The USA and Vietnam: 1964-75

Failure Abroad and at Home

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How effective were the Guerrilla tactics during th

How effective were the Guerrilla tactics during the Vietnam War?

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The Theory of Guerilla Warfare

The Theory of Guerilla Warfare:

Guerilla warfare is when the enemy is hidden and you never know who the allies and who the enemy are.

Typical Features:

  • Booby traps
    • punji stake trap
  • Trip wire
  • Concealed tunnels
    • with living chambers, false tunnels, storage and firing posts


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Introduction:

NORTH VIETNAM

Communist Country: Nationalist Leader: Ho Chi Minh

SOUTH VIETNAM

Capitalist: Corrupt Catholic Leader: Diem

(Most Vietnamese are Buddhists)

Americans support SOUTH VIETNAM. America is scared of COMMUNISM)

1st with MONEY -->Then TROOPS (to PREVENT the SPREAD OF COMMUNISM)



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Key Terms:

THE POLICY OF CONTAINMENT:

Prevent the spread of Communism


DOMINO THEORY:

If one place turned Communist, the others would follow


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VC Tunnels:

  • 75 MILES of Tunnel system

They tried to disguise the entrances to the tunnels with:

  • Decoy entrances
  • Booby Traps
  • Pits of scorpions

How were tunnels designed to withstand American bombs and tanks?

  • They zigzagged
  • Ceilings were smaller than the floor, so tanks could drive over
  • 30 foot deep

THUS, THE VIETNAM WERE VERY COMMITTED TO THE WAR!

THE GI'S WERE NOT.

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Why were the tactics used by the Vietcong so succe

THE ENEMY AREN'T DISTINGUISHABLE:

  • The American's couldn't tell who they were fighting against, made them paranoid all the time

TUNNEL NETWORKS:

  • Highly elaborate systems, so they remained hidden from Americans
  • Safe from bombing and attack

HO CHI MINH TRAIL:

  • Hidden well, so remained able to smuggle in arms to aid them
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Problems encountered by the GI's

High Casualty Rate:

58,000 soldiers were killed

Average age was 19

43% died during the first 3 months of duty

Dehumanising the enemy:

Calling them slang terms like 'Gook' made it easier to kill them

The American view were mixed. Most were horrifed, some didn't believe it happened. Some thought it was right.

Drugs:

There was a massive drug problem within the American troops

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US Tactics

OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER:

Heavy bombing of North Vietnam,

  • far worse than anything seen during WW2
  • He sent in US troops - 500,000 by 1969

The aim was to destroy military bases and equipment in North Vietnam, and to destroy the HO CHI MIHN TRAIL.

HEARTS AND MINDS:

The American's tried to win the 'Hearts and Minds' of the South Vietnamese by special projects:

  • Improve conditions
  • Schools + clinics
  • communications

This was effective in cities but not in rural areas because they were controlled by the Vietcong

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US Tactics:

AGENT ORANGE + NAPALM:

  •  
    • Burn jungle + villages with 'rainbow herbicides'
    • Side effects causing cancer
    • Napalm, burns the skin

SEARCH AND DESTROY:

Search and destroy patrols went out looking for the Vietcong, but the patrols were very visible and easy to ambush. This led to atrocities like My Lai in 1968.

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The Mai Lai Massacre 1968

A Search and Destroy mission that went wrong.

EVENTS:

  • 16th March 1968
  • 347 unarmed innocent civillians murdered
  • Mostly women and children

IMPACT:

  • The Vietnamese hated the American's for it
  • The American views were mixed. Many were horrified, some didn't believe it happened. Some thought it was right.
  • Symbol of US War crimes in Vietnam
  • Sparked many protests in America

TREATMENT OF LT. CALLEY:

  • Imprisoned for 4 years 
  • Released by Nixon
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Why did opposition to the War increase?

