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HIST 357 (37)
Lecture 14

HIST 357 Lecture 14: HIST357Lec14

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HIST 357
Howard Smead

The War in Vietnam and Southeast Asia • Takes place in French Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, etc.) • Japan takes F.I. during WWII o French under impression that they would get their colony back after WWII o Vietnamese insurrection upon French moving in o French, tired from WWI & WWII, request help from USA • Origins of American Involvement o Containment • Attempts to contain spread of communism o Truman Doctrine o "Domino Theory" • Communism is like dominoes. Once one starts falling, more and more countries would be o Anti-Colonial War 1946-1954 • Rebellions against French post-WWII • Assisting French • Ho Chi Minh was a communist, thus USA immediately interested in the war o Dien Bien Phu (1954) • The French's Yorktown; still controlled vast amounts of land, but militarily exhausted and inept o Geneva Accords (1954) • French Indo-China dissolved • French give up land, breaks into 4 states. ▪ North Vietnam-communist, Ho Chi Minh ▪ South Vietnam-Western, Ngo Dinh Diem • Free elections, 1955-1956 • John Foster Dulles, a hard liner, refused to shake hands with Zhou en Lai, who wanted to have less than hostile relations with the USA. o Making of a Quagmire • NLF forms (1960) ▪ National Liberation Front ▪ Cancelled the free elections • "Vietcong" (AKA VC, Charlie) ▪ Indigenous south Vietnamese communists/anti colonial guerillas ▪ Insurgents in SV against Diem regime • JFK ▪ Inherits an unstable situation • Due to Diem being upper class, Roman Catholic, French Speaking, in a country of thousands of Buddhist peasents. Minh, however, although being in the upper class, got more down on the Buddhist peasent level. ▪ Despite mass amounts of American economic aid, South is failing ▪ Had Kennedy been re-elected, he may have pulled troops out and let them fight their own war. (thoughts via Kennedy's paper trail) • Withdraw or naw? ▪ With the combat troops, if we went in, it'd be a war, and if we pulled out, we'd lose ▪ With advisors, if we pulled out, nothi
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