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In order to have a respectable
understanding of the Vietnam

War, we have to rewind all
the way back to the late 1800s

when France was
colonizing Southeast Asia.

And in particular, it colonized
what is now Laos, Vietnam,

and Cambodia-- and
they were collectively

called French Indochina.
You can see Cambodia here,
Vietnam along the coast,

and then, Laos, right over here.
And France stayed the
colonizing power--

I have a little gap
in my timeline here--

and they stayed a
colonizing power

all the way through
World War II.

And so you can imagine,
during World War II,

France was quickly
overrun by the Germans.

The Vietnamese wanted
their independence,

and so you have a liberation
movement that rises up.

And it was led by the Viet
Minh, and the Viet Minh

were led by Ho Chi Minh.
This right here is a
picture of Ho Chi Minh.

And besides being a
liberation movement,

they were also communist,
which, you could imagine, later

on during the Cold
War will kind of bias

the United States against them.
But you fast forward
through World War II.

Eventually, the Japanese
take control over Indochina,

over Vietnam.
But by the time '45
rolls around, or at least

the end of '45-- and we know
that the United States defeats

Japan-- now, all of a
sudden, the Viet Minh

are able to declare a somewhat
temporary independence.

And it's temporary
because shortly

after that-- and the region
is occupied temporarily

by the Chinese in the north, and
the British in the south, who

were part of the Allied
forces against the Axis.

But eventually, you have
the French coming back,

and they want to
reassert their control

over their former colony.
And you have this war that
develops-- the First Indochina

War between the
French and the people

sympathetic to the
French-- the Vietnamese

who were loyal to the
French-- and the North.

And the French--
just to make it clear

how it sets up, at the
end of World War II

when you had the temporary
occupiers, the British

and the Chinese, the
Chinese, obviously,

had more influence in the North.
The British had more
influence in the South.

When the French come
back they, essentially,

are able to reinstate
control over the South.

So right when the
Indochina War is beginning,

the French already have
more control over the South.

And actually,
historically the French

had more influence in
the South, as well.

During French colonial rule it
was really the southern third

of Vietnam where you had
a lot of French influence.

And this is a current
map, and the current map

does not have this
orange boundary over here

that we'll talk
about in a second.

Vietnam is now unified.
But before the Vietnam War,
this was not Ho Chi Minh City,

this was Saigon.
And Saigon was kind of where
most of the French control

was centered.
But you fast forward
to 1954, this

ends up in a bit of a stalemate.
And so you have the
Geneva Conference of 1954

that partitions Vietnam along
the 17th parallel between North

Vietnam and South Vietnam.
And the whole point
of this partition

was, really, to just
allow for a cooling

off period, a period
where you can have thing

settling down, and
then having elections.

It wasn't meant to be
a permanent partition.

But there was a
300-day period where

people could move
across the partition.

And during that
partition, you actually

had 900,000 people, mainly
Catholics, move from the North

to South.
You also had several
hundred thousand people

moving from the
South to the North,

so it wasn't a one-way movement.
But net net, most of the
movements by Roman Catholic

Vietnamese was from
the North to the south.

You fast forward a little
bit, you eventually have--

and I'm sure I'm butchering
the pronunciation here--

Ngo Dinh Diem take control.
He starts off as
prime minister in '54,

eventually he takes control,
and becomes president in '55.

This is him right here.
He takes control
of South Vietnam,

and this guy is not a big
fan of things like elections,

or non-corrupt government,
and all the rest.

And he takes control
of South Vietnam.

But you could imagine that the
United States is positively

inclined to him.
One, he dresses in nice
Western suits and all of that,

and had nicely combed hair.
But he was also anti-communist.
And at this time period,
the United States

is starting to think in
terms of the Cold War.

And in terms of, how
do we stop communism?

How do we contain it?
This whole theory
of containment--

that the best way to
stop the Soviet Union

is to just make sure that
communism can not spread.

That it gets contained.
We have the domino theory
in the United States

that if one country falls
to communism in a region,

that the rest of the countries
will eventually fall.

And that is not good
for containment.

So we did not want
South Vietnam to fall.

We essentially start supporting
these characters over here.

And even from the early
'50s, the United States

starts supporting
the anti-communist.

And at first, this
support, it's in the-- I

guess we should say--
the guise of advisers.

But these advisers--
one, we start

sending more and more aid,
and more and more advisers.

And these advisers started
getting more and more involved

in the actual conflict.
And so after this
partition, you can imagine,

that you still have
an ongoing conflict

between the North and the South.
And on top of that,
you have actors

who are sympathetic
to the North,

sympathetic to the Viet Minh,
sympathetic to Ho Chi Minh,

in the South.
Some of them were in the North,
they come back to the South.

Some of them were
just in the South.

And they did not like
the Diem government.

Besides just being
sympathetic to Ho Chi Minh,

Diem was a fairly
corrupt autocratic ruler,

who wasn't a big
fan of democracy.

And so these
players in the South

who started to rise up against
President Diem or the Viet

Cong.
And so this really sets up what
the Vietnam War is all about.

You have the communist Ho
Chi Minh-controlled North

that was fighting a conventional
war against the South.

