• By end of 1965, 200,000 troops in Vietnam. • US counter insurgency: (that is methods of dealing with a guerilla war) • -“Operation Phoenix”: strategic assassinations, attempting to kill anybody who had anything to do with Viet Cong. [note: these were the days of ‘liberalism’, when the US denied they did such things…now, of course, the president takes credit] • -‘strategic hamlet policy” in essence making villages into jailed camps, surrounded by barbed wire and guarded, in effort to keep people who lived there from working with the Viet Cong at night. • “search and destroy”: trying to locate the villages which had insurgents living there or which hid Viet Cong. Destroy the entire village • Began to use chemical warfare, such as napalm and agent orange, which burned skin to the bone, destroyed all crops (and generations of crops to come) with purpose to make area uninhabitable, and would also have effects on unborn children of those who came into contact with it (both US soldiers and Vietnamese) 23 24 25 26 27
2/22/2015 6 • • Iconic photo of 1972, after South Vietnamese air force napalm attack. Photojournalists (not ‘embedded’ with US forces but were independent); and TV news coverage brought the war to US public attention. • H. Turning Point and towards the end of the war • US efforts didn’t work: • US puts S Vietnamese troops in battles against N Vietnamese, but S Vietnamese troops not very willing. • In response, N Vietnam launches the Tet offensive in Feb 1968, during the lunar New Year. They weren’t able to drive out US troops, but their ability to overrun US troops and S Vietnamese within S Vietnam made it increasingly clear that the US was not going to win this war. • A major turning point • • **US public: • In US, US public increasingly seeing that conflict in Vietnam was hopeless. Begin to join people who had demonstrated against the war. • In 1967, 100,000 march on the Pentagon protesting the war. • Group of Vietnam Vets, called Vietnam Vets Against the War also organizing to stop the war. • By March, 1968 Johnson halts US bombing over N. Vietnam, and peace talks begun, but no settlement. Johnson pulls out of Presidential race. • By September of l969 Ho Chih Minh dies at 79. • • 1969. Richard Nixon, a Republican, elected. Announced plan of “Vietnamization” for South Vietnam to take over responsibility of war. (at peak, US troops were 541,000 in Vietnam)This is same idea later used for Iraq, Afghanistan and about as effective. • US resumes heavy bombing of the North when the North Vietnamese demanded complete withdrawal of US troops before agreeing to a peace settlement. US moves troops into Cambodia and Laos in the spring of l970. • • Huge demonstrations on college campuses against this bombing. At one, the National Guard shoots and kills four students at Kent State.
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