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APUSH Terms: 1945-1969
Terms in this set (89)
The state of political hostility that existed between the Soviet bloc countries and the US-led Western powers from 1945 to 1990. Struggle for global influence, capitalism vs. communism.
A conflict where third parties fight on the behalf of more powerful parties.
1947. Speech given by the president asking Congress for $400 million to support Greece and Turkey in their fight against Communist insurgents, declaring that "it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation." In the following years, the United States would provide economic and military aid to numerous countries resisting Soviet control, although not those resisting U.S.-backed dictators.
An American policy first articulated by Diplomat George Kennan in his famous Long Telegram, which he sent in 1946 from his duty station in Moscow. Under the containment policy, the United States would not instigate a war with the Soviet Union. The U.S. would, however, attempt to contain Soviet influence by defending countries facing a Soviet takeover. This idea formed the basis of American foreign policy throughout much of the Cold War.
Sent from American diplomat George Kennan in Moscow in 1946. Outlined how foreign the Soviet ideas and mindsets were to Americans, predicted the future between American and the USSR, and proposed a plan of action for the US. He was mostly right in his predictions about the global power struggle between the US and USSR. Also supplied the beginnings of the Domino Theory and the containment policy. Set the tone for Cold War foreign policy.
U.S. led program to rebuild Europe following World War II. The United States spent more than $12 billion to help the European countries. The plan was meant to revitalize the Europe's economy and lay the groundwork for future peace. In return, European countries were expected to become US allies. The Soviet Union and its allies refused aid under this.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Formed in 1949 as a mutual defense alliance between the United States and Western Europe. It provided assurance that any member country under attack would be defended by other member countries. It was created to counter the USSR's rise in power. It has remained active since the fall of the USSR, leading military efforts in Yugoslavia and admitting several former Soviet satellites.
After World War II, Berlin was divided into four areas controlled by England, France, the US, and the USSR. Upon learning that the former three states planned to combine their sectors, the Soviets imposed a blockade on the entire city in 1948 and sparked international crisis. Truman and his allies refused to give up control of their portion, and the Soviets ended their blockade the following year.
National Security Council
A group of foreign affairs advisers who work for the president, created due to fear of Soviet invasion or subterfuge after they detonated their first atomic bomb.
Central Intelligence Agency
Created to gather overseas intelligence that would inform American policy-making. It has also led covert operations in support of US foreign policy goals. During the Cold War it often undermined Soviet-allied and other leftist governments. IT helped overthrow the governments of Iran, Guatemala, and Chile, among other countries, and attempted to assassinate Fidel Castro.
During which the United States sided with the Nationalist government, led by Chiang Kai-shek, against Communist insurgents led by Mao Zedong. The civil war lasted 20 ears, and the Nationalists eventually lost despite massive amounts of American military aid. For decades afterwards, the US refused to recognize Mao's regime. Relations became normal after President Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to the country, notably the first president to visit it since it became communist.
Reconstruction of Japan
After World War II. Led by the US and the USSR. The former controlled Japan, the Pacific Islands as well as the southern half of Korea, while the latter controlled the northern half of Korea. US forced led by general Douglas MacArthur ensured that Japan demilitarized and wrote a democratic constitution. Japan also began an economic revival that would bring it remarkable prosperity within a few decades.
In 1949, this former State Department official was accused of spying for the Soviet Union. Although his guilt has never been proven, he served 44 months in prison for perjuring himself during the case. The trial launched the national career of then-congressman Richard Nixon when he appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee. It also fueled American fears of Soviet influence inside the United States.
Senator of Wisconsin who gained international prominence when he claimed to know of 205 communists who had infiltrated the State Department. His accusations, coming in the midst of the Cold War, stuck a chord with segments of the American public. He presided over numerous investigative hearings during the early 1950s, in the education and entertainment industries as well as the government, although he never uncovered any Communist agents. Eventually became discredited and condemned by the Senate.
Lists of suspected Communists that circulated during the Cold War. At the height of the McCarthy era during the early 1950s, these caused thousands of people to lose their jobs in government, education, entertainment, and other industries.
Edward R. Murrow
A respected radio and television journalist whose inquiries helped bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy. He is most famous for his program See It Now, which aired on CBS during the 1950s. Several of the program's broadcasts built a case against the Red Scare, culminating a famous broadcast aired on March 9th, 1954, which laid out a devastating case against McCarthy and contributed to a growing backlash against the senator.
