indochina 1800’s – french colonize laos, cambodia, vietnam

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  • Indochina1800s French colonize Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam

  • FranceWWI and WWII busy with wars so cant hold on to coloniesAfter WWI Vietnamese want self-determination but it isnt grantedLate 1930s the balance of power shifts and Japan takes over Vietnam

  • During WWII Vietnam is held by the Japaneseafter the war the Japanese pull out

    WWII endsFrance wants Vietnam backFrench/Vietnamese clashes Japanese occupy Vietnam, Laos, CambodiaJapanese transfer power to Vietminh (North Vietnamese communist party) 1945

  • 1946France reinstalls its colonial apparatus in VietnamViolates agreement to have referendum on uniting Vietnam Negotiations with Ho Chi Minh, leader of the Vietminh, break down, and war between France and the Vietminh begins.

  • 1949 1950Bao Dai, leader in exile from Vietnam, and the French President sign an agreement making Vietnam an associated state within the French Union. France retains control of Vietnams defense and finances. Ho Chi Minh declares the Democratic Republic of Vietnam the only legal government. Recognized by USSR and China. China provides weapons to Vietminh. Not surprisingly, US and Great Britain recognize Bao Dais government in South Vietnam.


  • 1950North Korea invades South KoreaPropping up Dominoes:President Truman grants $15 million in military aid to France for war in Indochina. Towards the wars end, US is supplying up to 80% of Frances war needs.

  • 1953France grants Laos full independence, and Vietminh forces push into Laos soon after.

  • 1954French are defeated at Dien Bien Phu. Vietminh force France to leave North Vietnam, and Vietnam is partitioned.

  • In response to the French defeat, President Eisenhower outlined the Domino Theory

  • 1954The French pull out andthe US sends advisorsto train the southern armiesWho were these advisors?

  • 1954Advisors = gung-ho military guys who want to fightThey lead a group into battle and theyre fighting and there are casualtiesLetters sent home saying that they died in an accident but it was battleThis is why some historians date the wars beginning to 1954

  • The name began appearing in Saigon newspapers in 1956U.S. soldiers referred to the Vietcong as Victor Charlie or V-C. "Charlie" referred to communist forces in general, both Vietcong and North Vietnamese.

    Viet Cong

  • US builds airfields, begins bombing VC targets in South VietnamAirfields are attacked; US sends in Marines and other troops to protect airfields. Begin search and destroy missions to extend perimeter and keep VC from infiltrating. US takes over a larger and larger role in the war.

  • Keep in MindWorld War IIclear objective get to Berlinsoldiers as heroesVietnam at war for nearly 40 years 3 generationsno clear objectivesoldiers as baby killers

  • We are advising form 1954 1965Deaths starting to pile upThe deaths are not legitimateHow to explain them?Were fighting a war but we havent declared war

  • 1955Diem defeats Bao Dai in rigged election and proclaims himself President of Republic of Vietnam. US supports him.Ngo Dinh Diem

  • 1957Communist insurgent activity in South Vietnam begins.

  • 1959North Vietnamese begin infiltrating cadres and weapons into South Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Cambodia. becomes a strategic target for future military attacksDiem orders crackdown on communists, dissidents.

  • 1962US Air Force begins using Agent Orange to expose roads and trails used by Vietcong forces a defoliant that came in metal orange containers Use of napalm is also widespreadincendiary mixtureRows of Agent Orange containers ready to be sprayed over Vietnam (image obtained from the US National Archives).

  • Spraying agent orange

  • 1962Diem palace bombed in coup attempt.Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield reports back to JFK from Saigon his opinion that Diem had wasted the two billion dollars America had spent there.

  • 1963With tacit approval of the United States, operatives within the South Vietnamese military overthrow and assassinate Diem.

  • 1963JFK is assassinated. Malcolm X remarks that this is chickens coming home to roost. referring to our attempts to kill Castro and our complicity in the killing of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo and Diem in South Vietnam

  • 1964Alleged attack on American Destroyer Maddox in the Tonkin Gulf. LBJ uses this incident to gain nearly unanimous resolution giving him power to escalate war in SE Asiaessentially sanctioning what the US is already doing.Gulf of TonkinPhotograph taken from USS Maddox (DD-731) during her engagement with three North Vietnamese motor torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin, 2 August 1964. The view shows all three of the boats speeding towards the Maddox.

