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Objectives TLW… 1. Explain the reasons for the escalation of the Vietnam War. 2. Describe the military tactics and weapons used by U. S. forces and the Vietcong.
PRESIDENT JOHNSON • LBJ won the November 1964 election by promising the American people he was “not about to send American boys 9 or 10, 000 miles away to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves. ” • However by March of 1965 LBJ will use the Tonkin Gulf Resolution to begin sending U. S. troops to Vietnam. 180, 000 sent by end of 1965.
ROBERT MCNAMARA • Secretary of Defense Mc. Namara worked closely with LBJ and suggested the use of “Operation Rolling Thunder” and sending combat troops into South Vietnam even though he did not believe either would work unless we established a stable and secure government in South Vietnam.
PROBLEMS WITHIN THE WHITE HOUSE • Members of LBJ’s cabinet in the White House all openly disagreed on what to do about the war in Vietnam. • The disagreements not only created bigger disagreements within Congress but it made the White House and all other politicians look incompetent. • The military also openly disagreed with the war tactics and decisions used by the White House. • Discontent spread within the White House – Congress-Military-American People.
CREDIBILITY GAP 1) Vietnam became known as the “living room war” because the media was (specifically TV) showing nightly combat footage. 2) The U. S. government kept telling the American people that “VC surrender was imminent. ” However the media was telling a different story. 3) Credibility Gap=Public distrust of statements made by the government.
GENERAL WESTMORELAND • General Westmoreland was in charge of the Vietnam War. • Highly decorated officer from WWII and Korean War. • Requested U. S. combat troops to be sent to support the incompetent “Army of the Republic of Vietnam” (ARVNSouth Vietnamese Army). Received 500, 000 by 1967. • Thought the U. S. could break the morale of the Vietcong by racking up a high body count total. Claimed the U. S. never lost a battle.
Partner Up: Use your technology to fill out the chart: Vietcong Fighting Tactics What is it? Effective? Why or why not? U. S. Fighting Tactics Bouncing Betties U. S. firepower and technology Toe Poppers Strategic Hamlet Program Punji Stake Pit Search and Destroy Punji Bear Trap Large Scale Bombings Non-Explosive Trips Wires Helicopters Explosive Trip Wires Zippo Raids Tunnels Attrition “Hanging onto the belts” Vietcong Napalm and Agent Orange
Partner UP 1. Why did Americans fail to win the “hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese? 2. Why did the Americans lose the Vietnam War?
Vietcong Tactics • "The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue. “ • The imaginative use of booby-traps by the NVA and VC caused many casualties amongst their opponents. Between January 1965 and June 1970, 11% of the fatalities and 17% of the wounds among U. S. Army troops were caused by booby traps and mines. To give one historical example, Charlie Company of the First Battalion, 20 th Infantry sustained over 40% casualties in 32 days. They scarcely saw the enemy and took the casualties mainly from booby-traps and snipers. The effect on morale was such that these losses in men and the fact that they included virtually all of the experienced NCO's was said to have been more than partly responsible for the My Lai massacre that occurred.
SEARCH AND DESTROY • The Vietcong lived among the people so the U. S. wanted to win the civilians over so the VC would not have any where to hide. • The U. S. started conducting “Search and Destroy” missions to uproot civilians who had suspected ties to the VC. • Livestock was killed, crops destroyed, and villages burned down. • “We had to destroy their town in order to save it. ”
The Battle for “Hearts and Minds” • Napalm-gas bomb dropped from airplanes to set fire to the jungle (40, 000 tons used in the Vietnam War). • Agent Orange-toxic leaf killing chemical sprayed from airplanes. Found to cause cancer and birth defects. • South Vietnamese civilians turned against the U. S.
Effects of Agent Orange
VIDEO CLIP: WE WERE SOLDIERS 1: 34
9 year old Kim Phuk was burned by American Napalm. She suffered 3 rd degree burns and endured 17 grueling operations.
VIETCONG TUNNELS 1) The Vietcong used guerilla warfare fighting tactics to frustrate the Americans. Most VC stayed in the tunnels during the day but came out at night to attack the U. S. soldiers. 2) The VC used elaborate tunnels to connect villages throughout the country side. 3) They also used the tunnels to withstand air strikes and to launch surprise attacks and then disappear quickly. 4) The VC also laced the terrain with booby traps and land mines. 5) Today 3. 5 million mines remain active in Vietnam, causing 160 civilian casualties each month.
Review 1) What executive power did President Johnson use to send troops into Vietnam without declaring war? 2) Why was the Vietnam war referred to as the “living room war”? 3) How did General Westmoreland try to break the morale of the Vietcong? Why didn’t it work? 4) What effect did the “search and destroy” missions have on the civilians of South Vietnam?