Government Seizure of Coal Mines
1946. President Harry Truman ordered this when a strike led by the United Mine Workers could not be resolved. The strikers, fighting for basic rights, had temporarily cut off the energy supply to other industries, including auto plants and steel foundries. Truman's actions reflected the growing anti-union sentiment in the country. But labor, a key democratic constituency, was not pleased, and the Republicans took Congress in 1946.
President's Committee on Civil Rights
Established by Harry Truman in 1946 as part of his progressive civil rights agenda. The fifteen-member committee was tasked with investigating the state of civil rights in the US and issued a report recommending improvements. The 1948 report called for more aggressive anti-lynching las and an end to segregation and poll taxes.
Executive Order 9881
Issued by president Harry Truman in 1948. Ordered the desegregation of the Armed Forces. It built on an earlier order desegregating the federal work force. Truman has served as a soldier in World War I. His disgust at the discrimination faced by returning black World War II soldiers contributed to his decision to issue this.
Stepped onto the field as a Brooklyn Dodger in 1947. Became the first African American to play in Major League baseball. Previously, African Americans has been relegated to the Negro Leagues. His talent and character where undeniable, and his example helped desegregate Major League baseball and contributed to the growing civil rights movement.
Passed in 1947. Restricted labor's right to strike, prohibited "union only" work environments, prevented unions from using their funds for political purposes, and gave the government wide authority to intervene in and resolve strikes. Was passed over President Harry Truman's veto by a Republican-dominated Congress. Labor unions have pushed for its repeal for several decades, but the law remains in effect.
In 1950, Communist North Korea invaded US-backed South Korea. Operating under the umbrella of the United Nations, American troops attacked North Korea. China, hardly eager to have American troops on their border, eventually entered the war and pushed American and South Korean troops back to the original border between North and South Korea. Lasted until 1953, more than 30,000 American troops died.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Five-star US Army general who served as president from 1953 to 1961. Commanded Allied forced in World War II, then served as the first supreme commander of NATO. Running as a Republican, he easily beat challenger Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 election and again in 1956. His presidency was marked by moderate conservatism at home and a continuing emphasis on Soviet containment abroad.
Consensus of Values
In the 1950s, this reigned across much of America. Many Americans believed that the US was the best country in the world. A stable life with a suburban home, a good job, an access to modern conveniences were all considered highly desirable. To some, the 1950s was a golden era of American life. To others, it was a time of conformity and consumerism.
G.I. Bill of Rights
Passed by Congress in June 1944. Provided an allowance to veterans who chose to pursue a high school diploma or college degree. It also provided an allowance for living expenses. It fueled the growth of the middle class and also stimulated postwar economic growing by providing low-interest loans for veterans who wanted to buy a home or start a business.
Arose in reaction to what its members saw as the materialism and conformity of 1950s culture. Writers like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs challenges the values of suburban America by writing about rootlessness, drug use, sex, and alternative religions such as Eastern mysticism. The movement gained popularity among young people in the 1950s, just as young people in the 1960s would be attracted to hippie culture.
Interstate Highway System
Under Eisenhower, Congress authorized the creation of this, which comprises more than 41,000 miles of expressway across the US. It was partly designed to move soldiers and nuclear missiles around the country quickly, as maintaining military parity with the USSR was a key concern at the time. The new roads also sped up travel for citizens and fueled the development of American suburbs.
Residential areas, dominated by single-family homes, within a commuting distance of an urban center. After World War II, a booming economy fueled the growth of these across the United States. Planned communities like Levittown, New York, became famous for their mass-produced, cookie-cutter houses. In the 1960s and 1970s, racial tensions in urban areas sent many whites fleeing for these towns in a process known as "white flight."
Eisenhower's policy of 1953. An attempt to change federal policy toward Native Americans. The policy would have shut down reservations, ended federal support for tribes, and placed them under the jurisdiction of state law. Native Americans protested, convinced that the policy would deprive them of the little land they had left, and the plan was ultimately defeated.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
1954. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" and that schools must desegregate "with all deliberate speed." The ruling overturned the "separate but equal" standard in place since Plessy v. Ferguson. The case was brought by the NAACP on behalf of young Linda Brown. Her case was argued by Thurgood Marshall, who would later become the first African American Supreme Court justice.
Little Rock Nine
Nine African American students who tried to enroll in a high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. The governor called in the state National Guard to prevent them from enrolling. Eisenhower was reluctant to enforce the law, but the courts made him. Arkansas then closed all public high schools in Little Rock for two years.
