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HST210 – Vietnam and the Nixon Revolution.docx

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Ryerson University
HST 210
Jenny Carson

HST210 – US History 1877 to Present Lecture # 16 – Vietnam and the Nixon Revolution Gay Liberation Front - Drawing on the lessons of the CRM, the Gay Liberation Front uses public protests such as demonstrations to contest discriminatory practices, as well as the courts to secure federal protection of gay rights The Feminist Movement - Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique (1963) chronicles the frustration of American women who were expected to find fulfillment primarily through childbearing and homemaking - Friedan and others form the National Organization for Women Now (NOW) Achievements and Limitations - Ban on sex discrimination included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - Women now serve in Congress and on the Supreme Court - Yet many demands are not met (public daycare etc.), leading to a double work day for women who work outside the home and assume a large share of the responsibility for domestic tasks President Lyndon Baines Johnson - Rough-edged Texas politician and master legislator - Had a deep compassion for the poor and minorities (gets the Civil Rights bill passed) LBJ - Was a fervent believer in the New Deal and wanted to expand its programs - Liberal who believed government should help those in need (through social programs) and play a role in regulating the economy The Other America - Harrington’s 1962 book revealed that more than a fifth of all American families, some thirty million people, lived below the poverty line - Those most affected by poverty were minorities and the elderly LBJ’s Great Society - Johnson attempts to build a great society free of injustice and poverty through educational, health, employment and housing programs - Administered by the Office of Economic Opportunity - Includes Job Corps, Head Start, Medicare (for the elderly) and Medicaid (for the poor) Great Society - Reduces but does not eliminate poverty - Costly Vietnam War reduces money available for Great Society social programs - Conservatives attack the Great Society as too much government, too costly, and for fostering an unhealthy dependence on government 1954 Geneva Agreements - Ends French colonial rule in Vietnam - Country divided at the 17th parallel into Communist North Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh, and South Vietnam under Ngo Dinh Diem - US backs up the corrupt and unpopular Diem regime as part of its efforts to contain communism National Liberation Front (Vietcong) - As a Catholic in a country that was 90% Buddhist, Diem pursued repressive policies in S. Vietnam that turned the public against him - The opposition in S. Vietnam created the NLF or Vietcong (mostly communists who want to reunify the country under Ho Chi Minh) - Under Kennedy, US provides aid to Diem to contain the Vietcong Johnson and Vietnam - By 1964, the Vietcong controlled close to half of S. Vietnam - Johnson opts to escalate the war between 1964 and 1968 (represents a pattern of incremental but steadily increasing US involvement in Vietnam) - Johnson’s presidency comes to dominated by the Vietnam War Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (August 7, 1954) - After US and N. Vietnamese ships exchange fire, LBJ orders retaliatory air strikes against N. Vietnam - Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which gives Johnson the power to resolve the conflict with any means necessary Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968) - Initiates air attacks on North Vietnam in the hopes of ending their support for the National Liberation Front (Vietcong) in South Vietnam - LBJ also sends ground troops into South Vietnam to launch offensive operations against the Vietcong and their supporters in the countryside - US will use napalm, Agent Orange, and conduct search and destroy missions in villages Operation Rolling Thunder - S. Vietnamese view the US as invaders, not liberators , and fight back (aided by North Vietnam) - By 1967, there are half a million U.S. troops in Vietnam, but victory is nowhere in sight - Destructive chemical warfare and civilian killings challenge the administration’s moral justification of the war as a defense of freedom and democracy in South Vietnam Students for a Democratic Society - Radical leftist student group formed in 1962 - Port Huron Statement condemned racism, materialism, the threat of nuclear war,
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