The Vietnam War - Washington Township Public School District

The Vietnam War - Washington Township Public School District

The Vietnam War 1954-1975 FRENCH OCCUPATION A. Because Vietnam has a mild winter, farmers are able to plant & raise two rice crops a year. This is why the Chinese invaded the area in 200 B.C. The Vietnamese did not win their independence from China until 1428. B. In 1883, French military power overwhelmed the Vietnamese took the country over & combined it with Laos & Cambodia to form FRENCH INDOCHINA. Vietnamese Nationalists fought for freedom throughout the occupation. 1.) HO CHI MINH - was a Vietnamese Nationalist leader. He was fluent in French & English, adopted many names as

alias (Ho Chi Minh was his last alias). He wrote a Declaration of Independence for Vietnam based on Thomas Jeffersons but turned to the Communists in the Soviet Union when the U.S. wouldnt give him $$$$ to fight the French. 2.) WORLD WAR II the Japanese occupied French Indochina. At this time Ho Chi Minh slipped into the country & formed the LEAGUE FOR THE INDEPENDENCE OF VIETNAM called the VIETMINH. a.) Aug. 1945 - Japanese withdrew from French Indochina and the Vietminh declared their independence. b.) American military presence in Vietnam supported and celebrated with the Vietminh on their independence day (Sept. 2, 1945). Pres. Truman would soon end our support for the Vietminh. C.) Pres. Truman turned U.S. policy against the Vietminh because of his fear of Communism spreading across all of Asia. His official policy was one of Containment. 1.) Truman viewed France as an important ally

in stopping the spread of Communism in post war Europe. 2.) Truman didnt want to support Ho Chi Minh because of his communist connections. a.) as already stated - they were afraid communism would spread across Asia. b.) 1949 - Mao Zedong (Mao-tse-Tung) led the Communist Revolution in China taking over that former U.S. Ally. c.) 1950 - Communist North Koreans invaded the South - U.S. & U.N. Troops were fighting to turn the tide of the Korean War. D.) Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower took office after Pres. Truman and continued to believe in a policy of Communist Containment. Eisenhower said it was like a game of dominoes - you knock one down & the rest follow (DOMINO THEORY) 1.) 1954 - the U.S. was paying much of the cost of Frances war effort in Vietnam.

a.) The French were ill equipped to fight a guerrilla war against the Vietminh. b.) The French tried to defeat the Vietminh in a conventional battle at DIEN BIEN PHU - but lost horribly. (1) May 7, 1954 - the French were forced to surrender to the Vietminh. 55 Days of Hell for the French at Dien Bien Phu 2.) The Geneva Conference of 1954 was held to try & solve the French Indochina problem. a.) Representatives included those from FRANCE, VIETNAM, COMMUNIST CHINA, U.S.A., GREAT BRITAIN, THE U.S.S.R., LAOS & CAMBODIA b.) Vietnam was divided at the 17th Parallel. The North to be held by the Vietminh & the South by remnants of the French govt. July, 1956 a general election was to be held to see what government would control a unified Vietnam.

c.) Pres. Eisenhower refused to recognize this agreement because he was afraid the Communists would win the general election by a 4 to 1 vote. II. THE REGIME OF NGO DINH DIEM A.) Ngo Dinh Diem was a former govt. official under the French. He was a nationalist who was strongly anti-Communist. He had spent several years in the U.S. & had powerful backers in this country. 1.) Diem became President of the newly established Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) following a RIGGED ELECTION. a.) Diem received 605,000 votes & there were only 450,000

registered voters ! b.) July, 1956 when the general election was to take place Diem refused to call the election. 2.) Diem was a Roman Catholic & was unpopular with the large Buddhist population because he showed favoritism to other Catholics. a.) Peasant disliked his land policies b.) everyone disliked that his family held all the political power in Vietnam. (1) Diems security forces routinely tortured &

imprisoned opponents. c.) 1959 - military assistance from the North Vietnamese began flowing South to help those Vietminh still in the South. d.) VIETCONG (Vietnamese Communists) - were also members of the National Liberation Front (NLF) fought Diems forces. (1) Peasants joined the Vietcong for a number of reasons: many were anti-Diem because of his govt.

