Vietnam War
1957 - 1975
Timeline
• 1883 - France takes control of Vietnam, divided into 3
parts
• WWII - Japan controlled all of Vietnam
• Ho Chi Minh returns to Vietnam from China to fight
Japan for Vietnam
• Aug. 1945 - Japan is defeated in WWII
• Domino Effect - the U.S. worried if Vietnam fell to
communism the surrounding countries would fall
Timeline continued
• Vietminh - revolutionaries fighting for freedom,
started by Ho Chi Minh
• U.S. supported Minh when they were fighting against
Japan
• Sep. 1945 - after WWII France moves into Vietnam
to regain control of Vietnam
• U.S. begins to support France against Ho Chi Minh
• 1954 - Vietminh defeat France at Dien Bien Phu
Geneva conference
• Decisions made at Geneva (1954):
• 1. Vietnam would be divided in 1/2 at the 17th
parallel
• North Vietnam - communist under Ho Chi Minh supported by China and USSR
• South Vietnam - Republic of Vietnam under Ngo Dinh
Diem - supported by the U.S.
• 2. Set up national elections to be held in 1956, but
they never happened because they knew Ho Chi
Minh would win
More on timeline
• 1957 - many South Vietnamese civilians revolt
against Diem
• Vietcong - (National Liberation Front) - civilians living
in the south that supported the Vietminh, didn’t like
Diem
• They lived a seemingly normal life but would fight
against the South and the U.S. whenever they could,
even though they lived in the South
Last of Timeline
• 1963 - Southern Generals take over S.
Vietnam, Diem is murdered, no leadership in
the South emerges
• 1967 - Nguyen Van Thieu - elected President
of the south until 1975
• 1975 - Saigon falls to communists
Presidential involvement
in Vietnam
• Harry Truman - (1945 - 1953) - supported Minh to
fight the Japanese, began to support the French after
WWII
• Dwight Eisenhower - (1953-1961) - Geneva Accord,
sent aid and supplies to support the South (Diem)
• John Kennedy - (1961 - 1963) - sent advisors, some
military support
More on Presidents
• LBJ - (1963 - 1969) - ground forces arrive,
acknowledge involvement publicly, U.S. begins
bombing strikes on the North
• He wanted to control communism - containment
• Richard Nixon - (1969 - 1974) - bombing continues,
peace talks begin
• Gerald Ford - (1974 - 1977) - Saigon falls and the
U.S. leaves , North and South Vietnam reunify
Vietnam War
• Ho Chi Minh trail - trail through Laos and Cambodia
that troops in North Vietnam would use to infiltrate
the South
• Gulf of Tonkin incident - Aug. 2, 1964
• - U.S. destroyer the Maddox was attacked by North
Vietnam torpedo boats
• - U.S. fires back and calls in the C. Turner Joy for
reinforcement
• - LBJ orders air strikes against the NVA
(Vietminh)
More on Vietnam
• Gulf of Tonkin resolution - after the incident in the
Gulf the Senate passed this resolution allowing the
President to take any means necessary to prevent
further aggression.
• Some say the Gulf attacks never happened
• 1964 election - LBJ v. Barry Goldwater
• Goldwater wanted more action
in Vietnam
LBJ wins the election
Action in Vietnam
• Operation Rolling Thunder - 1965 - 68 -- bombing
raids on North Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh trail
• Largest operation of the war
• Approx. - 92,000 Vietnamese killed during this
campaign and 850 Americans
• Started after the NVA attacked a U.S. base in the
South
• Start of U.S. troops in full combat against the NVA
More action in Nam
• William Westmoreland - Supreme commander of
U.S. troops in Vietnam
• Time - Man of the Year
• Khe Sahn - U.S. marine base held under siege by
the NVA for 77 days
• Operation Niagara - bombing raids outside of Khe
Sahn to protect the base
U.S. advantages and
Disadvantages in the War
• Advantages - Better weapons, technology
• Disadvantages - they knew the land better,
ambush tactics, more people and all they
knew was war
Fighting techniques
• U.S. and Southern troops (pro American)
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1 Air raids - peppering the area
2 Napalm - fire bombs
3 Search and Destroy
4 Agent Orange - defoilant that killed
vegetation so they could see the enemy
Taking a hill/ communication
network in Vietnam
Walk until fired upon
Pull back and call in air support
Pepper the area
Napalm
On the move again
Repeat
NVA and Vietcong
techniques
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Ambush
Boobie traps - trip wires, pits, dynamite
Attack and release - hit and hide in tunnels
Terrorizing civilians in the South
Terms
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Charlie / Chuck - VietCong
Purple Heart - wounded
Silver Star - bravery
Bronze Star - heavy battle
Hawk - supporter of the war
Dove - those who were opposed
Bob Dylan - singer (opposed the war, supported
rights of African - Americans)
• Counter culture - hippies, doves
My Lai
• Village in South Vietnam attacked by
American soldiers
• 200 women and children killed
End of the War
• Richard Nixon- Eisenhower’s VP
• Elected President in 1968
• Henry Kissinger - Nixon’s foreign policy
advisor for the War
• Nixon Doctrine - Nixon’s policy, looked to
reduce American obligations in the war
• Mao ZeDung - China’s communist leader
U.S. foreign relations
• Détente - relaxation of tension between the 2 super
powers (U.S. and U.S.S.R.)
• SALT - strategic arms limitation treaty restricted the
types and numbers of nuclear warheads and missiles
each country could produce
• Vietnamization - 1969 training the S. V. to take more
responsibility for fighting the war
• April 1970 - Nixon announces the U.S. would attack
Laos and Cambodia (Ho Chi Minh trail)
End of occupation
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January 1973 - cease fire signed
March 1973 - troops leave
Troop occupation (1965 - 1973)
58,000 - Americans dead
300,000 - wounded
Millions of Vietnamese killed
Nov. 1973 War Powers Act passed - President
couldn’t send troops into a war situation more than
60 days without approval
View of resisters
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Reasons people gave for not agreeing with the war:
1. Morally wrong
2. U.S. imperialism - idea that we control others
3. Violent extension of U.S. domination in the world
4. Waste of men, money and energy
5. Violates the rights of Vietnamese
6. Capitalistic war - people looking to make money
7. Economic exploitation

Vietnam War