History of the Vietnam War

Essay by veryfatHigh School, 10th grade July 2004

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How the US Got Involved in the War

France ruled almost all of Indochina from late 1800s and World War II. Many French colonists who built their own plantations on peasant land for own gain, experienced growing unrest among Vietnamese peasants. France reacted brutally by further decreasing freedom of speech and assembly by arresting protestors. However, these actions were unsuccessful and unrest continued to increase.

Many revolutionaries escaped to China. In 1924, the Vietnamese started to organize under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh. Minh created the Indochinese Communist Party in 1930. Throughout the 30s, Minh led Vietnam's growing independence movement from exile in the Soviet Union and China.

However, a new enemy became involved. In 1940, Vietnam was invaded by Japan. The next year, Vietminh was formed under the guidance of Minh. Its goal was to gain independence from foreign rule. After Japan was defeated by Allies in 1945, Minh's goal seemed to be fulfilled.

On September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam an independent nation.

Despite Vietnam's successful efforts, France did not back down. By the end of 1945, French troops regained control of the southern half. In 1950, the United States entered the struggle. That year, President Harry Truman sent $15 million in aid of France. Over the next four years, a total of nearly $1 billion will go into the effort to defeat Ho Chi Minh, a communist aggressor in the eyes of America.

The next president, Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower, continued to send aid to France. He explained the domino theory as the reason behind the massive amount of aid. If one country falls to Communism, the other countries around it will also suffer from Communism. "You have a row of dominoes set up. You knock over the first one, and what will...