91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served 74% said they would serve again even knowing the outcome 87% of the American people hold Vietnam Vets in high esteem. "No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now. Rarely have so many people been so wrong about so much. Never have the consequences of their misunderstanding been so tragic."[Nixon]
Key Questions about the Vietnam War Key Question 1: Why did the USA go to war in Vietnam? Key Question 2: How did the USA wage war against Vietnam? Key Question 3: How did the Vietnamese fight back against the US? Key Question 4: What turned Americans against the war in Vietnam? Key Question 5: Why did the USA lose theVietnam War?
Key Question 1: Why did the USA go to warin Vietnam? Basically to hold the line against the spread of world Communism. America paid for the war the French fought against Communist Vietnam as a part of the Truman Doctrine (1947) “to protect free peoples…” and then by the 1950’s became involved when the war flared up again. Fighting lasted until March 1954 when the Viet Minh won a decisive victory against French forces at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu
Growing American Involvement · The U.S. believed that if South Vietnam fell to the communists, the rest of the nations in Southeast Asia would as well in a theory called the domino theory.
U.S. Involvement in Vietnam • Began sending money and weapons to South Vietnam • Military advisors sent to train South Vietnamese army Eisenhower • Believed in the Domino Theory • Increased the number of military advisors and army special forces, or Green Berets • Advisors were not to take part in combat, but many did Kennedy • Believed an expanded U.S. effort was the only way to prevent a Communist victory in Vietnam • Asked Congress to pass the Tonkin Gulf Resolution Johnson
The Two Vietnams · Vietnam, a former French colony, was divided into two sections in 1954.
· South Vietnam, led by Ngo Dinh Diem, was democratic and backed by the U.S. but remained deeply unpopular with most Vietnamese people. · North Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh, was communist and backed by the Soviet Union.
· Many South Vietnamese distrusted Diem and joined the Vietcong, a communist guerilla group supported by North Vietnam. An execution of a Vietcong prisoner Feb. 1, 1968
Vietminh or Vietcong? The Vietminhwas the revolutionary army operating in Vietnam when it was under the French flag. After Vietnam was divided into North and South, the Vietcongwere a guerilla force operating in South Vietnam
US Army Special Forces: President John F. Kennedy authorizes the Green Beret as official Special Forces head gear. “Symbol of courage, a badge of distinction.” "to infiltrate by land, sea or air, deep into enemy-occupied territory and organize the resistance/guerrilla potential to conduct Special Forces operations, with emphasis on guerrilla warfare.“ - officially main goal "symbolic of one of the highest levels of courage and achievement of the United States military" - Kennedy
Ballad of the Green Beret Army Staff Sargeant Barry Sadler Click Picture above to Play Song Nation’s Number #1 hit song for five weeks in 1966 Ballad of the Green Beret
5 Minute Writing In your own words explain what view of the Vietnam War is expressed in the song. Justify your answer with specific examples from the lyrics.
· In August 1964, U.S. military officials believed that the North Vietnamese had torpedoed an American ship in the Gulf of Tonkin. · In response, the U.S. passed theGulf of Tonkin Resolution, which allowed the U.S. to begin bombing enemy targets within North and South Vietnam. The U.S. Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to use "all necessary measures" to repel armed attacks against U.S. forces in Vietnam. Many in Congress came to see it as a blank check for the president and opposed it
On Aug. 4, 1964, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara reported to Pres. Johnson that an American destroyer in the region was under torpedo attack by the North Vietnamese. That brief conversation was the tipping point for the entire Vietnam War. Video: Defense Secretary Robert McNamara speaks about the attack that precipitated our involvement in the Vietnam War
· By 1968, over half a million Americans were fighting in the Vietnam War. As the fighting escalated, the U.S. relied on the draft for raising troops.
Vietnam Military Draft President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Selective Service Act of 1940 which created the country's first peacetime draft and formally established the Selective Service System From 1948 until 1973, during both peacetime and periods of conflict, men were drafted to fill vacancies in the armed forces which could not be filled through voluntary means. A lottery drawing - the first since 1942 - was held on December 1, 1969, This event determined the order of call for induction during calendar year 1970 Reinstitution of the lottery was a change from the oldest first method, which had been the determining method for deciding order of call.
The Vietnam Draft Lottery 1970 1971 THE VIETNAM LOTTERIES
5 Minute Writing In your own words explain the view of the Vietnam Era draft expressed in this song. Justify your answer with specific examples from the lyrics
Vietnam Draft Information Facts Myths Myth: Most Vietnam veterans were drafted. Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted……Approximately 70% of those killed were volunteers. Myth: A disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War. Fact: 86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% were other races. Myth: The war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated. Fact: Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers. Vietnam Veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better.
Key Question: How did the USA wage waragainst Vietnam? “Strategic Hamlet Program” attempted to place peasants in fortified villages at night, where they couldn’t be ‘infiltrated’ by the VietCong. This backfired badly. It was very unpopular with the peasants who resented being so far away from their rice fields and ancestors. VC demolished many of the fortified villages anyway.
Key Question: How did the USA wage waragainst Vietnam? The US ‘Search and Destroy’tactics. In areas where the VC were thought to be operating troops went in, checked for weapons and if found, rounded up the villagers and burned the villages down. This often alienated the peasants from the US/Arvn cause.
Key Question: How did the USA wage waragainst Vietnam? As one marine said of a search and destroy mission – “If they weren’t VC before we got there, they sure…… were by the time we left”.
