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Information about VietnamWar

Published on December 25, 2007

Author: Marian


The Vietnam War:  The Vietnam War Session 3 Study Questions:  Study Questions What caused the Vietnam War? Was Vietnam just another cold war problem? What was the balancing and bandwagoning dynamics in the Vietnam War? How did perceptions determine the war? What did we learn from the Vietnam War? The Cold War:  The Cold War Started 1947 : Truman Doctrine -- containment 1949: the Birth of PRC, USSR 1st nuclear bomb Mao’s revolution from the country-side Vietnamese communists received support from PRC. Cominform: communist revolution in Indochina led by the Vietnamese The Domino Theory: communist expansionism / conspiracy Before the U.S.-North Vietnam War:  Before the U.S.-North Vietnam War During WW II, U.S. assisted Vietminh against the Japanese U.S. assisted the French in the 1st Indochina War (1946-54). After the fall of Dienbienphu and the 1954 Geneva Accords, U.S. supported Ngo Dinh Diem as PM and then the President. The Diem regime was repressive --> North Vietnam stepped up Viet Cong support through the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos and Cambodia. CIA secretly fought the war in Laos against the Pathet Lao, also through Kmong people The 2nd Indochina War (1961-75):  The 2nd Indochina War (1961-75) Both U.S. and North Vietnam charged each other “aggression” in South Vietnam. U.S. claimed North Vietnam “brutal campaign of terror” North Vietnam called U.S. “intervention” Vocabulary: Vietminh and Vietcong the strategic and economic importance of Southeast Asia for U.S. and Japan U.S. Objectives and Strategies:  U.S. Objectives and Strategies U.S. containment, esp. toward PRC to assure the survival of noncommunist South Vietnam U.S.: the sense of mission, superiority, optimism Johnson: “that little piss-ant country” First, U.S. gradual escalation -- to minimize intervention from USSR and PRC “Operation Rolling Thunder” bombing North Vietnam but later > 500,000 troops “Americanization of the war” North Vietnam’s Strategies:  North Vietnam’s Strategies Strategy of protracted war prepared civilians and soldiers for a long conflict prepared repair crews to recover damages from the Rolling Thunder used water transportation and the Ho Chi Minh Trail gained support of the rural population in the South played off USSR and PRC for supports stirred public opinion in the U.S. What the U.S. should have known:  What the U.S. should have known The Vietnamese strengths: Nationalist legitimacy the tradition of foreign resistance Vietnamese antagonism toward China “Rolling Thunder” worked better at an industrialized country how to flight fragmented war with countless small actions U.S. as source of disenchantment: bombing, declining morale from infusion of American troops, destruction of rural self-contained life As war dragged on:  As war dragged on 1968 Tet Offensive: more of repercussions in America Americans became confused about the objectives of the war and the effectiveness of the U.S. forces 1969 the Nixon Doctrine --> Vietnamization of the war But increased bombing and invasion in Cambodia and Laos -- “spillover effects” 1970 the topple of Prince Sihanouk in Cambodia, replaced by Gen. Lon Nol (aided by U.S.) Toward the Settlement:  Toward the Settlement U.S. bombings in Cambodia created a pretext for the Khmer Rouge Victory Kissinger secretly negotiated with North Vietnam --> 1973 Peace pact 1975: the Fall of Saigon, also the victories of Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the Pathet Lao in Laos The Vietnam War and IRs - Big Powers -:  The Vietnam War and IRs - Big Powers - U.S. : containment of communism - the perception that USSR direct influence on Hanoi - the Asia-wide communist revolution modeled on PRC --> not lose an inch to communism in Vietnam USSR: first more interest in Europe, later to assist NV China: supported communist revolution, but not unified Vietnam USSR-PRC fragile relations --> U.S.-PRC rapprochement The Vietnam War and IRs - Small States -:  The Vietnam War and IRs - Small States - Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines = U.S. close alliances Thailand: fear of communist insurgency supported by Vietnam and China, regime maintenance, economic benefits, traditional rivalry with Vietnam Indonesia: non-aligned under Sukarno, but later leaned to the West under Suharto (since 1967)

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