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The Vietnam War By: Amber Cyrankowski


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Title: The Vietnam War By: Amber Cyrankowski

The Vietnam WarBy Amber Cyrankowski
About the Vietnam War
  • The Vietnam war was also known as the Second
    Indochina War, it was a Cold war military
    conflict that occurred in three countries
  • Vietnam
  • Laos
  • Cambodia
  • This war lasted from November 1, 1955- April 30,
    1975 when Saigon fell.

About the Vietnam War
  • The United States entered the war to prevent a
    communist takeover of South Vietnam as part of
    their wider strategy of containment.
  • Capture of Saigon
  • April 1975
  • Marked the end of the Vietnam war.
  • North and South Vietnam were reunified the next

Background 1949
  • 1888, the area of the current-day nations of
    Cambodia and Vietnam was made into the colony of
    French Indochina.
  • During WW2 Colonial authorities became Vichy
    French, allies of the German-Italian Axis powers.
  • French collaborated with the Japanese forces.
  • Collaborated after their invasion of French
    Indochina during 1940
  • The Japanese had ultimate power!

Background 1949
  • This situation continued until the German forces
    were expelled from France and the French
    Indochina colonial authorities started holding
    secret talks with the free French.
  • Feared they could no longer trust the French
  • During 1944-1945, a deep famine struck northern
    Vietnam because a combination of poor weather and
    Japanese exploitation.
  • Out of a population of 10 million in the affected
  • Urged the population to ransack rice warehouses
    and refuse to pay their taxes.

Background 1949
  • August 1945, Japanese defeated and surrendered
  • Power vacuum created.
  • The United Kingdom belonged to the French.
  • French did not have
  • Ships
  • Weapons
  • To retake Vietnam

Exit of The French, 1950
  • Created Military assistance (requests for)
  • Weapons
  • Expertise
  • Laborers
  • They wanted to send 60 B-29s from US bases in
    the region.
  • 150 fighters launched
  • Seventh fleet carriers
  • Bomb commander- Vo Nguyen Giaps position

Transition Period
  • Civilians were given the opportunity to freely
    move between two states, for a 300-day period.

  • Northerners feared persecution by the communists.
  • The North created a Land Reform
  • 8,000 class enemies were executed

Transition Period
  • Their were no free elections
  • Ngo Dinh Diem said
  • How can we expect free elections to be held in
    the communist North?

  • 1955, Diem launched the Denounce the Communists
  • Communists and anti-government elements were
  • Arrested
  • Imprisoned
  • Tortured
  • Or executed

Insurgency in the south,1956
  • Four hundred government officials were murdered
    in 1957 alone.
  • Terror
  • Aimed at local government officials
  • Soon symbols
  • Schoolteachers
  • Health workers
  • And agricultural officials.

Insurgency in the south,1956
  • January 1959, the Norths Central Committee
    issued a secret resolution authorizing an armed
    struggle.- (irregular warfare and combat in
    which a small group of combatants use mobile
    military tactics in the form of ambushes.)
  • This authorized the Southern communists to begin
    large-scale operations against the South
    Vietnamese military.

  • North Vietnam supplied troops and supplies in
    dear, and the infiltration of men and weapons
    from the North began along
  • The Ho Chi Minh Trail

During John F. Kennedys Administration, 1961-1963
  • He won the 1960 U.S presidential election.
  • Ambitious pledge
  • Pay any price
  • Bear any burden
  • Meet any hardship
  • Support any friend
  • Oppose any foe
  • In order to assure the survival and success of

  • Kennedy believed that the forces such as Green
    Berets would be effective in a brush fire war
    in Vietnam.
  • He faced a three-part crisis
  • The failure of The Bay of pigs invasion
  • The construction of the Berlin Wall
  • The Pathet Lao communist movement
  • He thought it would ruin U.S credibility and his
    own reputation.
  • Kennedy drew a line in the sand to prevent a
    communist victory in Vietnam.

