1.1.1 16th October: President Kennedy is
informed of the missile build up in Cuba.
Ex-Comm is formed..
1.1.2 20th October: Kennedy decides
the blockade of Cuba.
1.1.3 22nd October; Kennedy
announces the blockade
and calls on the Soviet
Union to withdraw the
1.1.4 24th October: The blockade begins. The
first missile- carrying ships, accompanied by
a Soviet submarine, approach the 500-mile
(800 km) long blockade zone. Then
suddenly at 10:32 am, the 20 soviet ships
which are closet to the zone stop or turn
1.1.5 25th October: Despite
this, intensive aerial
photographing reveals that
work on the missile bases
proceeds rapidly, and even
without more missiles they
would be able to do lots of
1.1.6 26th October: Kennedy
receives a long personal letter
from Khrushchev. The letter
claims the missiles on Cuba are
purely defensive, but goes on "
If assurances are given that the
USA would not participate in an
attack on Cuba and the
blockade was lifted, then the
question of the removal or the
destruction of the missile sites
would be an entirely different
question." This is the first time
Khrushchev has admitted the
presence of the missiles.
1.1.7 27th October: Khrushchev sends a second
letter - revising his proposal - that the
Jupiter missiles in turkey must be removed
firs as well. Also an American U-2 plane is
shot down over Cuba and The President is
advised to launch an immediate reprisal
attack. Instead he publicly responds to the
first letter agreeing to the first letter
accepting the terms. He also says if the
Soviet Union does not withdraw, an attack
will follow. he secretly Kennedy sends his
brother Bobby to negotiate with the Soviet
Ambassador about the Jupiter missiles.
1.1.8 28th October: Khrushchev replies to
Kennedy confirming the offensive missiles
will be dismantled and removed, as are
the Jupiter Missiles. Yet, it is made to
seem as if the USSR backed down.
1.1.9 23th October: Kennedy receives a letter
from Khrushchev saying that Soviet ships
will not observe the blockade. Khrushchev
does no admit the presence of missiles on
1.2 Why Did The Soviet Union
Put Missiles On Cuba
1.2.2 To trap the USA
18.104.22.168 wanted to draw
them into war
1.2.3 To bargain
22.214.171.124 Act as
1.2.4 To test the USA
126.96.36.199 Mirrors the 1961 Berlin Crisis: 1958: Khrushchev issues a
speech that the USA should pull out of Berlin( an airlift
wold not be possible as 1.65 million Germans had fled into
west berlin to flee the East by 1960. 1961 : Vienna
summit, Khrushchev doesn't give in and gives the US 6
months. 1961: 150,000 Us reservists sent into west Berlin.
But overnight, Ulbricht, the leader of East Germany built a
barbed wire on the border which then became the Berlin
1.2.5 To get the upper hand
in the arms race
188.8.131.52 there was a large gap between the Soviet's
nuclear missile arsenal an the USA's, so
would take any opportunity to bridge the gap
1.3 Build Up
1.3.1 Bay Of Pigs
184.108.40.206.1 Why did he
220.127.116.11.1.1 He had been told it would be an
easy victory by the CIA and he
needed to remove the
18.104.22.168.2 Changes he made
22.214.171.124.2.1 Hide any American involvement by
scaling down the bombing to 6 planes
and cancelling air support during the
126.96.36.199.1 Castro's alliance with the USSR was
strengthened and therefore the communist threat
was more prominent than ever. Another
consequence for JFK was that he had been
humiliated and his authority and that of the white
house had seriously been undermined.
188.8.131.52 Why did it fail
184.108.40.206.1 Too few bombing as there only 3 planes were
destroyed in the strike, and Castro mistook it for a
full scale invasion so mobilised all of his troops
therefore all ex-nationals were captured or killed
within 72 hours.
220.127.116.11 The Bay of Pigs Invasion, known in Latin America as Invasión de Bahía de Cochinos (or Invasión de Playa
Girón or Batalla de Girón), was a failed military invasion of Cuba undertaken by the CIA-sponsored
paramilitary group Brigade 2506 on 17 April 1961. A counter-revolutionary military, trained and funded by the
United States government's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Brigade 2506 fronted the armed wing of the
Democratic Revolutionary Front (DRF) and intended to overthrow the revolutionary left-wing government of
Fidel Castro. Launched from Guatemala, the invading force was defeated within three days by the Cuban
armed forces, under the direct command of Prime Minister Fidel Castro.
