29.1 The War Develops Colonial Vietnam Vietnam is a Southeast Asian nation Bordered by Laos and Cambodia to the west; China to the north Rich in agricultural resources Early History Because Vietnam is a country rich in resources, it was often invaded China invades the Red River Delta in 200 BC; struggle raged for centuries (1400s) France invades Vietnam in the mid-1800’s, gains control by 1883 When WWI ended, Ho Chi Minh, inspired by the ideas of self-determination outlined by the Fourteen points hand-delivered a letter to Woodrow Wilson asking if it applied to Vietnam Wilson and the American officials turned him away A Nationalist Leader Under French rule, many Vietnamese were driven to poverty The French raised taxes and gave the Vietnamese no civil rights These conditions helped to fuel a growing nationalist movement in Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh “He who enlightens” When Wilson refused to meet with Ho Chi Minh, he joined the French Communist Party (uh oh . . . ) Changing Rulers Vietnam would change hands at the end of WWII, and Ho Chi Minh, who now believed a Communist revolt was the only answer, resisted Japanese occupation Minh formed a group called the League for the Independence of Vietnam, or the Vietminh Independence for Vietnam After Japan surrendered to the Allies in 1945, the Vietminh took the opportunity to declare Vietnam an independent country On September 2, 1945, thousands of people gathered to hear Ho Chi Minh speak; hoping to gain American support, he quoted the Declaration of Independence Vietnam After WWII As Ho Chi Minh feared, France claimed Vietnam once again after WWII In December of 1946, the Vietnamese people began to battle French rule Truman disappointed Ho Chi Minh as well, and supported France in their struggle against communist Vietnam The Domino Theory After Eisenhower became President in 1953, he warned that if Vietnam fell to communism, other Southeast Asian countries would soon follow The Domino Theory – “You knock over the first domino, and what will happen to the last one is a certainty.” The U.S. began footing 75% of the costs for the first war in Indochina Despite this, the French were losing to the Vietnamese, who used guerrilla tactics very effectively What is ‘guerrilla warfare’? France is Defeated Dien Bien Phu The last stand of the French against the Vietnamese 40,000 Vietnamese troops surrounded 15,000 French troops The French commander clung to hope that the Americans would send reinforcements. We didn’t. On May 7, 1954, France surrendered; each side had lost nearly 300,000 soldiers in eight years The Geneva Conference After the French surrendered, the Geneva Conference was held to work out a peace agreement and arrange Indochina’s future The Geneva Accords were signed in July of 1954; a ceasefire was worked out, and Vietnam was temporarily divided at the 17th parallel ( Here we go again . . . ) Growing Conflict Under the control of Ho Chi Minh Under the control of Ngo Dinh Diem Backed by Communist China Backed by the United States North Vietnam South Vietnam On the Brink of Civil War Ho Chi Minh first attempted to kidnap Diem and force him to join the Communist north; when this failed, he attempted to assassinate him The U.S. originally liked Diem, but soon Diem’s corrupt and brutal leadership began to disappoint U.S. officials Rigged elections Torture of prisoners Catholic favoritism despite large Buddhist populations Civil War Breaks Out Fearing Ho Chi Minh would win the 1956 election, Diem banned citizens of South Vietnam from participating This led to Civil War; Vietminh hiding in South Vietnam formed the National Liberation Front and named their forces the Vietcong Wanted to overthrow Diem and re-unite North and South Vietnam under a communist government U.S. Involvement In 1955, President Eisenhower decided to intervene on behalf of the South Vietnamese army In 1960, when JFK became President, U.S. involvement increased, but he was hesitant to send in forces; instead, he increased the number of military advisers Diem’s Overthrow Diem continued to grow more and more unpopular, especially with Buddhists When Buddhist monks began to protest his government by setting themselves on fire, public opinion turned sharply against Diem in the world community American support for Diem began to wane, but they continued to support the South Vietnamese army and a secret plot to overthrow Diem but maintain control The Self Immolation of Quang Duc June 11, 1963, Buddhist Monk Quang Duc arrived by car at a busy intersection in downtown Saigon Two other monks assisted Duc in dosing himself in gasoline, seating himself in the middle of the intersection, and setting himself on fire Unlike the screaming Vietnamese citizens around him, Duc made no sound and no movement as he burned to death in a matter of minutes Diem’s Overthrow In 1963, Diem was murdered by the South Vietnamese; JFK supported the overthrow but not the assassination His stance on sending in troops remained guarded; it is not known whether this would have changed, for three weeks later JFK was assassinated himself The Tonkin Gulf Resolution President Johnson, having taken over for Kennedy, decided that increasing involvement was the only way to prevent a communist victory The U.S.S. Maddox presented a perfect opportunity The North Vietnamese attacked a navy destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin Johnson claimed the attack was unprovoked, even though we were on a spying mission The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed on August 7th, allowing Johnson to use “any means necessary” to repel armed attacks of the North Vietnamese Reviewing Ideas, Terms and People (Pg. 955) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. What was French Indochina? How did French rule influence Ho Chi Minh’s decision to embrace communism? Do you think Ho Chi Minh’s comparison of Vietnam after World War II and colonial America was valid? Explain. According to the Domino Theory, what did American leaders think might happen if Vietnam became a communist country? Do you think the Geneva Accords eased American concerns about a domino effect in Southeast Asia? Why or why not? Who were the Vietcong? What was Eisenhower’s response to the growing strength of the Vietcong? Do you think the United States was justified in supporting Ngo Dinh Diem? Why or why not? What happened to the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin? How might the Tonkin Gulf Resolution affect the power of the Presidency?