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Week 13: End of Korea, Vietnam

by: Amy Brogan

Week 13: End of Korea, Vietnam HIST 2051-001

Marketplace > University of Cincinnati > History > HIST 2051-001 > Week 13 End of Korea Vietnam
Amy Brogan
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The final weeks of Korea through the Tet Offensive of Vietnam.
American Military History
James Streckfuss
Class Notes
Korea; Vietnam; North; South
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This 15 page Class Notes was uploaded by Amy Brogan on Thursday April 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 2051-001 at University of Cincinnati taught by James Streckfuss in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see American Military History in History at University of Cincinnati.


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Date Created: 04/07/16
Streckfuss Amy Brogan April 5 & 7, 2016 Week 13 – Korea and Vietnam End of Korean War  Chanjin/Chosin Reservoir (November 1950) o Truman’s Response  President Truman opposedMacArthur’s plan  TrumanremovedMacArthur from his position in April1951  The war hadreached a stalemate by the summer of 1951  The war became a hot button issue in election of 1952  Law comes into effect that limits the number of presidential terms to two or ten years (a nod to Truman’s president dying in office to make him president).  The Law wouldn’t havean effect on his term because he was already in office, but he chose not to run again  Stalemate th o Beginning January 225, LTG GeneralMatthew Ridgway(in command of US 8 Army) led UN forces in a slowadvance northward. They inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese and North Korean troopsand recaptured Seoul o Tensions increased between President Truman and GeneralMacArthur during this period and on April10, 1951, Trumanrelieved MacArthur of command. He wasreplaced by GeneralRidgeway o Casualties heavy on both sides o Fighting fell into a stalemate on the 38 parallel, right wherewe started  Election of 1952 o Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower o Democrat candidate Adlai Stevenson o Eisenhower promised to end the Korean war yet still resist the spread of Communism o Eisenhower credited with having won the war in Europe, good with public, several veterans still regard him as their commanding officer o Wins electoral college442-89  The Shooting War Ends o Eisenhower stayed true his word to end the war o Bombing raids increased by the US in North Korea inMay of1953 th o July 27 , 1953 an armistice wasagreed upon o The outcome of the war was he same dividing line before the start of the war, approximately around the 38 parallel o This is a predictable pattern for presidents coming in in a war. Presidents flex their muscles and promise to end the war, prove their credibility.  Armistice – July27, 1953 o Provided for a suspension of open hostilities and fixed a demilitarized zone to serve as a buffer between the North and South Korea that remains today o 38 parallel to serveas a buffer between Koreas. More landmines in the DMZ than any other place on the planet. Periodic militarytesting along the line to make the south nervous. o Korean war has never ended, onlyan armistice, not a peace treaty  Casualties o Approximately5 million people killed during the war (1950-1953) o More than34,000 Americans killed in action  2/3 less thanwhat we lost in Vietnam o 600,000 Chinese killed in action  China larger, so their population absorbs the loss better  The Hot and Cold War in Korea: Two Different Views? o “…if we lost the war to Communism inAsia, the fall of Europe is inevitable; win it and Europe would most probablyavoid war and yet preserve freedom. As you point out; we must win. There is no substitute for victory.” -General DouglasMacArthur letter to Honorable Joe Martin – 20 March1951  Not only transgression:  Word around Washington thought of himself as emperor of Japan and acted accordingly. Bylate 1940’s he was the only 5-star general on active duty, expected special treatment for it o Weren’tmany5 stars to begin with. Not awarded often. Only created a fifth star to keep American leaders up to level with European leaders? Possibly. o “In the simplest terms, what we are doing in Korea is this: Weare trying to prevent a third world war… the course we have been following is the one best calculated to avoid on all-out war.” - President Truman –11 April 1951 o “[the enemy] must by now be painfullyaware that the decision of the UN to depart from its tolerant effort to contain the war to the rea of Korea, through expansionof our military operations to his coastal areas