DEFINE: Domino Theory, Vietminh, Vietcong, Escalation, Defoliants, Search-and-Destroy Missions, Pacification, Doves, Hawks, Tonkin Gulf Resolution, Operation Rolling Thunder, Tet Offensive, Kent State Shootings, Pentagon Papers, 26th Amendment, Vietnam Veterans Memorial
SECTION 1: BACKGROUND
- Vietnam: The EASTERN most country of SE Asia (Pg. 706)
- Agriculture abundance: The moist, tropical climate of the deltas and coastal lowlands allows Vietnamese farmers to grow at least 2 crops of rice a year [lots] (Pg. 706)
- CHINA attempted to invade Vietnam: 200 BC because of its agricultural abundance (Pg. 706)
- For over 1,000 years, the Chinese struggled to maintain control over N and Central Vietnam
- Vietnamese INDEPENDENCE from the Chinese in AD 939 (Pg. 706)
- Resisted Chinese occupation again in the 1400s…
- … Until Vietnam lost its independence during a surge of European IMPERIALISM in the mid-1800s
- In 1883 Vietnam was forced to grant FRANCE complete control of the country
- France later combined Vietnam with Laos and Cambodia to form French INDOCHINA (Pg. 706)
- NATIONALISTS feelings remained strong in Vietnam (Pg. 707)
- JAPAN threatens to occupy Indochina and the rest of SE AsiaFRANCE AND THE VIETMINH GO TO WAR
- Vietminh: organized by HO CHI MINH, who called for the independence of Vietnam after the Japanese withdraw from Indochina after surrendering in WW2. In an effort to gain US support, Minh echoed the US DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (Pg. 707)
- By 1946 the FRENCH and the Vietnamese were at war (Pg. 707)
- Despite Minh’s pleas, and in part because of his communist ties, the US throws support behind FRANCE, who POTUS Truman viewed as a vital ally in the struggle against the spread of communism in Europe
- Fears that communism would engulf Asia. Mao Zedong’s COMMUNIST [PARTY] took over in China. (By 1950) US and S Vietnam attempting to hold back the N’s invasion. Communist led nationalist revolts rocked Indonesia, the PHILLIPINES, and MALAYA. (Pg. 707)
- New POTUS EISENHOWER takes over for Truman and continues to fight against the spread of communism in East Asia; Worries that if Vietnam fell, the rest of SE Asia would also then fall to communism, which came to be known as the DOMINO Theory. (Pg. 708)
- By 1954 the US was paying for much of France’s war, but the French suffered MORE defeats
- $ and military equipment were of limited use against Vietminh GUERILLA tactics: The Vietminh chose when and where to attack, struck without warning, and then would disappear into the jungle
- Frustrated, the French tried to lure the Vietminh into a conventional battle at DIEN BIEN PHU…
- … But the plan would backfire as 13,000 French soldiers soon found themselves encircled by more than 50,000 VIETMINH troops. (Pg. 708)
- The French: “The Americans will not let us down; the free world will not let us down”… Help did not come; Although he was willing to commit $, Eisenhower was reluctant to become directly involved in another Asian war so soon after the Korean War (Pg. 708)
- The Vietminh defeated the French on May 7, 1954, forcing their surrender (Pg. 708)
THE GENEVA CONFERENCE
- Just 1 day after the French surrender at Dien Bien Phu, and international conference began in GENEVA, Switzerland to map out the future of Indochina and were joined by the US, Cambodia, Great Britain, Laos, the People’s Republic of China, and the SU (Pg. 708)
- CHINA had been aiding the Vietminh since 1950 and hoped to limit US influence in the region, as well as prevent the establishment of a strong, unified Vietnam…
- … While the US did not want to see Vietnam handed over completely to the Communists
- A CEASE-fire was agreed to, but no definite political settlement was achieved, Vietnam temporarily divided at the 17th Parallel
- Vietminh forces withdrew to the N, where they held undisputed power, while S of the line, the French regained control, and general elections to reunify the country would be held soon… Except that the US feared that the COMMUNISTS would win a nationwide election and refused to support the agreement
THE RULE OF NGO DINH DIEM
- Eisenhower still hoped to keep S Vietnam communist free and pinned his hopes on NGO DINH DIEM, a former gov official under the French, with strong nationalist beliefs (Pg. 709)
DIEM TAKES POWER IN THE SOUTH
- Diem: strongly anticommunist and had a following in the US for his POLITICAL views (Pg. 709)
- 1955: Became pres. in S Vietnam, in a rigged election; i.e. received more votes than voters in places
- Diem, a Roman CATHOLIC, was unpopular from the start
- BUDDHISTS thought he favored Catholics; PEASANTS disliked his land policies because they thought he favored the wealthy; Many objected to his family having sole power, People feared his ruthless efforts to root out his political enemies, including torturing and imprisoning