The South Vietnamese military
  • They remained poor
  • Bad leadership
  • Corruption
  • Political promotions
  • These 3 things all played a part in emasculating
    (remove the testicles of a male) the Army of the
    Republic of Vietnam.
  • Caused a major crisis.

The Major crisis they faced
  • Kennedy increased military assistance
  • U.S-South Vietnamese program tried to resettle
    the rural population into fortified camps.
  • The aim was to set apart the population from the
    insurgents, provide
  • Education
  • Health care
  • Strengthen the governments hold over the
  • The government refused to undertake land reform,
    so it left farmers paying high rents to a few
    wealthy landlords.

Coup and assassinations
  • Buddhists were protesting against the ban on the
    Buddhist flag.
  • This resulted in mass protests against politics
    that gave privileges to the catholic church and
    its adherents.
  • United States would no punish generals by cutting
    off aid.

Lyndon B. Johnson expands the war in 1963-1969.
  • Became president after Kennedy died.
  • Took over Kennedys plan to expand the war.
  • The attacks that he encountered led to relating
    air strikes.

Escalation and ground war
  • U.S air Force needed more protection
  • Vietnamese could not provide security
  • When the U.S Marines were sent away to South
    Vietnam, thats when the American ground war
  • South Vietnamese forces were defeated.

There were 3 phases
  1. Phase 1- Commitment of U.S (and other free world)
    forces necessary to halt the losing trend by the
    end of 1965.
  2. Phase 2- U.S and allied forces mount major
    offensive actions to seize the initiative to
    destroy guerrilla and organized enemy forces.
  3. Phase 3- If the enemy persisted, a period of
    12-18 months following phase 2 would be required
    for the final destruction of enemy forces
    remaining in remote base areas.

  • Washington encouraged its SEATO allies to
    contribute troops.
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • The Republic of Korea
  • Thailand
  • Philippines
  • All agreed to send troops.
  • Canada and the United Kingdom declined his troops

Tet Offensive
  • When they lured General Westmorelands forces
    into the hinterland at Khe Sanh in Quang Tri
    Province, in January 1968, the NVA and NLF broke
    the truce that had traditionally accompanied the
    Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.
  • They launched the surprise Tet offensive in the
    hope of sparking a national uprising.
  • Over 100 cities were attacked, with assaults on
    General Westmorelands headquarters and the US
    Embassy, Saigon.

Tet Offensive
  • General Westmoreland had become the public face
    of the war.
  • He was featured on the cover of time magazine
    three times and was named 1965s Man of the year!
  • On May 1968, despite low expectations, peace
    talks began between the U.S and the Democratic
    Republic of Vietnam.

Vietnamization, 1969-1972
  • Propaganda leaflets urging the defection of NLF
    and North Vietnamese to the side of the Republic
    Of Vietnam.
  • On October 10, 1969, Nixon ordered a squadron of
    18 B-52s loaded with nuclear weapons to race to
    the border of Soviet airspace in order to
    convince the Soviet Union that he was capable of
    anything to end the Vietnam war.

Vietnamization, 1969-1972
  • The anti-war movement was gaining strength in the
  • Nixon attracted to the silent majority of
    Americans to support the war.
  • In 1970, American troops were being taken away
    from border areas where much more killing took
    place and instead put along the coast and

Operation Menu the secret bombing of Cambodia
and Laos
  • Main article Operation Menu
  • The ostensibly neutral Laos had long been the
    scene of a secret war.
  • ARVN forces fled along roads littered with their
    own dead.

Operation Menu the secret bombing of Cambodia
and Laos
  • As peace protests spread across the U.S,
    illusions grew in ranks.
  • Drug use increased
  • 2. Race relations grew tense
  • 3. The number of soldiers disobeying officers

Opposition to the Vietnam War 1962-1975
  • Unilateral withdrawal would contribute to a
    lessening of
  • Tensions in the region
  • Less human bloodshed
  • Opposition to the Vietnam War tended to unite
    groups opposed to U.S anti-communism
  • Imperialism
  • Colonialism

  • Anti-war protests ended with the final
    withdrawal of troops after the Paris Peace
    Accords were signed in 1973.