and interior bases would doom Red China to the risk of imminentmilitary collapse.” MacArthur’sMarch24 “MilitaryAssessment” o “Military commandersmust be commanded by the policies and directives issued to them in the manner provided by our lawsand Constitution. In times of crisis, this consideration is particularly compelling.” – Truman’s release ofMacArthur from active duty – April 10, 1951  Tell us what you really think o “I fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the president. I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s notagainst the law for generals. If it was, half to three quarters of them would be in jail.” – Harry Truman  Consequences of the War o Defense pacts to contain communism o Buildup of conventional forces o Civilian control of the military reaffirmed o Theory of limited war introduced  Limit of war – we’re not alwaysgoing to go allout with declaration of congress, mobilization of all forces; need to look for a limited objective  Limited War o What is “limited” to us might not be to the other guy. Signals of resolve can be matched or exceeded o Limited wars can be painful and expensive 9Half a million UN/ROK dead) o Limited warswill test public support. There will be voices of dissent o Limited warsautomatically cut a superpower down to size Vietnam Borders onChina and North China Sea, strategicallylocated.  Phase 1: AWar of ColonialIndependence from the French o Vietnam had been a French colony under the name French Indochina (along with Cambodia and Laos) o “Geography is Destiny”  2 monsoon seasons, one in North and one in South  Pretty much all jungle  Key Questions o Why did we become involved inVietnam? o Who were we fighting? o Why did we fight the waywe did? o How did the war change over time? o Why did it turn out the way it did? (Whydid “We” lose and/or “They” win?) o What were/are the legacies of the war?  Themes in Vietnamese History o History can be said to be dominated by three themes: o Resistance against foreign domination o Territorial expansion to the South (Nam Tien) o Internal strife and conflict o Bonus: Role of geography  A Thousand Years ofChinese Rule o 100 BC – Han rulers sent army to conquer Nam Viet o BecameChinese provinces of Giao Che andCuuChan (Northand South Tonkin) o Chinese were on a “civilizing”mission o Allowed some local rule, but seized land for Chinese immigrants o Viets resisted Chinese rule  Several revolts against the Chinese and their attempt to civilize them. Resulted in guerilla warfare where some workedand others didn’t o T’ang dynasty began to slide by 10 century  “Nam Tien” o In addition to establishing the government structure, Le Thanh Tong also built a excellent standing army of200,000 soldiers o Champa Ruins o Khmer Ruins  French Invasion o European powers competing for colonial power, mostly between English and French o Da Nang expedition, 1857-58 o Seizure of Saigon, 17 February 1859 o Fall of Cochin-China, 1860-69 o Annexation of Cambodia, 1863 o Conquest of Tonkin and Annexation of Laos, 1873-93  The Vietnam War Timeline o 1950-1954: US support of French during 1 Indochina War o 1954-1956: cooperative advisory effort with French o 1956-1964: earlyUS advisory period o 1965-1967: US buildup o 1968: TetOffensive o 1969-1973: US withdrawal o 1973-1975: Fall of South Vietnam  Background o Vietnam began to fight for its independence from France during WWII (When France was preoccupied with European conflict) o Vietnamese revolutionary leader was Ho ChiMinh, a Communist  Ho ChiMinh tried to plead his case at the end of WWI, but the French and the British were too greedy togive him full control. If they had given him rule then, Vietnam may have been avoided  He wanted to be the leader of an independent, communist Vietnam; Ho received support from both the USSR and “Red” China o Who is HoChi Minh?  Nationalist first and a Communist second  Evidence that Ho had been a communist since1920, attended the Communturn in 1922, accepted the idea that Moscow the world leader in communist movement. Not a communist at Paris Peace treaty.  