Why did opposition to the War increase? 1) Protests increase after Nixon announces his invasion of Cambodia
2) Tet Offensive
3) Cost of $20 billion
4) Shooting at Kent State
5) My Lai Massacre

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Key Issue 2:

How did the coverage of the Vietnam War in the USA lead to demands for peace?

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Did the Media affect the war's outcome?

To Begin with, the American newspapers were in favour of the war. 

Gradually attitudes began to change.

In October 1967 the chief editor of Life magazine wrote that the United States was not really threatened by the communists in Vietnam and that the war was not worth the lives of young Americans.

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The Tet Offensive:

31st January 1968: The Tet Offensive

70,000 Vietcong launched a MASSIVE ATTACK on 100 TOWNS AND CITIES in SOUTH VIETNAM.

The Americans and South Vietnamese were taken by SUrPRISE because the some of the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) were on holiday.

For the first time the war came right into the cities. 

Neither side was used to this style of fighting.

The Vietcong abandoned the guerrilla war style of fighting.

The VC were not equipped to fight like this. They couldn't defend well. In the jungle they could have just merged into the surroundings. 

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Aims and Events of the Tet Offensive

AIMS:

  • The Communist Government in Hanoi, had important political objectives for the offensive.
  • They thought that the LOCAL SOUTH VIETNAMESE population would RISE UP and SUPPORT them in OVERTHROWING the Saigon Government.
  • Above all they hoped that the USA would realise that they couldn't win the war and so begin to WITHDRAW THEIR FORCES.

EVENTS:

  • In 1968, Vietcong and NVA forces launched a countrywide attack on South Vietnam. 
  • A group of 15 VC guerrillas fought their way into the US embassy in Saigon. They held up for 6hours before being killed.
  • This video was shown to 50 million homes in the US.
    • It was a symbol of the America presence in Vietnam, and the American public began to turn against the war.
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Why were the US actions to end the Vietnam War Uns

Why were the US actions to end the Vietnam War Unsuccessful?

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Consequences of the Tet Offensive

For The US:

  • Forced Johnson to withdraw from 1968 Presidential Election
  • US lost faith in their ability to fight battles
  • America felt misled by the media
  • US army regarded Tet Offensive as a victory, the media didn't
  • Nixon promised to end the war (He was elected President)



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Consequences:

For North Vietnam:

  • In Military terms, the Tet Offensive was a disaster for the Vietcong.
    • Deaths: VC: 48% NVA: 24
  • The Communists had suffered huge losses.
  • The Vietcong were weakened.
  • Lack of civilian support
  • NV Leaders saw Tet Offensive as a failure
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Richard Nixon's Policies:

IN 1969 HE BEGAN PEACE TALKS, AND STARTED TO WITHDRAW US FORCES, BUT AT THE SAME TIME HE STEPPED UP ATTACKS ON NORTH VIETNAM.

NIXON ALSO ANNOUNCED THE POLICY OF VIETNAMISATION. Making sure that the ARVN could defend the country on its own.

  • Nixon began to withdraw forces, but he didn't want to reveal that to the North. To cover the withdrawal he stepped up Operation Rolling Thunder.
  • US forces also incaded Loas and Cambodia, and bombed both countries. 
    • Both of these were attempts to try and stop the Vietcong infiltrating the South.

OPERATION LINEBACKER:

Operation Linebacker April 1972 led to 227 air-raids on the North, but they had little overall effect.

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What happened after the US forces withdrew?

What happened after the US forces withdrew?

  • NEGOTIATIONS between USA and the NORTH VIETNAMESE dragged on for FIVE YEARS.
    • Agreement wasn't reached until 1973. When the US forces withdrew.
  • The defence of SV was then taken over by the ARVN. It held out until May 1975.
  • When South Vietnam fell it was united with the North. It was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

1975: April: FALL OF SAIGON to Communist forces.

  • Remaining US officials were airlifted from roof of the embassy
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Comments

Brónach

This is  Brilliant Thanks !

Harriet

Amazing, thanks so much!

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