The Vietnam War

Anh - I bold all the important dates and underlined all the names/terms for easy studying.


  • Vietnam declares independence in 1945
  • Last battle against France in 1954, France pulled out
  • The Geneva Accords divided Vietnam along the 17th parallel.
    • North: Ho Chi Minh's Communist. South: Ngo Dinh Diem's Democrat.
  • Eisenhower proposed the Domino Theory

U.S steps in

  • Election of 1956 was canceled - Communists were favored; Diem lost popularity due to corruption
  • U.S wants to prevent a communist takeover - send troops
  • The Vietcong & Ho Chi Minh Trail was formed
  • Kennedy assassinated, Johnson is president.


  • Tonkin Gulf Resolution - power to the president
  • Rolling Thunder - intensive bombing
  • Johnson sent a large number of troops to Vietnam
    • Rusk and McNamara (Sec. of State and Defense), as well as Westmoreland (Commander in Vietnam) supported this
  • Napalm & Agent Orange vs. Guerrilla jungle tactics
  • Search and destroy missions
  • War of attrition


  • Protest movements & groups against the war and the draft
    • Student for Democratic Society, Free Speech Movement, New Left, …
    • From protest to resistance & violence
  • Doves vs. Hawks - Working class vs Aristocrats
  • Credibility gap —> loss of morale at the battlefield

The War Turns

  • Tet offensive 1968 - Military victory, psychological defeat
  • Election of 1968 divided the nation; Johnson withdrew, (Robert) Kennedy shot
  • Nixon became president
    • Kissinger and Vietnamization - train Vietnamese to fight, no more U.S troops
  • Violent events escalated protests at home & over the world
    • My Lai massacre, Invasion of Cambodia, Kent State University protest, Pentagon Papers,…
  • Most American troops were out by 1973
  • Last effort - Christmas Bombing 1974
  • South Vietnam fell in 1975. War is over

After the war

  • War Powers Act - limit the power of the president.
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