Conflict in Vietnam

Essay by Joey Watkins JrB, October 1996

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The Vietnam conflict began in the late nineteenth century. The French

conquered Vietnam and made it a protectorate. For nearly forty years,

Vietnam had not experienced settled peace. The League for the Independence

of Vietnam ( Viet Minh ) was formed in 1941, seeking independence from the

French. On September 2nd,1945, Ho Chi Minh proclaimed it independent of

France. The French opposed their independence from 1945 to 1954. The first

representatives of de Gualle's government landed by parachute in Saigon and

Hanoi on August 23rd, 1945. The French wanted to reestablish their rule in

Vietnam but were beaten at the battle of Dien Bien Phu on May 7th, 1954.

The French Expeditionary Force tried to prevent the Viet Minh from entering

Laos and Dien Bien Phu was the place chosen to do so. The French were not

very careful and this allowed the Viet Minh to cut off their airway to

Hanoi. After a siege that had lasted for fifty - five days, the French

surrendered. Ho Chi Minh led the war against France and won.

After the war there was a conference in Geneva where Vietnam was divided

into two parts along the seventeenth parallel. North Vietnam was mainly

Communist and supported Ho Chi Minh, while the south was supported by the

United States and the French were based there. There was still some

Communist rebels within South Vietnam. These were the Viet Cong. The South

Vietnam ruler was Ngo Dinh Diem who was anti - Communist. At the

conference, Laos and Cambodia became independent states.

North Vietnam wished to unify North and South Vietnam through military

force. Since the United States feared the spread of communism in Asia, John

F. Kennedy provided economic and military aid to South Vietman to prevent

the takeover by North Vietnam. At this...