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History Day 15.docx

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Darren Mulloy

History Day 15 Lecture: Tuesday, Movember 6 Vietnam Day 1  The Vietnam War: The Early Years: From Truman to Kennedy o The Vietnam war- 1954-1975  Long  Over 20 years  President’s Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon  Failed  First loss for the States  58 000 Americans killed  153 000 injured  4 million Vietnamese soldiers/civilians killed (10% of the population  Landscape devastates  bloody  Domestically Divisive  Americans did not support the war effort  Felt it was unnecessary o The French Roots of America’s War  1867 Vietnam colonized  Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia= French Indochina  Had been fighting the Chinese, Japanese and French to fight off attempted colonization  Ho Chi Min 1890-1969  Travelled the world and sought Vietnamese independence  Committed nationalist  Wanted an end to colonial involvement in his country  In the 1920’s and 1930’s he is increasingly drawn to the Communist party because they took the issue of colonialism seriously o Similar to the Africans who saw the communists attempts to end racism  1940-1941 (WWII) o Vietnam occupied by Japan  French officials left in charge however  As a Result Viet Minh is organized (1941) o Coalition of nationalist groups led by Communist Party  August 1945 (end of WWII) o The Viet Minh fights off the Japanese and liberates Vietnam o As a result independence is claimed under the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) o Ho Chi Minh was hopeful that the US would be an ally and like FDR’s anti-colonial stance o However, the French return and are once again a colony  March 1946 o France and Viet Minh agree to a compromise (realizes that US will not end colonialism) o DRV= free state in the French Union o French Military will still occupy Northern Vietnam  December 1946 o First Indochin war  Fighting from Haiphong to Hanoi  French control cities  Viet Minh control countryside  1948 o Emperor Bao Dai installed by French  Lobbying for US support to attempt to control the situation  February 1950 o Harry Truman “recognizes” Bao Dai  Increases aid o 2 billion (1945-54) (France’s total expenditure= 5 billion)  Large portion of the US o Military Assistance to avoid losing another Asian country to communism so they “advise the French efforts”  1954 o Battle of Dien Bien Phu  90 000 French casualties  French call the States for support to avoid losing this fortress  Eisenhower and the Beginning of American Intervention  What to do? o Admiral Arthhur Radford-  Night attacks on the Viet Minh and tactical nuclear weapons o Matthew Ridgeway  Intervention = “hare-brained scheme” o President Eisenhower is concerned for the potential communist domino effect in Asia (Thailand, Burma etc.)  However China fell to Communism in 1949 (before this) and there was no domino effect so what makes Vietnam so special?  Realizes that no Americans want to go back to war Korea has just ended  Asks British to help with “international action” = not interested  Congress is wary of sending in troops after a string of wars has just ended o However, while trying to decide what to do the Viet Minh take over Bien Dien Phu  French surrender  April 1954 o Geneva meetings take place o French surrender o Viet minh take over 2/3 of the country  Geneve agreements (July 20) o Divided Vietnam at the 17 parallel th o French troops withdraw below the 17 parallel o No miliatray alliances o Agreement would only last two years and then elections would be held both sides of border and country would reunite in 1956 o Plus elections in Laos and Cambodia o The U.S response  Refuse to support the Geneva agreements  Fear domino effect  Establish SEATO (like NATO in south east Asia) 1954  Britain, France, Pakistan, Phillipines,
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