The Vietnam War
| Another name for The Vietnam War is The Second Indochina War. The war began from a conflict between Vietnam and France in July of 1954. France had been ruling Vietnam for a century, and that ended. Communist armies under the control of General Vo Nguyen Giap defeated the French soldiers at Dien Bien Phu. Dien Bien Phu was a mountain outpost in Vietnam. This battle convinced the French that they could not maintain the Indochinese colonies. After that, Paris sued for peace. The Geneva Peace Accords was a treaty signed by Vietnam and France.
The Communist powers feared that a provoking peace would anger France and its ally the United States. Moscow and Peking didn't want to have another confrontation with the United States so soon after The Korean War. Also, the Communists thought they could take Southern Vietnam by political action alone, a prediction that wasn't effective.
According to the Geneva Accords, Vietnam could have national elections in 1956 to reunify the country. The United States supported a nation building effort through a series of multilateral agreements creating The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization or, SEATO. The SEATO Treaty provided mutual defense of all signatories also the new and U.S. supported government of the Republic of Vietnam (GVN), or South Vietnam. In 1956 Ngo Dinh Diem, an anti-communist from South Vietnam, won an election that made him President of South Vietnam. From his first day as president Diem faced opposition. He asked the U.S. to support his counter revolutionary alternative claiming that North Vietnam wanted to take South Vietnam by force.
In 1957, when Diem began to counterattack, he used the help of the CIA to identify those who tried to bring his government down and arrest thousands of his people.
In 1959, Diem passed a series of acts known as Law 10/59. That act made it legal to imprison someone if suspected of communism without bringing formal charges.
From 1956 -1960, the Communist of Vietnam wanted to reunify the country only through political means. At the Fifteenth Party, in January 1959, the communist approved the use of violence to overthrow Nyo Digh Diem's government.
On December 20,1960, the Communists Party united communists and non-communists to form the National Liberation Front [NLF] or Viet Cong, a slang term meaning Vietnamese Communists. Anyone could join the NLF as long as they opposed Nyo Digh Diem.
By 1963, it was obvious that Diem's Government was on the edge of Political collapse.
The Vietnam War had mammoth impact on everyday life in America. The Johnson administration was forced to consider the domestic consequences of its everyday decisions. Eventually there was a lack of people to continue fighting a long war and the government implemented a draft. Many deaths occurred and America continued to send soldiers to Southeast Asia. The Johnson administration had to deal with the rage of American anti-war sentiments.
Protests started in colleges and in large cities at first, but in 1968 every place in the country seemed to feel the war's impact. One of the most famous events in the anti-war movement was the police riot in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Thousand of Americans came to Chicago to argue America's involvement in the Vietnam War.
Thuy and Le Duc Tho had planned out a preliminary peace draft. Washington and Hanoi assumed that its allies would accept any agreement that was drawn up in Paris, but this was not the case. The new leaders in Saigon, particularly president Nguyen van Thieu and vice president Nguten Cao Ky rejected the Kissinger-Tho peace draft, demanding that no concessions be made. The NLF also rejected many of the provisions of the draft. The conflict intensified in December 1972, when the Nixon administration attacked a series of deadly bombing raids against the largest cities in North Vietnam, Hanoi and Haiphong. These attacks are now known as the Christmas bombings.
After the U.S. troops left Vietnam the fighting between South Vietnam and the communists continued despite the peace agreement until North Vietnam launched and offensive in early 1975. South Vietnam's request for an aid from the U.S. was denied. After that they abandoned the northern half of the country to the advancing Communists. South Vietnamese collapsed, and North Vietnamese marched into Saigon April 30, 1975. Vietnam was reunited in July 1976, and Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. U.S. casualties in Vietnam during the direct U.S. involvement (1961-72) were 50,000 ; South Vietnamese had an estimated 400,000, and Viet Cong and North Vietnamese had over 900,000 .