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Vietnam War

America's Involvement in Vietnam

Laura Thrower

on 19 April 2017

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Transcript of Vietnam War

A Nation Divided
Timeline of the Turbulent War
American involvement 1950's - 1975
Indochina had been trying to fight for independence for years from French colonial government...long before the United States got involved.
U.S. assists the French in Vietnam, mainly through $$ to fight.
French defeated at Battle of Dien Bien Phu.
Geneva Accords
split of North and South Vietnam at the
17th parallel
. Elections between Ho Chi Mihn (communist) and Ngo Dihn Diem (S. Vietnam) set to "unify" the country.
U.S. backs Diem as "president" of South Vietnam.
National Liberation Front
is formed. aka..."
Viet Cong
". These fighters move South to fight Diem and "American imperialists" and gain support/new fighters from S. Vietnam.
John F. Kennedy's limited, but important involvement
U.S. begins use of Agent Orange as a "defoliant" to clear jungle coverage.
Kennedy assassinated, Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) becomes president.
LBJ is re-elected as "peace President"
Understand Problems with Fighting
Tet Offensive
Westmoreland requests 206,000 additional troops.
My Lai Massacre.
due to unpopularity with war, LBJ declines to run in 1968 election
November: 1968
Richard Nixon
elected President.
Nixon's reveals "
" policy
Massive anti-war demonstration in DC.
Kent State Incident.
Pentagon Papers published
Nixon cuts troops by 70K.
Nixon reelected.
Cease-fire signed in Paris.
April 1975
Vietnam Memorial built in DC.
Robert McNamara calls Vietnam policy "Wrong, terribly wrong."
Vietnam War: A Local Perspective
In depth analysis:
Vietnam...the "living room war"

May 1970 WWU
Students protest by blocking Interstate-5 North, by the Lakeway Exit
Student Strike Called
Students For A Democratic Society
Media's Influence on the Perspective of the War
Vietnam was the first televised war.
Nearly a decade of watching villages being destroyed, children burned, American body bags being sent home.
Began with Civil Rights, then soon moved on to Anti-War movements

Draft Resistance Seattle
Radical Anti-War Groups
To play while people are walking in..?
DNC Protests
War Protests continue
Viet Cong Flag On Campus: 1969
Purpose of symbolism, not provocation
Causes dispute and injuries
Eventually condemned as a university rule

1971: Nixon withdraws 45,000 troops
City of Bellingham March Downtown
Bomb Threat linked to Anti-War Protests
Tension increasing in Bellingham & at WWU
Pamphlets sent out to High School & College Students
University faculty divide
1968: Anti-War education and student involvement increase
Patriots: In Favor of the War
Hard Hat Riot of 1970
-Peter J. Brennan
American Labor Movement
Draft deferments end: beginning of "lotto" Draft
Nixon begins bombing of Cambodia/Laos (in secret)
Over 450,000 people attend
Woodstock 1969
Canadian Youth Demonstration
400-600 Canadian youth march over Blaine Border
Destruction & Violence
"Goodbye Vietnam"
Vietnam Memorial
93% of homes had a television in 1966.
Television was the number one way people got news by the mid 1960's.
90% of the evening news was coverage of Vietnam.
50 million viewers nation-wide nightly.
Initial coverage supported the Vietnam War.
Tet Offensive in 1968.
"Credibility Gap" of U.S government.
Support for the war began decreasing.
My Lai Massacre shocks homefront.
By:Richele Bueing and Emily Woods
A Soldier's Perspective
Poem: Living & Dying
Anti-war Veteran

Take a man, then put him alone,
Put him 12,000 miles away from home;
Empty his heart of all but blood,
Make him life in sweat and mud.
This is the life I have to live
And why my soul to the devil I give;
You 'Peace Boys" pout from your easy chair,
But you don't know what it's like over here.
You have a ball with never trying,
While the boys over here are dying.
You burn your draft card and march at dawn,
Plant your flags on the White House lawn;
You all want to ban the bomb,
There's no real war in Vietnam.
You use your drugs and have your fun,
Then you refuse to use a gun;
There's nothing else for you to do,
And I'm supposed to die for you?
I'll hate you to the day I die,
You make me hear my buddy cry;
I saw his arm, a bloody shred,
I heard them say, "This one's dead."
It's a large price he had to pay,
Not to live to see another day.
He has the guts to fight and die;
He paid the price, but what did he buy?
He bought your life by losing his,
But who gives a damn what a soldier gives?
His wife does, and maybe his son,
But they're just about the only ones.
So you put this man there, all alone,
And he died for you-12,000 miles from home.
Family of eight in Camas, WA - Chase family.
Oldest brother Everett is a radical anti-war protestor and dodges the draft by fleeing to Canada.
Middle brother Irwin is very religious and gets drafted and served in Vietnam.
Comes home damaged and traumatized after he witnesses the way a Vietnamese prisoner is treated.
Committed to an Army mental hospital where he undergoes shock treatments and drug therapy.
Family pulls together to rescue him.
Controversy and Loss of Support for War
Differing opinions about the issues of the 60's and 70's were intensified by the controversy of the Vietnam war and seemingly impossible to overcome.
Ho Chi Minh
As troops leaves, Viet
Cong slowly take over the South
"military advisers"
to S. Vietnam

Buddhist monks protests
of Diem shock Americans

with C.I.A. approval (after Diem was gone,
"we owned Vietnam"
Weapons of war
Operation Rolling Thunder
Agent Orange/Blue
HU-1's (Huey's)
zippo raids
last Americans leave Saigon, South Vietnam taken over by
Communists...over half million S. Vietnamese killed after US leaves
President Eisenhower's puts forth his
"domino theory"
on communism in Southeast Asia.
General Wm. Westmoreland and Sec of Defense, Robert McNamera's philosophies on the war.
"a complete military victory isn't possible",
war of attrition, "search and destroy"
What was the Gulf of Tonkin incident and Resolution that followed?
"Napalm girl"
"body counts" reported nightly
What is Vietnam conflict's legacy today?
58,000 Americans killed, 3 million Vietnamese killed
Vietnam under Communist government today
Cambodia genocide
draft ended
26th Amendment to the Constitution
Missing POWs (up to 2,500)
War Powers Act of 1975
Vietnam Memorial in D.C.
Lessons for politicians: wars need to be quick, have a cause the public will get behind, media and journalist access to war information has to be restricted

guerilla fighting
heavy heroin/opium use
results of soldiers unable to distinguish "the enemy"
As you watch these images, jot down adjectives that come to your mind to describe Vietnam...
History of French Indochina
Catholic, Diem
communist leader of North Vietnam
...no provisions made for POWs
Who is President during most of this time?
controversy over
draft deferments
1 year tour of duty
constant tv coverage at home (
"Living Room War
nightly news "
body counts
Understand: What was unfair about draft deferments?
"you will kill 10 of ours, we will kill 1 of yours, but in the end, it will be you that tires of the fighting first." -Ho Chi Mihn
What do these articles reveal?
Cambodia overtaken by Khmer Rouge Communist party, over 2 million killed in genocide from 1975-1978
Side effects for soldiers and South Vietnam?
Full transcript