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The Vietnam War


									     America’s most unpopular war
Cost LBJ his second term to Richard Nixon
America’s longest and most expensive war
   Divided America on the homefront
 The best technical war money could buy
 America hardly ever lost a tactical battle
    A war America did not win
 Today, we are living with the
    “ghosts of Vietnam”.
       Student Activism

Student Activism in the 1960s
•   Generation Gap — Young Americans in the 1960s had many opportunities unknown to
    previous generations; many also questioned the values of their parents. These factors
    contributed to a wider generation gap between college-aged youths and their parents.
•   Students for a Democratic Society and the New Left — Organized in 1960, Students for a
    Democratic Society (SDS) had a major impact on the New Left, a political movement that
    advocated radical changes to deal with problems such as poverty and racism.
•   The Free Speech Movement — Student protests for free speech at the University of
    California at Berkeley inspired similar movements elsewhere, including challenges to
    social restrictions on campuses.
•   The Teach-in Movement — Begun at the University of Michigan in March 1965, teach-ins, or
    special sessions at which issues concerning the war could be discussed, soon became a
    popular means of expressing antiwar sentiment.
•   Continued Protests — Hundreds of demonstrations continued at colleges and universities
    around the country. One of the most dramatic, at Columbia University in New York City,
    linked the issues of civil rights and the war.
Draft Resistance

• To increase the available fighting force, the United States
  invoked the Selective Service Act of 1951, drafting young
  men between the ages of 18 and 26 into the armed forces.
• Most of those who refused to be drafted in the early 1960s
  were conscientious objectors, people who opposed fighting
  on moral or religious grounds.
• As the Vietnam War progressed, the draft-resistance
  movement grew, with many young men burning their draft
  cards or fleeing the country to avoid the draft.
• At first, college students could receive a deferment, or
  postponement of their call to serve. Deferments were
  eliminated in 1971 in response to complaints that they were
  unfair to those who could not afford college.

Columbia University, 1967
                    “Hanoi Jane”

•Hollywood opposed the war.
•Jane Fonda went to Hanoi to
     visit with U.S. POW.
•She was used as propaganda
      by North Vietnam.
   •Recently, a Vietnam vet      Jane Fonda
“spit” on her and called her a
                        May   4, 1970
                        shot dead.

                        State University
                        May   10, 1970
                        2dead; 12
Kent State University
Johnson Decides Not to Run

• Continuing protests and an increasing number of
  casualties steadily decreased popular support for
  Johnson’s handling of the war.
• After the Tet Offensive, Johnson rarely left the White House
  for fear of angry protesters.
• Two other Democratic contenders, antiwar candidate
  Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, brother of John
  Kennedy and a senator from New York, campaigned against
  Johnson for the party’s nomination.
• On March 31, 1968, Johnson announced in a nationally
  televised speech that he would not seek another term as
           Impact of the
           Vietnam War
Johnson announces (March, 1968):
                     I do not believe that I
                      should devote an hour
                      or a day of my time to
                      any personal partisan
                      causes, or to any duties
                      other than the
                      awesome duties of this
                      office, the Presidency
                      of your country.
                        Accordingly, I shall not
                      seek, and I will not
                      accept, the nomination of
                      my party for another term
                      as your President.
          American Morale
           Begins to Dip
 Disproportionate  representation of poor
  people and minorities.
 Severe racial problems.
 Major drug
 Officers in combat
  6 mo.; in rear 6 mo.
  Enlisted men in
  combat for 12 mo.
The Election of 1968

The Democratic Convention               The Nation Chooses Nixon
• At the time of the Democratic         • Richard M. Nixon received the
   Convention in Chicago, Eugene           Republican Party’s nomination
   McCarthy was thought too far out        for President.
   of the mainstream, and Robert        • Nixon soon took the lead in
   Kennedy had been assassinated.          national polls, allowing his
• During the convention, police            running mate Spiro Agnew to
   attacked protesters, with much of       make harsh accusations, while
   the violence taking place in front      Nixon stayed “above the fray.”
   of television cameras.               • Independent candidate George C.
• Vice President Hubert Humphrey           Wallace drew many votes.
   won the Democratic nomination,          Additionally, many disillusioned
   but the party had been further          Democrats did not vote.
   torn apart by the convention’s       • In a close race, Nixon won the
   events.                                 presidency in the 1968 election.
Other Factors in the 1968 Election

• The 1960s was an unsettling period for mainstream
  Americans, a group sometimes referred to as Middle
  America. Many turned to the Republican Party for
  stability, voting for Republican candidates such as
• Many Americans were disillusioned by Johnson’s
  handling of the Vietnam War. Although Johnson
  stopped the bombing of North Vietnam before the
  election, Hubert Humphrey’s candidacy was hurt by
  his defense of the President’s Vietnam policies.
                                                               divided US

   Called Middle America, the          Called counterculture Hippies,
    Silent Majority                      Flower Children

   Supported Vietnam War               Opposed Vietnam War

   Traditional American values:        Disillusioned with values of
    hard work, family and                money, status, power;
    patriotism                           emphasized love, individual
                                         freedom, cooperation

   Feared and disliked new styles      Music and fashion emphasized
    of music and dress of youth          movement toward new society,
                                         greater freedom

   Against use of illegal drugs        Used “mind-expanding” drugs,
            Nixon in Vietnam

 Nixon’s 1968 Campaign promised an end
  to the war: Peace with Honor
   Appealed  to the great
    “Silent Majority”
 Vietnamization
 Expansion   of the
  conflict – The “Secret War”
 Agent Orange – chemical
The First Vietnam War          Ho Chi Minh
draft lottery, requiring      dies at age 79
 mandatory military
service based on date

        of birth.

