The Vietnam War

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					The Vietnam War

America’s Longest War
        How it all got started
• Originally Vietnam belonged to the French
  and Japan takes over
• 1945---Japan was defeated transfer all
• Ho Chi Minh creates the National
  Liberation Committee of Vietnam
• British land in Saigon to return authority to
• 1944--- Ho Chi Minh is leading the Vietminh(
  who are a popular movement of Catholics,
  Buddhists, small business men, communists and
  farmers) in their fight for freedom against France
• Makes appeals to FDR for help states that they
  are not communist just want to be free---
  “Indochina could be a fertile field for American
  capital enterprise”
• Democratic Republic of Vietnam was not
  recognized so United States would not help
• Instead help French giving them 2 atomic bombs
• France recognizes Vietnam as a free state
  within the French Union
• Negotiations between France and the
  provisional government in Vietnam are not
  going well
• Democratic government of Vietnam
  (Vietminh) launches its first attack against
• Vietminh move north of Hanoi
• Ho Chi Minh is forced to look elsewhere
  for support
• Where does he look???????
• The USSR and China (both Communist)
• Offer weapons to support
• Vietminh (communist) push into Laos
• Major battle occurs--- Vietminh and French
  Vietminh make it impossible for the French
  to get supplies because they shell the
• French have meet their match
• Domino Theory is issued regarding
  Southeast Asia
• The Geneva Accords (decided upon by what is called
  the Geneva Conventions which were for separate
  treaties that dealt with humanitarian concerns)
  temporarily divide Vietnam in half along the 17th parallel
• North Vietnam and South Vietnam
• Supposedly there is supposed to be elections to reunify
  in two years
• Meanwhile---- The CIA assumes that Ho Chi Minh( now
  in the North) will win if elections are held
• Ho Chi Minh creates the Workers’ Party
            CIA and Vietnam
• CIA creates a secret police that is ran by the
  South Vietnamese
• Its main purpose is to destroy the Vietcong’s
  (North) infrastructure
• During the program’s course they operate as
  death units ------ it is said that they burned
  houses, tortured and sabotaged the people of
• Did this so that it would look like the Vietcong did
• Ngo Dinh Diem returns from exile to head up the
  government in the South
• Elections are set in the South
• Diem easily wins
• Diem is backed by the United States
• Soviets proposes that Vietnam stay divided and
  join United Nations as separate states
• United States (under Eisenhower) does not
• Laos is granted independence from France
• Major battle between the French and
• It is clear during this battle that the French
  have meet their match
• Diem rejects the Geneva Accords
  condition that free elections must take
• China and the Soviets pledge additional
• French leave Vietnam
• Who enters the picture??????
• Remember that we (United States has a
  policy in place where we help countries
  against communist powers)
• You got it The United States intervenes to
  clean up a French mess once again
    What role do we play????
• The United States begins training the
  South Vietnamese forces to withstand
• The United States Military Assistance
  Advisor Group (M.A.A.G)
• What does U.S.S.R think about the United
  States being involved ???????
• Khrushchev warns that “history is on our
  side. We will bury you”

• Remember that the Geneva Convention
  set a time frame where national elections
  had to be held-----
• The election deadline comes and goes----
  no elections are held
• 1957---- Communist insurgency in South
• Guerrillas assassinate more than 400
  South Vietnamese officials

• 13 Americans working for M.A.A.G and the
  United States information service are
  wounded in terrorist bombing in Saigon
• Communist forces settle along the Mekong

• North Vietnam forms group 559 to begin
  infiltrating cadres and weapons into South
  Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail
• The trail will become a strategic target for
  future military attacks
• Vice President Nixon engages in Khrushchev in kitchen
• These debates were a series of impromptu debate
  (through interpreters) between Vice President Nixon and
  Khrushchev at the opening of American National
  Exhibition in Moscow
• For this event an entire American house was built that
  they claimed anyone could afford
• Filled with things that were supposed to represent the
  fruits of capitalism
• It is called this not only because they took place in a
  Kitchen but because Nixon tried to steer the focus to
  household appliances instead of bomb and weapons
• 1959---- the first United States servicemen
  were killed in Guerilla attacks-----

• Things begin heating up as far as the war
• North Vietnam impose universal

• What is conscription??????

