America's Involvement in the Vietnam War

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    Vietnam War

  • Vietnam Declares Independence

    Vietnam Declares Independence
    After Japan's surrender to the Allied forces in 1945 and losing control of Indochina, Vietnam leader, Ho Chi Minh, quickly declared Vitenam's independence. Ho Chi Minh even created a Decleration of Independence that closely resembled America's.
  • France Doesn't Recognize Vietnam as Independent

    France Doesn't Recognize Vietnam as Independent
    The French did not want to recognize Vietnam as independent, so they once again invaded Vietnam. French troops were able to drive the Vietminh forces into hiding in the coutnryside.
  • France Asks For Help

    France Asks For Help
    After invading Vietnam, the French set up a new Government so that Vietnam could not be independent. Vietminh forces then started fighting back and slowly taking over areas of the countryside. When fighting started to escalde, the French asked for help from the United States
  • Eisenhower Takes Office

    Eisenhower Takes Office
    Eisenhower is elected as President and takes office in January of 1953. Eisenhowe supported France, because he believed that after seeing China fall to Communism and the outbreak of the Korean War, Soviet Russia was trying to impose Communism on East Asia.
  • Eisnhower's Domino Theory

    Eisnhower's Domino Theory
    In 1954, the United States was paying about three-fourths of France's war debts. Eisenhower's reasoning for this was his domino theory, or the belief that if Vietnam fell to communism, so too would other nations of Southeast Asia. So if the spread of communism in Vietnam could be stopped, then it could stop it for the rest of Southeast Asia.
  • Dien Bien Phu

    Dien Bien Phu
    In 1954, France was losing the battle to the Vietminh guerillas, and soon they would completely lose. The French were ordered to take control of a city called Dien Bien Phu, and soon after taking it they were bombarded with shells. This convinced the French to make peace and withdraw from Indochina.
  • Geneva Accords

    Geneva Accords
    In hopes in ending the conflict, the Geneva Accords were held in Geneva, Switzerland. The Geneva Accords divided Vietnam along the 17th parallel, giving Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh control of North Vietnam, and a pro-Western regime control of the South.
  • Vietnam Elections

    Vietnam Elections
    Diem, the strongly anti-Communist leader of South Vietnam, refused to have a country-wide election for Vietnam. Dien knew that the Communist-controlled north would not allow genuinely free elections, so Ho Chi Minh would win. Eisenhower supported Diem, and when North and South Vietnam started having troubles, the United States got trapped right in the middle.
  • American Aid is Increased

    American Aid is Increased
    Soon after the conflict over the election, Ho Chi Minh organized a new army for Sout Vietnam called the Vietcong, or VC. President Eisenhower the stepped up the aid from the United States by sending over hundreds of advisors to train South Vietnamese troops.
  • Kennedy Takes Office

    Kennedy Takes Office
    After taking office in 1961, Kennedy continued the nation's policy on support for South Vietnam. From 1961-1963, the number of American troops in Vietnam increased from 2,000 to 15,000.
  • Overthrow of Diem

    Overthrow of Diem
    Diem brought on his own downfall by discriminating against Buddhism. Riots over this led to police killing 9 Buddhists and injuring 14 others, and also led to the famous picture of the Buddhist monk that set himself on fire in protest. Instead of being overthrown, Diem was executed on November 1, 1963, and just 3 weeks later Kennedy was assassinated.
  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

    Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
    On August 2, 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo bats were reported firing on two American destroyers in th eGulf of Tonkin. Johnson convinced Congress to allow the use of force to defend American forces, and on August 7, the Senate and House passed the Gulf of Tonkin Reolution, which authorized Johnson to "take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression." The president now had power over the war.
  • US Sends Troops/Operation Rolling Thunder

    US Sends Troops/Operation Rolling Thunder
    In February of 1965, American advisors were attacked by the Vietcong, leaving 7 dead and over 100 injured. In March of the same year, Johnson expanded American involvement by shifting his policy to sustained bombing campaign against North Vietnam. His campaign was called Operation Rolling Thunder.
  • Antiwar Movements

