Chapter 29: The Vietnam War Era Essay

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Section 1:Moving Toward Conflict
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Main Idea: To stop the spread of communism in the Southeast Asia, the US used its military to support South Vietnam
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Ho Chi Minh Vietminh
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-From the late 1800s until WWII, France ruled most of Indochina. French rulers reacted harshly by restricting freedom of speech and assembly and by jailing many Vietnam nationalists. These measures failed to curb all dissent and opposition continued to grow. -Many Vietnamese revolutionaries fled to China, where in 1924, they began to organized under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh. In 1930, Ho helped to create the Indochinese Communist Party, and throughout the 1930s Ho continued to orchestrate Vietnam’s growing independence movement from exile in the Soviet Union and China -In 1940, Japan controlled Vietnam. In 1941, Ho helped form the Vietminh: An organization whose goal it was to win Vietnam’s independence from foreign rule. -After Japan’s defeat in 1945, Ho forced the Japanese to leave and declared that Vietnam was a independent nation
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The Vietminh Dive Out the French
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-Upon entering the house in 1953, Eisenhower continued to aid the French. By this time, the crisis in Korea ended and that enforced America to halt the spread of communism somewhere else. -Eisenhower explained the domino theory: He likened the countries on the brink of communism to a row of dominoes waiting to fall one after the other. -Despite US aid, France was force to surrender in May of 1954, when the Vietminh overran the French outpost at Dien Bien Phu, in northwestern Vietnam.
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The Geneva Accords
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The Geneva Accords temporarily divided Vietnam along the 17th parallel. The Communist and Ho controlled the North from the capitol of Hanoi. While the anticommunist nationalists controlled South Vietnam from the capital and southern port city of Saigon. An election to unify the country was called for in the 1956
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Diem Cancels Election
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-Although Ho directed a brutal and repressive regime; he won popular support after giving land to the peasants. Also when he spent his years fighting off the Japanese and French, he was considered a national hero. -South Vietnam’s President, Ngo Dinh Diem, a strong anti-communist refused to take part in the countrywide election of 1956. -The US also did not support the election because Ho would most likely win. The Eisenhower administration promised military aid and training to Diem in return for a stable reform government in the South. -However, Diem couldn’t keep his end of the deal. He ushered a corrupt government that suppressed opposition of any kind and offered little or no land distribution to peasants. He was also a devoted Catholic and angered Buddhist by limiting their practices. -By 1957, a Communist opposition group in the South, known as the Vietcong, had begun attacks on the Diem Government. However the political arms of the group would be later called the National Liberation Front (NLF), the US continued to refer to them as the Vietcong. -Ho supported the group and in 1959 began supplying arms to the Vietcong via a network called the [ Ho Chi Minh Trail ]. -As fighters continued their surprised attack, South Vietnam became very unstable -The Eisenhower administration did very little to stop.
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Kennedy and Vietnam
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-The Kennedy administration did not want to be soft with communism and decided to increased its financial aid toe Diem’s regime and sent thousands of military advisers to help train the South Vietnam troops. -Diem’s popularity plummeted because of the ongoing corruption and his failure to calls for land reforms. T combat the ongoing Vietcong presence in the South’s countryside, the Diem administration initiated the strategic hamlet program, which meant moving all villagers to protected areas. -However many were resentful because they didn’t want to move away from their houses that they have lived for a long time -Diem also intensified his attacks on Buddhism. The South Vietnamese ruler imprisoned and killed hundreds of Buddhist clerics and destroyed their temples. In which many Buddhist publically set themselves on fire. -Americans were horrified and told Diem to stop the persecutions, but Diem refused. -In 1963, Diem was assassinated
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President Johnson Expands the Conflict
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-Before Kennedy died, he wanted to withdraw the US from conflict in Vietnam because it was their war. However, Johnson escalated the nation’s role in Vietnam and eventually became the longest war US was apart of.
