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The VIETNAM WAR ERA and How it Changed America


The VIETNAM WAR ERA and How it Changed America Honors US History Unit 7 Southeast Asia after WWII The Democratic Republic of Vietnam was established in 1945 Vietnam ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The VIETNAM WAR ERA and How it Changed America

The VIETNAM WAR ERAand How it Changed America
  • Honors US History
  • Unit 7

Southeast Asia after WWII
  • The Democratic Republic of Vietnam was
    established in 1945 Vietnam
  • With the defeat and withdrawal of Japanese
    forces, Ho Chi Minh led the new state with 15,000
    French soldiers present
  • French sought to depose Ho who led the Viet Minh
    troops in opposition to French colonial presence
  • He retreated to hills and becomes a hero to his
  • French suffer huge defeat at the hand of the Viet
    Mihn as 12,000 troops surrender and withdraw from

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A New Division of an Old Land
  • The Geneva Accords establishes a temporary
    division of Vietnam at 17th parallel in July 1954
    at Geneva, Switzerland
  • Vietnam is divided into two nations with Ho Chi
    Mihn leading the north and Ngo Dinh Diem leading
    the "free" South.
  • The Vietnamese people are promised free elections
    in 1956

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Protests over Diem and his Government
  • Diem proves to be the wrong man for the job
  • He is a wealthy American- educated Catholic
  • Does not connect to the people
  • The citizens protest including several Buddhist
    monks who self-emolliate themselves in protest

Strife Begins Between the 2 Vietnams
  • Many Vietnamese resent the division of their
    country and the Westerners they see as outsiders
  • After receiving help and aid from Red China, Ho
    and his followers declare they are Communists and
    attempt to overthrow Diem and unify Vietnam in
  • This group becomes the National Liberation Front

Another Assassination in 1963
  • Diem overthrown and assassinated on November 2,
  • American advisors are sent to keep the peace
  • The war escalates even though in private many of
    Kennedys and LBJs advisors did not believe the
    war could be won
  • This includes Robert McNamara- Secretary of
  • He is the former CEO of Ford Motors

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident
  • On August 1, 1964, two North Vietnamese Torpedo
    boats were accused of firing on an American
    destroyer, the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin
    off the coast of North Vietnam.

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
  • Following the conflict between U.S. destroyers
    and North Vietnamese gunboats, Pres. Johnson is
    given authority by Congress to "prevent further
  • The measure, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,
    passes Congress 416-0 in House and 88-2 in Senate
  • By 1965 120,000 American troops are sent to
    Southeast Asia

American Soldiers Far From Home
  • The average age of an American foot soldier in
    Vietnam was 19 years old.
  • Most likely not college educated
  • Most soldiers were white, but minorities were
  • The South was overrepresented

The Battlefield
  • Conditions were rough on the body
  • Leeches, fever, jungle rot
  • Soldiers faced tough conditions and an enemy who
    was willing to die for his cause
  • Viet Cong tactics included
  • 10-foot tall elephant grass hid the VC and the VC
    booby traps
  • Punji sticks, trip wires, and land mines were
    throughout the country

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The Vietcong
  • South Vietnamese citizens who fought for the
    North were nicknamed the Vietcong
  • VC
  • Charlie
  • Chuck
  • These fighters were farmers by day and guerrilla
    soldiers at night
  • Their tactics were old fashioned, brutal, and
    very effective

Agent Orange
  • Agent Orange is the code name for a powerful
    herbicide and defoliant used by the US to clear
    areas controlled by the VC
  • Unfortunately, the defoliant caused serious harm
    to the health of exposed Vietnamese and American

  • Napalm, or jellied gasoline, is a flammable
    liquid fuel weapon first used in World War I by
    the Germans
  • The Americans used it extensively in Vietnam
  • Napalm is the most terrible pain you can
    imagine," said Kim Puc known from a famous
    Vietnam War photograph
  • Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
  • Napalm generates temperatures of 800 to 1,200
    degrees Celsius

