14 - Nixon's Policies In Vietnam Flashcards Preview

History - The Cold War - Part 4 > 14 - Nixon's Policies In Vietnam > Flashcards

Flashcards in 14 - Nixon's Policies In Vietnam Deck (60)
Loading flashcards...

What were the 3 main policies under Nixon?

- Vietnam War Policy (Vietnamisation + ‘peace with honour’)
- Cambodia + Laos Policy (extension of these ‘secret’ wars)
- China Policy (improve relations with China)


When did Nixon become President?

Jan 1969


Who was in control of foreign policy under Nixon?

- President Nixon
- Henry Kissinger (Nixon’s National Security Advisor)

(Kept policy between small group - concerned about public opinion)


What did Nixon want to achieve in Vietnam overall?

‘Peace with honour’

- End Vietnam War with capitalist victory
- NOT use force to achieve this (public opinion was against escalation of force - saw war as dishonourable after Tet Offensive + My Lai)


What policies did Nixon use in Vietnam to achieve ‘peace with honour’?

- Massive retaliation (threat of nuclear force, without actual force escalation)
- Madman theory (present Nixon as irrational + impulsive to prevent threats from the opposition)
- Vietnamisation (withdraw US forces + support the S.Viets in taking primary responsibility for the war)


Define Madman Theory

Presenting Nixon as irrational + impulsive to prevent threats from the opposition in aim to win Vietnam War through peace with honour


Where did Nixon increase his use of force?

Cambodia + Laos


When did US first offer peace? What was the reaction?

- Paris Peace Talks (May 1968)
- Rejected by N.Viets (saw US aim for peace as a facade because they still wanted capitalist victory. Would only accept if US withdrew any conditions/terms on the peace).


What did Nixon do about the increase in domestic opposition for the Vietnam War?

- Outwardly advocated peace + kept quiet any policies surrounding escalating or continuing fighting
- Skewed polling to evidence popular backing of his policies
- Used FBI, CIA + military to increase surveillance (e.g. tapping phones) + persecution of opposers


When did domestic opposition for the Vietnam War significantly increase?

- Tet Offensive: US presented in media as weak + at a stalemate, citizens who believed in US success dropped 51% -> 32%
- My Lai Massacre: 500 innocent, unarmed Vietnamese citizens killed by US troops in March 1968, not fully publicised until Nov 1969


Give an example of 2 domestic opposition groups

Chicago 7
(Group of political activists. Campaigned against Vietnam involvement. Arrested)

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)
(Anti-Vietnam and anti-draft. Often overtook admin buildings and destroyed academic records. Response was National Guard troops on uni campuses)


Which of Nixon’s Vietnam policies were used nearer the start?

- Massive retaliation
- Madman theory


Which of Nixon’s Vietnam policies were used nearer the end?

- Vietnamisation


Give an example of Nixon’s use of Massive Retaliation

Duck Hook
- Threatened Ho Chi Minh with ‘Duck Hook’
- Wanted a peace settlement for Vietnam by 1st Nov 1969
- If not ‘Duck Hook’: major bombing + use of nuclears on Vietnam cities
- Failed!


When did Nixon announce his aim to use Vietnamisation?

2rd Nov 1969


Define Vietnamisation

Withdraw US forces + support the S.Viets in taking primary responsibility for the war


Why did Nixon choose to use Vietnamisation?

Hoped to end the war by encouraging N.Viets to negotiate
(US shown as willing to be amicable + withdraw)
(S.Viets shown as strong enough to defeat N alone)

Hoped to increase support of US public
(Would allow troops to return home + appear more peaceful)


How was Vietnamisation carried out?

- US ground troops withdrawn
(550,000 troops mid-1969 -> 50,000 troops mid-1972)

- Increase of ARVN forces supported through money + resources
(ARVN troops paid more, better organised, given equip e.g. M-16 Armalite rifles)

- Physical support of ARVN given by air
(E.g. Operation Linebacker I: 150,000 bombs dropped on N.Vietnam from May-Oct 1969)


Give a figure to exemplify the decrease in US forces because of Vietnamisation

550,000 troops mid-1969 -> 50,000 troops mid-1972


Give a figure to exemplify the increase in ARVN forces because of Vietnamisation

80,000 troops in 1968 -> 1 mill in 1970


Outline the successes of Vietnamisation

- ARVN became one of the largest, best equipped armies in the world
- Efforts were made to improve Vietnamese village conditions (elections, repairs, land reforms)
- US casualties drastically decreased


Outline the failures of Vietnamisation

- The S gov + ARVN were completely reliant on US funding
- ARVN still had fundamental weaknesses (low morale, high desertion rates, corruption, shortage of qualified officers)
- There was little nationalism and loyalty to the gov in S.Vietnam
- S.Vietnam may have seen Vietnamisation as an insult suggesting they weren’t already taking responsibility for their country


Overall was Vietnamisation a success or failure?