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The South Grows more Unstable
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-After Diem’s death, many military leaders attempted to lead the country, but they were worse than Diem. Meanwhile, the Vietcong influence on the countryside continued to grow. Johnson believed that a communist overtake would be disastrous. Johnson, just like Kennedy, did not want to be soft on communist
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The Tonkin Gulf Resolution
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-While not a declaration of war, it granted Johnson broad military powers in Vietnam -Johnson did not tell congress or the American people that the US had been leading secret raids against North Vietnam. The Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin was sent to collect information for these raids.
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“Operation Rolling Thunder”
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-In February of 1965, Johnson used his newly granted power. In response to the Vietcong attack that killed 8 Americans, the “Operation Rolling Thunder” was unleashed that sustained bombing of North Vietnam. -The Vietnam War had become Americanized.
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Section 2: US Involvement And Escalation
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Main Idea: The US sent troops to fight in Vietnam, but the war quickly turned into a stalemate
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Strong Support for Containment
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-Even after Congress approved of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution; Johnson refused to send US ground troops to Vietnam. -In March of 1965, Johnson worked closely with Secretary of Defense [ Robert McNamara] and Secretary of State [ Dean Rusk]. Johnson began discussing tens of thousands of US soldiers to fight in Vietnam. Some people found his position contradictory to what he had said during his presidential election. -However, most saw the president as following an established and polar policy of confronting communism anywhere in the world. -The president’s closest advisers strongly urged escalation, believing the defeat of communism in Vietnam to be vital importance to the future of America and the world.
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The Troop Buildup Accelerates
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-By the end of 1965, there were 180,000 Americans in Vietnam -However, the American commander in South Vietnam, General [ William Westmoreland], continued to request more troops. He was not impressed with the fighting skills of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). -Usually the Johnson’s administration comply with him and sent more troops into Vietnam.
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An Elusive Enemy
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-The Vietcong lacked advanced weapons, so they often used the hit and run tactic and ambush. Also their keen knowledge of the jungle was to their advantage. They also attack troops in cities and on the countryside. Also because some soldiers lived amidst the civilian population, US soldiers did not know who was who. -They had a network of elaborate tunnels that allowed them to withstand airstrikes and to launch surprise attacks and then disappear quickly. -The terrain was laced with countless booby traps and land mines. Because of the exact location of the Vietcong was often unknown, US troops laid mines throughout the jungles. The Vietcong also laid their own traps and disassembled and reused US mines. -US soldiers had to deal with the weather and had to careful of every step. -The US entered the war thinking that due to their advance weapon, they could easily defeat the Vietcong. However the jungle terrain and the enemy’s guerilla tactics soon turned the war into a frustrating stalemate.
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A Frustrating War of Attrition
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-Westmoreland’s strategy for defeating the Vietcong was to gradually wear down their enemy by continuous harassment. Introducing the idea of the body count, or the tracking of Vietcong killed in battle, the general believed that as the number of Vietcong dead rose, the guerrillas would inevitably surrender. -Even so, they remain very stern in the battle with aid coming from China and the Soviet Union. -US viewed the war strictly as a military struggle; the Vietcong saw it as a battle for their very existence and they were ready to pay any price for victory -The US entered the war thinking that due to their advance weapon, they could easily defeat the Vietcong. However the jungle terrain and the enemy’s guerilla tactics soon turned the war into a frustrating stalemate.
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The Battle for “Hearts and Minds”
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-Another part of American’s strategy was to stop the southern population to go towards the Vietcong. -In their attempt to expose Vietcong tunnels and hideouts, the US planes dropped [ napalm]; a gasoline based bomb that set fire to the jungle. They also sprayed [ Agent Orange], a leaf killing toxic chemical. The saturation used of these weapons wounded civilians and left villages and their surroundings in the ruins. Years later, many would blame Agent Orange for cancers in of Vietnamese civilians and American veterans -US soldiers conducted [ search and destroy mission]: Uprooted civilians with suspected ties to the Vietcong, killing their livestock and burning villages -Eventually many civilians fled into cities or refugees camps. -The US entered the war thinking that due to their advance weapon, they could easily defeat the Vietcong. However the jungle terrain and the enemy’s guerilla tactics soon turned the war into a frustrating stalemate.
