What Caused the Vietnam War

Topics: Vietnam War, Vietnam, South Vietnam Pages: 5 (1769 words) Published: August 20, 2005
What Caused the Vietnam War?

The Vietnam War was caused by many factors that contributed to the warfare in Vietnam during the years of 1959 to 1975. Most factors were the beliefs held by people who wanted to change or to prevent Vietnam becoming an Independent Country. Many people suffered due to these beliefs and policies and that the Vietnam War is now considered as one of the most distressing moments in the 20th Century. So why did the US become involved in the Vietnam War? What was Ho Chi Minh thinking when he was fighting for Nationalism? Who was Diem? And why was the Vietnam War have such a devesting impact on both the US and Vietnam.

The civil war between the French and Viet Minh was a major cause of the war. It is said that the Vietnam War, or the Second Indochina War, was just a continuation of the First Indochina War. The First Indochina War started because of Vietnam's demand for independence from French colonial rule and France's refusal to allow it. The battle continued from 1946 to 1954 until the French suffered a humiliating victory at the hands of the Viet Minh at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. The French then assented to the demands of Vietnam and called for a Geneva conference with other world leaders as well as representatives of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. They drafted the Geneva Accords, which were a set of agreements that the Vietnamese and French would adhere to. The Accords stated that the country would be temporarily split at the 17th Parallel with Ho Chi Minh ruling the north and the Emperor Bao Dai decreeing the south until elections could be held in July 1956 to decide on the government for the re-united Vietnam. However the peace brought about by this Accord was short-lived as the agreements was broken by Diem and South Vietnam who refused to call for elections. Consequently, war was declared between the north and south of Vietnam and the Second Indochina War took place.

One of the most important feature when describing the Vietnam War was why the United States became involved in the war, and their reasons for conflict amongst the Vietnamese in the North of the 17th Parallel. It is known that the US was involved for many reasons, particularly their belief in the Domino theory where if one country fell to Communism, the rest of South-East Asia would fall along with it. Yet there are many other reasons why the US became involved. However, to better understand what the other reasons were, it is best to start at the major trepidation in America concerning Vietnam, and that is the Domino Theory.

The Domino Theory began when US policy-makers and most Americans considered Communism as the antithesis to what they believed in. Communists ridiculed Democracy, desecrated Human Rights, withheld Trading from industrialist nations, and used excessive military conflict within its country. America showed disdain towards Communism and they believed it to be a infectious disease that if it conquered one nation, it was expected that other nations would fall with it one-by-one. Therefore its nickname, ‘The Domino Theory.' When, in 1949, the Communist Party became the ruling power in China, US feared that Vietnam would be the next ‘Asian Domino' to fall to Communism. That was the reason why Truman aided the French in their fight against the Viet Minh. Truman also believed that assisting the French would stem the Communism reign in South-East Asia and that the ‘Domino Theory' would not actually become fact. US Involvement with France would offer free-world power over Vietnam and would provide exports to Japan after the Pacific War with the help of America re-building. US Involvement also relieved the United Kingdom whose trade links were in the colony of Malaya, where it's tin and rubber would help their recovery after WWII. Also, with the US aid, France could focus on financial revival and to retract their officer corps from Indochina to supervise the leader of West Germany, which was seen as essential by...

Bibliography: World Book 2005, World Book Publishers, Author Unknown
Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation.
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