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History Day 19.docx

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Darren Mulloy

HI114 - Vietnam War – Lecture 2 Lyndon Johnson’s War A) That “bitch of a war” Focus war on “Great Society” at home v The War Abroad See Quote on Handout 2 Sees American involvement is deep and situation is serious He says he’s not going to lose or let Vietnam end up like China in relation to Communism Believed in “Domino Theory” The JFK connection: kept many of the Kennedy advisors/whiz kids Robert McNamara = secretary of Defense Dean Rusk = secretary of State McGeorge Bundy = National Security Advisor i) The Deteriorating Situation in South Vietnam The Generals Take Over e.g. General Khanh takes over General Minh (Jan 1964) Under Khanh the situation does not improve Can South Vietnam survive? March 1964 = VC control of 40% of South Vietnamese countryside JCS = “Americanization” of the War? (take over the running from South Vietnamese and launch all of our massive power at the problem to look for victory) and Johnson won’t go that far Believes then South Vietnamese government will become dependent on Americans Believes will destroy his “Great Society” reforms Winning the 1964 election is most in his mind He does not believe that he will win re-election if he has lost Vietnam to communism “McCarthyism will be chicken shit compared to what will happen if we lose Vietnam” LBJ’s response: increase advisors (23 000 in 1964) launches covert ops (OPLAN 34-A) Real problem in Vietnam was the failure to get a real, stable government they could believe in, support and we willing to fight for, instead the Americans blamed North Vietnam (communist aggression) ii) The Tonkin Gulf Resolution South Vietnam needed to see that America was committed to South Vietnam August 2-3: “attacks” on the Maddox and Turner Joy Maddox is attacked Turner Joy is sent in to help Radar operator on Maddox sees beeping on radar, not sure of cause, says ship is under attack Authorizes massive retaliation First bombing of North Vietnam by the US takes place in retaliation of these “attacks” August 5: LBJ – wants a solution to the “repeated acts of violence against the armed forces of the United States” Doesn’t mention that these ships were in North Vietnam water or that attacks weren’t sure Lied to American public about what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin August 7: Congress passes (416-0 in House, 88-2 in the Senate) “Take all necessary measures to repel armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression” iii) Gradual Escalation 1964 election: Johnson defeats Barry Goldwater Campaigned as prudent defender of US national security interests “Not looking for other wars” Says he’s “not ready for American boys to do the fighting of Asian boys” Says they’re trying to achieve a stable government in Vietnam Goldwater wanted to unleash all of America’s military right (nuclear weapons) Johnson = moderate, Goldwater = extremist 63% of people paid “little or no attention” to the war 25% “heard nothing” Changing tactics: Conditions deteriorate further March 1965 – Operation Rolling Thunder (massive bombing intended to hurt supply lines) + 2 battalions to Danang (first submarines are sent) June 1965 – Westmoreland says we need 93 000 more ground troops (170 000 total) The Hawks (JCS, McNamara) - want more military action - bomb all of North Vietnam vs The Doves (Humphrey, Ball, Fullbright) - want less military action - need negotiated settlement vs LBJ’s “middle ground” - wasn’t prepared to abandon Vietnam - “American credibility” was tied up in Vietnam to protect them from communism - still believes, like former presidents, that the war can be won July 28 – Meets halfway, sends 43 000 more troops (125 000 total) 1965 – 200 000 1966 – 385 000 1969 – 543 000 iv) The Quagmire (1965 - 1968) - South Vietnam government was undermined - South Vietnamese economy undermined (1966/67 inflation = 100%) Clear to everybody in South Vietnam that the Americans were in charge of this war Further divides legitimacy of the South Vietnamese government General Westmoreland’s limited war of “attrition” - Not allowed to attack North Vietnam - Not allowed to invade Laos and Cambodia - limited bombing placement - NLF/VC forces increase 116 000 to 282 000 (1965-1967) - Not equipped for guerilla warfare - Johnson trying to prevent China being involved to avoid World War III General LeMay’s “stone age” bombing campaign If you kill enough people and destroy enough stuff they should stop supporting the world Cheaper for Americans/less American lives 1965 – 25 000 bombing raids 1967 – 108 000 bombing raids 1000 civilians killed per week 1964 – 1975 = 7 million tons of bombs (equivalent to 400 Hiroshima blasts) The “little piss-ant” country was still holding America at bay 1968: 14 000 soldiers killed (10 000 in 1967) 600 planes shot down Prisoners of war in Hanoi B) The Anti-War Movement Gets Going The anti-war movement starts importantly on college campuses - “teach-ins” were made to inform people about Vietnam, questioned America’s legitimacy in the war - Students for a Democratic Society formed in 1962 (SDS), originally started with civil rights movement and student pollicisation e.g. peaceful marches and protests - Draft resistance movement (burning draft papers, going to prison, Canada etc to avoid drafting) Various Groups: church, unions, civil rights, pacifists, Women Strike for Peace, SANE Various People: Noam Chomsky, Jane Fonda, William Fulbright, Joan Baez, MLK, Norman Morrison Various Reasons: deaths, cost, morality, can’t be won Huge 1967 protests - New York 1967 (300 000 people) - The Pentagon (100 000) Sees 1968 Elections as last chance to end the war C) The Tet Offensive – 1968 January 30, 1968 NVA and NLF attack South Vietnam intention = general uprising, causing the SV government to fall US and ARVN = tactical victory but “the credibility gap” For two years they’ve been saying victory was close When this massive campaign take place people wonder if they were defeated how they could launch this attack 45 000 NFL killed 2 000 ARVN 1 000 US 14 000 civilians (28 000 wounded and 1/8 population homeless) Ben Tre “it became necessary to destroy the town to save it” - Americans were pissed and thought it was absurd General Nguyen Ngoe shooting of suspected VC - NBC news brought out the brutality of the war General Westmoreland wants 200 000 more troops - last straw for LBJ March 31, 1968 LBJ not seeking re-election but is seeking peace talks with North Vietnam to end war History Day 20 Vietnam Tuesday, November 20  Richard Nixon’s War, and Peace with Honour o Peace talks and the secret plans to end the war  May 13, 1968 Paris Peace talks begin  October 1968  LBJ halts bombing of North Vietnam  North Vietnam agrees to o Stop attacking South Vietnam o Reduce supplies to South o Negotiate with south Vietnamese gov’t  But Thieu suspects a “sell out”  Thinks that in order to get re-election Johnson and Americans will sell out South Vietnam  November 1968 Nixon defeats Hubert Humphrey  Henry Kissinger= National Security Advisor  Nixon wins by claiming he has a secret plan to win the war
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