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University of Manitoba
HIST 1500
William M.Last

Vietnam  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 French rule.  The French believed in extracting all they could from a nation. Very harsh colonialists.  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 rule Vietnam.  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 out.  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 Vietnam.  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 corruption, etc.  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 war.  He wanted Kissinger to talk to other world
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