My Lai Massacre Lt William Calley was the mass murder of 347 to 504 unarmed citizens in South Vietnam, entirely civilians and some of them women and children, conducted by U.S. Army forces on March 16, 1968.
The Heroes of My Lai HUGH THOMPSON was a helicopter reconnaissance pilot who came upon the My Lai massacre in progress. "Thompson landed, put his guns on Americans, said he would shoot them if they shot another Vietnamese, had his people wade in the ditch in gore to their knees, took out children, took them to the hospital......then had the courage to testify time after time after time." RON RIDENHOUR He wrote a letter about the incident and sent it out to thirty different Congressmen. Mo Udall, who was a Congressman from Arizona---acted on it, and called on the House Armed Services Committee and the Pentagon to conduct the investigation and they did so.
My Lai Information and other Facts Facts:Isolated atrocities committed by American Soldiers produced torrents of outrage from anti-war critics and the news media………. while Communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any media mention at all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while Communists who did so received commendations. From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front (Vietcong) assassinated 36,725 Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499.
Key Question: How did the USA wage waragainst Vietnam? The Air War—”Operation Rolling Thunder” The Air War – Frustrated by lack of success on the ground, the US tried to win the war from the air. Operation Rolling Thunder that began with dropping millions of tons of High Explosive bombs on North Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh trail.
Key Question: How did the USA wage waragainst Vietnam? Napalm phosphorous and napalm bombs were used on villages – the latter causing dreadful burns to thousand of innocent civilians.
This Pulitzer Prize winning photograph is of Kim Phuc Phan Thi, center, running down a road near after a napalm bomb was dropped on her village by a plane of the Vietnam Air Force. The village was suspected by US Army forces of being a Viet Cong stronghold. Kim Phuc survived by tearing off her burning clothes.
"Napalm is the most terrible pain you can imagine," said Kim Phuc. “Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius. Napalm generates temperatures of 800 to 1,200 degrees Celsius.“ Phuc sustained third-degree burns to half her body and was not expected to live. Thanks to the assistance of South Vietnamese photographer Nick Ut, and after surviving a 14-month hospital stay and 17 operations, Phuc eventually recovered.
Myth: Kim Phuc, the little nine year old Vietnamese girl running naked from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972, was burned by Americans bombing Trang Bang. Fact: No American had involvement in this incident near Trang Bang that burned Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The planes doing the bombing near the village were VNAF (Vietnam Air Force) and were being flown by Vietnamese pilots in support of South Vietnamese troops on the ground. Recent reports in the news media that an American commander ordered the air strike that burned Kim Phuc are incorrect. There were no Americans involved in any capacity.
Key Question: How did the USA wage waragainst Vietnam? Agent Orange— “Operation Ranch Hand” to break down the jungle cover the USAF started ‘Operation Ranch Hand’ – the defoliation programme, using Agent Orange. This deadly chemical cocktail, containing dioxin, killed off millions of acres of jungle to try to weaken the VC – but left a horrendous legacy in Vietnam. The dioxin got into the food chain causing chromosome damage to humans. There were hundreds of cases of children born with deformities.
Agent Orange was the nickname given to a herbicide and defoliant used by the U.S. military in its Herbicidal Warfare program during the Vietnam War. Cropdusting in Vietnam during Operation Ranch Hand lasted from 1962 to 1971.
A guerrilla in the Mekong Delta paddles through a mangrove forest defoliated by Agent Orange (1970).
Effects of Agent Orange Images taken from Agent Orange: "Collateral Damage" in Vietnam by Philip Jones Griffiths
Effects of Agent Orange Images taken from Agent Orange: "Collateral Damage" in Vietnam by Philip Jones Griffiths
Agent Orange -The Facts Myth:Agent Orange poisoned millions of Vietnam veterans. Fact:Ground troops typically did not enter a sprayed area until four to six weeks after being sprayed. Most Agent Orange contained .0002 of 1 percent of dioxin. Scientific research has shown that dioxin degrades in sunlight after 48 to 72 hours; therefore, troops exposure to dioxin was infinitesimal.
Key Question: How did the USA wage waragainst Vietnam? helicopter Of all aircraft, the helicopter (mainly Bell Huey) was the most useful, dropping platoons in the jungle clearings and out again. They were excellent air ambulances.
Key Question: How did the Vietnamesefight back against the US? The Communist NLF (National Liberation Front) or "VC" used classic Maoist guerrilla tactics. “Guerrillas must move through the peasants like fish through sea”, i.e. the peasants will support them as much as they can, shelter, food, weapons, storage, intelligence, recruits. In VC held areas they distributed the land to the peasants, which went down extremely well.
Key Question: How did the Vietnamesefight back against the US? They recycled dud bombs dropped by the Americans or old weapons left by the French.
Key Question: How did the Vietnamesefight back against the US? Deadly booby-traps could inflict huge damage on young American soldiers!
Key Question: How did the Vietnamesefight back against the US? VietCong Tunnels: The Vietnamese built large tunnel complexes such as the ones at Cu Chi near Saigon. This protected them from the bombing raids by the Americans and gave them cover for attacking.
The Tunnel System · Jungle warfare was difficult, and it was hard to locate the enemy. · In addition, it was very difficult to identify which South Vietnamese were our allies and which were supporting the Vietcong. Ex Vietcong showing secret tunnels, November 7, 2004
the Americans set up a special unit, the Tunnel Rats to seek out the VietCong.