Conflict at Home & Abroad, 1960 - 75


John F. Kennedy & the New Frontier (1)



  • Spoke openly in support of civil rights, gave government jobs to African Americans, created the CEEO (Commission on Equal Employment Opportunities).
  • Stood up to Southern politicians who didn't defend civil rights.
  • Sent soldiers to protect James Meredith (black student) who won a place at Mississippi University but was being persecuted by racists.


  • Some felt JFK was too concerned about what Southern politicians and voters felt.
  • The CEEO only helped those already in government jobs and did nothing to find employment for millions of African Americans.
  • He tried to get MLK to call off his March on Washington - felt it would make some politicians more determined to resist civil rights.
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JFK & the New Frontier (2)



  • Cut taxes to give people more money to spend.
  • Made $900 million available to businesses to create new jobs and give grants to companies.
  • Increased government funding on the armed forces, creating more jobs.


  • New equipment in factories meant less workers were needed.
  • Jobs created by the government were susceptible to budget cuts - no solidity.
  • 1963 - 4.5 million unemployed (only 1m fewer than 1960); 2x as many African Americans were unemployed compared to white Americans.
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JFK & the New Frontier (3)



  • Increased minimum wage from $1 to $1.25 and made $4.9 million available in loans to improve housing, clear slums and build telephone lines and roads.
  • Developed training schemes for the unemployed - Social Security Act increased benefits for the elderly and unemployed.
  • Raised money for research into mental illness and wanted to introduce a healthcare system known as Medicare.


  • Minimum wage only helped those who actually had jobs, and the loans were only useful if the recipients could afford the repayments.
  • US Congress rejected proposals for Medicare.
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JFK & the New Frontier (4)



  • Established the Peace Corps - people worked as teachers, nurses, doctors & technical advisors. It was available to all but appealed mostly to young people and was a huge success.
  • He wanted to introduce an education law to provide greater funding for schools.


  • JFK's efforst to provide federal funding for schools were denied by Congress.
  • Congress was dominated by Southern politicians who refused to support his plans.
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Lyndon B. Johnson & the Great Society (1)


  • Civil Rights Act 1964 - banned discrimination in public places, in federally assisted programmes and in employment.
  • Voting Rights Act 1965 - appointed agents to ensure proper voting procedures were being carried out; reduced racial discrimination at the polls.
  • 1967 - Supreme Court declared all laws banning interracial marriage to be removed.


  • Spent $1.5 billion on the Head Start Programme so more education could be provided.
  • Elementary & Secondary Education Act - 1st major federal support for state education - provided money to keep education standards equal.
  • The Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) programme - domestic Peace Corps.
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LBJ & the Great Society (2)



  • Cut taxes, which helped businesses grow and created more jobs.
  • Appalachian Recovery Programme - provided federal funds for the development of the Appalachian mountains.
  • Office of Economic Opportunity - set up schemes to help the poor in inner cities and funded new education and community projects.


  • US involvement in Vietnam was a huge portion of government spending.
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LBJ & the Great Society (3)



  • Medical Care Act - provided Medicare for the old and Medicaid for the poor.
  • Model Cities Act - continued JFK's policy of urban renewal in big cities (where living conditions were poor and crime levels high) by providing federal funds for slums clearance.
  • Minimum wage increased from $1.25 to $1.40 an hour.
  • Wilderness Protection Act - saved 1.9 million acres of forest from industrial development.


  • Unemployment increased.
  • In 1970, 30% of African Americans were living in poverty still.
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1968 Presidential Election

Democrats: Hubert Humphrey & Edmund Muskie

  • Campaigned to continue the war in Vietnam and LBJ's Great Society.
  • 191 ECV's, 42.7% of popular vote.

Republicans: Richard Nixon & Spiro Agnew

  • Appealed to 'middle America' and promised 'peace with honour' in Vietnam.
  • 301 ECV's, 43.3% of popular vote - winner.

