The US involvement in Vietnam

Background – Before and during WWII

World War 2

-most significant period of the 20th century.

-It brought about major leaps in technology and laid the groundwork that permitted post-war

-social changes including the end of European colonialism,

-the civil rights movement in the United States

-the women’s rights movement


-The years between the first and second world wars were a time of instability during the worldwide Great Depression that began around 1930.

-  Great Depression - leaving much of the world unemployed and desperate

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French involvement and Dien Bien Phu

-The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was the decisive engagement in the first Indochina War (1946–54).

 -French forces occupied the Dien Bein Phu valley in late 1953,

-Viet Minh commander Vo Nguyen Giap amassed troops and placed heavy artillery in caves of the mountains overlooking the French camp

-In northwest Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh forces decisively defeat the French at Dien Bien Phu

-Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam, hoping to prevent the French from reclaiming their former colonial possession.

-Viet Minh fought an increasingly effective guerrilla war against France with military and economic assistance from newly Communist China.

-France received military aid from the United States.

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Geneva Conference

The Geneva Conference (April 26 – July 20, 1954)

-Was a conference among several nations that took place in Geneva, Switzerland, in order to settle outstanding issues resulting from the Korean War

- Discuss the possibility of restoring peace in Indochina.

-Included the countries that contributed troops to the United Nations forces in the Korean War, and countries that participated in the resolution of the First Indochina War between France and the Việt Minh.

-On Indochina, the conference produced a set of documents known as the Geneva Accords

-These agreements temporarily separated Vietnam into two zones, 

-A Conference Final Declaration, issued by the British chairman of the conference

- provided that a general election be held by July 1956 to create a unified Vietnamese state

-this document was not accepted by the delegates of either the State of Vietnam or the U.S

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Domino Theory

-The domino theory was a theory prominent from the 1950s to the 1980s,

-speculated that if one country in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect.

-The domino theory was used by successive United States administrations during the Cold War to justify the need for American intervention around the world.

-In 1945, the Soviet Union brought most of the countries of eastern Europe and Central Europe into its influence as part of the post-World War II new settlement

-prompting Winston Churchill to declare in a speech in 1946.

-In Southeast Asia, the United States government used the domino theory to justify its support of a non-communist regime in South Vietnam against the communist government of North Vietnam

- ultimately its increasing involvement in the long-running Vietnam War

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Supporting and overthrowing Diem

-While Diem's government offered some semblance of stability and authority, it had repressive actions against the Buddhists

-had permanently alientated popular support, with a high probability of victory for the Viet Cong

-The beginning of the end for Diem can then be traced through events to the regime's violent suppression of a Buddhist protest demonstration in Hue

- American involvement in South Vietnam in support of Diem was that a policy of unreserved commitment to aparticular leadership placed us in a weak and manipulable position on important internal issues.

-The brutal murder of the president of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, on November 2, 1963, was a major turning point in the war in Vietnam.

-United States had 16,000 troops in South Vietnam training the ARVN forces and even going so far as to accompany them on helicopter-borne raids deep into enemy territory.

-wake of assassinations,, American policy toward the war in Vietnam changed dramatically.

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Military advisers and Strategic Hamlets


- a plan by the governments of South Vietnam and the United States during the Vietnam War to combat the communist insurgency by pacifying the countryside

- reducing the influence of the communists among the rural population

-was to isolate the rural population from contact with and influence by the National Liberation Front ( Viet Cong )

-played an important role in shaping of events in South Vietnam during the late 1950s and early 1960s

MILITARY ADVISORS -Military advisors,- are soldiers sent to foreign nations to aid that nation with its military training, organization, and other various military tasks

In September 1950, US President Harry Truman sent the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) to Vietnam to assist the French in the First Indochina War.

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Gulf of Tonkin and military involvement

-It is of historical significance

-it gave U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson authorization, without a formal declaration of war by Congress, for the use of conventional military force in Southeast Asia

-The Johnson administration subsequently relied upon the resolution to begin its rapid escalation of U.S. military involvement in South Vietnam

- open warfare between North Vietnam and the United States.

-reported being attacked by three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats from the 135th Torpedo Squadron

-1964 On August 7. Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, authorizing President Johnson to take any measures he believed were necessary to retaliate

-to promote the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia.

-gave broad congressional approval for expansion of the Vietnam War

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