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Sound Smart: Vietnam War Protests

How Vietnam Killed the Great Society

Avoiding the Vietnam draft by getting married — until LBJ eliminated that exemption

Vietnam 1967: How Not to ‘Win Hearts and Minds

Man of the Month: Ho Chi Minh (Twentieth Century by Walter Cronkite)

Why Vietnam Was Unwinnable

North Vietnam had an antiwar movement, too

Summer of love, summer of war

Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over

‘I Ain’t Got No Quarrel With Them Vietcong’

I Picked Prison Over Fighting in Vietnam

A Lost Chance for Peace in Vietnam

The Women Who Fought for Hanoi

A Conscientious Objector in a War Zone

Lyndon Johnson’s Living Room War

CIA secret airline: Air America

Was Vietnam winnable?

Johnson, Westmoreland and the ‘Selling’ of Vietnam

The birth of Vietnamization

Vietnam era songs:

SSgt Barry Sadler - The Ballad Of The Green Berets

Ballad of the Green Berets

10 songs that embody the Vietnam era

The Seekers - 1966 - 'Yesterday

The Seekers - The Last Thing On My Mind

John Denver - Take Me Home, Country Roads

John Denver - Sunshine On My Shoulders

John Denver - Leaving On A Jet Plane

John Denver - Rocky Mountain High

The Mamas & The Papas - Monday Monday


Secret Weapon in the Strive For 5 - APUSH T-Shirt

Cold War Vietnam (46:25)
Stop and comment at various points
If it's dead and Vietnamese, it's VC
VC Victor Charlie from radio phonetic alphabet
Search and destroy missions
Trying to save Vietnam, we destroyed much of it in the process
Ho Chi Minh trail (29:47)

Vietnam Photos:

The Powerful Vietnam War Photos That Made History | Here & Now

Vietnam War photos (Boston Globe)

Girl from AP's Vietnam napalm photo finds peace with her role in history |

Treatment for girl in Vietnam napalm attack phot0

Where to put these??

Learning to come home from war: no one said "thank you" to Vietnam vets

A Retrospective on Counterinsurgency Operations (Central Intelligence Agency)
The Tay Ninh Provincial Reconnaissance Unit and Its Role in the Phoenix Program, 1969-70

Map: South Vietnam provinces, 1967

Vietnam war reporter Malcolm Browne dies (BBC)

Vietnam War AP Archive

Vietnam: a television history

Vietnam: A Television History
Episode 10. Homefront USA

Battlefield Vietnam - Documentary 12 parts
Send to Logan

Why CIA analysts were so doubtful about Vietnam

“It Was Vital Not to Lose Vietnam by Force to Communism”:
Leslie Gelb Analyzes the Roots of U.S. Involvement in Vietnam

INR'S 1969 Vietnam Study in Context: A Retrospective Preface Thirty-five Years Later

A Retrospective on Counterinsurgency Operations — Central Intelligence Agency

Edwin A. Shuman III, Former Prisoner of War Who Defied Hanoi Hilton Guards, Dies at 82

Stanley Karnow obituaries
1. New York Times

2. Washington Post

Vietnam: A Television History
Episode 1: Roots of a War (1945-1953)

Vietnam: A Television History
Episode 2: America's Mandarin (1954-1963)

Vietnam: A Television History
Episode 3: LBJ Goes to War (1964-1965)

Vietnam: A Television History
Episode 4: America Takes Charge (1965-1967)

Vietnam: A Television History
Episode 5. America's Enemy (1954-1967)

Episode 6: Tet

Vietnam: A Television History
Episode 7. Vietnamizing the War (1969-1973)

Lon Nol ousts Prince Sihanouk — This Day in History — 3/18/1970

Vietnam: A Television History
Episode 8. Cambodia and Laos
Read the transcript

Vietnam: A Television History
Episode 9. Peace Is at Hand (1968-1973)
Read the transcript

Vietnam: A Television History
Episode 10. Homefront USA
Read the transcript

Vietnam: A Television History
Episode 11. The End of the Tunnel (1973-1975)
Read the transcript

New York Times 1967 series

Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam

Vietnam: The War That Killed Trust
First in a series

As the Earth Shook, They Stood Firm -Vietnam article

What I saw in Vietnam

Pacification, through the barrel of a gun

Combat Nurses and Donut Dollies

The Smothers Brothers in 1967: Laughing at Hard Truths

The 30-years war in Vietnam

The road to Tet

Who Called the Shots in Hanoi?

