Vietnam - War Abroad and at Home

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~Ho Chi Minh’s communist forces defeated
the French in Vietnam in 1954.

~Lyndon B. Johnson made the decision to
engage the U.S in a major war in Vietnam,
because north Korea was intent on
conquering south Korea and extending
communism in Asia

~After 2 U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of
Tonkin reported attacks by North
Vietnamese patrol boats, the Tonkin gulf
resolution was passed. This was the
“functional equivalent” of a declaration
of war

~When bombing raids on North Vietnam
failed to slow Vietcong forces, Johnson
chose to escalate U.S. involvement

~by November,1965, 165,000 American
troops were in Vietnam
                   Vietnam Cont’d
                                 ~U.S. strategy, implemented by General
                                 William Westmoreland, was based on the
                                 premise that continued bombing would
                                 eventually exhaust N. Vietnam’s resources

                                 ~Ground forces would defeat the
                                 Vietcong in S. Vietnam and restore
                                 political stability to the pro-western

~In reality, the war wreaked havoc upon S. Vietnamese society and land,
turning approximately a quarter of the population into refugees

~Johnson’s popularity decreased as the war dragged on and the media
brought the reality of the war to American citizens

~The war was criticized on televised news reports, by reporters such as
Harrison Salisbury, senator J. William Fullbright who wrote “Arrogance
of Power”, and America’s most trusted European allies

~The war cost $21 billion a year, causing higher taxes and inflation
The sixties generation
~young adults started a counterculture in response to the changing times
and anti-war sentiments

~The generational rebellion took many forms, including a revolution in
sexual behavior

~Harvard professor Timothy Leary encouraged young people to “turn on,
tune in, drop out” and advocated the production and distribution of LSD.
Psychedelic and other hallucinogenic drugs played a large part in the

~Music was also a large part of the counterculture. Rock ’N’ Roll
represented the generation, in August of 1969 more than 400,000
gathered near Woodstock, NY for a three-day rock concert

~College students organized protests against the war in Vietnam and war-
related research on their campuses

~Teenage soldiers, the minority of which were poor and had an average age
of only 19, were bitter to fight in another country where they were viewed
as invaders

~the soldiers returned home without glory and faced an economy in which
finding a job had become extremely difficult
                   Wars On Poverty
The Great Society: Johnson’s ambitious
reform program, comparable to the New
Deal. The Office of Economic Opportunity
coordinated federal programs designed to
increase opportunities in employment and
education. It established community action
agencies which encouraged community
members to have a direct say on the war on

                               The Cities: Urban conditions steadily grew
                               worse as those who could afford to move to
                               the suburbs did. Efforts to improve
                               conditions (Title I of the1949 Housing Act)
                               left developments only the middle class
                               could afford. Employment opportunities
                               declined as housing did. This resulted in over
                               100 urban uprisings between 1964 and 68. At
                               first this prompted badly needed reforms,
                               but the government had little federal money
                               left for antipoverty programs because of
    The first major uprising   Vietnam.
    located in Watts, L.A.,
The Tet Offensive: January 30, 1968, N.
Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive, ruining
the credibility of American officials who had
claimed that victory was practically already
ours. Johnson’s popularity plummeted and
opposition to the war grew stronger.

               Martin Luther King Jr.: On April 3rd, 1968, King
               inaugurated a Poor People’s Campaign for peace and
               justice in Memphis, Tennessee where sanitation workers
               were striking. The next evening, he was shot on his motel
               balcony by James Earl Ray. Crowds all over the world
               mourned King’s death and riots broke out in over 100
The Democratic Campaign: ~NY senator Robert F. Kennedy
was the candidate of choice, with a strong record on civil
rights and the war as a mirror of the injustice at home
~Kennedy was assassinated by Jordanian Sirhan Sirhan on
the day of the California primary
~Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey emerged as the
Democratic presidential hopeful
~At the Democratic convention in Chicago, August 21-26,
police riots occurred and demonstrated the divisions in
the U.S.
             Movements of the 1960’s
Students for a Democratic Society(1962): Organization of
college students that became the largest national organization
of left-wing white students. Involved members in community-
based campaigns against poverty and for citizens’ control of
neighborhoods. Also played a prominent role in the campaign to
end war in vietnam.

                Free Speech Movement(1964): Formed at the University of
                California at Berkeley to protest the banning of on-
                campus political fund-raising. Students complained that
                the university had become a “faceless bureaucratic
                machine” rather than a community of learning. After
                repeated protests, many large universities gave students
                more freedom.

