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Vietnam War

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Todd Meisel

on 18 March 2016

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Transcript of Vietnam War

58,000 American Lives lost between 1959 and 1975
600 POWs
2,500 MIAs
300,000 wounded
2.2 million men were drafted
$150 Billion spent
French Colonialism in Vietnam
-French were there since the 1800s to control rubber, coal, and rice

-Controlled Vietnam like the stereotypical colony

-Ho Chi Minh establishes the Vietminh

-1945 French-Indochina War begins
French Colonialism Ends
-French Depart
-Geneva Convention creates South and North Vietnam at 17th parallel
-National elections are to be held to decide whether countries should unite - South Vietnam refuses

-US send $100 million to South Vietnam Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem

Vietcong is formed
Purpose of U.S. Involvement
Public told the tactic used would be Search and Destroy (S&D)

Eliminate Vietcong in S. Vietnam
Clear out areas of resistance
Stop the Civil War
remove immediately

What were the causes of the Vietnam War?
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
1964 - LBJ

-One of his first moves is to station US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin for espionage support

-political opponents say LBJ is “timid before Communism”

-USS Maddox was thought to be fired upon and retaliated against North Vietnam (later evidence shows the boat was not fired upon)

-After initial air strikes LBJ asks congress to ratify the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
-gives LBJ “take all necessary measures… to prevent further aggression”

-LBJ promises to “seek no wider war”
War Begins
Essential Questions
1. Compare the Vietnam War with the Cold War.

2. Evaluate the success of President Lyndon B. Johnson's policy of escalating the war.

3. Analyze the role the media played in Vietnam War.
Vietnam War
-President Truman aids the French with supplies and troops (pays for 75 – 80% of war) Why?

-What else was the U.S. involved in at this time?

-President Eisenhower – No more troops, but will send money, winning is important
Domino Theory

-1954 After nine years of fighting Vietnam wins independence


-Buddhist Monks protest against Ngo Dinh Diem reign

-CIA assists South Vietnamese officers in assassinating Diem (Kennedy is assassinated three weeks later)

-The Pentagon Papers later leak this info and more) to the public in 1971
Take notes that help you answer these questions
It's going to be difficult for us to very long prosecute effectively a war that far away from home with the divisions we have here - and particularity the potential divisions. I'm very depressed about it. Because I see no program from either Defense or State that gives me much hope of doing anything, except just praying and gasping the hold on during monsoon and hope they'll quit. I don't believe they're ever going to quit. And I don't see... that we have any... plan for victory - militarily or diplomatically.
-President LBJ to his secretary of defense, 1965
It is a dangerous war. Every passing month of hostilities increases the risk of America escalating and widening the war. Since the ‘50s U.S. trained South Vietnamese commando teams have been penetrating North Vietnam, considerably provoking the North Vietnamese. We all know of the presence of American destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf, a body of water surrounded on three sides by North Vietnamese and China territory. And now American planes regularly bomb targets in Laos and North Vietnam. How calm would the United States be if Cuban commandos were being sent into Florida, Galveston were being bombed, and Chinese ships were “guarding” Cape Cod Bay?

March on Washington to End the War in Vietnam, Students for a Democratic Society, 1965.


Escalation Continues and the Living Room War
-Vietnamization – Nixon works on withdrawing troops and turns the war over to South Vietnam
-March on Washington protest
-My Lai massacre is reveled
War After LBJ
-Troops are moved into Cambodia to support overthrowing communist bases
-In protest to moving troops into Cambodia, the Kent State Shootings occur
-334,600 troops in Vietnam
-Pentagon papers
Contradictions against Diem
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution drafted several months before the events occurred
LBJ escalating war after promising country he wouldn't

-156,800 troops in Vietnam
-Peace talks continue, as well as air raids in North Vietnam and Cambodia
-24,000 troop in Vietnam
Nixon resigns – Gerald Ford
April 29, 1975 U.S. forces Evacuate Saigon, Communist forces capture the city the following day
“Onward and Upward and Onward and .” Issues of our Times in Cartoons (HighsmithInc. 1995.).

-Operation Rolling Thunder – March of 1965 to October 1968, sustained bombing of North Vietnam after increased Vietcong attacks

-Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) sponsors large ant-war rally in Washington

-Increases draft
-200,000 troops in Vietnam

-US use chemical agents in combat (Agent Orange)
-400,000 troops in Vietnam
Role of Media - winning the branding war
Connection to other wars
Important terms
North Vietnam
South Vietnam

Viet Minh
Viet Cong
(often both are spelled as one word)
Mirror Game
Cuban Missile Crisis
Vietnam War
Domino Theory
Tonkin Gulf Resolution
Tet Offensive
My Lai
Can you describe the significance of these terms?
Full transcript