1.3.2 Cuba Under Castro
18.104.22.168.1.1 America fights short war with Spain for
the control of Cuba, a 'puppet'
government is set up that is
22.214.171.124.1.2 1899 The USA
have a large
military base on
Cuba (Guantanamo Bay)
126.96.36.199.2.1 Cuba governed by corrupt dictator
Fulgencio Batista who was backed
by the American government
188.8.131.52.3.1 American businesses take control
of 95% of Cuban business. The
entire sugar crop is sold to
American firms. Cuba is effectively
a state of America
184.108.40.206.4.1 American organised criminals set up
casinos in Havana with cheap booze
and prostitutes. this is an attractive
prospect for Americans in Prohibition.
220.127.116.11.1 Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba.
He was helped by Che Guevara.
Until then Cuba had been under US
influence and any companies had
invested heavily in the country.
18.104.22.168.2 Castro asked for help but the USA refused, so at first Castro
nationalised the oil refineries by sending in his malicia. In turn President
Eisenhower cut all sugar import. Castro the retaliated by nationalising a
further $1 billion of assets (all the assets in Cuba). To this President
Eisenhower ordered a trade embargo.
22.214.171.124.1 The Soviet Union signed an
agreement to buy 1,000,000 tonnes of
sugar every year. This tied the two
counties closely together. There was
now a communist all in the western
126.96.36.199.1 April: By of Pigs invasion
launched and failed.
188.8.131.52.2 December: Castro announces he is a communist.
Therefore there is now a communist country just 90
miles away from the USA.
184.108.40.206.1 July: 43,000 soviet
soldiers/technicians arrive with
nuclear missiles and missile
launchers in Cuba
220.127.116.11.2 16th October: A US spy planes took
photographs which show Soviet missile
bases being built on Cuba. This renders all
US defence systems useless.
18.104.22.168.3 18th October: A Soviet
fleet of ships is spotted in
the Atlantic on the way to
1.4 Kennedy's Options
1.4.1 Do Nothing
22.214.171.124.1 USA had bigger nuclear arsenal
126.96.36.199.2 USA could destroy the USSR
188.8.131.52.3 Biggest threat to World Peace was to overreact
184.108.40.206.1 Khrushchev had lied and
so he would seem weak.
220.127.116.11.1 Avoid conflict
18.104.22.168.1 If the USA was forced to
back down it would be a
sign of weakness.
22.214.171.124.1 Show the USA was serious.
126.96.36.199.2 Not an act of war.
188.8.131.52.3 USA had a strong Navy.
184.108.40.206.4 Put the burden on Khrushchev about what to do next.
220.127.116.11.5 Kennedy could still take another option if this did not work.
18.104.22.168.1 Wouldn't solve main problem as the missile
bases wold be available in 1 week.
22.214.171.124.2 Soviets could retaliate by blockading Berlin again.
126.96.36.199.1 Would get rid of missiles and Castro.
188.8.131.52.2 Troops were already trained and available.
184.108.40.206.1 Almost guarantee an equivalent Soviet
response, either to protect Cuba or within
the Soviet sphere of influence - for example
a take-over of Berlin.
1.4.5 Surgical air attack
220.127.116.11.1 Destroy the missiles before they were ready to use.
18.104.22.168.1 Destruction of all sites could not be guaranteed.
22.214.171.124.2 Would inevitably kill Soviet soldiers,
so the Soviet Union may retaliate
126.96.36.199.3 To attack without advance warning was seen as immoral.
1.5 Who Won?
1.5.1 Evidence JFK
188.8.131.52 France, led
by de Gaulle,
184.108.40.206 Cuba still
they were not
220.127.116.11 Cuba still
and an ally.
reputation as he
had shown he
protects his allies
18.104.22.168 Praised for
his role as
22.214.171.124 Chairman Mao of
pursued a more
he was not
1.5.4 Evidence JFK
reputation in his
126.96.36.199 Proved he could
avoid war and
2 Who Was To Blame?
2.1 Traditionalist View
2.1.1 Held by most westerners, Stalin's
aggressive expansionism to blame
2.2 Revisionist View
2.2.1 USA to blame for wanting open trade and forcing
capitalism on countries, also for making the atomic bomb
2.3 Post-Revisionist View
2.3.1 Caused by mutual misunderstanding as both wanted
peace, German question just got out of hand.
