The Vietnam War

By: Chase Collins and Kenny Nguyen


Cold War- A period of heightened tension between the United States and the Soviet Union after WWII where the increase of an all-out nuclear war was a serious threat. It was a fight of Democracy vs. Communism

Containment- A policy instigated by President which consisted of allowing communism to exist where it had already existed, but the goal was to stop the spread from other countries.

DMZ- "DMZ" stands for Demilitarized Zone. The DMZ is a strip of heavily fortified land located on the 38th Parallel splitting North and South Korea.

Domino Theory- A theory believed by Americans in the 1960's who believed that if one country was to fall subject to communism; other surrounding countries would collapse as well.

Draft-A random drawing by the United States Government that determined who would fight in the Vietnam War.

General William Westmoreland- A four star general in the Vietnam War who commanded the Tet Offensive and adopted an attrition strategy against the Viet Cong.

Ho Chi Minh- Minh was the president and prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. He was also the leader of the Viet Cong.

My Lai Massacre- A massacre committed by the 20th Infantry Regiment where over 400 innocent villagers were killed. Many were gang raped and mutilated. Many of the U.S. soldiers were not charged.

National Liberation Front- Successfully liberated Vietnam from French rule.

Ngo Dinh Diem- First president of South Vietnam during the French withdrawal Indochina. He won the election off a fraud.

Pentagon Papers- The United States Department of Defense's history of our involvement in the Vietnam War from 1945 to 1967.

Tet Offensive- One of the largest campaigns of the Vietnam War. A surprise attack by the Viet Cong which was undertaken on January 30th, 1968 aiming to take out control centers throughout South Vietnam

Viet Cong- Political Orgainiztation and army in South Vietnam that fought against the United States in the Vietnam War.

Vietnamization- Policy issued by Richard Nixon which declared the ending of US involvement in Vietnam; it stated that the US would train South Vietnam's forces to fight communism.

Pathway to War, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident

Synopsis- On August 2nd, 1964 two American ships were attacked by the North

Vietnamese in the Golf of Tonkin. In response, President Johnson asked Congress to support his military decisions relating to the Vietnam War. Both Johnson and Nixon used this resolution to justify their actions until it was repealed in 1971.

Impact- The impact of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was very negative for the United States. It allowed for America to fight in a war that was not necessary to our safety as a nation. It ended up resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and giving the US the "bully" label. It is a permanent stain on the Johnson Administration and Presidency.

Creating Context- 10 Most Important Events of The Vietnam

-Attack on the USS Maddox: August 2nd, 1964

-Gulf of Tonkin Resolution: August 4th, 1964

-Operation Rolling Thunder: March 2nd, 1965

-Tet Offensive: January 30th, 1968

-My Lai Massacre: March 16th, 1968

-United States vs. David Paul O'Brien: May 27th,1968

-Vietnamization: June 1969

-Ho Chin Minh dies: September 3, 1969

-Operation Linebacker: March 30th,1972

-Vietnam Cease Fire Signed: January 27th, 1973

In Their Own Words

Michael Seidel by Chase Collins- Seidel entered the draft when he was 20 years of age and his draft number was 11. He went through boot camp at the Great Lakes, and then he was assigned to Bay Bridge, Maryland ten weeks later. He arrived in Vietnam right after the Tet Offensive in 1969. He describes how the forests of Vietnam were so thick that US soldiers would lose the Viet Cong in jungle. His infantry's main responsibility was troop berthing on the Commodore. He was part of the first group of soldiers to be brought home, and eventually earned his undergraduate from Ball Sate University.

In their own words

Dale Vold by Kenny Nguyen- Fresh out of college, Vold volunteered to enter the Vietnam War. His first night in Vietnam, Vold and his platoon wielded machetes and were forced to stay up cutting down trees for shelter. Being a kid that just graduated college, he describes the night as an "eye opening" experience. Vold personally was responsible for the search light illumination during night combat. His platoon was responsible for many casualties, but Vold does not know if he killed anyone. One of the things he learned when he came back was that the coverage that was displayed in America was nothing like the reality of the war. Vold feels that people get the impression that the war was all bad, but he emphasizes that soldiers constantly helped the citizens of Vietnam.

Top 10 Vietnam War Songs

1- Fortunate Son ( Creedence Clearwater Revival)

2- Born In The USA ( Bruce Springsteen)

3- Revolution (The Beatles)

4- Imagine (John Lennon)

5- Masters of War (Bob Dylan)

6- Turn, Turn, Turn (The Byrds)

7- Give Peace a Chance (John Lennon)

8- Get Together (The Youngbloods)

9- It Gets Better Soon (Chicago)

10- Blowin' In The Wind (Peter, Paul and Mary)

Hugh Thompson

Despite the getting death threats after testifying about the My Lai massacre, his actions were heroic. During the massacre, he helped Vietnamese citizens escape to safety by pointing his machine gun at American troops who were harming the innocent. In total, Hugh Thompson and his crew members saved about 20 peoples lives.

William Calley

William Calley is known as one the people who is responsible for the death of about 300-500 Vietnamese citizens. He led his group into My Lai, a small village in Vietnam. He ordered his men to kill as many people as possible and to "clear" the village. Victims ranged from as young as 1 years old to as old as 82. Though he is free to live his life today, William Calley is known as a villain in American history.
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The Story Behind The Picture

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. War photos are the prime example of this old cliché. But what people don't realize is that the photographers who takes these action shots risk their lives day in and day in hopes of getting that one picture that can change how we see the world. Larry Burrows, the photographer behind his photo, was one of many casualties during the war. His death however was rare because he wasn't an enemy nor was he a soldier. Burrows loved taking pictures during the Vietnam War. He was described as a noble person who always cared for people. Despite the dangers, he enjoyed his job and wanted to get a glimpse of what war was really about.