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The Vietnam War: 1954-1975

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The Vietnam War: 1954-1975 The War Unfolds VIETNAM - Beginnings The United States entered the Vietnam War to defeat Communist forces threatening South Vietnam. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Vietnam War: 1954-1975


1
The Vietnam War 1954-1975
  • The War Unfolds

2
VIETNAM - Beginnings
  • The United States entered the Vietnam War to
    defeat Communist forces threatening South
    Vietnam.
  • You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock
    over the first one, and what will happen to the
    last one is the certainty that will go over very
    quickly.
  • President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1954)

3
What events led to the war between North Vietnam
and South Vietnam?
  • End of World War II - Japanese occupation of
    Vietnam ended
  • French Indochina - A French colony that France
    tried to regain control of after WWII
  • Nationalist uprising against the French in the
    North (led by Nationalist Communists under Ho Chi
    Minh and General Giap)
  • French defeated at Dien Bien Phu - 1954

4
What events led to the war between North Vietnam
and South Vietnam?
  • Geneva Accords 1954 - divided Vietnam along the
    17th parallel
  • North led by Ho Chi Minh
  • South led by anti-Communist Ngo Dinh Diem
  • Elections set for 1956 refused by South Vietnam -
    feared Communist unfairness and victory

5
  • The Vietnam War, 19541975

Although neighboring Laos and Cambodia were
officially neutral, both aided the North
Vietnamese and Viet Cong by providing access to
bases and the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a vital supply
route from North to South
6
What events led to the war between North Vietnam
and South Vietnam?
  • By 1960, President Eisenhower had pledged
    American support to Diem in the South
  • US had 675 military advisors there
  • US presence justified by the domino theory - if
    one country falls to communism, the rest will
    eventually fall too.

7
What were the Vietnam policies of President
Kennedy and Robert McNamara?
  • JFK - determined to stop spread of communism
  • McNamara (Sec. of Defense) developed flexible
    response
  • Continued support of the South Vietnamese
    struggle against the North

8
The United States continued to support the
unpopular South Vietnamese government under Diem.
  • South Vietnamese leader Diem - very unpopular,
    dictatorial
  • Led to protests in the South by Buddhists
  • Strategic hamlets - relocated Vietnamese farmers
  • National Liberation Front formed in 1960 - a.k.a
    Viet Cong (VC) guerillas in the South -
    supported by North Vietnamese Army (NVA) supplies

9
Events in November 1963 dramatically changed
United States ambitions in Vietnam.
  • Diem assassinated Nov. 1, 1963 in a military coup
  • JFK assassinated Nov. 22, 1963
  • Lyndon B. Johnson (VP) became president
  • LBJ continued Vietnam policies of JFK

10
How did President Lyndon Johnson change the
course of the Vietnam War?
  • Johnson feared Vietnam going Communist
  • August 5, 1964 Tonkin Gulf Incident
  • Congress passed Tonkin Gulf Resolution - Gave LBJ
    broad executive powers to wage war

11
The Vietnam War 1954-1975
  • Fighting the War 1965-1968
  • At home and abroad.
  • And its one, two, three,
  • What are we fightin for?
  • -Country Joe and the Fish

12
VIETNAM - Escalation and Fighting
  • The violence and brutality of the Vietnam War
    affected civilians as well as soldiers.

13
Escalation of American involvement began in 1965
and continued through 1968.
  • Beginning of 1965 - 25,000 troops
  • End of 1968 - 500,000 troops

14
How did battlefield conditions in Vietnam affect
American soldiers?
  • The Vietnam war was characterized by small
    engagements (fights) that involved guerilla-type
    warfare.
  • For US soldiers, it was difficult to know the
    difference between friend (ARVN South Vietnamese
    regular army) and foe (VC Viet Cong)

15
Battlefield conditions in Vietnam
  • American tactics consisted of search and
    destroy missions and massive bombing of VC
    targets.
  • Operation Rolling Thunder - intensive bombing
    campaign from 1965-1968
  • Americans had absolute mastery of the air
    throughout the course of the war.

16
Bombing during Vietnam inflicted heavy damage on
the landscape and thousands of military and
civilian casualties.
  • Americans used saturation bombing and
    fragmentation bombs
  • Americans also used chemicals to defoliate the
    landscape
  • Napalm
  • Agent Orange

17
US casualties increased.
  • Casualties began to mount and TV networks
    broadcast scenes from the battlefield
  • Weekly body counts became standard TV fare for
    nightly news.

18
Americas first TV War
  • Peoples perceptions of the war were more and
    more influenced by television news reports

19
Hawks and Doves
  • Hawks - supported the war
  • Doves - opposed the war
  • Although the majority of Americans still
    supported the Vietnam War, there was increasing
    disagreement in both government and the public
    mind over US Vietnam policy.

20
A Growing Antiwar Movement
  • More and more people saw the Vietnam war as a
    waste of federal tax money that could have been
    applied to LBJs Great Society domestic social
    programs.

21
LBJ attempted to rally support
  • War faced growing protest and unpopularity at
    home.
  • LBJ continued to promote the war in order to
    maintain support for GREAT SOCIETY programs in
    the USA.
  • Escalation continued.
  • A growing credibility gap.