You have this partition
on the 17th parallel.

And on top of that, you have an
unconventional fighting force--

I guess you'd call
them guerrillas--

in the South of Vietnam
called the Viet Cong.

So it was, kind of, a
double-- There were two things

that the South had to fight
against-- the North officially,

and also this insurrection that
was occurring within the South.

And so the whole time
the United States did not

want this insurrection
to succeed-- they did not

want all of Vietnam
to become communist.

We keep sending more
and more advisers.

It actually started
even before Kennedy,

but Kennedy he starts
sending-- he escalates

the number of advisers
that gets sent.

It's still not, at this point,
it's still not a formal war.

We haven't officially
declared-- where

we don't have, officially,
soldiers in battle.

You fast forward to
1963, besides all

of the great characteristics of
Diem that I already mentioned,

he also was into
persecuting Buddhists.

So to make matters worse,
not only was he corrupt,

not only did he
not like elections,

but he liked persecuting
his own people.

And by 1963, this
kind of got out

of hand, his level of
persecution of the Buddhists.

He started toward storming
temples, and all the rest.

And so he was assassinated.
And not only was
he assassinated,

it kind of leaves
this power vacuum,

and you have all these
people jockeying for control,

none of these really
especially savory characters

inside the South.
These two guys eventually
come to power, Nguyen Cao Ky

and Nguyen Van Thieu.
Wait a few years,
Nguyen Van Thieu

is able to get this
guy out of the picture.

And then by 1967--
I don't have it

over here-- you have Thieu
has now taken control.

But during that
period-- or actually,

before Ky and Thieu
take power-- in 1964,

you have one of the shadiest
incidents in American history.

As you can imagine, we, in
our function as advisors,

we had sent ships into the
Gulf of Tonkin, right off

of the coast of North Vietnam.
So the original
story goes-- and this

is a very suspect
original story-- in 1964,

the US Maddox-- and this is
the original story-- claimed

to that it was
attacked, or it was

claimed that the US
Maddox was attacked

by North Vietnamese
patrol boats,

and that there was a
little skirmish-- there

was an exchange of fire.
And it was also claimed that
a few days later another boat

in the Gulf of Tonkin,
another US vessel,

was attacked by a
North Vietnamese boat.

That was the original story.
This angered Congress, this
angered the American people.

How dare they attack ships that
are sitting off of the coast,

warships that are
sitting off the coast.

And so this kind of
gave the emotional fuel

to pass the Gulf of
Tonkin Resolution.

So these incidents, or these
purported incidents-- this,

kind of, attack
on the USS Maddox,

and this other thing that
might have happened-- these

were called the Gulf
of Tonkin Incidents.

This angered Congress,
angered the American people,

so we passed the Gulf
of Tonkin Resolution,

and what's relevant about it
is that it gave LBJ, here,

it gave him the
authority to officially

engage in a war in Vietnam,
to officially escalate it

to an actual war that
the US was involved in.

And this whole time
I've been saying it's

shady, because
it's now been shown

that one, the Gulf of
Tonkin-- well it's not clear

that really anything happened.
There might have been some
firing from the USS Maddox.

They might have actually engaged
the North Vietnamese patrol

boats.
The other possibility
that might have happened

is that nothing happened.
But any way you look at it,
it's now been fairly established

that it was not a real incident.
It was not really North Vietnam
attacking the United States.

But it was relevant because
it really escalated the war.

So now you have Johnson-- did
I say North Korea originally?

I apologize for that.
We're talking about
North Vietnam.

I don't remember what
my brain actually said.

Of course, North Vietnam.
But it gave Johnson the
power to escalate the war.

And so his
administration is really

the heart of the
Vietnam War, when

the war was really escalated.
We eventually get to
500,000 US troops.

But the whole time this is
happening, you can imagine,

Johnson and the American
military leaders in Vietnam

are telling the American people,
oh, we're fighting communism.

We're about to win.
This is a noble war.
And you fast forward,
and especially,

the part about to win--
you fast forward to 1968,

and all of a sudden you
have the Viet Cong, who

the American leaders have
told the American people

and the Congress, that
they're about to be defeated,

and then in 1968, the Viet Cong
orchestrate the Tet Offensive,

which is this massive
coordinated attack

on a bunch of targets
throughout South Vietnam.

And so even though it was
wasn't completely successful

militarily, the intent
of the Tet Offensive

was to completely turn
the tides in the war.

It made the American
people and the Congress

rightfully suspicious.
You, Mr. Johnson,
you had told us

that we were about
to win the war,

and the Viet Cong were almost
defeated, and all of a sudden,

they orchestrate this
sophisticated attack on us.

It rightfully made the
American public suspicious.

On top of that, and this
probably made matters

a lot worse, the My
Lai Massacre comes out.

And in every war
there are massacres,

but the United States,
at least believes,

that its soldiers can kind
of take the high road.

They don't engage in
these type of things.

But the My Lai Massacre showed
that, really, no soldiers

are immune to massacres.
And this is really a
disgusting massacre,

and it was documented.
And if you really
want to be disturbed,

do a Google search for images
of the My Lai Massacre.

