Download Chapter 30: The Vietnam War Years Section 1: Cold War Roots of...
Chapter 30: The Vietnam War Years Section 1: Cold War Roots of the Conflict
From the late 1800’s until WWII, France was in control of Vietnam (which was part of French Indochina)
Like any other colony, the French were increasing their wealth. And Vietnamese people were getting poorer and losing their rights. They did have some revolts, but most were not effective
But in 1930, a new leader named Ho Chi Minh (9) called for an independent Vietnam
He organized the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) The French responded by arresting and killing some of the ICP leaders. They couldn’t catch Ho Chi Minh, but sentenced him to death anyways.
During WWII, Japan controlled Indochina - and the U.S. helped Ho Chi Minh fight the Japanese.
When WWII was over, the French tried to regain control. In the meantime, Ho Chi Minh had formed a group called the Viet Minh - and they were saying Vietnam was now independent. War broke out between the French and the Viet Minh.
Remember, the Viet Minh were a communist group
And the United States had a “containment policy” towards communism. The United States agreed to help France and offered them money and military aid.
The U.S. had a “domino theory” (16) about communism
That if one country fell to communism, the ones around it would also fall.
France could not defeat the Viet Minh and in peace talks…
It was decided Vietnam would be split in two. Ho Chi Minh and the communists would control the North Ngo Dinh Diem (5) and the anti-communists would control the South. There would eventually be elections to re-unify the country.
Ho Chi Minh was very popular in North Vietnam – and even in the South
If there were elections he would win, so Diem decided not to hold the elections in the South. He actually had a very evil government - he jailed, tortured and executed his opponents.
There were some South Vietnamese communists who opposed Diem
Diem made fun of them and called them Viet Cong (22) (meant Vietnamese communists)
The Viet Cong fought to overthrow Diem – and were supported by North Vietnamese communists. They sent supplies along a network of paths called the “Ho Chi Minh Trail.”
The Soviet Union decided to build the Berlin Wall
Which became a symbol of communism and it’
And… in October, 1962 in the most serious Soviet confrontation ever…
The Cuban Missile Crisis (28)
The United States learned the Russians had put nuclear missiles in Cuba – and they were bringing more. In a huge “showdown,” the Soviets took back the missiles (the new ones), and the U.S. promised to not invade Cuba.