- By the late 1950s armed revolution had erupted in the SOUTH
- (1959) Military assistance began flowing from the N to the Vietminh who had stayed in the S
- The S Vietminh wanted to OVERTHROW Diem’s gov
- Members of this rebel force were called VietCONG, for Vietnamese communists, though not all were communists, and soon much of the countryside was under [their] control. (Pg. 709)
US INVOLVEMENT DEEPENS
- JFK (1961) fully agreed with the Domino Theory and was eager to IMPROVE the US image in the world, which was tarnished by the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and construction of the Berlin Wall
- Aiding the SOUTH Vietnamese provided the US a chance to assert its power. In 1960 there were 900 US military advisors training Diem’s army, which would increase to 16,000 over the next few years
- As Vietcong attacks mounted, JFK authorized US forces to engage in direct combat, which, in turn, saw the # of Americans killed or wounded CLIMB from 14 in 1961 to nearly 500 in 1963. (Pg. 710)
- Political conflict also increased… SOUTH Vietnam’s Buddhist leaders began to openly oppose Diem’s rule, who was raging a brutal campaign to control the Buddhists, many who were arrested or killed (Pg. 710)
- In response, several Buddhist MONKS publicly set themselves on fire. These gruesome protests shocked Americans and the US threatened to withdraw support for Diem unless he ended the campaign
- Diem did not respond and the US quietly began to encourage a group of S Vietnamese army officers plotting to OVERTHROW Diem (Pg. 711)
- The plotters struck in early Nov 1963, murdering both Diem and his brother. Diem’s assassination UPSET the US, who had been prepared to fly Diem out of the country (Pg. 711)
- JFK: “In the final analysis it is their war. They are the ones who have to win or lose.”
- 3 weeks after Diem’s murder, JFK is assassinated in Dallas, TX (Pg. 711)
SECTION 2: THE WAR ESCALATES
THE TONKIN GULF RESOLUTION
- Events in the Gulf of TONKIN, which POTUS LBJ claimed were unprovoked, [gave him] the opportunity to ask Congress to authorize the use of military force “to prevent further [communist] aggression” (Pg. 712)
- In response, both houses of Congress OVERWHELMINGLY pass the Tonkin Gulf RESOLUTION, and LBJ had the authority to expand the war (Pg. 712)
- There were fears that Congress, by passing the resolution, had given up its constitutional power to declare war: “We are giving the [POTUS] war-making powers in the absence of a declaration of war.”
US FORCES IN VIETNAM
- POTUS LBJ called for an escalation of US military forces in VIETNAM. (Pg. 713)
- LBJ ordered the SELECTIVE SERVICE to hold a draft and notified 13,700 draftees. (Pg. 713)
- In the beginning most were PROFESSIONAL soldiers who were already enlisted in the armed forces, though, as demand for troops grew, more draftees were shipped to Vietnam
- The average US soldier in Vietnam was YOUNGER, POORER, and less educated than those who had served in WW2 or in the Korean War (Pg. 713)
- 1 out of 4 young men who registered for the draft was excused from service for HEALTH reasons. Another 30% received non-health-related exemptions or deferments – postponements of service; Most were for college enrollment.
- Mainly because of college DEFERMENTS, young men from higher-income families were the LEAST likely to be drafted and as a result, POOR Americans served in #s far greater than their proportion in the general population. (Pg. 713)
- African Americans and Hispanics served in combat in very HIGH #s and many served in the most dangerous ground units and as a result, faced very high casualty rates: AAs accounted for 24% of all battle deaths, while making up just 11% of the total US population.
- Hardships of war: fighting in the high-lands, soldiers cutting their way through the jungle and wading through rice paddies, and searching through villages for guerillas.
- Most Americans who went to Vietnam, however, served in support positions such as ADMINISTRATION, COMMUNICATION, ENGINEERING, medical care, and supply and transportation.
- Shockingly!: They were rarely safe as enemy rockets and mortars could, and did, strike anywhere.
- Some 10,000 women filled noncombat positions in Vietnam, mostly as nurses, and faced the horrors of combat on a daily basis, with another 20-45,000 worked in civilian capacities, such Red Cross volunteers.
THE AIR WAR
- POTUS LBJ hoped that air power could secure a QUICK victory. (Pg. 714)
- (March 1965) Operation Rolling THUNDER: Goal was to weaken the enemy's will to fight
- LBJ also wanted to assure the SOUTH Vietnamese of the US commitment to them.