Montgomery Bus Boycott
1955. Triggered by the arrest of Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man. African Americans' anger over Jim Crow laws fueled a year-long boycott of the city's buses. The boycott brought Martin Luther Kind Jr., a leading civil rights advocate, to national prominence as a result. A ruling by the Supreme Court ultimately resulted in the integration of city buses in this city and everywhere.
A civil rights activist whose 1955 refusal to give up a bus seat to a white man sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. At the time, a city ordinance required African Americans to sit in the back of the bus and surrender their seat to white passengers if asked. Civil rights activists used the publicity surrounding her arrest to fuel the year-long boycott. She stayed active in civil rights causes throughout her life.
Martin Luther King Jr.
An African-American pastor who led the nonviolent civil rights movement until his assassination in 1968. He first came to prominence for his role in organizing the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He later led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. During the 1963 March on Washington, he gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. in 1964, he became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1960, a group of African American college students in this town organized a sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter in a Woolworth's department store. By the fourth day of the sit-in, 300 students were participating. The resulting publicity, as well as the harassment suffered by the students, inspired similar actions across the nation. Several months after the strike, the Woolworth announced it would allow blacks and white to sit at its lunch counters.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
A civil rights organization founded after the Montgomery Bus Boycott and initially led by Martin Luther King Jr. The group coordinated much of the nonviolent resistance to segregation, including the 1963 March on Washington. King later broadened its focus to include a Poor People's Campaign, advocating against poverty and hunger. Civil Rights activist Ralph Abernathy led it after King's Death.
Southeast Asian Treaty Organization
A mutual defense society formed in 1954 to defend Southeast ASian countries, particularly South Vietnam, against Communist takeover. It was modeled after NATO, but had no standing forces. France, a member, continually blocked American efforts to get the organization militarily involved in the Vietnam War. Disbanded in 1977.
Under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the US continued to pursue containment policies against the Soviet Union, but it used this word rather than containment. The term carried the American hope that all of Eastern Europe would eventually be freed from Soviet influence.
A term coined by John Foster Dulles, secretary of state under Eisenhower, who favored an aggressive stance in the Cold War. The term referred to the nuclear attack the US would launch if the USSR overstepped its bounds.
A belief among Cold War hawks that simply knowing the US was prepared to use nuclear weapons would prevent the USSR from becoming too aggressive. If both countries knew they could face mutually assured destruction from the other, both would be eager to keep the peace. The policy fueled an American arms buildup that continued through the end of the Cold War.
Advanced beginning in the Eisenhower Administration, which argued that if one nation fell to communism, the nations around it would fall as well. This belief made even small countries militarily significant. It was used as a justification for American involvement in Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia.
An economic and political philosophy considered the diametric opposite of capitalism. It was developed by German philosopher Karl Marx. Under this philosophy, workers own the means of production and private property becomes communal property. It is meant to end the injustice of the class system, in which most of the wealth belongs to a small elite and most of the people have very little.
Led Russia from 1953 until 1964. The Eisenhower Administration hoped that new leadership might improve relations. He condemned totalitarianism and called for a "peaceful coexistence" between rival nations. But when the Soviet leader crushed rebellions in Poland and Hungary, US-USSR relations returned to their Stalin-Era levels. Under him, the USSR exploded its first hydrogen bomb and launched the first satellite into space, further heightening American anxieties.
The first Earth-orbiting satellite was successfully launched into space by the USSR in 1957. It was a major step towards space exploration, but it fueled American fears that the USSR was gaining technological superiority and winning the emerging "space race." The US poured money into scientific research as a result, creating NASA in 1958.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
A federal agency founded in 1958 to conduct non-military research into space and counter early Soviet victories in the "space race." In 1969, its Apollo program sent a spacecraft to the moon. Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human being to walk on the lunar surface. In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger broke apart shortly after takeoff, killing all seven astronauts on board.
Quemoy and Matsu
These islands were occupied by American-allied Taiwan in 1954, in what became known as the First Taiwan Strait Crisis. The Taiwanese used the islands to launch military raids on nearby China, prompting the communist Chinese government to bomb the islands. In response, Eisenhower hinted that he would consider attacking China with nuclear weapons. In the 1960 presidential campaign, President Kennedy argued that two small islands should not trigger a nuclear conflict.
Refers to countries in Africa, Asia, and South America that broke free of European domination following World War II. During the Cold War, the United States and the USSR competed for influence over these unaligned nations, which represented potential markets and sources of raw materials, as well as strategic locations for military bases.
