Vietnam was part of the French Empire in South East Asia. After the Second World War France was unable to control the area and withdrew in 1954. Vietnam was divided into two parts. The North was communist, the South was not. The US government had become - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

1 / 91
About This Presentation

Vietnam was part of the French Empire in South East Asia. After the Second World War France was unable to control the area and withdrew in 1954. Vietnam was divided into two parts. The North was communist, the South was not. The US government had become


Vietnam was part of the French Empire in South East Asia. After the Second World War France was unable to control the area and withdrew in 1954. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:484
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 92
Provided by: Tec7155
Learn more at:


Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: Vietnam was part of the French Empire in South East Asia. After the Second World War France was unable to control the area and withdrew in 1954. Vietnam was divided into two parts. The North was communist, the South was not. The US government had become

  • Vietnam was part of the French Empire in South
    East Asia. After the Second World War France was
    unable to control the area and withdrew in 1954.
    Vietnam was divided into two parts. The North was
    communist, the South was not.The US government
    had become involved in Vietnam before the French
    left in 1954, but in the following years US
    involvement became more and more significant.
  • At first US soldiers were there only as
    advisers, but increasingly they began to take
    part in the fighting.Why did the USA become so
    involved in Vietnam? What effects did the war
    have upon the USA?Why was the worlds most
    powerful army unable to defeat the Viet Cong?
    These are some of the issues that you will be

  • Assignment One
  • Why and how did the USA become involved in
    Vietnam in the 1950s and 1960s?

  • Where is Vietnam?

(No Transcript)
After the French were defeated in 1954, Vietnam
was split in two - the north was Communist, led
by Ho Chi Minh, and the south was Capitalist
under Ngo Dinh Diem. Diem's regime received
billions of dollars from the US but remained
deeply unpopular with most Vietnamese people.
  • Why did America fight the War?
  • Basically to hold the line against the spread of
    world Communism. America paid for the war the
    French fought against Communist Vietnam as a part
    of the Truman Doctrine (1947) to protect free
    peoples and then by the 1950s became involved
    when the war flared up again.

  • By the late 1950s the Americans developed the
    Domino Theory as a justification for the
    involvement. This theory stated, If South
    Vietnam falls to the Communist, Laos, Cambodia,
    Thailand, Burma, India and Pakistan would also
    fall like dominos. The Pacific Islands and even
    Australia could be at risk.  

  • The US prevented the elections that were promised
    under the Geneva conference because it knew that
    the Communists would win. Vietnamese Buddhist
    monks protested against American involvement by

  • The administration of President John F.
    Kennedy remained committed to the bi-partisan,
    anti-Communist foreign policies inherited from
    the administrations of Presidents Truman and

  • Fearing that failure on the part of the U.S.
    to stop communist expansion would fatally damage
    U.S. credibility with its allies, Kennedy
    reaffirmed the commitment to defend Vietnam.

  • Operation Phoenix was organized by the CIA. This
    led to the arrest and murder of thousands of
    Communists in the south. First the US sent in
    military advisers, then President Johnson sent in
    troops in huge numbers.

  • The Kennedy administration was growing
    increasingly frustrated with Ngo Dinh Diem, the
    leader of South Vietnam . In 1963, a crackdown by
    Di?m's forces was launched against Buddhist monks
    protesting discriminatory practices and demanding
    a political voice. Diem's repression of the
    protests sparked the so-called Buddhist Revolt,
    during which self-immolations by several monks
    took place and which were covered in the world
    press. The communists took full advantage of the
    situation and fueled anti-Diem sentiment to
    create further instability.

(No Transcript)
  • The U.S. embassy in Saigon communicated
    through the CIA to military officers that the
    U.S. would not oppose the removal of Diem. The
    president was overthrown by the military and
    later executed along with his brother.

  • Chaos ensued in the security and defense
    systems of South Vietnam and, once again, Hanoi
    took advantage of the situation to increase its
    support for the insurgents in the south. South
    Vietnam now entered a period of extreme political
    instability, as one military junta replaced
    another in quick succession.

  • By July 1964 the total US troop level in
    Vietnam was 21,000. On the evening of August 4
    1964, the destroyer U.S.S. Maddox was conducting
    an electronic intelligence gathering mission four
    miles off the North Vietnamese coast when it was
    attacked by three torpedo boats of the North
    Vietnamese navy.

