April 23_ 28 - The American Prom

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April 23_ 28 - The American Prom Powered By Docstoc
					        CHAPTER 29
Vietnam and the Limits of Power
        New Frontiers in Foreign Policy
• Meeting the “Hour of Maximum Danger”
   – Kennedy and Democrats criticized Eisenhower administration for
     relying heavily on nuclear weapons - conventional ground forces
     as well to provide a “flexible response” to Communist expansion.
   – Kennedy exaggerated actual threat to national security but
     developments in 1961 heightened sense of crisis - rationale.
   – Soviet Union had aligned with independence movements in the
     third world - Cuba, just ninety miles from Florida.
   – April 17, 1961, about 1,300 anti-Castro exiles trained and armed
     by CIA landed at the Bay of Pigs on the south shore of Cuba.
   – No popular uprising in Cuba to support anti-Castro uprising -
     invaders fell to Castro’s forces - humiliation and defeat.
   – Days before Soviet astronaut first human to orbit the earth - in
     1969 Americans became the first to set foot on the moon.
   – June 1961, Kennedy and Khrushchev meeting - Soviet demand
     for agreement recognizing the existence of two Germanys.
   – Massive exodus of East Germans into West Berlin
     embarrassed Communists - East Germany erected a wall
     between East and West Berlin.
   – Berlin crisis used to add $3.2 billion to defense budget and
     expand military by 300,000 troops.
• New Approaches to the Third World
   – Kennedy administration - hard-line policy toward Soviet Union
     and fresh approaches to nationalist movements for
     independence in third world countries - publicly supported third
     world democratic and nationalist aspirations.
   – Alliance for Progress to thwart communism and hold nations in
     the American sphere with economic development - $20 billion
     in aid for Latin America over the next decade.
   – In 1961, Peace Corps.
   – Used direct military means - “special forces,” and political
     stability in the third world - foreign aid initiatives fell far short of
     their objectives.
• The Arms Race and the Nuclear Brink
   – Strengthen American nuclear dominance.
   – Superpowers close to using nuclear weapons in 1962, when
     Khrushchev decided to install nuclear missiles in Cuba.
   – Project appearance of toughness rather than conducting quiet
     negotiations with Soviets.
   – Kennedy and Khrushchev negotiated an agreement.
   – Soviets removed missiles and pledged no new offensive
     weapons into Cuba – U. S. promised not to invade Cuba and
     secretly agreed to remove missiles from Turkey.
   – Cuban missile crisis contributed to Khrushchev’s fall from
     power two years later, Kennedy emerged triumphant.
   – Kennedy worked with Khrushchev to prevent further
     confrontations - installed special “hot line” to speed
     Communications - in 1963 signed with Great Britain, a limited
     test ban treaty.
• A Growing War in Vietnam
   – Kennedy criticized idea of a “Pax Americana enforced in the
     world by American weapons of war,” but increased flow of
     those weapons into South Vietnam.
   – Two major problems in the way of Kennedy’s objective of
     holding firm in Vietnam - South Vietnamese insurgents,
     Vietcong, an indigenous force; initiative came from within, not
     from Soviet Union or China.
Chemical Weapons
   – Second problem - corrupt, repressive South Vietnamese
     government that refused to satisfy demands of insurgents but
     could not defeat them militarily.
   – North Vietnam invaded - Kennedy responded with measured
     steps – by 1963 military aid doubled and nine thousand military
     advisers in Vietnam; sometimes in combat - but Diem
     government refused to bring reform.
   – American officials assumed that military’s superior technology
     and sheer power would win struggle.
   – South Vietnamese military leaders launched coup on November
     2, 1963 - executing Premier Diem and his brother.
   – Shocked by the killings but no change in policy – by 1963 16,000
     Americans served in Vietnam and 100 had died there.

               Lyndon Johnson’s
             War against Communism
• An All-Out Commitment in Vietnam
   – Johnson faced dilemma in Vietnam - commitment to stopping
     Communism but caution against continued American
   – Pursue face-saving way out of Vietnam - but Johnson continued
     dispatching advisers, weapons, and economic aid - in 1964
     increased pressure on North Vietnam.
   – Response to report that North Vietnamese gunboats had fired on
     U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin - Johnson ordered air strikes
     on North Vietnamese targets - requested and received Congress’s
     permission to repel further armed attacks against U. S. forces.
   – Johnson’s response to Gulf of Tonkin crisis helped counter
     opponent, Arizona senator Barry Goldwater’s charges that he was
     “soft on communism.”
   – Johnson widened the war - rejected peace overtures from North
     Vietnam - Operation Rolling Thunder, bombing campaign.
