1964 – 1972 US Involved (OFFICIALLY)
Caused the greatest anti-war movement the US ever experienced

 1945: Japanese & the French gone – Ho Chi Minh led 1 million people into the streets to celebrate independence
 Their declaration of independence borrowed from the French Revolution, The US Declaration of Independence and even began: “All men are created equal. They are endowed….”
 Just as the Americans did in 1776, they listed their grievances against the French
 “Pentagon Papers” – Top secret report by the US State Department (released to the public)
 British (occupying it in WW II victory) returned it to the French
 October 1946: French bomb, beginning an 8-year war
 US supports the French with weapons & cash (financing 80% of the war by 1954)

Why US Support????
1. domino theory
2. chain of military bases along the coast of China, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines
3. Southeast Asia: world’s principle source of rubber & tin – produces petroleum as well
4. Japan is dependent on SE Asian rice

 1954: French withdraw
 Peace Treaty states: French would temporarily withdraw into southern Vietnam, Vietminh would remain in the North – elections in 2 years in a unified Vietnam
 US took control of the south & placed Ngo Dinh Diem (recently living in NJ)
 US encouraged Diem not to hold elections
 Pentagon Papers state: South Vietnam was essentially a creation of the USA
 Diem became increasingly unpopular – He was catholic in a nation of Buddhists; He was close to the landlords in a nation of peasants; He imprisoned those who spoke against his government
 1958: guerrilla activities began against Diem
 NLF (National Liberation Front): organizes villagers in the south toward economic and social change
 1961: Kennedy takes office and continues the policies of Eisenhower & Truman
 1963: a Buddhist monk sat in a public square in Saigon (southern Capital) and set himself on fire to protest the Diem regime.  This act continued (suicide by fire).
 Diem’s police raided the Buddhist pagodas & temples, wounding 30 monks and arresting 1400 people 

Kennedy & Vietnam
 US permitted 685 military advisors under Geneva Accords
 Eisenhower secretly increased it to several thousand
 Under Kennedy, 16,000 advisors w/ some taking part in combat operations against the NLF & local villagers organized by NLF
 South Vietnamese generals were plotting against Diem – Kennedy made no move to warn Diem (American Ambassador Cabot was for the coup)
 Diem fled during the coup – he and his brother were captured & executed