N-28 Causes and Events of the Vietnam War and Aftermath

Vietnam War

By: Baylie Cheslock, Megan Dobkins, Jessica Griffith, Rachel Szekely, Hannah Taylor

("Vietnam Video.")

The Road to War

Ho Chi Minh

("Ho Chi Minh")
Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist and a revolutionary in Vietnam. He was the founder of the Vietnamese Communist Party and the Viet Minh. The Viet Minh's main goal was to seek independence from French Rule and Japanese military occupation in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh's goal was the reunification of Vietnam. Later Ho Chi Minh became President of North Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh's government killed over 5,000 people because of their determination for the campaign of reforms.("Ho Chi Minh")

The Fighting Begins

Map of Vietnam

In 1954, French surrender to Vietnamese after major defeat. President Eisenhower came up with the Domino Theory to show his support for South Vietnam. The Domino Theory stated that if Vietnam fell to Communism that all the surrounding countries would fall also. The surrounding countries included Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The main point of the Domino Theory was to stop the spread of Communism. (Simpkin, John)

Vietnam-A Divided Country

North Vietnam
("Flag of North Vietnam.svg.")
South Vietnam

("South Vietnam.")

"The international peace conference agrees on a divided Vietnam." In 1954, Vietnam had gained their independence from France. Then they divided the country into the North and South. The North was led by Ho Chi Hinh and was communist. The South was led by Ngo Dinh Diem and was anti-communist (Pike, John).

Ngo Dinh Diem

(Hafernik, Rob)
Ngo Dinh Diem was born in 1901. He was born into a Roman Catholic family. He served under French colonial rule in the administration of Emperor Bao Dia until 1933. He was against French colonial rule and the communist-led national independence movement. In 1945 he was given the opportunity to serve for Ho Chi Minh’s brief postwar government but because he was anti-communist he turned it down. He was in exile for many years as they battled the French. He hoped to lead a postwar government (spartacus educational). After that the "United States and France set up an anti-communist government under the leadership of him. He ruled the south as a dictator." In 1963, Ngo Dinh Diem was assassinated. American officials and the general who plotted the assassination had a meeting and the Americans told them to follow through with their plans ("Ngo Dinh Diem assassinated in South Vietnam.").

Vietcong Prisoners
("Viet Cong.")

Vietcong was a group of Communist guerrillas that fought with the North Vietnam against the South Vietnam.
In 1960 Vietcong became the arm of the National Liberation Front or the NLF ("Viet Cong.").

The United States Gets Involved: U.S. Troops Enter the Fight

In 1964 the United States got involved by sending U.S. troops to fight in the Vietnam War. The main reason the U.S. entered the war was to prevent Communism in Southeast Asia (Pike, John).

Watch Lost Lives in Vietnam at EncycloMedia.com

("Lost Lives in Vietnam.")

"The U.S. fights guerrilla war defending increasingly unpopular government. "The Guerrilla War was used many times in different ways. It is used against enemies that have bigger military power ("Guerrilla war, a method.").

"Vietcong gains support from Ho Chi Minh, the Soviet Union, and China." The Soviet Union or Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was a country that included Russian Federation. It was founded in 1917 when the Russians were angry with the monarchy, by Czar Nicholas II. Some Russians liked Communism (Anissimov, Michael). In the late 1940's the spread Communism from the USSR was called the Policy of Containment ("Containment.")

The United States Withdraws

President Richard Nixon
President Richard Nixon

By the time 1964 came around the corner, the United States residents were very unhappy with what the war has brought them. 71% of them believed that sending troops to Vietnam was a mistake. Nixon began to withdraw troops from Vietnam and ended all drafting for the war in 1972. He came up with a strategy for ending the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. This had to be done by gradual withdraw of the troops and replacement of South Vietnamese forces. The strategy and the withdraw is what we know as the Vietnamization. In 1973 when the United States finally withdrew from the war South Vietnamese were overran by the North Vietnamese. The North signed an agreement in October which reassured military dai. This document was signed by South Vietnamese communist forces, North Vietnamese and the United States (Beck 546).

Postwar Southeast: Cambodia in Turmoil

On April 17, 1975, when a communist guerrilla group, the Khmer Rouge, took power in Phnon Penn, there would be big troubles (Carvin). All of the members and soldiers of the group forced all of the people out of the city and into the country side where there were labor camps. The Khmer Rouge banned all institutions such as stores, banks, hospitals, schools, religion, and family. People of all ages were forced to work twelve to fourteen hour days, seven days a week. Some children were taken away from their parents and families and taken to mobile groups or had to become soldiers. Everyone had to pledge total allegience to the Angka, the government of the Khmer Rouge ("The Cambodian Killing Fields"). In the end, the Khmer Rouge slaughtered two million innocent people and was overthrown by Vietnamese invaders. In 1993 Cambodia adopted a democratic constitution and held their own elections with the help of the UN (Beck 547).

"Survivors sift through rubble after the Khmer Rouge bombed Phnom Penh, the capital city, on
January 1, 1975. Four months later, the party took the city, on April 17, 1975, and began their mission
of returning Cambodia to an agrarian society, emptying the cities and forcing their countrymen into
agricultural labor" ("Coming Apocalypse").

