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KEQ3: Why did the US fail in Vietnam?

OCR History B: The Cold War, 1945-75

David Rawlings

on 24 June 2015

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Transcript of KEQ3: Why did the US fail in Vietnam?

Vietnam Today
Viet Cong
Ho Chi Minh
Lyndon B. Johnson
Ngo Dinh Diem
Buddhist Monk Quang Duc
Operation Rolling Thunder
17th parallel
Gulf of Tonkin
Tet Offensive
Bingo Board
Dien Bien Phu
Viet Minh
My Lai Massacre
March 16th 1968
Shortly after dawn on March 16th, three platoons of US troops from C Company, 11th Brigade, arrived in the Son My area having been dropped off by helicopters. 1 Platoon was commanded by Lieutenant William Calley and was ordered to My Lai village.
Thinking Point
My Lai was a village of about 700 inhabitants some 100 miles to the southeast of the US base of Danang.
They were part of Task Force Barker – the codename for a search and destroy mission. They had been told to expect to find members of the NLF (called Vietcong or VC by the US soldiers) in the vicinity as the village was in an area where the NLF had been very active.
Operation Rolling Thunder
Search and Destroy
Guerrilla War
Ho Chi Minh Trail
Viet Cong
Raids launched from helicopters. Us forces would descend on a village and destroy any Viet Cong forces they found. Soldiers had to send back reports on body counts.
A series of intense bombing raids on military and industrial targets in North Vietnam. More bombs were dropped than in the whole of the Second World War on Germany and Japan.
"Hearts and Minds"
This was used to burn down vast areas of jungle. It burned through skin to the bone.
Agent Orange
A highly toxic chemical weapon, employed to kill the jungle where the Viet Cong hid.
President Johnson claimed that he wanted to win the "Hearts and minds" of the Vietnamese.
However, US tactics were based on attrition – killing large numbers of the enemy. This led to large civilian causalities and lost the support of the Vietnamese people.
The Viet Cong could live for months at a time in complex networks of tunnels built under the jungle floor.
They could emerge from behind a US patrol, attack and then disappear back into their tunnels.
They also set a vast array of traps and tripwires, intended to immobilise US patrols.
A supply route down the west borer of Vietnam, at times crossing into neighbouring Laos and Cambodia. It supplied the Viet Cong fighting in South Vietnam.
The North Vietnamese used an effective propaganda campaign to win support against the US intervention. They played on the strong national pride of the Vietnamese people.
Whose tactics were the most effective?
1. What is the message of this cartoon? [7 marks]
2. Explain why the USA began to look for a way out of Vietnam. [8 marks]
Make 4 explained points
So think of it as 4 paragraphs, one for each point
Ending the War in Vietnam
In November 1968 Richard Nixon was elected President in place of Johnson.
He was committed to withdrawing US forces from Vietnam.
Peace Negotiations
USSR and China
From early 1969 the US had regular meetings with North Vietnam to negotiate a peace.
In 1969 relations worsened between the USSR and China. As a result they both attempted to improve relations with the USA.
1970 - SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) with the USSR to limit nuclear weapons.
1972 - Nixon visited Chairman Mao in China.
At both Nixon discussed encouraging North Vietnam to end the war.
Nixon stepped up Operation Rolling Thunder to show he was not weak.

He also invaded Laos and Cambodia to attack Viet Cong bases. This angered many neutrals around the world.
Nixon began the process of Vietnamisation - the building up of South Vietnamese forces and phased withdrawal of US troops. Between April 1969 and the end of 1971 almost 400,000 US troops left Vietnam.
By March 1973 the last American troops had left Vietnam.
Without US support it took two years for the NVA to conquer South Vietnam. The capital, Saigon, falling to Communist forces in April 1975.
Exam Alert