2.4 Post-1991 View
2.4.1 USSR did not want confrontation, just caused by clash of ideology.
2.5 Realist View
2.5.1 Caused by Soviet rise in power and the fear in the West this caused.
2.6 Liberal View
2.6.1 Military conflict
caused by poor
policies and missed
2.7 Radical View
2.7.1 Both powers just wanted to increase influence with the excuse of ideology
3.1 Stalin's Take Over of Eastern Europe
188.8.131.52 Left wing coalition existed in 1945
184.108.40.206 In 1946 the communists
were the largest single
party but still in coalition.
220.127.116.11 In 1948 the Communist party's position
became threatened so they banned all
other parties and became a one party state
3.1.2 East Germany
18.104.22.168 Given to the USSR
after the war and
run by the Red Arm
22.214.171.124 In 1949
known as the
126.96.36.199 Short for Council for Mutual
188.8.131.52 Set up a bank that benefited the
USSR the most, a market for them
for cheap raw material; e.g Poland
forced to sell coal to them at one
tenth the open market price.
184.108.40.206 The Idea was to co-ordinate
trade between the Communist
countries, so that they would
only trade with each other.
220.127.116.11 Short for Communist Information Beareau
18.104.22.168 Was set up in October
1947 to co-ordinate
22.214.171.124 Regularly brought communist
leaders to Moscow to speak to Stalin
and his ministers, where they would
tell them what to do.
126.96.36.199 Allowed Stalin to
keep a close eye
on all the
188.8.131.52 He spotted
and replaced them with people
who were completely loyal to
him. the only Communist
leader who escaped this close
control was Tito who resented
being controlled by Cominform.
He was expelled for this
hostility in 1948
party in 1947
184.108.40.206 Left wing
election in 1945.
220.127.116.11 Marshall Tito
led war time
18.104.22.168 He was elected in
1949, but wanted to
apply communism in
his own way.
22.214.171.124 Expelled from Cominform in 1948
126.96.36.199 After the war
188.8.131.52 1947 the
leaders were forced
3.2 Yalta: 4 - 11th
184.108.40.206 Peace should be
kept by joining the
220.127.116.11 Countries liberated
from Nazi rule would
be allowed free
elections and pick
whichever party they
18.104.22.168 Germany was to be
divided among the
22.214.171.124 Eastern Europe would be
allowed to be a soviet
sphere of influence.
126.96.36.199 Stalin proposing a toast saying
"may it (their alliance) be strong"
188.8.131.52.1 Stalin wanted to control Poland
as protection as he had faced 3
years of Nazi invasion resulting
in 20 million deaths.
184.108.40.206.2 Churchill wanted it to
be a free nation.
220.127.116.11.1 Churchill wanted to keep an
important trade route open. and
stop it from going communist.
18.104.22.168 Churchill writing to
Roosevelt that the Soviet
Union was a threat.
22.214.171.124 Stalin talking to Milon Djilas saying
Churchill would pick-pocket you for a
Kopek but Roosevelt only goes for
126.96.36.199 Stalin, Truman & Atlee
3.3.2 Changes Since Yalta
188.8.131.52 America Has New President
184.108.40.206.1.1 America has a new
President; 12th April
1945l Roosevelt dies and
is replaced by his vice
Harry S Truman.
220.127.116.11.2 Impact on Relations
18.104.22.168.2.1 HST was more
the sides were
22.214.171.124 The Allies had tested
the atomic Bomb
126.96.36.199.1.1 16th July 1945 USA
tested the Atomic
informed Stalin about it
at the conference.
188.8.131.52.2 Impact on Relations
184.108.40.206.2.1 Stalin became on
edge and joined
an Arms Race
220.127.116.11 Stalin's armies occupied
most of Eastern Europe
18.104.22.168.1.1 After liberating counties Soviet
troops stayed there, so Stalin
Finland, Baltic States, Hungary,
Bulgaria and Romania.