Independents: George Wallace & Curtis Lemay

  • Conservative; opposed integration and called for massive bombing in Vietnam to end the war.
  • 46 ECV's, 13.5% of popular vote.
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Richard Nixon (1)

Domestic Achievements

Nixon's domestic achievements were more limited as he was more interested in foreign policy, and the Democrats controlled Congress so less Republican legislation was passed.
Nixon's core supporters('Middle America') opposed feminism, the student movement and the Great Society; they were traditionally conservative.

But there was still progress in civil rights - by 1971 there were 13 black Congressmen and 81 black mayors.

In 1971, Nixon introduced measures to help cope with economic problems:

  • A 90-day wage & prices freeze and a reduction in income tax.
  • A Pay Board which kept wage increases down to 5.5%.
  • A Price Commission which limited price increases to 2.5% and devalued the dollar against other major currencies.

Nixon won the 1972 election due to a temporary boom in the economy and an improved situation in Vietnam. 

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Richard Nixon (2)

The Watergate Scandal

  • Watergate Office Complex (Democratic National Committee HQ) was broken into on June 17th 1972.
  • Investigations revealed that the burglary was one of many illegal activities authorised by Nixon, including campaign fraud, political espionage and sabotage, illegal wire-tapping and a secret slush fund in Mexico providing hush money for those involved.
  • Tape recordings revealed that Nixon had obstructed justice and attempted to cover up the break-in.
  • He resigned 10 days after the tapes were released → August 8th 1974.

The powers of the executive were greatly reduced after the scandal:

  • War Powers Act 1973 → president was to consult Congress before sending troops to war.
  • Elections Campaign Act 1974 → set limits on $ contributions for election campaigns.
  • Privacy Act 1974 → allowed citizens to have access to any government files on them.
  • Congressional Budget Act 1974 → president couldn’t use government money for their own purposes.
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MLK & Civil Rights (1)

  • Montgomery Bus Boycott - 1955 - led to buses being desegregated in 1956.
  • Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) - founded by MLK in 1956.
  • Little Rock High - 1957 - led to the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
  • Sit-in Movement - 1960 - began in a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro.
  • Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) began supporting Freedom Rides in 1961.
  • MLK was arrested in April 1963 during anti-segregationist protests in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • JFK spoke about civil rights in 1963, in a televised speech - asked Congress to help.
  • March on Washington - August 1963 - MLK's famous 'I have a dream' speech. 200,000 people.
  • 16th Street Baptist Church bomb - Sept. 1963 - 4 young girls killed.
  • Mississippi Summer Project - June 1964 - tried to register as many black voters as possible.
  • Civil Rights Act 1964 - LBJ, prohibited discrimination in public places.
  • Selma - March 1965 - Bloody Sunday; Voting Rights Act was passed after the march.
  • Riots in LA - Aug. 1965 - 6 days, 34 dead - LBJ issued executiver order stating businesses should take affirmative action in hiring minority employees.
  • Thurgood Marshall - 1st African American Supreme Court judge - 1967.
  • MLK shot to death on April 4th 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. Sparked riots across the US. 
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MLK & Civil Rights (2)


  • His arrests put him in the spotlight and provided international publicity for the movement.
  • His methods were effective; e.g. Birmingham Marches 1963, Selma 1964 - federal action.
  • 1965-68: MLK was at the forefront of the movement - significant figure for civil rights.
  • His popularity through his oratorical skills and appeal led more people to join the movement.
  • His methods of non-violence also appealed to many whites.
  • MLK's actions had effect on both JFK and LBJ - he led to changes in legislation.


  • Many feel there is too much emphasis on MLK, and other activists were disregarded: JKF, LBJ, the NAACP, CORE, SCLC, SNCC, etc.
  • MLK wasn't directly involved in the freedom rides and sit-ins; these were organised by SNCC, NAACP and CORE. 
  • There were maby female figures who didn't get much credit either; Gloria Richardson set up the Cambridge Non-Violent Action Committee, and Fannie Lou Hamer organised the Mississippi Freedom Summer for SNCC.
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Malcolm X

The Nation of Islam (or Black Muslims) was set up in 1930, and during the 60's was led by Elijah Muhammad. The Nation never accepted MLK's ideas, as its supporters favoured separatism.

