AS History - Vietnam War

An outline of the Vietnam war.


Truman Doctrine

To support and help stop any countries that were under pressure by outside minorities. 

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Outline of the war - Chronological Order.

Last 50 years of the 19th Century, French colonised Vietnam. WW2 Japan controlled them.

Vietnamese did not like Japanese rule as much as they didn't with the French - uprising by Vietminh lead by Ho Chi Minh.

With defeat of Japan in 1945 Ho declared the independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

1946 - bitter fight between France & Vietminh.

French underestimated Vietminh, too late realising they had a real war on thier hands.

1950 onwards - Ho Chi Minh had support from Mao's China

USA gave the French plenty of supplies, 1954 - gave $1000 million military aid 

French defeated at Dien Bien Phu (a camp held deep in Vietnam by French)

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Outline of the war - Chronological Order.

Lasted March - May 1954 

16500 french defenders only 3000 survived 2 months - ceasfire

Geneva agreement divided Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia up the Vietnam 17th parallel

Ho Chi Minh - North      

USA - South (south soon had elections 1956) wanted united government, never got held. Worries about Ho Chi Minhs spread of Communism.

Ngo Dinh Diem - South corrupt/evil, angered buddhists (majority) Did not help peasants but did landowners 

The National Liberation Front (NLF) in south against Diem - won wide support from peasants, buddhists and others who did not like American influence

Eisenhower concerned by thier threat

Domino theory - countries of Asia (one goes, all goes)

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Outline of the war - Chronological Order.

Nixon - 'Peace with honour' 1973 - realisation he could in no way win the war

Vietnamisation - more spend on South Korea (arming & training) Gradually withdrawing troops

January 1973 - Ceasefire - American troops withdrawn

Communist promised not to go any further, broke promise, soon wet onto Saigon

South Vietnam army collapsed - men threw away uniform, intergrated with society.

30 April 1975 - Captured Saigon, called it Ho Chi Minh city

Perhaps a million Vietcong, North Vietnamese, civilians died.

600,000 South Vietnamese and Southern civilians died.

50,000 Americans.

Landscape destruction, USA cycle - Troops - KIA - more troops 

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Vietnam Key Points

US decision to go to war in Vietnam in 1965 arrived at reluctantly and after great deliberation.

1965 President Johnson acted to honour commitments to South Vietnam entered into by previous government.

New scholarship on the war portrays Johnson as a reluctant warrior rather than 'Hawk' in Vietnam

Johnson particularly fearful that US escalation in Nam would divert attention and money from his 'great society' programme.

In going to war in Vietnam, Johnson ultimatly rejected the lessons of Korean war.

No wide support from UN.

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