On the surface - seemed successful in creating greater security + stability in the South

When looking deeper - the South had fundamental weaknesses with their army + were just as reliant on US as before (men -> money)


What is the difference between the Nixon Doctrine + Vietnamisation?

Nixon Doctrine: applied to broader foreign policy
Vietnamisation: applied to Vietnam

BUT - Both had same key idea of home nation taking responsibility for defence (against communism)


Briefly outline the Nixon Doctrine

- US will give assistance when allies/strategically important countries are threatened, but expect the nation under threat to take primary responsibility + provide ground troops
- US will keep all existing foreign policy commitments
- US will act as a shield if nuclear powers threaten allies/strategic states


What did Nixon do in Cambodia + Laos?

Extend the war into these countries - increasing force used there


Why did Nixon extend the war into Cambodia + Laos?

- Hoped to buy time for Vietnamisation
- Hoped to pressurise N.Vietnam into peace negotiations (by making neighbouring countries capitalist + cutting off the HCMT)


How did Nixon publicly justify his extension of the war into Cambodia + Laos?

Said he was targeting the COSVN (centre of N.Viet military ops)


What actions did Nixon take in extending the war into Cambodia?

- Operation MENU (March 1969 - May 1970)
- Cross border raids
- Coup (March 1970)


What was Operation MENU?

- Part of Nixon’s extension into Cambodia
- Bombing campaign
- Targeted parts of Cambodia used as ‘safe sanctuaries’ by N.Viets
- 110,000 tons bombs dropped from March 1969 - May 1970
- Originally secret but NYT leak in May 1969


What were cross border raids?

- Part of Nixon’s extension into Cambodia
- Raided northern sanctuaries
- By ARVN + US Air Force (then US ground troops when Nixon pledged 20,000 to Cambodia in April 1970)


What was the Cambodian Coup?

- Part of Nixon’s extension into Cambodia
- March 1970
- Prince Sihanouk overthrown by pro-US General Lon Nol
- (Nixon did fear the opposing communist party: Khmer Rouge)


What was the success of Nixon’s extension into Cambodia?

Bought time for Vietnamisation (by weakening North so they couldn’t start an offensive when US was being replaced by the growing ARVN)
- VC killed (approx 2000)
- VC supplies + intelligence captured
- VC guerrilla tactics threatened (jungle + bunkers cleared)


What were the failures of Nixon’s extension into Cambodia?

- Didn’t pressurise the N.Vietnamese into negotiating (did the opposite - refused to attend Paris Peace Talks until US withdrew from Cambodia)
- US had now committed themselves to the war + protecting Cambodia against the Khmer Rouge (against withdrawal policies of the Nixon Doctrine + Vietnamisation)
- Encouraged N.Vietnamese to strengthen presence in Cambodia + support for Khmer Rouge
- Increased domestic opposition to Nixon’s foreign policy (led to removal of Gulf of Tonkin Resolution)


Give an example of domestic opposition triggered by the extension of the war into Cambodia

2 amendments sponsored by congressmen (not passed)
- Cooper-Church: cut off funds for Cambodia
- McGovern-Hatfield: withdraw from Vietnam by 1971


What was the outcome of the extension of the war into Cambodia?

Bought time for Vietnamisation but didn’t help negotiation for peace
- Domestic protests led to repeal of Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (Jan 1971)
- Nixon removed troops from Cambodia by July 1971 + sped up withdrawal from Vietnam
- Congress banned any ground troops in Cambodia or Laos


Why was it bad that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was repealed in 1971?

The President (Nixon) no longer had complete control over the Vietnam War


What action did Nixon take in extending the war into Laos?

- Operation LAM SON 719


What was Operation LAM SON 719?