If he had gotten his way in Paris, the switch may not have happened  Japanese were winning in Asia, but Ho believed that the Allies would prevail so he wanted to ally himself with them and perhaps berewarded with independence, signs an agreement with France in hopes for freedom signing off 25,000 troops to help in the war for next five years  War Termination Indochina, 1945 o 9 March – Japanese seize control of Vietnam from French o 7 August – Tran Trong Kim installed by Japanese o 16 August – Vietminh march into Hanoi o 2 September – Ho ChiMinh declares Democratic republic of Vietnam o 12 September – British arrive to take Japanese surrender o 21 September – British General Gracey declares martial law o 24 September – FrenchGeneral LeClercand French occupation troops arrive in Saigon  Sequence of Events o 6 March - Agreement to permit DVR to be a free and independent member of the French Union o d’Argenlieu underminesMarchagreement o 18 April – Ho meets with French representatives at Da Lat o 31 May – Ho travels to France to find a better place for Vietnam in the FrenchUnion o 20 October – no accommodation reached; Ho returns to Vietnam  First Indochina War 1946-1949  First Vietnam War 1946-1949 o Viet Minh withdraw to reorganize, equip, and prepare for operations  Viet Minh priors to VietCong o French launch Operation Lea, Oct-Dec 1947  15,000 French under General Etienne Valluy  Objective area north and east of Hanoi to Chinese border  Viet Minh sustain9,500 casualties o French close to victory by late 1949 o 1949 – The Year of Shocks  September – Soviets explode atom bomb  Fall - China becomes communist o US Involvement  May1, 1950 – Truman signed bill authorizing $10M in military aid for French Veitnam  July, 1950 –Melby-ErskineMission  September 1950 –Military AssistanceAdvisoryGroup Indochina (MAAG-I) established  December 1950 - Penta-LateralAgreement signed  By end of 1952 –US underwriting 40% of the cost of the war in Indochina  By end of 1954 –US underwriting 80% of war cost  From local conflict to broader war against communism  Battle of Dien Bien Phu – March 13-May8, 1954 o French are important to us in Europe. Epicenter of cold War is Europe, participation by the French Military iscritical to contain communism to present borders in Europe. IF we wanted to keep their help, we had to help them hold their colonies in Asia o They respond by sending 12 battalions to a village called Dien Bien Phu out on the Laotian Border  Pulled troops out of areas where they were concentrated to empower other places  Fighting a situation exactly to wha we will do when US joins against HoChiMhin  French also fighting revolution in Nigeria; limit to how much they could spread their forces o This colonial war raged from 1946-54, culminating in the French defeat at Deinbeinphu o France decided it wanted out and called a peace conference in Geneva, Switzerland (attended by France, Vietnam, US, and the USSR) o Decision of the conference was to partition Vietnam into a communist North led yHo and a “democratic” South Vietnam led by Ngo Dinh Diem o Aftermath: French wanted out  French: 1784 KIA, 11000 captured  Viet Minh:8000 KIA, 12000 WIA  Peace conference – Geneva Accords, 21 July1954 th  Vietnam dividedat 17 parallel  Elections to be held in two years  300 daysallowed for free movement between North and South  French depart Hanoi on 9 October 1954  Viet Minh formally take over Hanoi andNorth Vietnam on 11 October 1954  Operation “Passage to Freedom”  900,000 people move from North to South  900,000 Vietminhand supportersmove North  About 5,000 Vietminh left in the South to act as cadre in reunification failed  French write 4 volumes of “Lessons learned” – but we make the samemistakes  The Domino Theory o “You have a row of dominoes set up; you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is that it will go over very quickly. So you have the beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.” -President DwightD. Eisenhower, 7 April 1954; on the impending fall ofVietnam toCommunism  Idea that communism isan evil force out to conquer the world all in this little speech and why we have to watch the small battles in remote parts of the world o What does this mean for US policy in Southeast Asia?  US Involvement o Politically: provide support for Government of Ngo DinhDiem  We support diplomatically someone who is not the kind of person we should be, a dictator and corrupt person wo does not have the best interest of his people in mind, much less out own. He collaborated with the Japanese in WWII, Catholic when most of country was Buddhist, he is willing to do anything necessary to hang onto at least the south and hopefully the rest of the country as well.  