  • Malcom X - good speaker; increased membership of the Nation to 100,000 from 1952 - 64.
  • He encouraged a connection to heritage and attracted many young people to the movement.
  • He was critical of MLK and felt that violence could be justified as a means to secure a separate black nation. However, he left the Nation in 1964 as he disagreed with Elijah.
  • After visiting Mecca in 1964, Malcolm firmly believed that Islam was the solution to the problem but still agreed to the use of violence, which alienated the whites.
  • He was assassinated in 1965, probably by the Nation.

Malcolm X is often seen as a failure compared to MLK as his advocacy for separatism was unrealistic and his support for violence made him many enemies.

However, he was a realistic role model for ghetto African Americans who could relate to him more than MLK, and he helped raise the self-esteem of many African Americans, more so than any other leader in the movement. His views also infuenced the creation of other civil rights groups, such as the Black Panthers.

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Black Riots & Black Power

Black Riots

  • 1964-66 - black city ghettos of the North, Midwest & West saw around 300 riots, as many young African Americans were frustrated due to unemployment, discrimination and poverty.
  • 11th August 1965 - major riot involving 30,000 people in LA. Several died and it cost $40 million in damages. This sparked even more riots.
  • The riots peaked in Sumer 1967 - riots in 125 cities. It took 21,000 federal troops + 34,000 National Guardsmen to calm the riots. Cost a total of $145 million in damage.

Black Power

  • By 1966, SNCC had moved away from MLK and began supporting black power.
  • It was originally a political slogan but developed to cover a range of civil rights activities (60's).
  • Stokely Carmichael - leading figure - wanted African Americans to take pride in their heritage and adpoted the slogan 'Black is Beautiful'.
  • Black Power gained huge publicity in the 1968 Mexico Olympics (Tommie Smith & John Carlos).
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Black Panthers

  • Founded by Huey Newton & Bobby Seale in 1966.
  • Had a 10-point plan that included an end to police brutality, development of decent housing, improved education standards and full employment for African Americans.
  • Won support among ghetto blacks via community action programmes; they servd food to the poor, established healthcare clinics and childcare for working mothers, etc.
  • They wore uniforms and trained their members to use certain weapons.
  • They rejected the dominant white culture, and by 1968 had around 5000 members.
  • Support diminished after 1969; 27 Panthers were killed and 700 more injured in confrontations with the police; bad press.
  • They were constantly targeted by the FBI and by 1982 they were disbanded.
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The Student Movement (1)

Reasons for the Student Movement

  • Many wanted a greater say in their education and a part in running the universities.
  • For many students, civil rights was an introduction to protesting; MLK encouraged whites to join the freedom marches, freedom rides and the sit-ins of the early 1960's.
  • Student protests were global in the 1960's; in 1968, protests in Paris almost overthrew the government. Also, the increase in pop music representing the emerging global youth culture.
  • Under JFK & LBJ, Vietnam had produced a divided society - but opposition to Vietnam united the movement. 

The Student Movement and Civil Rights

  • Student Movement was heavily involved with groups such as CORE and SNCC.
  • 1964 - student societies organised rallies & marches to support the civil rights campaign.
  • Many students disagreed with racism and were determined to expose racists in their own colleges.
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The Student Movement (2)

Student Movement & the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)

  • SDS denounced the Cold War, were 'anti-anti-Communism' and demanded disarmament.
  • Formed groups in 150 colleges & uni's, had 100,000 members by the late 60's. Support grew after LBJ announced bombing raids on N.Vietnam in 1965, and after he abolished student draft deferments in 1966. 
  • 1968 Democratic Convention (Chicago) - SDS protestors in a riot; 7 arrested ('Chicago 7')
  • Late 60's became more radical; 'Weathermen' began bombing government buildings, etc.
  • Nixon began using the FBI & CIA to subvert the organisation - became less radical.

