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A BRIEF HISTORY OF VIETNAM
  • LATE 1800s – Vietnam is a French colony
  • 1930s – communist revolts led by Hi Chi Minh – Ho Chi Minh flees to China and USSR
  • 1940s – Ho Chi Minh forms Vietminh party in order to liberate Vietnam – declare independence in 1945
  • 1954 – Vietminh successfully defeat French in north Vietnam and establish communist government in north
  • 1954 – Vietnam is split temporarily by the Geneva Accords, with free elections to be held in 1956 to unite the nation
  • LATE 1950s – Civil war in Vietnam between Communist North and American-supported South
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PRESIDENTIAL INVOLVEMENT
TRUMAN
-containment of communism
-sent economic and military aid to France to help them keep their colonies in Indochina (including Vietnam)
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EISENHOWER
-feels that if one country in southeast Asia falls to communism then others would follow (domino theory)
-helps to establish puppet state in South Vietnam and sends military advisors to help in the South
-Ngo Dinh Diem leads South Vietnam- won't hold free elections because then Ho Chi Minh would take over and make it all communist
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KENNEDY
-doesn't want to be soft on communism
-continued to send advisors
-at his death there were 16,000 Americans in Vietnam but still no soldiers
-US not directly involved in fighting- indirectly involved
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JOHNSON
-Commits the US more fully to war in Vietnam
-originally only sends a few more advisors
-Gulf of Tonkin- US ship in North Vietnamese waters (within bounaries of North Vietnam), Vietnamese patrol boats come out and US ship fire at the patrol boats. US ship not harmed but patrol boats are 1 sunk 2 crippled
-Never any confirmation that either ship had been attacked (on second "attack")
-Gulf of Tonkin Resolution- president can "take all necessary measures" to protect American forces and "prevent further aggression"- A BLANK CHECK!
-Passes unanimously in the House and only 2 oppose it in the Senate
-Johnson says "we will seek no wider war"
-Operation Rolling Thunder- bomb North Vietnam MANY BOMBS!! feb 1965
-March 1965 marines sent in- 3500 marines join 20,000+ military advisors
-ascent into the unknown (unknown= Vietnam)
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