repression. Others joined because they were afraid of the Vietcong terrorist tactics. B.) In 1961 John F. Kennedy became Pres. of the U.S. and was a strong believer in the Domino Theory. He too wanted to Contain Communism especially after the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion in Cuba. 1.) In 1961 there were 700 American Military Advisors in South Vietnam. by 1963 there were 16,000. 2.) In response to Vietcong attacks, Kennedy authorized the Military Advisors to engage in direct combat. a.) results: U.S. causalities climbed from 14 in 1961 to 500 in 1963. C.) South Vietnams Buddhist leaders were openly opposed Diems regime & began to publicly set themselves on fire. Americans were shocked by these grisly protests. 1.) U.S. officials in Saigon threatened to withdraw support for Diem unless he ended the repression. When Diem refused to comply: a.) U.S. advisers encouraged a group of young South Vietnamese army officers to overthrow Diem.

(1) Diem was overthrown & he & his brother were brutally killed. (2) American military advisors were upset by the murders but did want Diem out. 2.) Pres. Kennedy had said that the South Vietnamese were ...the ones who have to win or lose it. He then began to pull U.S. forces out of South Vietnam. a.) Three weeks later, November 22, 1963, Kennedy was assassinated so well never know what he would have done in the long run. Sec. 2 The War Escalates I. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution A.) In December, 1963 - Sec. of Defense, Robert McNamara advised Pres. Lyndon Johnson that to prevent a Communist victory he would have to increase the American commitment in South Vietnam. 1.) Johnson firmly believed it was necessary to stop Communist expansion 2.) Johnson wanted U.S. congressional backing before sending more U.S. troops to Vietnam.

a.) August, 1964 - Johnson announced that U.S. ships had been attacked twice in the Gulf of Tonkin & asked Congress to authorize the use of military force. b.) TONKIN GULF RESOLUTION stated that the President had the authority to take All necessary measures to repel any armed attack against forces of the United States. (1) Later it was revealed that the destroyer MADDOX had been engaged in spying in support of South Vietnam's raids against the North. It was a the Maddox that had fired first. The second attack by North Vietnam on U.S. ships never took place - a storm had messed up the radar & sonar so it looked like they were under attack. 3.) With the Tonkin Gulf Resolution Johnson responded to his advisers call for a buildup, or escalation, of American military forces in Vietnam. Sec. of Defense

McNamara, II. American Forces in Vietnam A.) Pres. Johnson ordered the Selective Service Agency to begin calling up young men to serve in the Armed forces. In April, 1965 the Selective Service notified 13,700 draftees, and by December some 40,000 had received greetings from their local draft boards. 1.) During the war 1964-1972 more than 2.6 million Americans served in Vietnam. a.) in the beginning most were professional soldiers but by the end most were draftees that were shipped to Vietnam. (1) American soldiers in Vietnam were, on average, younger (19), poorer, less educated than those who had served in World War II or in the Korean War. 2.) All young men who registered fro the draft did not have an equal chance of serving in Vietnam.

a.) 1 out of 4 were excused from service for health reasons. b.) another 30% received deferments most often for college enrollment. (1) because of college deferments young men from higher-income families were the least likely to be drafted. 3.) African & Hispanic Americans served in combat in especially high numbers. a.) 1965 - African Americans accounted for almost 24 % of all battle deaths even though they made up only 11% of the U.S. population. B.) The most vivid images of the war are of soldiers facing the rigors & terrors of battle. But most Americans who went to Vietnam were not assigned to combat units. They served in support positions (supply, transportation, engineering, medical care, communications, & administration.) 1.) 10,000 women served in the armed forces in Vietnam. Most were nurses who faced combat horrors daily - 8 were killed in battle.

2.) 20,000 to 45,000 women volunteered for humanitarian organizations like the Red Cross and served in Vietnam - some were killed in mortar attacks. III. The Air War A.) President Johnson expected prolonged bombing to pressure the North Vietnamese into negotiating a peace. 1.) OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER - a campaign against military targets in the North. It began in Feb. 1965. a.) Johnson wanted to assure the South Vietnamese of Americas commitment. b.) He wanted to destroy Vietcong supply lines. HO CHI MINH TRAIL - was the route through Vietnam, parts of Laos & Cambodia, that supplies reached the Vietcong from the North. 2.) Roads and bridges built to handle heavy trucks were bombed repeatedly, but the resourceful Vietcong quickly repaired them or made do without them.

