President Kennedy was committed to stopping the spread of communism worldwide. President Kennedy was committed to stopping the spread of communism worldwide



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President Kennedy was committed to stopping the spread of communism worldwide.

  • President Kennedy was committed to stopping the spread of communism worldwide.

    • Maintained strong military forces
    • Expanded nation’s supply of nuclear weapons
    • Through Alliance for Progress program, pledged $20 billion in aid to Latin American countries
    • Developed the Peace Corps, which in 1961 started sending volunteers to developing countries to help with projects such as digging wells and building schools




In October 1962, American spy planes discovered Soviets installing nuclear missiles in Cuba.

  • In October 1962, American spy planes discovered Soviets installing nuclear missiles in Cuba.

    • If launched, missiles could reach American cities in minutes.
  • Kennedy demanded removal of the missiles.

  • U.S. Navy formed a blockade around Cuba to prevent Soviet ships from bringing more weapons.

  • Soviet ships turned back, ending the Cuban missile crisis.

  • Effects

    • Soviets later agreed to remove missiles from Cuba.
    • Kennedy promised not to invade Cuba and to remove some missiles in Turkey and Italy.
    • United States and Soviet Union set up a telephone “hotline” so leaders could talk directly to each other at a moment’s notice.
    • United States and Soviet Union signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which banned the testing of new nuclear weapons aboveground.


The space race, competition between the United States and Soviet Union to explore space, heated up in the 1960s.

  • The space race, competition between the United States and Soviet Union to explore space, heated up in the 1960s.

    • April 1961– Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin became first person in space.
    • May 1961– Alan Shepard Jr. became first U.S. astronaut in space.
    • 1962– John Glenn became first American to orbit Earth.
  • 1961– Kennedy outlined bold plan to Congress to land first man on the moon.

    • Congress provided NASA with billions of dollars of funding.
    • Began work on Project Apollo
  • July 20, 1969– American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became first people to walk on moon.



Vietnamese nationalist Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh fought the French for control of Vietnam.

  • Vietnamese nationalist Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh fought the French for control of Vietnam.

  • Presidents Truman and Eisenhower supported France with military aid

    • Concerned that Vietminh victory would lead to spread of communism in Asia
    • Feared domino theory– that if one country became Communist, nearby countries would follow
  • In July 1954, French and Vietnamese leaders agreed to Geneva Accords.

    • Temporary division of Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam
    • Called for democratic elections in July 1956 to unite the two countries under one government




Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy sent military advisers and special forces to South Vietnam.

  • Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy sent military advisers and special forces to South Vietnam.

    • U.S. military accompanied South Vietnamese army on combat missions.
    • By 1963 about 16,000 U.S. military personnel were serving in Vietnam.
  • Diem became more and more unpopular

    • Would not hold elections
    • Ordered troops to fire on Buddhist demonstrators
    • Opponents began to consider violence as only option.
  • In November 1963 a group of South Vietnamese army offices seized power and killed Diem.





August 1964– North Vietnamese torpedo boats are reported to have attacked U.S. ships.

  • August 1964– North Vietnamese torpedo boats are reported to have attacked U.S. ships.

  • President Johnson saw actions as act of war.

  • Congress passed Tonkin Gulf Resolution, giving president authority “to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States.”



President Johnson pursued policy of escalation, or increased involvement, in the war.

  • President Johnson pursued policy of escalation, or increased involvement, in the war.

    • By 1968 more than 500,000 American troops were serving in Vietnam.
  • General William Westmoreland commanded U.S. ground forces.

    • Used strategy based on search-and-destroy missions, where U.S. patrols searched for enemy camps, then destroyed them with massive firepower and air raids
  • War was fought in jungles and villages of South Vietnam.



Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army were challenging opponents.

  • Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army were challenging opponents.

    • Used their knowledge of region and guerilla warfare tactics
    • Continual supply of troops at the ready
    • Received weapons and supplies from Soviet Union and Communist China
  • Civilians of South Vietnam were often caught in the middle of fighting.