   – In 1965 first U.S. ground troops in South Vietnam - in July, U.S.
     troops from defensive to offensive operations.
• Preventing Another Castro in Latin America
   – Perpetual problems in Latin America despite efforts of Alliance for
   – 1964 riots in Panama Canal Zone – U. S. territory since early
   – “Yankee imperialism.”
   – In 1961Dominican Republic voters ousted a dictator and elected
     a constitutional government headed by Juan Bosch.
   – In 1965 Bosch government overthrown by military coup - Johnson
     sent over 20,000 troops to quell a “leftist revolt” and take control
     of the island.
   – Yankee force in Latin America damaged the administration at
     home and abroad.
• The Americanized War
   – Apparent success in the Dominican Republic encouraged
     Johnson to press on in Vietnam.
   – U.S. pilots dropped 3.2 million tons of explosives - more than U.
     S. launched in all of World War II.
   – General William Westmoreland’s strategy of attrition - to search
     out and kill the Vietcong and North Vietnamese regular army.
   – American soldiers did not always distinguish between military
     combatants and civilians.
   – Teenagers fought the Vietnam War.
   – Poor and working class 80 percent of troops; privileged youth
     avoided draft using college deferments or family connections.
   – U. S. did not undergo full mobilization for Vietnam – but between
     7,500 and 10,000 women served in Vietnam, majority nurses.
  – Early in the war, African Americans constituted 31 percent of combat
    troops - military over meager opportunities in civilian economy - death
    rates among black soldiers disproportionately high until 1966 military
    adjusted assignments to achieve a better racial balance.

                  A Nation Polarized
• The Widening War at Home
  – Johnson’s authorization of Operation Rolling Thunder sparked
    mass movement against the war - in April 1965, chapters of
    Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) sprang up on more
    than 300 college campuses across the country.
  – Antiwar sentiment in mainstream society - many prominent
    critics by 1968.
  – Opposition to the war - letter-writing campaigns to officials,
    teach ins on college campuses, mass marches, student strikes,
    withholding of federal taxes, draft card burnings, and civil
    disobedience against military centers and producers of war
  – Refusal to fight in the war - based on morals and practical
  – Antiwar movement outraged millions of Americans who
    supported the war and President Johnson.
  – FBI infiltrated peace movement, disrupted its work, and
    spread false information about activists – even resorting to
    illegal measures failed to subdue the opposition.
• 1968: Year of Upheaval
  – American society polarized over the war - grave doubts about
    the war – in 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara
    believed that U. S. could not defeat the North Vietnamese and
    left the administration in 1968.
  – Critical turning point with Tet Offensive on January 30, 1968,
    when North Vietnamese and Vietcong attacked key cities and
    every major American base in South Vietnam.
  – Tet Offensive underscored credibility gap between official
    statements and war’s actual progress.
  – On March 31, 1968, Lyndon Johnson in a televised speech
    announced U. S. would reduce its bombing of North Vietnam
    and begin peace talks with its leaders and that he would not
    run for reelection.
– End of gradual escalation that began in 1965 - shift from
  increasing American forces to “Vietnamization,” a reliance on
  the South Vietnamese.
– Negotiations began in Paris in May 1968, long drawn out.
– At home, violence escalated – in 1968 assassinations of
  Martin Luther King Jr. and Democratic presidential hopeful
  Robert F. Kennedy.
– In August, protesters battled the police in Chicago, where
  Democratic Party had convened to nominate its presidential
– Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley issued ban on rallies and
  marches, ordered a curfew, and mobilized thousands of police.
– On August 25, police responded to jeering protesters with tear
  gas and clubs, three days of street battles and police riot on
  August 28 - police used mace and nightsticks on those who
  came to provoke violence and also on reporters, convention
  delegates, and peaceful demonstrators.
– A strong third party candidate: staunch segregationist George
  C. Wallace ran on ticket of American Independent Party.
   – American Independent Party produced strongest third-party finish
     since 1924, but Republican Nixon managed to edge out Democrat
     Hubert Humphrey by just half a million popular votes.
   – 1968 elections revealed deep cracks in coalition that, except in
     Eisenhower years, kept Democrats in power for thirty years.
                 Nixon, Détente, and the
               Search for Peace in Vietnam
• Moving toward Détente with the Soviet Union and China
   – Working with Henry Kissinger, Nixon exploited deterioration of
     Soviet-Chinese relations that had begun in early 1960s.
   – After two years of secret negotiations, in February 1972, Nixon first
     president to visit China - symbolic, but followed with cultural and
     scientific exchanges.