  • 1965March 8th two marine battalions sent to defend Danang airfieldssupposedly the first American combat troops in Vietnam Sustained American bombing raids of North Vietnam begin nearly continuous air raids go on for three years

  • 1965The first conventional battle of the Vietnam War takes placeAmerican forces clash with North Vietnamese units in Ia Drang Valley.By December, there are about 200,000 US troops in Vietnam

  • Conventional?!Techniques of Vietnam War

    Guerilla warfareWar of attritionwearing down or weakening resistance, often as a result of continuous pressure or harassment

  • Marines of Company H walk through a punji-staked gully, January 28, 1966.

  • May 15, 1965First large scale Teach-In on the Vietnam War. debate with pro and con sides arguing various points on our foreign policy what was our purpose in Southeast AsiaWashington D.C. 3,000 students and professors broadcast via closed circuit to over 100 college campuses throughout the U.S.

  • 1966Veterans from WW I and II and the Korean War stage a protest rally in New York City.

  • 1967The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) issues a report claiming that the US military draft places "a heavy discriminatory burden on minority groups and the poor."

  • Posters 1967

  • Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak of the -- for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.MLK April 4, 1967

  • 1967 Khe Sanh

  • 1967 Khe SanhGeneral Westmoreland sends 5,000 marines to fortify the base as a tethered goat to provoke attacks by the North Vietnamese quickly encircled, rocketed and shelled daily weather and damage to the airfield limit resupply and removal of wounded The battle escalates LBJ eventually authorizes (or orders) the intensive bombing of North Vietnam around Khe Sanh

  • General Westmoreland testifies that we are winning the war VietCong and North Vietnamese on the runSecretary of Defense Robert McNamara testifies that we are not winning the warUS bombing raids against NVN have not achieved their objectivesmovement of supplies to SVN has not been reduced, and neither the economy nor the morale of the North Vietnamese has been brokenWestmoreland vs. McNamaraDueling Updates1967Which is the True War Story?

  • 1967 US troop strength approaches 500,000 by years end

  • 1968 Tet OffensiveNorth Vietnamese and Vietcong forces sweep down on several key cities in South Vietnam, including the capital, Saigon catches the US military off guard within days, American forces turn back the attack and recapture most areas. Militarily, Tet is a huge defeat for the CommunistsPolitically and psychologically, it is a victoryTURNING POINT IN THE WAR

  • Posters 1968

  • 1968Popularity for anti-war politicians, such as McCarthy, Humphrey, and Nixon, surges "Be clear where America stands. Human brotherhood and equal opportunity for every man, woman, and child, we are committed to it, in America and around the world." HH Humphrey 1967

  • 1968 HueHue was the countrys cultural capitalblend of French and Vietnamese influenceThe Imperial City Retained the glory of Vietnams past while its universities educated Vietnams brightest minds for the future. Hue was a symbol of everything the Vietnamese people admired and respectedfor this reason, it was spared the terrible effects of waruntil Tet 1968When Hue was captured by Communist forces News

  • 1968 Battle for HueOne of the bloodiest and longest battles of the War The Army of the Republic of Vietnam and U.S. Marine Corps attacked and defeated People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF, VietCong) Hue was nearly leveled in the battle nearly all of its population left homeless After battle, mass graves were discovered people executed during the Communist occupation

  • BeforeAfter

  • The Dark Shadow of Both SidesAmerican and South Vietnamese soldiers later discovered that North Vietnamese Army/VC leaders rounded up South Vietnamese teachers and government officials and killed them. Hue Massacrethe NVA/VC murdered nearly 3,000 residents of Hue and buried them in a mass graveTwo weeks after the battle for Hue ended, U.S. forces committed the most publicized, talked about, and politicized atrocity of the Vietnam War, the My Lai Massacre.

  • 1968 My Lai MassacreOn March 16, the angry and frustrated men of Charlie Company, entered the village of My Lai. "This is what you've been waiting for -- search and destroy -- and you've got it," said their superior officers.

  • 1968Lt. William Calley ordered his men to enter the village firing, though there had been no report of opposing fireThe "search and destroy" mission degenerated into the massacre of over 300 unarmed civilians old men were bayoneted, praying women and children were shot in the back of the head, and at least one girl was raped and then killedCalley rounded up a group of villagers, ordered them into a ditch, and mowed them down in a fury of machine gun fire

  • SP4 Dustin setting fire to a dwellingSP5 Capezza burning a dwellingLt William Calley

  • Seymour HershWord of the atrocities did not reach the American public until November 1969Journalist Seymour Hersh published a story detailing his conversations with Vietnam veteran Ron RidenhourRidenhour learned of the events at My Lai from members of Charlie Company who had been thereBefore speaking with Hersh, Ridenhour had appealed to Congress, the White House, and the Pentagon to investigate the matterWhen news of the atrocities surfaced, it sent shockwaves through the US political establishment, the military's chain of command, and an already divided American public.Seymour Hersh is also the journalist who uncovered the torture at Abu Ghraib