    Secretary of defense, Melvin
    Laird, announces the policy of
     •Diminished role for the U.S. Military

•The role of defeating the communists shifts
       to the South Vietnamese Army.

      •Gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops.
             Nixon Policy
Peace with honor in Vietnam
  – All POWs must return
  – NOT turn over SVN to Reds
South Vietnam must fight its war
 with US $$$
  – Secret bombing in Cambodia (invaded 1970)
  – All US ground combat ends 1970; air war?
End of containment policy
  – Détente with USSR ... friendship?
  – Détente with China ... friendship?
play off China Vs. USSR
  – fear each other
  – both stop helping Hanoi; US can now bomb
Nixon’s Vietnam Policy

•   Toward the end of his term as President, Johnson had called for
    peace negotiations to end the Vietnam War. However, the
    resulting Paris peace talks, which began in May 1968, failed to
    produce an agreement.
•   President Nixon campaigned on the claim that he had a secret
    plan to end the war. In June 1969, he began the policy of
    Vietnamization, replacing American troops in Vietnam with South
    Vietnamese soldiers.
•   Although Nixon wanted to end the war, he did not want to lose it.
    He therefore launched secret bombing raids and expanded the
    war to Cambodia, hoping to destroy Viet Cong camps there.
•   Nixon hoped his Cambodian attacks would help America in peace
    negotiations. Instead, the attacks resulted in both civil war in
    Cambodia and more antiwar protests in the United States.
Nixon Calls for Law and Order

The Silent Majority                  Kent State and Jackson State
• Nixon had campaigned promising     • When student antiwar protesters
   a return to law and order. As        at Kent State University in Ohio
   President, he strengthened this      reacted angrily to Nixon’s
   position, discouraging protest       invasion of Cambodia, Nixon
   against the war.                     ordered the National Guard to
• In a 1969 speech, Nixon appealed      Kent State. After students threw
   to those who, he felt, quietly       rocks at the guardsmen, the
   supported his policies. He           troops opened fire, killing and
   referred to this group of            wounding both protesters and
   Americans as “the silent             bystanders.
   majority.”                        • The violence at Kent State, and a
                                        similar incident at Jackson State
                                        in Mississippi, horrified
   SVN government & army built up
    – pacification 1969-71; 90% of population safe
      (many moved to cities)
    – Viet Cong lose base; US victory!
    – now a conventional war of NV vs SV
 Secret bombings of Cambodia
  ineffective; US invasion 1970 [more
 US ground troops exit 1971
The Vietnam War,
  1964 to 1975
 Invasion of
 Cambodia, April 29 to
 June 29
 Invasion of Laos,
 Feb. 6 to March
 Haiphong harbor
 mined U.S. air raids
 over Hanoi
                        May   4, 1970
                        shot dead.

                        State University
                        May   10, 1970
                        2dead; 12
Kent State University
   National Security Advisor, Henry A.
 Kissinger begins secret peace talks with
    North Vietnamese leaders in Paris.
President Nixon withdrew 40,000 troops as
    part of the Vietnamization process.
Troop levels:
South Vietnamese     968,000
American             334,600
Australian           6,800
New Zealand          470
South Korea          48,450
Philippines          70
Thailand             11,570

 Nixon withdraws 100,000 troops.
Defensive role for U.S. ground forces.
    Offensive attacks by South
         Vietnamese Army.
Troop Levels:
South Vietnamese     1,046,250
American             156,800
Australian           2,000
New Zealand          100
South Korea          45,700
Philippines          70
Thailand             6,000
 Former  defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg
  leaked govt. docs. regarding war efforts
  during Johnson’s administration to the New
  York Times.
 Docs.--> Govt. misled Congress & Amer.
  People regarding its intentions in Vietnam
  during mid-1960s.
   Primaryreason for fighting not to eliminate
    communism, but to avoid humiliating defeat.
   New York Times v. United States (1971)
Mr. Billett turns 18
in Feb. and registers
    for the draft.
   August, the
 burglaries occur.

