The Vietnam War
Terms in this set (100)
Which empire was Vietnam part of before it was occupied by Japan in WW2?
The French Empire
When was Japan defeated, and Vietnam returned to the French?
When did Ho Chi Minh declare Vietnam's independence?
What was the result of Ho Chin Minh declaring Vietnam independent?
A war began between the French and the supporters of Ho Chi Minh
How much money did Truman give to support the French against the Ho Chi Minh supporters?
Why did Truman give money to help the French against Vietnam?
Because America was afraid of the spread of Communism
What was the outcome of the war between the French and the Ho Chi Minh supporters?
In 1954, the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu and agreed to a peace conference.
What was agreed at the Geneva peace conference following the French defeat?
- Vietnam temporarily divided in two along the 17th parallel
- North, communist, Ho Chi Minh
- South, Ngo Dinh Diem, an anti-communist Catholic politician
- General election in 1956 for the whole of Vietnam to decide its future
Why did America support South Vietnam after the war?
Because they were afraid it would fall to Communism - The domino theory
How much money did America give to South Vietnam between 1954 and 1960?
How did the US support South Vietnam after the defeat?
- They sent US military advisers in 1954 to help 'prepare' for elections in 1956
- Backed Diem's refusal to hold elections in case Communists won
Why did Diem's government become so unpopular?
Because it was very corrupt:
- Leading socialists, communists, journalists and trade unionists were arrested and Buddhists were excluded from top government positions
- Traditionally elected councils in villages replaced with Saigon officials
Why was the National Liberation Front set up?
As an opposition to Diem
What was the National Liberation Front?
An army made in opposition to Diem and soon controlled parts of the countryside in South Vietnam
Who supported and gave supplies to the NLF?
Ho Chi Minh
What are the National Liberation front also known as?
How many members were there of the NLF/Vietcong by 1961?
How did the USA try and counter the Vietcongs influence in the South?
- Military advisers: 11,000 buy 1962, training the South Vietnamese Army, ARVN
- Strategic Hamlets: Moving occupants of VC controlled villages to ones controlled by the ARVN
Why was the Strategic Hamlets policy unsuccessful?
Many South Vietnamese resented having to move and so increased support for the Vietcong
Why did Diem lose the USA's support?
His anti-Buddhist policy. He imprisoned and killed hundreds of Buddhists who he claimed were helping the Communists. Some Buddhist monks burned themselves in protest
How and when did Diem die?
November 1963 - He was shot by his army generals
When did the first US troops land in Vietnam?
How many US troops were in Vietnam by 1969?
Why did the Vietcong use Guerrilla tactics?
Because they knew they had no hope against the US in open battle
What was Guerrilla Warfare?
Hit-and-run tactics against a more powerful enemy, in terms of weapons. When the Vietcong soldiers came out of hiding, attacked US equipment and personnel and rapidly retreated.
How did the Vietcong gain support of the people of South Vietnam?
By befriending them and portraying the Americans as foreign invaders
When was Kennedy president?
Who was president after Kennedy?
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)
What caused the US to deploy ground troops to Vietnam in 1964?
The Gulf of Tonkin Incident
What was the Gulf of Tonkin Incident?
- 2nd of August 1964: USS Maddox was attacked by North Vietnam
- Two days later, more attacks on USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy REPORTED but no proof
- President Johnson announced attacks and made them out to be very serious and take action to appear tough
- Gave Johnson political and public support for taking further action in Vietnam
What was the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution?
It was passed by Congress and allowed for Johnson to use 'all necessary steps' to 'prevent further aggression'
When were the second attacks on the USS Maddox & Turner Joy revealed to not necessarily have happened and what was the public reponse?
The late 1960s, and the public thought they'd been tricked into a war
When were the Guerrilla Tactics used?
What were the main features of the Vietcong's Guerrilla Tactics?
- Jungle: Good hiding, booby traps, killed many US soldiers
- Most supported VC, hid in villages
- Thousands of KMs of underground tunnels & shelters
- Supplied by North via the Ho Chi Minh trail
Who supplied the Vietcong through the Ho Chi Minh trail?