3.) The U.S. Military had estimated that the bombing would bring about North Vietnams collapse within weeks. This did not happen. a.) Johnson ordered the escalation of the bombing and broadened the air war to include strikes against areas of bordering Laos & much of South Vietnam. (1) by 1967 the U.S. was dropping an average of 800 tons of bombs a day. (2) Napalm - jellied gasoline mixture was used in firebombs (3) Cluster Bombs - sprayed razor sharp metal fragments (4) DEFOLIANTS = AGENT ORANGE - were designed to strip the land of vegetation. Thus exposing the jungle supply routes & enemy hiding places and to rob the Vietcong of food. Agent Orang e

Being Sprea d on Left and Napal m on Right Carpet Bombing Young girl whose clothes were melted off by sticky, burning napalm (Napalm Girl)

Kim Phuc 9 yrs old IV. The Ground War A.) The Air War was designed to bring U.S. involvement quickly to an end - it had the opposite effect. 1.) North Vietnamese sent more troops & supplies south 2.) More South Vietnamese joined the ranks of the NLF in protest of the bombing. a.) by the end of the war there were more South Vietnamese in the NLF than North Vietnamese. B.) Between March 1965 and the end of 1967, U.S. troop strength grew from some 3,500 to some 486,000. Sheer numbers were not enough to defeat an enemy who seemed to be everywhere. 1.) The NLF, aided by regulars of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), struck at US. patrols or govt. held villages & then melted back into the jungle. a.) Vietnamese peasants who appeared peaceful during the day sided w/ the Vietcong at night. 2.) Americans began SEARCH & DESTROY MISSIONS in an attempt to flush the Vietcong from their hideouts

a.) Snipers & Booby traps made these missions extremely dangerous & frustrating. (1) Booby traps included: land mines, animal snares, pits lined w/ stakes. b.) Villages seldom remained cleared of the NLF. 3.) To deny the enemy any territorial gain American forces targeted many villages for PACIFICATION. a.) Pacification = moving resident to refugee camps/cities & burning down the village. b.) Progress could not be shown on a map so they used a daily body count of enemy dead which became the sole measure of success. (1) the U.S. military regularly guessed at on inflated the numbers. C.) The first U.S. troops to arrive in South Vietnam felt they were fighting for a noble cause - to stop the spread of Communism. 1.) As the hazards of fighting a nearly invisible foe in an alien landscape sank in, Morale ebbed. 2.) equally frustrating was the enemy's will to fight on despite mounting casualties. a.) according to Ho Chi Minh You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill

of yours, but even at those odds you will lose & I will win. Sec. 3 Americans Divided I. The Media & the War A.) Free of tight press restrictions imposed during previous wars, war correspondents, photographers & TV Camera crews accompanied soldiers on patrol, interviewed people in war zones & beamed footage & reports home. 1.) As early as 1962, American reporters argued that the war was not being won & could not be won so long as America supported the unpopular & corrupt Diem. 2.) Reporters also stated that ARVN troops were ineffective in fighting their own war & that body counts were inflated. Question 1. What do you see? 2. Do you know the background story?

3. Do you want to know what happened that led to this street execution? B.) As the gap between what the govt. said & what people saw & read widened, doubts at home increased. Two groups of people spoke out against the governments handling of the war. 1.) DOVES = people who opposed the war & wanted the U.S. out of Vietnam. Among them were: a.) MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. - who was a pacifist & believed all war was wrong. b.) DR. BENJAMIN SPOCK (the baby doctor) - who believed America was fighting against the wishes of a majority of Vietnamese.

