The Vietnam War

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Overview of the Vietnam War

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Vietnam War

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1945 Ho Chi Minh Creates Provisional Government Following the surrender of Japan to Allied forces, Ho Chi Minh and his People's Congress form a provisional government. Japan transfers all power to Ho's Vietminh. Ho Declares Independence of Vietnam British Forces Land in Saigon, Return Authority to French First American Dies in Vietnam

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1954 Battle of Dienbienphu Begins A force of 40,000 heavily armed Vietminh lay seige to the French French Defeated at Dien Bien Phu Geneva Convention Agreements Announced Vietnam and France sign the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities in Vietnam. As part of the agreement, a provisional demarcation line is drawn at the 17th parallel to remain until nationwide elections are held in 1956. The United States does not accept the agreement, neither does the government of Bao Dai. garrison at Dienbienphu. The French have met their match.

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1955 Diem Rejects Conditions of Geneva Accords, Refuses to Participate in Nationwide Elections Britain, France, and United States covertly urge Diem to respect Geneva accords and negotiate with the North. China and USSR Pledge Financial Support to Hanoi Diem Becomes President of South Vietnam in rigged election 1956 French Leave Vietnam US Training South Vietnamese The US Military Assistance Advisor Group (MAAG) assumes responsibility, from French, for training South Vietnamese forces. Election Deadline Passes

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1959 Weapons Moving Along Ho Chi Minh Trail NV begins infiltrating cadres and weapons into SV via the Ho Chi Minh Trail which became a strategic target for later military attacks. US Servicemen Killed in Guerilla Attack Diem Orders Crackdown on Communists, Dissidents 1960 Diem Survives Coup Attempt Vietcong Formed Hanoi forms National Liberation Front for South Vietnam. Diem government dubs them "Vietcong."

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1962 US Military Employs Agent Orange US Air Force begins using Agent Orange -- a defoliant that came in metal orange containers-to expose roads and trails used by Vietcong forces.

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1963 Buddhists Protest Against Diem Tensions between Buddhists and the Diem government are further strained as Diem, a Catholic, removes Buddhists from several key government positions and replaces them with Catholics. Diem Overthrown, Murdered , with tacit approval of the US. Buddhist monks protest Diem's intolerance for other religions and the measures he takes to silence them. In a show of protest, Buddhist monks start setting themselves on fire in public places.

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1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident On August 2, three North Vietnamese PT boats allegedly fire torpedoes at the USS Maddox, a destroyer located in the international waters of the Tonkin Gulf, some thirty miles off the coast of North Vietnam. The attack comes after six months of covert US and South Vietnamese naval operations.

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Debate on Gulf of Tonkin Resolution The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is approved by Congress on August 7 and authorizes President Lyndon Johnson to "take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression." The Resolution allows Johnson to wage all out war against North Vietnam without ever securing a formal Declaration of War from Congress.

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1965 Operation "Rolling Thunder" Deployed 3 years of sustained bombing raids of NV Marines Arrive at Danang The 1st American combat troops, the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, arrive in VN to defend the US airfield at Danang . Heavy Fighting at Ia Drang Valley The 1st conventional battle; heavy casualties US Troop Levels Top 200,000

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1966 SV Government Troops Take Hue and Danang LBJ Meets With South Vietnamese Leaders LBJ meets with SV Premier Nguyen Cao Ky and his military advisors. LBJ promises to continue to help SV fend off aggression from the North, but adds that the US will be monitoring SV’s efforts to expand democracy and improve economic conditions.

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1968 North Vietnamese Launch Tet Offensive

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1968 Battle for Hue The battle wages for 26 days as US and ARVN forces try to recapture the site seized by the Communists during the Tet Offensive. Mass graves containing the bodies of thousands of people who had been executed during the Communist occupation are discovered.

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1968 Misdirected Napalm Attack sparks protest

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My Lai Massacre On March 16, the men of Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, Americal Division took out their anger and frustration on the village of My Lai.

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When news of the atrocities surfaced, it sent shockwaves through the US political establishment, the military's chain of command, and an already divided American public.

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1968 Westmoreland Requests 206,000 More Troops LBJ Announces He Won't Run Paris Peace Talks Begin Upheaval at Democratic Convention in Chicago As the frazzled Democratic party prepares to hold its nominating convention in Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley orders police to crackdown on antiwar protests. As the nation watched on television, the area around the convention erupts in violence. Richard Nixon Elected President

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1969 Nixon Begins Secret Bombing of Cambodia In an effort to destroy Communist supply routes and base camps in Cambodia, the covert bombing of Cambodia, conducted without the knowledge of Congress or the American public, will continue for fourteen months. Policy of " Vietnamization " Announced The objective of the policy is to shift the burden of defeating the Communists onto the South Vietnamese Army and away from the United States. Ho Chi Minh Dies at Age 79

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1969 Massive Antiwar Demonstration in DC

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Woodstock-1969

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Nixon publicly deplores the actions of the Guardsmen, but cautions: "...when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy." Protesters had been hurling rocks and empty tear gas canisters at the Guardsmen. 1970 Kent State Incident Nat’l Guardsmen open fire on a crowd of student antiwar protesters at Ohio's Kent State University killing 4 students and wounding of 8 others.

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1971 Lt. Calley Convicted of Murder for My L ai Massacre. Pentagon Papers Published A legacy of deception, concerning US policy in Vietnam, on the part of the military and the executive branch is revealed as the New York Times publishes the Pentagon Papers. The Nixon administration, eager to stop leaks of what they consider sensitive information, appeals to the Supreme Court to halt the publication. The Court decides in favor the Times and allows continued publication.

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1972 Nixon Cuts Troop Levels by 70K Responding to charges by Democratic presidential candidates that he is not moving fast enough to end US involvement in Vietnam, Nixon orders troop strength reduced by seventy thousand. Secret Peace Talks Revealed B-52s Bomb Hanoi and Haiphong In an attempt to force NV to make concessions in the ongoing peace talks, the Nixon administration orders heavy bombing of supply dumps and petroleum storage sites in and around Hanoi and Haiphong. The administration makes it clear to NV that no section is off-limits to bombing raids .

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1973 Cease-fire Signed in Paris A cease-fire agreement that, in the words of Richard Nixon, "brings peace with honor in Vietnam and Southeast Asia," is signed in Paris by Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho . The agreement is to go into effect on January 28. End of Draft Announced Last American Troops Leave Vietnam

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Kissinger and Le Duc Begin Secret Talks Number of US Troops Falls to 280K 1975 Sihanouk Ousted in Cambodia by his defense minister, Lon Nol

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1975 Phnompenh Captured by Khmer Rouge The Khmer Rouge accept the surrender of Cambodian leader Lon Nol on April 16 ushering in a period of genocide and forced "re-education" engineered by Pol Pot.

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The Fall of Saigon SV President unconditionally surrenders to the Communists April 30, 197 5. As the few remaining Americans evacuate Saigon, the last two US servicemen to die in Vietnam are killed when their helicopter crashes. North Vietnamese Colonel assures that, "...Only the Americans have been beaten. If you are patriots, consider this a moment of joy."

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The Legacy of the War Total Americans who served in Vietnam: 2,700,000 Americans killed in Vietnam: 58,182 Vietnamese casualties: 2,000,000

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Total Americans who served in Vietnam: 2,700,000 Americans killed in Vietnam: 58,182 Vietnamese casualties: 2,000,000

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