North Vietnam and other communist countries such as China and the USSR
How many tonnes of supplies were given to the North each day to help fight the USA?
At least 6,000 tonnes
What was Operation Rolling Thunder and when did it run?
March 1965 to 1968
Bombing campaigns designed to destroy roads, railways and VC bases, and especially the Ho Chi Minh trail
What was Search and Destroy?
A tactic used to try and flush the Vietcong out of the countryside. They landed helicopters close to suspected VC villages and attacked hopefully before they could arm themselves
Why was Search and Destroy unsuccessful?
Vietcong soldiers were hard to spot, so innocent people were sometimes interrogated or killed making the US unpopular.
What was Agent Orange?
Defoliant, destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest and crops. Caused cancer and birth defects, affected both peasants and US soldiers
What was Napalm?
A chemical which contained chemicals, petrol and phosphorous that burned skin to the bone
Why were the use of chemical weapons so unsuccessful?
- Turned world opinion against US for being so inhumane
- Made more of the South Vietnam population turn against US and to the Vietcong
What was Hearts and Minds?
The US provided free health care, improved roads and built schools in order to win over the South Vietnamese people.
Why didn't Hearts and Minds work mainly in rural areas?
It had some success in towns and cities, but in the countryside the Vietcong had more influence and many people had already been affected badly by the US' search and destroy missions and chemical weapons.
When was the My Lai massacre?
What did the My Lai Massacre start off as?
A search and destroy mission
How many civilians died in the My Lai Massacre?
Over 300 unarmed civilians including women and children
When did the US public find out about the My Lai Massacre?
Autumn 1969, when it was revealed by the media
What was the reaction from the American public about the My Lai Massacre?
They were shocked and revolted to learn how innocent civilians had been so brutally murdered. It turned the US public opinion against the war.
Who were the US forces under command of when they entered My Lai?
Lieutenant William Calley.
Were many Americans in favor of the Vietnam war?
No, many were opposed from the beginning
What type of war was the Vietnam war the first of?
First televised, colour and fully reported war
What did the coverage of the war increase?
What was the verdict of Lieutenant William Calley's trial?
He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released in 1974
How did the public react to Calley's guilty verdict?
- 79% disagreed with the verdict
- 81% believed that the life sentence Calley had received was too stern
- Indiana's governor asked all state flags to be flown at half-staff for Calley
What was some peoples view on the amount of money being spent on Vietnam?
- Too much, could have been spent financing Johnsons promised reforms
- Opposition grew after tax increase in 1967
When was the protest movement in the USA?
What were some of the protests made in opposition to the war?
- Burning of draft cards or some simply refused, both criminal offences
- Raiding draft-board offices and burning all their records (draft cards sent from these offices), two Catholic priests imprisoned for involvement
- Protest marches & Demonstrations: 1967, Johnson publicly criticised as war criminal
- Vietnam Veterans march, over 300,000 involved by 1961
When did Johnson say he wouldn't stand for re-election and who was voted in?
1968, and Nixon who promised to end the war
When were the Fulbright Hearings?
How did students protest against the war?
- Usually peaceful in campuses or nearby towns or cities
- Went on strike in their universities
- Burned draft papers
- Disrupted transport used for moving troops and army supplies
When were the Kent State University protests?
What caused violence to break out in the Kent State University protests?
The Governor of Ohio used the National Guard to deal with protests which angered students and led to violence
What did the National Guard use against the students?
Tear Gas, and when they didn't disperse they opened fire
How many students died at the Kent State university shootings?
4 died, 9 injured
What were the Fulbright Hearings?
A series of hearings organised by Senator Fulbright investigating the war, aiming to find ways to end it
What happened at the Fulbright Hearings?
People gave evidence and more and more information came out about the inhumane behavior of US troops in Vietnam, My Lai not isolated and such behavior had been encouraged by military leadership
What was the effect of the Fulbright Hearings?
To raise questions at an official government level about the purpose of US involvement in Vietnam
When was the Tet offensive?
What was the Tet Offensive?
Surprise attack by the Vietcong and NVA during Tet (New Year)
How many cities did they attack?
