Chinese conquered Vietnam in 111 BC
Vietnamese managed to keep their own culture intact over the centuries.
Haven’t adopted Chinese language or civil organization
39 AD – first significant revolt. They kicked the Chinese out for 100 years or so.
Chinese came back and reconquered the country.
1858 – napoleon 3 sent a fleet to establish a French base in Vietnam. French
established a presence in Vietnam.
Emperor didn’t want any Vietnamese giving the French a hard time so they would
leave. However, they didn’t go leave
By the turn of the 20 century the Vietnamese were becoming more and more under
The French believed in extracting all they could from a nation. Very harsh
Early 20 century – ho chi minh – studied in france. In 1918, he wrote letter to
president Wilson wanting the US help in getting rid of French but never got a
response. Left france and studied in soviet union.
He came to the conclusion that only a violent revolution would get rid of the French.
It didn’t seem to him that any western power would help
Ho went back to Vietnam and established indo Chinese communist party
By the 40s they were making headway. Right after WWII, they established capital,
Hanoi, in northern Vietnam and declared Vietnam an independent country.
French didn’t like that
French got colonial troops (from other French colonies) to fight.
1945 – 1 indo Chinese war
French set up puppet govt under Dai. He was the last emperor of the last dynasty to
Dai said that ho chi minh should be the leader of the country
1954 – the battle of Dien Bien Phu.
Peace talks, it was decided to divide Vietnam into north and south.
The US sent a small amount of military and financial aid to S Vietnam. Soviets sent
some to N. Vietnam.
Krushchev was willing to help
Diem (pronounced Zim)
Kennedy was never happy with Diem.
1963 – Diem’s own generals overthrew him. Speculated that the US and CIA helped
It threw the south into political disarray.
The communists were beginning to make inroads in the south.
National Liberation Front (Vietcong) became active in the south.
North Vietnamese army operated in the north.
1965 – President Johnson decided that we had to send in troops.
Much debate amongst the Johnson administration. Johnson was swayed by his sec of
defense Mcnamara. He had been president of Ford motor company. His claim to
fame was systems analysis. By mid 60s American troops were on their way to Vietnam
By 1969 there were half a million soldiers there
Tet offensive - Turning point of the war – jan 30 1968. Tet – Vietnamese new year
on jan 30. Massive offensive launched and there was fighting everywhere. Over 100
cities and towns in south that Vietcong guerillas operated. Caused much disorder
Johnson admin constantly told the public that we were making headway during
Tet convinced many Americans that we would never be able to crush these people.
Many in Johnson admin came to the same conclusion.
Thieu – in charge of S. Vietnam at the time. Govt in S Vietnam was shaky; much
Johnson admin sent more troops and began a bombing campaign.
The admin realized they wouldn’t be able to win. The North was getting too much
help from the soviets.
They would have to negotiate to end the war.
Nixon came into office running on the platform that he had a secret plan to end the
He wanted Kissinger to talk to other world