History 1112 notes on vietnam war american involvement US involvment.

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The Vietnam war by numbers


*cost $170 billion

*2.8 million vet

*Americans killed 58,000

*americans wounded 300,000

*Vietnamese killed 1.5 million

*4 million vietnamese refugees (25%)

*explosives dropped: double ww2

*area defoliated by agent orange: Massachusetts size

*it was the longest war..but no official deceleration of war

the origins of the war of in vietnam


French are in by 1880's.

French colony

Part of this til the Versailles.

world war 1 and the versailles peace conference (1919)

Woodrow Wilson and ho chi Minh

First real meeting with US and vietnam, ho chi minh asks US to help vietnam get indecence from the french

world war 2 and decolonization

vichy french

Indochina is a vichy french colony. The local colonial officials make up the choice if they are free french or vichy french. They collaborate with the french. they let the Japanese come thru country

japanese occupation(1941)

French colonial officials in power but under the japanese

Communist vietminh resistance

Ho chi minh is back in vietnamese.

The vietminh is defacto ally to US during this time. They let them have advisors and supplies.

vietnam deceleration of independence

Handout (1945) Ho Chi Minh sees the US as a natural ally, the US should support the anti-colonialist because that is how the country started. The vietnamese declaration of independence followed te format of the US one.

what kind of freedom did vietnamese get after ww2?

1st Indochina war

a.k.a "french war"/"anti-french war of resistance"

Truman will support french and British, he wants to keep them as allies. This war happens because of the US allying with the british and the french. With US support the french take back there colony. The vietminh continue their fight. The IST indochina war becomes a guerilla war. 1950 asks for support from the US.


The US is fighting a proxy war.

battle of Dien Bien Phu

French defeated even though they are being helped by the US. The french decide that they will now pull out from this colony and leave it since they have now lost control of the people in the colony

the partition of vietnam

1954 geneva conference

Peace talks to decide what to do about vietnam

17th parallel

They divide vietnam in this area. Vietminh has control of north., with ho chi minh. The pro western people are in control of the south.

1956 scheduled national elections

Free and open election to see if they will go together with the vietminh or the pro western government. These elections will not happen because ho chi minh would win. And they do not want this. So the elections were postponed indefinitly.

"Vietnamese civil war"

In the south the country is controlled by a small group of people catholic people even though the majority of the people are Buddhist. The north wants to give land to the people. The people wanted the south. The people in the south and north are both unwilling to accept the division.

the escalation of American involvement

Truman and Eisenhower

1945 the first american is killed in vietnam, the vietminh were fighting the french. Mistook him for a Frenchman. Both Prez gave military aid. Eisenhower sent many soldiers under over as military advisors.

john Kennedy

escalated by sending over many soldiers. Supported diem.

1962-1963: 4,000-16,000

coup toppled ngo dinh diem

Shot in cold blood

Lyndon Johnson

He got JFK ideals

gulf of Tonkin resolution(1964)

Blank check to do whatever he wanted to do in vietnam. A incident with US warships in the gulf of tonkin that may or may not have happened. Johnson goes to congress to get support to do whatever needed in vietnam.

US troop escalation

Draft started in 1964

*December 1964:23,000

*December 1965: 184,000




Richard Nixon

Had a secret plan.. NOT.. He just said he did.


Turning war over to vietnamese. Did reduce us troop strength. Didn't mean scaling back of war. Bombing was going up


Secretly invaded. Gulf of tonkin let him do this. Invading of this disabled the country.


Invaded Laos to fight the communist there

why did the united states escalate?

Cold war

Cold war and anti-communism

"Manifest destiny" combined with "american century"

American beliefs are applicable everywhere. Bring capitalism and democracy to indochina

Party politics

Democratic perez had to live up to higher expectations since truman lost china to communism. Democratic perez had to look harder on communism. For democratic perez to scale back in vietnam was to commit political suicide.

