Week 6 Class Notes - Vietnam War
Week 6 Class Notes - Vietnam War
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Johanna Murphy on Thursday February 12, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to a course at a university taught by a professor in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 138 views.
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Date Created: 02/12/15
Hist 352 US in the 1960s Class Notes 21015 and 21215 The Vietnam War Part 1 Effects of the War 0 Ended up as the most unpopular and divisive war in American history 0 Effectively ended Lyndon Johnson s career and split the Democratic Party apart 0 In 1968 there were riots outside of the National Democratic Convention 0 Until Vietnam Americans had widespread faith in the government After faith in the government and political process was shattered 0 People also lost faith in the idea that America s global presence was benevolent 0 US had always denied that it had any imperial ambitions and that it was only protecting and advancing democracy worldwide John Kerry 0 Returned from Vietnam and became a leader of a group of Vietnamese veterans opposing the war 0 Believed that nothing happening in South Vietnam could possibly threaten America 2 Interpretations of the Cold War o The Consensus o The official policy of the US government 0 Entire purpose of the both the Cold War and Vietnam War was to defend freedom and democracy against Communist threat 0 US Empire in the Era of Decolonization o The Cold War was not cold but was a series of civil and antiimperial wars of liberation in Vietnam and elsewhere 0 US military intervention signaled a new kind of empire even as the US denied any imperial ambitions o All US presidents defended the Consensus Policy regardless of political leanings US Cold War Policy 0 Containment o Preservation of nonCommunist governments friendly to the US 0 Domino Theory 0 Made every small country potentially decisive in the global balance of power 0 Each country that became Communist would have a domino effect on others 0 World War 11 lessons about Appeasement o Illustrated the terrible danger of making concessions in order to avoid con ict 0 Associated with Neville Chamberlain British politician who believed that if Hitler was given part of Europe he would be satisfied and a war could be avoided o The central lesson of our time is that appetite for power is never satisfied Holding the Line 0 North and South Vietnam were partitioned in 1954 0 After the country was divided the US would not support national elections for fear that the country would be united under a Communist regime 0 Vietnamese nationalists wanted independent government of their own 0 Vietnam had been a French colony until 1954 o The US promised to provide aid to South Vietnam which was friendly to America The American War 0 19541975 according to Vietnamese who see war as beginning once they gained independence from France o By 1963 the US had 11000 advisors in South Vietnam helping to build the economy and military 0 August 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident and Resolution 0 The American destroyer USS Maddox was fired on in the Gulf of Tonkin o Lyndon Johnson claimed the attack was part of a deliberate campaign of aggression 0 After the Resolution which justified the use of force in Vietnam thousands of troops were sent over 0 Congress never officially declared war 0 By the end of 1965 there were 260000 troops in Vietnam 0 Reached a peak of almost 550000 in 1968 0 US began the war with Rolling Thunder huge bombing campaign 0 Quagmire o The Tet Offensive a military strike from the North Vietnamese reached the American Embassy in Saigon o In 1968 Johnson decided not to seek reelection o Nixon ran on a platform of ending the war then actually expanded it once he was in office 0 Secret bombing invasions of Cambodia in 1970 Laos in 1971 0 Full withdrawal occurred in April 1975 Credibility Gaps and the End of Consensus 0 Pictures and videos showed the war s brutality o Pentagon Papers documents from department of defense supposed to be top secret exposed the gap in what the leaders were doing and what they were telling the people 0 The New York Times started publishing them 0 There was a lawsuit but the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the NY Times 0 After the US evacuated the country immediately united under communism o Exactly what the war had been trying to prevent The Working Class War 0 Average soldier was young man age 19 from poor or workingclass neighborhood 0 At the time weren t old enough to vote 0 College students could defer from the draft 0 Rationale to keep enough skilled workers in the US 0 Gave incentive for more students to go to college 0 Transformed colleges and universities into havens for the antiwar movement 0 Workingclass anger at the middleclass antiwar movement was often about class con ict not about the war itself 0 Many antiwar activists organized near military bases 0 Some were opposed to the war because it sucked money out of welfare programs Part 2 Lecture by Chris Appy author of Working Class War Interviews with Soldiers o All veterans could identify the difference between how policymakers were talking about the war and how they experienced it o Realized that South Vietnam was more of a police state than a democracy 0 Vietnamese saw soldiers more as invaders than liberators o Plenty of aggression from the US bombings though policymakers claimed that they were freeing Vietnam from northern aggression 0 Most US leaders had little faith that the US could actually accomplish their goals in Vietnam 0 Belief that American withdrawal would ruin America s reputation o 23 million Vietnamese civilian casualties 0 Most bombings occurred in South Vietnam 0 Most bombed country in world history 0 4 million tons were dropped on the South as opposed to 1 million in the North US Policy 0 1954 Vietnam was temporarily divided and in 1956 there was supposed to be an election about reuniting the country o The election didn t happen because it was certain that Ho Chi Minh and the Communist party would win 0 US chose not to allow elections instead try to create a permanent nonCommunist state 0 South Vietnamese government never had the popular backing of the people 0 US helped to build South Vietnamese military 0 Vietnamese history and tradition honors people who fight against foreign invaders so most were opposed to US presence Vietnamese PostWar 0 At least as many Vietnamese died trying to escape Vietnam after the war as Americans who died in the war 0 boat people would cram lots of people into tiny boats and go out into the sea trying to get to a refugee camp somewhere 0 Unknown how many drowned 0 Reeducation camps South Vietnamese who had sided with the Americans were put in labor camps 0 Economic policies of the Communist party didn t work 0 Officially still run by the Communist party but currently open to trade with the US Lessons of the Vietnam War 0 When going into the Iraq war policymakers knew that the American people wouldn t tolerate a long drawnout war with massive casualties 0 Powell Documents the US should only engage in war if 0 It is the last resort diplomacy has failed 0 There is broad public and international support 0 National security is at stake 0 We have a military strategy 0 We have an exit strategy if the war fails 0 We have turned the war into an American Tragedy o More concerned with what the war did to the US than Vietnam o Reagan era proposed it hurt our national pride and military power Treatment of returning veterans seen as the most shameful part of the war Appy believes that the biggest abuse came from the government 0 Lying to soldiers about the war 0 The draft 0 Vietnam vets didn t get the same benefits that WWII vets got Corporate America also didn t want to hire veterans saw them as drugaddled and violent Abuse of veterans by antiwar protesters has been very exaggerated o Idea of the spatupon veteran emerged much later 0 There is not much evidence of actual abuse from protesters 0 Has served to discredit the antiwar movement We are encouraged to focus on those Who served rather than other aspects of the war
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