The Vietnam War By: Michael Mahoney
Introduction • Different names for the War • Background of the War • The beginning of the War • The end of the War
The Vietnam War also known as… • The Second Indochina War • Vietnam Conflict • The American War
About the Vietnam War • The Vietnam War was a Cold War military conflict that happened in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. • The war took place from November 1st, 1955 until April 30th, 1975 (when Saigon Fell).
Continued……. • The Vietnam War followed the First Indochina War • It was fought between: • The Communist North Vietnam VS. • The government of South Vietnam
Help • North Vietnam was supported by: • Communist Allies • South Vietnam was supported by: • The United States • Other Anti-Communist Nations
VietCong • Lightly-armed South Vietnamese communist-controlled common front • Fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region.
North Vietnamese Army • Fought in a more conventional war • At some points in the war, they committed large units into battle.
South Vietnamese Army • Viet Cong • The United States and the South Vietnamese forces heavily relied on air superiority and great firepower to conduct “Search and Destroy” operations. • Involved: ground forces, artillery and air strikes.
The United States • Entered the war to stop a communist takeover of South Vietnam as part of their wider strategy of containment. • Military advisors arrived beginning in 1950. • United States involvement escalates in the early 1960’s. • U.S. troop levels tripling in 1961, and again in 1962.
The United States • U.S. combat units were sent out in 1965. • Operations spanned borders, with Laos and Cambodia being heavily bombed. • Involvement came to its climax in 1968 during the time of Tet Offensive. • After this, U.S. ground forces were withdrawn as part of the policy “Vietnamization” • Ignoring the Paris Peace Accords (signed by all the parties in January 1973), fighting continued.
The Case-Church Amendment • Passed by the United State Congress. • It prohibited use of American military after August 15th, 1973. • Unless the president secured congressional permission in advance.
Background of the War to 1949 • France began its conquest of Indochina during the 1850’s. • They completed the pacification by 1893. • The Treaty of Hue formed the basis for French colonial rule in Vietnam for the next several decades.
Background continued….(Viet Minh) • Viet Minh – common front, controlled by the Communist Party of Vietnam. • Founded in 1941.
Continued… • During WWII the French were beat by the Germans in 1940. • For French Indochina, this meant that the authorities became “Vichy French.” • Vichy French are allies of the German-Italian Axis powers. • Scared that French authorities were not able to be trusted, the Japanese army jailed all of the French on March 9th, 1945.
Continued…….. • 1944-1945, a deep famine struck northern Vietnam due to a mixture of poor weather and Japanese abuse. • One million people died of starvation.
August 1945 • The Japanese had been overcome and surrendered completely. • In French Indochina, this formed a power vacuum as the French were still incarcerated and the Japanese military stood down.
Into this vacuum, the Viet Minh entered and grasped power throughout Vietnam. • “August Revolution” • (in large part supported by the Vietnamese residents.)
September 2nd, 1945 • Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the Viet Minh, confirmed the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
January 1946 • Viet Minh won elections throughout central and northern Vietnam and began killing off enemy politicians..
March and November 1946 • By March 1946, the French landed in Hanoi. • November 1946, the French ousted the Viet Minh from the city. • After this, the Viet Minh started a guerrilla war against the French Union forces. • This started the first Indochina War..
War Spreads • The war spread to Laos and Cambodia. • The Viet Minh fight was a disadvantage, because of the lack of weapons. • This changed by 1949, because the Chinese Communists had essentially won the Chinese Civil War. • This meant they were free to provide help to the Vietnamese.
1950 EXIT OF THE FRENCH
January 1950 • People’s Republic of China (PRC), noticed the Viet Minh’s Democratic Republic of Vietnam as the government of Vietnam. • Non-Communist nations acknowledged the French-backed State of Vietnam in Saigon, led by Bao Dai.
June 1950 • The outburst of the Korean War persuaded many Washington policymakers that the Indochina War was an example of communist expansionism controlled by Kremlin.
People’s Republic of China (PRC) • PRC military advisors began supporting the Viet Minh in July 1950.
MAAG • MAAG – Military Assistance and Advisory Group. • In September 1950, the United States created the MAAG to monitor French requests for aid, advise on strategy, and train Vietnamese soldiers.
There were also talks between the French and Americans in which the possible use of three nuclear weapons was considered. • U.S. carriers sailed to the Gulf of Tonkin, and exploration flights over Dien Bien Phu were conducted during the negotiations.
Battle of Dien Bien Phu • The Battle of Dien Bien Phu marked the end of French participation in Indochina. • On May 7th, 1954, the French Union stronghold surrendered.
Geneva Conference • At the Geneva Conference the French negotiated an armistice agreement with the Viet Minh. • Independence was established for Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
TRANSITION P E R I O D
Transition Period • Vietnam was momentarily partitioned at the 17th parallel. • Civilians were to be given the chance to freely move between the two temporary states for a 300-day period. • Elections were held in 1956. • Catholics fled to the South. • Elections
The Viet Minh left approximately 5,000 to 10,000 cadres in South Vietnam as a “politico-military substructure within the object of its irredentism. • French soldiers leave Vietnam in April 1956. • PRC completed their exit from North Vietnam around the same time.
In the South…. • Former Emperor Bao Dai’s State of Vietnam operated, with Ngo Dinh Diemas his prime minister.
June 1955 • In June 1955, Diem announced that elections would not be held.
April-June 1955 • Diem cleared the decks of any political resistance in the south by beginning military operations against the Cao Dai religious sect.
In a referendum on the future of the State of Vietnam on October 23rd: • Diem rigged the poll supervised by his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and was recognized with 98.2% of the vote.
October 26th, 1955 • Diem declared the new Republic of Vietnam (ROV). • Diem was president. • The ROV was started largely because of the Eisenhower administration’s desire for an anti-communist state in the region.
1955- 1963 D I E M E R A
Domino Theory • Argued that if one country fell to communist forces, then all of the surrounding countries would follow. • The Domino Theory was first proposed as policy by the Eisenhower administration.