Vietnam: The Land • 1000 miles long • 80 miles wide • Located in SE Asia • Tropical Climate (80/80)
Vietnam: The Land • Borders Laos and Cambodia • Truong Mts. Western Border Subsistence Agriculture is #1 Economic Activity.
Vietnam: The People • Homogeneous Society • Own distinct culture for over 2,000 years. • Cities in the Red River Delta since before the birth of Christ.
Long History of Conflict • Vietnam was part of China for 1,000 years. • Many rebellions and uprising required to get the Chinese out.
Long History of Conflict • 1884 France controls all of French-Indo China. • French consider their colonization of Vietnam to be a Civilizing mission.
Imperialism in Vietnam • French occupation benefited Vietnam, and hindered it at the same time. • French thrown out of Vietnam by the Japanese in WWII.
Imperialism in Vietnam • 1945 Japanese Surrender. • French return to Vietnam. • Viet Minh are fighting for Independence against the French. (80%)
Viet Minh • Led by Ho Chi Minh. • Supported with money and weapons from China and USSR. • US supports French.
Domino Theory • If Vietnam fell to the communists the rest of SE Asia would also fall to the Communists. • US was committed to containment.
Viet Minh • Consider the war with France to be a war of Independence. • French Defeated at Dien Bien Phu 1954. (12,000)
The Geneva Accords 1954 • Peace settlement between France and the Viet Minh. • Ends the War. • Divided the Country at the 17th parallel.
The Geneva Accords 1954 • Free election to follow in 1956 to unite the entire country under one government. (self-determination)
The Geneva Accords 1954 • Provisional govt. set up in South Vietnam under Ngo Dinh Diem. • North Vietnam is ruled by Ho Chi Minh.
The Geneva Accords 1954 • US influenced the Accords but did not sign them. • Ho Chi Minh never accepted the division of the country.
Ngo Dinh Diem • Christian (catholic) • Born in Vietnam • Educated in the US • Corrupt govt. • Unpopular in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh • Wants Self determination for Vietnam. • Rejected by US • Turns to USSR. • Communist tendencies
Election • 1956 Election does not take place. • Ho Chi Minh would have won. • Viet Cong start working to take over South Vietnam.
Election 1956 • Diem asks the US for help against the Communist forces. • Aid, supplies, advisors are sent. (Eisenhower)
Containment • JFK is committed to fighting Communism. • More money and advisors sent to Vietnam.
1960 – National Liberation Front • Viet Cong = Vietnamese Communists. • Want the US out of Vietnam.
War • Fighting between North and South Vietnam from 1956-1964 with the US in an advisory capacity. (war is being lost)
Gulf of Tonkin Incident • US destroyers were attacked by Torpedo boats from North Vietnam in International waters.(12) • Details are dubious.
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution • “take all necessary measures to protect US forces and prevent future Vietnamese aggression.” • 416-0, 88-2.
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution • Works as a declaration of war. • Expands the power of the President. • Americanization of the War.
Viet Cong = Defensive War • Can obtain their goal without defeating the Americans. • Viet Cong greatly overmatched.
Viet Cong = Defensive War • Strategy • “If we survive to fight another day they will get tired, and their own people will demand that the war be ended.”
Tactics = Guerilla War • VC impossible to distinguish. • Civilians and militants look alike. • No front lines. • War of attrition.
Napalm • Jellied gasoline mixed with White Phosphorous and put into bombs. • Dropped from the air.
Agent Orange • Herbicide/defoliant sprayed on the jungles to make it easier to spot VC from the air. • Birth defects.
Tour of Duty = Americans • Amount of time spent in Vietnam. • 365 days. • Average age 19.5 years old. • 3 million serve in Vietnam.
American Advantages • Better weapons. • More supplies. • More Structured leadership.