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Vietnam War Years


... conducted a sit-in at Sproul Hall and were arrested ... Harvard Psychology Professor ... Fired from Harvard in 1963. Drugs became a big part of the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Vietnam War Years

Vietnam War Years
Background on the War
  • Vietnam had been ruled by France, then Japan,
    then France again
  • The U.S. backed France after WWII
  • Ho Chi Minh had asked the U.S. to help them gain
    independence but was ignored
  • - Ho turned to Communism and organized an army
    to fight the French,
  • the Vietminh

Background continued
  • Dien Bien Phu
  • 1954 Ho and his nationalist troops defeated the
  • Geneva Accords 1954
  • Vietnam split North was Communist with Ho as
    leader South was not, Ngo Dinh Diem was leader
  • - U.S. backed Diem under Eisenhower
  • - sent advisors
  • - didnt support nation-wide elections
  • since Ho would probably

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John F. Kennedy in Vietnam
  • 1961 Kennedy approved more aid to Diem
  • - 1963 - 16,000 advisors were in Vietnam
  • Diem lacked support harsh leader Jailed many,
    oppressed Buddhism (he was Catholic)
  • Buddhist monks and nuns began to burn themselves
    in the streets to protest his rule
  • Kennedy ordered a coup against Diem
  • - Diem was assassinated Nov. 2nd , 1963
  • - Kennedy was assassinated Nov. 22nd

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Lyndon Johnsons War Policy
  • Wanted to contain Communism in Vietnam but
    downplayed Vietnam in 1964 election
  • As North Vietnamese (Vietminh) gained ground, LBJ
    planned to send more troops

LBJ Continued
  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution 1964
  • - LBJ said US destroyers were attacked in a
    neutral area of the gulf
  • - Asked Congress to allow him to act
  • - The resolution gave him power to send troops
    to Vietnam without declaring war

  • Due to Communist success, more troops were sent
    to Vietnam under LBJ
  • General Westmoreland asked for more troops in
    early 1965
  • - 25,000 troops in early 1965
  • - 184,000 by late 1965
  • U.S. supported S. Vietnamese leaders
  • Nguyen Cao Ky and Nguyen Van Thieu - they
  • were not a corrupt as Diem, but still

Ho Chi Minh Trail
  • Route used by the North to get supplies to their
    supporters (Vietcong) in the south
  • Trail went through Laos and Cambodia

Tet Offensive
  • Tet is the Vietnamese New Year
  • January 30th, 1968 Surprise attack by the North
  • Major cities and U.S air bases were attacked
  • - Took almost a month for south to regain
    control of cities
  • N.V. losses were great, but it was a morale boost
    and psychological victory for them
  • More in U.S. began to oppose the war

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Brutality of War
  • At first soldiers were enthusiastic due to Cold
    War propaganda, but conditions were harsh and
  • Battlefield Conditions
  • - Jungle fighting - leeches, fever, jungle
  • - Guerrilla fighting ambush attacks, booby
    traps, tunnels
  • and landmines
  • Vietcong South Vietnamese who supported the
  • - Women and children had guns, grenades, etc.
  • - Could not tell allies from enemies since many
    in the south
  • were U.S. enemies as well

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Saturation Bombing
  • Began in April of 1966
  • U.S. B-52 bombers dropped 1,000 of tons of bombs
    over large areas

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Agent Orange and Napalm
  • Agent Orange - herbicide (chemical defoliant)
    dropped by pilots to kill jungle vegetation
  • - Poisoned water, killed animals, caused birth
    defects, and other
  • health issues
  • Napalm jelly-like fire bomb
  • - Burned extensive areas of land and people

Effects on Civilians
  • Were often killed as collateral damage
  • - Bombings hit large areas
  • - Search and destroy missions killed thousands
  • Refugees fled to nearby countries
  • Sickened by chemical weapons
  • - Birth defects and badly burned bodies

My Lai Massacre
  • March 16th, 1968
  • U.S. troops were looking for Vietcong
  • - Village of only women, children and old men
  • Lt. William Calley ordered all prisoners to be
  • - 174-400 civilians were killed
  • U.S. helicopter pilots stopped the attack
  • Massacre was uncovered by NY Times in Nov. of
  • U.S. public was appalled
  • - More began to turn against the war
  • Calley received 20 years in prison served 3

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Student Activism
Student Activism
  • Civil Rights movement was the model for the
    anti-war movement Students already had a
    history of getting involved
  • New Left -- saw problems with poverty and racism
    in the U.S. and called for radical change
  • - Saw war as a poor mans war
  • Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Free
    Speech Movement (FSM) were leaders in early

Free Speech Movement (FSM)
  • Began at UC Berkeley 1964 students were told
    they could not pass out leaflets on campus
  • - Mario Savio was spokesperson
  • Thousands of students conducted a sit-in at
    Sproul Hall and were arrested
  • Seen as the beginning of the many student
    anti-war protests which were to follow

  • First teach-in was at the Univ. of Michigan in
    March of 1965
  • Professors taught night classes on issues
    relating to Vietnam

Resistance to the Draft
  • Selective Service drafted 18-26 year old men
  • Many began to see the practice as unfair
  • -College students obtained deferments
  • - Would not have to serve until they finished
  • Minorities were drafted in much greater numbers
  • Draft protests began by SDS
  • - Protest marches (200,000 in Washington, D.C.)
  • - Burned draft cards
  • - Vandalized draft offices

Draft Resistance continued
  • Many found ways of getting out of the draft
  • - Conscientious Objectors
  • - Injured themselves, claimed mental illness,
  • - Moved to Canada
  • - Went to jail instead
  • (6 months to 5 years)

