Conflict & tension in Asia - Vietnam War

The end of French colonial rule

- Before WW2, Vietnam was a French colony - French Indochina - Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam had been occupied by the Japanese during the war.

- The Vietminh, led by Ho Chi Minh, had been fighting for independence. During WW2 they led  resistance against the Japanese.

- At the end of WW2, Japan was defeated & left Vietnam. The French re-occupied Vietnam. The Vietminh started to fight against the French

- In 1954, the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu and withdrew.

- The French had underestimated the strength of the Vietminh who where bolstered by Chinese and Russian military support.

- Ho Chi Minh was a Communist and was supported by China.

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Dien Bien Phu & Geneva Agreement, 1954

- At battle of Dien Bien Phu, 8000 French troops were killed, in addition to the 73 000 killed during the previous decade.

- After the battle of Dien Bien Phu in May 1954, Britain, France, China, the USSR, USA and Vietnam all met in Geneva, Switzerland.

- Their task was to decide the future of Vietnam and to reach a settlement for the whole of what had been Indo-China.

- Agreed on withdrawl of French troops, ceasefire and new territorial settlement.

- 17th Parallel created and it was intended that there would be elections across the whole of Vietnam in 1956 to decide on future government.

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Opposition to the war - student protests

- One of the most powerful sources of opposition.

- Many young Americans did not want to be in the war which they didn't believe in or thought was morally wrong.

- They had seen media from the front line - especially massacre at My Lai - 1968.

- To the students, Vietnam had become a symbol of defeat, confusion and moral corruption.

- Thousands began to "draft dodge" - refusing to serve in Vietnam when called up.

- Anti-war protests reached their height between 1968 and 70.

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Kent State Uni, Ohio, 1970

- Example of a student protest.

- Anti-war demonstrations led to violent clashes with police

- Kent State Uni - students organised a demonstration against President Nixon's decision to invade Cambodia.

- Panicked National Guard troopers opened fire on the demonstrators - four studnets killed and eleven injured.

- Press in USA and abroad were horrified.

- 400 colleges were closed as 2 million students went on strike in protest of the action.

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