It will ruin your weekend.
It'll depress you.
It's US soldiers killing a
village of innocent women

and children.
There's pictures of dead babies.
It's horrible, and to
make matters worse--

or even, add insult to injury--
the soldiers who committed

it-- there was
actually a few who

tried to defend the villagers
and when they came back,

they were treated
almost like traitors.

But the soldiers who actually
did the attack, only one

of them got jail time and it
was only a couple years of jail

time, and this
was for massacring

a village of women and children.
So already, you had
the Tet Offensive.

It makes the American
public suspicious

of whether we can
even win this war.

Then you have the
My Lai Massacre,

which just disgusts
the public, and makes

people realize that
we're involved in a war

that it's not even clear who are
the good guys anymore, not even

clear what the real goals are.
Make matters worse, you
fast forward to 1971.

The Pentagon Papers get
leaked to the New York Times.

And these pretty
much articulate--

it's a classified
document that articulates

that the leadership, the
military and non-military

leadership of the Vietnam
War, was, to some degree,

lying to Congress and
the American people.

It was lying about
how the war was going.

It was lying about what
activities it was doing.

It did not tell the
American people and Congress

that it was actually engaged
in war in Laos and Cambodia.

And a lot of the reason
why we were engaged

in Laos and Cambodia
is because that's

where the supply routes
were between the North

and the South-- they ran
through Laos and Cambodia.

And the most famous of them,
and you might have heard of it,

is the Ho Chi Minh trail.
And it wasn't just one
trail, it was actually

a network of trails.
And so a lot of
the activity that

was going on in
Laos and Cambodia

was, kind of, carpet bombing
of what the US thought were

some of these supply routes.
And we never really
got a good-- well,

that's a whole other debate.
But it wasn't just one
trail the was easily bombed.

It was all of these
little foot paths

and all of these
other things, where

arms were able to be transported
from the North to the South.

But the Pentagon
Papers, rightfully,

made the American people
even more suspicious.

And then now we're entering
into Nixon's administration,

and he was still doing
the carpet bombing, still

atrocities going on,
but he, his whole goal

was to kind of
wind down the war,

bring the troops out on a
timetable without, kind of,

an unofficial defeat.
So you fast forward to 1973, you
have the Paris Peace Accords,

where officially there is peace
between the North, the South,

the North, and the Americans.
You can imagine it from
the North's point of view,

they're like, sure, we'll
sign some peace accords.

It'll just make the
Americans go away,

once the Americans
go away they won't

be able to come back,
since this was such

a hugely unpopular war.
It was such a waste for
America on so many dimensions.

Especially, America's
prestige as a global actor.

We'll just wait
for them to leave,

and then we can overrun
the South after that.

And that's essentially
what happens.

In 1975, the North just
overruns the South,

and then later
that year, you have

Saigon falling to the North.
And then it becomes
Ho Chi Minh City.

And just this whole
period, you have

President Thieu is in
power, and just to show

where his priorities
are-- near the end,

right when the North is
falling to South Vietnam--

and you can kind
of see the writing

on the wall-- he gives a speech
to the Vietnamese people saying

that he'll never desert them.
But then when it
becomes pretty clear

that Saigon is going to fall
to the North Vietnamese,

he gets on a big
US transport plane

with, literally,
15 tons of luggage.

I'll let you think about
how much luggage that is.

And $15 million worth of
gold, and this is $15 million

worth of gold in 1975.
So you can imagine
how much he really

cared about the
Vietnamese people.

And he eventually ends up
settling in Massachusetts.

And he died there
about 10 years ago.

So you could imagine, this was
an ugly incident for the world.

A super ugly incident for
the Vietnamese people.

A super ugly chapter
in American history.

It was the first war
that one, America lost,

but more, it hurts prestige,
it hurts America's ability

to influence what was going on
in other parts of the world.

You had the containment
theory, that we

have to stop communism
from spreading.

And the domino theory,
that if one country

would fall to communism
then the other ones were.

That didn't happen.
The South did
fall, but we didn't

have the rest of Southeast
Asia falling to communism.

So it kind of disproved
the domino theory,

especially because
after the Vietnam War

the United States would
not be able to enter

another war like
it for some time,

because the American people
wouldn't let it happen.

So to some degree, it would
have been easier for communism

to spread, because
people would have

known that the US
couldn't engage it.

But despite that, the
domino theory didn't happen.

But it was just all-around ugly.
I mean, besides the
massacres, and the raping,

and the pillaging of innocence
that happened on, really,

on all sides of this, you have
1 to 3 million Vietnamese--

and no one will really
know the actual count--

but that's a huge number.
1 to 3 million
Vietnamese were killed.

You have 58,000 American
troops being killed.

And you have
hundreds of thousands

of Cambodians and Laotions
who are never really formally

involved in the war,
they were killed.

Especially, due to a lot of
this carpet bombing campaign.

So these are just atrocious
numbers, and really one

of the worst and ugliest
chapters in US history.

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Vietnam War | The 20th century | World history | Khan Academy

65 タグ追加 保存
ciel3691 2018 年 9 月 22 日 に公開
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