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UNIT 5: American Foreign Policy Menu Cold War Part I Terms Korean War Activity Notes:
Vietnam

Mr. Charon/Mr. Tilby

Vietnam

CLASS NOTES


Dien Bien Phu : March 1954, Vietminh attack the French garrison located here. The French surrender.

1954 : July 21, a cease-fire agreement is made and Vietnam is divided into two parts, North Vietnam and South Vietnam, at the 17th parallel.
(Not to be confused with the 38th parallel, the dividing line of North and South Korea)

Ngo Dinh Diem : Premier of South Vietnam under Bao Dai. He eventually overtakes Bao Dai's regime and declares himself president of the "Republic of Vietnam" (South Vietnam).

Ho Chi Minh : The "George Washington" of Vietnam. He organizes a special fighting force, the Vietminh, to combat the Japanese and the French. He eventually gains power over North Vietnam, where he introduces communism with himself as head of the government. He calls his new government the "Democratic Republic of Vietnam" on January 14, 1950. He later tries to unite the entire country under his communist regime.

Domino Theory : A theory outlined by Eisenhower to illustrate his belief that if one country in an area falls to communism, others will soon follow, therefore making it necessary for the U.S. to do all in it's power to keep this type of event from taking place.

1963 : A year of great political change for the U.S. and for South Vietnam. In the month of November, both Ngo Dinh Diem and President John F. Kennedy are assassinated.

Gulf of Tonkin : Aug. 1964, US destroyers are attacked by two North Vietnamese torpedo boats. Result: Congress passes a resolution giving the president the ability to take charge during war and to send troops without Congressional approval. Approval must be obtained within 90 days in order for the troops to remain for a longer period of time.

1968 Tet Offensive : Deciding point in the war: By 1967, Americans are lead to believe that the war will soon be ending . General Westmoreland, leader of U.S. troops decides to escalate bombing of the enemy. He requests 200,000 more troops. Americans begin to understand that the war is far from over. Protest movements increase.

*Reminder: Ask Mr. Charon for the Tet Offensive worksheet (9 points).

Johnson : Becomes U.S. president following the death of Kennedy. He is responsible for the escalation of the war in Vietnam. His actions cause him to become unpopular with the American public and he announces on television that he will neither seek nor accept the Democratic Nomination for president for the 1968 election.

Nixon : Becomes president in the 1968 election. He is a Republican. Eventually he will de-escalate the war and bring all of the troops home.

1969: Nixon begins sending troops into Cambodia to bomb Viet Cong holdings. The U.S. reaches its highest number of troops during this year. Ho Chi Minh dies, he is 79.

1973: A cease-fire agreement is signed. The last U.S. troops leave Vietnam.

1975: The last Americans, including the American ambassador, flee Vietnam. The North Vietnamese take Saigon. The Second Vietnam war is over.

Cambodia, Laos: Both countries fall to communism. Many refugees flee these countries for the United States.

Politics: Many young Americans begin protesting the war on college campuses. In one particularly famous case, students are shot and killed during a protest at Kent State. Americans are appalled by the violence.

*Point of Interest: Famous film star and anti-war activist, Jane Fonda begins speaking out against the war. She later channels her energies into helping American women to lose weight as an aerobic video icon.
For fun, check out the following sites about Jane Fonda in Vietnam:
http://www.snopes.com/spoons/faxlore/hanoi.htm AND http://www.shss.montclair.edu/english/furr/fonda.html