Why did the US fail in Vietnam? [10 marks]
K: Reasons for US involvement in Vietnam
U: Containment, Domino Theory, Truman Doctrine
S: Explain questions; long-term causes
Can describe reasons for the Vietnam war;
Can explain the reasons in detail;
Can formulate a balanced judgement on the most important reason.
Learning Objectives
Success Criteria:
Why did the USA get involved in Vietnam?
Why did the US fail in Vietnam?
K: Agent Orange, Operation Rolling Thunder, Napalm, Search & Destroy, "Hearts & Minds";
U: Extent of effectiveness of tactics;
S: Evaluation of tactics.
Learning Objectives
Success Criteria:
Can describe US tactics;
Can explain US successes and failures;
Can formulate a balanced judgement on the effectiveness of US tactics.
Lesson Aim:
Learning Intentions:
K: Key figures, factors and events of the Vietnam war
U: Causes and consequences of the Vietnam war
S: Evaluation of sources; 4/6/10 questions
Can describe factors from the Vietnam war;
Can explain the causes, consequences and successes of the war;
Can formulate a balanced judgement on the success of the Vietnam war.
Learning Objectives
Success Criteria:
Why has this happened?
Think / Pair / Share
The North Vietnamese leader - Ho Chi Minh - was considered very wise and was popular.
To begin the story of the Vietnam war we need to go back to the French conquest of 'Indochina' in the 1850s.
The Treaty of Hue in 1884 formed the basis for French colonial rule for the following 70 years.
They still eat baguettes for breakfast in Vietnam.
Vietnam was invaded and occupied by the
during WW2.
After the Japanese surrender in August 1945 created a power vacuum that the anti-colonial, socialist 'Viet Minh' organisation attempted to fill.
The French wouldn't give up on their colonial possessions and attempted to hold Vietnam by force.
Devastated by WW2, the French could not afford a lengthy war.
The battle of Dien Bien Phu ended in a stunning defeat for the French, who surrendered shortly afterwards on May 7th 1954.
French Indochina
Vietnam split into Communist North and Capitalist South.
The new leader of the south was backed by America, but hated by many Vietnamese.
Ho Chi Minh
North Vietnam
South Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh
Viet Minh
French Indochina
Can describe reasons for the Vietnam war;
Can explain the reasons in detail;
Can formulate a balanced judgement on the most important reason.
Success Criteria:
1. Complete questions - workbooks pp.2-3 - 15mins
2. 6 mark exam alert - why did the USA get involved in Vietnam?
Use textbook pp.100-101 to help you!
Now peer-assess your partner's 6 mark answer.

What have they done well?

What could they improve?
Add EBI and WWW feedback!
Ngo Dinh Diem
The 'Truman Doctrine' said that America would actively intervene to contain the spread of communism
This was to prevent the 'Domino Theory'.

In 1964 North Vietnamese patrol boats opened fire on US Navy ships in the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
This gave President Johnson the excuse needed to go to war.
iem was an unpopular leader - assassinated in 1963.
merican policies - such as Truman Doctrine and Domino Theory.
rench defeated by Ho Chi Minh and North Vietnamese.
onkin incident - gave America the excuse to get involved.
Causes of the Vietnam War - what do these stand for?
People & places we need to know about!
Lyndon B. Johnson
Ho Chi Minh
Ngo Dinh Diem
Gulf of Tonkin
French Empire
Viet Minh
Rulers of Vietnam up to 1954
President of South Vietnam
President of the USA
North Vietnamese army
Leader of North Vietnam
Attack by North Vietnamese on US ships
Can you match these together?
Tet and My Lai
How successful was the Vietnam war?
How effective were US tactics in Vietnam?
How effective were Viet Minh tactics in Vietnam?
Task: Domino (theory) Game
Can you match up the dominoes?
They should all link together...
Operation Rolling Thunder - the systematic bombing of industrial targets in North Vietnam. More bombs were dropped than in WW2.
Description of Tactic
Good Points
Bad Points
How effective?
Create a table to analyse the effectiveness of US tactics.
Can describe US tactics;
Can explain US successes and failures;
Can formulate a balanced judgement on the effectiveness of US tactics.
Success Criteria:
Communists vs Capitalists
Terms Game:
1. Chosen student answers question = 2points
2. Help from team = 1point
3. Can't answer? = opposing team can steal!
K: Guerrilla war, Viet Cong/Minh, Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh Trail;
U: Extent of effectiveness of tactics;
S: Evaluation of tactics.
Learning Objectives
Success Criteria:
Can describe Viet Minh tactics;
Can explain Viet Minh successes and failures;
Can formulate a balanced judgement on the effectiveness of Viet Minh tactics.
Vietnam Statistics!
110 billion
Tonnes of unexploded munitions in Vietnam today
No. of helicopters destroyed
Length of the war (years)
Cost of the war in Vietnam ($)
Tonnes of napalm used
Cu Chi Tunnels
Task: Workbooks p.7 - Cu Chi Tunnels
1. Circle the features that would have made it difficult for American soldiers.
2. Add to the diagram to explain why.
TASK 1: Review the Tactics!
In pairs
explain the tactics
of either the USA or Vietnamese on your A3 sheet.
Can describe tactics of both armies;
Can explain tactics in detail;
Can formulate a balanced judgement on the effectiveness of the tactics.
Join with another pair.
Complete the table in your workbook, p.8.
Badge Challenge: Workbook p.9 - explain why the US couldn't defeat the Viet Minh (Cong).
Task 2: Evaluate the Tactics
What is the message of this cartoon?
Exam Alert!
Common exam questions are:

[4 mark] - Who were the Vietcong?
[6 mark] - Explain US tactics in Vietnam?
[10 mark] - To what extent did US tactics contribute to the failure in Vietnam?
On edmodo - watch and make notes on YouTube: 'The infamous and ingenious Ho Chi Minh Trail'.
To assess the Tet Offensive and the My Lai massacre.
Can describe the Tet Offensive and My Lai massacre;
Can explain their significance;
Can analyse the how far these were a turning point in the war.
TASK: Tet Offensive Factfile
You have 10 minutes to read the information and fill-in your Tet Offensive factfile.
Search and Destroy
Richard Nixon
Key Events: match these up in the front of your book...
Tet Offensive
My Lai Massacre
Operation Rolling Thunder
1965 - series of heavy bombing raids of North Vietnamese industrial and military targets along Ho Chi Minh trail. Failed to destroy support network for the Viet Cong.
January 1968 - counter-attack by the Viet Cong during the New Year Holiday. It crushed the moral of US troops, although it was not a military victory for the North.
March 1968 - soldiers from Charlie Company murdered 400 Vietnamese civilians, mostly women and children. No Viet Cong were discovered. The killings were reported all over the world.
Hearts & Minds
Task: Plan and film a 5 minute news report to answer the Key Question:
Why did the USA fail in Vietnam?
1. Spend 20 minutes writing your script.
2. Plan how and where you are going to film.
3. Film your report.
4. Upload to Edmodo.
Describe reasons for US failure - tactics, Tet Offensive, media, protest;
Explain reasons for the failure in detail;
Include a balanced judgement on how far each was responsible for failure
Explain why the USA began to look for a way out of Vietnam. [8 marks]
Task: Create a placard to answer this question.

: Describes groups opposed to the war.
: Explains reasons they were opposed.
: Develops detailed explanation of opposition, using excellent historical knowledge.
Reasons for the failure in Vietnam:
Failure of US Tactics
Success of Viet Cong Tactics
Media Coverage
Opposition to the War
Cost in Lives and Money
Come up with a mnemonic (like LACKPANTS) to help you remember these...
Mark Scheme:

– some attempt to identify the message. E.g. 'It is saying that Johnson wants to get out of Vietnam.'
– Valid identification of the message, with little supporting detail. E.g. 'Johnson wants to get out of Vietnam, but it will be difficult for him.'
– Identification of the message, supported by either contextual knowledge
details from the cartoon.
– As above, with contextual knowledge
details from the cartoon.
4 points explained:
One mark for each point.
One mark for each explanation.
Points that could be made:
Failed tactics:
Hearts & Minds
My Lai Massacre
Media coverage:
Tet offensive
Protests in America:
Kent State University shootings
Cost of the war.
Explain why these caused the USA to look for a way out of Vietnam.
Why was the Tet Offensive so important?
1. Explain the points on your cards.
2. Cut out and sort your cards.
Full transcript