  • 1969In an effort to destroy Communist supply routes and base camps in Cambodia, President Nixon gives the go-ahead to "Operation Breakfast." Covert bombing of Cambodia conducted without the knowledge of Congress or the American publiccontinues for over a year

  • 1969Massive anti-war demonstrations in San Francisco and Washington D.C., Berkley300 anti-war students at Harvard University seize the admin building, throw out eight deans, then lock themselves inWoodstockReturning soldiers in Seattle

  • 1969April 30 U.S. troop levels peak at 543,400There have been 33,641 Americans killed by now, a total greater than the Korean War

  • Posters 1969

  • 1970Leadership in Cambodia changes hands, further destabilizing IndochinaPrince Sihanouk to Pol Pot

  • 1970After repeatedly denying US troop involvement in Cambodia, Nixon finally announces that US forces have invaded Cambodia to attack communist sanctuaries

  • Kent State Shooting May 4,1970National Guardsmen open fire on a crowd of student antiwar protesters at Ohio's Kent State University Some protesters were hurling rocks and empty tear gas canisters at the GuardsmenFour students were killed and eight woundedPresident Nixon publicly deplores the actions of the Guardsmen, but cautions: "...when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy.

  • Posters 1971

  • A legacy of deception, concerning US policy in VN, on the part of the military and the executive branch is revealed as the New York Times publishes the Pentagon Papers. The Nixon administration, eager to stop leaks of what they consider sensitive information, appeals to the Supreme Court to halt the publication. The Court decides in favor the Times and allows continued publication.1971

  • The announcement of intensified bombing of Hanoi and the mining of areas of Haiphong Harbor raises the threat of war with the USSR, which had ships in the harbor1972

  • North Vietnamese Posters 1972Nothing is More Precious Than Freedom and IndependenceWhether [American Bombers] Fly High or Low, They Cannot Escape

  • Cuban Posters 1972Nixons PeaceSymposium on Yankee genocide in Indochina

  • 1972Nixon cuts troop levels by 70,000 and wins reelection.

  • 1972 Watergate

    "Watergate" describes a complex web of political scandals between 1972 and 1974 refers to the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. the Democratic National Committee had offices in the buildingbroken into on June 17th, 1972 Involved break-ins, lies, secret taping, cover-upsLed to the resignation of President Richard Nixon on August 9, 1974only resignation of any U.S. PresidentResulted in the indictment, trial, conviction and incarceration of several Nixon administration officials

  • 1973Stalled Paris talks resume. Cease-fire agreements formally signed in Paris. The draft ends in US.

  • 1973 The last American troops leave Vietnam on March 29th

  • South Vietnamese people who had worked with Americans knew they would be killed once the Viet Cong took over Saigon

  • All Our Rivers Flow Into the Eastern Sea. The North and South United Under One Roof! North Vietnamese Posters 1975

  • Results3 million VN killed Nearly 3 million Americans served58,000 Americans killed 10,000 MIA365,000 woundedMilitary lost prestigeChanged US view of governmentBy some accounts (1954 start date) longest war in US history (19 years)"War" was never officially declared by the United StatesOver-all total U.S. cost of the Vietnam war at $200 billionTotal U.S. bomb tonnage dropped during:World War II = 2,057,244 tonsVietnam War = 7,078,032 tons (3-1/2 times WWII tonnage)Bomb tonnage dropped during the Vietnam War amounted to 1,000 lbs. for every man, woman and child in VietnamAn estimated 70,000 draft evaders and "dodgers" were living in Canada by 1972

  • Two million Vietnamese fled their country after the US pulled support from the region. Thousands died at sea. Minutes StoryResults

  • Results: PTSDThe average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four yearsThe average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter

  • Results: CensorshipDuring the Vietnam War the daily pictures of flag-covered bodies coming back to the tarmac in Dover helped shift America's attitude against the war the Pentagon began referring to how the public might react to a military operation's casualties as "the Dover test."During the first Gulf War, the George H. W. Bush administration didn't want public opinion to falter by seeing bodies of soldiers coming home from a war that was supposed to be "high tech" and have fewer casualtieshe instituted a ban on photographing/filming flag-draped casketscontinued through the Bill Clinton administration and through the George W. Bush administration The 18 year ban was lifted in 2009

  • Results: More support for soldiers today