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HIS344Y1 (120)
Ebba Kurt (12)

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University of Toronto St. George
Ebba Kurt

• anti-Americanism – in all Western European states that experienced turmoil in 1968 there was a unity in anti-Americanism ◦ origins can be found in Vietnam • lengthy record ofAmericans siding with the good, fighting for democracy – however,American lives sacrificed fighting for liberty ◦ the war in Vietnam ruined this image completely • second world war – Japan defeated France in Vietnam ◦ after the war, for the French to go back, created a serious problem ▪ France was a defeated imperial power and pro-fascist – should never have been allowed to go back to Vietnam but many turned a blind eye ▪ Viet Minh defeated France is 1954 at battle of Dien Bien Phu ▪ Geneva Conference 1954 – this victory didn't transform into Communist rule over the entire peninsula • Khrushchev pushed for South Vietnam to remain independent out of Communist control for detente • changed his mind after war in Korea, Eisenhower administration hell-bent on preventing Communist spread – domino effect, the entire SoutheastAsia would have fallen under Communist control • create defensive alliance – created military organization, SEATO • could be no question of free election for South to join North • regime that emerged under Ngo Diem undermined theAmerican objective ◦ very similar development as in Republican China – corrupt, ineffective leader ◦ South Vietnamese were either supportive of Communist movement or were members of Viet Cong ▪ French being defeated, clearly understood that someone had to come to the aid of South Vietnam, otherwise South Vietnam is lost to the Communists • Kennedy made public statements thatAmericans wouldn't get involved with the war but steadily increased number ofAmerican advisers in the South Vietnamese army • Kennedy was assassinated and Johnson had to take over ◦ Johnson didn't understand the situation and had no FP experience – his primary concern was domestic policy issue “Great Society”, understood this required money ◦ there is a conflict that had to be addressed – South Vietnamese regime could not sustain itself, could not prevent Communist takeover ▪ could not allow this, would have ruined Johnson's presidency, had to stand up to the Communists (state incapable of keeping up with their commitments) – out of the question for Vietnam to fall • August 1964 – major international incident at Gulf of Tonkin ◦ 3 North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked a US war ship ◦ great debates – what really took place, was there an attack, what were theAmericans doing there ▪ America was spying on North Vietnam ▪ this action challenged theAmerican warship ◦ two of the torpedo boats were damaged or sunk by theAmericans ◦ two days later, a second attack that was unprovoked ◦ it is this attack that provoked Johnson to get involved in the war and teach the North Vietnamese a lesson ▪ no records indicating any such attack – the attack never happened, a made up pretext for the war (Americans did not “stumble” into the war, they understood what they were getting into, understood the consequences) • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution August 7 1964 – authorized Johnson to deal with Vietnam however he wanted ◦ broke down his cabinet into hawks and doves ◦ military apparatus urged to attack full out • the minute theAmericans got involved in a gradual basis it would have been difficult or impossib
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