  • It was on the basis of the administration's
    assertions that the attacks were "unprovoked
    aggression" on the part of North Vietnam, that
    the U.S. Congress approved the Southeast Asia
    Resolution (also known as the Gulf of Tonkin
    Resolution) on 7 August. The law gave the
    president broad powers to conduct military
    operations without an actual declaration of war.

(No Transcript)
  • Assignment Two
  • Describe the military tactics used by both the
    U.S. and the Viet Cong Forces in Vietnam in the

  • US Tactics
  • Working closely with the Army of the South
    Vietnamese (Arvins) the Americans tried to make
    it difficult for the Viet Cong (Vietnamese
    Communists Victor Charlie) to gain support
    from the South Vietnamese peasants.
  • Strategic Hamlet attempted to place peasants in
    fortified villages at night, where they couldnt
    be infiltrated. This backfired badly. It was
    very unpopular with the peasants who resented
    being so far away from their rice fields and
    ancestors. VC demolished many of the fortified
    villages anyway.  

(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
  • The Air War Frustrated by lack of success on
    the ground, the US tried to win the war from the
    air. Operation Rolling Thunder that began with
    dropping millions of tons of High Explosive bombs
    on North Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh trail.

(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
  • This was backed up by phosphorous and napalm
    bombs the latter causing dreadful burns to
    thousand of innocent civilians.

(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
  • When this failed to break down the jungle cover
    the USAF started Operation Ranch Hand the
    defoliation programm, using Agent Orange. This
    deadly chemical cocktail, containing dioxin,
    killed off millions of acres of jungle to try to
    weaken the VC but left a horrendous legacy in
    Vietnam. The dioxin got into the food chain
    causing chromosome damage to humans. There were
    hundreds of cases of children born with

(No Transcript)
  • Of all aircraft, the helicopter (mainly Bell
    Huey) was the most useful, dropping platoons in
    the jungle clearings and out again. They were
    excellent air ambulances.

(No Transcript)
  • Vietnamese Tactics
  • The Communist NLF (National Liberation Front) or
    "VC" used classic Maoist guerrilla tactics.

(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
  • Guerrillas must move through the peasants like
    fish through sea, i.e. the peasants will support
    them as much as they can, shelter, food, weapons,
    storage, intelligence, recruits.
  • In VC held areas they distributed the land to the
    peasants, which went down extremely well. By
    1973, the VC held about half of South Vietnam.
  • Their weapons were cheap and reliable - the AK47
    Kalashnikov assault rifle out-performed the
    American M16, and the portable rocket launcher
    took out many US vehicles and aircraft.

  • They recycled dud bombs dropped by the Americans
    or old weapons left by the French.

  • Deadly booby-traps could inflict huge damage on
    young American conscripts!

  • The US countered with Search and Destroy
    tactics. In areas where the VC were thought to be
    operating troops went in, checked for weapons and
    if found, rounded up the villagers and burned the
    villages down. This often alienated the peasants
    from the US/Arvin cause.

(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
  • As one marine said of a search and destroy
    mission If they werent VC before we got
    there, they sure as hell were by the time we
    left. The VC often helped the villagers
    re-build their homes and bury their dead.
  • The Vietnamese built large tunnel complexes such
    as the ones at Cu Chi near Saigon. This protected
    them from the bombing raids by the Americans and
    gave them cover for attacking the invaders.

(No Transcript)
  • To counter this the Americans set up a special
    unit, the Tunnel Rats to seek out the Vietnamese

(No Transcript)
  • Assignment Three
  • Explain why there were such different
    reactions in the USA to the countrys involvement
    in the Vietnam conflict in the 1960s. Why did
    the U.S. get out of Vietnam?

  • Some continued to believe in the Communist
    threat. The Cold War was real and Communism must
    be stopped.

  • Was the U.S. fighting for Democracy? Was the war
    a test of U.S. will and military might?
  • Was the South Vietnam government a govt. Of the
    people or just a Dictatorship?
  • Why should the U.S. fight this war for the South
    Vietnamese if they didnt care?