- Major operation in Feb 1971
- Targeted the Ho Chi Minh Trail (hoping to cut off supplies to N)
- 30,000 ARVN ground troops supported by US from the air (bombs)


What were the successes of the extension of the war into Laos?

- ARVN performed well at first, disrupting the trail (caused a major offensive by the N.Vietnamese to be delayed by at least 1yr)


What were the failures of the extension of the war into Laos?

- Ho Chi Minh Trail remained operating
- ARVN had high casualty rate (could have been up to 50% if retreat hadn’t been ordered)
- Domestic opposition grew even more (by summer 1971, 78% US citizens saw the Vietnam War + its extensions as immoral)


What was the relationship between the PRC + USSR by late 1960s?

Sino-Soviet split
- Despite both being communist, had contrasting ideas + methods
- Hostility became public (e.g. Mao criticised Khrushchev’s handling of CMC) + border clashes began


What was Nixon’s policy regarding China?

Improve relations between US + China


Why did China want to improve relations with the US?

Didn’t want to be politically isolated (needed a superpower ally) + saw the USSR as the more immediately threatening superpower


Why did Nixon want improved relations with China?

China was a developing nuclear power which could be a strategic ally in Asia (e.g. pressurise N.Vietnam towards peace talks)


What was the USSR’s reaction to improved relations between US + China?

Also didn’t want to be politically isolated - worked towards improving their relations with the US (Detente)


What changes to PRC government eased the transition towards better Sino-American relations?

- Zhou Enlai became PM in 1970 (approved of better relations)
- Lin Bai, Mao’s successor died in 1972 (against good relations)


How did Nixon improve relations with China?

- Nixon made it known he was interested in improving relations + having talks with China (1968)
- US started Artichoke Approach (1969)
- Kissinger arranged a presidential visit + meeting (1972)


What was the Artichoke Approach?

Approach used by Nixon in improving relations with China

Gradually removed restrictions between the countries (‘layer by layer’) e.g. gradually relaxing rules on travel + trade


What was Kissinger’s approach to the Cold War?

Believed in Detente
Worked under Nixon to: improve relations with China, broker Paris Peace Accords with Vietnam, hopefully improve USSR relations in future


What were the 4 stages of Paris Peace Talks with Vietnam?

1968: Johnson announced peace intentions. Rejected by N.Viets as seen as insincere.
1970-1971: Kissinger + Le Duc Tho met secretly. N set out the terms they needed for a peace agreement. Rejected by US as felt they couldn’t make these concessions.
1972: Both sides made concessions but peace not yet agreed.
1973: Peace (ceasefire) finally agreed.


Summarise the 1970-1971 Paris Peace Talks

- Kissinger + Le Duc Tho met in private in 1970.
- N insisted any peace agreement must include: military solution (armistice) + political solution (remove Thieu + install new coalition gov in S)
- US rejected (feared removing Thieu would lead to collapse of S)
- US tried to renegotiate in 1971 but N wouldn’t agree unless Thieu removed


Who was Thieu?

President of S.Vietnam 1967-1975


Who was Le Duc Tho?

Communist politician + special advisor to N.Vietnam

Met with Kissinger in 1970 as part of the Paris Peace Talks


What was The Easter Offensive/The Spring Offensive?

Massive N.Vietnamese conventional invasion of the South, in hope to strengthen the N’s position for peace talks
(March-Oct 1972)


How did the US respond to the Easter Offensive?

Linebacker I (mass bombing of N + naval blockade)


What were the results of the Easter Offensive?

- Stalemate remained but with higher casualties
- Nixon seen as having a strong response (won election)
- Thieu clung to power in S


Summarise the 1972 Paris Peace Talks

- Kissinger + Le Duc Tho agreed the ‘October Agreement’ (N stopped insistence of removing Thieu + they agreed a ceasefire with returned US POW + installation of a tripartite electoral gov)
- Talks broke down when Nixon + Thieu disagreed (wanted demilitarised zone between 2 sovereign states)
- Nixon ordered Linebacker II to pressurise N into negotiation
- N agreed to resume talks in 1973


What was Linebacker II?

Nixon’s order to mass bomb Hanoi + Haiphong (Xmas 1972) to pressurise the N into negotiating peace


What was the reaction to Linebacker II?

- Domestic approval plummeted (seen as unnecessary)
- N agreed to resume talks in 1973