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The Vietnam War
Transcript of The Vietnam War
- Communists want united Vietnam, South wants freedom.
> (Not only in 1966) :
- Johnson's "Great Society" = war against poverty and social injustice in the US.
- Credibility Gap = The difference between what Johnson tells Congress and reality. and Detente ...the rise of Cold War tensions. In Vietnam, the process of the US becoming more militarily involved. ...to calm down Cold War tensions and to slow down competition, Nixon and Brezhnev used it to compromise. In Vietnam, Nixon used it for Vietnamization. 1954 1956 1958 1960 1962 1964 1966 1969 1955 1957 1959 1961 1963 1970-71 1972 1973 1974 1975 > Treaty in Helsinki to recognize post-war division in Europe:
- Borders agreed upon.
- Soviets say they will determine rights given based on each situation. US revises this part, and focused their decision on HUMAN RIGHTS. > US and Soviets cooperatively launch rockets 140 miles above Earth. Represents the END OF THE COLD WAR. > Nixon resigns. (General Ford = President)
- Soviets don't understand how a person in power could be removed by legal means. > South Vietnamese attack US embassy:
- US officially loses Vietnam War. > Soviets restrict emigration (September 20) :
- US angered by lack of recognition of Civil Liberties and International Law. > Nixon orders bombing of North Vietnam (again) because Paris peace talks failed:
- (January 23) North and South Vietnam agree to Kissinger's deal:
- US troops to leave Vietnam.
- Saigon government to keep power.
- North Vietnamese troops to stay in the South.
(PEACE WITH HONOR) > Watergate Scandal hits the public, Nixon denies knowledge and involvement. > Brezhnev visits US (again). > (November) Nixon is re-elected. > (October) Nguyen Van Thieu:
- South Vietnamese President
- Refuses to sign agreement with Kissinger and North Vietnamese. > (June) Watergate scandal. > (March) North Vietnam attacks
the South (Moscow helped).
- Nixon responds with air attacks. > Kissinger meets with Dobrynin.
- Summit goes on as planned.
- Mutual limitation of offensive and defensive nuclear weapons.
FOUNDATION OF DETENTE. > (June) Nixon meets South Vietnam leader at Midway Island. > (July) VIETNAMIZATION: 1st US troops pull out.
- Hanoi offensive in South
- US generals want to bomb VC bases in neutral Cambodia. Nixon allows it, as long as it stays secret. (It didn't.) Anti-war protests increased, and US was still under attack in Vietnam.
- Nixon orders infantry attack in Cambodia. > (May) Violent protests at US universities:
- Kent State incident > Soviets want US to recognize arms competition and Sino-Soviet relations. Brezhnev gaining power, advocated detente. > "Iron Curtain" divides Germany.
- East German Chancellor calls East Germany a state.
- Willy Brandt = hope of change for E. Germans.
- (Kissinger and US are suspicious of Brandt.)
- Brandt visits Moscow
-Moscow Accords: Treaty signals change.
- Brandt makes treaty with Poland. Visits Warsaw Ghetto. > "Back-channel" meetings in Beijing and Moscow set up by Nixon and Kissinger, want summit to get US out of Vietnam and diplomatically involve China. KEY: Red = Having to do with Escalation or Detente Blue = Cold War concepts White = Vietnam issues/events (and other) Green = Post-Revisionist ideas, quotes from
John Spanier. > South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia fall to communism (Domino Theory supported). > (January) Tet Offensive (Turning point of public opinion) :
- 70,000 communists attack over 100 South cities including Saigon during an armistice. Battle of Hue, 5,800 civilians killed.
- People of Saigon assist Vietcong.
- Vietcong commanders attack US embassy.
- VC fails to create an uprising. Considered military failure.
- Robert McNamara quits.
- Replaced by Clifford who finds out the US plan is ATTRITION (waiting until the other side gives up). > (March) President Johnson's speech
- Stopped the bombing of Vietnam and ordered for peace talks, and announces he will not accept another presidential term. > (November) Richard Nixon takes office:
- Wants to leave the war honorably.
- Henry Kissinger = Foreign Policy Advisor (advocates force)
- VIETNAMIZATION = Gradual withdrawal of US troops, more power given to South Vietnamese government. > Amount of US troops in Vietnam decreasing 1966-73. > Sino-Soviet split starting.
- US doesn't know.
