French Rule and Fight for Freedom
The previous questions all dealt with the Vietnam War so let’s answer some of those questions. The French had captured land and settlements in 1867. The name on the entire area of settlements was called Cochinchina or Indochina. But there was still resistance. Then in 1921 the Vietnam Independence League or the Viet Minh was organized because they were looking for freedom from France. But the league didn’t become a publicly known Communist party until the mid 1950’s. The French still wanted Indochina in their control and the only way they would recognize Vietnam as a free state is if it was only in the French Union. The Vietnamese still wanted to be free so they declined their rule and started to fight the French in 1946 up until 1954 when the French were severely defeated. In 1954 an international conference was held in Geneva, where negotiations between the French and the Viet Minh would settle the territory.
Ngo Dinh Diem vs Viet Cong
The final verdict was that the French and Vietnamese fighting under their control would move south while the Viet Minh would move north. After the negotiations, hundreds of thousands of people moved either north or south away from their homes, while the French began to finally depart from Vietnam. Then in 1954 Ngo Dinh Diem was appointed Prime Minister by the emperor of the south but, was promoted to the president the same year as South Vietnam became a republic on October 26, 1955. As soon as Diem became president, he created an Authoritarian government and refused to participate in any of the scheduled elections. What Diem just did worried U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. He was worried that Communism would spread across Asia. So, he persuaded the U.S. government to supply both economic and military assistance to the Diem rule. Diem also made the Buddhist angry by choosing fellow Catholics, most of them moved from the north, to top government positions. Then Guerrilla warfare spread throughout South Vietnam as the Viet Cong or North Vietnamese returned to their homes in the South to assassinate, sabotage, ambush, and convert. As the growing Viet Cong presence kept progressing, the Diem government requested and received more American military advisers and materials, so they could build up the ARVN or Army of the Republic of Vietnam. The involvement of the active U.S. military in the growing Vietnam war was in 1954. Vietnam is located along the Pacific Ocean, south of China, and east of Cambodia and Laos.
Role of the Soviet Union
We already know that South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the U.S. were involved in the Vietnam War but, was there anyone else involved? Well, yes there were plenty of other countries involved in this war. For example, the North Vietnamese allies were for Communism while the South Vietnamese allies weren’t for Communism. The North Vietnamese allies included the Soviet Union or aka Russia, North Korea, the People’s Republic of China or PRC, Pathet Lao, and the Khmer Rouge. While the South Vietnamese allies were the U.S., South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Thailand, Laos, Taiwan, and the Khmer Republic. The Khmer Republic was later overthrown by the Khmer Rouge or Cambodian Communist insurgents. But, only six Free World countries and two Communist ones sent materials along with men to support either North or South Vietnam.
What was the reason this tragic war was caused? Well other than two countries not getting along, because one is trying to take the other over, is because of the Domino Theory. The Domino Theory is either the only reason the U.S. got involved in this war or
is one of a couple of reasons. The Domino Theory was a Cold War policy or a way to prevent Communism spreading. What the Domino Theory means is that the U.S. was afraid that since North Vietnam was a Communist country, that if they took over South Vietnam, which was not a Communist country, then the neighboring countries of Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand would become Communist too. The U.S. then thought if those countries were Communist too, then Communism would eventually spread to all or most of Asia, almost like falling dominos. That’s where the name for the Domino Theory either came from or got its name from.
Outcome of War
What was the outcome of one of America’s longest wars? Well, it didn’t turn out the way America had wanted it to. In 1974 the South Vietnamese began to withdraw from the distant outposts they could no longer defend. Then the Viet Cong or North Vietnamese captured several, different outlying capitals. Then on January 1975, the long-expected Communist offensive began. The Viet Cong then captured the Phuoc Long Province and decided to expand its control on the Central Highlands. The Army of the Republic of Vietnam or the ARVN extracted from the area under heavy fire. That was when President Thieu made the decision of evacuating the cities of Hue and Quang Tri. But, that was also when panic started to follow. Then one by one the costal
cities were deserted, the refugees started to flee, the army vanished, and the remaining Americans either fled by air or sea lifts with Vietnamese friends and coworkers. But, on April 21st President Thieu resigned from office and flew away to Taiwan. Then on April 30th what was left of the South Vietnamese government surrendered and the city of Saigon was occupied by the Viet Cong without a struggle or conflict.
What effects did the Vietnam War have on South Vietnam and the U.S.? The effects in South Vietnam were horrible. There were thousand either killed, injured, or just left homeless because of all the conflict. Also, the countryside of VIetnam was left disfigured by the bombs and explosives, defoliation, and the cities were left with heavy damage. Their Agriculture, business, and industry had come to a complete halt. While in America Lyndon Johnson’s economic program for a “Great Society” had been stopped because of the economic and military demands of this war. The estimated cost of the war was equaled to about 200,000,000,000 dollars. But, also since the North Vietnamese won the war the countries of Cambodia and Laos also became Communist, making the new Vietnam an important Southeast Asian power.
Could the War be Prevented
Since we already know the amount of damage and money spent on this war, was there a way it could have been prevented? Well, the leader Vietnam, Ho, wrote a letter asking for U.S. support against France in 1945 but, it was never answered. Also, Ho sent a telegram in February 1946 with a similar message and was once again was not answered. Ho did believe in democracy and probably would have used a democratic system in Vietnam. But, only if America had sent more troops sooner, so they could have helped in the freeing of Vietnam.
The Vietnam War was a war of many opinions. But, I hope the information I provided you with is helpful with deciding your opinion. I showed the effects, causes, and timeline of this war. But, I even thought of asking the question of could this war have been prevented? I just thought this war was one of history’s least known about wars, so I hope the information I provided, will shed some light on the subject for you.