A large infrastructure project launched near Egypt's nationalist leader Gamal Nasser in 1955. The US initially offered large amounts of aid to help build the dam. Both the US and the USSR were eager to win Nasser's favor, trading offers of aid and military support. The US withdrew its offer, irritated by Nasser's Cold War neutrality, and Nasser turned to the USSR for financial aid.
Announced by the president in a message to Congress on January 5, 1957. He promised that the US would provide military and economic aid to any country in the Middle East fighting communist take over. At the time the USSR was attempting to win over Arab leaders, particularly Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. It was put into practice in 1958, when US forces entered Lebanon to protect a pro-Western government.
As he prepared to leave office, President Eisenhower warned the nation about this, which has arisen around the Cold War. He claimed that the American military, along with arms industries that profited from continued conflict, created a powerful alliance with interests that did not correspond to those of the general public.
1960 Presidential Election
Pitted Vice President Richard NIcon against Massachusetts senator JFK. Both candidates were Cold War hawks who campaigned against the "Communist menace." Aided by his looks and charm, Kennedy trounced Nixon in their first televised debate. His choice of Texan Lyndon Johnson as a running mate helped win Southern votes. Nevertheless, JFK won the election by a narrow margin, and some believe voter fraud played a role.
The name the Kennedy Administration gave to its domestic programs to fight poverty, racism, and other social ills. It also included programs to improve American education, increase government aid to the elderly, and pull the American economy out of recession. The name connoted hope and renewal, and it accompanied a wave of optimism and adoration for the young president. Nevertheless, JFK had difficulty persuading Congress to adopt his agenda.
A governmental-run volunteer program that sends Americans abroad to participate in development projects in Third World countries. The program was signed into law in 1961 by JFK, who hoped it would counter negative perceptions of Americans abroad. By working to improve the quality of life in poor countries, American volunteers would also help prevent Soviet expansionism. Nearly 200,000 volunteers have served since the program's inception.
1953-1969. The period when the Supreme Court was led by liberal Chief Justice Earl Warren. During this time, the court contributed greatly to the civil rights movement, enforcing voting rights for African Americans and forcing states to redraw congressional districts so minorities would receive better representation. The Court also issued rulings prohibiting school prayer, guaranteeing a right to privacy and strengthening the rights afforded to criminal defendants.
Gideon v. Wainwright
1963. A landmark Supreme Court case that guaranteed defendants in felon trials the right to a free lawyer if they could not afford to pay one. It was one of a series of rulings issued by the liberal Warren Court that strengthened the rights of the accused. Following the ruling, many states expanded their public defender program.
Occurred in 1959, when Fidel Castro led a group of armed insurgents in overthrowing the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista. At the time, American businesses controlled Cuba's electricity and telephone service. They also owned more than three million acres of Cuban farmland. The resentment felt by many poor Cubans toward the governing elite led many to cheer this and to welcome the nationalization of American property.
Bay of Pigs Invasion
CIA-led attempt to overthrow Castro's government in Cuba. In April of 1961, Cuban exiles, with covert support from the CIA, landed in hopes of inspiring a revolution among the Cuban people. The invasion was poorly planned and poorly executed, and its failure caused a major embarrassment for JFK's new administration.
In 1961, the Soviets erected this, cutting off West Berlin from Soviet-controlled East Berlin. It was designed to prevent East Berliners from defecting to West Germany. Until its deconstruction in 1989, it symbolized the repressive nature of communism. JFK traveled there in 1963 to show solidarity to West Germans and notably delivered his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech.
Cuban Missile Crisis
1962. Caused panic among many Americans. It was the closest the US and USSR had come to nuclear confrontation. In October, American intelligence revealed Soviet missiles stationed in Cuba. Kennedy, concerned about Soviet weapons reaching US shores, imposed a naval quarantine and demanded the weapons be withdrawn. After 13 tense days, the Soviets agreed to remove the missiles after securing a US promise to not invade Cuba and a secret deal to remove US missiles from Turkey.
The Feminine Mystique
1963. Written by Betty Friedan, sparked the modern women's movement, which had largely lain dormant since the success of women's suffrage. Friedan wrote the book after conducting a survey of college graduates and identifying "the problem that has no name," aka the dissatisfaction felt by many women who stayed at home while their husbands worked. It openly challenged assumptions about a woman's role in society and quickly became a best seller.
