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Did the US Manage to Contain the Spread of Communism?
Terms in this set (33)
What did Senator Joseph McCarthy do to contain Communism in the US?
Led a 'witch hunt' from 1950-54 to find Communist sympathizers
The Korean War: What drove the US to help South Korea?
President Truman had heard that Stalin was using Cominform to help Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, the Philipines and Korea.
Truman perceived this as a conspiracy and feared that there would be a "domino effect" of Communist countries in Asia.
To make sure this didn't happen, Truman sent American troops to South Korea.
What did the Americans do to void China from becoming Communist? Why?
They pumped $2 bil in aid to China to support the Nationalists from 1946-1949.
They saw China as their mainstay in East Asia.
1) What was the state of the Korean War by September 1950?
2) What did Truman do in response?
1) The bitter hostility between Kim Il Sung (N. Korean Soviet-trained leader) and Syngman Rhee (S. Korean President) had broken out into war.
North Korean troops had taken all of south Korean except for Pusan, a small corner in the south-east.
2) Truman sent advisors, supplies and warships to S. Korea. UN Forces also went to Inchon to help the South Koreans.
He asked the UN Security Council to condemn North Korean actions and request for them to withdraw from S. Korea. This did not work as the USSR was boycotting the UN at the time as the US blocked Communist China's entry to the UN.
Describe the state of the Korean War by...
1) October 1950
2) January 1951
3) July 1953
1) October '50: S. Korean/UN Forces/US Troops had driven driven the North Koreans advanced past the 38th parallel, almost as far as to River Yalu in China. Truman and General MacArthur were trying to drive communism out of Korea entirely.
2) January 1951: The Chinese/N. Korean/Societ armies advanced past the 38th parallel, passing Inchon when 200,000 Chinese troops joined the war.
3) July 1953: The S. Korean/UN Forces/US Troops advanced to the 38th parallel where fighting reached a stalemate. An Armistice was signed.
Describe the conflict between MacArthur and Truman about the Korean war.
MacArthur wished to invade China however Truman thought helping South Korea was good enough as he feared going to war with China.
MacArthur threatened an attack on China on March 1951 contrary to UN instructions and he was removed from his position as commander a month later.
What were SEATO and CENTO?
Who set them up?
How did the USSR feel about SEATO and CENTO?
SEATO (South East Asian Treaty Organization) and CENTO (Central European Treaty Organization) were anti-Communist alliances set up by Dulles, US Secretary of State in 1954 and '55 respectively.
The USSR saw the alliances as passive aggressive. They felt threatened by them and accused the US of trying to encircle the Communist world.
The Warsaw Pact
- Set up in May 1955 between the USSR and Eastern European countries to rival NATO (anti-Communist alliances)
- military treaty
- bound its signatories to come to the aid of the others, should any one of them be the victim of foreign aggression.
Coexistence: What happened during this period? 1950s and early '60s
Stalin died in 1053, leaving Khrushchev was the new Soviet leader. He spoke of co-existence rather than conflict between the US and USSR.
However some of his behavior did not convince American leaders that he was genuine about coexistence.
1956: food price protests in Poland - Red Army went into Poland to restore order
1956: Hungarian uprising where 30,000 Hungarian lives were lost bc of the Red Army
1961: Berlin Wall was set up. Trespassers were shot down.
Arms Race Timeline (I don't think this is ultra important but its good for referencing)
August 1945: US drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 70,000 innocent civilians instantly.
Aug 1949: USSR created first atomic bomb
Nov 1952: US creates the first hydrogen or H bomb (1000x more powerful than the atomic bomb)
Aug 1953: USSR detonates its own H bomb.
July 1956: US develops U2 plane to spy on the USSR Societ development
Oct 1957: USSR develops an IBCM
Oct 1957: USSR launches Sputnik satellite to orbit around the Earth
Jan 1958: US puts satellite into orbit
April 1961: Yuri Gagarin from the USSR becomes the first man in space)
Oct 1962: USSR develops the most power H bomb ever
Oct 1962: Cuban Missile Crisis
August 5 1963: USA and USSR sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in Moscow, agreeing to end nuclear weapon testing.
