Vietnam War


  • Cold War: A state of political hostility and military tension between the United States and its allies and communist Soviet Union
  • Containment: A US foreign policy that sought to prevent communism from spreading to other countries
  • DMZ: the dividing line between north and south Vietnam
  • Domino theory: the idea promoted by the US that if one country were to become communist, then other countries would follow in a domino affect.
  • Draft: random drawing of men to serve in the vietnam war
  • General William Westmoreland: The permanent commander of the US forces in Vietnam
  • Ho Chi Minh: Vietnamese president, first president of North Vietnam. He led communist North Vietnam to defeat US forces.
  • My Lai Massacre: A mass killing of people in a village in South Vietnam that was carried out by US troops
  • National Liberation Front: Ho Chi Minh wanted to unite Vietnam under northern rule so he an uprising against South Vietnam
  • Ngo Dinh Diem: the first president of South Vietnam who was supported by the United States
  • Pentagon Papers: top secret documents that were published by the NY Times revealed the deceptions that led the US into the Vietnam War
  • Tet offensive: A campaign by the Viet Cong to attack cities in South Vietnam, this was a defeat for the Viet Cong.
  • Viet Cong: A communist-led army in South Vietnam that fought its government and was supported by North Vietnam
  • Vietnamization: A US policy that made the south vietnamese government responsible for carrying out the war

Tonkin Gulf Resolution

The resolution was a response to two seperate confrontations between North Vietnam and the U.S. It gave LBJ the power to use whatever force he believed necessary in Southeast Asia including using the armed forces.

The Tonkin Gulf Incidents and resolution helped LBJ win congress' favor of the war and allowed LBJ to shift more power to the presidency and away from congress.

Creating Context

  1. 1945: Ho Chi Minh creates the National Liberation Committee
  2. 1954: A conference is held in Geneva. Everyone signs the Geneva accords except for US and South vietnam. A provisional line is created to divide Vietnam
  3. 1955: Diem becomes president in South Vietnam
  4. 1961: JFK initiates operation farm gate and sends Green Berets to Vietnam
  5. 1963: President Diem is assassinated
  6. 1964: Gulf of Tonkin incident where north vietnam attacked Us naval forces in the Gulf of Tonkin
  7. 1968: Tet offensive and protest
  8. 1969: My Lai massacre in South Vietnam conducted by US forces
  9. 1971-1973: US forces withdrawal from Vietnam
  10. 1976: North and South Vietnam unite under communist rule


Robert Githens joined the war when he was 21 and was assigned as a rifleman. He was eventually a JPC 5. He talks about life in Vietnam and what the war was like. (Christy Buttner)

Ken Blake volunteered for the marines when he was 19. After four years of service the Vietnam War began so he volunteered for another 2 year term. He talked about his expierences in Vietnam and his respect for the Vietnamese.


  1. The Beatles "Revolution"
  2. Jackie DeShannon "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"
  3. Chicago "It Better End Soon"
  4. Bob Dylan "Masters of War"
  5. Chicago "Dialogue"
  6. John Lennon "Imagine"
  7. John Lennon "Give Peace a Chance"
  8. Barry Mcguire "Eve of Destruction"
  9. Joe Macdonald "I-Feel-Like-Im-Fixing-to-Die-Rag"
  10. Jim Morrison "The Unknown Soldier"

Hero or Villain? My Lai Massacre

Hugh Thompson was a hero of My Lai because he prevented the deaths of many civilians by ordering other Americans to cease fire or he and his platoon would kill them. He also ordered in several helicopters to save families of civilians caught in the massacre and was eventually awarded the Soldier's Medal for saving the innocent.

William Calley was a villian of My Lai because he was the leader of a platoon that killed an estimated 504 people, one of them being only 1 year old. He without warning entered the village and herded people into irrigation ditches and gunned them down. His platoon then burned then entire village down after they had slain nearly everyone in it.