Equal Pay Act
Enacted by Congress in 1963. Fought gender discrimination by requiring that men and women receive equal pay for equal work. Unfortunately, many employers circumvented the legislation, however, by changing the titles of available jobs.
1964. A campaign to register as many black voters as possible in Mississippi, a state with notoriously harsh Jim Crow laws. It was opposed by mainstream civil rights groups like the NAACP and led instead by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Many white volunteers traveled from outside Mississippi to join in-state volunteers, who were largely black. Volunteers were harassed and beaten, and three were murdered.
Free Speech Movement
Originated at the University of California-Berkeley. In 1964, Berkeley students protested a campus ban on antiwar and civil rights demonstrations. Several hundred students were arrested in one sit-in, and the university eventually loosened its restrictions. The movement was a precursor to the large anti-Vietnam War demonstrations that later rocked campuses across the country. In 1966, Ronald Reagan won the California governorship after promising to "clean up the mess in Berkeley."
A progressive political movement that originated on college campuses in the early 1960s. Groups like Students for a Democratic Society called for the elimination of poverty and racism and an end to the Vietnam War and other hawkish foreign policies. Unlike the old, which focused on labor and quality of life issues, this was more likely to advocated for peace and to stand against authoritarianism.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The most comprehensive piece of civil rights legislation in US history. It was first proposed by JFK. After his assassination, it was pushed through Congress by president Lyndon Johnson, not previously known as a civil rights champion. The bill prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, or gender and authorized the attorney general to ensure that voting registration requirements were enforced equally.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Established in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson to ensure that the employment clause of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was being carried out. Its mandate has expanded with the passage of new civil rights legislation. It now guards against workplace discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, religion, age, and disability.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
President Lyndon Johnson singed this shortly after his reelection. The law cracked down on states with racist voting restriction. It forbade the "literacy tests" that many states used to discourage blacks from voting. It also required states with a history of discriminatory practices to clear all changes to voting procedures with the Department of Justice.
The younger brother of JFK, under whom he served as attorney general. By 1968, he was a senator from New York and the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. He ran as an advocate for the poor, and he harshly criticized the war in Vietnam. In June, soon after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., he was assassinated, convincing many Americans that peaceful change was impossible.
Members of this in the 1960s, called hippies, rebelled against "the establishment." Hippies grew their hair long, took drugs, and advocated free love. They opposed racism and the Vietnam War. In short, they lived their lives in opposition to what they considered an oppressive mainstream culture. Their ideals and lifestyle were eventually adopted by mainstream America, as artists became popular and opposition to the Vietnam War spread.
War on Poverty
President Lyndon Johnson launched this after his landslide reelection victory. The ambitious domestic initiative included several programs, including Project Head Start which helped underprivileged children succeed in school, Upward Bound which did the same for high-school students, a Jobs Corp program offering training for the unskilled, and a domestic Peace Corps-type program called Vista. Johnson's initiatives, although initially popular, were eventually overshadowed by his unpopular support for the Vietnam War.
President Lyndon Johnson's ambitious domestic agenda was termed this. The legislation passed in 1965 and 1966 represented the most sweeping social legislation since the New Deal, Programs were funded by tax revenues from a quickly growing economy. While Johnson's programs were widely popular, conservatives objected to the growing size of government, and white Southerners protested his civil rights initiatives. Many liberal supporters later abandoned Johnson, angry over the escalation of the war in Vietnam.
US-government-run program that provides health insurance to the elderly. It was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 as part of his Great Society program to expand the social safety net and to reduce poverty.
Immigration Act on 1965
Contributed to the growing number of Hispanics and Asians in the US. The 2000 census revealed that Hispanics now outnumber African Americans as the largest minority group. The act relaxed restrictions on immigrants from non-European countries. It also gave special priority to skilled workers, political refugees, and people reuniting with family already inside the United States.
A Nation of Islam minister and a prominent black nationalist during the civil rights era. His philosophy is often contrasted to with Martin Luther King Jr. While King argued for nonviolent resistance, he urged blacks to stand up for their rights "by any means necessary." His autobiography is an essential document of the civil rights movement. He was assassinated in 1965.
Miranda v. Arizona
1966. The Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren ruled 5-4 that arrested suspects must be advised of their right to remain silent and to consult with a lawyer. If a law enforcement officer fails to advise a suspect of these rights, any information volunteered by the suspect is not admissible in court. The ruling led to the development of the warning named for the case, now a routine part of police procedure.
