History 311 Chapter 26

  1. Why was the US involved in Vietnam and for how long?
    For 30 years, 1945-64, US funneled supplies and aid into the small country to stop communism. Lyndon Johnson sent in troops in 1965 declared war.
  2. What happened in 1967?
    Antiwar protests 10/21 a march from the Lincoln Memorial to the Pentagon. Met by troops. An iconic photo of a NY actor placing flowers in the troops gun barrells symbolized the whole antiwar movement. Flower power.
  3. How did the 30 year struggle with Vietnam begin?
    It was first to win independance from france, then it became a battle between North and South vietnam. US debated over this behind closed doors originally. They feared this would set off a chain reaction of communism through Southeast Asia
  4. How did the US become involved in Vietnam
    During WWII Japan took over Indochina (present day Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam), 45, US intelligence worked with Ho Chi Minh, leader of an underground Vietnamese communitst resistance movement that launched guerilla attacks agaainst the Japs. Ho Chi Minh established a provisional govt free of Japs, but France wanted to reestablish themselves as a super power and sent in troops.
  5. What did Ho Chi Minh do after the french came>?
    Western educated, he tried to search for international support. He submitted a petition for democratic reforms to the American delegation at the Paris Peace Conference 1919 but the Americans ignored him after WWI but was ignored by the US because they were more interested in not pissing off the french to form the League of Nations. After the rebuff, he became Communist attracted by the promist to free colonized peoples. "It was patriotism, not communism, that inspired me" He worked 3 decades as a Soviet spy he returned to Vietnam in 1941. He held hope the US would would support independance after Jap withdrawl. Harry S. Truman saw him tainted even though he gave assurances that the soviets did not control or finance him.
  6. Who was Ho Chi Minhs supporters and foes?
    American viewed him as a Soviet puppet. His Vietnamese followers viewed him as a charismatic leader with a destire to free his nation from the french. Called uncle ho, he was ardent and idealistic nationalism. Vietminh (named to describe Viet communists and later to describe the north communists). HCM was not a factor due to ailing health in the war although he remained the face of the war.
  7. What political and strategic importance did Vietnam assume in US foreign policy by the mid 1950's.
    The cold war influenced how Americans reacted. US needed help from France to defend Western Europe from Soviet incursion. US gave france arms in 1947. Gave finance to the war in Vietnam to regain contol of the colony. The fall of China to Communism in 1949 and the outbreak of the Korean war in 1950 when communist led North Korea invaded South Korea. Containing communism in both Europe and Asia became the US foreign policy. Truman was severly hurt by the "who lost China" debate.
  8. What is NSC-68 National Security Council Memorandum 68
    a document that described a global communist monolith set the tone for US foreign policy. The document warned that any more territory "under the domination of the Kremlin" would make the soviets invincible in future military conflicts. Rubber, rice, tin and oil resources in SE Asia were important to the US. Japan is now a key ally with US and need these resources.
  9. What was Eisenhowers domino effect?
    1954 he said it was the disintegration of the most profound influences. Stalins success in pressuring China and N Korea to accept an armistice to end the Korean War. US feared the Soviets had great influence to start and stop communist insurgencies around the globe.
  10. What choices did Eisenhower make in 1954 that helped US involvement in the war?
    The US was funding 80% of the war. They doubt the French had much left to stay in it. The Vietminh defeated the French in the NE corner of the country and had to meet at the Geneva conference. The first agreement was at the 7th parallel French south and Vietnamese North and a general election in 2 yrs to reunify the country. US refused to sign and using the 2 years to withdrawl the French and set up a new govt with military to resist communism.
  11. Who was Ngo Dinh diem?
    A wealthy catholic who served as minister of the interior of the french colony headed the new south govt. They would not allow a general election to occur because the Vietminh would corrupt the elections to communism. CIA sabotaged the Vietminh by spreading rumors of rape in the North by soliders, contaminated bus oil, destroyed printing presses.
  12. What is the SEATO
    1954 the SE Asian Treaty Organization formed by the US, Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines and Pakistan that pledged to meet common danger. The agreement identified Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam as areas endangered. Each countries exact commitment was left vague.
