AMH Chapter 19 Section 3

Chapter 19
Section 3
Henry Kissinger
• As his first step toward
ending the war, Nixon
appointed Henry
Kissinger as special
assistant for national
security affairs.
• Kissinger started a policy
called linkage, in which
the United States tried to
persuade the Soviet
Union and China to
reduce aid to North
• Kissinger also began talks
with a North Vietnamese
• Nixon set up a plan called
Vietnamization, which
called for a gradual
withdrawal of American
• He still kept some troops
in Vietnam to preserve
America’s strength during
My Lai Massacre
• In 1968 an American
platoon massacred
unarmed South
Vietnamese in the hamlet
of My Lai.
• As the "search and
destroy" mission
unfolded, it soon
degenerated into the
massacre of over 300
apparently unarmed
civilians including women,
children, and the elderly.
Invading Cambodia
• In April 1970 Nixon
announced that American
troops had invaded
Cambodia to destroy
Vietcong bases there.
• Members of Congress
were upset with the
president for not
notifying them of this
plan and repealed the
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
4 Dead in Ohio
• This invasion set off a
wave of protests such
as the one at Kent State
University in Ohio,
where National Guard
soldiers killed four
Ending the War
• By 1971 most Americans wanted to end the
• In October 1972 Kissinger announced that
peace was near.
• Nixon won the 1972 election. Soon after,
peace talks broke down.
Pentagon Papers
• The publication of the
Pentagon Papers
showed how the
various administrations
had tried to convince
Congress, the press,
and the public that the
situation in Vietnam
was better than it really
Christmas Bombings & Withdraw
• To force North Vietnam to resume
negotiations, the Nixon administration began
the “Christmas bombings” , which were the
most destructive air raids of the war.
• In January 1973 an agreement was signed to
end the war.
– The United States began to withdraw.
Nixon Resigns
• President Nixon
resigned under pressure
following the Watergate
scandal, and Congress
refused funds to aid the
South Vietnamese.
Saigon Falls
• In March 1975 North
Vietnam invaded South
Vietnam and on April
30, 1975, the North
Vietnamese captured
Saigon, South Vietnam's
capital city.
Putting the war behind
• Americans hoped to put the Vietnam War behind
• Still, the war had lasting effects on the United
Vietnam had cost more than $170 billion.
It resulted in the deaths of about 58,000 Americans.
More than 300,000 were injured.
About one million North and South Vietnamese
soldiers died.
– Countless Vietnamese civilians lost their lives as well.
Psychological Impact
• Some American veterans found it hard to
escape the war's psychological impact
because their sacrifices went unrecognized.
• Many Americans considered Vietnam a defeat.
– They wanted to forget the war.
• As a result, the sacrifices made by many
veterans often went again unrecognized.
• There were few welcomehome parades for American
• The war continued for many
American families whose
relatives were prisoners of
war (POWs) or missing in
action (MIA).
• In spite of many official
investigations, some
families continued to
believe that the
government lied about its
POW/MIA policies.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
• In 1982 the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial in
Washington, D.C., was
dedicated to help
Americans come to
terms with the war.
War Powers Act
• In 1973 Congress passed the War Powers Act.
• The Act attempted to set limits on the power of the
• The law required the president to inform Congress of
any commitment of troops within 48 hours.
• It also required the president to withdraw troops in 60
to 90 days unless Congress approved the troop
• No president has ever recognized this law. However,
presidents do ask Congress for authorization before
sending troops into combat.
• After the Vietnam War, many Americans
became more reluctant to involve the United
States in the affairs of other nations.
• The Vietnam War also made Americans more
cynical about their government.
• Many believed that the government had
misled them.