    • Vietcong killed people they believed were cooperating with the South Vietnamese government.
    • U.S. and South Vietnamese forces attacked villages they suspected of assisting the Vietcong, undermining the U.S. goal of winning support and loyalty from the South Vietnamese.


American troops faced harsh conditions.

  • American troops faced harsh conditions.

    • Carried 70-90 pounds of equipment in 100-degree heat and rainstorms
    • Never knew when they might encounter enemy fire
    • Danger of land mines and booby traps
    • Rarely able to control captured territories for very long


January 30, 1968 was Vietnamese New Year, called Tet.

  • January 30, 1968 was Vietnamese New Year, called Tet.

    • In previous years, a cease-fire halted fighting on this holiday.
  • Vietcong and North Vietnamese forces launched the Tet Offensive.

    • Surprise attacks all over South Vietnam
    • Attacked U.S. Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam’s capital
    • Showed that they were still strong and determined
  • Attack was successfully fought off by American and South Vietnamese forces but they were shocked by the size and force of the offensive.

  • February 1968– President Johnson denied the military’s request for more troops.

    • American support for the war was dropping.


Television reports had important impact on public opinion.

  • Television reports had important impact on public opinion.

    • Americans could see the action.
    • People were shocked by the brutality of war.
  • Public opinion on the war was split.

    • Supporters of the war, hawks, called for increased military spending.
    • Opponents of the war, doves, believed that the war was draining money that should be spent at home.
  • On March 16, 1968, a company of U.S. soldiers massacred hundreds of unarmed people in the village of My Lai.

  • The My Lai massacre caused many more Americans to question U.S. involvement in Vietnam.





Growing numbers of Americans began to criticize the war.

  • Growing numbers of Americans began to criticize the war.

  • College students often took the lead in organizing antiwar protests.

    • One active group was Students for a Democratic Society.
    • By end of 1968, 75 percent of college campuses had been sites for antiwar demonstrations.
  • Some Americans held demonstrations in support of the war.

  • Some young Americans developed a counterculture– a culture with its own values and ways of behaving.

    • Members of this counterculture were called hippies.
    • Emphasized individual freedom, nonviolence, and communal sharing
    • Expressed rejection of traditional society by growing long hair and wearing unusual clothes


President Johnson decided not to run for another term of office.

  • President Johnson decided not to run for another term of office.

  • Several others campaigned for Democratic nomination.

    • Vice President Hubert Humphrey
    • Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York
  • Violence broke out at Democratic convention after police tried to stop antiwar demonstrations.

    • Damaged chances of Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic nominee, of winning the election
  • Republican nominee was Richard M. Nixon.

    • Promised to restore order to society and bring “peace with honor” to Vietnam
  • Richard Nixon won the 1968 presidential election.



With his national security advisor, Henry Kissinger, Nixon created a plan to pull U.S. troops form Vietnam and have the South Vietnamese Army take over all the fighting.

  • With his national security advisor, Henry Kissinger, Nixon created a plan to pull U.S. troops form Vietnam and have the South Vietnamese Army take over all the fighting.

  • Strategy called Vietnamization

  • Withdrawal of American troops began



Student protests erupted all over the nation.

  • Student protests erupted all over the nation.

  • In June 1971 the Pentagon Papers were published.

    • Revealed that for years, U.S. officials had been lying to the American public about war’s progress
    • Intensified antiwar feelings
  • Twenty-sixth Amendment ratified in 1971

    • Lowered voting age from 21 to 18
  • Democratic candidate George McGovern tried to appeal to young voters.

  • Majority of voters over 21 supported Nixon.

  • Richard Nixon won presidential election by a landslide.



On January 27, 1973, the United States signed a cease-fire called the Paris Peace Accords.

  • On January 27, 1973, the United States signed a cease-fire called the Paris Peace Accords.

    • Agreement between United States, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the Vietcong
    • United States agreed to withdrawal of all troops.
    • North Vietnam agreed to return all American prisoners of war.
  • Despite the peace agreement, fighting broke out between North and South Vietnam in 1974.

    • United States refused to send troops back to South Vietnam.






























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