Before the 2nd World War, Vietnam was a colony of France. During the war, French Indo China was occupied by the Japanese. When the war was over, the French took the place of the Japanese in Vietnam. In the period between 1945 and 1954 there was a struggle for independence headed by the communist Vietminh, headed by Ho Chi Minh, against the French rulers of Indochina. In August 1945 Vietminh guerrillas seized the capital city of Hanoi. They fought for an independent Vietnam, with Ho Chi Minh as their president. During this uprising the French lost their colony and they wanted to regain their power.
This started a long war in 1946. During this war, the former emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai, was given help by the French to become the leader of the country. In July 1949 he set up the state of Vietnam (South Vietnam) with as new capital Saigon. America had already interfered with the war, but became more and more involved with it. In 1950 they wanted to help the south of Vietnam by sending over a military advisory group. This group was engaged in the training of South Vietnamese troops in the use of U. S. weapons. In the spring of 1954 the Vietminh won a big battle against the French at ien Bin Phu.
Even with the help of America, France was unsuccessful, and they gave up the fight. Vietnam was partioned at the 17th parallel between North and South Vietnam. The north became a communist republic, while the south became a republic under the right wing dictator, Ngo Dinh Diem. On May 8, 1954 there was a peace conference in Geneva. The North and South Vietnamese delegates met with those of France, Britain, the Soviet Union, the United States, Communist China, Laos and Cambodia to discuss the future of Indochina. On this conference they decided that Vietnam was to be split up and that in 1956 3 elections should be held.
The main intention was that Vietnam would after these elections once again become one country. However the Geneva truce crumbled. Diem decided not to hold free elections. This was to his benefit as his opposer, Ho Chi Minh would probably have won the elections. He in return started to train guerrillas to oppose the government forces in the south. These guerrillas, the Viet Cong (meaning: Vietnamese communist), began attacks on the U. S. military installations in 1957. The Americans still believed strongly in the domino theory.
They were afraid that if Vietnam was to become communist, the countries and regions around Vietnam would also turn communist. Like when you push over a domino, it would trigger off a whole set of dominoes. The Americans felt it as their duty to prohibit this from happening. In April 1961 the U. S. signed a treaty of amity and economic relations with South Vietnam. In December of that year the first American troops arrived in Vietnam. A year later they had gone from 400 troops to 11. 200 American troops in Vietnam. The Diem government was having substantial difficulty with coping with the unrest in South Vietnam.
On November 1 1963, the Diem regime was overthrown in a military coup. Diem was executed in this coup and succeeded by an army general called Nguyen Thieu. He created, together with General Nguyen Cao Ky, a military council in 1965. During elections in 1967 Thieu became the president of South Vietnam. In 1963 Johnson became the new president of America. He believed strongly that communism planned to take control over the world. In the first week of August, 1964 there was a report of North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacking two U. S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Johnson used this attack as an excuse to send a huge number of American servicemen and throw bombs in Vietnam. The U. S. senate passed the Gulf Tonkin Resolution on August 7. This authorised the use of military power in Vietnam. With the approval of the Senate, Johnson ordered the bombing of the cities Hanoi and Haiphong. By the end of 1965 the American combat strength lay at 200. 000 men. There were many attempts at negotiations, despite these, the war still went on, many bombings followed the two first. These fightings and bombings took along many deaths. The citizens of America started demonstrations.
They saw the Vietnam war as a pointless war which was taking far too many lives. The American public had concluded that the war was unwinnable. More peace talks were held. In May 1968 there were peace-talks in Paris. North Vietnam, South Vietnam, America and the Viet Cong were included in the peace talks, however no progress was made. There were certain people who played an important role in the Vietnam War: Ngo Dinh Diem was born in 1901, he die in 1963, during the Vietnam War. He was the mandarin ruler of South Vietnam from 1957 till 1963. Diem was catholic, a nationalist, and anticommunist.