22.214.171.124.2 Impact on Relations
126.96.36.199.2.1 The West feared
takeover so were
on edge and
188.8.131.52.1 Stalin wanted to
cripple Germany to
Protect the USSR.
184.108.40.206.2 Truman was keen not repeat
the mistakes of WW1 and was
ready to invest a lot of money.
220.127.116.11.1 Soviet Union had
with 20 million dead,
18.104.22.168.2 Truman did not want
to repeat the mistakes
of WW1 and resisted
22.214.171.124 Soviet Policy in Eastern Europe
126.96.36.199.1 Stalin got
Yalta to set up
and said "If
will dare move
188.8.131.52.2 Truman was unhappy
about demands and
adopted a 'get tough'
3.4 Iron Curtain Speech
184.108.40.206 Gave the government ore
public support to actively act
against the East.
220.127.116.11 It angered
he called it
18.104.22.168 It caused tension because it
showed that Britain and the
USA were 'teaming up'
22.214.171.124 Made the American
126.96.36.199.1 On March 5, 1946 the esteemed Sir Winston Churchill
gave the most important speech of the early Cold War era
to a largely unprepared audience at Westminster College,
in Fulton, Missouri at the request of President Harry S.
3.5 Berlin Blockade
188.8.131.52 Different Aims in Germany
184.108.40.206.1.1 Rebuild Germany to a strong Capitalist
Nation through economic assistance. They
gave $500 million in 1948 & 1949 with at one
point they had 4% economic growth. They set
up a new currency on the 23rd of May 1948.
220.127.116.11.2.1 Wanted to cripple Germany so that they can't recover
18.104.22.168.3 How Did It Cause the Blockade?
22.214.171.124.3.1 1) The West can't fulfil their aims and help Germany recover if they can't reach Berlin 2) He
didn't want capitalist ideas spreading into the East as it made him and Communism look bad.
126.96.36.199.1.1 Britain, France and USA combined
their zones to form Trizonia in 1946
to contain Stalin; Later known as
West Germany in 1949
188.8.131.52.2.1 Stalin though the West was acting
provocatively by Unifying their
zones and forming a new currency.
184.108.40.206.3 How Did It Cause
220.127.116.11.3.1 Stalin felt threatened so
tried to defend himself and
show his authority without
committing an act of war
18.104.22.168 Germany became a
definitely divided nation
with no chance of unity
22.214.171.124 NATO - North Atlantic Treaty
Organisation - was formed.
126.96.36.199 'set the trend' for
the Cold War.
188.8.131.52 In June 1948 Stalin started blocking a network of roads, rails
and canals that were the west's only way into Berlin, and by the
28th of June the only way in was by air. As not to seem weak,
and so Truman's policy of containment was taken seriously, the
Western powers launched an airlift that lasted 319 days - from
the 27th of June 1948 to the 12th of May 1949. this airlift
included the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia. The
airlift moved 1.5 billion tonnes of materials and a record of
13,000 in one day, but sadly 43 airmen died.
3.6 Truman Doctrine &
3.6.1 Truman believed that Communism succeeded when people faced poverty and hardship. He sent the
American General George Marshall to assess the economic state of Europe. What he found was a ruined
economy. The countries of Europe owed $11.5 billion to the USA. There were extreme shortages of all goods.
Most countries were still rationing bread. There was such a coal shortage in the hard winter of 1947 that in
Britain all electricity was turned off for a period each day. Churchill described Europe as “a rubble heap, a
breeding ground of hate”.
3.6.2 Marshall suggested that about $17 billion would be needed to rebuild Europe’s prosperity. “Our policy”, he
said, “is directed against hunger, poverty desperation and chaos.” In December 1947, Truman put his plan to
Congress. For a short time the American Congress refused to grant this money as $17 billion was a lot of
3.6.3 When the Germans retreated from Greece in 1944, there were two rival groups – the Monarchists and the
Communists – who wanted to rule the country. Both had been involved in resistance against the Nazis. The
Communists wanted Greece to be a Soviet republic. The Monarchists wanted the return of the King of
Greece. Churchill sent British troops to Greece in 1945 – as they had important trade routes there for things
such as oil – supposedly to help restore order and supervise free elections. In fact, the British supported the
Monarchists and the King was returned to power.