- A key target of the bombing was the Ho Chi Minh TRAIL—a network of jungle paths; The N Vietnamese used the trail to bring weapons and supplies into S Vietnam. (Pg. 714)
- Roads and bridges along the trail, parts of which snaked through neighboring Cambodia and Laos, were BOMBED repeatedly (Pg. 714)
- The Vietcong, however, quickly repaired them or managed without them; They also built many facilities UNDERGROUND to protect against bombing. Some 300,000 people worked full-time to maintain the trail
- When the bombing did not bring about N Vietnam's collapse, LBJ increased its intensity and by 1967, US aircraft were dropping a daily average of 800 tons of bombs on the North (Pg. 714)
- Repeated increases in bombing FAILED to produce the desired results (Pg. 714)
- Frustrated, LBJ broadened the air war against areas of bordering Laos and much of S Vietnam
- US forces used a variety of deadly weapons: NAPALM, a jellied gasoline mixture, was used in firebombs, "Cluster bombs" sprayed razor-sharp metal fragments when they exploded
- US planes sprayed DEFOLIANTS over thousands of acres - the goal of the spraying was to expose jungle supply routes and enemy hiding places, as well as wanting to destroy the Vietcong food supply.
- The most widely used of these chemicals was Agent ORANGE. (Pg. 714)
THE GROUND WAR
- The N Vietnamese clearly understood the goal of the air war: "The Americans thought that the MORE bombs they dropped, the quicker we would fall to our knees and surrender." (Pg. 715)
- Rather than SURRENDER, N Vietnam sent more troops and supplies south.
- The bombing led many S Vietnamese to join the Vietcong and soon the opposition forces included more SOUTH than NORTH Vietnamese. (Pg. 715)
- The US countered by launching a ground war. Between 1965-1967 the # of US troops in Vietnam GREW from about 185,000 to some 486,000.
- Sheer #s were not enough to defeat an enemy who seemed to be everywhere. Aided by regulars of the NORTH Vietnamese Army, the Vietcong struck at US patrols or gov-held villages and then melted back into the jungle. Vietnamese peasants who appeared peaceful by day sided with the Vietcong at night. (Pg. 715)
- US forces conducted 1,000s of SEARCH-and-DESTROY missions that attempted to drive the Vietcong from their hideouts. Ground patrols first located the enemy and then called in air support to kill them. Once an area was "cleared," the patrols moved on in search of more Vietcong. SNIPERS and BOOBY TRAPS made these missions extremely dangerous and frustrating. Making matters worse, villages seldom remained cleared of the Vietcong.
- To provide security in rural areas, US forces began a program of PACIFICATION. When security forces were not enough they moved the residents to secure locations and then BURNED the villages. In such warfare, progress could not be shown on a map. Instead, the daily body count of enemy dead became the sole measure of success—and a questionable measure at that.
- The US military regularly guessed at or inflated the numbers by counting all Vietnamese dead as the enemy: "If it's dead and Vietnamese, it's VC [Vietcong]."
US MORALE DECLINES
- The 1st US troops had arrived in Vietnam in a hopeful mood.
- "When we marched into the rice paddies on that damp March afternoon, we carried, along with our packs and rifles, the implicit [unquestioned] convictions that the Vietcong could be quickly beaten."
- This optimism began to fade as the hazards of fighting a nearly INVISIBLE foe in an ALIEN landscape became apparent.
- Equally frustrating was the enemy's will to continue fighting, despite mounting casualties. US war planners believed that superior US TECHNOLOGY would win the war.
- Yet at the end of 1967, victory seemed no closer than in 1963. Ho Chi Minh's earlier warning to the French now seemed applicable to Americans. "You can kill 10 of my men for every 1 I kill of yours, but even at those odds, you will LOSE and I will WIN." (Pg. 715)
THE MEDIA AND THE WAR
- By the end of 1967 more than 16,000 Americans had been killed in Vietnam. 1,000s more had been INJURED or DISABLED. (Pg. 717)
- Despite the gov's optimistic forecasts, a US victory seemed increasingly distant.
- TV news showed gruesome images of terrified VIETNAMESE civilians and dead or injured soldiers.
- Some demanded that the military be allowed to do whatever it took to win, while others wanted the US to pull OUT of Vietnam.
- During previous wars the military had imposed TIGHT press restrictions. In this war, reporters, photographers, and TV camera crews accompanied soldiers on patrol and interviewed people throughout SOUTH Vietnam. (Pg. 717)
- TV beamed footage and reports of the war into people's homes on a nightly basis. As a result, Americans saw images that seemed to CONTRADICT the gov's reports.