At Quang Nam, a Raid and a Reckoning

The Grunt's War

How Playboy Explains Vietnam

America’s Case of ‘Tonkin Gulfitis’

Bernard Fall: The Man who knew the war

Moving On in Vietnam, but Remembering Its Lessons

For America, life was cheap in Vietnam

Bringing God along for the ride in Vietnam

Vietnam: Where saying 'I love you' is impossible

Pete Peterson: The ex-POW teaching Vietnam to swim (BBC News)

Maps for us to refer back to during our study of this module:

Static map:

Map: South Vietnam provinces, 1967

My Own Path to Vietnam

How and why did I end up in Vietnam?

1. Army ROTC at Georgetown, commissioned as an Infantry Second Lieutenant.

2. Wrote term papers on insurgencies, prepared myself as much as possible for Vietnam.

3. One part of me thought I had to go to graduate school as my classmates were doing.

4. Army permitted deferments to pursue my Ph.D.

5. Began a Ph.D. program in Political Science at Pitt. Difficult to be in school when war on.

6. Finished M.A. but asked Army to call me in for my two years.

7. Stateside assignments:

Infantry Officer Basic Course at Fort Benning, Georgia
Troop duty in the Infantry Advanced Individual Training Brigade at Fort Jackson, South Carolina
Vietnamese language study at Fort Bliss, Texas
Advisor school at Fort Gordon, Georgia

8. Tour of duty in Vietnam as an advisor to the South Vietnamese army.

9. Returned from Vietnam to begin MBA program at Stanford Business School.


Vietnam became one of the many sites where the Cold War and the Third World intersected.

Context for U.S. decision-making

Containment policy

American leaders thought of Vietnam as an Asian Berlin, a place to draw the line against communism and to implement the containment doctrine.

China 1949

McCarthy in US (1950-1954)

Korean War (1950-1953)

French Indochina

Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos) colonized in 1880s.
Vietnamese resisted French colonial regime as much as possible
Vietnamese tradition of historical resistance to invaders: China.

Ho Chi Minh:

Ho Chi Minh obituary (New York Times)

Leader of Vietnamese Communist Party
Major leader of Vietnamese resistance to the Japanese
Vietminh declared independence from France in 1945.
Ho quoted from U.S. Declaration of Independence.

Ho Chi Minh and the OSS

Leader of Vietnamese Communist Party
Major leader of Vietnamese resistance to the Japanese

Vietminh declared independence from France in 1945.
Ho quoted from U.S. Declaration of Independence.

Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Vietnam

General Giap: main enemy general who opposed both the French and the US

Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, Who Ousted U.S. From Vietnam, Is Dead

Henry A. Prunier, U.S. Soldier Who Trained Vietnamese Troops, Dies at 91

General Vo Nguyen Giap as Military Man and Poet (Cecil B. Currey)

Picture of General Giap

Vietminh war against the French

U.S. had a choice:
a) Support Ho Chi Minh's bid for independence
b) Support French return to Indochina

We supported the French return.
Context: containment of communism
We paid 80% of the costs of French war against Vietminh

Edwin Moise: Emergence of the Viet Minh
[Note: In first paragraph a clue to what happened to Free French in Vietnam]

Edwin Moise: The First Indochina War

Volume 1, Chapter 1 of the Pentagon Papers, "Background to the Crisis, 1940-50," pp. 1-52.

Dienbienphu (May 1954)

French defeat

French fall to Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu ( This Day in History | 5/7/1954)

French Foreign Legion Parachute unit

Battle of Dien Bien Phu (Bernard Fall)

Battle Scenes

New Perspectives on Dien Bien Phu

French withdrawal from Indochina

Geneva peace conference (July 1954)

Vietnam was divided at the 17th parallel.
Ho's forces gained control of North Vietnam.
Election to unify the country was scheduled for 1956.
America, figuring Ho Chi Minh would win, did not permit the election.

U.S. replaced France in Vietnam



Ground combat took place within South Vietnam

U.S. never invaded North Vietnam

U.S. pursued an air war against North Vietnam

Enemy side:

North Vietnam and those living in South Vietnam (called Viet Cong) who will fight against the United States

The Vietnamese women who fought for their country

What We Don’t Know About Vietnam Can Still Hurt Us (New York Times)

Our side:

United States and those South Vietnamese friendly to U.S.

Our man in Vietnam: Ngo Dinh Diem

Our initial handpicked leader in South Vietnam
No real alternative leader in South Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh in the North
U.S. backed Ngo Dinh Diem

Walter Kronkite interview with President Kennedy

Additional date on the following wiki page:

He consolidated power over internal rivals (we wish the leaders of Iraq and Afghanistan could do the same):
Diem was a Catholic (in a mostly Buddhist country)
Bachelor (role of his family, especially brother and his sister-in-law)

His brother: Ngo Dinh Nhu
His sister-in-law: Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu
Madame Nhu and her daughter visit the US

Opposition to Diem in Vietnam

Diem's oppressive policies and persecution of Buddhists made him unpopular
Vietnamese monk burning himself to death

Edwin Moise: The Fall of Ngo Dinh Diem

JFK and the Diem Coup
[Read the introductory sections--those prior to the Documents]

Volume 2, Chapter 4, of the Pentagon Papers, "The Overthrow of Ngo Dinh Diem, May-November, 1963," pp. 201-276.
[use the summary section only]

CIA backed an overthrow of Diem (who was murdered)

The Ugly American Telegram

Arrest and assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem
JFK himself was assassinated three weeks later.