Student Movement against Vietnam

  • Anti-war protests peaked from 1968-70 - first 6 months of 1968 there were over 100 protests involving 400,000 students. 1969 - 700,000 marched on Washington in protest.
  • Outcry after an event at Kent State University in Ohio, 1970: peaceful protests of studnet against Nixon bombing Cambodia; National Guardsmen used tear gas to remove them Students wouldn't move so shots were fired; 4 killed, 11 injured. 400 colleges closed as 2 million students went on strike.
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The Student Movement (3)

The Hippie Movement

  • Many young people protested by dropping out of college and society and becoming hippies.
  • They wore distinctive clothing, had long hair, and developed an 'alternative lifestyle', travelling around the counrty in vans and wearing flowers as a symbol of peace - 'flower children'.
  • San Francisco became the Hippie Capital, but their behaviour (e.g. use of drugs) often led to clashed with the police.

Achievements of the Student Movement

  • Brought about political, social and cultural change.
  • The SDS and the student protests didn't end the war in Vietnam but they did shift government policy to make withdrawal from Vietnam more likely. Probably influenced LBJ's decision not to run again in 1968.
  • They provided greater publicity for the racism in US society; showed that most youths wouldn't tolerate it. 
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The Women's Movement (1)

Eleanor Roosevelt

  • 1960 - she set up a commission to investigate the status of women at work.
  • JFK appointed her head of the commission, but she dies before it issues its final report.
  • 1963 - the report stated that women were 2nd-class in employment; 95% of company managers were men, as were 85% of technical workers. Only 7% of doctors and 4% of lawyers were female, and women earned 50-60% of men's wages for the same work.

Betty Friedan

  • 1963 - wrote 'The Feminine Mystique' - suggested women felt that there was more ti life than just being a mother and a housewife. Many women agreed with this.
  • She called for women to reject the 'mystique' and that all of a woman's happiness was tied up in her domestic role, and encouraged progress in female employment opportunities.
  • She set up the National Organisation for Women (NOW) in 1966, which had 40,000 members by the 1970's. 
  • From 1966 - 71 the organisation secured $30 million in a court case recognising unequal pay.
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The Women's Movement (2)

Women's Liberation Movement

  • Name given to women who had more radical aims than NOW, also known as feminists. 
  • The most radical feminists wanted nothing to do with men and wanted all signs of male supremacy to be removed (e.g. male control of politics, employment and the media).
  • 1968 - picketed the Miss America beauty contest in Atlantic City; believed it to be degrading to women. Their actions were often controversial (e.g. bra burning) which earned them the wrong kind of publicity.

The Campaign to Legalise Abortion

  • Feminists began challenging abortion through the courts - Roe vs Wade, 1970-73:
  • Feminists lawyer Sarah Weddington defended the right of her client Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe for anonymity) to have an abortion.
  • She already had 3 children taken into care and didn't want another.
  • She won the right to have an abortion - led to more abortions becoming readily available.
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The Women's Movement (3)

Achievements of the Women's Movement

  • 1963 Equal Pay Act - required equal pay, but didn't address the issue of discrimination against women seeking jobs in the first place.
  • 1972 Educational Amendment Act - outlawed sex discrimination in education, so girls could follow the same curriculum as boys, which allowed greater employment opportunities.
  • 1972 - Supreme Court rules that the US Constitution gave men and women equal rights, though many opponents of equality refused to accept this ruling.
  • The Equal Rights Amendment was passed in Congress but was not ratified by the states.
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The Berlin Wall Crisis (1961) - Cold War

  • Khrushchev was determined to force the West out of Berlin.
  • June 1961 - Khrushchev met JFK at Vienna and gave him an ultimatum: do something about Berlin by December, or Khrushchev would hand over Berlin access routes to East Germany.
  • August 1961 - Khrushchev ordered the construction of a wall to separate East Berlin from West Berlin; wanted to bully JFK - this increased tensions.
  • October 27th - 28th - much tension had been built up; for 18 hours, fully armed US and Soviet tanks had a stand-off, which ended only after the US tanks pulled back.