3.6.4 In 1946, the USSR protested to the United Nations that British troops were a threat to peace I Greece. The
United Nations took no actions and so the communists tried to take control of Greece by force. A civil war
quickly developed. The British could not afford the cost of such a war and announced on the 24th of February
1947 that they were withdrawing their troops. Truman stepped in. Paid for by the Americans, some British
troops stayed in Greece They tried to prop up the King’s government. By 1950 the royalists were in control of
Greece, although they were a very weak government, always in crisis.
3.6.5 American intervention in Greece marked a new era for the USA’s attitude to world politics, which became
known as the Truman doctrine. Under the Truman Doctrine the USA was prepared to send money, equipment
and advice to any country which was, in the American view, threatened by Communist take-over. Truman
accepted that Eastern Europe was now Communist. His aim was to stop it spreading any further. This policy
became known as the policy of containment. Others though containment should mean something firmer. They
said that it must be made clear to the Soviet Union that expansion beyond a given limit would be met with
3.6.6 Americans’ attitude changed when the Communists took over the government of Czechoslovakia.
Czechoslovakia had been ruled by a coalition government, which, although it included Communists, had been
trying to pursue policies independent of Moscow. The Communists came down hard in March 1948.
Anti-Soviet leaders were purged. One pro-American Minister, Jan Masaryk, was found dead below his open
window. The Communists said he had jumped. The Americans suspected he’d been pushed. Immediately,
Congress accepted the Marshall Plan and made $17 billion available over four years. However Europe
requested more, $20 billion, as 16 countries signed up. In total Europe received $13.5 billion. Stalin, on the
other hand, forbade his communist countries from signing up.
4 Vietnam War
4.1 Why Could The USA Not Win
4.1.1 US Tactics
184.108.40.206.1 More bombs were
dropped on North Vietnam
than in the whole of WW2.
This was effective to an
extent—it damaged North
Vietnam’s war effort and
disrupted supply routes, it
enabled the US to keep
attacking even when it
withdrew ground troops,
and helped bring the
North Vietnamese to the
negotiating table. It did not
however defeat the VC,
just slowed them down,
and cost a huge amount
220.127.116.11.1 The US
the VC hid,
the bone and
18.104.22.168 Search &
22.214.171.124.1 Bombing could not
defeat a guerrilla
army so the US
began to launch
search and destroy
raids on villages using
helicopters to carry
soldiers to villages
and destroy any VC
forces they found.
This did kill VC but
the raids were often
based on inadequate
were killed. This
helped turn the
peasants against the
soldiers often walked
4.1.2 Guerrilla Tactics
126.96.36.199 Tet Offensive
188.8.131.52.1 In 1968 the Communists
changed tactics and went on
the offensive, with the Tet
Offensive. During the Tet New
Year holiday, VC attacked over
100 cities and military targets,
even trying to capture the US
Embassy in Saigon. Around
4500 fighters tied down a much
larger US and South
Vietnamese force for two days.
This however was
unsuccessful—the people of
South Vietnam did not rise up
and join the VC, and the VC
lost around 10,000 experienced
fighters. However, it did
increase opposition to the war
in the USA.
184.108.40.206 To make up for the fact that
the better equipped and more
numerous US soldiers could
defeat the VC in open warfare,
Ho Chi Minh used guerrilla
tactics. The VC blended in with
the peasant population,
attacking US troops and then
escaping back into the jungle.
This meant US soldiers were
constantly in fear of ambushes,
and often had no idea where
the VC were.
4.1.3 The VC Had The
Support Of The
220.127.116.11 This was essential for guerrilla warfare as the VC guerrilla fighters needed to be able to blend in with the
peasants, VC troops were ordered to be courteous and respectful to the peasants, and often helped the
peasants in the fields. The VC could also be ruthless and were quite prepared to kill peasants who opposed
them or co-operated with their enemies. Between 1966 and 1971 the VC killed an estimated 27,000 civilians.
However, the South Vietnamese population did not rise up to support the VC in the Tet offensive. Also the VC
depended on supplies brought in from the North along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, this was constantly bombed by
the US and South Vietnamese but 40,000 Vietnamese helped to keep it open whatever the cost.