Kennedy's escalation of the U.S. war effort

North Vietnam and Viet Cong increased attempts to win in South
South Vietnam on the verge of losing
JFK had sent 16,000 American advisors.
Big historical question: what would Kennedy have done had he lived?

After Diem, revolving-door governments in South Vietnam
Comparisons to Iraq and Afghanistan

Why did we let Diem be overthrown?
Was there any better alternative?
Was the country itself able to operate as a country?
Could and would the South Vietnamese leaders actually lead their own people?
At what point could the U.S. have gotten out of Vietnam?

President Lyndon Johnson and the Americanization of the War

Tonkin Gulf Incident and Resolution

Response to North Vietnamese attack on American destroyer.
U.S. not entirely clean in this incident.

Tonkin Gulf Congressional Resolution
Gave LBJ authority to use unlimited military force in North Vietnam.
Johnson interpreted it as equivalent to declaration of war.

Lyndon B. Johnson
Miller Center (University of Virginia)

Gulf of Tonkin

Gulf of Tonkin incident

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (7 August 1964) (New York Times)
Look at what else is on front page: Goldwater for President, LBJ Anti-Poverty Bill

Finding Dulcinea: On This Day: False Claims of Attack Lead Congress to Authorize Vietnam War

George Ball's dissent against continued U.S. involvement in Vietnam

He wanted us to bail out of Vietnam early on; in retrospect, he was probably right.

Ball recommends compromise in Vietnam ( This Day in History | 7/1/1965)

Operation Rolling Thunder: U.S. air campaign over North Vietnam

More U.S. bombs on Vietnam than U.S. dropped in all of WWII
North Vietnamese did not give up.
Hid in shelters; rebuilt roads and bridges
Their perseverance frustrated and awed American decision makers.
U.S. prisoners of war: John McCain among them

Battlefield Vietnam - Part 10: Rolling Thunder
Various stops and starts in the air war

Hanoi Hilton Tap Code


Johnson's decision for major increase of U.S. effort in Vietnam

President Lyndon B. Johnson obituary (New York Times)

Commanding General of U.S. Forces: William Westmoreland
Google Images:

Danang March 1965

Dominican Republic April 1965

8 March 1965 US sends ground troops to Vietnam
LBJ decision to increase US forces in Vetnam

Johnson sent 50,000 more U.S. ground troops in July 1965.
Successive escalations of U.S. troop levels.
Maximum level of 536,000 in 1968.

Graph of US troops in Vietnam
Google search

We told the South Vietnamese: watch how well we could complete the job.
They watched.
We did not complete the job.

Ia Drang valley
"We were Soldiers" movie clip: "Broken Arrow"


Viewpoint: Counter-insurgency lessons from Vietnam (BBC News)

Vietnam Gear website:

Work through ALL of these categories:

Soldiers & Marines
Special Forces
Navy SEALs
Korean Forces
Mobile Riverine Force
River Patrol Force
Coastal Surveillance Force

On Patrol

The Use of Punji Traps

Ho Chi Minh trail: Google Images

Ho Chi Minh Trail

Ho Chi Minh Trail maps

1. Weapons of War: U.S. and enemy

2. The Language of War

3. Viet Cong Fighters

Inside the Viet Cong - Tactics, Weapons, Tunnels, Uniform

The Vietnam War (Pictures From The Other Side)

Viet Cong tunnel system

4. Punji Sticks
Google Images:

Enemy Tunnels

Tunnels (BBC)


Helicopter warfare
The Helicopter Road to Vietnam (Peter Brush)

Battle Stations: Huey Helicopter

Attrition strategy

American aim was to kill more enemy than could be sent from the North.

Search and destroy tactics
Body count: the indication of success.
Attrition did not succeed

Sanctuary: Enemy could use Laos and Cambodia as a sanctuary
Hard to defeat an enemy that has this kind of advantage.
Compare to Taliban using Pakistan as a sanctuary.