National Organization for Women
Founded in 1966 by Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, and other prominent feminists. It led the fight for legislation to address gender discrimination in the US, including the unsuccessful drive to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. It was also the first national organization to support the legalization of abortion.
Launched the modern gay rights movement. Took place on June 28, 1969, outside the Inn for which it is named, a gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village. A police raid on the bar prompted its patrons to protest violently on the streets. The public outburst and ensuing media attention drew attention to the oppression of homosexuals who, at the time, often faced discrimination and prosecution if they were open about their sexuality.
Vietnam was French colony from the late nineteenth century until World War II, when it was occupied by the Japanese. After the war, this nationalist resistance force led a military campaign that ended French hopes of reoccupying Vietnam and established two countries: North Vietnam led by communist Ho Chi Minh, and South Vietnam led by US-backed Ngo Dinh Diem
Ho Chi Minh
President of Communist North Vietnam fro its founding in 194 to his death in 1969. He was schooled in France and received CIA assistance during World War II. He later led Vietminh forced against French, and later, Japanese occupation. When Saigon fell, ending the Vietnam War the North Vietnamese renamed it after him in his honor.
Battle of Dien Bien Phu
1954. Was the decisive battle between the French army and the Vietminh forces fighting to free Vietnam from colonial control. The Vietminh surrounded the French near the town for which the battle is named in northwestern Vietnam. After two months of skirmishes, the French surrendered. Soon after that, the warring parties gathered in Switzerland to sign the Geneva Accords that ended the conflict and granted Vietnam its independence.
1954. Signed at the end of the conflict between the French army and the Vietminh. These agreements temporarily divided Vietnam at the 17th parallel. Ho Chi Minh's communist forces would control North Vietnam, while South Vietnam would be ruled by former emperor Bo Dai. It was agreed that elections would be held in two years to unite the country. This plan was later undermined by the US, which feared Minh's election.
Ngo Dinh Diem
President of South Vietnam from 1955 to 1963, and had the support of the US. Soon after his victory, he declared South Vietnam an autonomous country and refused to participate in the agreed-upon election to reunited North and South Vietnam. As president, he imprisoned thousands of communists, political dissidents, and monks. The unrest sparked by these actions undermined US confidence in him and led it to back a military coup.
During the Vietnam War, the Communist insurgents in South Vietnam were known as this. Some of them were indigenous to South Vietnam, others came down from North Vietnam. They led the Tet Offensive that attacked the US embassy in Saigon. It disbanded when North and South Vietnam were united under Communist control in 1976.
A nation that shares its eastern border with Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese passed weapons and soldiers through it to South Vietnam using the Ho Chi Minh Trail. As a result, the country became one of the most heavily bombed in the history of warfare, under constant attack by American airplanes.
Tonkin Gulf Resolution
1964. Enabled the US to escalate its military efforts in Southeast Asia. In August, reports emerged that two American destroyer ships were attacked by North Vietnamese in the waters for which this resolution is named. President Lyndon Johnson then persuaded Congress to pass the resolution, which allowed him to do whatever was necessary to protect American interests in the region. The resolution was the closest that Congress would come to declaring war in Vietnam.
This change on the Vietnam War occurred as the US essentially took over the military campaign from the South Vietnamese during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who flooded the region with American troops and authorized massive Air Force bombing raids into North Vietnam. When Richard Nixon became president, he attempted to reverse this trend by rebuilding the strength of the South Vietnamese army, in a process that became known as "Vietnamization."
A campaign launched by the North Vietnamese in January 1968. Working with the Vietcong, the North Vietnamese struck major blows against the American military and came close to capturing the American embassy in Saigon. Although the North Vietnamese eventually lost the upper hand, the battle changed American public opinion. Many Americans realized they were being lied to about the status of the Vietnam War and felt that the war was possibly not winnable.
My Lai Massacre
1968. American soldiers abused, tortured, and killed between 347 and 504 civilians in a small village in South Vietnam, including women, children, and the elderly. The story broke a year later, outraging the American public and helping turn public opinion against the war.
1968 Democratic Convention
Became infamous for the protests that accompanied it. Meeting in Chicago, delegates chose pro-war Vice President Hubert Humphrey as their standard bearer over the antiwar Eugene McCarthy and refused to condemn the Vietnam War. These moves alienated many on the left and fueled large and disruptive protests on the streets of Chicago, which were met with tear gas and billy clubs from the police. This was widely reported in the American media and police reminded the people of the police states which America supposedly fought against.
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