4.2 Why Did The
18.104.22.168 The Communist Viet Minh, under the
leadership of Ho Chi Minh declared
Vietnamese independence from
French rule in 1945. The French
resisted, and war broke out in 1946.
Because Ho Chi Minh kept quiet
about wanting Vietnam to be
Communist so received quite a lot of
sympathy from the USA
22.214.171.124 Communists took over in
China and began to give
help to Ho Chi Minh. The
USA feared a
Communist takeover of
South East Asia so
poured $500 million a
year into the French war
126.96.36.199 The war dragged on until
1954, when the French were
defeated at Dien Bien Phu
(which is one of the events in
‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’). At
the 1954 Geneva Peace
Conference the country was
divided into North and South
Vietnam until elections could
be held to decide its future.
188.8.131.52 The USA then prevented the elections from taking place
because they feared that the Communist Ho Chi Minh would
win. This was despite having criticised the USSR for not
holding free elections in Eastern Europe. In 1955 the USA
helped Ngo Dinh Diem to set up the Republic of South
Vietnam. He was bitterly anti-Communist but corrupt, and
refused to hold elections. The Viet Cong started a guerrilla
war against the South Vietnamese government. They also
attacked American air force and supply bases.
184.108.40.206 In August 1964 North Vietnamese
patrol boats opened fire on US ships in
the Gulf of Tonkin. The USA reacted
furiously, and on 8th March 1965,
3500 US marines came ashore at Da
Nang. America was at war with
Vietnam.In August 1964 North
Vietnamese patrol boats opened fire
on US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. The
USA reacted furiously, and on 8th
March 1965, 3500 US marines came
ashore at Da Nang. America was at
war with Vietnam.
220.127.116.11 Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
His successor, Lyndon Johnson was
more willing to commit to full scale
military involvement in Vietnam.
18.104.22.168 The USA then prevented the elections from taking place because
they feared that the Communist Ho Chi Minh would win. This was
despite having criticised the USSR for not holding free elections in
Eastern Europe. In 1955 the USA helped Ngo Dinh Diem to set up
the Republic of South Vietnam. He was bitterly anti-Communist but
corrupt, and refused to hold elections. The Viet Cong started a
guerrilla war against the South Vietnamese government. They also
attacked American air force and supply bases.
4.3 Why was there
the US public to
the Vietnam War?
4.3.1 My Lai Massacre
22.214.171.124 In March 1968 a unit of young American soldiers called Charlie Company started a Search
& Destroy mission in the Quang Ngai region of South Vietnam. They had been told that in
the My Lai area there was a Viet Cong headquarters, and 200 guerrillas. They had been
told that all the villagers would have left for market because it was Saturday Most of them
were under the impression that they had been ordered to kill everyone on sight. Early on
the morning of the 16th of March, Charlie Company arrived in My Lai. In the net four hours,
between 300 and 400 civilians were killed. They were mostly women, children and old men.
Some were killed while they worked in their fields. Others were shot in their homes. No Viet
Cong were found. Only three weapons were recovered.
4.3.2 The media showed crying children burned by American napalm
bombs. Was this why 900,000 young Americans had been
drafted? Instead of Vietnam being a symbol of a US crusade
against Communism, it had become a symbol of defeat and
confusion. There were anti-war protests all over the country.
Students taunted American President Lyndon B Johnson with
the chant “Hey, Hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”
Thousands began to draft dodge – refusing to serve in Vietnam
when they were called up – even world champion boxer
Muhammad Ali refused publicly. There were hundreds of
demonstrations in universities across the USA. The most
infamous, at Kent State University in Ohio, the National Guard
broke up the demonstration, killing four students. The public
was horrified. War seemed to be making the war unstable.
4.3.3 For a war on such a scale the USA
had to have the support of the
American public, but it was
increasingly difficult to keep it. Public
opinion in the USA was turning
against the war even before the Tet
Offensive. After it, the war became
very unpopular. Many Americans felt
deeply uncomfortable with what was
going on in Vietnam. The Vietnam
War was a media war. Thousands of
television, radio and newspaper
reporters and a vast army of
photographers sent back to the USA
and Europe pictures of the fighting.
Television showed prisoners being
tortured or executed, or women and
children watching with horror as their
house was set on fire – as there was
no media censorship at the time.
