Created by mmichael12 on Nov 28, 2010
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The Phoenix Program was created in June of 1967 as an attempt to assassinate the Viet Cong leadership. The program was backed by the CIA and South Vietnam with help from the United States army. The program was corrupt and mismanaged which led to events such as the My Lai Massacre. On March 16, 1968 three platoons of U.S. troops went on a “search-and-destroy” mission through the hamlet of My Lai. Their mission was to find Viet Cong soldiers and kill them, but they found none. The only people seen were villagers going about their day. The soldiers went through the village and killed hundred of civilians including elderly men and women, even children. In three hours, 504 Vietnamese had been killed. People were lined in ditches to be shot and this quote from one soldier shows the brutality of the massacre, “ I cut their throats, cut off their hands, cut out their tongues, scalped them. I did it. A lot of people were ding it and I just followed. I lost all sense of direction.” With all of the Vietnamese civilian deaths there was only one American injured who shot himself in the foot to avoid participating in the massacre. One American helicopter pilot threatened to fire on the American troops to try and stop the massacre. He called in gunships and ordered his gunner to fire on any American who continued the slaughter. When the truth of the massacre came out back at home a year later, only one man was convicted for the murder of the people. Citations: *Mintz, S. (2007). My Lai Massacre. Digital History. Retrieved November 16, 2010 from http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/learning_history/vietnam/vietnam_mylai.cfm *"SparkNotes: The Vietnam War (1945â1975): Quagmire and the Tet Offensive: 1966â1968." SparkNotes: Today's Most Popular Study Guides. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. . *William H. Chafe, The Unfinished Journey: America Since World War II, second edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991). Picture: During the My Lai Massacre people were lined up and shot. Their bodies were left in piles.
The Tet Offensive was a major Vietnamese attack on the South Vietnamese and American troops. On January 31, 1968 at 3 a.m. the Viet Cong attacked multiple cities, towns, and military bases in Vietnam all at the same time. This was also the same time as the Tet Lunar New Year. There was a ceasefire for the celebration of the holiday. The Viet Cong had gathered 84,000 troops around the major cities of South Vietnam in hopes to surprise the Americans so that they could not react quickly enough to have a victory. The major cities of attack were Saigon, Hue, and the American Marine base at Khe Sanh. Out of the 84,000 Viet Cong troops that were commited to the Tet Offensive, 58,000 of them were killed. While the United States was able to defeat the Viet Cong militarily in this attack, the Tet Offensive brought on major doubts for the American Citizens. Until this point, the government had been telling the citizens that the United States was coming close to Victory. This attack made most citizens believe that this war was no where near the easy win that the government had been leading them to think. This led to further disapproval of the war and a major loss of trust in President Johnson. .Citations: *Wiest, Andrew A. The Vietnam War. New York: Rosen Pub., 2009. Print. *"The Cold War Continued: The Vietnam War." American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 7: 1960-1969. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 16 Nov. 2010. *Mintz, S. (2007). The Tet Offensive. Digital History. Retrieved November 15, 2010 from http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=519 Picture: A tank during one of the attacks of the Tet Offensive.
Operation Junction City was the largest American operation of the war that took place from February 1967 to May of 1967. It was a search-and-destroy mission along the Cambodian border to the Northwest of Saigon. The main goal of this mission was to capture the communist command center in South Vietnam known as the COSVN. The mission took place in what was called the Zone C, which was a largely occupied by the Viet Cong. Three major battles, all started by the Viet Cong took place during Operation Junction City. The Viet Cong lost 2,728 lives from this mission while the United States forces lost 282 troops. American troops never did find the site they were looking and when they withdrew the communists recaptured the land. Citations: *Isserman, Maurice. Vietnam War. Updated ed. America at War. New York: Facts On File-Infobase Publishing, 2003. Infobase eBooks. Infobase Publishing.. http://ebooks.infobasepublishing.com/ View.aspx?ISBN=9781438100159&InstID=831 (accessed November 28, 2010). * "Operation Junction City." Vietnam War. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. . Picture: Supplies being dropped to American Soldiers during Opoeration Junction City.