"A Cambodian soldier holds a .45 to the head of a Khmer Rouge suspect in 1973. When Sihanouk
was forced out of power in a coup, the new Prime Minister, General Lon Nol, sent the army to fight
the North Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Fighting two enemies proved to be too
much for Cambodia's army. As Civil War raged from 1970 to 1975, the army gradually lost territory
as Khmer Rouge increased its control in the countryside" ("Losing Control").

"Khmer Rouge fighters celebrate as they enter Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975. Prince Sihanouk,
the party's early ally, resigned in 1976, paving the way for the now notorious Khmer Rouge founder
and leader, Pol Pot, to become prime minister. The country was renamed Kampuchea, and it was the
start Year Zero — the beginning of a new history for Cambodia written by Pol Pot" ("Day One, Year Zero").

"A prisoner gets her mug shot taken. At prisons like Phnom Penh's infamous Tuol Sleng, prisoners
were painstakingly documented before being sent to their deaths in mass graves later to be come
known as the "killing fields." Hundreds of thousands of intellectuals were tortured and executed
under the Khmer Rouge; others starved or died from disease or exhaustion. In total, an estimated
1.7 million Cambodians died between 1975 and 1979" ("Death Sentence").

"An undated photograph shows forced laborers digging canals in Kampong Cham province, part of
the massive agrarian infrastructure the Khmer Rouge planned for the country." ("Pol Pot's Utopia").

"Contact sheets showing pictures of what is believed to be former prisoners of the S-21 prison, also
known as Tuol Sleng, where over 15,000 people lost their lives. Kaing Guek Eav, better known as
Duch, was detained for his role as chief of the torture center in 1999." (Documenting the Aftermath).

Vietnam After the War

Soldier using his flamethrower
Soldier using his flamethrower

Saigon renamed Ho Chi Minh city Vietnam united as one nation (Beck 547). On April 30th, 1975 in the morning. President Duong Van Minh surrendered to the Vietcong ending flights and violence between the North and South (SarDesai).

Millions of soldiers were killed or injured during the wars. Still today people are dying from Vietnam. For example Neal Richard Dixon died in 2004, 34 years after he was working on a tank in Vietnam. His doctors decided that Agent Orange, a chemical used to strip foliage from trees during the war, killed him
("The New Vietnam."). After the war about 1.5 million people flee Vietnam, some settling in the U.S and Canada(Beck 547) . Also about 1.5 million died because of the communists oppression and the north Vietnamese refugees from 1956-1959 used denunciation ion and torture. They were responsible for 200,000 deaths in the North ("The New Vietnam.").

After the lifting of the U.S trade embargo in February 1994. Vietnam was removed from the official U.S list of enemy countries (
SarDesai). It took 18 mouth for president Clinton to announce they normalized relations with Vietnam in July 11 1995 (Beck 547).

Causes and Events of the Vietnam War and Aftermath

French defeated at Dien Bien Phu
Ngo Dinh Diem ‘elected’ as president of South Vietnam
Vietminh start guerrilla war in South Vietnam
Kennedy pledges extra ‘aid’
12,000 ‘advisers’, Strategic Hamlet begins
Buddhist monks burn, Diem and JFK killed
Gulf of Tonkin resolution
Operation Rolling Thunder, 200,000 US combat troops
500,000 US troops
Tet Offensive, huge anti-war demos, Nixon elected
Cambodia bombed, ‘Vietnamization’
Kent State Uni
My Lai court case, 140,000 troops
Cease-fire, US leaves
NLF capture Saigon"
("Important events of the vietnam war.")

The Causes of the Vietnam war were:
1. In 1775 the Battles of Lexington and Concord
2. In 1861 the Capture of Fort Sumter
3. In 1941 the Attack on Pearl Harbor
4. In June 1950 North Korean's invasion of South Korea
(Chambers, John)

Critical Thinking Questions

1. Who was Ho Chi Minh?
Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist and a revolutionary in Vietnam.

2. In 1954, French surrender to Vietnamese after major defeat.

3. What was the Domino theory and how could it be applied to Vietnam?
The Domino Theory stated that if Vietnam fell to Communism that the surrounding countries would also fall.

4. International peace conference agrees on a divided Vietnam.

5. Who was Ngo Dinh Diem?
He was the ruler of the South

6. Who was the Vietcong?
Communist guerrillas that fought with the North Vietnam against the South Vietnam.

7. In 1964, how did the United States get involved?
Congress sent U.S. troops to fight in the Vietnam War.

8. U.S. fights guerrilla war defending increasingly unpopular government.

9. Vietcong gains support from Ho Chi Minh, China, and The Soviet Union.

10. By 1969, the war was growing unpopular in the US. What did President Nixon begin to do?
He began to withdraw United States troops from Vietnam.

11. What was Vietnamization?
Nixon's strategy for ending US involvement in Vietnam War. This involved gradual withdraw of American troops and replacing them with South Vietnamese forces.

12. When US troops left in 1973, what happened to South Vietnam?
South Vientamese got overran by the North Vietnamese.

13. What was the Khmer Rouge?
The Khmer Rouge was a communist guerrilla group that took power in Phnon Penn, the capitol of Cambodia, and forced all people from the city into the country to work in labor camps.

14. They slaughter 2 million people; overthrown by Vietnamese invaders.

15. In 1993, Cambodia adopts a democratic constitution, holds elections UN help.

16. Saigon renamed Ho Chi Minh City; Vietnam united as one nation

17. About 1.5 million people flee Vietnam, some setting in U.S and Canada.

18. In 1995, United States normalizes relations with Vietnam.

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