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The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War

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The Vietnam War

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  1. The Vietnam War Libertyville HS

  2. Background of the War • France est. empire in “Indochina”: Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos • Japan and WWII • France and WWII • FDR reluctant to help Fr. hold onto empire

  3. Truman and Vietnam • France (1946-1954) • DeGaulle convinced Truman of necessity (contain communism) • US cost = >$110 million per year • Equal to 80% of war • Opium connection

  4. Ike and Vietnam “Domino Theory” • Ike believed that if Vietnam fell to communism, so too would Cambodia, Laos, Philllipines, Indonesia – maybe even Australia and New Zealand! • Sent about 160 advisors DienBeinPhu (1954) • French defeat by communists • North Vietnam established

  5. The Vietnamese Leadership • Geneva Accords divided country at 17th Parallel • North Vietnam • Capital: Hanoi • Leader: Ho Chi Minh • Communist Nguyen Diem • South Vietnam • Capital: Saigon • Leader: Nguyen Diem • Democratic • Diem Catholic in Buddhist • Country (tension) Ho Chi Minh

  6. Vietnam in 1954

  7. Kennedy and Vietnam • JFK sent a total of 16000 “military advisors” • Diem’s regime was very unpopular • Repression of Buddhists • Nepotism • National Liberation Front, or “Viet Cong” was directed from North • JFK was very concerned @ being sucked into combat ops in Vietnam…

  8. Buddhist monk immolating himself in protest in Saigon, 1963, to protest torture of Buddhist monks and priests. According to eyewitnesses, the monk never spoke, cried out, or moved while he burned.

  9. LBJ And Vietnam • Johnson escalated the war effort • “I’m not going to be the president who saw SE Asia go the way China went” • August 1964: engineered the Gulf of Tonkin resolution • Fake (?) attack on US destroyer off coast of N Vietnam • Congress passed resolution authorizing military to “take all necessary measures … to prevent further aggression” USS Maddox

  10. LBJ Escalation • LBJ increased troop levels from 16,000 to over ½ million by 1968

  11. The Ground War

  12. Average age of US Soldier in Vietnam = 19

  13. The Ground War

  14. The Air War • Operation “Rolling Thunder” • March 1865 to 1968 • B-52s – 70k pounds of conventional bombs • Frag bombs • Agent Orange • Napalm • Carpet Bombing • “Puff the Magic Dragon” • Close air support • 3 miniguns w/ 6000 RPM

  15. By tonnage, more bombs were dropped on Vietnam than during the entirety of World War II.

  16. Who is the Enemy? • Vietcong: • Farmers by day; guerillas at night. • Patience with willingness to accept many casualties. • Underestimated by the United States. The guerilla wins if he does not lose, the conventional army loses if it does not win. -- Mao Zedong

  17. Who were the Enemy?

  18. Who were the Enemy?

  19. Who were the Enemy? Children flee after USAF mistakenly dropped bomb on village, 1972

  20. My Lai Massacre • Mylai Massacre, 1968 • 200-500 unarmed villagers • Lt. William Calley,Platoon Leader

  21. Tet Offensive, 1968

  22. Tet Offensive, 1968

  23. Tet Offensive, 1968 South Vietnamese police chief executes suspected Viet Cong fighter

  24. Tet Offensive, 1968

  25. American Army Morale • The poor and minorities. • Racial problems. • Drugproblems. • Extended combat tours

  26. Protesting Vietnam

  27. Protesting Vietnam: “Hanoi Jane” Fonda

  28. Fallout from the War • Johnson made announcement in March 1968: “…I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.”

  29. Nixon and Vietnam • “Peace with Honor” • “Silent Majority” • Vietnamization • Withdraw American soldiers and shift burden of defense to S. Vietnamese

  30. Ceasefire, 1973 • “Peace is at hand” Kissinger, 1972 • 1973: Ceasefire signed between U.S., South Vietnam, & North Vietnam • “Peace with honor”attained

  31. The End

  32. The End America Abandons Its Embassy, April 30, 1975

  33. The End

  34. Communism, Ascendant

  35. Counting the Cost • 3,000,000 Vietnamese killed • 58,000 Americans killed; 300,000 wounded • 2.59 million mobilized • “The wring war in Asia destroyed the right war at home.”- LBJ • $150,000,000,000 in U.S. spending • U.S. morale, self-confidence, trust of government, decimated

  36. Vietnam Today

  37. 2,583 American POWs / MIAs today.

  38. POWs: “The Hanoi Hilton”

  39. Vietnam Memorial

  40. A Hero Harold Dale Meyerkord was born 9 October 1937 at St. Louis, Mo. He graduated from Navy Officer Candidate School at Newport, R.I. on 14 June 1960 and was assigned to the heavy cruiser Los Angeles (CA-135), where he and my Dad became close friends. He reported to the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam 13 July 1964. He was Senior Naval Adviser to the South Vietnamese 23d River Assault Group, responsible for suppressing Vietcong terror in South Vietnam's "rice bowl"; the group probed the Delta waterways, engaging Vietcong guerrillas in operations in which Lieutenant Meyerkord distinguished himself for coolness, resourcefulness, and concern for his men. While leading his assault group into Vietcong-held territory 16 March 1965, Lieutenant Meyerkord's patrol was ambushed. Though wounded, he steadfastly returned the enemy's fire until hit again, this time mortally. Lieutenant Meyerkord's heroism was recognized by posthumous award of the Navy Cross. He was also awarded the Air Medal for completing 20 low-level aerial reconnaissance missions under enemy fire. MEYERKORD HAROLD DALE LT O3 N 19371009 19650316 ST LOUIS MO 01E 096