4.4 Why Did
The War In
126.96.36.199 After the Tet Offensive President Johnson conclude that the war could not be won militarily. He reduced the bombing campaign against North
Vietnam and instructed his officials to begin negotiating for peace with the Communists. In March 1968 a peace conference began in Paris.
188.8.131.52 Johnson also announced he would not be seeking re-election as President. It was an admission of failure. In the election
campaign both Republican and Democrat candidates campaigned to end US involvement in Vietnam. The anti-Vietnam feeling
was so strong that if they had supported continuing the war they would have no chance of election. It was no longer a question
of "could the USA win the war?" - now it was "how can the USA get out of Vietnam without it looking like a defeat?”
184.108.40.206 In November 1968 Richard Nixon was elected President. From 1969 to 1973 he and his National Security Advisor
Henry Kissinger worked tirelessly to end US involvement in Vietnam. This was not easy because the bigger question
of how to contain world Communism – the one that had got the USA into Vietnam in the first place – had not gone
away. They did not want to appear to simply hand Vietnam to the Communists. They used a range of strategies.
220.127.116.11.1 Peace Negotiations
With North Vietnam
18.104.22.168.1.1 From early 1969,
Kissinger had regular
meetings with the chief
negotiator Le Duc Tho.
Of The war Effort
22.214.171.124.2.1 In Vietnam Nixon began the
process of Vietnamisation –
building up of South Vietnamese
forces and withdrawing US troops.
Between April 1969 and the end of
1971 almost 400,000 troops left
126.96.36.199.3.1 Nixon increased bombing
campaigns against North
Vietnam to show he was not
weak. He also invaded Viet
Cong bases in Cambodia,
causing outrage across the
world, and even in the USA.
188.8.131.52 In 1972, the North Vietnamese launched a major offensive, but were unable to conquer South Vietnam. In Paris in January 1973, Le Duc Tho, Nixon
and the South Vietnamese President Thieu signed a peace agreement. Nixon was Jubilant. He described the agreement as “peace with honour”.
Others disagreed, but the door was now open for Nixon to pull out all US troops. By 29th of March 1973, the last American Forces left Vietnam.
184.108.40.206.1 Peace agreement
220.127.116.11.1.1 1) Immediate cease-fire, 2)
Release of all war prisoners within
60 days, 3) Withdrawal of all US
forces, 4) Full accounting of
missing in action and 5)
self-determination for South
18.104.22.168 It is not clear whether Nixon really believed he had secured a long lasting peace settlement. But within two years it was meaningless and South
Vietnam had fallen to the Communists. Nixon had promised continuing financial aid and military support to Vietnam, but Congress refused to allow it.
They did not want to waste American money. The evidence was that the South Vietnamese regime was corrupt and lacked the support of the
majority of the population. Even more important, Nixon himself was in big political trouble with the Watergate scandal. In 1974 Nixon was forced to
resign over Watergate, but the new President, Gerald Ford, also failed to get the backing of Congress over Vietnam.
22.214.171.124 Without US air power or military back-up and without the support of the majority of the population, the South Vietnamese government could not survive for long.
In December 1974 the North Vietnamese launched a major military offensive against South Vietnam. The capital, Saigon, fell to Communist forces April 1975.
126.96.36.199 One of the bleakest symbols of American failure in Vietnam was the televised news images of desperate Vietnamese men, women and
children trying to clamber aboard American helicopters taking off from the US embassy. All around them Communist forces swarmed through
Saigon. After 30 years of constant conflict, the struggle for control of Vietnam had finally been settled and the Communists had won.
188.8.131.52 Pressure On The USSR And China
184.108.40.206.1 In 1969 the USSR and China fell out. Indeed, in late 1969, it seemed
possible there would even be a war between these two powerful countries. As
a result, both the USSR and China tried to improve relations with the USA.
220.127.116.11.1.1 In 1970 Nixon began Strategic
Arms Limitation Talks (SALT)
with the USSR to limit nuclear
weapons. He asked Moscow to
encourage North Vietnam to end
18.104.22.168.1.2 Nixon also started to improve relations with China. In February
1972 Nixon was invited to China. As with the USSR he asked
China to pressure North Vietnam to end the war.