22
A coordinated set of attacks by Viet Cong and
North Vietnamese during Tet (Vietnamese New
Year) US tactical victory - inflicted heavy
losses on the VC and North Vietnamese North
Vietnamese strategic advantage - American public
support of war dropped
  • The Tet Offensive 1968


23
The impact of the Tet Offensive on American
Public Opinion
  • After the Tet Offensive in Jan-Feb of 1968,
    public opinion turned more sharply against
    continuing the war.
  • Vocal anti-war protests increased
  • Many Americans felt that
  • US soldiers were not given a chance to win
  • US didnt have a clear objective in Vietnam for
    victory
  • LBJ made surprise announcement he wouldnt seek
    re-election in 1968

24
Tet Illustrated Communist (VC) brutality and the
brutality of the war in general
  • In recapturing Hue (Vietnamese city), VC murdered
    5000 civilians before surrendering.
  • Suicide bombers hit civilian targets as well.
  • South Vietnamese responded in anger and brutality
    as well.

25
My Lai Massacre- 1968
  • US soldiers under Lt. William Calley murdered
    Vietnamese civilians at My Lai (village) 250
  • US helicopter crew stopped the slaughter
  • Story with pictures published in LIFE magazine in
    1971
  • American public horrified.
  • An isolated incident but shocking that American
    soldiers could or would commit such atrocities

26
Review Questions - answer these questions on a
separate sheet of paper
  • Describe how the battlefield conditions affected
    the following people in Vietnam
  • US Soldiers
  • Vietnamese civilians
  • Explain why the initial military action resulted
    in a stalemate.
  • Describe the Tet Offensive of 1968. Explain how
    and why it proved to be a turning point in the
    Vietnam War.
  • Choose a position either for (hawk) or against
    (dove) the war. Write a brief letter to the
    editor from that position.

27
The Vietnam War 1954-1975
  • The End of the War 1968-1975
  • Seeking Peace with Honor

28
The Paris Peace Talks and the Election of 1968.
  • Begun May 5, 1968.
  • No results.
  • Nixon campaign message claimed he had a secret
    plan to end the war.
  • LBJ - not seeking re-election
  • Democratic race included
  • VP Hubert H. Humphrey
  • Sen. Robert F. Kennedy
  • Sen. Eugene McCarthy

29
Republican Richard Nixon won in 1968 - a
political comeback.
  • Robert Kennedy assassinated in June.
  • McCarthy - outspoken anti-war candidate.
  • Democratic National Convention - Chicago riot
  • Nixon defeated Humphrey.
  • Promised to end the war and sought peace with
    honor.

30
Vietnamization and Peace with Honor
  • Plan of removing American troops and replacing
    them with South Vietnamese soldiers.
  • US continued heavy bombing of Vietnam
  • US troop strength dropped from 500,000 in 1969 to
    24,000 by 1972

31
Widening the war into Cambodia to end it.
  • Nixon ordered secret bombing of Viet Cong
    sanctuaries insided Cambodia (1970)
  • US and South Vietnamese troops also invaded
    Cambodia
  • Nixon hoped to win concessions at the bargaining
    table.

Operation Linebacker B-52s to bomb Cambodia
32
Kent State (Akron, Ohio) 1970
  • News of Cambodian invasion set off a new round of
    campus anti-war protests (May 1970)
  • Jackson State (MS), 2 killed, 11 wounded
  • Kent State - Ohio National Guard confronted
    hundreds of protesters -- 4 students killed, 9
    wounded
  • Hundreds of campuses shut down early due to
    unrest.

33
Nixon calls for law and order
  • Nixon appealed to the great silent majority of
    Americans.
  • If a vocal minority, however fervent its cause,
    prevails over reason and the will of the
    majoirty, this nation has no future as a free
    society.

34
Hard Hat riots in New York City in support of
Nixon
  • Over 100,000 construction workers marched.
  • Angry at the student anti-war protestors

35
1972 - Peace is at Hand
  • Paris Peace talks stalled since 1968. Renewed
    periodically.
  • National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger claimed
    peace was at hand - just before 1972 election.
  • December 1972, new round of bombing - Christmas
    bombings (Nixon - a mad bomber)
  • Bombed Hanoi, North Vietnam

36
1973 - Paris Peace Accords
  • 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.

37
South Vietnam falls
  • North continued its assault on the South
  • Saigon (capital of South) fell to communists in
    April, 1975
  • US evacuates 1,000 remaining Americans and 6,000
    Vietnamese to aircraft carriers
  • Vietnam united under communist rule

38
Saigon - 1975 the final days
39
Southeast Asia after the war.
  • Dominoes of Laos and Cambodia fell to communism
    - no other SE Asian countries
  • Cambodian Khmer Rouge government seized control
    under Pol Pot.
  • Vietnam - 100,000s of South Vietnamese civilians,
    soldiers, civil servants, professionals forced
    into re-education camps.
  • 1.5 million Vietnamese fled the country (100,000s
    of Cambodians and Laotians also) to the United
    States.

40
Scenes of post-1975 SE Asia
41
Legacy of the War
  • 58,000 Americans dead
  • 300,000 wounded
  • 2,500 POWs
  • 150 billion
  • More bomb tonnage than in all Axis countries of
    WWII - combined
  • Millions of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians
    killed
  • 1994 - end of US embargo
  • 1995 - formal US recognition of Vietnam

42
The Vietnam Memorial - The Wall
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