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Sinking Morale
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-The lack of success and brutal jungle conditions took a toll of Soldiers morale -As the war continued, many soldiers were, required by law, to fight in a battle they didn’t support. In which they turned to drugs and alcohols. Morale would worsen during the later years of the war when soldiers realized they were fighting even as their government was negotiating a withdrawal. -Another obstacle was the continuing corruption and instability of the South Vietnamese government -Nguyen Cao Ky led the government from 1965 to 1967. Ky ignored the US pleas to retired in favor of an elected civilian government. In which mass demonstrations began. -South Vietnam was fighting a civil was within a civil was, leaving US officials confused and angry -The US entered the war thinking that due to their advance weapon, they could easily defeat the Vietcong. However the jungle terrain and the enemy’s guerilla tactics soon turned the war into a frustrating stalemate.
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The Early War at Home
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-Johnson thought that the war would end quickly but as it continue, support of the war began to waver and Johnson’s domestic programs began to unravel. The Great Society Suffers: -As war continue, the cost of the war grew. There was inflation and tax increased. However, 6 billion reduction in funding for the Great Society program. Vietnam was slowly claiming an easily casualty: Johnson’s grand vision of domestic reforms. The Living Room War: -Through the media, specifically television, Vietnam became America’s first “living room war.” The combat footage that appeared nightly on the news in millions of homes showed stark pictures that seemed to contradict the administration’s optimistic was scenario. -Critics charged that a credibility gap was growing between Johnson administration reported and what was really happening. -By 1967, Americans were evenly split about the support of the war. However, a small force outside of mainstream America, mainly from the ranks of the nation’s youth, already had begun actively protesting the war. Eventually their voices began to grow.
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Section 3: A Nation Divided
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Main Idea: An antiwar movement in the US pitted supporters of the government’s war policy against those who opposed
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The Working Class Goes To War
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-The idea of going to war in a faraway place and a questionable cause prompted many young Americans to resist going to Vietnam A “Manipulatable” Draft: -Most soldiers who fought in Vietnam were called into combat under the Selective Service System, draft. -As American’s doubt grew, thousands of men found way around the draft. Some asked for medical exemption and some changed residences in order to stand before a more lenient draft board. -One of the most common ways was to get a college deferment. Since many who went to college were whites, the majority of those who fought in the war were minorities. African Americans in Vietnam: -AA served in disproportionate numbers as ground combat troops. The accounted for more than 20% of the total deaths. -Martin Luther King Jr. reframed from speaking out against war because it would divert attention from the civil rights movement. -Racial tension ran high in many platoons and in some cases, the hostility led to violence. The racism that gripped many military units was another factor that led to low troop morale in Vietnam. Women Join the Ranks: -Many women served in Vietnam- most as military nurses. Thousands more volunteered their services in Vietnam to the American Red Cross and the United Service Organization, which delivered hospitality and entertainment to the troops.