Idea that reunite Vietnam, election down the road. Diem cancels the election, and we support it. Weagree to go against to our democratic policies because we knew we would lose to the communist o Militarily: buildmilitary capability of republic of Vietnam’sarmed forces  The early Advisory Effort o US Military Assistance Program (MAP) December 1954 o LTG John “IronMike”O’Daniel assigned asChief of MAAG – January 1955  MilitaryAssistance Advisory Program o TRIM established – Feb 1955 o French Expeditionary Corps departs – April1956 o Start of the 700 that would be there by the end of Eisenhower administration o Tasked with increasing the abilities of the Vietnamese military tactics and then turn them loose but never send in Americans. MAAG had to be coordinated with French. o Training program with Vietnamese command and procedures. Training and organization, but no active combat o Staff advise Vietnamese general staff, group of advisor worked with subordinate training leaders (schools and the like) o French starting to dial back, and US being toadd more  MilitaryAssistance AdvisoryGroup –Vietnam o Objectives  Create anarmy and supporting forces by 1 January1956  Establish follow-through programs to increase andmaintain the efficiency of the force o Has this ever worked?  Problems with South Vietnamese Military, 1956 o Colonial heritage of Vietnamese National Army o Motivation questionable o Organized in small units o Lack of Senior command experience o Politicized senior officer ranks o Only rudimentary logistics structure o Officer rankswere severely politicized and army was rife with corruption  Building the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces o Seeds are there o Mission: From Vietnamese National Army, build:  Navy  Air Force  Army  7 infantry divisions  4 armor battalions  An airborne brigade  A marine group o What kind of army?  At the time: provide internal security, block attacks from North, and one occasionally fight defense at the border  Looked like ours – but not one appropriate to the situation  Vietnam was totally aguerilla war, not large set-piece battles, small instances in the jungle, traditional battlefield army not one that will work well.  Field divisions mirroredUS Army infantrydivision  Organized and equipped to combat conventional invasion from North Vietnam  Not trained or equipped for counter-insurgency operations Thursday  Problems Throughout the War o In spite of ongoing escalation throughout the 1960’s, the US experienced a lack of success against the Vietnamese guerilla forces in S. Vietnam (the Vietcong) as theUS Armywas unprepared for their tactics andmentality o The US was also never entirely successful in shutting down the Ho ChiMinh Trail, a supply line that ran between North and South Vietnam via difficult jungle terrain, often underground and through neighboring nations likeCambodia  US Response to Insurgencyin Vietnam (1957-63) o Advisors (More) o Special Forces o Air Support o Strategic Hamlets o Green Berets  Viet Cong Insurgency o Hanoi leadership decides to turn to force of arms to reunite Vietnams o Assassinations and other terrorist acts on the increase o 26 September 59:2 Liberation Battalionambushes 23 ARVN Div o 17 January 60: VC uprising in Ben Tre o 26 January 60: VC overrun Trang Sup o Infiltrators flow into the South from North Vietnam to fightas replacements with VC o December 60: National Liberation Front established in the South  By Late 1962 –Military Situation o ARVN still plagued by:  Poor leadership (especially at the senior levels)  Lack of aggressiveness  Corruption  Politics  Losing to VietCong o Armyis rife with corruption, neck deep in local politics, and not as effective to Viet Cong o 11,000 troops inVietnam; but no impact on capabilities on S. Vietnam forces o 500 civiliansassassinated by Viet Cong  JFK and Diem o 4 July63: South Vietnamese generalsinform CIA that they are contemplating coup o JFK and advisors debate what to do o General agreement that situation wasn’t going to improve, so they agreed to look the other way  Diem and Nhuassassinated 1-2 November 1963 o Is it permissible for us to approve of assassinations of military leaders? o Ought to avoid being involve in it  Kennedy assassinated in Dallas o 22 November 1963 o Early conspiracy theory: retribution for Diem assassination a short time before o What would Kennedy have done inVietnam had he not been killed?  American Military Personnel (End of year) 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 US Military 875 3,164 11,326 16,263 23,310 Personnel Deaths from NA 1 31 77 137 Hostile action USAF sorties NA NA 2,334 6,929 5,362 flown US aircraft lost to hostile action Fixed-wing NA NA 7 14 30 Helicopters NA NA 4 9 22 Johnson’s War  Situation in Vietnam 1963-64 o 21 December 63:McNamara memo to LBJ o 30 January 64: General Khan overthrows Big Minh o 3-7 February 64: VC attack Central Highlands, Mekong Delta, and Saigon o 17 March 64: LBJ approvesNASM 288  Johnson signed 288 to send message to Henoi that we were serious to keep involvement o 6 June 64: RF-8 shot down over Laos o 20 June64:GenWilliam C. Westmoreland replaces HarkinsasCOMUSMACV o 23 June64:Maxwell D. Taylor replaces Lodge asAmbassador to RVN  What is the Gulf of Tonkin Incident? August 1964 o Official Record:  2 August: VC attack Maddox  4 August: VC attack Maddoxand C. Turner Joy? (Did this really happen?)  