The Hoa Lo Prison was a prison for American prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. The living conditions were extremely unfavorable and the prisoners were treated horrifically. The prison was infested with rats and insects. Sometimes the captives were isolated in rooms so that they would have no one to talk to and other times they were packed together in small rooms holding as many as forty men. The prisoners received beatings with clubs, fists, rifle butts, rubber whips, and sometimes the Vietnamese even stretched their joints with rope. Any treatments would be used to get revelations about American military operations out of the prisoners. The Geneva Convention of 1949 stated that prisoners of war must be treated with decent and humane conditions, but this was not followed in the Vietnam War. International pressures eventually brought the torturous prisons to a close for both the Vietnamese and Americans. Famous American POW’s that were held in the Hoa Lo Prison are Jeremiah Denton, James Stockdale, and John McCain III. Citations: * "American Experience | PBS | Vietnam Online." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. . * Isserman, Maurice. Vietnam War. Updated ed. America at War. New York: Facts On File-Infobase Publishing, 2003. Infobase eBooks. Infobase Publishing.. http://ebooks.infobasepublishing.com/ View.aspx?ISBN=9781438100159&InstID=831 (accessed November 19, 2010). Picture: A view of the Hoa Lo Prison from above.
At 9:03 A.M. on March 8th, 1965 the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade landed in Da Nang, South Vietnam. Da Nang is a city in South Vietnam that was 85 miles from the demilitarized zone seperatin North and South Vietnam.Two separate Marine battalions were sent, one by air, and one that entered at the beach. When they arrived they were met by young Vietnamese women who gave them flower garlands. A total of 3,500 Marines came with the battalion that entered on the beach. These were the first U.S. combat forces in Vietnam. This entrance to the country was the official beginning of the war. The United States was now actively participating in the war rather than advising South Vietnam. Citations: * "From the Director: March 8, 1965..." IMN - HTML Email Marketing Newsletters, Services and Solutions. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. . * Isserman, Maurice. Vietnam War. Updated ed. America at War. New York: Facts On File-Infobase Publishing, 2003. Infobase eBooks. Infobase Publishing.. http://ebooks.infobasepublishing.com/ View.aspx?ISBN=9781438100159&InstID=831 (accessed November 19, 2010). Picture: Soldiers from the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade arriving on the shore of Da Nang on March 8th, 1965.
Operation Rolling Thunder was a bombing campaign against North Vietnam. The campaign was created on February 24, 1965 but the first attacks did not take place until March 2nd, 1965. The purpose of the campaign was to destroy the morale and ability of North Vietnam to supply support and equipment to their soldiers. Operation Rolling Thunder lasted until the end of October in 1968. It is estimated that the American Navy and Air Force dropped a total of 643,000 tons of bombs on North Vietnam during this time. Even with these large attacks though, the United States was not able to complete its main goal. The North Vietnamese were still able to supply their soldiers with everything they needed. North Vietnam built bomb-proof shelters and tunnels as well as rebuilding highways and bridges as quickly as the United States was able to destroy them. If anything, the bombings actually boosted the determination of North Vietnam. On March 31, 1968, President Johnson stopped the bombing of North Vietnam in hopes to talk of negotiations with North Vietnam. Negotiations began in 1969. Citations: *"Operation Rolling Thunder." GlobalSecurity.org - Reliable Security Information. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. . *Vietnam Becomes an American War (1965–67). Vietnam War Reference Library. Vol. 3: Almanac. Detroit: UXL, 2001. p91-112. Picure: A United States plane dropping few of the many bombs dropped during Operation Rolling Thunder.
The Gulf of Tonkin incident was an attack on August 2nd by the North Vietnamese on an American destroyer the Maddox. This destroyer was supporting South Vietnam and attacking North Vietnamese radar installations. The United States claimed that a second destroyer, the C. Turner Joy was attacked the next day on August 3rd. It is now known that a second attack never happened and that the first attack was provoked because of the help that the U.S. destroyer the Maddox was giving to South Vietnam. Due to the attacks President Johnson went to congress with the claims that the two U.S. destroyers were attacked. Congress authorized Johnson to retaliate stating that he should “take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression”. This became the Tonkin Resolution which passed easily in the House and Senate. This resolution gave the United States the ability to increase troops in Vietnam which escalated the war. Citations: *"The Cold War Continued: The Vietnam War." American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 7: 1960-1969. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 16 Nov. 2010. *"Gulf of Tonkin Incident - Ohio History Central - A Product of the Ohio Historical Society." Ohio History Central - An Online Encyclopedia of Ohio History - Ohio Historical Society. