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The Vietnam War: 1954-1975


The Vietnam War: 1954-1975 Fighting the War: 1965-1968 At home and abroad. And it s one, two, three, What are we fightin for? -Country Joe and the Fish – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Vietnam War: 1954-1975

The Vietnam War 1954-1975
  • Fighting the War 1965-1968
  • At home and abroad.
  • And its one, two, three,
  • What are we fightin for?
  • -Country Joe and the Fish

VIETNAM - Escalation and Fighting
  • The violence and brutality of the Vietnam War
    affected civilians as well as soldiers.

Escalation of American involvement began in 1965
and continued through 1968.
  • Beginning of 1965 - 25,000 troops
  • End of 1968 - 500,000 troops

How did battlefield conditions in Vietnam affect
American soldiers?
  • The Vietnam war was characterized by small
    engagements (fights) that involved guerilla-type
  • For US soldiers, it was difficult to know the
    difference between friend (ARVN South Vietnamese
    regular army) and foe (VC Viet Cong)

Battlefield conditions in Vietnam
  • American tactics consisted of search and
    destroy missions and massive bombing of VC
  • Operation Rolling Thunder - intensive bombing
    campaign from 1965-1968
  • Americans had absolute mastery of the air
    throughout the course of the war.

Bombing during Vietnam inflicted heavy damage on
the landscape and thousands of military and
civilian casualties.
  • Americans used saturation bombing and
    fragmentation bombs
  • Americans also used chemicals to defoliate the
  • Napalm
  • Agent Orange

US casualties increased.
  • Casualties began to mount and TV networks
    broadcast scenes from the battlefield
  • Weekly body counts became standard TV fare for
    nightly news.

Americas first TV War
  • Peoples perceptions of the war were more and
    more influenced by television news reports

Hawks and Doves
  • Hawks - supported the war
  • Doves - opposed the war
  • Although the majority of Americans still
    supported the Vietnam War, there was increasing
    disagreement in both government and the public
    mind over US Vietnam policy.

A Growing Antiwar Movement
  • More and more people saw the Vietnam war as a
    waste of federal tax money that could have been
    applied to LBJs Great Society domestic social

LBJ attempted to rally support
  • War faced growing protest and unpopularity at
  • LBJ continued to promote the war in order to
    maintain support for GREAT SOCIETY programs in
    the USA.
  • Escalation continued.
  • A growing credibility gap.

A coordinated set of attacks by Viet Cong and
North Vietnamese during Tet (Vietnamese New
Year) US tactical victory - inflicted heavy
losses on the VC and North Vietnamese North
Vietnamese strategic advantage - American public
support of war dropped
  • The Tet Offensive 1968

The impact of the Tet Offensive on American
Public Opinion
  • After the Tet Offensive in Jan-Feb of 1968,
    public opinion turned more sharply against
    continuing the war.
  • Vocal anti-war protests increased
  • Many Americans felt that
  • US soldiers were not given a chance to win
  • US didnt have a clear objective in Vietnam for
  • LBJ made surprise announcement he wouldnt seek
    re-election in 1968

Tet Illustrated Communist (VC) brutality and the
brutality of the war in general
  • In recapturing Hue (Vietnamese city), VC murdered
    5000 civilians before surrendering.
  • Suicide bombers hit civilian targets as well.
  • South Vietnamese responded in anger and brutality
    as well.

My Lai Massacre- 1968
  • US soldiers under Lt. William Calley murdered
    Vietnamese civilians at My Lai (village) 250
  • US helicopter crew stopped the slaughter
  • Story with pictures published in LIFE magazine in
  • American public horrified.
  • An isolated incident but shocking that American
    soldiers could or would commit such atrocities

Review Questions - answer these questions on a
separate sheet of paper
  • Describe how the battlefield conditions affected
    the following people in Vietnam
  • US Soldiers
  • Vietnamese civilians
  • Explain why the initial military action resulted
    in a stalemate.
  • Describe the Tet Offensive of 1968. Explain how
    and why it proved to be a turning point in the
    Vietnam War.
  • Choose a position either for (hawk) or against
    (dove) the war. Write a brief letter to the
    editor from that position.
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