Effects of Napalm
Ho Chi Mihn Trail
  • As the war dragged on, the North needed a pathway
    to supply its troops as the war
  • The Ho Chi Mihn Trail was created and maintained
    in Laos and Cambodia
  • US troops were not legally allowed to invade
    these countries
  • Nixon authorized raids without informing leaders
    in Congress

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Operation Rolling Thunder- 1968
  • Operation Rolling Thunder was a frequently
    interrupted bombing campaign that began on 24
    February 1965 and lasted until the end of October
  • During this period U.S. Air Force and Navy
    aircraft engaged in a bombing campaign designed
    to force Ho Chi Minh to abandon his ambition to
    take over South Vietnam.

Operation Rolling Thunder
The Tet Offensive
  • The Chinese/Asian New Year is known as Tet in
  • Most Americans believed that as the Vietnamese
    celebrated Tet, the war would slow down or stop
    as for celebration
  • However, Tet on January 31, 1968 turned out to be
    a surprise offensive charge by thousands of
  • This became known as the Tet Offensive

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The Results of Tet
  • The Tet Offensive coordinated both the" Viet
    Cong" and the North Vietnams Peoples Army of
    Vietnam (PAVN), against South Vietnams Army of
    the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), and United States
    Military and other ARVN-allied forces.
  • The North Vietnamese (NVC) surged into more than
    a hundred cities and towns.
  • This proved to be the largest organized attack
    since the beginning of the war.

How Tet Changed the War
  • The Tet Offensive also proved to be the turning
    point of the war when the NVC proved that they
    could penetrate the South Vietnamese cities.
  • While the ARVN and the US military won on the
    battlefield, the PAVN and the Vietcong were
    victorious as propaganda tools.

Khe Sahn
  • On January 21, 1968, the North Vietnamese began a
    rocket and mortar attack on the Marine Combat
    Base near Khe Sahn.
  • The airstrip was destroyed and the Marines were
  • The bombardment and siege continued for another
    76 days.
  • The Americans made several attempts to destroy
    the Vietnamese with artillery and air bombardment
    but had limited success.
  • The Vietnamese made several attempts to overrun
    the base but were repelled.
  • The Marines had insufficient food and water and
    were overrun by rats.
  • Eventually, the Vietnamese decided to abandon
    their attacks, and in June, the Americans
    abandoned the base.

Khe Sahn
Pleiku AttackMore Troops
  • The VC attacked American troops at Pleiku in
    February 1968
  • LBJ responded by bombing North Vietnam
  • More attacks near Da Nang caused concern for
    protection of the critical airfield
  • The resultmore troops were sent
  • Almost 200,000 were there by the summer of 1965
  • 385,000 by 1966
  • 485,000 by 1967
  • 536,000 by 1968

The My Lai Massacre- 1968
  • The My Lai Massacre was an attack by US soldiers
    of hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians,
    mostly women and children, on March 16, 1968.
  • The US soldiers involved in the massacre
    ruthlessly killed 504 innocent civilians who were
    thought to be Viet Cong or supporters of the Viet
  • It prompted widespread outrage around the world
    and reduced American support at home for the war
    in Vietnam.

Lt. Calley
  • Lt. William Calley led the unit which killed at
    least 175 unarmed Vietnamese civilians.
  • The massacre would have of continued if it
    werent for the bravery of a helicopter gunship
    who threatened to fire on the soldiers if they
    continued with the killings.