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New Left
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The growing youth movement of the 1960s. It generally tried to move the nation toward socialism and in some cases communism. While the New Left movement did not preach socialism, its followers demanded sweeping changes in American Society. -As America became more involved in the war in Vietnam, college students across the country became a powerful and vocal group of protestors. Roots of Opposition
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Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)
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Founded in 1960 by Tom Hayden and Al Haber. The group charged that corporations and large government institution had taken over America. The SDS called for a restoration of participatory democracy and greater individual freedom. -As America became more involved in the war in Vietnam, college students across the country became a powerful and vocal group of protestors. Roots of Opposition
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The Free Speech Movement (FSM)
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Gained prominence at the University of California. The FSM grew out of a clash between students and administrators over free speech on campus. It focused its criticism on what it called the American “machine,” the nation’s faceless and powerful business and government institutions. -As America became more involved in the war in Vietnam, college students across the country became a powerful and vocal group of protestors. Roots of Opposition
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The Protest Movement Emerges
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-Throughout the spring of 1965, groups at a number of colleges began to host “teach-ins” to protest the war. Protest grew and divided the country The Movement Grows: -In 1965, SDS helped organize a march on Washington DC. In 1966, the Johnson administration changed deferments for college students, requiring students to be in good academic standing in order to be granted deferments. Campuses around the country erupted with protest. SDS called for civil disobedience at Selective Service Centers and openly counseled students to flee to Canada or Sweden. -Youths opposed the war for different reasons. One, because US was involved in a war that had no business with. Some said that the oppressive South Vietnamese regime was better than the communist regime it was fighting. Others argue that the US could not police the entire globe and that war was draining American strength in other important parts of the world. From Protest to Resistance: -By 1967, the antiwar movement had intensified, with no sign of slowing down. -Draft resistance continued from 1967 until President Nixon phased out the draft in early 1970s. During these years, the US government accused many and drafted many for refusing to enter war. -In October 1967, a demonstration in Washington’s Lincoln Memorial drew about 75,000 protestors. They all linked arms for a march on the pentagon in order to disrupt the center of the American war machine. -Many people broke passed the police and mounted the pentagon steps in which they were meet with tear gas and clubs.
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War Divides the Nation
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-In 1967, Americans found themselves divided. [ Doves: Those who were strongly opposed the war and believed the US should withdraw. [ Hawks]: Those with feeling just as strongly that America should unleash much of its greater force to win the war. -Others who were less certain about US role in Vietnam was shocked that protestors would criticize a war in which Americans were fighting and dying for. -Many believed that the protestors was an act of disloyalty.
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Section 4: 1968: A Tumultuous Year
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Main Idea: An enemy attack in Vietnam, Two assassinations, and a chaotic political convention made 1968 an explosive year.
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Tet Offensive
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-January 30 was the day of the lunar New Year called, Tet. People would go into cities to celebrate the festival. However, it was also a day for many funerals of soldiers which included firecrackers and coffin -Many of the Villagers were Vietcong agents and inside the coffin were weapons. That night the Vietcong launch an attack over 100 town and cities in South Vietnam, as well as 12 US air bases. The Tet Offensive continued for about a month before the US and South Vietnamese forces regained control of the cities. -General Westmoreland declared the attacks an overwhelming defeat for the Vietcong because they lost about 32,000 men. -However, it still had a large impact in a psychological and political viewpoint. The attack shook the American public, which had been told repeatedly and had come to believe that the enemy was close to defeat. This widen the Johnson’s administration credibility gap, that would never be restored. Tet Changes Public Opinion: -After the surprise attack, it changed the mines of many Americas. -Clark Clifford: Filled in the spot of defense secretary position that was left vacant by Robert McNamara. After settling in, he concluded that the war was unwinnable. -Following the Tet Offensive, Johnson’s popularity dropped. Many people regret the decision to enter war and many disagree with Johnson’s way of handling the situation
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Johnson Withdraw