   – As Nixon and Henry Kissinger hoped, the warming of U.S.-Chinese
     relations increased Soviet responsiveness to their strategy of
   – In May 1972, Nixon visited Moscow, signing several agreements on
     trade and cooperation in science and space, and concluding arms
     limitation treaties that had grown out of the Strategic Arms Limitation
     Talks (SALT) begun in 1969.
• Shoring Up Anticommunism in the Third World
   – Nixon and Kissinger equated Marxism with a threat to U.S.
     interests - resisted social revolutions that lead to communism.
   – IN 1970s helped overthrow Salvador Allende, a Marxist elected
     president of Chile.
   – In 1973, with CIA help Chilean military led a coup, killed Allende -
     established brutal dictatorship under General Augusto Pinochet.
   – Nixon administration stood by many repressive governments.
   – Delicate balance between defending Israel’s security and seeking
     goodwill of Arab nations strategically and economically important
     to U. S.
   – Israel won victory in Six-Day War in 1967 - seized territory twice its
     original size.
   – Anti-American sentiment among Arabs who viewed U. S. as
     Israel’s supporter.
• Vietnam Becomes Nixon’s War
  – Nixon and Kissinger embraced the non-Communist South
    Vietnam idea - incidental to the larger objective of maintaining
    American credibility.
  – From 1969 to 1972, Nixon and Kissinger pursued a four-pronged
    approach in Vietnam:
     •   strengthen the South Vietnamese military and government,
     •   disarm the antiwar movement at home,
     •   negotiate with North Vietnam and the Soviet Union, and
     •   conduct a massive bombing campaign.
  – Vietnamization of the war - ARVN forces over one million, and
    their air force became the fourth largest in the world.
  – Withdrawal of U.S. forces.
  – In spring 1969, Nixon began a ferocious air war in Cambodia,
    hiding it from Congress and the public for more than a year.
  – In April 1970, Nixon ordered a joint U.S.-ARVN invasion of
    Cambodia - “Nixon’s” war - outrage at home.
– Huge antiwar protests - Kent State University in Ohio (four
  students killed), and at Jackson State College in Mississippi
  (police killed two students).
– Congress concerned about abuses of Presidential power;
  Senate voted to terminate Gulf of Tonkin Resolution - House
  did not go along but Nixon pulled U.S. soldiers out of
– Cambodian invasion failed to break will of North Vietnam and
  North Vietnamese presence in Cambodia strengthened the
  Khmer Rouge and spurred on a brutal civil war in that country.
– By 1971, Vietnam veterans visible part of the peace movement,
  first in U.S. history to organize against war in which they fought.
– After spring 1971 fewer massive antiwar demonstrations -
  protest continued - Americans learned of My Lai massacre and
  government’s cover-up of event.
– Administration policy suffered another blow in June 1971 with
  publication of Pentagon Papers, a secret government study
  critical of U.S. policy in Vietnam - military morale sank.
• The Peace Accords and the Legacy of Defeat
   – Military force and negotiation - intensive firepower could bring
     North Vietnamese to their knees.
   – Peace talks stalled - Nixon ordered most devastating bombing
     of North Vietnam (coined “jugular diplomacy” by Kissinger) -
     costly to both sides but brought about renewed negotiations.
   – Nixon claimed agreement brought “peace with honor,” but it
     actually allowed face-saving withdrawal for U. S.
   – Fighting resumed immediately among Vietnamese - Nixon’s
     ability to support South Vietnam, and govern eroded by
     Watergate scandals.
   – May 1, 1975 North Vietnamese occupied Saigon - Americans
     evacuated with 150,000 of their South Vietnamese allies.
   – During four years it took to end the war, Nixon expanded
     conflict into Cambodia and Laos - massive bombing
     campaign; many legislators criticized war but Congress never
     denied funds to fight it.
– War Powers Act in November 1973.
– Dire predictions of three presidents, Communist victory in
  South Vietnam would set dominoes cascading turned out to be
  false – complicated U. S. relations with its allies and alienated
  many countries in the Third World.
– Veterans reactions to defeat:
    • Commitment an honorable one - betrayed by U.S. government for not
      letting them and their now-dead comrades win the war
    • Blamed government for sacrificing nation’s youth in an immoral or useless
– Vietnam War combat brutal – civil and guerilla warfare.
– Veterans came home to public neglect - harassment from
  antiwar activists – did not distinguish war from warriors.
– Veterans Administration (VA) estimated nearly one-sixth of
  three million veterans suffered from posttraumatic stress
– Incorporation of Vietnam War into collective experience
  symbolized in Vietnam Veterans Memorial unveiled in
  Washington, D.C., in November 1982.
Pro-War Demonstrators
Students Killed at Kent State

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