Significance of the Crisis

  • In some ways it brought stability to Germany & Berlin - sealed off in 2 distinct areas.
  • Afterwards, both the US and USSR resumed nuclear testing.
  • Soviet propaganda claimed the wall a success for Russia; US couldn't prevent its construction.
  • Western writers claimed it a success for them; showed East Germany had to wall its people in.
  • It may have led to Khrushchev feeling confident enough to place missiles in Cuba.
  • Overall, it worsened relations.
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The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) - Cold War (1)

Causes of the Crisis

  • 1) 1959 Revolution in Cuba - Fidel Castro in power; rejected all US business investment, so the US refused to buy Cuban sugar (their biggest export). The USSR then offered to buy it themselves; Khrushchev wanted to intimidate JFK.
  • 2) April 1961 - JFK sanctioned an invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles ( who fled in 1959) to land in the Bay of Pigs and create a national uprising to overthrow Castro - it failed due to poor planning. Castro then announced his conversion to Communism.
  • 3) Khrushchev then saw an opportunity to extend Soviet influence. In September 1962, Soviet technicians began installing ballistic missiles in Cuba.
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The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) - Cold War (2)

  • October 16th - JFK told that Khrushchev intended to build missiles on Cuba.
  • October 18th-19th - JFK held talks with his advisors; some favoured aggression, some peace.
  • October 20th - JFK imposed a naval blockade around Cuba to stop USSR missiles getting there. All ships suspected of carrying Soviet cargo were searched.
  • October 21st - JFK made a broadcast to the US informing of the potential threat.
  • October 23rd - Khrushchev sent letter to JFK; he insisted that Soviet ships would force through the blockade.
  • October 24th - USSR ships approached the blockade line but retreated. Khrushchev issued a statement saying the USSR would be prepared to use nuclear weapons in time of war.
  • October 25th - JFK wrote to Khrushchev; asked him to withdraw Soviet missiles from Cuba.
  • October 26th - Khrushchev agreed to withdraw the missiles if the US promised not to invade Cuba and to withdraw their missiles from Turkey (threat to USSR).
  • October 27th - US spy plane shot down over Cuba; Robert Kennedy secretly agreed a deal with the USSR - US would withdraw missiles from Turkey, as long as it remained secret.
  • October 28th - Khrushchev agreed to the deal. 
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The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) - Cold War (3)

Outcome of the Crisis

  • JFK appeared to have won and Khrushchev backed down - but the deal about Turkey wasn't disclosed at the time.
  • America became over-confident - link to Vietnam?
  • Soviets didn't want to back down again; worked towards nuclear domination by the 60's.
  • A telephone line was set up between the Kremlin and the White House - neither side wanted to use letters again in such an event. 
  • August 1963 - Partial Test Ban Treaty - USA & USSR agreed to stop nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere.
  • There was relief worldwide due to greater reduction in tensions.
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The USA & China (1)

Reasons for poor relations since the civil war

  • US had provided aid to Mao's opponent during the war, and had established bases in Taiwan.
  • The Korean War had increased tensions between the US and Asia.
  • The US had put a trade embargo on China and kept them out of the UN.

Reasons for improved relations

  • Relations between China & USSR had deteriorated; Chinese denounced the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
  • Nixon wanted improved relations to help end the war in Vietnam; Chinese were allies with N.V.
  • Mao believed China needed 'detente' - stimulus for Chinese trade industry. US withdrawal from Vietnam would mean they would be less of a threat to China.
  • Reasons for 'detente': no-one wanted nuclear war, defence spending needed to decrease to avoid an arms race, and the war in Vietnam needed to end.
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The USA & China (2)

Ping Pong Diplomacy

  • World Table Tennis Championship in Japan, April 1971.
  • Chinese Ping-Pong team invited the US team to play in China - all-expenses-paid trip.
  • American player Glenn Cowan missed his bus after training, so Chinese player Zhuang Sedong offered him a ride - this was heavily publicisied the next day as proof of improved relations.
  • April 14th 1971 - US lifted the trade embargo on China.