    Antiwar Movements
    The beginning of the antiwar movements began with teach-ins, in which students and faculty members at colleges would abandon their classes and discuss the war. These teach-ins were broadast over the radio for more than 100,000 antiwar demonstrators to hear.
  • American Troops Greatly Increase

    American Troops Greatly Increase
    After the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was signed, President Johnson had control over the war. Using this power, he began sending troops over to Vietnam, and in 1965 the number of troops in Vietnam was around 180,000. That number doubled by 1966.
  • US Uses New Tactics

    US Uses New Tactics
    The Vietcong knew they were lacking in firepower compared to the US, so they used a number of strategies to counter it. They began attacking in small waves, or guerillas, using ambushes, setting booby traps, and were even able to blend in with the general population then quickly vanish. To counter the Vietcong, the US started going on search-and-destroy missions, dropping napalm, and using Agent Orange.
  • Vietcong Refuse to Give Up

    Vietcong Refuse to Give Up
    US military officials underestimated the strength of the Vietcong and their willingness to keep coming back, no matter how many of their soldiers were killed by bombings or napalm. Many of the Vietcong troops were from South Vietnam, but they couldnt have fought without the provisions of North Vietnam. Bombings killed as many as 220,000 Vietcong troops and more than 6,700 American troops had been killed by the end of 1966.
  • Credibility Gap

    Credibility Gap
    General William Westmoreland, stationed in South Vietnam, reported that the, "eneemy's hopes are bonkrupt," and, "we have reached an important point where the end begins to come into view." This imformation was contradicted by the media because Vietnam was the first "television war" and these contradictions led to a credibility gap in the view of much of the public.
  • Anger at the Draft

    Anger at the Draft
    Many college students believed the draft system was unfair, and often times refused to go if called. An estimated 500,000 draftees refused to go, and many of them burned their draft cards, fled the country, or were even arrested. More than 3,300 Americans were prosecuted for refusing to serve.
  • Tet Offensive

    Tet Offensive
    On the Vietnamese New Year, known as Tet, the Vietcong and North Vietnamese launched a huge attack on all of America's airbases in Vietnam and most of South Vietnam's major cities and provincial capitals. After months of fighting the Vietcong were eventually repelled.
  • Tet Offensive Outcome

    Tet Offensive Outcome
    With the defeat of the Vietcong in Tet Offensive, General Westmoreland boasted that the Communists' "well-laid plans went afoul," and Johnson claimed the the enemy's effort was a "complete failure." In fact, it actually meant the exact opposite, because it proved that a country on the verge of defeat could launch a large-scale attack like that, and when Westmoreland asked for an additional 290,000 troops to add to the already 500,000 troops stationed in Vietnam, it seemed the US couldn't win.
  • Hawks and Doves

    Hawks and Doves
    A poll was taken to see whether the majority of people wanted to continue fighting or end the war ,and 53% of respondents favored stronger military action, while only 24% wanted to end the war. Those who were against the war were referred to as doves and those who wanted the US to keep fighting were referred to as hawks.
  • Nixon Wins Election

    Nixon Wins Election
    Nixon's campaign included a plan to get Americans out of Vietnam. He ended up beating his competitor, Hubert Humphrey, by a slim margin of 43 to 42% of the electoral votes.
  • The US Pulls Out of Vietnam

    The US Pulls Out of Vietnam
    Nixon began trying to negotiate with the President of South Vietnam, but the President wouldnt agree to anything that left North Vietnamese troops in the South. Nixon ordered B-52s to drop bombs on North Vietnam for 11 straight days in whats known as the Christmas Bombings. On January 27, 1973, the warring sides came to an agreement "eneding the war and restoring the peace in Vietnam."
  • Fall of Saigon

    Fall of Saigon
    Without the approval of Congress for funds to aid South Vietnam against the North Vietnamese ,the city of Saigon was captured. It was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.