World War II saw competition for power and
control over the World as the European
powers influence diminished.
The two nations were sharply divided in
geography, economy, and relative power.
During the war, FDR promoted collective
security, self-determination, and free trade for
all nations. Atlantic Charter.
Decolonization of the European Empire
began after the war.
War Years: Cold War
1945)-creation of the U.N.
Security Council, the policy of free
elections in Eastern Europe, Poland was
exempt because Stalin wanted to control
Baruch Plan: Atomic bomb was an issue.
Stalin had spies and knew about the
Manhattan project. US wanted to place
atomic development under the control of
a UN agency. Stalin rejected it.
After the war:
produced half the world’s
manufactured goods and was ready to
reconstruct the world.
The Soviets showed that communism
could save Europe. They wanted to
create a sphere of influence to protect
from another war. Soviets move into
Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and occupied
Other Negative Factors
Stalin was a dictator. He imprisoned disloyal
people, Westerners, and executed some political
dissidents into Gulag.
Stalin also had spies and espionage to uncover
United States secrets and weapons. He created
the KGB, a network of spies, that informed the
government of dissidents etc.
Atomic Bomb and arms race between the two
Long Telegram-George F.
1946 Feb. George F. Kenan, Soviet
ambassador, writes this:
Soviets were Oriental despots and should be
met with counterforce at every spot of
expansion. Vigilant containment.
Soviet system is unstable and will collapse. They
will pull back from confrontation.
Stalin: US is aggressor of capitalism. Spend all
money on arms and bases. British and US will
explode and conflict will weaken the US.
Greece and Turkey(1947)
Feb, 1947, Greek and Turkey had unstable
governments changing from a monarchy to guerilla
movements with communist revolts. London told
Truman that they could not support the people. With
this, Britain hand over the job of world leadership to
the United States.
March 12, Truman declared support of free people
who remain outside the power of the Communism.
300million dollars for Greece and 100 million dollars
for Turkey.(Truman Doctrine of containment). Russia
did not aid the Greeks because more worry in east
Europe. Truman sent 74,000 tons of military
equipment in 1947. 200 army officers and removing
Greeks from their homes. 1949 ended the revolution.
1947 Marshall developed a plan to
send 13 billion dollars to support the
economies of Europe from collapsing.
Resulted in stronger markets for the
The aim was to stop hunger, poverty in
the desperate chaos.
Berlin was divided into four sections controlled
by the Allies on the West and Russia on the
East. The division resulted from the entrance
of these groups into the city at the end of the
Stalin decided to blockade the city to drive
the Allies out. He stopped food and supplies
from going into the city.
Americans and British airlifted tons of food into
The Russians lifted the blockade.
1. The defining moment of our mission of
freedom abroad and imposing our
imperialism of freedom on others.
2. The defining event of our freedom against
government and increasing mistrust of
government’s definition of freedom for us.
3. The watershed event of our questioning our
society’s definition of freedom and the
leadership of the older generation.
The war began when the French invaded Vietnam in the 1840’s.
Japanese invaded in 1940.The Japanese were defeated in 1940
and withdrew their troops. However, the French refuse to move and
stayed to occupy Vietnam. They took rice from the Vietnamese for
their own nation in 1941. Caused great resentment.
Ho Chi Minh traveled around the world and came back to create
the Vietnimh or Vietnam National Movement to create a
communist government for Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh attacked the
French through guerilla warfare.
French colonial forces took rice away from Vietnam. Famine in the
Dien Bien Phu-French attacked the Vietminh. They lost the war.
Vietnminh won victory in Saigon and declared independence in
1945. Ho-chi-minh read the Declaration of Independence to the
crowd and asked do you hear me! 400,000 people screamed Yes.
He listed all the crimes against the Vietnamese. Democratic
Republic of Vietnam.
Ho chi minh tried to send letters to Truman for relations but it
1947 Haiphong harbor was bombed. French war started.
US gave military aid because of the domino theory-if one
nation fall, all would fall.
Southeast Asia had natural rubber and tin, and petroleum.
1954 French had to withdraw. At the peace meeting.
French would withdraw to south.
US started to build up South Vietnam with Ngo Dinh Diem as
leader and build a democratic election. Diem was
Catholic and he liked the landlords and rich people. He
appointed all chiefs from this resource. The people went
over to the Vietnmin. National Liberation Front(1960)
formed to oppose the regime. They promised the peasants
land, and trained villages how to care for themselves.
Kennedy and Vietnam
Kennedy sent agents to North Vietnam for
sabotage. He wanted to back the President Diem.
President Diem had a corrupt government. People
taking money away from the people.
