The Johnson years, 1963-1967

The Vietnam War under president Johnson

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  • Created by: Lyyam
  • Created on: 12-05-14 13:44
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  • The Johnson years, 1963-1967
    • Existing problems for Johnson
      • Coups against Diem
        • Increased sense of obligation to South Vietnam
        • Increased sense of resistance to communism
        • Nguyen Van Thieu emerged as leader in 1967
      • Pressure to get further involved
        • "I'm not going to let Vietnam go the way of China"
        • It looked like South Vietnam would fall without further US intervention
      • Upcoming 1964 election
        • Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962
        • 'losing to a bunch of Asiatic commies' wouldn't help at all
        • Had to avoid direct confrontation with the USSR and China
    • The stepping up of US military assistance
      • All advice pointed to the need to become more involved in Vietnam - 1964
        • More pressure on the North and boost the confidence of the regime in the South
        • In January, the Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted to carry the war to the North
        • General Harkins, head of MAAG, stressed the need to halt the flow of supplies down the Ho Chi Minh trail
      • The Viet Cong's power
        • The VC controlled 30-40 percent of south Vietnam's territory
        • Desertion from the ARVN was high and morale low
      • How it would be done
        • For the USA to attack North Vietnam openly required Congressional approval and possibly a declaration of war
        • A declaration legitimising action by the president against specific enemies was drafted in the spring
          • Johnson wouldn't put it to Congress without near-unanimous support.
    • The Gulf of Tonkin incident
      • What happened
        • South Vietnamese forces began raids on North Vietnam's coastline
          • The US Navy gave assistance but not through direct participation
            • August 1946, the USS Maddox was attacked by DRV patrol boats on the night of 2 August
              • Two days later, the Maddox and another destroyer claimed to have been attacked. Their radars picked up what they interpreted as enemy ships but none were sighted
      • Johnson's actions
        • Congress passed the draft declaration already prepared by the State Department
          • The resolution gave Johnson the power to 'take all necessary measures to repel armed attacks against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.'
            • 'It was like Grandma's nightgown - it covered everything'
    • Taking the plunge, 1965
      • Us involvement increased
        • No planned escalation, but a series of responses
        • Hoped to produce stability and force the DRV to the negotiating table
      • The North's response
        • Each American move produced a counter-escalation from the North
        • Increased help from the USSR and China
    • The bombing campaign begins
      • Causes
        • Johnson sent  McGeorge Bundy to asses the situation
        • Viet Cong troops attacked the US air base at Pleiku
      • Bombing operations
        • Operation Rolling Thunder - 2nd March 1965
        • Operation Steel Tiger
      • Ineffectiveness
        • The USA spent $9.60 to do $1 worth of damage
        • The Ho Chi Minh Traiil was not broken
        • Napalm and defoliates were used to little effect
    • The use of US combat troops
      • First manpower on the ground
        • March 1965, two marine battalions were sent to protect Da Nang air base.
          • Numbers quickly increased in May
        • Westmoreland and McNamara argued that only US action couls save the Republic of Vietnam
      • increasing the number of troops
        • Johnson agreed to increase US military personnel to 125,000 in July
        • Troops were dripfed in through the draft
    • The battle of La Drang
      • beginnings
        • November 1965, La Drang Valley
        • Westmoreland took the fight to a Viet Cong controlled area in the central highlands
        • Used search and destroy tactics, using US fire power to overwhelm the enemy
      • Course of the battle
        • Many days of fierce fighting in which US air and fire power proved effective
          • The NVA lost 3,561 compared to the loss of 305 Americans
            • The remaining communist forces retreated into the Cambodian border
              • US victory
    • What had been achieved by 1967?
      • Resulting tactics from events
        • NVA reverted to General Giap's strategy of guerrilla attacks
        • The USA build-up continued throughout 1966 and 1967, until there were just under half a million US troops in the country
      • Allied support
        • Australia sent a brigade
        • South Korea nearly 50,000
        • Harold Wilson sent no British forces
        • France demanded a neutral South Vietnam
      • The state of Vietnam
        • Thieu was now president in the South (1967)
          • South Vietnam still appeared as a millitary dictatorship
          • The South Vietnamese regime had undoubtedly been saved
        • North Vietnamese suplies from the USSR were improving and the Ho Chi Minh Trail had not been cut

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