- REPORTERS criticized the gov's optimism. As early as 1962 they argued that the war could not be won as long as the US supported the unpopular and corrupt regime of Diem. Journalists also reported on the ineffectiveness of S Vietnam's troops and accused the US gov of inflating enemy body counts to give the appearance of progress. (Pg. 717)
- As the gap between official gov reports and media accounts grew wider, doubts at home increased.
- The administration found itself criticized by both DOVES—people who opposed the war—and HAWKS—people who supported the war's goals.
- Hawks criticized the way the war was being fought and argued for more US troops and heavier BOMBING(S): "Here we are at the height of our power. The most powerful nation in the world. And yet we're afraid to use that power."
- Doves opposed the war for many reasons. PACIFISTS such as MLK believed that all war was wrong. Some doves were convinced that Vietnam was not crucial to national security. Others feared that the US might use nuclear weapons or that the US was fighting against the wishes of a majority of Vietnamese.
THE ANTIWAR MOVEMENT
- A variety of civil rights, pacifist, religious, and student groups shaped the antiwar movement including the “radical” student group Students for a DEMOCRATIC Society (SDS).
- The movement attracted a broad range of people. Doctors, ministers, teachers, and other professionals joined homemakers, retired citizens, and students in protest against the war.
- By the end of 1965 the SDS had members on 124 college campuses. Although it was just one of many groups opposing the war, to many Americans the SDS was the antiwar movement. At colleges across the US, the SDS and other student groups and faculty members held antiwar rallies and DEBATES. (Pg. 718)
- These groups particularly criticized the involvement of universities in research and development for the MILITARY. They also protested the draft, the presence of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) on campus, and the recruitment efforts by the armed services, the CIA, and defense contractors.
- The SDS organized the 1st national antiWAR demonstration. It was held in Washington, DC, on April 17, 1965. More than 20,000 people participated.
- The crowd marched to the Capitol and delivered to Congress a PETITION demanding that lawmakers "act immediately to end the war." (Pg. 718)
- Countless demonstrations followed during the next decade. Demonstrators protested US involvement in SE Asia with tactics borrowed from the CIVIL RIGHTS movement.
- Civil rights activists were among the most outspoken critics of the war. In 1967 MLK complained that the war was stealing resources from [ANTI] POVERTY programs.
- Many civil rights activists criticized the US gov. They said it was sending great #s of young African Americans off to war yet doing little to end DISCRIMINATION at home. The SNCC expressed the views of growing #s of African Americans and noted that "16% of the draftees from this country are Negro, called on to stifle [block] the liberation of Vietnam, to preserve a 'democracy' which does not exist for them at home." Polls showed that AAs were much MORE likely than whites to consider the war a mistake.
- Despite their high visibility, antiwar protesters made up a SMALL % of the US population. Many Americans opposed the antiwar movement, particularly the extreme groups. (Pg. 719)
- Some believed that fighting for 1's country was a patriotic duty.
- Others objected to the antiwar movement's TACTICS. These people found certain acts of protest—such as burning the American flag, occupying buildings, and burning draft cards—particularly upsetting: “America, Love It or Leave It"; "My Country, Right or Wrong."
- Many VETERANS of past wars were angered by young men who tried to avoid the draft. (Pg. 719)
GOVERNMENT IN CONFLICT
- LBJ and his advisers responded to antiwar protesters by insisting that the US was helping to defend an ally against aggression. If the US failed to support SOUTH Vietnam, what US ally would ever trust the country again? (Pg. 719)
- LBJ also faced criticism in CONGRESS. Doves sharply criticized LBJs admin’s policies as too extreme.
- Congressional hearings were held in 1966 to give the war's critics a forum. These televised hearings made the antiwar position more acceptable to mainstream Americans. (Pg. 719)
SECTION 3: A TURNING POINT
THE TET OFFENSIVE
THE ELECTION OF 1968
- After the TET Offensive, ¾’s Americans disapproved of LBJ’s conduct of the war. With the POTUS election nearing, LBJ was under attack from all sides. (Pg. 721)
- Early in 1968 Senator Eugene McCarthy of MN, a critic of the war, challenged LBJ for the (D) POTUS nomination. In the NH primary held that March, McCarthy won almost as many votes as LBJ.
