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Jan 18

by OC7

Course Code
Vasilis Dimitriadis

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Jan 18th
- issue of Vietnam
- generally, America did play a positive role t did stand up to unrealistic expectations of Stalin
- huge prestige t democracy and free world
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- America fought 30 years to recuperate from that blow
The Background
- Vietnam wanted independence
- 8 years war t fight for liberation against France, with great help from China
- Dien Bien Phu t French unable to hit the guerilla
- the French offered their best troops there, hoping the guerilla would fight them. They
believed they were at a superiority
- the Vietnamese eliminated the French airforce
- French surrendered
- French had to agree and pull out and called the Geneva Conference to deal with the
consequences of the French defeat
- France, Britain, Soviet Union and China
- Vietnam was petitioned into two parts
- Vietnam only agreed, with free/general elections in 2 years and no foreign
troops and not state intervention
- North could hold onto Communist system
- The Domino Theory: in relation to Vietnamese settlement, if America agreed to this
settlement (allow North to be Communist), the Viet cong would vote for reunification and force
the Northern people to agree. The South would not stand a chance.
- South Vietnamese Liberation Front t resistance movement composed of different elements
- America ignored
- Kennedy continued early American foreign policy
- increase foreign advisors from few hundreds to 3,500 to 4,000
- huge investments into Vietnam, so that Vietnam would support the regime
- these investments went into waste and stolen by South Vietnamese elite
- did not serve its purpose
- the genuine concern of South Vietnamese population
- but Kennedy continued with the policies but in 1963, he did consider and limited
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- build America into a better social system
- improve racial relationships in America
- increase standard of living
- in public pools, Republicans were laughed at when they said a war was needed in
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- August 1964, Gulf of Tonkin
- Americans supporting South Vietnam regularly supported naval forces there
- a US destroyer was attacked by North Vietnamese torpedo boat
- in international waters
- at night, they were attacked again
- 3 days, Johnson asked the Congress for special permission o deal with North Vietnam
- the Congress gave him permission
- Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave the President permission to declare war with North
Vietnam and Communist forces in the South
- this divided the Johnson administration
- the Right Wing of his democratic party, the air force and marine all wanted to attack
immediately t they fought with the Left Wing (who still had the social programming at
home t the Great Society)
- the Right Wing does win
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- there was never a second attack
- the US felt responsible for Asia after losing China and North Vietnam, they could not allow
South Vietnam to collapse t they still believed in the Domino Theory
- 1964, the US intelligence failure
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these reports
- similar to Iraq, huge intelligence failure
- Options:
1. Stay the course
2. rapid build up
- cost would have been tremendous
- the Great Society would have to be suspended to stopped
3. Gradual Application of Pressure
- final and accepted option by Johnson
- bombing North Vietnamese military locations
- cut supply
- push Hanoi out of South Vietnam
- Feb 1965, an aerial campaign/bombardment of North began
- marines land in Da Nang
- marines would come in the North and stem the flood of North Vietnamese supply into
the Southern part of the state
- limited war because it did not involve nuclear weapons and not an all-out war and did
not involve other states
- overall US commander applied a number of strategies that should have ensured victory
in a few years. He never thought his tactics would fail
- operational, strategic and tactics failed
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- the Viet Cong were not Communists as the US thought and ignored the most important
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