Vietnam War Era: 1955–1975

Vocabulary

Agent Orange

herbicide containing dioxin, a powerful toxic chemical used in the Vietnam War

antiwar movement

movement in the late-1960s during which Americans used protests to oppose U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War

communism

system in which there is no privately owned property because all property and goods are owned by the government

domino theory

theory that the fall of a noncommunist country to communism would cause neighboring noncommunist countries to also fall to communism

French Indochina

group of French-controlled colonies, includingpresent-day Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia

Green Berets

U.S. soldiers in the Special Forces who fought guerrillas

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

resolution passed by the Senate and House of Representatives in 1964 in response to the Tonkin incident

Ho Chi Minh

Vietnamese Communist leader who led Vietnamese forces against foreign nations controlling Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh Trail

major military supply route of jungle paths used by North Vietnam to supply troops in the South. It ran through Cambodia and Laos.

Kent State

college campus where the tragic shootings of students protesting U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War occurred in 1970

Operation Ranch Hand

herbicide program designed to defoliate South Vietnam's jungles, which provided cover and food for the Viet Cong

Pentagon Papers

top-secret study done by the U.S. Defense Department of the country's role in Indochina during World War II

protest

stage actions showing disapproval, such as marches and sit-ins

silent majority

Richard Nixon's term for the Americans who supported his Vietnam policy and helped elect him president but who weren't politically outspoken

Tet Offensive

surprise attack by Viet Cong and the North's forces on 13 cities in South Vietnam

Viet Cong

group of Vietnamese Communist guerrilla fighters

Viet Minh

communist group that led the struggle against foreign control of Vietnam

Vietnamization

policy of slowly withdrawing 540,000 U.S. ground troops from Vietnam and transferring control of the war to the South Vietnamese government

War Powers Act

law passed by Congress in 1973 to prevent a U.S. president from committing the military in foreign wars