Vietnam and the USA

Vietnam from Eisenhower onwards and American involvement in Vietnam.

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Ho, Giap and the French Failure in Indochina overv

  • Eisenhower continued the same policies as Truman has with support of the French and their "puppet" emperor Bao Dai. The Americans also continued to finance French military efforts. The French also gained revenue from gambling casinos, brothels and opium dens in Saigon.
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Bao Dai's unpopularity vs. Ho's popularity

  • The French puppet emperor Bao Dai seemed to remain unpopular amongst the people of South Vietnam with his Government being described by a US official in 1951 as having "no grass roots" and "therefore no appeal whatsoever to the masses" and a mandarin who was simply "succeeding foreign mandarins".
  • Bao Dai's extravagant ways made him unpopular with the people whereas Ho Chi Minh's redistribution of land and educational and healthcare programmes made him extremely popular amongst Vietnamese peasants making him much more popular than the French alternative.
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Rebel strengths in Vietnam

  • Though French forces were far superior in strength and size the Vietminh were more elusive and determined ("you can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours, but even at these odds, you will lose and I will win".
  • Guerilla tactics meant that Vietminh fighters could
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