- McCarthy's impressive showing drew another leading critic of the war into the race. Senator Robert F. KENNEDY of NY was the brother of the slain JFK and a former US attorney GENERAL. His large national following—particularly among African Americans, Hispanics, the poor, and the young—made Kennedy a strong contender for the (D) nomination. (Pg. 721)
- Shaken by the division within his party, LBJ made a shocking announcement to the nation on March 31. Physically and emotionally exhausted, LBJ declared that he WOULD NOT seek re-election and that he wanted to spend his last months in office trying to END the war. (PG. 721)
- LBJ's withdrawal from the race left it wide open. Senators McCarthy and Kennedy and VP Humphrey went head-to-head in several state primaries. Kennedy WON most of them, including the crucial CA primary in June. To many, he seemed destined to receive the (D) nomination. (Pg. 721)
- On the night of his CA victory, however, Kennedy was shot by SIRHAN SIRHAN, a young Jordanian immigrant and died the next day. A nation already in shock over the murder of MLK just 2 months earlier was now faced with yet another assassination. (Pg. 722)
THE CONVENTION IN CHICAGO
Amid the turmoil, the (D) met in CHICAGO to settle on a candidate for the Nov. election. The convention was a cheerless affair. Despite his close identification with the unpopular LBJ, VP Humphrey received the nomination. He chose Senator Edmund MUSKIE of ME as his running mate. (Pg. 722)
- The (D)'s difficulties were underscored by the chaos on the streets outside the convention. Some 10,000 antiwar protesters had massed in the city and rallied in GRANT PARK, across from where many delegates were staying. They held rallies, chanted antiwar slogans, and called police insulting names.
- Outraged to see his city overrun by people he viewed as dangerous revolutionaries, Chicago mayor Richard J. DALEY ordered helmeted police to clear out the protesters. Attacking on the night of Aug. 28, the police CLUBBED protesters and used TEAR GAS to disperse the crowd. 100s of protesters were injured; 100s more were hauled to jail. Reporters, passersby, and police were also injured in the struggle.
THE REPUBLICANS CAPITALIZE
- The violent spectacle at the Chicago convention raised (R)'s hopes of capturing the WH. RICHARD NIXON dominated the (R) National Convention in Miami Beach, FL. Appealing to the patriotism of mainstream US, he won the nomination easily. He chose MD governor Spiro Agnew as his running mate.
- Promising a "law-and-order" crackdown on urban CRIME, Nixon sought support from those who neither approved of the disorderly antiwar protests nor wanted a US defeat in Vietnam. Nixon told voters he had a secret plan to end the Vietnam War, although he revealed no details. (Pg. 722)
- As election day neared, Herbert HUMPHREY's campaign picked up steam, boosted by LBJ's announcement in late October of a bombing halt. Time ran out for the (D)s, however. The election results were close: of the 73 million votes cast, Nixon received just 510,314 more than Humphrey. Nixon's margin in the Electoral College was much wider, where he won 32 states to Humphrey's 13.
- Former AL governor George WALLACE ran as for the newly formed American Independent Party. He appealed to (D)’s opposed to liberal policies. Most of his supporters were white southerners and laborers. Wallace was important in the close contest, as he received 10 million votes and won 5 states in the South.
NIXON, VIETNAMIZATION, AND CAMBODIA
- Nixon made foreign affairs his top priority. His key foreign-policy adviser was Henry KISSINGER.
- Kissinger advised Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Reagan, and Bush. He was particularly influential during the NIXON presidency. Kissinger served as NATIONAL SECURITY adviser before becoming secretary of state. He worked closely with Nixon to improve relations with communist CHINA and the SU.
- Kissinger and Nixon devised a plan to fulfill the president's campaign pledge to the war. Part of this plan was called VietNAMIZATION, which involved turning over the fighting to the S Vietnamese while gradually pulling out US troops. This strategy, said Nixon, would bring "peace with honor." (Pg. 723)
- At best, Nixon hoped that Vietnamization might produce a stable anticommunist S Vietnam. At worst, it would delay a collapse long enough to spare the US the HUMILIATION of outright defeat. (Pg. 723)
- Nixon also hoped that Vietnamization would remove a major obstacle that had been blocking a peace agreement with N Vietnam. The NORTH Vietnamese had 1st warned LBJ and then Nixon that the US would have to set a date for troop removals if peace talks were to continue. (Pg. 723)
- The process of troop withdrawal was SLOW. When Nixon took office in 1969, US troops in Vietnam #ed about 540,000. At the end of 1972 about 24,200 Americans still remained in Vietnam.
- Secretly, Nixon planned to expand the war into neutral CAMBODIA to cut off the N Vietnamese supply lines along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Early in 1969 Nixon ordered the widespread bombing of Cambodia. He wanted to show Hanoi that the US was still willing to use force, and even expand the war, in pursuit of his goal of "peace WITH HONOR."
