For much of its history, Vietnam has been ruled by other numerous nations. In 1858, as France invaded Vietnam in order to gain more imperial power, they soon felt it difficult to maintain order within Vietnamese territories. The U.S. soon got involved in part because of their involvement of the Cold War as they view Communism as the sole antithesis of Democracy. In May, 1950 President Harry S. Truman sent financial aid to the French for their war. As a result of the Unite States’ belief and ideals, they entered into one of its longest and bloodiest wars, with many conflicts and controversies, consequentially losing many lives and ultimately considered an unnecessary war.
As a result of growing French imperialism, it initiated the First Indochina War, and led to the U.S. involvement with Vietnam in a long and bloody war. In 1858 as European powers were scrambling for territories to add to their imperial wealth and power, France invaded Vietnam in established colonial rule. The France’s grip of Vietnam would later fall in World War II but it would thus allow for Japanese occupation of Vietnam from 1940-1945. As the war raged on, Japanese shifted their focus away from Vietnam as they suffered major casualties from the atomic bomb. Upon the Japanese’s formal surrender to end World War II, Vietnam declared their independence and named their country Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV).
The French however, did not recognize their independence and shortly returned to Vietnam. They drove the Viet Minh (the League for Vietnamese Independence) towards the north of the country until they could infiltrate no further. In 1945, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese socialist/ nationalist activist who established the DRV, wrote a letter to 33rd president Harry S. Truman for U.S. recognition of the DRV and in hopes of driving away the French (Hunt 8). Because of postwar tensions from the Cold War against the Communist Soviet Union, the U.S. refused Ho’s request on the mentality that they were worried of Ho’s Communist leanings. Instead, they decided to aid the French within the next year and began helping them financially and militarily (Hunt 24).
By 1949, the French had its first Indochina War with Vietnam which ended in 1954. As the war progressed the French devised a plan to bait the Vietnamese into the outpost Dien Bien Phu and obliterate the Viet Minh in the crossfire. As expected the Viet Minh, did attack, Dien Bien Phu, however, General Vo Nguyen Giap saw through the French’s plan; resulting in Dien Bien Phu falling to the Viet Minh in 1954. After humiliating the French in this battle, the French’s public opinion of the war changed. The French government organized the Geneva Conference and declared a cease fire with Vietnam officially split at the 17th parallel with the Communist North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
The U.S. involvement of the Vietnam War is understood as a larger picture of the entire Cold War. As a result of the Domino Theory this states that, if one nation were to become communist, neighboring countries would also become communist dropping one by one just like dominos. Based on this theory if Vietnam were to become Communist neighboring nations would also become communist. As a countermeasure the U.S. has kept watch of Vietnam for a while and decided to prevent aggression before it could even happen.
The Vietnam War became a long and demoralizing for both the U.S. and Vietnam soldiers, it was also one of the first wars in which the U.S. spurred some controversies over how they were going about doing things. Initially, the U.S. established the Military Assistance Command of Vietnam (MACV) which provides American soldiers to help train the South Vietnam army (ARVN), in its emergent conflict with the Communist North. Within a year, American presence in Vietnam esclataed from a mere 1000 men to over 15,000 military advisors. During the early phases of the war, the...