What did MAD stand for?
Mutually Assured Destruction: no superpower would strike first as they knew an attack would not only kill their enemy but themselves.
Bay of Pigs
april 1961: 1200 cuban exiles were trained and supported by the American government to invade and overthrow Castro, the Cuban Communist Leader. They misunderstood the strength of the Cuban army and the popularity of Castro.
- 100 exiles were killed and the other 1100 were captured.
- exiles were not heavily armed nor well trained.
- did not have an American army as a backup.
This drove Cuba to the USSR and ended up making Castro even more popular.
The Vienna Summit
- President Kennedy and Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev met at the Vienna Summit for two days in 1961
- Khrushchev to believed that Kennedy would be passive if the USSR were to put missiles in Cuba as Kennedy was young and inexperienced
- Kennedy was advised not to discuss idealogical issues but he did so and Khrushchev left the Vienna Summit triumphed
Causes of the Cuban Missile Crisis (2 causes)
1. US-Soviet Relations
- Khrushchev thought Kennedy was weak
- Vienna Summit had been a failure as the leaders had basically agreed to disagree
- both had enough missiles to blow each other up.
- USSR did not like that the US had missiles in Turkey.
2. US-Castro Relations and Cuban-Soviet Friendships
- Castro was aware of US attempts to oust him since he came to power in 1969
e.g. Bay of Pigs 1961, Caribbean Island Invasion to overthrow "Ortsac" (Castro spelled backwards) 1962.
- USSR treated Cuba like a friend: offered to trade with Cuba
- led Cuba to turn to the USSR for protection from the US.
The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962
Tues Oct 14: US spy plane flying over Cuba photographs USSR missile sites in Cuba
Sat Oct 20: Kennedy decides to blockade Cuba
Mon Oct 22: Kennedy announce blockade and calls on USSR to withdraw missiles
Tues Oct 23: Kennedy receives a letter from Khrushchev saying the Soviet ships will not observe the blockade. He does not admit to the presence of ships in Cuba
Wed Oct 24: Blockade begins. Soviet missile-carrying ships approach the 500 mile blockade zone. At 10:32 am the 20 closest ships stop or turn around.
Thu Oct 25: aerial photography reveals work in missile bases in Cuba is proceeding rapidly
Fri Oct 26: Kennedy receives a long personal letter from Khrushchev claiming the missiles are defensive and admitting to the presence of the missiles
Sat Oct 27: Khrushchev sends a second letter saying the USSR will remove the missiles if the US does the same from Turkey. Kennedy does not accept.
A US U2 plane is shot down and the pilot is killed. Kennedy threatens an attack on the USSR if they do not withdraw.
Sun Oct 28: USSR agrees to draw out the missiles on the condition that the US draws out the missiles in Turkey within the span of 6 months so nobody suspects that they had an agreement.
Why did Kennedy choose to set up a blockade?
Kennedy had several ideas on how to react to the Cuban Missile Crisis:
1.) do nothing: it would have looked passive.
- Khrushchev already thought Kennedy was weak
2.) send send surgical air attacks to destroy the missiles: could not send a surgical air attack as although the missiles would be destroyed, it would most likely result in war.
- the USSR could send undamaged missiles to the US.
- if any Soviet soldiers were killed, the USSR had an excuse to retaliate.
3) order the American soldiers to invade Cuba as they were equipped to invade.
- Kennedy decided against this since the Soviet army was equally ready to fight.
4) ask the UN to get involved
- If he had done so, although it would have helped to avoid conflict, this would have resulted in the US backing down. - Kennedy could not afford to be passive at the time as his reputation with Khrushchev was at stake. He could not be seen as a weak president.
Why did the USSR put missiles in Cuba?