Troop Levels:
South Vietnamese        1,048,000
American                24,200
Australian              130
New Zealand             50
South Korea             36,790
Philippines             50
Thailand                50
                The Ceasefire,

 Peace     is at hand – Kissinger, 1972
   NorthVietnam attacks South
   Most Massive U.S. bombing commences

 1973:   Ceasefire signed between
   U.S.,   South Vietnam, & North Vietnam

 Peace     with honor (Nixon)
           Peace Negotiations

                                    US &
                                   argue for 5 mo.
                                   over size of

Dr. Henry Kissinger & Le Duc Tho
               The Ceasefire,
    Conditions:
    1. U.S. to remove all troops
    2. North Vietnam could leave troops already
       in S.V.
    3. North Vietnam would resume war
    4. No provision for POWs or MIAs
 Last American troops left South
  Vietnam on March 29, 1973
 1975: North Vietnam defeats South
 Saigon renamed Ho Chi Minh City
American Withdrawal

 Provisions of Peace Settlement Between the United States, South
   Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the Viet Cong,Signed in Paris in
                           January 1973
 •   The United States would withdraw all its forces from South
     Vietnam within 60 days.
 •   All prisoners of war would be released.
 •   All parties to the agreement would end military activities in
     Laos and Cambodia.
 •   The 17th parallel would continue to divide North and South
     Vietnam until the country could be reunited.


Troop Levels:

South           1,110,000
American        50
Nixon’s impeachment

South braces for huge
 Communist invasion.
The Vietnam War,
  1964 to 1975
 U.S. troops
 Surrender in
 Saigon, April 20
          The Fall of Saigon

South Vietnamese Attempt to Flee the Country
The Fall of Saigon
             April 30, 1975

America Abandons Its Embassy
        The New Vietnam

Formerly Saigon
          The Fall of Saigon

North Vietnamese at the Presidential Palace
                            In case there was
 The ancient capital       anyone doubt who
city of Hue falls to the     won the war, the
  North Vietnamese          communists later
         Army.             rename Saigon, Ho
                             Chi Minh City.

President Gerald            Last Americans
Ford declared the            evacuate as
                           communists take
 war “finished.”
Aftermath of the War in Asia

South Vietnam Falls                     Southeast Asia After the War
• After American forces had             • In April 1975, Cambodia fell to the
   withdrawn, North Vietnam                Khmer Rouge, a Communist
   attacked strategic cities in South      force led by Pol Pot. The Khmer
   Vietnam, ending with its capital,       Rouge killed a quarter of the
   Saigon.                                 Cambodian population, claiming
• Following a last-minute                  they were “tainted” with Western
   evacuation of both American             ways.
   soldiers and Vietnamese              • Vietnam’s new leaders forced
   refugees, South Vietnam                 hundreds of thousands of
   surrendered in April 1975, and          Vietnamese into “reeducation
   Vietnam became unified under a          camps”; refugees from Vietnam,
   Communist government.                   Cambodia, and newly Communist
                                           Laos fled their home countries.
              The Impact
 26thAmendment: 18-year-olds vote
 Nixon abolished the draft--> all-
  volunteer army
 War Powers Act, 1973      ‫٭‬
   President must notify Congress within 48
    hours of deploying military force
   President must withdraw forces unless he
    gains Congressional approval within 90 days
 Disregard  for Veterans --> seen as
  “baby killers”
 POW/MIA issue lingered
The Legacy of the War

•   With a cost of at least $150 billion, and hundreds of thousands of
    American soldiers killed or wounded, the Vietnam War was the
    longest and least successful war in American history.
•   Thousands of American soldiers who did not return home after
    the war were listed as POWs (prisoners of war) or MIAs (missing
    in action). Many remain unaccounted for today.
•   In Vietnam, millions were dead or wounded, many of them
    civilians. The war also heavily damaged the landscape of
•   In 1994, the United States lifted its trade embargo against
    Vietnam; in 1995, full diplomatic relations were restored.
         Some American POWs
          Returned from the
            “Hanoi Hilton”

Senator John McCain
       2,583 American
         POWs / MIAs
still unaccounted for today.
  “War—What is it good for?
    --absolutely nothing!!”
Scenes from Francis Ford Coppola’s
  Vietnam epic, Apocalypse Now
dead soldiers
              The Costs
        3,000,000 Vietnamese killed
         58,000 Americans killed
         300,000 wounded
   Of those that died 11,465 were
    10,000 dead from accidents
   153,000 hospitalized & survive
  2,590,000 Americans in Vietnam.
 Great Society programs underfunded
  $150,000,000,000 in U.S. spending
 U.S. morale, self-confidence, trust of
         government decimated
            The Costs
       1,200 airplanes crash
  6,727,084 tons of bombs were
     3,750 fixed wing aircraft
    4,865 helicopters were lost.
  500,000 acres of Vietnam were
   sprayed with defoliants, Agent
The effects of Agent Orange may last
           up to 100 years.
          Lessons for U.S.

1. Wars must be of short duration
2. Wars must yield few American
3. Restrict media access to battlefields
4. Develop and maintain Congressional
   and public support
5. Set clear, winnable goals
6. Set deadline for troop withdrawals
  The Debate Continues:
     Where Were You
    in the War, Daddy?
George Bush and John Kerry
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

• Designed by 21-year old Maya Ying Lin and completed
  in 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands near
  the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It consists
  of a long wall of black granite, listing the names of
  every American who died in the Vietnam War. Since
  its completion, visitors have added to the memorial by
  leaving personal tokens at the wall in memory of their
  loved ones.
President Clinton
   Vietnam on
  July 11, 1995

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