  13. Why did the civil war in Vietnam reignite in the late 1950's to 1960's?
    Diem was not the carasmatic Minh. He led by dictating and his brother in law in charge of the secret police tortured and killed thousands opposing his rule. Most Vietminh moved north but some guerillas remained. Communists tried to destablilize the Diem regime by assainating the wealthy who worked for Diem and he retailiated by trying to cut off their supply base. He imprisoned 1000s of civilians suspected of aiding the rebels. The US did not leak this information. He was praised in the US in 1957 as a little miracle man bringing stability to the South. Diem called South commis VietCong. Minh was not a huge factor in the 50's
  14. President Kennedy
    1961 Proclaimed Vietnam as the cornerstone of the free world in SE Asia. He suffered 2 set backs with the loss of the bay of pigs in Cuba, and the inability to stop the soviets from constructing the Berlin Wall. He had a win with the Cuban missle crisis 62. He sent over so called advisors of who were green barats. Ngu and Diem 1963 came to peace. Diem did not like Buddists and refused to let them hang their flag. Buddist Duc set himself on fire to show the western world of their problem. Kennedy secretly agreed to support a military coup to overthrow the Diem regime. Ngu and Diem were assainated.
  15. The Kennedy Assaination
    3 weeks later Kennedy was assainated by Lee Harvey Oswald. Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) was sworn in. Texan former middle school and high school teacher.
  16. Why was the gulf of Tonkin incident a turning point in the Vietnam war?
    8/2/1964 a vietnamese torpedo boat attacked a US destroyer The USS Maddox in the gulf of tonkin. It was improperly working radar and overeager sonar operators. A second attack was not likely either. This gave Johnson the fuel they need to go to congress. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave permissions to repeal any armed attack against the forces of the US and to prevent further aggression.
  17. When did the first troop arrive>
    3/8/195 the first AMerican Marines landed at Da Nang on the north coast of South Vietnam. A major bombing campaign in the north called "rolling thunder" general Wesmoreland requested to take the ground troops and the fight to the enemy.
  18. Choices and conciquences of Vietnam
    65 Johns bombing campaign in N Vietnam sent 82000 ground troops to South Vietnam. Westmoreland requested 150000 more troops. His choices were: Seek negotiated settlement with Vietnam; Continue with military in Vietnam and push for political reforms and a democratic govt; sent the requested troops and expand bombing campaign in, and work for political reforms. He saw a settlement as losing the war of communism. Publically he said he sent 50000 he privately promised 50 more.
  19. Who was David Halberstam?
    Reporter for the New York times said in 62, said: It is often impossible to seperate the cruel and dedicated foe you want to kill from the simple and illiterate peasant you want to woo. Guerilla warfare
  20. What happened with the bombing campaign>
    The US air campaign was the largest in world history. over 8 years they droped 5 million tons of bombs. The N. Vietnamese learned to live with bombs. THey built 30000 miles of underground tunnels and the communication and transportation infrastructure underground. The Ho Chi Minh trail 600 miles of a supply line to bring troops, supplies and food from Laos and Cambodia. 3000 workers completed the 3 month journey each month bring food and ammo to the Vietcong. Propaganda glorified the difficult journey with images of toughness and determination.
  21. What did the troops do the to vietnamese?
    They bombed the "free fire zones' the name given to the villages that supposedly contained enemy combatants. Sprays agent orange to strip trees of leaves to expose Vietcong and kill crops that might feed them. "Only you can prevent forests" Stopped using agent orange in 1971 because of US dislike and birth defects. Dropped Napalm, jelly like gasoline that ignited on impact. Political US Peace Movement, pacifists, clergy, students, professors, hippies.
  22. What motivated the men to volunteer to fight in Vietnam?
    Some people viewed serving as a way to serve the country, escape suburbia. Music and movies celebrated the military and sold well until 1967 and encourage man working class men to volunteer. 1 year tours.
  23. How did the Vietcong hide?
    They wore civilian clothing, stored arms in the walls of huts and sent spies to workon American military bases. Civilians gave the cong crutital support in fear of being tortured. Search and destroy missions reduced villages to rubble. Contaminated wells, burned straw huts, salted the ground. Paradoxical kindness and cruelty. Cong moved command posts, dormitories and supply depots underground. They laid traps for US tunnel rats: overturning baskets of scorpions, poisonous snales or falling into punji stake traps. Gas and water did not work. Heavy bombing did. War of attrition. Progress counted on the amount killed in a day.
