You are on page 1of 22

The Vietnam War

1954 - 1975
Page Notes go here…
title
You don’t have to write exactly
used in what is on the slide show, you need
to get the main idea of the starred
margin points.

Additionally, if there is something
that you see that you want to have
in your notes, write it down.
How will you be graded
on these notes?

 Wherever you see a star, make sure
that the information next to it
appears in the notes you turn in for
a grade. Each missing star will
result in a loss of 5 points from
your original 100.
Where is
Vietnam?

 Vietnam is located
south of China
 On the coast of the
South China Sea
and the Gulf of
Tonkin
 The region is
known as
Southeast Asia,
more specifically
“Indochina”
Background to
the War
 China controlled Vietnam off and
on for over 2000 years

 France controlled “Indochina”
since the late 19th century
(1800’s)

 Japan took control during WW II

 France attempted to re-colonize
after WW II

 Vietnamese people wanted to rule
themselves, “Nationalism”
China and Vietnam
Background to the War
 The French lost control to
Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh
forces in 1954 at
Dien Bien Phu

 President Eisenhower
declined to intervene on
behalf of France, however
provided “aid”
Background to
the War
 International Conference at
Geneva
P Vietnam was divided at
17th parallel
O Ho Chi Minh’s
nationalist forces
controlled the North
O Ngo Dinh Diem, a
French-educated,
Roman Catholic
claimed control of the
South
Page Notes go here…
title
You don’t have to write exactly
used in what is on the slide show, you need
to get the main idea of the starred
margin points.

Additionally, if there is something
that you see that you want to have
in your notes, write it down.
Background to the War
 A date was set for
democratic elections
to reunify Vietnam

 Diem backed out of
the elections,
leading to military
conflict between
North and South
U.S. Military Involvement Begins

 Repressive dictatorial rule by Diem
P Diem’s family holds all power

P Wealth is hoarded by the elite

P Buddhist majority persecuted

P Torture and lack of political
freedom
P Build resentment from commoners

that join the Viet Cong
 The U.S. aided Diem’s government
P Sent financial and military aid

P 675 U.S. Army “advisors” sent
by 1960.
U.S. Military Involvement Begins

 Kennedy elected 1960

 Increases military
“advisors” to 16,000

 1963: JFK supports a
Vietnamese military
coup d’etat –
 Diem and his brother are
murdered (Nov. 2)

 Kennedy was
assassinated just
weeks later (Nov. 22)
A coup d’etat is
the sudden overthrow
of a government by
usually small group
of persons in or
previously in
positions of
authority
Johnson Sends
Ground Forces
 Remembers Truman’s “loss” of China
that cost him the re-election
 Domino Theory revived

“I’m not going to be the president who saw
Southeast Asia go the way China went.”-LBJ
Johnson Sends Ground Forces

 Advisors: “Rout the Communists”
 Secretary of State, Robert S. McNamara
 Tonkin Gulf Incident, 1964
–U.S. ships torpedoed by North Vietnamese
 Tonkin Gulf Resolution
P “The Blank Check”
P Congress allows the President to
“take all necessary measures to
repel any armed attack against
the forces of the U.S. and
prevent further aggression.”
The Fighting Escalates
after Tonkin Gulf
 No territorial goals
 Body counts on TV every night
 (first “living room” war)

600,000

500,000

400,000

U.S. Troops 300,000

200,000

100,000

0
1961 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968

 Viet Cong supplies over the Ho Chi Minh Trail
The Air War
1965-1968

 1965: Constant
bombing of North
Vietnam begins
 Operation Rolling Thunder
 Hanoi – Northern Capital
 Especially targets on the
Ho Chi Minh Trail
 Carpet Bombing
using Napalm
Who Is the Enemy?
 Vietcong:
P Farmers by day; guerillas by night

P Very patient people willing to accept many
casualties and losses

P The US underestimated their
determination to win and resourcefulness

P The Vietnamese had been ruled by
outsiders for over 2000 years

P Where did they get their weapons from?

The guerilla wins if he does not lose, the conventional
army loses if it does not win. -- Mao Zedong