Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968) African American Civil Rights Activists Anti-War Movement (1963-1971) Muhammad Ali Martin Luther King Jr. Malcolm X Muhammad Ali- “ The Greatest” In 1967, three years after Ali had won the World Heavyweight Championship, he was publicly vilified for his refusal to enter the draft, based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. Ali stated, "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong... No Viet Cong ever called me nigger.” Martin Luther King Jr.- "America will never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor as long as Vietnam continues to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube." Malcolm X- “The Great hypocrite America."
African American's Position on the War Reasons to Protest: • 1. Expense of the War • 2. President Johnson's Policies (Taxes) • 3. Poverty • 4. The Draft (College Students)
African American Soldiers • The Vietnam War coincided with the high tide of the civil rights movement, so the treatment of African American soldiers came under high scrutiny. • Between 1961-1966, African Americans constituted about 10 % of military personnel while African Americans comprised about 13 % of the total population of the United States. • In addition, since African Americans were more likely to be assigned to combat units, they accounted for about 20 % of combat related deaths.
Why did Vietnam Matter to the United States? President Eisenhower warned that if Vietnam fell to communism, the whole region might fall, like dominoes. Why would it matter if this region became communists?
Economics! • Malaysia- produces large amounts of tin and rubber needed by western industries, if it fell to communism, the supplies might be cut off • Strait of Malacca- much of the words shipping passes through this narrow strait. If Vietnam became communist, bombers would be in range to threaten to block the strait • Food for Japan- Japan was a key U.S. ally, helping to contain communism in Asia. Japan had to import food, and South Vietnam was a major supplier of rice for the region • Oil from Indonesia- Japan also depended on imported oil. If Southeast Asia fell to communism oil supplies might be cut off
America Becomes Involved in Vietnam • After Ngo Dinh Diem refused to hold national elections and began to crack down on Communist groups in South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh and the Communists began an armed struggle to reunify the nation. • Vietcong- guerrilla army of South Vietnamese Communists • As fighting began between the Vietcong and South Vietnam’s forces, President Eisenhower sent hundreds of military advisors to train South Vietnam’s army.
Kennedy Takes Over • Kennedy saw Vietnam as vitally important in the battle against Communism • In regards to politics, Kennedy needed to appear tough on Communism, since Republicans often accused Democrats of having lost China to Communism during the Truman administration. • From 1961-1963, the number of American military personnel in South Vietnam jumped from about 2,000 to around 15,000.
The Overthrow of Diem • What are some reasons that made Diem unpopular with his people (pg. 657)?
Johnson and Vietnam • What was President Johnson’s outlook on the Vietnam War (pg. 658)?
The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution • What was the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (pg. 658)? Authorized the president to… “take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.”
U.S. Sends Troops • U.S. aircraft bombing attacks of North Vietnam began in 1965 • After the airstrikes, polls showed that Johnson’s approval rating on the handling of Vietnam jumped from 41% to 60%. • At this point in the war, 80% of Americans agreed that without American assistance, Southeast Asia would fall to communism.
“A Bloody Stalemate” • By the end of 1965, more than 180,000 American combat troops were fighting in Vietnam. • The U.S. army went into the war with high confidence. • Lacking the firepower of the Americans, the Vietcong used ambushes, booby traps, and other guerilla tactics. “Three quarters of the way through the tangle, a trooper brushed against a 2 inch vine, and a grenade slung at chest high went off, shattering the right side of his head and body…”
“Search and Destroy” • Americans tried to find enemy troops, destroy their supply lines, and force them out into the open for combat. • Napalm (pg. 661): • Agent Orange (pg. 661):
The Ho Chi Minh Trail • What was the Ho Chi Minh Trail (pg. 661-662)? • How did geography influence the Ho Chi Minh Trail (pg. 661-662)?
Agent Orange Those who opposed the war focused on the use of chemical weapons. (Napalm and Agent Orange) Over 9 years, the United States military sprayed nearly 20,000,000 gallons of chemical herbicides over Vietnam. Vietnam estimates that 400,000 people were either killed or maimed, and that 500,000 children were born with birth defects from the chemical weapons.
Why did Americans Protest the War? Early War Movement The influence of TV on general US public African American Position on the War
The Early War Movement First March on Washington- 25,000 people. When the Vietnam War started, only a small percentage of the American public opposed the war. 1. People with left-wing political views who wanted a Vietcong victory 2. Pacifist who opposed all wars 3. Liberals who believed we could stop the spread of Communism without going to war
The Influence of Television Media coverage gave the American public a realist look at the war. The violence of the war was so much more real to the public than previous wars. This intensified... 1. The fear of being drafted 2. Sympathy for the soldiers and civilians 3. Anger toward the U.S. government