 Anti-Vietnam War Movement(1965): Advocated grass-roots opposition to
 U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. By 1970, a national mobilization
 committee organized a demonstration of a half-million protester in
 Washington D.C.
La Raza(1965): A movement of Chicano youth to
advance the cultural and political self-determination
of Mexican Americans. La Raza included the Brown
Berets, which addressed community issues, and
regional civil rights groups such as the Crusade for
Social Justice, formed in 1965.

                    Black Power(1966): Militant movement that emerged from
                    the civil rights campaigns to advocate independent
                    institutions for African Americans and pride in black
                    culture and African heritage. “Black Power” was coined
                    by Stokely Carmicheal and inspired the formation of the
                    Black Panthers, which was founded by Huey P. Newton
                    and Bobby Seale.

American Indian Movement(1968): Organization formed to
advance the self-determination of Indian peoples and
challenge the authority of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Its most effective tactic was occupation. In Feb.1973, AIM
members protesting land and treaty violations occupied
Wounded Knee, South Dakota until FBI and BIA agents
drove them out.
Women’s Liberation(1968): Movement of mainly young
women that began as a protest of the Miss America Beauty
Pageant. Joined by those impatient with the legislative
reforms promoted by the National Organization for
Women, the group formed “consciousness-raising” groups
and women’s studies programs.

Asian American Political Alliance(1968): Formed at the University of
California at Berkeley, the AAPA was one of the first pan-Asian political
organizations to struggle against racial oppression. The AAPA
encouraged Asian Americans to claim their own cultural identity and to
protest the war against Asian peoples in Vietnam.

  Gay Liberation(1969): Movement to protest discrimination
  against homosexuals and lesbians that emerged after the
  Stonewall Riots in NYC. Unlike earlier organizations
  which had focused on civil rights, gay liberationists
  sought to radically change American society and
  government, both of which they believed were corrupt.
               The Nixon Presidency
~Nixon won the election of 1968 by appealing to the “Silent Majority”,
which he described as “people who are not haters, people who love their
country”. His campaign built upon voter hostility towards protesters and
the counterculture.

~Henry A. Kissinger was a major force behind Nixon’s prolonging of the
war in Vietnam. On April 30th,1970, Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia
without seeking congressional approval and the largest series of
demonstrations and police-student confrontations ensued. The war
continued until January 1973 when North Vietnam and the U.S. signed the
Paris Peace agreement. By April 1975 N. Vietnamese troops had captured
Saigon and united Vietnam. The war had cost the U.S. $150 billion and
58,000 lives. Truman’s policy of containment had proved impossible to
~Unlike Vietnam, Nixon was able to greatly improve relations with other
communist nations. In February 1972, Nixon and his wife visited China which
increased diplomatic pressure on the Soviet Union and weakened the
Nationalist Chinese government in Taiwan. In Moscow, he offered to sell
$1 billion of grain to the Soviets and completed the Salt I negotiations.

~Nixon’s domestic policy included new Social Security benefits, the
creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Occupation
Safety and Health Administration. He also took the nation of the gold
standard and froze wages, rents, and prices for 90 days to halt inflation
caused by Vietnam. On July 21st, 1969, the Nixon administration saw the
first man land on the moon.

~Much of Nixon’s foreign policy was unknown to many Americans. This
included the delivery of arms to foreign dictators, the training and aiding
of SAVAK (the Iranian secret police), and assisting the overthrow of
legally elected socialist Saldvador Allende in Chile.

~The Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP)
enjoyed huge sums of money, much of which was spent
on “dirty tricks” designed to divide the Democrats and
discredit them in the eyes of the voting public.
~On June17, 1972, a group hired by CREEP installed listening devices in the
Washington D.C. Watergate apartment and office complex where the
Democrats were headquartered

~The police arrested the five men who were later found guilty of
conspiracy and burglary. Nixon disclaimed any knowledge of the plan.

~a former Nixon aide revealed the existence of secret tape recordings of
conversations held in the Oval Office. The tapes documented Nixon’s
ravings against his enemies, use of anti-Semitic slurs, and efforts to harass
private citizens through federal agencies. They also proved that Nixon had
known about Watergate and ordered plans to cover it up.

~Facing impeachment, Nixon became the first U.S. president to resign from
office on August 9th,1974.