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Vietnam War

III/ The failure of the USA and the consequences of the conflict

II/ The progress of the conflictA) KennedyB) JohnsonC) Nixon


I/The origins of the conflict

-> France launches a military offensive = Indochina War-> End : defeat of France at Diên Biên Phu on 7 May 1954

The national revolutionary force of Indochina (Vietnam), claims control of the country in 1945. Ho Chi Minh, declared independence on 2 September.

Indochina = gathering of several Asian provinces:-> Vietnam + Laos + Cambodia. This group of regions belonged to the French colonial empire, which imposed a particularly austere political and economic regime on the locals, causing an uprising of the population.


Domino Theory: American geopolitical theory according to which a country's ideological shift in favour of communism would be followed by the same change in neighbouring countries through a domino effect.

A real fear of communism is taking hold in the United States, as evidenced by McCarthyism. This is why they decide to intervene...

= authoritarian regime embodied by Ngô Dinh Diêm president until 1963

Principal reason of the Vietam war: cutting of the country along the 17th parallel (Geneva Conference)

under the soviet domination

under the western influence

Ho Chi Minh

Consequences : Creation of an insurrectionary opposition movement : National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam or "Viet Cong", who fight for the reunification of Vietnam

I/ The origins of the conflict

22th November 1963

Kennedy decides the withdrawal of his troops and military advisers from his country installed in South Vietnam


Diem murdered because considered too weak and unpopular

3th November 1963

Buddhist monk sets himself on fire

11thJune 1963

He wants to save Diem's regime from communist invasion at all costs, even if it means supporting an autocratic leader, contrary to American ideology.


Kennedy is assassinated, his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson decides to continue the war by sending more troops

II/ THE COURSE OF THE CONFLICTA) John Fitzgerald Kennedy

9 March 1965: Johnson authorises the use of napalm.

Determined to fight against communism and support South Vietnam

Assault on two American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin -> the president launches the first American raids in South Vietnam on 4 August 1964 + obtains from Congress the right to "take all necessary measures to defeat communism"

1965: President Johnson decides to commit his country to war, with the massive sending of troops and equipment + military operations on the territory of North Vietnam.

2 March 1965:Operation Rolling Thunder from March 1965 to October 1968: 850,000 tonnes of bombs on North Vietnam


Beginning in March 1965, the human commitment of the United States increased:

Sending conscripts, this change allowed Lyndon Johnson to send more and more soldiers

In total, in June 1969, about one and a half million soldiers were fighting on the South Vietnamese side.

Chemical defoliants: napalm and "Agent Orange". = burn vegetation cover, wooden houses and crops, with very long-term pest effects

Laos and Cambodia are soon drawn into the warAround 50,000 South Korean and 10,000 Thai soldiers are also fighting alongside US troops, amounting to about 700,000 soldiers.

390 000

550 000

185 000

125 000

The revelation in November 1969 of the My Lai massacre, an American war crime

March 1970 : Nixon ordered a halt to the bombing and began negotiations with the FNL and North Vietnam. 1973 : he concluded the Paris Peace Accords in which the United States committed itself to withdraw all its troops and North Vietnam to release all its American prisoners.

However, the war continued between North and South Vietnam, which had rejected the Paris Agreements, until the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. The city was then renamed Ho Chi Minh City and the two Vietnamese states were reunited.

C) Nixon (1969-1974)(1969-1974)

February 1968: the turning point of the war with the Tet offensive launched on more than 100 towns in the South and on American bases.

III/US failure and the consequences of the conflict

America's prestige : strongly tarnished as a result, the USA has been heavily criticisedThe chemicals used by the Americans have sterilised a third of the land and are still the cause of many diseases among the Vietnamese..

The Americans finally lost the war, despite their material superiority

Deaths : Americans: 58,000 Vietnamese: 3.8 million civilians and military = 8% of their population.... -Massacres of civilians since 10,000 villages were destroyed at the end of the war-the filmed war.




Nia Urjukashvili