The Results of My Lai
  • Many of the men were to be tried but none were
    convicted for their crimes except Lt. William
    Calley, who led the soldiers in the massacre.
  • Calley was later court-martialed and convicted of
    the atrocities at
  • The charges were later dropped
  • He lives a quiet life today in rural Georgia

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HueAtrocities by the Communists
  • Atrocities and massacres were not limited to
    American forces
  • At Hue, many unarmed South Vietnamese were
  • Estimates are that close to 5000 were killed in
    Hue alone
  • Anyone who worked with the Americans were
    considered traitors
  • Anyone who did NOT work with the Communists were
    considered traitors

The Hanoi Hilton
  • The Hoa Loa Prison ("fiery furnace"), was a
    prison used by the French colonists in Vietnam
    for political prisoners and later by North
    Vietnam for prisoners of war during the Vietnam
  • The conditions and food were so bad that the
    POWs nicknamed it the Hanoi Hilton
  • When prisoners of war began to be released from
    this and other North Vietnamese prisons in the
    late 1960s and early 1970s, their testimonies
    revealed widespread and systematic abuse of
    prisoners of war.
  • Initially this information was suppressed by
    American authorities for fear that conditions
    might worsen for the prisoners remaining in North
    Vietnamese custody.

Hanoi Hilton
  • John McCain was a prisoner at the Hanoi Hotel
    Hanoi Hilton for five years.
  • Jane Fonda visited the prison during the war an
    interviewed inmates as part of a anti-war
  • The inmates were forced to say that they were
    being treated well.

Protesters and Student Activism
  • Many groups protested the Vietnam War
  • Many were student-led and became known as The
    New Left
  • Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)
  • Tom Hayden
  • The Free Speech Movement
  • Centered at the University of CA at Berkeley

The Counterculture
  • The counterculture of the 1960s began in the
    United States as a reaction against the rigid
    social norms of the 1950s, segregation in the
    Deep South, and the US government's extensive
    military intervention in Vietnam.
  • Studies suggest that (mostly) white middle class
    youth had time in their lives to raise concerns
    about Civil Rights, Women's Rights, and the
    American War in Vietnam.
  • The far-reaching changes that developed in the
    late 1960s and early 1970s affected very many
    aspects and milieus of society.
  • The effects of the 1960s and 1970s also
    significantly affected voters and institutions,
    especially in the U.S.

The Counterculture Hippies
  • The Hippies became the largest countercultural
    movement in the United States fighting for more
    openness within main stream culture in civil
    rights especially drugs and the escalating
    involvement and conflict in Vietnam.
  • The Hippies mostly expressed their views through
    the new psychedelic rock genre of music.
  • Bands such as the Beatles, Jefferson Airplane,
    Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and Janis Joplin
    expressed their views about drugs and Vietnam
    through the genre.

The Counterculture Yippies
  • The counterculture movement of the 1960s did not
    always present a united front politically.
  • The Yippies were more likely to use guerrilla
    theater or public pranks to bring attention to
    their causes.
  • Although the Yippies were more radicalized than
    the Hippies, most members and associates drew the
    line at organized protests and sit-ins
  • The most famous Yippies were Jerry Rubin and
    Abbie Hoffman

The Counterculture The Drug Culture
  • Most of the social movements in the United States
    shared the common philosophy of experimentation
    on drugs especially hallucinogens such as LSD.
  • The shared belief of drug experimentation
    worsened the already large drug abuse problem in
    the United States especially with Alcohol and
  • Turn on, tune in, drop out" is a phrase coined by
    Timothy Leary in the 1960s

The Counterculture The Sexual Revolution
  • The sexual revolution of the 1960s expanded the
    growing acceptance of sexual encounters between
    unmarried adults.
  • Throughout this period young men and women
    engaged in their first acts of sexual intercourse
    at increasingly younger ages.
  • The impact of earlier sexual experimentation and
    the later age of marriage gave young people more
    time before entering upon a long-term monogamous
  • In addition, the growing number of marriages
    resulting in divorce--and the lessening of the
    stigma attached to divorce--provided another
    opportunity for men and women to engage in
    non-monogamous sexual activity

The Teach-In Movement
  • Students became more involved in protests against
    the war as more and more young men died
  • Teach-ins were groups of professors and students
    who organized and discussed the war on college
    campuses around the country
  • Most were anti-war Doves