1963, Buddhist monk sat down in Saigon and set
himself afire. Other Buddhist monks set themselves
on fire to oppose regime. Diem invaded Buddhist
temples to kill the monks. Kennedy sent 16,000
advisers but some fought for South Vietnam. 1963
CIA and some generals organized a coup against
Diem. They assassinated him.
The US soldiers attempted to neutralize the
Vietcong in South Vietnam. “They attempted
to go in and destroy villages and huts where
the Vietcong were hiding. Also , the
vegetation and tropical forests hid the
Vietcong, who would attack American troops
and then run away with their
The American soldiers became demoralize
because they were fighting a hidden enemy
and saw no results of their engagements.
Reasons for Vietnamese
provided cement through the AID
program. In school after school, if you
press down your heel on the floor, the
heel will press through the concrete. If you
take a small coin out of the walls, they
cratered or crumbled. The concrete was
mainly sand. The funds were diverted to
the chief. Schools constructed were
dissolving before our eyes, Blowing in the
wind(Ellsburg, p. 130)”
had fired at, all right, but by whom? What
connection did the village have with it? Or
people and children in the burning house. How
can America justify punishing the Vietnamese
people from the sky(Ellsburg, p. 138).”
“ It was called reconnaissance by fire. You
shoot a village first to see if the enemy was in it.
Then you flush them out or burn the huts(p164).
Secret classified papers about the Tonkin
offensive showed that government had
hidden facts to increase involvement in the
1947-1965-showed purpose was to contain
China, show involvement of US in supporting
Diem’s government, and also in his
It was revealed by Daniel Ellsburg, a RAND
representative in 1971)
Lyndon B. Johnson(1964-1968)
Tonkin episode-North Vietnamese attacked the Maddox, American
destroyers, in international waters and areas. Actually, Maddox was
a spy ship in Vietnam’s seas.
Tonkin resolution-to protect United State’s interests they said
President can carry on war without Congress approval for 30 days.
200,000 TROOPS SENT. US bombed hills where they killed Vietcong
soldiers, burnt women with napalm(oil explosive), and went on
village burning campaigns. 1965.
CIA killed 20,000 civilians in anti-communist raids. South Vietnamese
prison camps held 70,000 people who were beaten and tortured.
1964-1965 Laos invaded and bombed.
1968 40,000 American soldiers dead. Escalation was critical but LBJ
popularity was declining. Demonstrations against the war.
Tet Offensive: January 1968**
Major North Vietnamese offensive consisting of 30
to 40,000 troops at midnight on January 30. The
attack overwhelmed US and South Vietnamese
soldiers at Da Nang, Ke Sang, Hue, and finally
Saigon. The North Vietnamese entered Saigon
and took over the Radio Station and the
Independence Palace but was soon defeated in
battle with US troops. Despite the defeat of the
Northern troops, it lead to demoralization back
home and the leadership’s realization that it was
impossible to defeat the North without immense
commitment of men and arms.
Nixon started to withdraw the troops in 1968.
Vietnamization-support the Saigon
government with money and air power.
Nixon bombed Cambodia, and Laos with a
secret invasion in 1970.
1971 Kissinger signed a peace treaty. US
withdraw forces and give aid to Saigon.
1973 Total withdrawal of troops. Nixon
admitted that the anti-war movement was
crucial to dropping the intensification of the
Defeat of Saigon
North Vietnamese attacked South
Vietnam later in 1975 in April. They rapidly
Destroyed resistance. They surrounded
Saigon. Operation Fleetwind evacuated
2,000 people by helicopter onto waiting
American ships. Helicopters had to be
tossed to the side to let the evacuees on.
America had abandoned the South.
Americans experienced the My Lai massacre
where innocent women raped and men were
massacred by American troops.
Green Beret had captured a Vietnamese and shot
him in the head. The action discredited the
Every troop had their share of torture, atrocities,
rape, and massacres. It is said about 7 massacres
happened and about 800 casualties.
Free fly zones, citizens massacre running away
from helicopters, and hatred for Vietnamese
people created war crimes.
Anti-war demonstration: right
*Do we have the right to demonstrate?
1966 Student Nonviolent Coordinating
Committee declared United States was violating
international law and called for withdrawal(Zinn,
475). They invaded a induction center and sent
to jail. Julian Bond spoke out against Vietnam
and was not seated.
1965 2,000 inductees refuse to show up for the
Change in the definition of
in the freedom of
capitalism and people’s value of selfeconomic determination.
Vietnam War-political force of the masses.
Changing freedom of life style and values.
D. (2002). Secrets, Penguin Books.