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Revisionist History Report: The Vietnam War

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FC: Revisionist History: The Vietnam War | Matt Biondo, Kelsey Ishiumatsu, Kenzie Johnson, and Soraya Parsi

1: for the use of President Lyndon B. Johnson

2: History of Vietnam: 1940-1963 In September of 1940, during World War II, the Nazi controlled regime of Vichy France allowed Japan to enter Tonkin with the invasion of French Indochina. Japan used Vietnam as a strategic post for controlling Southeast Asia during its occupation of the territory. However, on March 9th, 1945, Japan decided to take complete control of Indochina. The Japanese launched the Second French Indochina Campaign. Japan retained power in Indochina until August, when Japan surrendered to the Allies. After World War 2, France attempted to regain control of the region, but came into conflict with the Viet Minh, a group of Communist and Vietnamese nationalists under French-educated Ho Chi Minh. During World War II, the United States had supported the Viet Minh in resistance against the Japanese. After World War 2, 200,000 Chinese troops were sent by Chiang Kai-shek to invade northern Indochina to accept the surrender of Japanese occupying forces, and remained there until 1946. The Chinese used this time to increase their influence in Indochina. Chiang Kai-shek threatened the French with war in response to French involvement in the area. In February of 1946 China withdrew from northern Indochina and allowed French troops to reoccupy Vietnam starting in March of 1946

3: On September 2nd, 1945, President Ho had declared independence for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. However, before the end of September, a force of British and French soldiers, along with captured Japanese troops, restored French control to the area, but not without a fight. Fighting began with the First Indochina War. In 1950 Ho again declared an independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam, which was recognized by the fellow Communist governments of China and the Soviet Union. Fighting lasted until March 1954, when the Viet Minh defeated the French forces, effectively taking control of Northern Vietnam. On April 27th, 1954, the Geneva Conference produced the Geneva Agreements. These agreements granted Indochina independence from France, ended hostilities and foreign involvement in Indochina’s affairs, and called for unification after an internationally supervised free election was to be held in July of 1956. At this conference France surrendered all territory in the Indochinese peninsula, including Vietnam. However, neither the U.S. nor South Vietnam signed the Geneva Accords. South Vietnamese leader Diem rejected the idea of nationwide election as proposed in the agreement, saying that a free election was impossible in the communist North and that his government was not bound by the Geneva Accords. In the fall of 1963, Diem was overthrown and killed in a coup launched by his own generals...

4: The Tonkin Gulf Resolultion The Tonkin Gulf Resolution may end up being a grave mistake for Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress. On August 2, 1964, an alleged attack of U.S. destroyers by the North Vietnamese torpedo boats occurred. Supposedly, this assault in the Tonkin Gulf was completely unprovoked. In response, President Johnson dispatched planes against the attackers. Two days later, on the 4th, Johnson announced the event to the public and asked Congress to both sanction his actions and provide a mandate for further military action. On the 7th, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was passed. The resolution did three things: 1) approved and supported the President's future decisions to take all necessary measures to stop aggression towards U.S. forces, 2) allowed the President to take all steps to assist any member of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, and 3) gave the president the power to decide when this resolution is absolved. There was one large problem with this event: the initial attack on U.S. destroyers was never accurately documented and if it did in fact occur, it was provoked. In a recorded White House meeting, Johnson was heard admitting to the fact that the attack probably never happened. In addition, the U.S. destroyers were actually on a high-profile intelligence-gathering mission. While the public were never told either of these facts initially, they later leaked and angered the public.

5: Another issue that arose from this resolution was the resolution itself. It permitted the president to have absolute, almost dictator-like authority over the Vietnam War. Any bad decisions made by President Johnson could not be blamed on anyone else besides him because Congress no longer had any power in the matter. Some even went as far as to say that the measure was unconstitutional. In order to avoid this catastrophe, President Johnson needed to take one of two routes. He could either avoid the entire situation altogether by not launching planes against the North Vietnamese or lying to the public about the "unprovoked attack". On the other hand, he could not ask congress for the resolution or demand changes be made to it. Instead of automatically declaring all future actions of any president to be okay, the resolution could pardon the initial planes being dispatched but require Congress' or a congressional board's approval before another attack. If any, or all, of these changes were made, President Johnson and congress could gain and retain respect and support from the American public. If not, they will become enemies in the public eye.

6: Chemical Warfare Chemical warfare was an important issue during the Vietnam war due to the terrain the Americans had to fight through. B-52 bombers, that could fly at heights that prevented them being seen or heard, dropped 8 million tons of bombs on Vietnam between 1965 and 1973. Although many different chemical agents were used, the most infamous was most decidedly “Agent Orange,” one of the “Rainbow Herbicides. The “Rainbow Herbicides” were a collection of six formulas put into production by the United States during the Vietnam War. The names come from the colored band painted around the barrels in which it was shipped. The reason these were used were to cut away at the thick jungle landscape of Vietnam. While not especially harmful, the defoliants were contaminated with the by-product polychlorinated dibenzodioxins or dioxin. The chemicals, such as “Agent Orange” were used most infamously in Vietnam as a part of “Operation Ranch Hand.” It is estimated that over a half of a million Vietnamese children have been born with birth defects that can be directly attributed to dioxin poisoning, dioxin being a prime contaminant of “Agent Orange.”

7: US strategists argue that Agent Orange was a prototype smart weapon, a benign tactical herbicide that saved many hundreds of thousands of American lives by denying the North Vietnamese army the jungle cover that allowed it ruthlessly to strike and feint. Teams of international scientists working in Vietnam have now discovered that Agent Orange contains one of the most virulent poisons known to man, a strain of dioxin called TCCD which, 28 years after the fighting ended, remains in the soil, continuing to destroy the lives of those exposed to it. These chemicals being used caused serious illnesses to the people who lived during Vietnam also. There are an estimated 650,000 in Vietnam, suffering from an array of baffling chronic conditions. Another 500,000 have already died. The US would target the Ho Chi Minh trail - Viet Cong supply lines made it invisible by the jungle canopy along the border with Laos - as well as the heavily wooded Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that separated the North from the South, and also the Mekong Delta, a maze of overgrown swamps and inlets that was a haven for communist insurgents. After many attacks, Vietnam protested to the American Government about the harmful effects but the government would not listen. It is only in the pact 20 years the the United States has taken responsibility for its devilish actions that caused many Vietnamese their lives.

8: Strategic Hamlet Program Agroville --A 1959 program that moved Southern Vietnamese into communities which provided them with necessities such as schools, monetary encouragement, electricity and medical clinics. --The Vietnamese people were against this program because they were forced to move from their farmlands which they’ve had in their families for countless generations. How to make it work Keep them in their own homes --Clearly, they didn’t like it when we shipped them off into different camps last time Respecting tradition --Being that most Vietnamese are Buddhist, being able to stay close to past ancestors (their gravesites) Allowing them to continue their lives as usual --When the Vietnamese were moved for the Agrovilles their farming was disrupted which angered the Vietnamese

9: Avoiding problems Keeping the people safe --Obviously people need to be protected, the US should be responsible for teaching everyone how to defend themselves and their homes safe from any possible invaders. They are also responsible for aiding the Southern Vietnamese in guarding their homes. Financing --In order to finance the whole operation, the US will purchase the goods farmed by the Southern Vietnamese. This will allow the Vietnamese to be able to strengthen their economy and protect themselves better...

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  • By: Kenzie J.
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  • Title: Revisionist History Report: The Vietnam War
  • for the use of President Johnson by: Kenzie J., Soraya P., Matt B., Kelsey I.
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  • Published: over 8 years ago