Protests to the Draft
  • Many young people who opposed the war were
    concerned about the draft
  • The Selective Service Act had doubled the number
    of men who were drafted
  • College students received a deferment
  • Others were conscientious objectors who did not
    believe in war
  • Many draft cards were burnt in protest to the war

Anti-War Demonstrations
  • Demonstrations against the war steadily increased
    in size during the late 1960s.
  • In New York, over a million people took part in
    one demonstration.
  • The public opinion polls showed that a narrow
    majority of the people still supported US
    involvement in Vietnam.
  • However, the polls also indicated that much of
    this support came from middle class families
    whose own sons were not at risk.
  • President Johnson knew that if the war continued,
    he would eventually be forced to start drafting
    college students.
  • When that happened he would have great difficulty
    obtaining majority support for the war.

Protests to the War and the Draft
  • The decision to increase recruitment and the
    draft for the war increased the level of protest,
    especially amongst young men.
  • To keep the support of the articulate and
    influential members of the middle class, students
    were not called up.
  • However, students throughout America still
    protested at what they considered was an attack
    on people's right to decide for themselves
    whether they wanted to fight for their country.

Protests to the War
  • In 1965, David Miller publicly burnt his draft
    card and was sentenced to two and a half years in
  • His actions inspired others and throughout
    America, Anti-Vietnam War groups organized
    meetings where large groups of young men burnt
    their draft cards.
  • Between 1963 and 1973, 9,118 men were prosecuted
    for refusing to be drafted into the army.
  • The most famous of these was Muhammad Ali, the
    world heavyweight boxing champion

Deaths in Vietnam by Year
American Deaths in All Wars
  • LBJs popularity was plummeting in 1968
  • College students and other protesters blamed him
    for the death of a generation of young men
  • The marchers called out, Hey, Hey, LBJHow many
    kids did you kill today?

Hey LBJwhats the Weather like??
  • Protests in song became popular
  • Robert Zimmerman (AKA Bob Dylan) summed it up by
  • You dont need a weatherman to know which way
    the wind blows

The Weather Underground
  • October 1969 hundreds of young people, clad in
    football helmets and wielding lead pipes, marched
    through an upscale Chicago shopping district,
    pummeling parked cars and smashing shop windows
    in their path.
  • This was the first demonstration of the Weather
    Underground's "Days of Rage."
  • The group took their name from a line in Bob
    Dylans song, Subterranean Homesick Blues
  • Outraged by the Vietnam War and racism in
    America, the organization waged a low-level war
    against the U.S. government through much of the

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  • LBJ's popularity ratings drop to 35
  • He decides not to run for a second term in 1968
  • The Democrats are splintered as they look for a
    viable candidate to face former VP Richard Nixon

The Assassination of SenatorRobert Kennedy
  • As U.S. Senator for New York, Kennedy had focused
    on issues of social reform and increasingly came
    to identify with the poor and disenfranchised.
  • He reached out to members of minority groups and
    formed relationships with many of them.
  • The evening he was shot, Kennedy had won the June
    4 Democratic Presidential primaries in South
    Dakota and California, boosting his chances for
    the Democratic nomination for President during
    the 1968 presidential election.
  • His assassin, Sirhan Sirhan was waiting in a
    kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles
    and shot him after he finished his victory speech

The 1968 Democratic Convention
  • The 68 Democratic National Convention was a very
    prominent reflection of the tension between
    anti-war and patriotic movements.
  • The two principle candidates seeking nomination
    for presidency, Eugene McCarthy and Hubert H.
  • Humphrey received the Democratic nomination and
    faced Richard Nixon

The 1968 DNC and the Chicago Seven
  • In 1968 seven people were arrested for inciting a
    riot at the Democratic National Convention in
    Chicago (DNC)
  • The Yippie leaders gathered crowds by the
    thousands in an attempt to revolt against the
  • Violence ensued outside and inside the DNC

