The Vietnam War

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The Tet Offensive

Summarise the Tet Offensive in less than 20 words: Trying to get the Vietcong to attack the Americans so the troops couldknow who they were

Why was it a failure for the Vietcong? The Vietcong lost their use of surprise and they lost 45,000 men

Why was it a failure for the Americans? The Americans could not defeat the Vietcong unless it was in a direct attack

Was it turning point for LBJ? It led to Johnson's demise and the Americans realized that there was no way of defeating the Vietcong. Johnson had lost his popularity and so decided to not run for election again.

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Key words 1

Nixon - President of America after President Johnson

Vietnamisation - Nixon's plan to gradually leave South Vietnam and let the South look after itself

AVRN - Army of South Vietnam

A diplomatic solution - talking and making agreements

A treaty - when two sides sign an agreement

Ceasefire - when two sides agree to stop fighting

Reunification - North and South Vietnam back together as one country

Skirmishes - little battles

Offensive - a big attack

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Key words 2

Congress - American Parliament, decides whether to spend money on wars

Neutral country - a neutral country is a country that is not on either side

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'peace with honour'?

Actions justified

  • good intentions
  • slowly withdraws troops
  • supports South Vietnam stil, even when America was going home

Actions unjustified

  • bombed Cambodia (neutral country)
  • ground invasion of Cambodia
  • invaded Laos
  • did not include South Vietnam in peace agreement
  • bombed North to make them sign
  • bombed South to make them sign
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Gains and Losses of Communists


  • killed American soldiers
  • bombed Saigon
  • won the war (long term)


  • high death tolls
  • didn't gain South Vietnamese support
  • lost land, support weak
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Gains and Losses of Americans


  • won Tet Offensive
  • showed the military were better


  • US support
  • LBJ never stood for President
  • looked weak
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Linkage, Madman theory, Moratorium

Linkage - linking the US concessions to the USSR and China to their assistance in ending the Vietnam War

Madman Theory/Ploy - Nixon wanted Hanoi to think that he was capable of anything in order to frighten them into making peace

Moratorium - suspension of normal activities, in order to protest

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Lam Son

  • test Vietnamisation
  • use ARVN
  • ARVN deployed to Laos and Cambodia to destroy Ho Chi Minh trail
  • mass bombings
  • 8th February 1971 - NVA (North)
  • outnumbered ARVN
  • 20,000 NVA killed
  • trail was not destroyed
  • Vietnamisation failure
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Paris Peace Conference

Why was Le Duc Tho more significant in establishing peace than Kissinger?

  • Kissinger made sure the prisoners of war were released
  • withdrew US military
  • helped elections to be plannes
  • because America were trying to stop involvement in the war, Kissinger was less influential on the Peace settlement
  • Le Duc Tho made sure the US withdrew
  • allowed NVA to stay in South Vietnam
  • ran the elections
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Consequences of the War

General effects

  • South Vietnamese were 're-educated' of how to live in a communist country
  • left with birth defects from Agent Orange
  • refugee camps set up by the United Nations to process those emigratting
  • Vietnam was left very poor
  • some South Vietnamese were sent to 'new economic zones' to work on undeveloped land
  • Vietnam was reunified under the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Communist)

Memorial of the War

  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial ('The Wall') began construction in 1982
  • 'Three Soldiers' statue was added in 1984
  • People were ashamed so no memorials were built at first
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