United States forces entered the conflict in support of the French in order to fight communism. In 1941, a Vietnamese nationalist movement, the Viet Minh, was formed by their leader Ho Chi Minh (1890–1969) to resist the occupiers. As Japan and France fought over Vietnam, an independence movement was forming under Ho Chi Minh, a revolutionary leader inspired by Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution. The resulting Geneva Accords would dissolve the French Indochinese Union. The war was fought between the North Vietnamese and the South Vietnamese throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The United States supported the South, while China and Russia supported the North. The Gulf of Tonkin. In October 1946, the French announced their intention of reclaiming the north which meant that the Viet Minh would have to fight for it. His strong anti-communist stance was popular with the Americans who helped him rise to power. A French colony, Indochina (made up of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) had been occupied by the Japanese during the war. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. Before this disagreement was a war between Vietnam and the French. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. He established the League for the Independence of Vietnam, better known as the Viet Minh, in May of 1941. On August 2, 1964 the U.S.S. The conflict between the French and the Viet Minh came to a head at the … This, in turn, has fuelled antipathy towards both the regime and China and wholly failed to ease or heal the pain the conflict caused. “In the summer of 1964 the Johnson administration was laying secret plans for an expansion of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. The Geneva Accords were signed in July of 1954 and split Vietnam at the 17th parallel. The South was supported by anti-communist countries, primarily the United States. In order to assess the role of the Vietnam War in shaping the Modern World History, it is necessary to refer to the causes, consequences and solutions to the military conflict. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. Any such wider action should have congressional support, officials determined, and the Gulf of Tonkin incident provided the opportunity to secure this authorization,” says Fredrik Logevall, Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. For all of the self-satisfied voyeurism surrounding the Vietnam War, it’s hard to find a concrete idea about why the U.S. lost. Paul Schutzer/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images. Vietnam received 2. The coup was followed by a chaotic succession of 12 different governments in South Vietnam between 1963 and 1965. The primary military organizations involved in the war were the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the United States armed forces, fighting against the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) (commonly called the North Vietnamese Army, or NVA, in English-language sources) and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF, more commonly known as the Viet Cong (VC) in English language … The discrediting of the U.S. theory that the emergence of a unified, communist Vietnam would produce a " domino effect " involving the spread of … Battle of Dien Bien Phu. Ho Chi Minh used the U.S. The Vietnam War had its roots in the French colonial conquest of Indochina in the mid-19th century and in the nationalist movements that arose to oppose it. Did you know? Other monks began to immolate themselves in what became known as the “Buddhist crisis.” The United States lost confidence in Diem’s ability to lead. That November, the United States backed a military coup in which Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, were murdered. Tet brings the war home. In 1965, the United States officially entered the war in response to North Vietnam's attack on a U.S. military ship. The conflict deepens. The U.S. entered the Vietnam War in an attempt to prevent the spread of communism, but foreign policy, economic interests, national fears, and geopolitical strategies also played major roles. In May 1963, eight Buddhist protestors were killed by government officials in Hue. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The Maddox fired what it described as warning shots and was met by torpedo and machine gun fire. There were many causes for the Vietnam War from both the North and South side. Key Takeaways: U.S. Involvement in Vietnam Emperor Bao Dai was succeeded by Catholic nationalist Ngo Dinh Diem. The war started in November 1946, when the French bombarded the port of Haiphong and killed 6,000 people. When the French rejected his plan, the Viet Minh resorted to guerilla warfare to fight for an independent Vietnam. An election was scheduled in two years’ time to unify Vietnam, but the U.S., fearful that a national election would lead to communist rule, ensured it never took place. During the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the communist North and anti-communist South (Spector). The fall of South Vietnam. The Vietnam War (1955-1975) was fought between communist North Vietnam, backed by the Soviet Union and China, and South Vietnam, supported by the United States. On the Vietnamese side, the main cause of the war was the desire to have a national government that was truly independent. Vietnam became a French colony in 1877 with the founding of French Indochina, which included Tonkin, Annam, Cochin China and Cambodia. His successor, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, put forth the Domino Theory that a communist victory in Vietnam would create a domino effect in Southeast Asia… and therefore must be prevented at all costs. The Vietnam War was caused by many factors that contributed to the warfare in Vietnam during the years of 1959 to 1975. It caused huge casualties on both sides, and was so fluid and chaotic that both sides claimed victories for themselves.However, the battle’s importance lay not in the body count but the fact that it defined the tactics of both sides for the war. The U.S. role grows. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, also known as the U.S.S. By 1972, the idea that Vietnam posed a threat to Cold War America was so discredited, it sometimes sounded as if America’s only remaining war aim was to … For more than a decade, the U.S. had declared that it would not let Vietnam fall to the communists. None of the institutions that led the U.S. into the (Laos was added in 1893.) CAUSES OF THE WAR North Vietnam was under a communist government South Vietnam was under democratic government Ho Chi Minh launched a campaign with the goal of uniting the country under communist ruling. The north had the support of communist allies … what started the Vietnam war? The French lost control of their colony briefly during World War II, when Japanese troops occupied Vietnam. There were also many emotions during the war for United States citizens, Vietnam citizens and soldiers of the war … The Vietnam War was a horrific war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The Cold War had been waging since the end of World War II with the United States and its Western allies pitted against the Soviet Union and China. The North was supported by communist countries such as the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. During the Second World War, Japan invaded the country. Here are six events that led to the Vietnam War. The United States lost the Vietnam War. There is no question that few conflicts have been as violent, long lasting and complex as the Vietnam War. The struggle between French colonial forces and native Vietnamese citizens supported by Chinese communists was one of the root causes of the Vietnam War. Why?The absence of a clear explanation is not an accident. