Kennedy and The Vietnam War

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  • Kennedy and The Vietnam War
    • Ho Chi Minh trail reactivated to supply goods to fighters in South Vietnam
    • Anti-Diem coalition formed in South Vietnam known as the National Liberation Front (NLF)
    • Diem was distrustful of all but his family
      • Often did not take on board the advice given by US advisors
        • Nov 1960, 2 colonels of the ARVN attack the presidential palace - Diem was lucky to survive
          • Now even more unlikely to take US advice
      • Dedicated the Republic of Vietnam to the Virgin Mary despite the majority of the population being Buddhist
      • Diem was the only thing standing in the way of a full communist take over
      • 1963 Diem and his government prohibit the use of Buddhist religious flags
        • Protestors went against this at the anuual Buddhist festival and government forces fired on the crowd killing 9 people
          • In response to this a senior Buddhist monk set himself on fire and burned to death, attracting the media
      • Some in the ARVN began to plan a coup, which took place in November
        • The US had no part in this but were increasingly beginning to think that Diems departure would be a good thing and therefore chose not to warn Diem
          • Diem was murdered along with his younger brother
    • Defence spending increased from $40 billion a year to $56 billion.
      • McNamara (Secretary of Defence) chosen to supervise spending
    • Increased US involvement in Vietnam
      • Due to Cold War context
      • To not make the same mistake made in World War 2 with Hitler
        • Only way to deal with a dictator was to stand up to them
    • 1961 - US planes ordered to destroy and hostile aircraft above South Vietnam
      • Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) told to describe any damage to US planes as 'accidental'
    • Geneva Accords 1961/62
      • Largely between the USSR and the US
      • Laos was now considered a neutral area and US military advisors were to be withdrawn
      • Temporary settlement
    • Dean Rusk - Secretary of State, however Kennedy favoured McNamara's advice
    • 1963 Battle of Ap Bac
      • Viet Cong battalion outfought an ARVN force despite them having superior fire power and hardware
        • ARVN officers accused of being cowards


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