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Cold war roots of the Conflict

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Chapter 29-1. Cold war roots of the Conflict.

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“We have too much to lost to consider…withdrawing. We have no other choice but to win here or face an increasingly grim future…I would like to see our efforts here geared as completely as possible to the operating philosophy of helping the Vietnamese to help themselves…in the struggle against the Communists.”

-Edward G. Lansdale

vietnamese fight for independence
Vietnamese Fight for Independence

Key Question: How did the Vietnamese organize against foreign rule?

  • French Indochina- French ruled colony made up of:
      • Vietnam
      • Laos
      • Cambodia
  • French export rice+rubber: grew wealthier
  • Vietnamese peasants: lost land, grew poor
  • Nationalists wanted Vietnam to be an independent nation (revolt)
  • Ho Chi Minh- founder of the Indochinese Communist party (ICP)
    • Organize protests against French government
    • French arrest suspected Communists
    • Executed numerous leaders
Viet Minh Forms
  • 1940: Japan took over Vietnam
  • ICP and Nationalists: form Viet Minh
      • Train soldiers: Get rid of foreign rulers
  • U.S. aid Vietnam since Japan was enemy
  • Japanese surrender to Allies- Ho Chi Minh declare independence
  • France try to gain control: Ho Chi Minh sought peaceful solution
  • 1946: War between France and Vietnam
  • French bomb Haiphong, Viet Minh attack Hanoi
America Enters the Conflict
  • Key Question: How did the United States get involved in Vietnam?
  • United States struggled in the Soviet Union (Cold War)
  • Communists took over China
  • Americans fear communist threat
  • U.S. needed to stop the spread of communism in Asia
  • U.S. agreed to help France if France help U.S. against the Soviets
  • 1950: U.S. enter conflict with Vietnam
  • President Truman gave $15 million in military aid to France
  • Domino Theory: if one country communist, the rest will be
  • If Vietnam is communism, the rest of Southeast Asia will be
Vietnam Divides into North and South
  • Even with $3 billion, France couldn’t defeat Viet Minh
  • May 1954: France met Viet Minh: Peace talks
  • Geneva Accords- divide Vietnam (north and south) along 17th parallel
  • Surrounding the line: demilitarized zone (DMZ)
      • Allow separate governments
  • Ho Chi Minh: North Vietnam (communist)
  • Ngo Dinh Diem: South Vietnam (anticommunist)
  • Ho Chi Mihn: popular leader
  • Diem: little support
  • U.S. help Diem: “nation-building”
Fear of Communism Shapes U.S. Policy

Key Question: What world events influenced U.S. policy in Vietnam?

  • 1960-John F. Kennedy becomes President
      • Support fight against communism
  • Bay of Pigs Invasion (April 1961)- trained Cuban exiles to invade Cuba and overthrow Communist leader (Fidel Castro)
  • Cuban troops easily defeated: U.S. humiliated
  • June 1961-Soviet Union threaten to close off western access to West Berlin because east Germans flee from communism
  • Berlin Wall-built to separate eastern and western Germany
Showdown With Cuba
  • Cuban missile crisis (October 1962)-Kennedy’s most serious confrontation with Soviets
  • Soviets have nuclear missiles-could destroy U.S. cities
  • U.S. promise not to invade Cuba if Soviets remove missiles
  • U.S. fear Soviets will become powerful
  • Sent more money and military advisors to South Vietnam
  • Diems Failure:
      • Didn’t establish democratic government
      • Let landlords take back land from the peasants
      • Jailed, tortured, killed opponents
  • National Liberation Front1960 (Viet Cong)-Dissatisfied South Vietnamese join South Vietnamese Communists
  • Viet Cong fight to overthrow Diem’s government
      • Reunite into communist rule
  • Ho Chi Minh Trail-a supply line that was used to help the South Vietnamese and were sent from the North
The Diem Government Falls
  • 1963-U.S. aid increase, so did opposition to Diem
  • American officials told Diem to make:
      • Political Reform
      • Economic Reform
      • Military Reform
  • Diem refuse
  • Kennedy administration lost faith in Diem
  • November 1, 1963-Military Coup overthrew Diem
  • Against Kennedy, they killed Diem
  • Kennedy assassinated three weeks later
  • Lyndon Johnson became president
Work Cited

"Bay of Pigs." Roles and Responsibilites. Web. 4 Apr 2010. .


"Division of Vietnam." Vietnam War. Web. 4 Apr 2010. .

"Ho Chi Minh." Dominos in Indochina. Web. 4 Apr 2010

"John F. Kennedy." Top 10 Assassinations that Shook the World. Web. 4 Apr 2010.

"Lyndon B. Johnson." And Just Like That, The Democratic Coalition Fell Apart. Web. 4 Apr 2010.

"The Berlin Wall." History: The Berlin Wall. Web. 4 Apr 2010. .

"Viet Minh." World Events of 1954. Web. 4 Apr 2010.