem cancels unifying elections because Ho Chi Minh is sure to win. • Corruption and repressive policies pervade Diem’s regime. • In 1963, President Kennedy backs plans to overthrow Diem. Overthrow of Diem • Diem, a Catholic, discriminates against Buddhists – prompting protests • Widely Unpopular • US Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge and US supported military coup by Vietnamese Generals • After his death Gov’t Grew increasingly weak and unstable Led to US becoming more responsible for holding S. Vietnamese gov’t together III. President Johnson Expands the Conflict • Diem’s successors fail to curb the Vietcong’s influence in South Vietnam. • The Tonkin Gulf Resolution of 1964 grants President Johnson broad military powers in Vietnam – Congress basically hands over all powers during time of war to President • In February 1965, President Johnson escalates U.S. involvement in Vietnam. IV. The Decision to Escalate • President Johnson dispatches the first American ground troops to Vietnam in March 1965. • Between 1965 and 1967, the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam more than doubles. V. A War in the Jungle • Vietcong military tactics baffle U.S. forces. • U.S. chemical warfare harms the rural population and landscape. • The frustrations of guerilla combat, brutal jungle conditions, and the war’s stalemate cause a decline in the morale of U.S. troops. VI. The Early War at Home • War costs begin to drain the U.S. economy and undercut domestic reform programs. • TV broadcasts of live combat cause public support for the war to wane. VII. A Working-Class War • Draft policies favor young men from privileged backgrounds (medical excuses, college deferments etc.) • Most American soldiers in Vietnam are minorities and lower-class whites. • African Americans make up a disproportionately high percentage of U.S. troops. • Most American women in Vietnam serve as military nurses or volunteers. VIII. The Roots of Opposition • The New Left movement, including such activists as Students for a Democratic Society and the Free Speech Movement pushes for social and political change. • SDS and FSM tactics spread to college campuses nationwide. • College students begin joining together to protest the Vietnam War. IX. The Protest Movement Emerges • Campus protests mount as more college students become eligible for the draft. • More young Americans resist the draft. • The American public becomes deeply divided into opponents and supporters of the war. X. The Tet Offensive Turns the War • Early in 1968- on Tet, Veitnam’s new year holiday- North Vietnam and the Vietcong launch a surprise attack. • The Tet offensive sours the media’s and the public’s view of the war. • By the end of February, President Johnson’s popularity has plummeted. XI. Days of Loss and Rage • The impressive showing of an antiwar candidate, Eugene McCarthy, in the New Hampshire Democratic primary prompts Robert Kennedy to join the presidential race. • In March, President Johnson announces a dramatic change in Vietnam policy and bows out of the presidential race. • Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy are assassination, and campus protests surge. XII. A Turbulent Race for President • Protests spark rioting in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention. • Delegates at the Democratic convention bitterly debate the party’s antiwar plank. • Vice-President Hubert Humphrey wins the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. • The Republican presidential candidate, Richard Nixon, wins the 1968 election. XIII. President Nixon and Vietnamization • Negotiations to end the war reach a deadlock. • Nixon initiates a policy of Vietnamization- a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops and replacement with South Vietnamese troops. • A key goal of Vietnamization is to achieve “peace with honor.” XIV. Trouble Continues on the Home Front • News accounts of the My Lai massacre horrify the American public. • Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia spurs nationwide campus protests. • The slaying of student protesters and bystanders at Kent State and Jackson State rocks the nation. • Publication of the top-secret Pentagon Papers further erodes support for the war. XV. America’s Longest War Ends • After Nixon’s reelection, peace talks break off and U.S. bombings resume. • In 1973, the United States and North Vietnam sign a cease-fire agreement, and the last U.S. combat troops withdraw from Vietnam. • The cease-fire collapses, and in 1975 South Vietnam falls to North Vietnam. XVI. The War’s Painful Legacy • Vietnam veterans receive a cold homecoming, and some face difficulties in readjusting to civilian life. • The war’s end ushers in a violent, chaotic period in Southeast Asia. • The war still stirs up controversy and leads to major U.S. policy changes.
Pages to are hidden for
"The Vietnam War"Please download to view full document