Vietnam

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  • Vietnam War
    • Why Did USA get involved ? (Eisenhower)
      • The surrender of the French after Dien Bien Phu and Geneva Accords
        • Led to Limited Intervention (Eisenhower)
      • Domino Theory (If Indo-China goes under- South East Asia and typically Japan would be under threat)
      • Malayan Emergency of Communist Insurgency
        • US set up the SEATO to act as a buffer to the spread of communism
      • Geneva Conference led to the split of  Vietnam and led to communist fear as it was likely the North was going to win the election
        • Led to the US supporting Diem in the South and giving him financial aid over £250 Mil
          • Diem however was rather corrupt and was ignoring a lot of US advice (But it was better than communism) in the US Eyes
      • 'Desire to Defend Democracy'
    • Escalation (Kennedy / Johnson)
      • Cold War      Context -     Ho Chi Minh was supported by the USSR and was communist (US could not allow a united Vietnam Under communist rule back by the Soviets + Chinese)
      • The Curse of appeasement, after the experience of WWII it was seen as a great mistake not to stand up to Hitler in time, it was felt the only way to deal with communism was to stand up to the dictators before it was to late
      • Fear that Laos was about to fall to communism and so did not want the to happen in Vietnam
      • Public Opinion / Politicians - Anti-communism was high in USA and after the loss of China, Kennedy did not want to be under the same spotlight that Truman found himself under (Democrats)
      • Diem's support was decreasing, Ho Chi Minh's support was steadily increasing
        • Diem  became very unpopular and in 1963 he was coup'd although the US did not warn him (CIA)
      • Hawk Advisers for both Kennedy and Johnson (Robert McNamara)
        • Johnson Hoped an increase in involvement would force the Viet Cong and Viet Minh to the negotiation table (Operation Rolling ThUnder)
      • Johnson wanted re-election and if he was seen to back down he would lose votes so he had to continue Kennedy's policy
      • The Gulf of Tonkin - 1964  Led to congress allowing Johnson to escalate the war
        • 530,00 by 1968
      • Was seen as the world police and if they were being beaten by the small guerrilla warfare of the Viets then there message would not be clear and would be rather an embarrassing loss
    • How Far did the role of the US change in Vietnam by 1967?
      • Prevent the spread of Communism
        • The policy was the same for every president, including Johnson who was duty bound to remain with this policy
    • Nixon + Withdrawal
      • American Opposition
        • Wide diversity of opposition Nixon's policy of Viet-namisation led to a decline in support for the movement. Under Nixon there was pressure to deliver a deal with limited concessions.
        • On the 15 th October 1969 two million took time off work to engage in peaceful protests in over 200 American Cities. Nixon CouterActed this with his 'Silent Majority Speech'
        • Protesters were more attention grabbing than supporters and as a result looked like there were more of them than was the case
        • Kent State University Shootings in 1970 put pressure on Congress to limit the powers of the president to commit troops to Vietnam
      • An Immoral War
        • It broke the Geneva Agreements of 1954, had not been sanctioned by the UN nor by SEATO
      • TET Offensive 1968
        • Turned Public support against the war and the year of military victory was not apparent to US civilians.
        • The destruction of the ancient city of Hue seemed hard to justify and one US officer said ' We had to destroy the village to save it'
      • Military Failure and incorrect tactics
        • Couldn't cope with Guerrilla Tactics
          • Search and destroy missions did not work
        • Air Bombing of North was inappropriate as it lacked specific targets
        • Could not win over the public's heart
      • Policies of Nixon
        • Real Politik
        • Sino-Soviet Split
        • Build Up international Relations
        • Negotiate with the north
        • Withdrew  troops every so often
    • Media
      • Brought home the horrors of the methods used by USA
        • Napalm, Chemical weapons, many had negative attitudes because of this
          • Viewers saw monk burning himself alive and Viet Cong Prisoner shot dead
        • None of the bad stuff that the Viet Cong done was publicized
          • Anchorman Walter Cronkite openly criticized the war
            • Johnson stated that the media was undermining the war effort
              • Yet opinion polls show reinforced attitudes for the war
                • War weariness occurred  from constant reports of death by 1969

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