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-An antiwar coalition within the Democratic Party had sought a Democratic candidate to challenge Johnson in the 1968 primary election. -[ Robert Kennedy], JFK’s brother decided not to run, citing party loyalty. -Instead in 1967, Minnesota senator, [ Eugene McCarthy answered the group’s call, declaring that he would run against Johnson in order to end the war in Vietnam. -McCarthy’s campaign attracted little notice, but after the Tet it picked up. McCarthy captured 42 percent of the vote while Johnson received 48 percent. While Johnson won the primary, the slim margin of victory was viewed as a defeat for the president. Influenced by Johnson’s perceived weakness in the polis, Robert Kennedy declared his candidacy for president. The Democratic Party had become a house divided. -On March 31, 1968, Johnson announced a changed of Vietnam policy0 the united state would seek negotiations to end the war. -In the meantime, the policy of US escalation would end, the bombing would eventually cease, and steps would be taken to ensure that the South Vietnamese played a larger role in the war. -Johnson also announced that he would step down from the elections. Violence and Protest Grip the Nation: -After Martin Luther King Jr. died, violence ripped through more that 100 US cities as enraged followers of the slain civil rights leader burned buildings and destroyed neighbors. -Robert Kennedy had become a strong candidate in the Democratic primary. On June 4, Kennedy won the crucial California primary. After his speech on June 5, a Palestinian immigrant, Sirhan Sirhan, was hiding a gun. He was angry by Kennedy’s support of Israel, and shot the senator. -Meanwhile, the nation’s college campuses continued to protest. Many target US involvement in Vietnam, students also clashed with university official over campus and social issues. -The growing division over Vietnam led to a shacking political development in the spring of 1968, a season in which Americans also endured two assassination, a series of urban riots and a surge in college campus protest
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A Turbulent Race for President
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-The chaos and violence of 1968 climaxed in August, when thousands of antiwar demonstrators converged on the city of Chicago to protest at the Democratic National Convention. The convention, which featured a bloody riot between protestors and policy fractured the Democratic Party and thus helped forgotten Republican win the White House. Turmoil in Chicago: -With Johnson gone and Kennedy gone. It was Democratic Eugene McCarthy against Hubert Humphrey, Johnson’s vice president. -McCarthy was still popular with the antiwar segment and had little chance of defeating Humphrey. -During the last week of August, the Democrats met at their convention in Chicago, supposedly to choose a candidate. As the delegates arrived so did protestors. -Led by men such as SDS veteran Tom Hayden, many demonstrators sought to pressure the Democrats into adopting an antiwar platform. Others came to voice displeasure with Humphrey’s nomination. Still others, known as Yippies (members of the Youth International Platform), had come to provoke violence that might discredit the Democratic Party. -Disorder of a different kind reigned inside the convention hall, where delegates bitterly debated an antiwar plank in the party platform. When the word of riot filtered into the hall, delegates angrily shouted at Tom Daley. The image of the Democrats-both inside and outside the convention hall- as a party of disorder became etched in the minds of millions of Americans. Nixon Triumphs: -By 1968, Richard Nixon had achieved one of the greatest political comebacks in American politics. In 1966m Nixon campaigned for Republican candidate in congressional elections, helping them to win back 47 seats and 3 senate seats. In 1968, Nixon announced his candidacy for presidency and won the party’s nomination. -Nixon campaigned to restore law and order, which appealed to many middle-class Americans tired of years of riots and protest. He promised, in vague but appealing terms, to end the war in Vietnam. -Nixon’s candidacy was helped by the entry of former Alabama governor George Wallace into the race as a third-party candidate. Wallace, a Democrat running on the American Independent Party ticket, was a longtime champion of school segregation and states’ rights. -In the end Nixon defeated Humphrey and inherited the quagmire in Vietnam. He would soon end conflict in Vietnam, but not before his war policies created even more protest and uproar within the country.
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Section 5: The End of the War and Its Legacy
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Main Idea: President Nixon instituted his Vietnamization Policy, and America’s longest war finally came to an end.
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Vietnamization
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Their plan which called for the gradual withdrawal of US troops in order for the South Vietnamese to take on a more active combat role in the war. -In January 1969, negotiations to end the war were going nowhere. The US and South Vietnam insisted that all North Vietnamese forces withdraw from the south and that the government of Nguyen Van Thieu, then South Vietnam’s ruler, remain in power. -North Vietnamese and Vietcong demanded that the US troops withdraw from South Vietnam and that the Thieu government step aside for a coalition government that would include the Vietcong. -In the midst on all the negotiations, Nixon turned to Henry Kissinger for a plan to end US involvement in Vietnam. He was an expert on international relations. -In the summer of 1969, Richard Nixon announced the first US troop withdrawals from Vietnam. However, as he pulled out the troops, he continued the war against North Vietnam, a policy that some critics would charge prolonged war without end for several more years.