Diem was hated in his country, that he lasted as long as he did was amazing. He had a very harsh regime, with which the people werent happy. When he started the forcing peasants off their land, alienation of the Buddhists, and government corruption, it became too much. Diem’s generals murdered him in an armoured car, in November 1963. Thieu took over his place as leader of South Vietnam. Nguyen Thieu was born in 1923. As an infantry commander, Thieu fought in the French army against the Vietminh. He became the leader of South Vietnam in the period between 1965 and 1975.
During the Vietnam War he got support from the U. S. in his battle to fight the North Vietnamese. There was a lot of corruption and incompetence in the Thieu government. His relative success depended on 2 factors: he prevented the military from mounting a coup, and maintained the confidence of the U. S. , upon whose money and support Thieu depended. In 1973 he signed the Paris Peace Accord, but Thieu later opposed it, claiming the U. S. had abandoned Vietnam. Nixon was born in 1913 and died in 1994. He was the thirty-seventh president of the United States.
Nixon had served two terms as vice president under Dwight Eisenhower before he himself ran for president in 1960, however, he was defeated by John F. Kennedy. He gave it a second try in 1968, during the Vietnam War. During the election campaigns he claimed that he had a secret plan which would make an end to the Vietnam War. The public believed that he was the man who could make an end to the war, and elected him. His secret plan was the “Vietnamization” policy which was supposed to reduce the U. S. combat role in Vietnam. He played a great role in the Vietnam War and the U. S. military involvement in the war.
Nixon was elected for a second term as president, but he didnt complete his second term due to the Watergate scandal. He resigned from presidency when he was faced with almost certain impeachment for covering up his administration’s involvement in the break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate during the 1972 election campaign. While he was president, Nixon accomplished 2 significant things, firstly a peace accord between North Vietnam, South Vietnam and America. Secondly, he was able to reduce tensions with China and the Soviet Union. Henry Alfred Kissinger was born in 1923 in Frth in Germany.
In 1938 he was brought to the United States. In America he graduated from Harvard University. From 1943 to 1946 Kissinger served as an enlisted man in the U. S. Army. In 1957 he wrote his first book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy. In this book he supported flexibility in U. S. foreign military activities; this book became very important in American foreign policy. He wrote the book during the time that he teached in the department of government at Harvard. In the 1950s and 1960s he served as an occasional foreign-policy adviser to Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B.
Johnson; he also conducted studies for several government agencies. In 1969 Kissinger became the assistant of President Nixon for national security affairs. He became very important to president Nixon, acting as his military advisor during the Vietnam War. In January 1973 Kissinger’s efforts finally resulted in an agreement establishing a cease-fire in the Vietnam War. For this achievement he shared the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize with the North Vietnamese diplomat Le Duc Tho. In August 1973 President Nixon appointed Kissinger secretary of state, he kept this position under President Ford.
Ho Chi Minh was born in 1890, he died in 1969. He was the leader of North Vietnam and guiding light in Vietnams struggle for independence and unification. He was more of a nationalist than a communist, Ho Chi Minh fought against 3 successive foreigners occupying his country: Japan, France, and the U. S.. He once predicted that the Vietnamese would lose many more men in the struggle, but that in the end it would make no difference: Vietnam would be free. He died before the war ended. The real name of Le Duc Tho is Phan Dinh Khai. He was born in 1911 and died in 1990 in northern Vietnam.
Le Duc Tho was a Vietnamese Communist leader. When the French were still fighting in Vietnam, he was twice imprisoned for his nationalist activities, this was in 1930-1936 and 1939-1944. He later rose to the top rank of the party leaders in North Vietnam. From 1968 to 1973 Le Duc Tho was the chief negotiator for North Vietnam at the Paris peace talks aimed at ending the Vietnam War. His role in these peace talks was good for the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize. Le Duc Tho, however, rejected the prize, stating that “peace has not really been established. “