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US History - 30.1 - 30.2 - Moving Toward Conflict - U.S. Involvement and Escalation

USH 30.1 and 30.2


on 10 December 2013

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Transcript of US History - 30.1 - 30.2 - Moving Toward Conflict - U.S. Involvement and Escalation

Section 1:
Moving Towards Conflict

To stop the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, the US used its military to support South Vietnam.
- Americans became involved in Vietnam in 1950, during
the French Indochina War
, the name given to France’s attempt to reestablish its rule in Vietnam after WWII.

- To help France fight the spread of communism, the US provided the French with massive economic and military support.
US supports France in Vietnam
French Rule in Vietnam
Late 1800s–WW II, France rules most of Indochina
Ho Chi Minh—leader of Vietnamese independence movement
helps create Indochinese Communist Party
1940, Japanese take control of Vietnam
Vietminh—organization that aims to rid Vietnam of foreign rule
Sept. 1945, Ho Chi Minh declares Vietnam an independent nation
America Supports France in Vietnam
France Battles the Vietminh
The French returned to reclaim their colony, Ho Chi vowed to fight from North Vietnam
French troops move into Vietnam; French fight, regain cities, South
1950, U.S. begins economic aid to France to stop communism
1950: US deciding whether to enter the war.

Lt. Col. A. Peter Dewey
was sent to assess the explosive situation in Vietnam. He believed that the French & British were not going to be able to hold on to it & that the US should clear out of SE Asia.

He was presumed to be a French soldier by Vietnamese soldiers & was shot in the head.

Dewey was the first American to die in Vietnam.
Lt. Col. A. Peter Dewey
Truman's Policy: Supply France
President Truman sent $15 million in economic aid to France. (TRUMAN DOCTRINE!)
Over the next 4 years, the US pumped more than $1 billion into the effort to defeat a man America had once supported.
During WWII, the US had given Ho Chi Minh $$ to fight the Japanese.
The US had now come to view its one-time ally as a communism aggressor.
President Eisenhower continued Truman’s policy of supplying aid to the French war Effort in 1953.
The US had just settled on a stalemate in communist Korea. (1950-1953), upping American's resolve to stop communism elsewhere.

Domino theory:
linked the countries on the brink of communism to a row of dominoes waiting for one to fall after the other.
Ike's Approach
The United States Steps In
Diem Cancels Elections
Ho has brutal, repressive regime but is popular for land distribution
S. Vietnam’s anti-Communist president Ngo Dinh Diem refuses election
U.S. promises military aid for stable, reform government in South
Diem corrupt, stifles opposition, restricts Buddhism
Vietcong (Communist opposition group in South) kills officials
Ho sends arms to Vietcong along Ho Chi Minh Trail
Kennedy and Vietnam
Like Eisenhower, JFK backs Diem financially; sends military advisers
Diem’s popularity plummets from corruption, lack of land reform
Diem starts strategic hamlet program to fight Vietcong
villagers resent being moved from ancestral homes
Diem presses attacks on Buddhism; monks burn themselves in protest
U.S.-supported military coup topples government; Diem assassinated
Kennedy and Vietnam
The South Grows More Unstable
Succession of military leaders rule S. Vietnam; country unstable
LBJ thinks U.S. can lose international prestige if communists win
President Johnson Expands the Conflict
The US sent troops to fight in Vietnam, but the war quickly turned into a stalemate.
Section 2:
US Involvement and Escalation

Strong Support for Containment
LBJ hesitates breaking promise to keep troops out; works with:
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara,
Advised the president on escalation
Secretary of State Dean Rusk
Also advised the president on escalation
Congress, majority of public support sending troops
Johnson Increases U.S. Involvement
A Frustrating War of Attrition
Westmoreland tries to destroy Vietcong morale through attrition
Vietcong receive supplies from China, U.S.S.R.; remain defiant
U.S. sees war as military struggle; Vietcong as battle for survival
Sinking Morale
Guerrilla warfare, jungle conditions, lack of progress lower morale
Many soldiers turn to alcohol, drugs; some kill superior officers
Government corruption, instability lead S. Vietnam to demonstrate
The Great Society Suffers
War grows more costly with more troops; inflation rate rising
LBJ gets tax increase to pay for war, check inflation
has to accept $6 billion funding cut for Great Society
The Early War at Home
The Troop Buildup Accelerates
General William Westmoreland—U.S. commander in South Vietnam
Thinks southern Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) ineffective
Requests increasing numbers;
Johnson makes the decision to escalate the war
by 1967 500,000 U.S. troops
The Vietminh Drive Out the French
Domino theory—countries can fall to communism like row of dominoes
1954, Vietminh overrun French at Dien Bien Phu; France surrenders
Geneva Accords divide Vietnam at 17th parallel; Communists get north
Election to unify country called for in 1956
The Tonkin Gulf Resolution
Alleged attack in Gulf of Tonkin; LBJ asks for power to repel enemy
1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution gives him broad military powers
1965 8 Americans killed, LBJ orders sustained bombing of North
U.S. combat troops sent to S. Vietnam to battle Vietcong
Fighting in the Jungle
An Elusive Enemy
Vietcong use hit-and-run, ambush tactics, move among civilians
Tunnels help withstand airstrikes, launch attacks, connect villages
Terrain laced with booby traps, land mines laid by U.S., Vietcong
U.S. Tactical Advantages
Superior weaponry
Air superiority
More resources
The Battle for “Hearts and Minds”
U.S. wants to stop Vietcong from winning support of rural population
Weapons for exposing tunnels often wound civilians, destroy villages
napalm: gasoline-based bomb that sets fire to jungle
Agent Orange: leaf-killing, toxic chemical
Search-and-destroy missions move civilian suspects, destroy property
Villagers go to cities, refugee camps; 1967, over 3 million refugees
Fulfilling a Duty
Most U.S. soldiers believe in justice of halting communism
Fight courageously, take patriotic pride in fulfilling their duty
The Living-Room War
Combat footage on nightly TV news shows stark picture of war
Critics say credibility gap between administration reports and events
Senator J. William Fulbright’s hearings add to doubts about war
Full transcript