SALT 1 - Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty

  • 3 years worth of talks in Vienna & Helsinki led to SALT 1 in 1972.
  • It imposed limits on the nuclear capabilities of the USSR and USA.
  • First agreement that successfully limited the nuclear capacity of the USA & USSR.
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The Helsinki Agreements, 1975

USA, USSR and 33 other countries made delcarations regarding 3 distinct international issues:

  • The West recognised current national boundaries in Eastern Europe and the USSR, and accepted the exisence of West Germany (which renoucned its claim to be a sole legitimate German state).
  • Each signatory agreed to respect human rights and basic freedoms such as thought, religion, speech, etc.
  • There were calls for closer economic, cultural and scientific links between the countries. 
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The Vietnam War (1)

Escalation to War

  • 1945: Communist leader Ho Chi Mihn led a war of independence for Vietnam 
    • Truman & Eisenhower feared the spread of Communism so sent aid to France.
    • Regardless, by 1945, Vietnam was independent but divided along the 17th Parallel.Diem was supported by the US but was heavily corrput. 
    • North Vietnam (the Vietminh) - Ho Chi Mihn (Communist)
    • South Vietnam - Ngo Dihn Diem
    • the Vietcong; Communist group in South Vietnam formed to oppose Diem.
    • The US supported Diem but he was corrupt.
  • 1963: Buddhist Monk Quang Duc set himself on fire and died in protest to Diem's regime; photographs of this were published worldwide, and increased US anger towards S.Vietnam.
    • JFK realised that Diem was losing control over S.V. and gave approval for his assassination
    • Diem's death led to chaos in S.V. - perfect breeeding ground for Communism.
  • 1964: The Gulf Tonkin Incident:
    • North Vietnamese gunboat attacked the USS Maddox in the Gulf. Congress responded with the Gulf Tonkin Resolution, which gave LBJ powers to 'defend Vietnam at any cost'.
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The Vietnam War (2)

Development of the War

  • To contain Communism in South Vietnam, LBJ sent troops in 1965.
  • By 1968, over 500,000 were fighting in Vietnam for the US.
  • 'Operation Rolling Thunder' - US began bombing North Vietnam.
  • The goal was to defeat the Vietcong and support democracy in South Vietnam:
    • But the Vietcong lived among civilians in cities and villages - difficult to target.
    • They used guerilla tactics to combat US military superiority. Jungles made fighting difficult.
  • The US bombed villages and used pesticides ('Agent Orange') to destroy crops.
  • Soldiers were sent on search & destroy missions in jungles, but this led to one of the worst offences committed by the US troops: the My Lai Massacre (1968) - 347 dead.
  • 1968 was the peak of war; the US lost 15,000 troops as the Vietcong launched the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, which had important political effects on the war. 
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The Vietnam War (3)

Political & Social Effects of the War

  • Soon became clear that the US couldn't win the war - became very unpopular back home.
  • TV made Vietnam a 'living room war' - broadcasts reported death tolls, atrocities, etc.
  • Due to the growth of the anti-war movement, LBJ announced he wouldn't be running in 1968.
  • Nixon won, and promised 'peace with honour' in Vietnam, and introduced 'Vietnamisation':
    • Public perception of Vietnamisation was the the US would gradually withdraw from Vietnam, and US troops would be replaced with South Vietnamese troops.
    • In reality, Nixon wanted a 'knockout blow' in Vietnam and secretly sent troops to Cambodia and ordered bombing in Laos.
    • When people found out, it led to the largest protest in US history:
      • 250,000 people involved; some protests turned violent (e.g. Kent State, 1970)
  • 1973 - USA & North Vietnam agreed to a cease-fire and US troops withdrew from Vietnam.
  • 1975 - North Vietnam violated the ceasefire, invaded South Vietnam, and made it Communist.
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The Vietnam War (4)

Impact of Vietnam

  • The conflict was the longest and most controversial in US history.
  • Of the 3.3 million US troops, 58,000 were killed, 30,000 were wounded and 15% were diagnosed with PTSD. Many soldiers faced hostility when they returned home.
  • The polic of containment was abandoned by the US.
  • Congress passed the War Powers Act in 1973.
  • People lost fiaht in the government and in the honesty of political figures.
  • The war had cost $176 billion - led to inflation and weakened LBJ's Great Society.
  • Student protest to Vietnam led to the 26th Amendment - lowered voting age to 18.
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