- Nixon and Kissinger concealed the Cambodian air strikes from the AMERICAN people, CONGRESS, and key military leaders—even the Secretary of the Air Force. (Pg. 723)
- Because of CAMBODIA's neutrality, Nixon feared an international uproar. When a revolt ousted Cambodia's ruler in March 1970, however, Nixon's strategy changed. Since the new Cambodian gov was pro-American, Nixon made his strategy public. He justified the air strikes as defense of a friendly nation.
- Nixon then sent some 80,000 troops into Cambodia. This invasion destroyed the delicate balance that had kept Cambodia out of the war. NORTH Vietnamese Army troops were forced into the interior of Cambodia, where the bombing destroyed much of the countryside. (Pg. 724)
ANTIWAR PROTEST INCREASES
- News of the bombing and invasion of Cambodia provoked outrage in the US, esp. on college CAMPUSES.
- After someone at KENT STATE University in Ohio set fire to the campus ROTC building, Ohio's governor vowed to "eradicate" the protesters. On May 4, 1970, National Guard troops that had been sent to control demonstrators shot randomly into a large group of students. They killed 4 and injured 9 others. Some of the students were merely walking across campus. (Pg. 724)
- Just 10 days later, state police in Jackson, MS, fired at protesters in a dormitory at JACKSON State College, killing 2 students and wounding 9 others. Enraged, students and faculty on 100s of college campuses went on STRIKE. (Pg. 724)
- Members of Congress were also upset by the Cambodian invasion. In response, Congress repealed the TONKIN GULF Resolution in Dec. 1970. Nixon insisted, however, that this action did not affect his authority to carry on the war. Congressional leaders soon developed plans to stop the war by cutting off FUNDING once US troops were withdrawn. (Pg. 724)
- In 1971 another incident boosted the antiwar movement. The NEW YORK (NY) Times began publishing a collection of secret gov documents relating to the war. Known as the PENTAGON Papers, these documents revealed that the gov had frequently misled the American people about the course of the war. (Pg. 725)
- The documents had been leaked to the press by DANIEL Ellsberg, a former DOD official. Ellsberg had strongly supported the war until he spent time in Vietnam studying the war's effects. While there, he found that few SOUTH Vietnamese supported their gov. (Pg. 725)
THE WAR CONTINUES
- Nixon not only ordered the invasion of Cambodia but also renewed the bombing of NORTH Vietnam.
- Nixon miscalculated the opposition's endurance. Rather than ending, the war suddenly grew fiercer. Hoping to reveal the weaknesses of Nixon's Vietnamization strategy, North Vietnam staged a major invasion of SOUTH Vietnam in March 1972. N troops drove deep into the SOUTH. In response, Nixon ordered heavy bombing of NORTH Vietnam. (Pg. 725)
- Despite these steps, the opposition now held more territory in SOUTH Vietnam than ever. (Pg. 725)
SECTION 4: THE WAR ENDS
- Senator George MCGOVERN of SD, a former WW2 air force pilot, campaigned in the 1972 (D) primaries as an antiwar candidate. His opposition to the war ran deep: "This chamber reeks [smells] of blood." GOERGE Wallace opposed McGovern for the (D) nomination. In May, Wallace was shot at a political rally in MD, paralyzed from the waist down, and he WITHDREW. (Pg. 726)
- After the disastrous 1968 convention, the (D)s adopted new rules to increase the representation of ethnic minorities, women, and young people in party orgs. Passed in 1971, the 26th Amendment had lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. Thus, it gave many men drafted to serve in Vietnam the right to vote. With much of his support from them, he easily captured the nomination at the (D) convention.
- The (R)s re-nominated Nixon and AGNEW. Nixon again stressed his strong commitment to LAW and ORDER within the US and assured voters that the war would soon be over. Indeed, a few weeks before the election, Kissinger announced a breakthrough in the negotiations to end the war: "Peace is at hand."