Exit of the Americans 1973-1975
  • The U.S began drastically reducing their troops
    support in South Vietnam during the final years
    of Vietnamization.
  • U.S military forces withdrew from South Vietnam
    and prisoners were exchanged.

  • Oil price shock of October 1973
  • Caused great damage to the South Vietnamese
  • Gerald Ford took over as U.S president on August
    9, 1974, after President Nixon resigned due to
    the Watergate scandal.

Gerald Ford and Nixon
  • On December 13, 1974 north Vietnamese forces
    attacked Route 14 in Phuoc Long province.
  • At the start of 1975 the South Vietnamese had 3
    times as much artillery and twice the number of
    tanks and armoured cars as the opposition.

Campaign 275
  • On March 10, 1975 general Dung launched Campaign
    275, a limited offensive into the central
    Highlands, supported by tanks and heavy
  • On March 31, after a battle, Hue fell.
  • VPA troops were poised to attack the suburbs.

Final North Vietnamese offensive
  • At the time of the peace agreement the U.S agreed
    to replace equipment on a one-by-one basis.
  • By the end April, the army of the Republic of
    South Vietnam had collapsed on all fronts.
  • Thousands of refugees streamed southward, ahead
    of the main communist onslaught.

Fall of Saigon
  • On April 30, 1975, VPA troops overcame all
    resistance, quickly capturing key buildings and
  • A tank crashed through the gates of the
    presidential palace, and at 1130 a.m local time
    the NLF flag was raised above it.

Peoples Republic of China
  • In 1950, the peoples republic oh china extended
    diplomatic recognition to the Viet Minhs
    Democratic republic of Vietnam and sent weapons,
    as well as military advisors.

South Korea
  • On the anti-communist side, South Korea had the
    2nd largest contingent of foreign troops in South
    Vietnam after the U.S.
  • About 5,000 South Koreans were killed and 11,000
    were injured during the war.

Australia and New Zealand
  • They were both close allies of the U.S and
    members of the Southeast Asia Treaty
    Organization, sent ground troops to Vietnam.
  • Australia began by sending advisors to Vietnam,
    and combat troops were committed in 1965.

  • Troops were primarily engaged in medical and
    other civilian pacification projects.

Soviet Union
  • They supplied North Vietnam with medical
  • Supplies
  • Arms
  • Tanks
  • Planes
  • Helicopters
  • Artillery
  • Anti- aircraft missiles
  • And other military equipment.

North Korea
  • North Korea sent weapons, ammunition and 2
    million sets of uniforms to their comrades in
    North Korea.

Canada and the ICC
  • Canadian, Indian, Polish troops formed the
    International Control Commission, which was
    supposed to monitor the 1954 ceasefire agreement.

Republic of China (Taiwan)
  • Taiwan also provided military training units for
    the South Vietnamese diving units, later known as
    the Lien Doi Nguoi Nhai or Frogman unit in

Effect on the United States
  • American struggled to absorb the lessons of the
    military intervention.
  • U.S secretary of state Henry Kissinger wrote in a
    secret memo to president Gerald Ford that they
    could not help draw the conclusion that their
    armed forces were not suited to this kind of war.

  • More than 3 million Americans served in Vietnam.
    By wars end 58,193 soldiers were killed, more
    than 150,000 were wounded, and at least 21,000
    were permanently disabled.

Chemical Defoliation
  • The chemicals changed the landscape, caused
    diseases and birth defects, and poison the food

  • The defoliants, which were distributed in drums
    marked with color-coded bands, included the
    Rainbow Herbicided
  • Agent pink
  • Agent green
  • Agent purple
  • Agent blue
  • Agent white
  • And agent orange which included dioxin.

  • In 1995, the Vietnamese government reported that
    its military forces, including the NLF, suffered
    1.1 million dead and 600,000 wounded.
  • Estimates of civilian deaths caused by American
    bombing in operation rolling thunder range from
  • The U.S military has estimated that between
    200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers
    died in the war.