  24. What was the Tet Offensive?
    1967 US support floundered. Draft 30000 a month. Johnson's call for new taxes. Sec Defense Robert McNamara shifted views. McNamara's war and then resigned. 1968 a major Vietnamnes offensive on the new year holiday known as Tet launched the Tet Offensive: a massive, coordinatd assault against more than a 100 cities and town in S Vietnam. Many lives lost. Truman announced on 3/31/1968 that he wanted to seek peace and stopped bombing. Did not seek reelection. Cronkite news coverage.
  25. What differing visions did peace activists offer on the war?
    Many working and middle class opposed the war. Antiwar movement attracted mostly white, middle class, college educated. Some made a moral argument: napalm and search and destroy missions hurt the Vietnamese more than Communism. Others focused on fighting an unwinable civil war. Students for a democratic Society (SDS) Port Huron MI 1962:inequalities in capitalism. MLK had a short stink at protesting the war but was assaignated. Teach ins were held at universities: lecturs and debates protesting or showing support for the war. College students would lose their deferments once graduated. Burned draft cards. LBJ decided not to win because Robert Kennedy was up and coming. He was assaisnated because of pro isreal views. LBJ tried to win the war up until his last day. Initiated the largest 100000 search and destroy mission before he ended. My Lai was a large masacre of US troops murdering and raping civilians. Lt. Calley went on trial in 1971 and was convicted and pardoned after 5 months. The public on both the left and the right defended him for different reasons.
  26. My Lai
    Who was to blame: two platoons,. Calley, commanding officers, or the American People? Calley ordered execution. Orders from commanders were to kill everything (Calley thought everyone). The National Review rejected suggestions that the nation bore the blame and that we should abandon the war in Vietnam.
  27. What did Nixon do?
    He said he would end the war quickly but it lasted 4 more yrs. For him peace with honor meant winning the war. He initiated Vietnamization: policy that turned bulk of ground fighting over to the S. Viets army. Nixon shammed people onto his side in 1969. 1970 Nixon withdrew 150000 soldiers. Change the draft with a controversial lottery. Nixon and Kissinger took a multipolarity view on foreign relations. The Nixon Doctrine )69 70) announced the US expected its friends to take the lead in defending themselves.
  28. Military numbers
    Total serving in US military: 8.7 mill men. 3.4 in vietna,, 47415 battle deaths, 153303 wounded, Vietnam caualties 2 million, Draft evaders 600,000. Cost 173 billion.
  29. How did Nixon try to win the war?
    1968 peace takjs, American troops left 69-72, more bombs were dropped. Third tactic was to use diplomacy to decrease Soviet and Chinese support for North Vietnam. He used detente: using diplomatic, economic, and cultural contacts to improve US relations with China and the Soviet Union. Once trade relations normalized and a arms limitation agreement, China and Soviets pressured Hanoi to seek a negotiated peace. 4th tactical component: Intiated a secret bombing campaign to cut off supplies through the ho chi minh trail. (backfired and Cambodia where Khmer ROugh, communist rebels assummed power there and unleashed a wave of murders. Campuses protested and in Kent Ohio guardsmen were sent to control the crowd which resulted in 4 dead and 9 wounded from bullets. Still determined, Nixon attacked Laos in 71. Men in vietnam used pot, opium, and herion and also fragging (enlisted me attacked officers with granades)/ Leaked papers from the pentagon about the illigitamacy of Kennedy and Truman of the start of the war came out. Many blamed Nixon.
  30. Withdrawl
    Nixon went to china in 72 to negotiate. China told the N. Vietnamese to wait until the US left and attack again. They tried the Tet Offensive againa and it did not work as well. US bombed the North again and Nixon gained support for supporting the S. Nixon went to Russia where they signed the Strategi Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT). 1973 peace treaty called for American withdrawl. Allowed N troops to remain in S. The war still went on after paris only without US advisors.3/9/1975 north took over south. hundreds fled. 1995 US normalized relations with Vietnam.
  31. Watergate
    Nixons scandal: 1972 a botched republican breaking into the democratic Nation Committee headquaters in DC. forced nixon to resign in 74. Broke in to fix broken wire taps. Congress passed the War Powers Resulution ot curtail presidental war making powers. 1973 law required congressional approval for any deploynent of American troops overseas lasting more than 60 days. Gerald Ford president 8/9/1974.
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History 311 Chapter 26
History 311 Chapter 26