- Soviets gave China weaponry to give to Vietnam but the Vietnamese didn't get them all.
> Soviets shot down 6 US planes.
> Casualty rate increasing each year.
> US starts to bomb South Vietnam to get rid of VC. > 100,000 US infantry to South Vietnam under General Westmoreland (GoTR). First real US troops in Vietnam. > (August) Gulf of Tonkin incident:
- USS Maddox and Turner Joy are reported to have been fired upon. Johnson called it "open agression on the high seas,"
used it as a reason to bomb North Vietnam. > Gulf of Tonkin Resolution:
- Operation Rolling Thunder
- "Search and Destroy" missions ordered to Westmoreland.
- President could wage war in Vietnam. > Ngo Dinh Diem's anti-religious policies causes protests, hunger strikes, and Buddhist self-immolations. > President Kennedy starts to decrease aid to Diem.
> Diem and his brother killed in a coup that the US didn't prevent.
- Westmoreland says this "morally locked us into Vietnam". > JFK assassinated. Lyndon Baines Johnson takes office, sends McNamara to Vietnam. > ~4,000 of Diem's officials were killed. > Johnson stops and re-starts Rolling Thunder: fails. > VC repeatedly attacks Saigon. Coups continuously overthrow government.
> Soviet premier visits Hanoi. CONTEXT /\/\/ = Fold in timeline > (1945) : Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos) = French colony occupied by Japanese at end of WWII. > Communist Ho Chi Minh leads Nationalist revolution, "Vietminh Movement," defeating the Japanese. Democratic Republic of Vietnam. > (1946) : French fight Vietminh. FDR tells France to give up. When Truman takes office, US dislikes Vietnam even more. > (March 1950) : Truman sends military aid to France. Eisenhower continues; publicizes his "Domino Effect" theory that if one nation
falls to communism, more will. > US funding 80% of the war. > Battle of Dien Bien Phu = French defeated. > Geneva Conference in Switzerland:
- French leave Indochina.
- 'Temporary' division of Vietnam at 17th parallel, Ho Chi Minh gets North.
- Free elections in 1956.
- No foreign bases.
- Laos and Cambodia recognized as independent states.
> US doesn't sign. Strengthens South, anticipating Northern invasion. > US creates SEATO, calls Laos and Cambodia 'protected areas'. > Ho Chi Minh prosecutes landowners and rich peasants.
- Refugee Crisis: ~1 mil. fled South. > (October) US supports Ngo Dinh Diem to lead South Republic of Vietnam. > US sends millions of dollars in aid to South Vietnam. > Moscow encourages the Vietcong (VC). > Ngo Dinh Diem is intolerant and brutal. He is determined to resist Hanoi. > JFK's "Flexible Response" policy increased military advisors in Vietnam and implemented "Search and Destroy" missions with Green Beret soldiers. > US advisors training South Vietnamese, violently. > McNamara points out the anarchy and says autocratic governments are needed. 17th parallel represented the divide between the free and communist worlds.
Ho Chi Minh was popular so the US and new South knew he would win an election.
Dien Bien Phu showed guerrilla warfare could beat a major power. US sees the war as a "test of its will" and it had to pass the test to stay a global force. US believes in a Sino-Soviet bloc, and the two countries' differences were due to varying war strategies. US afraid China will help the North as they did in Korea; had they put diplomats in Beijing, they would know China and Vietnam are enemies. Nixon shifts focus to the "'moral decay' at home" and avoiding wars like Vietnam in the future, rather than "halting communist aggression". Conservatives and liberals alike wanted Congress to gain back its control over foreign policy and the president.
Nixon secretly ordered air strikes over Cambodia, and then realized that would be a bad idea AFTER the public and Soviets reacted. Nixon did not think the US could have detente with the Soviet Union and China if it lost any power.
The Soviet Union thought the US was "weak and could be pushed around".
China did not think they could rely on US strength to avoid Soviet expansionism in Asia.
In the Soviet/North attack, Nixon assumed the Soviets would have "restrained" the Vietnamese.
Thieu waited to agree with anything since the US had "accepted the presence" of VC in the South during the armistice. The Soviets and Chinese both abandoned the Vietnamese for their US relationship. Thieu was worried that Nixon wouldn't be so nice after he was reelected, so he agreed to accept "something less than a total victory". (Timeline by Savanna Clendining)