Class Notes (809,756)
Canada (493,780)
History (2,092)

History 1810E The Vietnam War - Lecture 21.docx

5 Pages
Unlock Document

Western University
History 1810E
Margaret Mc Glynn

History 1810E The Vietnam War Wednesday March 19 Lecture 21 Peace with Honour?: New Kid in Town Outline: I. Nixon and Kissinger a. Le Duc Tho II. Creighton Abrams a. Pacification b. The Phoenix Program III. Vietnamization IV. Kent State Last week: The Tet Offensive • The NLF and the People’s Army of Vietnam launched a series of simultaneous uprising throughout South Vietnam • Tet is the lunar New Year of Vietnam o Vietnam shuts down completely for a week (the equivalent of New Years & Christmas or Canada Day) o During the wars, both sides have honoured it as a time of truce • The North Vietnamese decided to use Tet to embark on an offensive o Diem hoped this general offensive would lead to a series of uprising by the South Vietnamese people, throwing out the Americans • It failed, because the NLF was virtually wiped out by the Americans o The Saigon regime survived (it didn’t fall as Diem hoped it would) and the American military presence remained • However, it also showed that everything Johnson was saying about progress in the war was a lie o If Johnson’s statements were true, the North Vietnamese wouldn’t have been able to launch such a massive uprising o Psychologically, it was a defeat for the Americans • What did this all mean? o It demonstrated that neither side would be able to achieve their aims on the battlefield (what they had been trying to do wince 1964)  The North Vietnamese wanted to force the Americans out of Vietnam  The Americans wanted to achieve a South Vietnamese government o Instead they had to negotiate  Both wanted to negotiate from a position of strength on the battlefield  The Tet Offensive showed that neither side could put enough pressure on the other to negotiate from a position of strength 4 Main Impacts of the Tet Offensive: 1) New Leadership: Nixon and Kissinger • Nixon and Kissinger’s focus was on foreign policy (the opposite of Lyndon Johnson) • Nixon wanted to re-shape the war, and realized that the Cold War had changed by the time he became President • America’s relative power in the world was decreasing (the other powers were getting stronger) o America’s WWII enemies (Germany and Japan) had been rehabilitated, recovered, and were rival powers o The Soviet Union had enough nuclear power to blow the world up, and the U.S. had to deal with them as an equal o The two communist groups (Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China) were no longer allies • Nixon and Kissinger wanted to come up with a new policy that would recognize the new Cold War environment o It would allow the U.S. to maneuver internationally as flexibly as they could o The problem was the Vietnam War – the U.S. had reached too far and was losing its moral authority, becoming weaker (imperial overstretch) o If they wanted to re-shape the world with American power, they had to find a way to get out of Vietnam (Nixon’s priority) • Kissinger (National Security Advisor) was a realist – he dealt in power and wanted to negotiate an end to the war in Vietnam • The “Mad Man” Theory – to make Nixon appear irrational, willing to go to any means necessary to end the war o The Americans couldn’t send their troops into Cambodia after the North Vietnamese troops who sought sanctuary there, so they secretly dropped bombs on Cambodia (Nixon was willing to go to any lengths) • Le Duc Tho – Kissinger started secret negotiations in Paris th o He approached the negotiations like a 19 century diplomat, as one man speaking for the nation o Kissinger believed negotiations were best conducted in secret because you didn’t have to worry about public opinion or congress  You could also change your position without your credibility with the public on the line o Le Duc Tho was Le Duan’s right hand man, and was formerly a prisoner of the French on Condau Island o Le Duc Tho had carried out Le Duan’s purges to implement the police state o He wanted the North Vietnamese to have enough patience to see the war through until the Americans got tired of the war and went home 2) Westmoreland was replaced by Creighton Abrams • After the Tet Offensive, Westmoreland thought it was the best time to strike o He requested an additional 200,000 American troops and authorization to invade North Vietnam • Johnson however, realized that this was politically impossible (he was under a lot of criticism) o His advisors advised against Westmoreland’s 200,000 men, and Westmoreland was replaced by Creighton Abrams
More Less

Related notes for History 1810E

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.