The Vietnam War - Fremont Unified School District
Transcript The Vietnam War - Fremont Unified School District
Welcome to Vietnam
Ch 17 Sec 1/2
Thursday, May 24, 2012
• Understand early American involvement in
Vietnam, the Domino Theory and the Gulf of
• Understand why napalm and Agent Orange
• What sort of fighting did the Vietcong use?
French Indochina consisted of
Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
During WWII France was defeated and occupied by Germany
Japan invaded the French colonies of Indochina where they
ruled Vietnam through a puppet government.
During the war the nationalist Communist leader Ho Chi Minh
formed a resistance group, the Vietminh, that fought both the
Japanese and Vichy French.
After the U.S. entered WWII, the Office of Strategic Services
(later the Central Intelligence Agency), sent U.S. agents into
Vietnam. These men helped to train the Vietminh and they
promised Ho Chi Minh that the United States would support
his goal for Vietnamese independence after the war.
Ho Chi Minh believed that after the war the United States
would support independence for Vietnam but he could not
foresee the Cold War.
Communists gain support
The French returned
The war began
U.S. provided support for France
France defeated at Dien Bien Phu
After WWII Ho Chi Minh, leader of the Communist
Vietnamese, believed that the U.S. would not allow
France to reoccupy to its former colony, since the
OSS promised that to Minh during the war. When
French soldiers returned to reassert their authority
and reclaim their colony a bitter nine year war
began that ended in a French defeat that divided
Vietnam into two halves. One, the north, became
communist, while the south was under U.S.
HO CHI MINH
In 1945 Ho Chi Minh and the communist Viet Minh gained the good will of many
Vietnamese when they provided relief during a devastating famine killed almost 2
The famine was caused in large part by the Japanese who exported Vietnam’s rice
to feed their troops.
The Domino Theory
Eisenhower pledged U.S. support for South
Ngo Dinh Diem
1958 Communist forces in South Vietnam
National Liberation of Vietnam formed 1960
The French returned to Vietnam to reclaim its former
In May of 1950 President Truman authorized $15 million in economic and
military aid to the French, who were fighting to retain control of French
Indochina, including Vietnam. As part of the aid package, Truman also sent
35 military advisers.
American Involvement in Vietnam
• FDR/Truman-aided Vietminh against Japanese
• Eisenhower-Supported France’s return to
Vietnam to get rid of Ho Chi Minh’s
Communist regime. The US paid for 75% of
France’s War cost, but the French ultimately
• Kennedy- Sent military advisors to support the
South Vietnam’s independence.
The Domino Theory
Cold War theory based on the idea
that if one nation was conquered by
communists, neighboring nations
were at risk, and therefore it was the
United States’ obligation to prevent
that from occurring.
First proposed by President
Eisenhower in 1954.
It was the foundation for the war in
Vietnam as well as other Cold War
Eisenhower’s speech on Vietnam
• Eisenhower stressed that if Vietnam fell to
Communism neighboring countries would
soon follow like Dominoes.
• Do you think one country’s change can
influence a neighboring country?
In July of 1954 the Geneva Accords
were signed dividing Vietnam at the
17th parallel for two years until
elections could be held to unify the
The north became communist while
the south established an anticommunist regime that was tied to the
President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster
Dulles (from left) greet south Vietnam's President Ngo Dinh Diem at
Washington national airport, 05/08/1957
From 1955-61 Eisenhower sent $200 million in aid and around
675 military advisers.
Eisenhower’s policy on
Vietnam did not involve
troops, only monetary
JFK felt pressured
JFK sent combat forces & started
Corrupt government under Diem
President Kennedy, to avoid being accused of “losing south
Vietnam” as President Truman was accused of “losing China”,
increased the number of military advisors from 800 to 16,000 and
formed the Green Berets special forces.
The U.S. military set up schools and clinics in an attempt
to win the “hearts and minds” of the South Vietnamese
Tonkin Gulf Incident, August 1964
The official story was that North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched an "unprovoked
attack" against a U.S. destroyer on "routine patrol" in the Tonkin Gulf on August 2, 1964,
and that North Vietnamese PT boats followed up with a "deliberate attack" on a pair of U.S.
ships two days later. Evidence uncovered since the event has proven that there was no
attack that night, and some have suggested that this incident was an excuser to escalate
U.S. involvement in the region.
Target of a
President Johnson signed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, August 7,
The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
authorized President Lyndon Johnson
to "take all necessary measures to
repel any armed attack against forces
of the United States and to prevent
The resolution passed unanimously
in the House, and by a margin of 82-2
in the Senate.
The Resolution allowed Johnson to
wage all out war against North
Vietnam without ever securing a
formal Declaration of War from
Morse opposed the
Gulf of Tonkin
Election of 1964
Operation Rolling Thunder
U.S. Troops engaged in combat 1965
Geography of Vietnam
Operation Birmingham, Hastings, Cedar Falls and Junction City
LBJ’s Foreign Policy Team
(Left) Robert McNamara, Secretary of
McGeorge Bundy (National Security Council)
along with his brother William Bundy
(Pentagon) were important advisors
Dean Rusk, Secretary of State
The election of 1964
Johnson won by a landslide and
quickly escalated U.S.
involvement in Vietnam
LBJ stated in the 1964 presidential campaign that he was “not going
to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home
to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”
By early 1965 the communists were well on their way to victory and
Johnson had to either increase U.S. involvement or see South
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
• Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin
Resolution, authorizing the president to “take
all necessary measures,” which effectively
began the Vietnam War.
In Vietnam, the U.S.
dropped three times the
tonnage used in all of
World War II, and 12 times
the tonnage used in the
Neither LBJ nor the American
people were willing to resort to
the kind of all-out war the
United States had fought against
Japan and Germany. He thought
we could win the war with
massive bombing and limited
U.S. ground troops.
Arc light Operations
Arc Light was the code name for the devastating aerial raids of B-52 Strato
fortresses against enemy positions in Southeast Asia.
The first B-52 Arc Light raid took place on June 18, 1965, on a suspected Vietcong
base north of Saigon.
In November 1965, B-52s directly supported American ground forces for the first
time, and were used regularly for that purpose thereafter.
B-52 bomber munitions load of over 70,000 pounds of ordnance
including bombs, mines and missiles.
LBJ announced in July
1965 that U.S. troops
would engage in
By the end of 1965
there were 180,000 U.S.
troops in Vietnam.
This grew to 500,000 by
the beginning of 1968.
U.S. troop strength in Vietnam: 1960-1972
60- 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72
A Bloody Stalemate
• The North Vietnamese had inferior fire power
and depended on using the Vietcong (VC) to
fight a guerilla war.
• Frustrated by the Vietcong’s ability to hide in
the dense jungles, American forces began
dropping napalm and Agent Orange to
destroy the jungle.