1. to bargain with the US: If Khrushchev was asked to remove the missiles, he could agree to remove them in return for some American concessions
2. to trap the US into a nuclear war
3. to defend Cuba
4. to test the US/Kennedy's strength
5. to get on the upper hand in the arms race
Foundations of the Vietnam War
- Vietnam was part of French Indo-China: Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia
- WWII: France was invaded by the Nazis and since they were allied with Japan, Japan took over Indo-China.
- A resistance movement against Japanese led by communist Ho Chi Min
- When the French came back Ho Chi Min led another resistance movement, which led to the division of Vietnam
The Vietnam War:
The Geneva Accord 1954
The French were unable to defeat communists
- split Vietnam
- in 1956 free elections would be held and the country be unified
The Vietnam War:
Who was Ngo Dinh Diem and why did the Americans help him?
What did the Americans do to help?
What happened to him?
Ngo Dinh Diem was supported by America
- took over South Vietnam created the Republic of Vietnam and canceled the 1956 elections
- Americans pumped $1.6 billion into his regime
- Ngo Dinh Diem appointed family members in powers of position. He had little respect for people of lower classes and Buddhists.
The US was concerned that communism would spread to Southeast Asia (domino effect).
Kennedy sent American "military advisors" to help train the South Vietnamese army, the ARVN, but quickly realized that the Diem region was unsalvageable.
Ngo Dinh Diem was assassinated by his own army (which was supported by the Americans)
- Successive government was no better, "Uncle Ho" was increasingly becoming the people's choice.
How did people react to the oppressive policies in South Vietnam?
Thích Quảng Đức, aged 65 at the time, performed a self-immolation. He sat in the Lotus position, on fire for 10 minutes unmoved, whilst others around him screamed and shrieked for help
- Ngo Dinh Diem thought it was a conspiracy by western media
Why did the US get involved with Vietnam?
China had fallen to communism in 1949, and America had fought in Korea in 1950-53 to contain the spread of communism.
2. Domino Theory
Americans believed that, if South Vietnam fell, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand - and then Burma and India - would follow.
3. ARVN's weakness
It was obvious the South Vietnamese or ARVN could not resist communist infiltration by the Vietcong without help.
US advisers believed that good government and an efficient, large-scale war would defeat the Vietcong.
4. The US was attacked
The North Vietnamese had attacked the USS Maddox in August 1964, and then killed US soldiers in February 1965.
February 1965: President Johnson ordered Operation Rolling Thunder - a massive bombing campaign against North Vietnam.
He sent 500,000 US troops by 1969 to fight in Vietnam.
US Tactics in Vietnam
- US troops not cut out to deal with the environment and guerrilla warfare
- war of attrition
- Americans fought a high-tech war: b52 bombers, artillery, helicopters, and defoliants (agent orange)
- They killed many innocent civilians and failed to stop Vietcong guerrillas
- they forced peasants to leave vietcong controlled areas and made them live in defended strategic hamlets in loyal areas. They created immense opposition and allowed Vietcong infiltration into loyal areas.
- ambushed US patrols
- booby traps and landmines,
- planting bombs in towns.
- mingled in with the peasants, wearing ordinary clothes: the Americans couldn't identify who the enemy was.
Vietnam War: THE TET OFFENSIVE
1) What happened?
2) Why was it a turning point?
1968 during the Tet New Year holiday (fighting had come to a halt during previous Tet New Year holidays)
- Viet Cong fighters attacked over 100 cities and other military targets
- Viet Cong reached as far as the US embassy in Saigon (US troops held them off into getting into the building)
- 4500 fighters tied down a much larger force of US and South Vietnamese forces for two days
- Lyndon B Johnson told the American people on national TV that he was reducing air-raids on North Vietnam and intended to seek a negotiated peace.
2) Why was it a turning point?
- It shook the self confidence of the US public - they knew they would not win the war. They had been told by the government and military that they were doing well in Vietnam; clearly they were not.
- First time the NLF (N. Vietnam army) took part in open battle
Vietnam War: Agent Orange
Operation Ranch Hand: Agent Orange was a dioxin that left terrible chromosomal defects to vietnamese children that is still effecting it today. It destroyed 5 mil acres of forest land in Vietnam.