• Military draft

• Meanwhile in the United States
• United States has elected the youngest
  President ever………

• John F. Kennedy

• Kennedy declares that Americans will be ready
  to “bear any burden, meet any hardship, support
  any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival
  and the success of liberty….”
• There is a coup attempt on Diem but he

• Vietcong officially is formed--- National
  liberation front for South Vietnam they are
  dubbed the Vietcong
• Conflict continues

• Kennedy meets Khrushchev in Vienna

• Vice President Johnson tour Saigon Diem
  calls him the “Churchill of Asia”
• Kennedy authorizes the Green Berets---
  special forces operation that will specialize
  in counterinsurgency
• Air Force begins using Agent Orange-----a
  defoliant that came in metal orange
  containers to expose roadways and trails
  used by the Vietcong Forces
• Studies have shown that populations that
  were exposed to this have increased risk
  for cancer, genetic defects
• 1963----- President Kennedy is
  assassinated in Dallas and how to
  proceed in Vietnam is left up to Lyndon
• Johnson makes the decision to intensify
  by the spring of 1964 full war is waged
• August 2, 1964---- three north Vietnamese PT boats
  allegedly fire torpedoes at the U.S.S Maddox
• Why is this a big deal????/
• U.S.S Maddox was located in international waters ---Gulf
  of Tokin
• Jonson claimed that this was the second attack on
  American destroyers
• First was in response to covert operations of the United
  States and South Vietnam
• Second attack which later proved to be unfounded lead
  the United States to open involvement in the war
      Gulf Of Tonkin Resolution
• Johnson’s address to Congress
• America keeps her word…. We shall honor our
• Issue is Southeast Asia as a whole. A threat to any
  nation in that region is a threat to all, and a threat to us
• Purpose is peace, we have no military, political, territorial
  ambitions in the area
• This is a struggle for freedom on every front of human
• Communist regime has violated Geneva Accords
     Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
• Asks for Congress to join in in affirming
  the national determination that all attacks
  must be met and the United States
  continue its policy of assisting free nations
  to defend their freedom
• Must be clear that the United States is
  determined to bring about end of
  Communist subversion
     What does Congress do?
• Approve and support the President to make all
  necessary measures to repel any armed attack
• United States regards to its national interest
  peace and security of Southeast Asia
• Resolution shall expire when President shall
  determine peace and security of the area
• Gave Johnson permission for war without ever
  securing formal Declaration of War from
• Lyndon Johnson is elected as President of
  the United States
• Johnson is elected on the premise de-
  escalation of United States involvement in
  the war
• Operation Rolling Thunder ----American
  bombing raids go on for three years

• Objectives were to destroy industrial
  bases and air defenses and to stop
  supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail
• Considered a failure since no of the
  objectives were reached
• First battles take place in the Drang Valley