- Nixon WON the election by a landslide, receiving 47 million votes to McGovern's 29 million. In the Electoral College, McGovern carried just MA and Washington DC. (Pg. 726)
A CEASE-FIRE AT LAST
- In Aug. 1969 Kissinger and N Vietnam's LE DUC THO met secretly in Paris to begin negotiations aimed at finding a way to end the war. For nearly 3 years the 2 men engaged in a series of difficult peace negotiations. "I don't look back on our meetings with any great joy," Kissinger recalled. "Yet he was a person of substance and discipline who defended the position he represented with dedication." (Pg. 727)
- Finally, in Oct. 1972, NORTH Vietnam offered a peace plan that Kissinger and Nixon found acceptable. The plan called for a cease-FIRE, the pullout of all foreign troops from Vietnam, an end to US military aid, and also planned for the creation of a new gov in SOUTH Vietnam. (Pg. 727)
- [The South] OBJECTED to the proposed gov. [They] believed it would reduce [Its] power… The US REJECTED the agreement. (Pg. 727)
- When NORTH Vietnam demanded that the agreement be reinstated, Nixon responded by ordering round-the-clock bombing of HANOI and HAIPHONG. A furious Nixon declared to the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "This is your chance to use military power to win this war, and if you don't, I'll consider you responsible."
- Some 40,000 tons of bombs rained on the 2 cities for nearly 2 weeks, with the barrage only halting for CHRISTMAS Day. The intensive bombing did not sway the NORTH Vietnamese, however. At the end of Dec. 1972 Nixon called off the bombing and agreed to resume TALKS. (Pg. 727)
- On Jan. 27, 1973, the negotiators in Paris announced a cease-fire. The plan differed little from the one agreed to in Oct, but minor changes allowed each side to claim a VICTORY. (Pg. 727)
- The US pledged to WITHDRAW its remaining forces from SOUTH Vietnam, to help rebuild Vietnam, and a prisoner-EXCHANGE agreement. It did not, however, address the major issue behind the war—the political future of the S. While urging [The S] to accept the cease-fire, Nixon secretly pledged that the US would come to SOUTH Vietnam's aid if fighting resumed. (Pg. 727)
- 2 years after US forces withdrew, S Vietnam's military gov collapsed. In January 1975, N Vietnamese troops overran the SOUTHern part of S Vietnam. As S Vietnamese troops retreated in panic, new waves of refugees poured into Saigon. (Pg. 727)
- In early April the noose around SAIGON tightened. The US military rushed to evacuate the 1,000s of Americans still in the city. Some escaped from the US Embassy roof by helicopter as N Vietnamese troops stormed the compound. Some 120,000 Vietnamese who had worked for the US gov were flown to the US.
- On April 30, 1975, SOUTH Vietnam surrendered unconditionally. (Pg. 727)
- For Americans the VIETNAM War was over. The long, costly effort to prevent the creation of a united, independent Vietnam under Communist rule had failed. The war had spread to CAMBODIA and LAOS, which had been heavily damaged. (Pg. 728)
- However, the predicted COLLAPSE of all SE Asia—the so-called Domino Theory—never occurred. QUARRELS soon broke out between the Communist leaders of Vietnam and those of China and Cambodia, proving international communism was not as unified a world force as US policy makers had feared.
EFFECTS OF THE WAR
- The war devastated the Vietnamese people. Some 185,000 S Vietnamese soldiers died in combat. Estimates put the # of S Vietnamese civilian dead at nearly 500,000. The exact # of Vietcong and N Vietnamese Army war dead is unknown but estimated near 1 million. In addition, about 800,000 Vietnamese were orphaned, and 181,000 were disabled. Among the disabled were those exposed to chemicals such as AGENT Orange. These people have been plagued by high rates of liver cancer and other illnesses. (Pg. 728)
- More than 1.5 million Vietnamese fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. Desperate to escape ECONOMIC and SOCIAL hardships, many braved the rough S China Sea and Gulf of Thailand in tiny, crowded BOATS. They were joined by 1,000s of other refugees from SE Asia in fleeing grave postwar conditions. More than 730,000 of these refugees have settled in the US since the war. (Pg. 729)
- More than 2 million AMERICANS were involved in the Vietnam War. More than 58,000 of them died and more than 300,000 were wounded. About 2,500 were missing in action - MIA. Improved emergency medical services saved the lives of many US soldiers who had severe wounds that would have been fatal in previous wars. As a result, there were a large # of PARALYZED and severely DISABLED Vietnam vets.
- More than 600 Americans were held as prisoners of war - POWs. Some spent more than 6 years in N Vietnamese jails, where they endured long periods of solitary confinement and torture. (Pg. 729)
- 1 of the most visible tragedies of the war was the fate of its veterans. No ticker-tape PARADES celebrated their from the conflict. On the contrary, vets often became targets for the anger, guilt, or shame of fellow citizens FRUSTRATED by the war. Many others met the vets with stony silence. (Pg. 729)
- The public's NEGATIVE reaction enraged and demoralized many veterans. They had faced a life-and-death struggle, obeying orders that they trusted were in their country's best interests. (Pg. 729)
- In their despair, thousands of Vietnam vets turned to DRUGS. Many others had trouble finding jobs or adjusting to life as civilians. Some ended up HOMELESS. (Pg. 730)
- Soldiers affected by the spraying of DEFOLIANTS later developed certain forms of cancer at an unusually high rate. Their children had a very high rate of BIRTH DEFECTS. Research in the 1970s linked their medical problems to Agent Orange. In 1984 the manufacturers of the chemical created a relief fund for the vets and their families. In the early 1990s the gov extended permanent disability benefits to them.