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. . Picture: A photo of the Maddox being attacked by a North Vietnamese torpedo in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Ngo Dinh Diem was the first leader of South Vietnam. He was a catholic man installed by the United States partially due to his promise to do anything he could to stop South Vietnam from becoming communist. The majority of the population of Vietnam was Buddhist. The religious difference between the citizens of South Vietnam and their leader made it very hard for Diem to keep the people happy with his ideas. The United States began to realize that Diem was losing control of South Vietnam. On June, 11 1963 Thich Quang Duc, a buddhist monk, lit fire to himself and burned to death in a Saigon street intersection. There were also many other incidents where Diem's government were known to arrest and kill Buddhists. To regain control of the country, the South Vietnamese military and the United States government overthrew Diem and assassinated him and his family on November 2, 1963. Diem was replaced by General Duong Van Minh. Ciations: * "The Cold War Continued: The Vietnam War." American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Vol. 7: 1960-1969. Detroit: Gale, 2001. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 16 Nov. 2010. *"JFK and the Diem Coup." The George Washington University. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. . *Wiest, Andrew A. The Vietnam War. New York: Rosen Pub., 2009. Print. Picture: A photograph of Ngo Dinh Diem
Operation Sunrise, also known as the Strategic Hamlet program, was a program designed by the South Vietnamese government and the United States to move the South Vietnamese villagers into secured towns/hamlets. The program was introduced in 1962. The hamlets had stockades built around them as well as guards to protect them. These hamlets were created to try and reduce the risk of the every day villager of joining the Viet Cong forces. The villagers were very reluctant to this program though. By moving these people, not only were they uprooting them from their homes and taking them miles away from their rice fields, but they were also taking them away from their religions and beliefs. Many of the villagers were being moved from where their ancestors were buried. Operation Sunrise’s plan to eliminate the chances of villagers joining the Viet Cong created the opposite result. The move created anger in the people and actually helped the Viet Cong grow. The NLF had a 300 percent increase in two years following the creation of Operation Sunrise. Citations: *Isserman, Maurice. Vietnam War. Updated ed. America at War. New York: Facts On File-Infobase Publishing, 2003. Infobase eBooks. Infobase Publishing.. http://ebooks.infobasepublishing.com/ View.aspx?ISBN=9781438100159&InstID=831 (accessed November 19, 2010). * "Strategic Hamlet." Spartacus Educational - Home Page. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. . * "Vietnam War - 1961 - Strategic Hamlets." GlobalSecurity.org - Reliable Security Information. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. . Picture: An overhead view of a Strategic Hamlet in Vietnam.
In 1962, the United States entered a new form of attack to the Vietnam War with Chemical Warfare. The Air force began to spray chemicals that killed the forests that provided hiding places in communist areas. The chemical that killed this vegetation was called Agent Orange. The chemicals were even sprayed over crops. The chemicals that were sprayed on crops were called Agent Blue. The United States sprayed Agent Blue in hopes to make the Viet Cong suffer without their crops. In reality though, this destroyed more civilian crops than the food for the Viet Cong. One last chemical that was spread was Napalm. Napalm was a tough sticky gel that attached itself to the skin. Once napalm is on the skin, it burns for a very long time and down through the muscle and bone. The result of napalm on the skin was usually death. In 1969, scientists discovered that the chemicals such as Agent Orange had a dangerous and poisonous chemical in them. The United States had claimed that these chemicals were harmless to human, but soon Vietnam Civilians and American Veterans began to complain of skin and liver diseases, cancer, or having a child with birth defects because of the chemical. By 1974 the use of chemical agents was stopped but 10% of Vietnam had been sprayed with the chemicals. These chemicals have now been found in the soil and water in Vietnam.
*"Chemical Warfare." Spartacus Educational - Home Page. Web. 29 Nov. 2010. .
*Isserman, Maurice. Vietnam War. Updated ed. America at War. New York: Facts On File-Infobase Publishing, 2003. Infobase eBooks. Infobase Publishing.. http://ebooks.infobasepublishing.com/ View.aspx?ISBN=9781438100159&InstID=831 (accessed November 28, 2010).
Picture: United States Air force planes spreading Agent Orange over Vietnam.
Free-fire zones during the Vietnam War were land areas that were cleared of civilians before any firing took place. These zones were chosen based on wether or not an area was thought to be filled with the Viet Cong and NLF members. Once these areas were cleared of civilians, anyone left in them was considered to the American troops as Viet Cong forces, therefore they were allowed to fire on them. Even though they are called Free-fire zones, the rules of engagement and laws of war must still be followed. While the purpose of Free-fire zones was to lessen the amount of civilian deaths, it increased them. This was because the majority of the people who were killed were simply farmers who did not want to leave their land and crops. Citations: * Kutler, Stanley. Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1996. Print. * "Vietnam War - Free-Fire Zone." GlobalSecurity.org - Reliable Security Information. Web. 28 Nov. 2010. . Picture: Two American Soldiers ready to fire upon anything that moves.