c.) GEORGE KENNAN (a diplomat) - who said Vietnam was not crucial to national security. 2.) HAWKS = people who supported the wars goals but criticized the way the war was being fought. They argued for more U.S. troops & heavier bombing. Among them were: a.) GENERAL CURTIS LeMAY- (Retired Air Force General & WW 2 hero)- He said Here we are at the height of our power....And yet were afraid to use that power, we lack the will. II. The Anti War Movement A.) A variety of pacifist, religious, civil rights, & student groups shaped the antiwar movement. 1.) STUDENTS FOR A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY (SDS) - a student organization that had members on 124 college campuses by the end of 1965. a.) These groups criticized the involvement of universities in research & development for the military.

b.) they protested the draft c.) they protested the presence of ROTC on campus d.) they protested defense contractors as DOW CHEMICAL (made Napalm) 2.) On April 17, 1965 the First National Antiwar Demonstration was held in Washington D.C. It was organized by the SDS. a.) more than 20,000 people participated. b.) protest consisted of speeches & singing before the crowd marched on the CAPITOL & delivered a petition to Congress demanding an end to the war. c.) this march spurred on the antiwar movement. 3.) Over the next 10 years (1965-1975) countless demonstrators protested U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. 4.) Civil rights activists were among the most outspoken critics of the war. a.) 1967 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of how the war was stealing resources from poverty programs. b.) THE STUDENT NONVIOLENT COORDINATING COMMITTEE (SNCC) - voiced concern that the U.S. was sending young black men off to war in great numbers yet doing little to end racism at home.

c.) by 1968 Blacks were twice as likely to call themselves DOVES than whites. III. Conflict within the Government A.) Pres. Johnson & his advisers insisted that the U.S. was helping to defend its ally (South Vietnam) against aggression. If we failed to do so we would lose support of our other allies around the world. 1.) Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas (FULBRIGHT SCHOLARSHIP) - headed the Foreign Relations Committee & he sharply criticized the Johnson administration's policies as too extreme. a.) 1966 - Fulbright held congressional hearings to investigate the U.S. role in Vietnam. These hearings gave credibility to the antiwar protesters. 2.) Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara had persuaded the president & his other advisers to build up U.S. troops in Vietnam. by Oct. 1967 McNamara did a turnaround. a.) he told the Pres. that continuation of our present course of action in southeast Asia

would be dangerous, costly in lives, & unsatisfactory to the American people. b.) but the policy of escalation he created was entrenched & Johnson was determined to stay with it - McNamara was eased out of his cabinet position Section 4 War at Full Tide I. The Tet Offensive A.) January 30, 1968 was the start of TET, the Vietnamese New Year. NLF guerrillas & North Vietnamese troops sprang from their jungle camps & city hideouts to execute a carefully planned strike. 1.) More than 100 cities, 12 U.S. military bases & countless villages were under attack. a.) U.S. strongholds of Saigon & da Nang were under attack. (1) at one point - Vietcong occupied the courtyard of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. 2.) North Vietnam expected the TET OFFENSIVE to bring down the South

Vietnamese government because the people would rally behind their liberators but it wasnt to be. a.) an estimated 40,000 Communist soldiers were killed while only 2,000 American & 4,000 ARVN were killed. b.) Even though the TET offensive was a Vietcong defeat it signaled the end of the War for the U.S. (1) Walter Cronkite, anchor of the CBS Evening News said: I thought we were winning the war ! What the hell is going on? once Pres. Johnson heard this he knew he lost the average American. (2) Gen. Westmoreland requested more troops - LBJ sent him some but nothing close to the 206,000 requested. Walter Cronkite

II. The Election of 1968 A.) After the Tet Offensive 3 out of 4 Americans disapproved of Johnsons conduct of the war. As a result he nearly lost the New Hampshire Primary and decided to drop out of the race on March 31. this left the field open to Democrats who wanted Peace in Vietnam. 1.) SENATOR EUGENE McCARTHY OF MINNESOTA - ran as a DOVE & nearly beat Johnson in New Hampshire. 2.) SENATOR ROBERT F. KENNEDY OF NEW YORK - brother of slain Pres. JFK & former Attorney General, joined the race after New Hampshire. He had the support of African Americans, Hispanics, the young, the poor & many blue collar workers. He won almost all of the primaries, including California. a.) Bobby Kennedy was shot after the California Primary Victory by a Jordanian, Sirhan Sirhan, who hated Kennedy because of his support for Israel during the 1967 war. 3.) VICE-PRESIDENT HUBERT HUMPHREY- even though closely associated with Pres.