5 August: Operation PIERCE ARROW  7 August: Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed o Attacks at night, visibility was low, what happened if it did happen? Did LBJ makeup what happened? Similar occurrence to 1840’s with American Mexicanwar with journalists and yellow-journalism o Pierce Arrow:64 planes launched againstViet Cong and oil stores. Maxwell justified it o Resolution passed to enable to respond to this attack, congressgave him blanket authority to control  Escalation Late 1964 o 15 August 64: Politburo ordersmain force PAVN units south o 11 October 64: VC attack TayNinh o 31 Oct-1 Nov64:VC attackBlen Hoa AFB  1964 Presidential Election – Johnston vs. Goldwater (R) o Johnson had to run for election, only briefly touches on Vietnam, but not vigorousanti- war movement just yet. Johnston promised not to send American boys where Asian boys should be doing the job themselves. o Goldwater viewed asextreme, thought that he couldn’t be trusted with nuclear launch codes. Johnston ran daisy cutter adsagainstGoldwater o Johnston wins in monumental landslide. Johnston viewed having inherited presidency from Murder of Kennedy. Resulted in democratic majority in congress  Back inVietnam o 12 November 64:VC launch major attack inBinh Tuy Province o 24 December 64: VC attack Brinks BOQ in Saigon  BachelorsOfficers Quarters (BOQ) o 28December 64:VC inflict major defeat on ARVNat BinhGia o South is unstable, army is weak, andViet Cong growing stronger  National Strategy o Guns andButter  Protect Great Society programs  Expand draft, but no major call up of reserves  Lack of candor with the news media and public concerning military commitment in SE Asia o “Out of Country” – graduated escalation throughairpower o “In Country” – troop buildup and logistic expansion o This is the same flexile response developed in Europe at beginning of ColdWar tonot escalate everything on a nuclear level o Ignored unity of purpose or consensuses on war policy  Didn’t really work for American buy-in in the public, Vietnam ismostly hidden from them  US Response Early1965 o 24 December 64:Operation BARRELROLL o 1 January65:Vietnam declared a combat zone o 7 February 65: Operation FLAMING DART o 2 March65:ROLLING THUNDER begins  on and off bombing of Hanoi  Off to give them opportunity to surrender  March 1965 o To protect airfields o Enclave strategy– range sufficient to reserve enclaves o 8-9 March:3 Marines land near D Nang th o 9 MarineBrigade HQ established atDa Nang o 1 Marine Air Wing deployed from Okinawa and Japan  Situation in Vietnam – Summer 1965 o Viability of South Vietnam in question  Government by coup d’ eat  Regimes ofminh, Khan, Khlem et al, short-lived and inept  Militarysituation critical  ARVN losing – incapable of stopping the VC o North Vietnamese troopsmoving down Ho ChiMinh Trail in units  Us Response – Sumer 1965 o 6 April: NSAM 328 approved– authorized offensive combat operations; initiated buildup of own momentum  Asked for 17 battalions, this eventually went up to 44 th o May4 Marines landat Chu Lai o May:173 AbnBde commences combat operations in War Zone D  Abn Bde – Airborne Brigade nd st st st o 1 July65:2 Brigade, 1 Infantry Division, and1 Brigade, 101 Abn Div deploy toRVN o August 65: 1 CalvaryDiv begins deployment to RVN o Brigades rendered inoperative due to losses  Battle of the La Drang Valley o 14-18 November 1965 o Validated airmobile concept and attribution strategy (according to Westmoreland) o North Vietnamese learned they could stand a fight own if they choose, could negate American technologies o Westmoreland learned they could kill enemy in large numbers – used this to claim advancement in the war, becomesa problem as the media focuses more on the war b/c people stopped believing the numbers, joke that the general would send 4 lieutenants. They would all come back with count of 100 dead, times 4 was 400 dead. If we are killing all these guys, whyaren’t we winning?Why are they still able to fight?  North used the number to try to get US to abandon the war  Westmorland’s strategy o Two-fold approach started by Harkins: pacification and attrition, but withmost emphasis on attrition o Attrition (focused on PAVN andVC Main forces) o Unceasing search for set-piece battle o Massive use of firepower o Leave local security and he insurgents to the ARVN andRF/PF o “We’ll just keep bleeding them until Hani wakes up to the fact that have bled their country to the point of national disaster for generations.”  