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A Turning Point


A Turning Point Chapter 29 Section 3 The Vietnam War Riddlebarger – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A Turning Point

A Turning Point
  • Chapter 29
  • Section 3
  • The Vietnam War
  • Riddlebarger

Khe Sahn
  • One of major strikes in early 1968 is at U.S.
    base in Khe Sahn.
  • Communist troops surround base pound with
  • 77-day seige ends with U.S. still holding Khe
  • Attack at Khe Sahn was a diversion- to draw U.S.
    and ARVN forces away from urban areas.

The Tet Offensive
  • Tet Offensive begins on January 30
  • Vietcong launch attack on U.S. embassy
  • 6 1/2 hour fight leaves 17 VC dead and 5
    Americans killed

  • This attack marked the beginning of the Tet
  • A series of mass coordinated attacks throughout
    South Vietnam
  • Causes 1968 to be a critical year

The Main Attacks
  • The Main offensive started on January 30, 1968
  • Tet- the start of the Vietnamese New Year
  • In previous years, both sides observed a
    cease-fire during this holiday.
  • In 1968, Vietcong take advantage to launch sneak
    attack on 12 U.S. bases and over 100 South
    Vietnamese cities.

Goals of Tet
  • North Vietnamese leaders hoped Tet Offensive
    would inspire South Vietnamese civilians to rise
    up against their government.
  • This never happened
  • Instead many lose homes some killed by VC
  • Turns many against Vietcong
  • After a month, captured cities are retaken by
    U.S. and ARVN forces
  • Heavy communist losses dont slow their will to
    fight on.

Effects of Tet Offensive
  • Tet showed that no part of South Vietnam was safe
    from attack
  • It shattered the belief of some that the U.S. was
    on the verge of winning.
  • Tet was a failure militarily for the North
  • It did damage psycologically/militarily
  • Weakened U.S. support for war.

Tran DoMinister in North Vietnam Government
  • In all honesty, we didnt achieve our main
    objective, which was to spur uprisings through
    the south. Still, we inflicted heavy casualties
    on the Americans and their puppets, and that was
    a big gain for us. As for making an impact in the
    United States, it had not been our intention- but
    turned out to be a fortunate result.

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Walter CronkiteRespected news anchor for CBSTet
changes his views on the war
We have been too often dis- appointed by the
optimism of the American leadersFor it
seems now more certain than ever that the bloody
experience of Vietnam is to end in a
Growing Doubts
  • LBJ is despaired when he hears Cronkites
  • LBJ If Ive lost Cronkite, Ive lost middle
  • Other news outlets join in growing criticism of
  • Public criticism grows louder more intense.
  • Picketers outside White House
  • Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defense) begins to
    grow discouraged.

Democratic Challengers
  • As LBJ seeks re-election in 1968, nearly 3 of 4
    Americans oppose his Vietnam policies.
  • Challengers emerge within his own party.
  • Eugene McCarthy
  • Robert Kennedy

  • Shaken by divisions within his own party his
    own performance in the New Hampshire primary, LBJ
    makes a surprising announcement

With Americas sons in the fields far away, with
Americas future under challenge right here at
home I do not believe that I should de- vote an
hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan
causes accordingly, I shall not seek, and
will not accept, the nomination of my party for
another term as President.
  • LBJ withdraws from the race.

Johnson seeks a solution
  • Gen. Westmoreland believed Tet had really damaged
    the enemy
  • He requests more troops to help deliver a
    decisive blow (206,000 more)
  • American public is outraged by request
  • Why are more troops needed if war is being won?
  • Johnson denies request for more troops.
  • His advisors are divided on what course to take

Sec. of Defense Robert McNamara
The picture of the worlds greatest superpower
killing or seriously injuring 1,000 civilians a
week, while trying to pound a tiny backward
nation into submission on an issue whose merits
are hotly disputed is not a pretty one.
  • Some in the military feel the administration is
    not doing all it can to win the war
  • McNamara quits
  • LBJ decides to try negotiating

Stalled Negotiations
  • May 1968 Negotiators from North Vietnam U.S.
    meet in Paris
  • Talks stall immediately
  • US wants all NVA troops out of South Vietnam
  • North Vietnamese want assurances on leadership of
    South Vietnamese government.
  • It will be several more years before a solution
    is reached.

Election of 1968
  • After LBJ withdraws, his Vice President, Hubert
    Humphrey joins the race.
  • Vietnam War is the main issue
  • Humphrey defends the administration
  • Kennedy McCarthy call for end to war.

The reality of recent events in Vietnam has
been glossed over with illusionsI have tried in
vain to alter our course in Vietnam before it
further saps our spirit and our manpower,
further raises the risks of wider war, and
further destroys the country and the people it
was meant to save. I cannot stand aside from the
contest that will decide our nations future and
our childrens future.
Robert F. Kennedy, March 16, 1968
Democratic Primary Fight
  • Kennedy, McCarthy Humphrey battle for
    Democratic nomination
  • Kennedy gains ground winning crucial California
    primary in June
  • This makes him the favorite
  • As he finishes his victory speech leaves the
    stage he is shot three times.
  • Robert Kennedy dies less than 24 hours later.

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1968 Democratic Convention
  • Delegates meet for convention in Chicago
  • Debate between Humphrey McCarthy
  • Humphrey wins nomination.
  • Outside, chaos erupts in the streets

Violence Erupts
  • About 10,000 protesters from around the country
    had gathered to demand end to war.
  • Situation explodes into violence
  • Police accused of being overly brutal
  • Images shown on TV outrage many Americans.
  • Generation Gap

Richard Nixon, Republican
  • A divided Democratic party improves Republican
    chances of winning.
  • Former VP, Richard Nixon is Republican nominee.
  • Appeals to patriotism of mainstream Americans
  • (many put off by Chicago)
  • -- Wants to end war peace with honor

George Wallace, Independent
  • Former Alabama Governor is also a strong
  • George Wallace became famous for opposing civil
    rights school desegregation
  • Gains some support of conservative white
    southerners white working class

Election Campaign
  • Nixon leads in polls all the way
  • Humphrey narrows lead by finally going against
    LBJ policies on Vietnam
  • Says bombing must stop
  • North says South can have voice at peace talks if
    bombing stops
  • LBJ ends bombing campaign just before election

  • Richard Nixon wins
  • Close race in number of votes cast but wide
    margin in electoral college
  • Victory gives him confidence to take U.S. in new
    direction towards victory in Vietnam.

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