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Transcript of Vietnam War
The Vietnam War
France attempted to reestablish rule in Vietnam after WWII.
Conflict was known as the French-Indochina War.
U.S. supported France with economic and military support to help stop the spread of communism.
America and France: Vietnam
From late 1800s to WWII, France ruled most of Indochina.
Many Vietnamese peasants, after years of oppression from French colonists, began to organize a rebellion.
Many Vietnamese that fled to China created the Indochinese Communist Party (1930).
1940, Japanese took control of Vietnam and Ho helped organize the Vietminh.
Ho Chi Minh
Goal was to eradicate foreign rule and obtain independence.
Japan was defeated in Aug ’45. Ho stood in middle of a crowd in Hanoi and declared independence (Sept 2, ’45).
Ho Chi Minh, who we once supported against the Japanese, was now viewed as a Communist aggressor.
1950-’54: U.S. spent nearly $1 billion toward France-Indochina war effort.
Friend, then Foe
(1954) Eisenhower proposed the domino theory, likening the threat of communism as a row of dominos waiting to fall.
May ’54: France surrenders in north Vietnam at Dien Bien Phu.
Temporarily divided Vietnam at the 17th parallel.
Ho Chi Minh’s northern communist capital at Hanoi
Anti-communist nationalists controlled South Vietnam capital at Saigon.
Geneva Accords (Aug, 1964)
Broke up large estates and redistributed to peasants.
South’s President Ngo Dinh Diem refused to take part in countrywide election in ’56.
Minh’s Rule in North
Diem’s government, though supported by U.S., suppressed any opposition and neglected peasant population.
Further, it restricted Buddhist practices because of Diem’s devout Catholicism.
Diem’s Oppressive Regime
Support for Vietcong in South given by Ho along borders of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
Vietcong (aka National Liberation Front), Commies in the South, began their attacks on Diem government.
Ho Chi Minh Trail
By ’63, 16,000 U.S. troops sent to South Vietnam in an attempt to stabilize Diem’s teetering regime.
Kennedy provides troops
~Buddhist flag, banned by Diem
To fight against Vietcong, Diem decided to move all villagers to protected areas; villagers resented the move.
Buddhist demonstrators were imprisoned. Temples were destroyed.
Horrified onlookers watched as Buddhist monks and nuns publicly practiced self-immolation.
U.S.-supported military coup performed against Diem; Diem was assassinated.
Kennedy hinted at withdrawing U.S. forces, but he fell to assassin’s bullet a few weeks later.
LBJ was now president.
Nov 1, ‘63
Unstable and inefficient military rule continued in the South.
Failed South Vietnam
Aug 2, 1964 North Vietnamese patrol boat fired at USS Maddox.
This prompted LBJ to launch bombing strikes on North Vietnam and asked Congress for “all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the U.S. to prevent further aggression.”
Tonkin Gulf Resolution (Aug 7, ’64)
With increased powers, LBJ began “Operation Rolling Thunder” (sustained bombing of North Vietnam).
By June ’65, more than 50,000 U.S. soldiers were battling Vietcong.
New Presidential Powers