36 cities, and they reached Saigon where they briefly held the US embassy
How many Vietcong troops attacked in the Tet Offensive?
What did the NVA and Vietcong hope would happen as they moved through the South, attacking the US?
That the South Vietnamese people would join them when they saw that they could force the US out, but they didn't support the attack
What was the result of the Tet offensive on the Vietcong and America/American attitudes?
- Suffered heavy losses, almost completely destroyed
- Took the US by surprise, held the Embassy etc, made the US look weaker to the public
- American opinion turning against the war
- In some ways a military victory for the US, General Westmoreland believed the US could soon 'finish the job'
What did General Westmoreland request that was very unpopular with the public?
He believed the US could soon finish the job and so requested 200,000 extra soldiers however this was very unpopular with the public because the majority wanted the war to be over
When did talks in Paris begin and end?
They begun in 1968 and ended in 1973
Why did Nixon decide to start bombing the North, Laos and Cambodia?
Because the peace process was very slow and so he bombed them to force peace talks
What did the US and North Vietnam want which meant they disagreed?
The US wanted South Vietnam to be independent whereas the North wanted a united communist country
Why did Nixon begin to bomb Laos and Cambodia?
Because the North was still supplying the Vietcong along the Ho Chi Minh trail which went through Laos and Cambodia and so he wanted to try and destroy it
When did US troops enter Cambodia and why?
They entered in 1970 with the goal of destroying the Ho Chi Minh trail
How many US troops did Nixon send to Cambodia in 1970?
Where did Nixon renew bombing attacks on in 1971 and 1972 and why?
North Vietnam, to destroy roads, ports, rails and cities. His goal was to slow down the progress of the invasion from the North which was happening with the help of Soviet tanks in 1972
Who was the North getting help from in 1972?
They were getting help from the Soviets through Soviet Tanks
What was the result of the bombings on North Vietnam?
It made both sides realise that a military solution wasn't imminent and so the North agreed to resume talks in Paris
When did the North Vietnamese agree to resume peace talks in Paris?
Why did the North Vietnamese government seem to be in no hurry to conduct peace talks or remove troops from South Vietnam?
Because they believed the anti-war protests in the US and military spending cuts would mean that Nixon would soon be forced to make peace
When were the initial Paris Peace Talks?
1968 under President Johnson
When were the Paris Peace Accords signed?
27th of January 1973
What were the four key agreements at the Paris Peace Talks?
- The NVA could stay in the areas of South Vietnam that they controlled
- All US prisoners of war would be released
- All US armed forces would leave Vietnam
- Elections would be held in the future to decide if Vietnam became united or not
When had all US troops left Vietnam by?
April 1973, only US advisers remained
What position were the North Vietnamese in after the US troops had all left?
A good position to finish their conquest of South Vietnam
Why was North Vietnam keen to reach a deal in 1973?
- The US had improved relations with China and the USSR, North Vietnam's allies, and they encouraged North Vietnam to make peace
- The USAs renewed bombings in 1972 made them keen for the US to leave
- The North Vietnamese government wanted an opportunity to recover and rebuild and then do a final assault on South Vietnam
Why was the USA keen to reach a deal in 1973?
- The war was becoming increasingly unpopular with the American public
- The war was hard to finance after Congress had cut military spending
- It seemed the war would drag on for a long time
What was Americas position with South Vietnam in 1974?
By 1974, all the troops had left and and Congress had stopped all financial help to them as well, and so South Vietnam was left to defend itself
What was the Fall of Saigon?
When the North Vietnamese attacked South Vietnam and took over many major cities. In April 1975, Saigon fell to communism
What happened to the remaining US ambassadors?
A helicopter landed on the roof of the embassy and took them away, it was broadcast on TV and many Americans watching felt that it was an embarrassment to their country
Why did the North Vietnamese manage to take over South Vietnam so easily?
Because South Vietnam was left to defend itself after the Americans had left and it was weak and disorganized when they attacked
When was the Fall of Saigon?
The invasion began in 1975 and Saigon fell to Communism in April 1975
How many Vietnamese had died in the war overall?
Nearly 4 million
How many US troops were injured and killed in the war?
57,000 US troops had died and over 300,000 wounded
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