Yippies in an Uproar
  • Before long a riot had in sued and Chicagos
    12,000 police officers retaliated with brutal
  • People were beaten senseless and tear gassed, but
    to no avail.
  • Rioting continued for days until police officers
    arrested the Chicago seven.
  • The Chicago Seven were tried and convicted of
    inciting a riot, however the police officers were
    acquitted of violating the civil rights of

The Election of 1968
  • Nixon avoids antiwar protests by not telling
    Congress or people about bombings
  • He tells the American people he has a secret
  • Richard Nixon defeats Humphrey and George Wallace
    in November 1968
  • Nixon wins with 43.4 of the popular vote
  • After his election, he authorizes the secret
    bombing of North Vietnam and Cambodia in March
  • This was illegal and was not authorized by

  • Vietnamization was Nixons plan to turn the war
    over to the South Vietnamese
  • A gradual withdrawal of land troops
  • Nixon continued to use air power to bomb the
  • Peace with Honor

Kent State -May 4, 1970
  • Perhaps no event in American history came to
    symbolize the potential government held to become
    its people's worst enemy than the Kent State
  • The anti-war demonstrations held here on May 4,
    1970 shocked the nation not only by the presence
    of the National Guard, but in that these same
    troops were responsible for the death of four
    Kent State students.

The Counterculture
  • Hippies followed the Beat Generation of the
    1950s as part of the Counterculture
  • Political protest and a sexual revolution were
    part of the hippie lifestyle
  • Music and musicians became important to the
  • Drugs including LSD and other psychedelic drugs
    became popular

Woodstock and Altamont
  • Woodstock and Altamont were two large scale music
  • Woodstock was generally a peaceful experience
    although 400,000 people crashed the gates
  • Altamont went badly however
  • The Hells Angels were hired as security
  • Killed one of the young people at the concert

  • And there we were all in one place
  • A generation lost in space
  • With no time left to start again

  • "And as I watched him on the stageMy hands were
    clenched in fists of rageNo angel born in
    hellCould break that Satan's spell
  • And as the flames climbed high into the nightTo
    light the sacrificial riteI saw Satan laughing
    with delight
  • The day the music diedHe was singing..."

The Pentagon Papers- 1971
  • The New York Times was leaked secret Pentagon
    Papers that said the war was un-winnable and that
    the American people and Congress had been lied to
    for many years
  • The secret war study, the Pentagon Papers, were
    published in the paper after a Supreme Court
  • Public sentiments were stretched to the limits
  • Two deep divisions developed
  • The Hawks and the Doves

The North Invades-1972
  • North Vietnamese troops invaded South Vietnam in
  • The U.S. responds by widespread bombing of North,
    including bombing of Hanoi and mining of Haiphong
  • The largest bombing of North Vietnam occurred in
    December 17, 1972
  • American B-52s begin largest bombing of war,
    losing 15

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Paris Peace Talks
  • A Cease-fire Accord was achieved January 27,
    1973 in Paris
  • All fighting was to stop and American prisoners
    of war were to be released by North Vietnam

The Evacuation of Saigon
  • North Vietnamese forces took the South Vietnamese
    capital city of Saigon April 30, 1975
  • U.S. troops evacuated the American embassy as the
    South Vietnamese fled
  • The Communist forces occupied the South, renaming
    Saigon Ho Chi Minh City
  • The capital is still named this today

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The Boat People
  • More than 1 million boat people fled Southeast
    Asia after the American troops pulled out in
  • These refugees were seeking safe harbor from
    their war torn homelands
  • At least one-third of the boat people died at sea
    by killing, storms, illness, and food shortage.

The Boat People
The Vietnam Wall
  • An undergraduate at Yale University, Maya Lin
    designed the Memorial Wall on the Mall in
    Washington DC.

A Place of Reflection and Sorrow
  • There are 58,235 names listed on the Memorial
  • About 1,200 are listed as missing (MIA's, POW's,
    and others).

  • Feldmeth, Greg D. "U.S. History
    istory.html (31 March 1998).
  • Wikipedia
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