Key Issue Three and Four

  • Created by: Leigh98
  • Created on: 17-05-16 20:06

The Vietnam War

Background to Vietnam (or French Indochina) -

- France had imperial possessions within Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia during the 19th Century - FRENCH INDOCHINA

- During the Second World War however, Axis Power Japan expanded into France's South East Asain colony

- Following Japan's surrender, France wanted their territory back - however the Vietnamese wanted independence

- Regardless of the wants of the Vietnamese Populace, the French continued fighting the opposition - the Vietnamese Nationalist Groups although they were constantly on a 'back foot' (Bao Dai - the French's imposed Emperor was very unpopular, and the Viet Minh had a lot of morale as they were fighting for their freedom)

- The USA gave the French aid through NSC 68 (a 1950 National Security Council document which increased their military budget) for example

Reasons for American Corncern/Involvement within Vietnam -

  • The fact that the USA had 'lost China'
  • The 'Red Scare' led by Joseph McCarthy
  • Ho Chi Minh was communist which posed a threat
  • The Domino Theory 

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu took place in 1954. It was the event which ended French involvement within the country of Vietnam - as a result of their humiliating and exhausting defeat.

France's exit from Vietnam resulted in the 1954 Geneva Accords. These accords declared that Laos/Cambodia would be neutral independent states and that: 

Demilitarised Zone at the 17th Parallel      Viet Minh (Communist) has the North

Bao Dai (Democratic) has the South         Elections to be held after a year

Beginning of Active American Involvement within Vietnam -

- Under US pressure, Diem cancelled these proposed elections

- This was ulimately because Eisenhower feared that Ho Chi Minh


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