VIETNAM DIVIDES THE NATION Explain how Vietnam divided Americans who

Explain how Vietnam divided Americans who
supported the war and those who did not.
A Growing Credibility Gap
 In spring of 1965, 66% of Americans
supported the war
 By 1967, Americans began to doubt
government reports about the war’s progress
 Conflicting reports, photographs, televised
reports – images of wounded or dead
 Became difficult to believe Johnson
Antiwar Movement Emerges
 As casualties mounted, many people began
to protest demanding U.S. pull out of the war
 Teach-Ins: teachers informally gathered with
students to discuss issues surrounding the war
 Draft protests: low-income and minorities were
most likely to be sent to Vietnam
 500,000 draftees refused to go – burned draft cards,
moved to Canada or Sweden, or went to prison
 3,300 were officially prosecuted
 26th Amendment lowered voting age to 18
Hawks vs. Doves
 Hawks: those Americans who insisted that
the United States continue to fight in
 Doves: those Americans who wanted the
United States to withdraw from Vietnam
1968: The Pivotal Year
 The Tet Offensive: January 30 – Vietcong
attacked American airbases in South Vietnam
 Communist forces seized much of the city, killed
thousands of politicians, religious leaders,
foreigners, and others associated with South
Vietnamese government
 After a month of fighting, American and South
Vietnamese troops push back Communist forces
 Military defeat for Communists, political defeat for
 Media began openly criticizing war – public opinion
dropped for Johnson
The Tet Offensive
Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, South Vietnamese chief of the national police, fires his
pistol into the head of suspected Viet Cong official Nguyen Van Lem on a Saigon
street early in the Tet Offensive, February 1, 1968.
1968: The Pivotal Year
 March - Lyndon Johnson leaves presidential
Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy run
for Democratic nomination
April – Martin Luther King assassinated
June – Robert Kennedy assassinated
November – Richard Nixon becomes