Conflict in Indochina – Draft Essay
Assess the importance of nationalism to the Vietnamese up to 1965. A clear desire for nationalism and self-nationalism in Vietnam was evident as early as the 15th century, when historian Nguyen Trai stated “although we have been at times strong, and at times weak, we have always been Vietnamese and this will never change.” The importance and significance of nationalism and establishing a sense of self-determination was of vital concernment to the Vietnamese, in both the North and South of the country. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North) and the Republic of Vietnam (South) were both driving forces in the ambition of self-determination and their established sense of nationalism regardless of the 17th parallel. The battle at Dien Bien Phu, guerrilla warfare, Ho Chi Minh and the domino theory all play significant roles in the evident importance of nationalism in Vietnam. Primary and secondary sources have effectively provided an insight of the apparent nationalism that occurred in Vietnam leading up to 1965. Vietnam’s long lasting struggle with the French and the emphatic victory at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 was crucial in reaffirming a firm stance and belief in nationalism in Vietnam, especially in the North of Vietnam. Between 1945 and 1954 there was tension between the French Expeditionary Corps and the outnumbered Vietminh. The Vietminh was an army in the North of Vietnam established by the leader at the time, Ho Chi Minh, whose primary focus was solely on nationalism and inevitably the attainment of self-determination. The Vietminh were outnumbered troops and possessed less weaponry then the French but employed guerrilla warfare tactics to great effect and success, techniques such as using their knowledge on the surrounding environment and unexpected ambushes at nightfall were crucial in the war with the French. The desperation of the outnumbered and out weaponed Vietminh troops to fight in a war they logically had a...
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