Johnson, he too ran as a DOVE. After Kennedys assassination, Humphrey won the nomination in Chicago and chose SENATOR EDMUND MUSKIE OF MAINE as his running mate. B.) The Democrats faced more problems at their convention in addition to the delegate splits. Riots by Anti-war Protesters in the streets caused massive damage to the city, the police department, & to the Democratic Party. 1.) Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago ordered the Police to break up & clear out the protesters. On August 28th on National T.V. the country got to watch as the Chicago Police beat up & tear gassed the protesters. 2.) In the convention, one of the speakers said the Chicago police department was using Gestapo Tactics. C.) At the Republican National Convention in

Miami, Richard Nixon of California carried the nomination & chose Spiro Agnew of Maryland as his running mate. 1.) Nixons platform included ending the Vietnam War & returning law & order to the streets of America. 2.) the election results were very close. Nixon won with 500,000 popular votes over Humphrey. However he carried 32 states to Humphreys 13. 3.) Former Alabama Governor GEORGE WALLACE ran as a 3rd party candidate, American Independent Party. He carried 5 states in the Deep South. III. Nixon, Vietnamization

& Cambodia A.) Nixon appointed Henry Kissinger his key foreign policy adviser. Together they improved relations w/ Communist China & the Soviet Union. He also began his plan to end U.S. involvement in Vietnam. 1.) VIETNAMIZATION - turned the fighting over to the South Vietnamese as U.S. troops were gradually pulled out. a.) Nixon hoped this would bring us peace w/ honor. b.) Nixon also hoped it would produce a stable anti-Communist South Vietnam. at worst - it would delay a collapse long enough to spare America the humiliation of outright defeat (which is what happened when the govt. collapsed in 1975.) 2.) In Feb. 1970, as U.S. troop withdrawals mounted, Henry Kissinger began meeting secretly in Paris with LE DUC THO of NORTH VIETNAM to discuss a peace treaty. a.) by 1972 - 24,400 American combat troops still remained in Vietnam.

B.) Even though Vietnamization was the public policy of the U.S., Pres. Nixon began to bomb Cambodia secretly in 1969., 1.) Nixon wanted to do the following w/ the bombing of Cambodia: a.) wanted to destroy North Vietnamese supplies & trails b.) wanted Hanoi to know that the U.S. was willing to respond w/ force to continued Communist aggression. c.) the bombing forced a change in Cambodias govt. & a pro-U.S. govt. took over. 2.) After the coup in Cambodia - Nixon made public his bombing policies. He then sent 80,000 American & ARVN troops into Cambodia. This destroyed Cambodias neutrality & much of its countryside. C.) News of the bombing & invasion of Cambodia provoked outraged in the U.S. and antiwar

protest increased. 1.) May 4, 1970 - the National Guard shot into a group of students at Kent State in Ohio & killed 4, injuring 9 more. a.) a few days before the Anti-war protesters burnt down the ROTC building b.) some of the dead & injured were just walking across campus & not part of the protest. 2.) May 6, 1970 - State police in Jackson Mississippi fired at protesters in a dormitory at JACKSON STATE COLLEGE - they killed 2 & wounded 9. a.) students & faculty in colleges across the U.S. went on strike to protest the violence against students. D.) The Cambodian invasion also shocked Congress & in December, 1970 they repealed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. 1.) Nixon said this had no effect on how he ran the war. 2.) congress responded by developing plans to stop the war

by ending funding once troop withdrawals were finalized. 3.) The NEW YORK TIMES also began publishing secret government documents relating to the war. a.) THE PENTAGON PAPERS by Daniel Ellsberg, a former Defense Department Official, showed how the govt. had misled the American people about the course of the war. 4.) In March, 1972 the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) invaded the South & captured a lot of South Vietnams territory. a) Nixon responded with more bombings of North Vietnam & the mining of Haiphong Harbor so Soviet ships couldnt deliver military supplies. Section 5 The Cease Fire and After I. Nixon Reelection and Cease Fire

