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Vietnam and the Presidency - Chart

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

 

 

Vietnam & the Presidency 

President

Background

Actions/Events

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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