  • Tet Offensive in Vietnam
  • Martin Luther King dies
  • Robert Kennedy dies
  • Democratic Presidential Convention in Chicago
  • Massive Protests
  • My Lai massacre

  • Opposition to the Vietnam War
  • Probably the turning point came in January 1968
    with the Tet Offensive. The US public had been
    told that America was winning the war. However,
    when the VC attacked (and held for 3 weeks) most
    of South Vietnamese cities and towns Americans
    began to question whether the war could be won at
    all! Despite the serious VC losses (20,000), they
    were soon replaced. 

(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
  • The US could never stem the flow of supplies to
    the Ho Chi Minh Trail and this was crucial to
    trying to end the Viet Cong guerrilla war.  

  • President Johnson was so disillusioned with the
    war he did not seek re-election. The Republicans
    won the 1968 election and Richard Nixon became
    President. Fairly soon he started
    Vietnamization pulling out US troops and
    getting ARVINS to do the fighting. The everyday
    sight on the news of Americans coming home in
    body-bags was hitting the government's support
    for the war.

(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
  • Another serious blow to the US credibility came
    with the exposure of the My Lai massacre (March
    1968). Hushed up at the time and only discovered
    by a tenacious journalist, this involved the
    killing of 400 men, women and children by US

(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
  • It came as a terrible shock to the US public and
    was a powerful boost to the huge peace movement
    who wanted the war stopped. Huge protests brought
    together the various direct-action movements.  

  • Some protests became violent - at Kent State
    University in Ohio, some protestors were shot
    dead with live ammunition by US troops.

  • Peace talks began in 1968 in Paris, and finally
    came to fruition in 1973 when the US left
    Vietnam. By 1975 the Communists launched a
    full-scale invasion and united the country
    renaming Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Why Did America Lose the Vietnam war?

  • They underestimated the tenacity and organization
    of the VC and NVA  

  • Despite dropping more tonnage of high explosive
    on Vietnam than the whole of WW2, the Americans
    could not stop the movement of troops or supplies
    to the south along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  

  • The North Vietnamese conducted a Peoples war in
    which everyone played a part (If the truck is
    stuck, tear down the walls of your house)

(No Transcript)
  • At first, most Americans supported the war. By
    1970, the PEACE MOVEMENT had support from all
    sections of society and no government could
    ignore it.  

(No Transcript)
  • After 1969, there were deep questions about the
    efficiency of US troops. There was a serious
    drugs problem desertion rates were high and
    morale low. Many troops were time-servers, i.e.
    counted the days until the tour was over.

  • The US never really understood the culture of the
    Vietnamese people. Coca Cola, chewing gum, ice
    cream, Marlboros could not buy off their ancient

  • America was not prepared to keep losing high
    numbers of casualties for such limited progress
    in a difficult jungle war, for which they were
    not suited.

(No Transcript)
  • The strength and resourcefulness of the VC ,for
    example the high complex CU CHI tunnel system the
    US never shut down.

(No Transcript)
  • The credibility of the U.S. government
    suffered in 1971 when newspapers published The
    Pentagon Papers, a top-secret historical study
    of the American commitment in Vietnam from the
    Franklin Roosevelt administration until 1967. The
    documents were leaked to the press by Daniel
    Ellsberg, a former State Department official who
    had worked on the study.

  • The Pentagon Papers laid out the mistakes of
    four administrations in their Vietnam policies.
    For example they revealed the Johnson
    administrations actions concerning the Gulf of
    Tonkin incidents they exposed the secret bombing
    of Laos in 1964 the American government's
    approval of the death of Ngo Dinh Diem.

  • 30 April,1975, the last U.S. Marines
    evacuated by helicopter as civilians poured over
    the embassy grounds.
  • VPA troops overcame all resistance, The
    presidential palace was captured and the NLF flag
    waved victoriously over it.

(No Transcript)
  • U.S. killed in action, died of wounds, died
    of other causes, missing and declared dead -
    57,690. South Vietnamese military killed -
    243,748. Republic of Korea killed - 4,407.
    Australia and New Zealand (combined) - 469.
    Thailand - 351. The Vietnam People's Army and NLF
    (combined) - 666,000. North Vietnamese civilian
    fatalities - 65,000. South Vietnamese civilian
    dead - 300,000.

(No Transcript)
Write a Comment
User Comments (0)