Ho Chi Minh trail: Google Images

U.S. military in Vietnam

Many different wars depending on branch of service and location within South Vietnam
Vietnam tour of duty: 12 months for Army
Could be stationed in a U.S. unit or on an advisory team

Enlisted Men in Vietnam

Women in Vietnam:

The women who served in Vietnam

Morale Problems: largely due to the draft

1. Fragging

2. Drug use

3. Atrocities: My Lai—not really a typical incident

My Lai Trial Begins - 1970 | Today in History | 17 Nov

Larry Colburn, who helped stop My Lai massacre, dies at age 69

4. Post–traumatic stress. Other wars: shell shock, battle fatigue.

"Hippies: "Counterculture" in the 1960s

Patty Hearst Trial (Famous Trials)
My Website Spotlight blog post

Digression: A few comments on my own tour of duty in Vietnam:

1. One term paper I chose as an undergraduate at Georgetown.

Strategic Hamlet Program (Wikipedia)

Pham Ngoc Thao

2. Rach Kien in Long An Province

3. Song Be in Phuoc Long Province
Enemy massacre of Montagnards at Dak Son

Montagnard History and Culture

Massacre at Dak Son

Massacre at Dak Son

4. Hamlet Evaluation Survey
How U.S. kept track of progress in "pacifying" the countryside.
Examples of my own experience in Phuoc Long province.

Ever Wonder Why Vietnamese Women's Teeth are Black?

TET OFFENSIVE (January 1968)

Episode 6. Tet 1968

Tet offensive: lessons learned

Walter Cronkite remembers the Tet offensive

Declassified: The Tet Offensive

Tet Offensive by the enemy
Tet is the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday

This event was really important in retrospect
Enemy coordinated attacks all over South Vietnam
U.S. was victorious militarily

Viet Cong Invade American Embassy

In U.S., public relations fallout bad
Americans became convinced that war was not winnable.

Battle of Khe Sanh
Battlefield Vietnam
a. Stories of 4 participants
b. The Siege
c. Close-up (interactive maps)

Raymond Torres story

Personal Note: How the Tet offensive indirectly helped me get into Stanford Business School.

Pueblo incident (December 1968)

The U.S.S. Pueblo Incident (December 1968)
Washington Post article about Pueblo

Divisions at Home in U.S.

Pro-war—by hard hats; silent majority

Anti-war protests:

Vietnam War Protests 1969 (New York Times)

Summer of Love (San Francisco, 1967)

Counterculture and the New Left both opposed the Vietnam War
Used teach–ins, antiwar marches, and demonstrations.
Some burned draft cards
Others fled the draft by moving to Canada.
"Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"

How the draft worked (1 December 1969)

John F. Kerry testified against the war

June 20, 1967 | Muhammad Ali Convicted (New York Times)

Woodstock begins in upstate New York ( This Day in History | 8/15/1969)

Reporting Vietnam: The press and the anti-war movement

1967 Vietnam War protests in New York City and San Francisco

Country Joe's Anti-Vietnam War Song at Woodstock

Cold War - Make Love Not War The Sixties [E13/24]

Kent State University

U.S. raid into Cambodia (1970) triggered campus protests at Kent State and Jackson State.

Kent State University: 4 students killed; National Guard unit fired into a crowd of student protesters.

Google images of Kent State massacre

On this day: Four killed in Kent State shooting

Kent State

The Picture from Kent State by Dirck Halstead - The Digital Journalist

Finding Dulcinea: On This Day: Kent State Students Shot by Ohio National Guard

May 4, 1970 | National Guard Opens Fire at Kent State (New York Times)

Kent State (New York Times)

Pentagon Papers (1971)

Supreme Court allows publication of Pentagon Papers

New York Times Publishes Pentagon Papers - 1971 | Today in History | 13 June

About the Pentagon Papers

Pentagon Papers:
On This Day, 11 May 1973: Pentagon Papers Case Dismissed by Judge

Pentagon Papers: Glossary of Terms [for future reference]

Richard Nixon: Vietnamization of the war

His anti-Communist credentials
As a Republican, he had not “lost” China
He began the withdrawal of U.S. troops
South Vietnamese should carry the load.
Similar to our attempts both in Iraq and Afghanistan: "if they stand up, we will stand down"

Fall of South Vietnam (April 1975)

Google Images: Helicopters Leaving Saigon

Saigon Falls to Vietcong Ending Vietnam War (On This Day, Finding Dulcinea)

The Fall of Saigon (New York Times)

Communists Take Over Saigon (New York Times)

April 30, 1975 | Saigon Falls (New York Times)

Legacy of the Vietnam war

58,000 U.S. dead

LIFE magazine issue devoted to pictures of US casualties
Reporting Vietnam: 1 week's dead

Financial cost to U.S.: $200 billion

America's longest war.

America's most unpopular war.

Involvement of six U.S. presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford.

Pete Peterson: Assignment Hanoi, US Ambassador to Vietnam & former POW