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Vietnam and the Presidency - Chart

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 10 years, 9 months ago



Vietnam & the Presidency 




Significance of Action

Harry Truman

1945-1949 France tried to recolonize Indochina


Ho Chi Minh and Communists resisted


U.S. opposed French recolonization, but feared communism

1949-1953 U.S. began massive aid to France; by 1953 was paying 80% of French bills in Indochina


Sent O.S.S./C.I.A. to work with French to combat Communists

Fall of China, Korean War put pressure on Truman to hold line on communism in Asia


Supported French colonialism in order to stop communism

Dwight Eisenhower

1954 Dien Bien Phu falls; French defeated


Geneva Conference divided Indochina


Proposed unification elections be held in 1956

Selected Ngo Dinh Diem as U.S. ally


Supported Diem’s decision not to hold elections in 1956


Gave economic aid


Sent 1,000 advisers to Vietnam

Domino theory made Vietnam critical to Asian containment


Support of Diem laid foundation for future commitments

John Kennedy

Worried by Diem’s repression of Buddhists; refused to reform political corruption in South


Viet Cong grew in strength

JFK resisted call to send combat troops


Increased advisers to 16,000


Supported domino theory


Tacitly supported Diem’s ouster in 1963

Postponed either escalation or withdrawal


No clear future direction on war


Diem’s death left South in political and military chaos

Lyndon Johnson

Faced political chaos in Vietnam


Believed in domino theory


Feared conservative political attacks on Great Society


Realized fighting war could destroy his presidency

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution 1964 gave LBJ authority to fight war


Began bombing North Vietnam


Sent combat troops to Vietnam; by 1968, 540,000 troops in South Vietnam


Opposition to war grew

Saw war as test of U.S. will as superpower


Escalated the war and gradually divided nation


Tet offensive set stage for U.S. desire to withdraw from Vietnam


War destroyed Johnson’s presidency and tarnished his legacy

Richard Nixon (Ford)

Pledged to “Vietnamize” war


Claimed he had a secret plan to end the war

Reduced U.S. role in war


Invaded Cambodia


Bombed North Vietnam


Peace accords in 1973 left Communists in South Vietnam

Ended draft; withdrew U.S. troops


Watergate removed Nixon and reduced public support for South Vietnam


Communists took over South Vietnam in 1975


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