Ansly Montero

History 11H
Ms. Menden
Chapter 26 Identifications: The Vietnam War
1. Ho Chi Minh: Another name for the leader of the nationalist movement leader for more than 30
years, Tat Thanh. In 1919 his treaty for Vietnamese independence was ignored at the Versailles
Peace Conference and he later moved to the Soviet Union. In the Soviet Union he became an
advocate for communism which drove him later to return to Southeast Asia to form a
communist party and overthrow French rule. In 1941 when Japan had seized control of Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh organized the Vietminh which was a nationalists group made up of communists and
non-communist to help drive out the Japanese forces.
2. Domino theory: The idea recognized by President Eisenhower that if Vietnam fell to
communism, the rest of Southeast Asia would follow. This idea justified the reason why Truman
authorized military aid to French forces in Vietnam, to prevent Southeast China from falling to
3. Guerrillas: Irregular troops that blend into the civilian population and are difficult for regular
armies to fight. This factor made it difficult for the French forces to fight the Vietminh who used
these tactics even though they were receiving aid from the United States.
4. Dien Bien Phu: A mountain town in Vietnam. In 1954 in efforts to finally turn the war and defeat
the Vietminh, French commander ordered his troops to occupy this town and interfere with the
Vietminh’s supply line forcing them into battle. After this a huge Vietminh force surrounded the
town and began bombarding it. In May 7, 1954, admitted defeat and made peace and withdrew
from Indochina.
5. Geneva Accords: Divided Vietnam along the 17
parallel. This decision made Ho Chi minh and
the Vietminh in charge or North Vietnam and a pro-western regime in charge of South Vietnam.
This also recognized Cambodia’s independence. This also stated that in 1956 elections were to
take place to reunite the country under a single government.
6. Ngo Dinh Diem: Nationalist leader leading the new government in South Vietnam at the time.
Like Ho Chi Minh he too had studied abroad, but he was Pro-Western and was extremely anti-
communist and was catholic. In 1956 Diem stopped the Geneva Accords elections fearing that
Ho Chi Minh would win. Eisenhower supported his idea and backed him up increasing American
aid to South Vietnam.
7. Vietcong: A new guerilla of South Vietnamese communists. Ngo Dinh Diem after having stopped
the elections began to crack down on communists groups in South Vietnam. This drove Ho Chi
Minh to start an armed struggle to reunify the nation.
8. Gulf of Tonkin Resolution: On August 7
in 1964, the Senate and House passed this resolution
allowing the president to “take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the
forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression. This was the result of the
announcement that President Johnson made on August 2
of 1964 saying that North
Vietnamese torpedo boats had fired on two American destroyers in the gulf of Tonkin. Johnson
then asked Congress for the permission to defend American forces and American allies in
Southeast Asia. This in essence handed over power of the war to the President.
9. Napalm: A jellied gasoline that explodes on contact. The Vietcong would avoid the American
forces by hiding out in the thick jungle or escaping through tunnels dug in the earth. To prevent
this hiding from happening American forces completely destroyed the landscape to take away
this advantage from the Vietcong. Napalm was used to destroy this landscape.
10. Agent Orange: A chemical that strips leaves from trees and shrubs. The result of this chemical
being released was the act or farmland and forest being turned into waste lands. This tactic was
also used in preventing the Vietcong from hiding from the American forces, but was devastating
to the South Vietnamese still living in the countryside.
11. Ho Chi Minh Trail: A trail that wound through the countries of Cambodia and Laos, bypassing
the border between North and South Vietnam. Through this trail North Vietnam sent arms and
supplies south. Because of the factor that this trail ran through countries not partaking in the
war at this time, President Johnson refused to full-scale attack to shut down the tail and cut off
the Vietcong’s supplies.
12. William Westmoreland: American commander in South Vietnam. This General was constantly
seen reporting that the enemy was on the brink of defeat. In several occasion had been heard
saying “enemy’s hopes are bankrupt” and “we’ve reached an important point where the end
begins to come into view”. However media accounts on TV were saying otherwise. This made
suspicion of the government I the public grow.
13. Credibility gap: the view that it was hard to believe what the Johnson administration was saying
about the war. Because the war in Vietnam was the first “television war”, with footage of
combat appearing nightly on the evening news, American wee seeing millions of our people
dead and wounded. But then Men like General Westmoreland made it seem like everything was
okay and that the American forces was winning. For the American public it was hard to know
what to believe in during this time.
14. Teach-in: In March of 1965, a group of faculty members and students at the University of
Michigan left their class rooms to participate I teach-ins. These individuals would leave their
regular classes room and meet in groups to discuss the pending issues on the war. They disused
the issues surrounding the war and reaffirmed their reasons for opposing it. This University
inspired other campuses across the U.S. to also partake in similar teach-ins.
15. Doves and Hawks: By 1968 the United Sates was divided into two groups based on public
opinion of the war in Vietnam. Those who wanted the United Sates to withdraw from Vietnam
wee known as the doves. The Hawks insisted that they united Sates stay in Vietnam and fight. As
debate grew between the two groups back at home and support for the war was slowly
diminishing, the war started to take a more dramatic turn.
16. Tet offensive: On January 30
in 1968 during Tet, the recognized Vietnamese New Year, Both
sides agreed to cease fire in respect for this holiday. But on his day instead the Vietcong and the
North Vietnamese decided to launch a surprise attack on the American forces. During this
offensive guerilla fighters destroyed most of the American air bases in the South and most of
the cities in the South. In the end the offensive was a disaster for the Vietcong who suffered a
great deal of casualties because of it.
17. Henry Kissenger: A Harvard professor appointed by Nixon as the assiatant for national affairs nd
gave him the power to use diplomacy to end the conflict in Vietnam. This was part of his
campaign promise to end the war. Nixon thought by putting Kissinger as assistant that maybe he
could negotiate in ending this war.
18. Linkage: The act of improving relations with Soviet Union and China , who were supplies of aid
to North Vietnam, so we could influence them into cutting off their aid. This is the policy that
assistant Kissinger was putting into effect.
19. Vietnamization: the process of gradually withdrawing U.S. troops as long as the South
Vietnamese assumed more of the fighting against the Vietcong. On June 8
of 1969 President
Nixon announced the removal of 25, 000 soldiers from Vietnam, but he was determined to keep
strong American influence in efforts to ensure bargaining power during peace negotiations.
20. Pentagon Papers: Former Defense Department Daniel Ellsberg, disillusioned by the war, leaked
what was known as the Pentagon papers to the New York Times. The papers were documents
that revealed that many government officials during Johnson’s administration privately
questioned the war while the publically defended it. The documents also contained details of
decisions that were made by the presidents and their advisors to expand the war without the
consent of congress. The papers also showed that the administration was trying to convince the
world that Vietnam was better than it really was. This papers confirmed that the government
had been dishonest.
21. War Powers Act: Passed in 1973 by congress to reestablish some limits on executive power, The
acct required the president to inform congress of any commitment of troops abroad within 48
hours, and to withdraw them I 60 to 90 days, unless explicitly approved the troop commitment.