The Vietnam War Years, 1954-1975 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Vietnam War Years, 1954-1975


... 1954-1975 Moving Toward Conflict French Rule in Vietnam French Indochina War The Vietminh Drive Out France War Unfolds in Vietnam: ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Vietnam War Years, 1954-1975

The Vietnam War Years, 1954-1975
Moving Toward Conflict
  • To stop the spread of communism in Southeast Asia
    (Vietnam), the United States uses its military to
    support South Vietnam

French Rule in Vietnam
  • Late 1800s- WWII, France rules most of Indochina
  • Ho Chi Minh- leader of Vietnamese independence
    movement- helps create Indochinese Communist
  • 1940-Japan takes control of Vietnam
  • Vietminh-organization that aims to rid Vietnam
    foreign rule
  • September 1945, Ho Chi Minh declares Vietnam an
    independent nation

French Indochina War
  • France Battles in the Vietminh
  • French troops move into Vietnam, French fight,
    regain cities in the South
  • 1950, U.S. begins economic aid to France to stop

The Vietminh Drive Out France
  • Domino Theory- countries can fall to communism
    like a row of dominos
  • 1954, Vietminh overrun French at Dien Bien Phu
    and France surrenders
  • Geneva Accords divide Vietnam at 17th parallel
    CommunistNorth AnticommunistsSouth
  • An Election to unify the country was called for
    in 1956

War Unfolds in Vietnam North vs South
  • Diem (leader of South Vietnam) Cancels elections
    in 1956
  • Ho has brutal, repressive regime but is popular
    for land distribution
  • South Vietnams anti-Communist president Ngo Dinh
    Diem refuses elections
  • U.S. promises military aid for stable, reform
    government in the South
  • Diem is corrupt, stifles opposition, restricts
    Buddhism (Buddhist Monks Oppose Diem by setting
    themselves on fire in the streets)
  • Vietcong (Communist opposition group in South)
    kills officials
  • Ho sends arms to Vietcong along Ho Chi Minh Trail

Kennedy and Vietnam
  • Like Eisenhower, JFK backs Diem Financially
    sends military advisors
  • Diems popularity plummets for corruption, lack
    of land reform
  • Diem starts strategic hamlet program to fight
    Vietcong (villagers were being moved from
    ancestral homes
  • Diem presses attacks on Buddhism and monks burn
    themselves in protest
  • U.S.- supported military coup topples government
    Diem assassinated

President Johnson Expands the Conflict
  • The South Grows More Unstable
  • Succession of military leaders rule South
    Vietnam country unstable
  • LBJ thinks U.S. can lose international prestige
    if communists win
  • The Tonkin Gulf Resolution
  • Alleged attack in Gulf of Tonkin LBJ asks for
    power to repel enemy
  • 1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution gave LBJ broad
    military powers
  • 1965 eight Americans killed, LBJ orders sustained
    bombing of North
  • U.S. combat troops sent to South Vietnam to
    battle Vietcong

Johnson Americanizes the War
  • Johnson drastically increased troops in Vietnam
  • 1965- 60,000 troops by April, 120,000 troops by
  • 1966- 385,000 troops
  • 1967- 500,000 troops
  • United States became the main responsibility for
    South Vietnam to resist communism.

American Troops Face Difficult Conditions
  • North Vietnamese Army- knew the land and had
    underground extensive tunnels as their base
    camps. These tunnels were undetectable by the US
  • NVA used guerrilla warfare (surprise attacks)
  • Agent Orange- herbicide, named for the color of
    barrels it was stored in was used to kill plants
    and trees and strip the forest of the Vietnam
    jungles. It also contaminated soil, food, and
    exposed civilians and soldiers to the toxins.

General Westmoreland
  • War of Attrition- wear down enemies strengths by
    eliminating troops
  • Search and Destroy Strategy- platoons (small
    units of soldiers) would search our insurgents
    and draw them into a fight then call an air
    strike to destroy the enemy.
  • Body count became a key tactic
  • US soldiers fell victim to land mines (explosive
    devices buried underground)

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War divides South Vietnam
  • Some South Vietnamese people joined the Viet Cong
  • Some remained neutral
  • Some supported the South Vietnam government of
  • Pacification- policy designed to promote security
    and stability in South Vietnam
  • Economic development in rural Vietnam
  • ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam)- removed
    Viet Cong from villages

Pacification has problems and Viet Cong remain
  • ARVN- lack leadership skills and dedication to
    provide security in the villages. Also lacked
    the desire to fight,
  • Search and Destroy missions created more enemies
    than friends (wrecking homes and food supplies of
  • Napalm- jellied gasoline dropped from planes
    which burned forests brought the greatest agony
    on the Vietnamese people

Opposition to the War
  • TV and NEWS- bring the war to living rooms (first
    news reports were positive then negative)
  • Escalating costs- 30billion and 500,000 soldiers
    (1,200 dying per month)
  • Credibility Gap- difference between the reality
    of the war and Johnsons portrayal of it.
  • Hawks vs Doves- Public opinion divided.
  • Hawks- containment
  • Doves- US action immoral and futile

26th Amendment
  • 1971, 26th Amendment was passed lowering the
    voting age from 21 to 18.
  • Young men felt if there were able to fight for
    their country they should be able to vote on
    their leaders.
  • Tinker v Des Moines- students have the right to
    engage in symbolic speech
  • Des Moines, Iowa 3 students aged 13-16 wore black
    armbands to school to protest the war. They were
    suspended and sued the school.