GeneralWilliam C. Westmoreland, COMUSMACV  Same as bleeding French white at Verdun (Didn’t work, either time)  Three Stages of RevolutionaryWar Theoryand Practice – Vietnam o Phase I – organization, consolidation, and Preservation of Base Areas o Phase II – progressive expansion andattacks on isolated enemy units o Phase III – decision or destruction of the enemy in battle o Mao – Defensive, Equilibrium, Counteroffensive  We had a similar plan toChinses ruler  Strategy of RevolutionaryWar o Total war uses allfacets of power  Military, political, diplomatic, economic, and psychological  We were not at total war, but the North was o Total unity of effort  They had unity of effort, we never had that here o Protracted war (exhaust the enemy’s will to continue) o Gain andkeep the initiative o Move in and out of phases a required  Fighting the War o Dang Lao DongViet Nam – Vietnamese Worker’sParty o Mat tran Dan tocGiaiphongMien Nam Viet – Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF) o Quan DoiGiaiPhong – People’s Liberation Armed Forces (Viet Cong) o Quan DoiNhanDanViet Nam – People’s Army ofVietnam (North Vietnamese Army)  Ho ChiMinh Trail – Truong SonCorridor o Construction began in1959 –50,000 builders, protective soldiers, and engineers, included 50 weighstations, 3-month trek top to bottom o Major supply line for communist forces in South Vietnam o Network of trails that expanded continuously to 12,000+ miles o Footpaths grew to trails, trails to roads, roadsto multi-lane paved highways o Size of PAVN forces operating and securing the trailgrew o Enabled the North Vietnamese to conducts a protected struggle in South Vietnam  America TakesCharge o Late 1965-67  Oct 65: 1 Inf Div arrives in RVN rd th  Dec 65:3 Bde, 25 Inf Divarrives  Jan-Feb 66: 1 Marine Div deployed from CampPendleton  April 66: res of 25 Inf Div arrives  Sept 66: 11 Ar Cav Regt deploys to RVN  Nov 66:199 Lt Inf Bde deploys to RVN  Dec 66:9 Inf Div deploys to RVN from Fort Lewis th  Oct 67: 198 Lt inf Bde arrives in RVN  Dec 67:11 LtInf Bde deployed to RVN from HI o Sending more andmore units abroad into the Vietnam theater o Combat operations 1965-1967  Measurements of success: nation building, numbers of enemy killed, number of sorties flown, bragged about umber of leaflets dropped o Problems  Emphasis on “body count”results in bloody war of attrition  Could clear, but not hold the land  “firebase psychosis”  Individual replacement policy inhibits unit cohesion  Political restrictions  Casualtiesmounting o “Search and Destroy”  14 September-24 November 66:Operation ATTLEBORO  Largest operation to that date in the war  8-26 January 67:Operation CEDAR FALLS  Roaming patrols o find asmany enemies as possible to kill asmany enemies as possible  Claimed that Viet Cong had suffered 3,000 casualties and that we had destroyed larger base camp o The “Other War” (Winning the Hearts andMinds)  Left to south Vietnamese till Tet Offensive  US role instituted in 1967 under supervision of Robert Komer  “Blowtorch Bob”  Included personnel and resources from militaryservices, State Department, USAID, USIS, andCIA  Unified civil-military advisory teams in 250 districts and 44 provinces  Civil operations andrevolutionary development support  Included solders from all branches, unified civilmilitaryadvisory teams  Phoenix Program: largelya CIA operation to infiltrate Viet Cong and torture prisoners for information  CORDS:Civil Operations andRevolutionary Development Support  The Fighting Escalates o Level of combat kept getting more intense o April-May 67: Khe Sanh Hill Battles (Hill 881) o September 67: Siege ofCon Thien o October 67: Battle of Loc Ninh and Song Be o November 67: Battle of Dak To  Political Situation o Increasing military commitments/rising casualties o Waning enthusiasm at home/growth of anti-war movement o Television and Press becoming more hostile o McNamara becomes disillusioned o Public held Johnston responsible for lack of success, approval numberswent down before election of 68 o Situation According toGeneralWestmoreland  “With 1968 a new phase is now starting…We have reachedan important point where the end begins to come into view.” – at NationalPressClub, Washington DC 21 Nov 1967  “The concept [of his way of conducting the war] is comparable with the evolution of the war since our military commitment [began] and portrays to the American people ‘some lightat the end of the tunnel’” – at Breifing to MACV Staff; Saigon, late 1967  “I hope they try something, because we are looking for a fight.”  