A.) The 1972 Election year saw SENATOR GEORGE McGOVERN OF SOUTH DAKOTA campaigned as the Democratic Nominee. 1.) He was strongly antiwar, he attracted young people, women, & minorities. 2.) George Wallace ran against McGovern for the Democratic nomination but was shot & paralyzed from the waist down. he then withdrew from the race. 3.) Nixon was re-nominated by the Republican Party & ran on a law & order campaign at home & assured voters the war would soon be over. 4.) Nixon won the election by a landslide 47 million popular votes & 49 states went to Nixon. McGovern won 29 million popular votes & Massachusetts & the District of Columbia. B.) JANUARY 27, 1973 - the negotiators in Paris announced a cease fire. Among the provisions of the cease fire were: 1.) U.S. pledged to withdraw its remaining forces from South Vietnam & help to rebuild North Vietnam. 2.) Nguyen Van Thieu, would remain President of South Vietnam but with

representatives of the NLF in his cabinet. C.) January, 1975 - North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam. By April the NVA was in Saigon & thousands of Americans were being taken out by helicopters on the U.S. Embassy roof. 1.) Some 120,000 Vietnamese who had worked for the Americans were flown to the U.S. 2.) On April 30, 1975 - the Saigon government surrendered unconditionally to the North. The Vietnam War was over. II. &to VIETNAM

VETERANS AFTER WAR ARVN A.)VIETNAM According Saigon govt. figures someTHE 185,000 soldiers died in combat & nearly 500,000 Civilians. We dont know the exact number for the Vietcong or for the North Vietnamese Regulars (NVA). 1.) Nearly 1.5 million Vietnamese fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. Many became boat people

a.) Boat People - braved the South China Sea in small fishing boats hoping to be picked up by U.S. Coast Guard or other friendly governments. b.) over 730,000 of these refugees have settled in the U.S. B.) More than 2.6 million Americans were involved in Vietnam. Over 58,000 died, 300,000 are severely wounded, 2,300 are missing in action and over 600 were held as POWs and suffered unbelievable torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese. 1.) No ticker-tape parades celebrated the return of soldiers from Vietnam. a.) most veterans turned to drugs or failed to kick the habit as a result. b.) others have trouble finding jobs & keeping them. (1) between 250,000 & 350,000 homeless Americans are Vietnam Veterans. 2.) Soldiers involved in the spraying of defoliants developed certain forms of cancer & have a very high rate of children w/ birth defects.

a.) the manufactures of these chemicals created a relief fund & in 1991 the federal govt. extended permanent disability benefits to these veterans. C.) The war shocked Americans because of they way they had been misled by their leaders (Johnson & Nixon) as a result demands were made on Congress to make sure another war like Vietnam couldnt happen again. 1.) WAR POWERS ACT OF 1973 - it reaffirm Congresss constitutional right to declare war by setting a 60 day limit on the presidential commitment of U.S. troops to foreign conflicts. 2.) the war cost Americans taxpayers $150 billion, adding to the national debt & fueling inflation. a.) some argue that this money could have been used to

help the poor & for other domestic programs. III. Healing the Wounds of War A.) Americans are still seeking ways to come to terms w/ the war & its legacies. the most moving attempt to heal the rift caused by the War is the VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL IN WASHINGTON D.C. 1.) THE WALL was designed by Maya Ying Lin, a Chinese-American architecture student at Yale. Of the healing aspects of the memorial she said a.)TO OVERCOME GRIEF YOU HAVE TO CONFRONT IT. AN HONEST MEMORIAL MAKES YOU ACCEPT WHAT HAPPENED

BEFORE YOU OVERCOME IT. I THINK THE MEMORIAL MAKES PEOPLE ACCEPT. 2.) Inscribed on a huge wall of black granite are the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam. Lin insisted that the names be listed in chronological order - not by rank or by alphabet. a.) by listing them this way you can look up one friend who died & find more names around him of friends you knew. b.) People leave flowers, photos, letters etc at the wall. Many cry the first time they are there and other think about what the memorial means to them.

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