- The war shook Americans' CONFIDENCE in their gov. Many were shocked to discover that their leaders had misled them during the war. The actions of both LBJ and Nixon raised a crucial CONSTITUTIONAL question: under what authority can presidents wage an unDECLARED war? (Pg. 730)
- In 1973, seeking to prevent "another Vietnam," Congress passed the WAR POWERS Act. This act reaffirms Congress's constitutional right to declare war by setting a 60-day limit on the presidential commitment of U.S. troops to foreign conflicts. (Pg. 730)
- The Vietnam War also left a dismal ECONOMIC legacy. It cost American taxpayers directly more than $150 billion, adding greatly to the national debt and fueling INFLATION. The war also diverted funding that might have gone to domestic programs, such as those that help the POOR.
- The Vietnam War taught US policy makers that hostile public OPINION and deep national divisions can impose severe restraints on the use of MILITARY force. Since Vietnam, leaders have been hesitant to commit US troops in far-off regions without being certain of the consent of the American people and the nation's political allies. (Pg. 730)
HEALING THE WOUNDS OF WAR
- The VIETNAM WAR MEMORIAL in Washington, DC became an attempt to heal divisions: "An honest memorial makes you accept what happened before you overcome it." (Pg. 730)
- Inscribed on a huge wall of black GRANITE are the names of the more than 58,000 Americans who DIED in Vietnam. Some names have been added since it was 1st built. (Pg. 731)
- [It was] insisted that the names be listed in CHRONOLOGICAL order, not in ALPHABETICAL order or by rank: "if you were in the war, you could find your time and a few people you knew." (Pg. 731)
UNDERSTANDING MAIN IDEAS:
1. (SECT. 1) What were the main reasons the US 1st became involved in Vietnam? The US became involved in Vietnam to keep France as an ALLY against communism and to stop the spread of communism in ASIA.
2. (SECT. 2) How did the geography of Vietnam affect the fighting there? The jungle terrain made the fighting MORE difficult.
3. (SECT. 2) What were the main reasons for Americans’ opposition to the war? Some believed that all war was WRONG; Others feared that the US might use nuclear weapons; Some saw Vietnam as relatively UNIMPORTANT and thought the war took resources from poverty programs and worked against the wishes of the Vietnamese.
4. (SECT. 3) How did the Tet Offensive change the war? The Tet Offensive turned the public opinion AGAINST the Vietnam war.
5. (SECT. 4) How has the Vietnam War influenced Americans? It resulted in the deaths and injuries of many Americans, caused problems for veterans, cost an enormous amount of $, introduced social divisions, and made many people distrust the gov.
6. (SECT. 4) What effect did the Vietnam War have on US foreign policy? It created diplomatic problems between the US and certain SE Asian countries and made US officials more HESITANT about committing more troops in distant conflicts.
1. (GLOBAL RELATIONS) How did the US stance on communism lead to involvement in Vietnam? The US became involved in the war to stop the advance of communism.
2. (CONSTITUTIONAL HERITAGE) During the Vietnam War the president assumed increasing amounts of power. Why did this alarm Congress? Some Congressional members feared that they was losing some of its constitutional WAR making authority.
3. (CITIZENSHIP) How did the antiwar protests illustrate American democratic values? By demonstrating that Americans had the freedom to openly CRITICIZE their gov’s actions.
1. (ANALYZING INFORMATION) How did the Tonkin Gulf Resolution and the War Powers Act affect the relationship between the legislative and executive branches of the federal government? The Tonkin Gulf Resolution tipped the balance of power toward the EXECUTIVE; The War Powers Act aimed to REBALANCE power between the branches.
2. (DRAWING CONCLUSIONS) How did the 26th Amendment help both US troops in Vietnam and college antiwar protesters gain greater influence upon the course of the war? The 26th Amendment allowed more soldiers and college students to vote for a candidate to escalate or end US involvement in the war.
3. (IDENTIFYING CAUSE AND EFFECT) A major goal of US involvement in Vietnam was to stop the spread of communism? What effect did US actions have on the spread of communism? US actions FAILED to halt, and eradicate communism in Vietnam.