Willing to chance small operations and opportunity to strike command to spark a general uprising and then end the war in a single blow; everything changes in 68  Sees things differently that American public in general, thinks war can be won  GeneralOffensive o Thousands of soldiers start coming down Trail armed with AK-47s; by end of 67 the people’s army ofVietnam and N. Vietnam total 230 infantryand safer battalions o Tong Cong Kich-Tong Khi Nghia 1968  GeneralOffensive-General Uprising, 1968  Objectives:  Ignite a general uprising of the South Vietnamese people  Shatter the South Vietnamese Army  Topple the Saigon regime  Convince the Americans that the war was unwinnable st  Main effort starts the 31 o Tet 1968: The Attack  Key target was newly finished US Embassy  21 January: Khe Sanh besieged by North Vietnamese forces  30 January: attack begins;NVA andVC achieve temporary control of 10 province capitals  31 January: the attacks in Hue and Saigon  15 VC sappersattack US Embassy  5 VC/NVAbattalions attack Saigon (Cho Lon)  4 NVA battalionsand 6 VC battalions attack Hue  The offensive was supposed to start launch 31 January, but there were a set of premature attacks that precede the rest of the attacks by 24 hours  Loss for Communists  MilitaryResults:  Casualties: o US Losses = 1,001 KIA o Allied Losses: 313 FWMFKIA;2,082 RVNAF KIA o People’s liberation Army and PAVN: 40,000+ KIA o 14,300 South Vietnamese civilians killed  All VC/PAVNattacks turned back  ARVN acquit themselves well  VC virtually eliminated as a viable fighting force in most of South Vietnam  Training these people for 8-9 years, war had been about guerilla war till now, but this was a traditional fight so they did better  Public Opinion o With the American people 23%said we were losing, 38%said we were standing still, 33% said we weremaking progress, and 6% had no opinion (Gallup Poll, Feb 1968) o Westmorelandasks for more troops, loses political face. Johnston barely hangingon to defeat Gene McCarthy in primaries  McCarthyregarded asa lefty, not the communist witch hunter, running on Anti- war platform, one issue candidate, almost takesJohnston down. PromptsBobby Kennedy to get into the race, broader race of support, considered anti-war but also support out of African American communityand Hispanic community, generally regarded as a stronger candidate thanMcCarthy. His entryand Johnston’s losing numbersconvinced Johnston to not pursue nomination o Media’srole  The war definably turned against the US in1968, when the NVA’sGeneralGiap began the Tet Offensive, a surprise offensive on a major Vietnamese holiday that saw attacksall over the country, including in Saigon itself  Ongoing US casualties and losses saw an increase in antiwar sentiment on the American Home Front, in large part becauseVietnam was TV War where audiences saw the brutality of the war first hand  First war brought home visually every single night, news commentators more active against the war  South Vietnamese officer publically executing a man in front of the news camera, no judge or jury or trial  Americans using chemical weapons and massacring civilians  Massacre atMyLai  Usage of Napalm and Agent Orange, which devastated the environment  Public stopped believing what the government told them  Increasingly the American people came to perceive the “Credibility Gap”, ie they no longer believed that LBJwas telling the truth about events in the war  1968: Johnston no longer trusted, Johnston steps down and chooses not to run for president  Nixon lost in 1960 and1962 and “you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” but changesmind and stages a comeback in68 o Elected on a platform of “Peace with Honor” o Political Aftermath  RFK assassinated after winning CA primary  August: Democratic NationalConvention in Chicago  Humphry acritic of the war privately, but because he was inthe Cabinet he was for the war in public – wins democratic nomination  Anti-war movement feeling let down. Their chance wassnatched away from them (Kennedy), so the anti-war movement marched to Chicago. Mayor Daleywas proud of his city and had strongest control since Al Capone and was going to showcase his city to the world at the conference. He told police department to control it the coming crowd. Police department attacked the people and they were filmed rioting against protestors. Convention finishes up, traditional post-convention bump to nominees, Humphry doesn’t get this because of riots outside the convention hall. Takes him a while to come back, Humphry gains 1.5%each week and probably would have one if the campaignwas a week longer, loses to Nixon. Half a million difference in public votes


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