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“Peace With Honor”
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-Nixon wanted to maintain US dignity in the face of withdrawal by using this new policy of Vietnamization. Another goal was to preserve US clout at the negotiation table, as Nixon still demanded that the South Vietnamese government remain intact. -With this objective Nixon secretly ordered a massive bombing campaign against supply routes and bases in North Vietnam. He also order for bomb to be dropped in neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia, which held a number of Vietcong sanctuaries. -He wanted them to believe that he was capable of anything. -In the summer of 1969, Richard Nixon announced the first US troop withdrawals from Vietnam. However, as he pulled out the troops, he continued the war against North Vietnam, a policy that some critics would charge prolonged war without end for several more years.
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The My Lai Massacre
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-March 16, 1968, a US platoon under the command of Lieutenant William Calley Jr., had massacred innocent civilians in the small village of My Lai. He was in the search for Vietcong rebels and did no find anyone and thus the troop rounded up the villagers and killed more than 200 innocent people. -25 army officers were charged of some degree of responsibility by only Calley was convicted and imprisoned. -Seeking to win support for his war policies, he followed the silent majority – moderate, mainstream Americans who quietly supported the US efforts in Vietnam. While many average Americans did support Nixon, the events of the war continued to divide the country
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The Invasion of Cambodia
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-The 1970 seemed like a period where the war was actually winding down -On April 30, 1970, Nixon announced that US troops had invaded Cambodia to clear out North Vietnamese and Vietcong supply centers. -Upon this, college students across the country burst out in protest. This became the first general student strikes in US -Seeking to win support for his war policies, he followed the silent majority – moderate, mainstream Americans who quietly supported the US efforts in Vietnam. While many average Americans did support Nixon, the events of the war continued to divide the country
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Kent State University
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Violence on Campus: -Disaster struck the hardest in Kent State University in Ohio, where massive students protest led to the burning of the ROTC building. -In response the mayor called the National Guard. This guard shot at student into crowds who were hurling rocks at them -Similarly violence erupted in the mostly black college in Jackson State in Mississippi. National Guardsmen shot at the crowd -Demonstrated the split of the view of war. However still most people supported the guardsmen -A group of “hardhats”, construction workers and other blue collar Americans came out to support in the government. -Seeking to win support for his war policies, he followed the silent majority – moderate, mainstream Americans who quietly supported the US efforts in Vietnam. While many average Americans did support Nixon, the events of the war continued to divide the country
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The Pentagon Papers
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-The bombing and invasion of Cambodia without even notifying Congress, the president stirred anger on Capitol Hill. -Support for the war eroded even further when in June 1971 former Defense Department worker Daniel Ellsberg leaked what became known as the Pentagon Paper: 7,000 page documents, written for Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in 1967-1968, revealed among other things that the government had drawn up plans for entering the war even as President Johnson promised that he would not send American troops to Vietnamese. The papers showed that there was never a plan to end the war as long as North Vietnamese persisted. -Confirmed that the Government had not been honest with its people. The paper supported the opponents of the war had been saying. -Seeking to win support for his war policies, he followed the silent majority – moderate, mainstream Americans who quietly supported the US efforts in Vietnam. While many average Americans did support Nixon, the events of the war continued to divide the country
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“Peace Is At Hand”
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-By the mid-1972, the country’s growing social division and the looming presidential election prompted the Nixon administration to change it negotiating policy. Polls showed that the majority of the Americans thought that US should withdraw. -Henry Kissinger served as Nixon’s top negotiator in Vietnam. Eventually he dropped his insistence that North Vietnam withdraws all its troops from the South before the complete withdrawal of American troops. -“Peace was at hand,” declared Kissinger.