"Johnson war"

He started all the bombing campaigns. This is very misleading to put all the blame on him. It is from prior presidents. Successive administrations made this happen. The US people accepted all this stuff with the presidents.

John foster Dulles

Sec of state there at the creation. A blunder of indochina was made in 1945 saying that we shouldn't have allowed the french to retake there colony

John Kerry

In light of dulles has just said. Vietnam vet.

the conduct of the war

strategic bombing

Began with johnson ended with nixon

*1 500lb bomb/ for every person vietnamese

*1964-1973 : averaged 250lb bomb/5 seconds

*20 million bomb scars

"Body counts" and "free fire zone"

Guerilla war

Enemy drew support from surrounding elements. Hit and run tactics. They really depended on support of surrounding population. Was very difficult to see who really was the enemy. American army was not really prepared to fight these guerillas.

"Body counts"

This is how we would see how we saw or victory. Since we could not really capture land. Couldn't measure victory by territory. Could measure battlefield success. Measure the dead vietnamese. Body counts were very inflated. Colin Powell were conspiracy of illusion and a large inflation. Very very off. It encouraged an indifference in civilian casualties. Civilian dead would count I body counts.

"Free fire zones"

Anything moving would be shot at. Fire at will, everything shot at. Target civilians a lot in free fire zones.


For every 1 Vietcong killed 6 civilians were killed.

General westmoreland

When asked about civilians casualties. He said that if we cant kill the VC we will kill the people that support them.

the my Lai massacre(16 march 1968)

Pinkville. US units had been experiencing booby traps. Early morning US units entered a hamlet and killed 150-500 people women children and old men. 128 vC were killed, there was no evidence that there was any vC there at all. It shocked many americans but some didn't.

The my lai court martial(1971)

Lt. William calley

In charge of this company that was in the massacre. He was brought to the trial. Convicted of mass murder. 22 civilians. Put on house arrest. Ford pardoned him. He only served 3 years on house arrest.

John Kerry, vietnam veterans against the war

the vietnam war at home

merle haggard,"okie from myskogee"

who was more likey to oppose that vietnam war?

1971 gallup poll

"Poor mans fight"

Affected them much more, because they couldnt get the differment as much.

12% college graduates/9% killed college graduates.

the anti-war protest movement

veterans and the anti-war movement

draft resistance

"Draft dodging"

A bad term, 30,000 fled to canada. Perhaps 600,000 resisted the draft through various deferments, a physical deferrment. Sometimes it was made up and sometimes it was real. Friends enemies on the draft boards. Homosexuality was a deferment, radicalism, socialist workers party. If u had certain convictions on ur record u couldnt, pacificst reasons or religious. Becoming a father, becoming a teacher and other occupations. Deferments end in 1969 and lottery start. Joining the national gaurd. Exempt from going overseas.


Unwilling lead by uncualified doing the unright for the uncaring.


Anti-war movemnt within army. Resisance in the army

American serviceman's Union

10,000 members had own newspaper

"Armed farces day"(15 may 1971)

Acts of resistance. At 19 different bases soldiers demonstrated against war

Marine Col. Robert heini, Armed forces journal(June 1971)

Moral and stuff lower than anytime ever in history

1965-1971: desterttions +468%

1971: 100/7 deserters/17 awol/20 frequent pot smokers/10 frequent heroine users

veitnams veterans against the war

"Operatioin dewey canyon III," the war at home

Steps of nation capital. Dewey canyon was secret invasion of cambodia was code name.

John kerry

Was very active in organizing

Winter soldier investigation, detroit MI(janurary-feburary 1971)

This is were some soldiers testify to war crimes court. Forcing the public and governement to take notice.

Veterans, the anti-war movement


Little evidence that this ever happened. Urban myth. No film evidence of this ever occuring. Anti-war movement thought that veterans were natural allies of there movement since they had experience in this area..

The campus anti-war movement

Students for a democratic society (SDS)

Port huron statement (1962)