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! CAUSE AND EFFECTS OF THE VIETNAM WAR Cause and Effects of the Vietnam War Cause and Effects of the Vietnam War In the Vietnam conflict of the 1960s and early 1970s, both the Americans and the North Vietnamese were the protagonists of brutal war crimes, though the more advanced American arsenal took by far the utmost toll. Diplomats from the United States, the USSR, the People's Republic of China, the United Kingdom, North and South Korea, and France, as well as representatives from the Viet Minh (northern Vietnam), the State of Vietnam (southern Vietnam), Cambodia, and Laos, in session at the Geneva Conference in July 1954. On August 7, the House and Senate passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution almost unanimously to grant President Lyndon B. Johnson the power “to take all necessary measures to repeal any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent any further aggression.”. The war caused complete destruction of its infrastructure and thousands of its people were killed. Speci… Maddox incident, marked the formal entry of the United States into the Vietnam War. The question of who would rule Vietnam and how drew the interest of world superpowers, who watched the situation in Vietnam with growing unease. The main cause for the Vietnam War was the United States’ desire to halt the spread of communism. The number of troops from South Korea was much greater than those from Australia … Vietnam was divided during the Cold War, when tensions between the U.S. and The Soviet Union were at an all-time high. The Vietnam War was the longest war in the United States history because it lasted for nearly twenty years. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. De-escalation, negotiation, and Vietnamization. They decided they should invade to spread their form of government. Mao Zedong had proclaimed the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and in January of 1950, China joined with the Soviet Union to formally recognize the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Hello, Sign in. The Vietnam War is also known as the Second Indochina War. The Vietnamese civil war began in 1959. Frank Scherschel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images. But Diem’s preferential treatment of the Catholic minority led to protests throughout South Vietnam. Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images. The Vietnam War was a proxy war, which occurs when one or more opposing powers instigates a war and then uses third parties to fight on their … America’s war in Vietnam had officially begun. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. Thesis statement: Although the Vietnam War caused by the U.S. desire to stop the spread of communism had negative consequences on Americans, including social, economic and political consequences, this event helped to shape Modern World History. The Vietnam War started soon after that in 1945 when the communists and the democrats started fighting. Maddox encountered three Soviet-built North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Vietnam War started as a disagreement between communist North Vietnam and anti-communist South Vietnam. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... An insurgency of communist Vietnamese (known as the, Increasing financial and military aid from the U.S. to South Vietnam as part of an attempt to contain, or limit, the spread of, A parallel increase in support to the North from both China and the Soviet Union, Allegedly unprovoked attacks on two U.S. destroyers by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the, The collapse of the South Vietnamese government in the spring of 1975, resulting in a communist takeover of the South, The discrediting of the U.S. theory that the emergence of a unified, communist Vietnam would produce a ", The deaths of as many as 2,000,000 Vietnamese civilians, 1,100,000 North Vietnamese soldiers, 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers, and some 58,000 U.S. troops. The bloody conflict had its roots in French colonial rule and an independence movement driven by communist leader Ho Chi Minh. causes of the Vietnam war; why was the Vietnam war fought? Causes of the Vietnam war Since the 19 th century, Vietnam had been under colonial rule. The Vietnam War has been widely discussed in the media and academic sources. Hello, Sign in. what caused the Vietnam war? In short, the Vietnam War started as a result of the U.S.’s strategy of containment during the Cold War, which aimed to prevent the spread of communism throughout the world. The Vietnam War: The Causes Of The Vietnam War. “The Vietnam War was at once a war to reconcile issues of European imperialism in a new postcolonial space, a war between Marxism-Leninism and Democratic-Capitalism, and a war between Vietnamese parties,” says Nguyen. During the Cold War, the U.S. practiced a policy of containment. President Harry S. Truman’s Truman Doctrine pledged political, military, and economic assistance to democratic nations facing threats from communist forces. While the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war was deadly, Vietnam… “The ‘temporary’ division of the country at the seventeenth parallel into two ideologically-opposed states meant that the civil conflict in Vietnam would collide full-scale with the East-West rivalry,” says Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, Dorothy Borg Associate Professor in the History of the United States and East Asia at Columbia University. By war’s end, North and South Vietnam would be reunited, but at great cost. The Causes of the Vietnam War Callum Pastuszak The Vietnam War was one of the bloodiest conflicts post WWII, it is important to understand how it started and learn from our mistakes so nothing like this happens again. It caused the death of millions of Vietnamese and Americans. Ho Chi Minh, North Vietnam’s leader during the loathsome conflict, led his country into war with the goal of reuniting both Vietnamese nations under one rule: his own.

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