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The Final Push
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-Nixon won reelection but the promised peace proved to be elusive. -The Thieu regime, alarmed at the prospect of North Vietnamese troops stationed in South Vietnam, rejected Kissinger’s plan. Talks were broken off and two days later, the president announces intense bombing against Hanoi and Haiphong, the two largest cities in North Vietnam. Bombs were dropped over the course of 11 days. -At this point, calls to end the world were coming from all around. In 1973 US signed an agreement to end the war and restoring peace in Vietnam. Under this, North Vietnamese troops would remain in South Vietnam. However, Nixon promised to respond with full force to any violation of the peace agreement. On March 29,1973, the last US combat troops left for home. For America, the war had ended. -In March 1972, North Vietnam launched its largest attack on South Vietnam. Nixon offered a massive bombing campaign on North Vietnam cities. He also ordered that the mines be laid in Haiphong harbor, the North’s largest harbor, into which Soviet and Chinese ships brought supplies. -End to the war
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The Fall of Saigon
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-Within months of US departure, the cease-fire in Vietnam failed. The North launched an invasion against the South. Thieu appealed to the US for helped but the US only provided economic aid but not troops. -President Gerald Ford announced that US had gain back its pride and cannot be achieved by refighting a war. -On April 30, 1975, North Vietnam tanks rolled into Saigon and captured the city. Soon after, South Vietnam surrendered to North Vietnam -In March 1972, North Vietnam launched its largest attack on South Vietnam. Nixon offered a massive bombing campaign on North Vietnam cities. He also ordered that the mines be laid in Haiphong harbor, the North’s largest harbor, into which Soviet and Chinese ships brought supplies. -End to the war
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The War Leaves A Painful Legacy
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-The war left Southeast Asia highly unstable, which led to further war in Cambodia. In America, a divided nation attempted to come to grips with an unsuccessful war. In the end, the conflict in Vietnam left many Americans with a more cautious outlook on foreign affairs and a more cynical attitude toward their government. American Veterans Cope Back Home: -While soldiers began to come home, the nation as a whole extended a cold hand to its returning Vietnam Veterans. They were faced with hospitality and bitterness from American still bitter about the war -Many Veterans readjusted to civilian life with success. Although some had nightmare and posttraumatic stress disorder. Some had addiction to drugs while other committed suicide Further Turmoil in Southeast Asia: -The end of the war brought a new period of violence and chaos in Southeast Asia. -Communist now took over Vietnam and imprisoned more that 400,000 South Vietnamese in harsh reeducation or labor camps. Many citizens decided to flee, many on boats in which many did not survive. -War in Vietnam also unleashed a civil war in Cambodia. The communist group known as Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, seized power in 1975. In an effort to transform the country into a peasant society, the Khmer Rouge executed professionals and anyone with education or foreign ties. The Legacy of Vietnam: -Still a great controversy in America. Many hawks continued to insist that war could had been won if the US had employed more military power. They also blamed the antiwar movement at home for destroying American morale. Doves counted that the North Vietnamese had displayed incredible resiliency only in a continuing stalemate. In addition, doves argued that a unrestrained war against North Vietnam might might have prompted a military reaction from China or Soviet Union -US policy changes -Abolished the draft -Curbed president’s war making powers. War Powers Act: Stipulated that a president must inform Congress within 48 hours of sending forces into hostile areas with a declaration of war. Troops may remain there no longer than 90 days unless Congress approves the presidents action or declares war. -The war altered the America’s view on foreign policy. People now pause and consider possible risk to their own interest before deciding whether to intervene in affairs of other nations. -Also, the war contributed to an overall cynicism among Americans about their government that could provide as much misleading information or conceal activities as the Johnson and Nixon administration had done. Diminished optimism and faith

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