• Heavy casualties are reported on both

• United States troops top 200,000
• Vietnam “Teach In” broadcasts into
• This was the practice of protesting United
  States policy in Vietnam by holding these
  at colleges and universities
• Featured seminars, rallies and speeches
• First one takes place in March and by May
  over 100 campuses were engaging in
• War is still going strong despite protest in America
• Veterans from World War I and World War II along with
  veterans from Korean Conflict stage a protest rally in
  New York City
• Burn discharge papers and separation papers in protest
  of United States involvement in the Vietnam War
• Protest comes from C.O.R.E ---Congress of Racial
  Equality issues a report that states military draft places a
  “heavy discriminatory burden on minority groups and the
• Call for a complete withdrawal of troops
• Johnson meets with leader of South
  Vietnam and promises to keep helping
• Meanwhile protest are spreading
• Martin Luther King, Jr. ---- Publicly
  speaks out against the war calls the
  United States “the greatest purveyor of
  violence in the world” later encourages
  draft evasion and suggests a merger
  between civil rights and antiwar groups
• Tet Offensive--- called this because it takes
  place in the lunar new year (Jan 30-Jan 31)
  which is the Tet
• It was a show of military might that catches the
  United States military off guard North forces
  sweep down in several cities including Saigon
• United States does end up recapturing most but
  it is seen as a political and psychological victory
  for Communist
• Why???????
• Media portrayal of the Vietnam War was
  psychologically damaging
• Johnson popularity fell which caused him
  to announce that “I will not seek and will
  not accept the nomination of my party”
• After Tet Offensive “all gloom and doom”
  in the United States press
• Press and Television had created an aura
  not of victory but of defeat
• This isolated incident
  of violence was
  spread all over by the
• Vietcong leader being
  shot by North in
             Walter Cronkite
• Major newscaster during this time
• February of 1968 he interviews discouraged
  soldiers and officers he directly criticizes the
  military and leadership
• “we have been too often disappointed by the
  optimism of American leaders both in Vietnam
  and Washington to have faith in the silver lining
  they find in the darkest cloud”
• Stated that the “U.S. was in a stalemate”
• 250,000 more troops are requested for
• My Lai Massacre----- was committed by
  United States soldiers on hundreds of
  unarmed Vietnamese civilians, mostly
  women and children on March 16, 1968
• It reduced American support at home for
  the war
       What Happened?????
• During the Tet Offensive it was said that
  National Liberation Front of South Vietnam
  (communist) had retreated in the village of Song
  My and the villagers there were accused of
  harboring these soldiers as well
• United States soldiers were told that villagers
  had left and all that was left were the Viet Cong
  or Viet Cong sympathizers
• U.S. soldiers were instructed to destroy the
        What Happened?????
• There were no insurgents----enraged because
  fellow platoon members were killed on previous
  occasions they gave little thought to their action
• It is rumored that the soldiers ask where the Viet
  Cong were and the villagers did not know or
  refused to reveal their location
• U.S. suspected that the VC were in homes or
  elderly parents or hiding underground
• Killing spree begins ---- women, children, elderly
  men babies
    What Happened ???????
• Dozens were herded into a ditch and
  executed with automatic firearms
• Number killed varies from 300 to 500
• Soldiers said that they were convinced
  that any and all villagers could be a threat
• The massacre fueled the American peace
  movement, which demanded withdrawal of
  American troops from Vietnam
• Also it lead more draftees to file for
  conscientious objector status-----
• Individual who following religion, moral or ethical
  status dictates of his or her country deems
  themselves incompatible with being a military
  combatant in military service
            Aftermath 1970
• Massive antiwar
  demonstrations take
• As the protest from
  the Tet Offensive and
  the My Lai Massacre
  grew they began to
  become more violent
• Kent State University
                     Kent State
• Kent, Ohio
• Involved the shootings of students by members of the
  Ohio National Guard
• 4 were killed and Nine were wounded
• Why were the students protesting
• Students were protesting Nixon sending troops into
  Cambodia (part of the Vietnam War)
• Nixon had been elected on the premise that he would
  end the Vietnam War
• The My Lai Massacre had just been exposed
• First lottery draft since World War II had been institutited
               Kent State
• Since the war was suppose to be winding
  down the students were and a new
  invasion had been announced students
  and teachers began to worry about being
• Across the country campuses erupted in
  protest Time magazine called it “a nation
  wide student strike”
        Why were they Shot
• National Guard had been there a couple of
  days to ensure safety
• They were being taunted and called “Pigs”
• Threw tear gas canisters at the men
• Quickly it erupted into shootings by the
  National Guard
• Guardsmen claimed they fired in self
           End is in Sight
• Nixon begins bringing troops home
         Paris Peace Talks
• Peace talks begin and were signed by
• The intent was to establish peace in
  Vietnam and put an end to the Vietnam
       Provisions for Peace
• U.S. troops withdraw completely within 60
• U.S. prisoners of war (along with other
  foreign troops) would be released and
  allowed to return home as well as
• Reunification of Vietnam through peaceful
• Free elections would take place to
  determine the fate of the country
        End is in Sight 1973
• End of draft announced
• Last American troops begin leaving
• Communist begin taking control of
• Ford calls the Vietnam War finished

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