The My Lai Massacre
- Troops under Lieutenant William Calley killed at least 450 men, women and children in the village of My Lai while on a search-and-destroy mission
- No Vietcong were found in the village
- The My Lai massacre was kept quiet at first, but former -soldiers began talking about it
- The atrocity intensified the divisions between war and supporters and opponents in the US
- Calley was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison; he was paroled in 1974
The Pentagon Papers
- A collection of secret gov documents that traced the history of the US military involvement in Vietnam since Truman years
- Revealed the gov officials had been misleading the American people about the war for years
- Daniel Ellsberg leaked the papers to the press in June 1971
- Ellsberg originally supported the war, but then concluded that few South Vietnamese civilians supported the US-backed government
Describe the US strategy of achieving "peace with honor" through the end of the Vietnam war:
1) Vietnamization of the War
2) Laos and Cambodia: What happened and how did the US react?
1) Vietnamization of the War
- turning fighting over to the South Vietnamese and withdrawing US troops; thinking it would give the South Vietnamese time
- Americans were still asking for immediate leave, rather than the gradual leave that was occurring.
2) Laos and Cambodia
- Nixon was secretly expanding the war
- Ordered the bombing of Cambodia to disrupt the Ho Chi Minh trail
- Concealed the air strikes from the Americans — including members of congress
- Sent US and ARVN troops into Cambodia and into Laos to destroy North Vietnamese army bases
- Renewed bombing of North Vietnam, hoping force North Vietnam to seek peace
- In 1970 Nixon announced that he had ordered troops into Cambodia
- Antiwar protests intensified - especially with college students; and erupted into violence
- Radical antiwar groups turned to violent measures to oppose the war
- More and more Americans began to protest when they learned about My Lai and the Pentagon Papers
Vietnam War: Anti-War Protests in the US
- Kent State in Ohio: 4 students killed, 9 injured
- Jackson State College Mississippi: 2 students killed, 9 injured
- Polls showed that 50% of americans opposed the war
- Coalition of clergy, trade unionists, and veterans established a nationwide day of protest called Moratorium Day
- 250,000 protesters made up the largest anti-war demonstration in history
- Some antiwar groups turned to violent measures
- The Weathermen set off more than 5,000 bombs and carried out the Days of Rage
Why did US involvement in Vietnam end?
1. George McGovern was a senator from South Dakota who criticized the war and insisted the Vietnam War be brought to an immediate end
2. 26th Amendment lowered voting age from 21 to 18 which meant that students (large portion of war protesters) could vote in the 1972 elections
- Nixon stressed law and order at home telling voters he would end the war
- Kissinger announced a breakthrough in peace talks just weeks before the election
- The announcement helped Nixon win by a landslide
Peace Agreements between the US and N. & S. Vietnam
- Nixon tried to force Vietnam to make peace concessions by ordering a so called Christmas bombing which failed
- Officials from North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the US reached an agreement in Jan 1973
- the US agreed to withdraw all its troops and help rebuild Vietnam.
- Both sides agreed to release all prisoners of war
- The agreement did not settle the political future of South Vietnam
Describe the legacy of the Vietnam War
1) Southeast Asia
3) Political Impact
1) Southeast Asia
- 635,000 South Vietnamese dead, 1 mil Vietcong & NVA war dead
- Severe environmental damage from bombs and defoliants
- More than 1.5 mil South Vietnamese fled the country after the fall of Saigon
- 58,000 Americans killed
- 600 were held was Prisoners of War
- 2500 soldiers reported MIA
- 304,000 wounded
- Many returned disabled or paralyzed
- Exposed to dangerous chemicals and developed cancer and other diseases
- Did not receive warm celebration when returned home
- Some have trouble adjusting to civilian life (PTSD)
- Children of veterans left overseas
3) Political Impact
- US failed to prevent Communists from taking over South Vietnam
- Spent more than 150 bil on war (= to 600bil today)
- Changed how Americans viewed government
- Congress passed War Powers Act 1973
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