1968 A Year of Crisis
  • Tet Offensive January, 1968 85,000 North Viet
    Cong soldiers attacked cities, villages, military
    bases and air fields in the South including the
    US Embassy. 45,000 Viet Cong died.
  • The Tet Offensive shocked Americans, to see the
    enemy inside the walls of the US Embassy on their
    television was a scary sight. Many Americans
    questioned whether the US could hold off the

1968 A Year of Crisis
  • Johnson decided not to run for reelection
  • Tet Offensive was a political catastrophe, only
    26 of the public supported him afterwards
  • Johnson did reject General Westmorelands idea to
    send 206,000 more troops
  • Johnson did say in his final speech he would try
    and deescalate the conflict and then told
    Americans I shall not seek, and I will not
    accept, the nomination of my party for another
    term as your president.

1968 A Year of Crisis
  • ELECTION of 1968
  • Johnsons VP Herbert Humphrey ran for the
    Democrats and Richard Nixon for Republicans
  • At the DNC (Democratic National Convention) in
    Chicago violence erupted by angry antiwar
    protesters when Humphrey accepted Johnsons
    Vietnam Platform for Vietnam. Chicago police
    clashed with protesters and tear gas and rifle
    butts were used to calm them down.
  • The Republican National Convention was a tidy
    affair and this led to Richard Nixons victory as
    our next president.

Getting out of Vietnam
  • Nixon had a Dilemma Achieving Peace with
  • Vietnamization- South Vietnam will gradually take
    over the war and Nixon will reduce troops in
  • Self-government, Self-development, Self-defense

Invading Cambodia and Laos
  • Although Nixon promised the American people to
    get out of Indochina, he had planned secret
    attacks on the Viet Cong in Cambodia and Laos.
  • Many of the Viet Cong received their supplies to
    launch attacks on the South through supply lines
    in Cambodia and Laos. By invading these neutral
    countries, Nixon wanted to show his commitment to
  • April 1970, Nixon invaded Cambodia and February
    1971, Nixon invaded Laos.
  • These invasions were a partial success but his
    process of Vietnamization had failed
  • when South Vietnamese
  • troops were easily defeated Laos.

My Lai Massacre
  • In 1968 US soldiers massacred the South Vietnam
    village of My Lai during a search and destroy
    mission. After finding no Viet Cong the soldiers
    rounded up 500 women, children, and men and
    executed them.
  • This massacre was covered up by the military for
    a year until journalist Seymore Hersh published
    and article describing the killings.
  • Americans were outraged and Nixon ordered to
    speed up the process of withdrawing troops.

Demonstrations against the WAR
  • Moratorium 2 million people gathered to take
    the day off and reflect Vietnam.
  • Kent State Shootings After the invasion of
    Cambodia college campuses were outraged and held
    demonstrations across the nation.
  • May 4th, 1970 at Kent State University in Ohio,
    students were protesting and had previously
    burned the ROTC building on campus. The National
    Guard was called to stop the protests, after
    students continued to chant and throw rocks the
    national guard fired, killing 4 students and
    wounding 9.
  • 10 days later a similar situation occurred at
    Jackson State College in Mississippi that left 2
  • Our society was divided.

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Pentagon Papers
  • 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, former Department of
    Defense official leaked a top-secret study known
    as the Pentagon Papers. This study revealed how
    previous administrations and deceived congress
    and the public about Vietnam.
  • Congress stopped the publication of the papers
    but it was brought to trial in New York times Co.
    vs United States, free speech won and the papers
    were published.

War Powers Resolution
  • Congress passed the War Powers Resolution, which
    placed limits on a presidents power to use armed
    forces in hostile situations without
    congressional authorization.
  • This took away previously given powers to Johnson
    then Nixon in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

American Involvement in the War Ends Kind of
  • Nixon declares Peace is at Hand in 1972, mainly
    to get reelected.
  • South Vietnams President was afraid the US was
    pulling out and demanded many changes at the
    Paris Peace talks, which made them fall through.
  • Christmas Bombings Nixon was frustrated with
    the failed talks and wanted to punish North
    Vietnamese Army and bombed them on December 14th,
  • January 27th 1973 Paris Peace accords signed
    ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam
    with a cease fire and division of Vietnam at the
    17th parallel.

Veterans return home and POW return home
  • Veterans were not welcomed- they suffered from
    and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress disorder
    (PTSD), anxiety, irritability, nightmares, and
  • POW- Over 760 Americans were taken as Prisoners
    of War and at least 110 died.
  • MIA- Over 2,600 Americans were Missing in Action
    and 1,800 are unaccounted for today.

South Vietnam falls to North Vietnam
  • Cease fire did not last long by March 1975 the
    North Vietnamese Army launched a full out
  • President Ford refused to send military but sent
    aide to South Vietnam
  • April 30th, 1975 South Vietnam surrendered to
    North Vietnam at Saigon and South Vietnam was
  • US had evacuated more than 1000 Americans and
    several thousand South Vietnamese
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