Counter Culture
  • Young adults of the 60s began to feel that
    American society -- with its materialism,
    technology, and war -- was hollow
  • Rejected the values of the older generation
  • -Never trust anyone over 30
  • Experimented with
  • - New fashions
  • - New music
  • - Drugs
  • - Peace, freedom,
  • and love

  • Majority were not protesting the war just
    protesting old values
  • - Men and women grew their hair long
  • - Wore working class clothing, natural look
  • - Rejected traditional family roles
  • - Many lived in communes
  • - Many rejected marriage

Drug Scene
  • Timothy Leary Harvard Psychology Professor
  • - Did experiments with LSD thought it would
    open peoples minds
  • - Advised people to Turn on, tune in, and drop
  • - Fired from Harvard in 1963
  • Drugs became a big part of the hippy lifestyle
  • Drug related deaths common
  • - Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin,
  • Jim Morrison, and more

  • Music was a major part of the counter culture
  • British invasion in the early 60s brought many
    bands that were very influential
  • - The Beatles
  • - Rolling Stones
  • - The Who
  • American music ranged from rock, folk, Motown to
    Psychedelic (music inspired by or imitating the
    mind-altering experiences people had on drugs)
  • - Bob Dylan, The Byrds, The Temptations, The
    Four Tops, Jefferson Airplane

  • August 1969 3 day music festival in upstate New
  • - 400,000 in attendance
  • All popular bands of the era played
  • Conditions were not great
  • - Heat, rain, mud, ODs, etc.
  • No major problems proved to many that the counter
    culture was right about peace and love
  • The older generation was disgusted by what they

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  • Dec. 1969 - free Rolling Stones concert near San
    Francisco at Altamont Speedway
  • - 30,000 in attendance
  • Stones hired the Hells Angels as security
  • - Angels beat many fans and killed one
  • Seen as the end of the peace
  • and love era of the 1960s

Johnsons Departure
  • 1968 Election year
  • Johnson refused to withdraw troops
  • - Largest anti-war protests in history took
    place this year
  • Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy would run
    against LBJ as fellow democratic candidates
  • - Johnson saw that he had lost the support of
    the party
  • - March 1968 LBJ decided not to run
  • for re-election as President
  • - May of 1968 Paris Peace Talks began

Richard Nixon Elected
  • Robert Kennedy assassinated June 1968
  • Protests at Democratic Convention in Chicago due
    to the war
  • Republican Richard Nixon won the election of 1968
  • - Promised to end the
  • war said he had a
  • secret plan

  • Nixons plan to withdraw U. S. troops and turn
    the war over to the South Vietnamese
  • - 1968 543,000 troops in Vietnam
  • - 1972 - 39,000 troops in Vietnam
  • Bombing intensified as troops withdrew - much of
    this was unknown to the U.S. public

Pentagon Papers
  • 1971 New York Times obtained secret documents
    that tell of secret money given to the French,
    and build- up of troops that was kept from the
    public over the decades
  • Many still thought the war
  • needed to be fought to
  • stop Communism
  • Others saw this as an example
  • of just more lies told by the
  • government

Bombing of Cambodia
  • 1969 - Nixon ordered secret bombing of Cambodia
    to block N. Vietnamese movements
  • April 1970 ordered invasion of Cambodia
  • - Laos was also impacted
  • New wave of anti-war protests swept across
    college campuses

Kent State and Jackson State
  • May 4th National Guard were sent to Kent State,
  • - Students had been protesting and burned the
    ROTC building
  • on campus
  • - Students threw rocks and tear gas canisters at
  • - Guardsmen fired on students
  • - 4 are killed and 9 wounded
  • 10 days later similar events take place at
    Jackson State, Mississippi
  • - 2 killed and 12 wounded
  • Mostly African American school did not get
    as much press as Kent State
  • The nation was divided on the issue of Vietnam
    and government policy some think the students
    got what they deserved, others were appalled that
    this could happen in America

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Paris Peace Talks - Success
  • 1971 - 60 of Americans thought we should
    withdraw from Vietnam
  • Henry Kissinger was sent to preside over ongoing
    peace talks
  • Massive bombing continues
  • January 27, 1973 agreement made
  • - U.S. to withdraw over 60 day period
  • - POWs would be released
  • - Fighting would stop in Laos and Cambodia
  • - 17th Parallel would separate North and South
  • March 29th -- the last U.S. troops left Vietnam

Fall of South Vietnam
  • Two years of civil war continued after the U.S.
    pulled out
  • April 29th, 1975, U.S. helped evacuate U.S. and
    Vietnamese personnel from Saigon the capitol
  • April 30th -- North Vietnamese took over the
    entire country -- Fall of Saigon
  • Today Vietnam is one united Communist nation

Legacy of the Vietnam Warfor the U.S.
  • Longest and least successful war in U.S. history
  • - U.S. losses 58,000 dead and 365,000 wounded
  • - Mental and physical illness seen in returning
  • - Some returned addicted to drugs
  • - More vets committed suicide than were killed
    in the war
  • - Cost of 150 billion dollars
  • - Caused debt and inflation
  • Public distrust of elected officials
  • War Powers Act Troops cannot remain in combat
    without a declaration of war for more than 90
  • Vietnam Wall built in 1982 to heal the nation
  • - there was controversy over the monument, but
    many find it
  • a cathartic experience to visit the Wall and
    see the name of their lost
  • loved one or buddy.

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Legacy for Vietnam
  • The Vietnamese had millions killed and wounded
  • - More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than in
  • Europe in all of WWII
  • Land destroyed
  • Illness due to Agent Orange
  • Refugees fled country boat people scattered
  • other parts of Southeast Asia, to France, and
    to the US
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