Why the USA Become Involved in Vietnamin the 1950s and 1960s
In the 19th century France owned a huge part of South East Asia. This
area was known as Indo- China. During the Second World War, Japanese
troops occupied this area. Local people did not want to be ruled by
foreigners so they organised resistance groups. One of them was the
Viet Minh. It was mainly a communist group, led by Ho Chi Minh.
Japan surrendered on August 15th 1945. Soon after that Ho Chi Minh
announced that Vietnam was an independent republic. The French wanted
to keep Vietnam in their empire so French troops returned to Southern
Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh's Viet Minh was not going to let the French
retake Vietnamwithout a fight. War broke out between the French and
the Viet Minh in 1946. The USA did not approve of France fighting to
get its colony back. However they gave over $1 billion to France to
help them win. Despite all the money, the French lost the war. In
1953, they tried to trap the Viet Minh by setting up a camp at Dien
Bien Phu. However due to the Viet Minh the French could not get
supplies into the camp. After two months the French were defeated and
the survivors put into prison camps. After another two months an
armistice was signed and the French agreed to leave Indo China. The
peace talks were held at Geneva. They agreed that Vietnam would be
split into two parts. The north part became a communist republic,
controlled by the Viet Minh, and the southern Vietnam became a
republic led by and Ngo Dinh Diem. It was hoped by the North
Vietnamese that when elections were held the country would be united
again under communist leadership. The USA didn't want this to happen,
and continued to give financial and military support to the south, as
they had done to the French to help prevent the spread of communism.
This is one of the reasons why the USA got involved in Vietnam. They
feared the spread of communism. This is stated in the dominos theory.
This theory basically explains that if Vietnam were to turn communist
then it would spread to Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand turning the whole
of South East Asia communist. USA did not want these countries to turn
communist because as they were an industrial country they did not have
a good supply of raw materials. This is something Indonesia had and
the USA needed. If Vietnam turned communist Indonesia would be one of
the next targets therefore making it an independent country stopping
trade with USA leaving them with no materials.
Diem's government was mainly made up of Roman Catholic landowners.
Diems rule was harsh and his government was unpopular with the
peasants, many of whom were Buddhists. His government was also
extremely corrupt: the money the Americans sent to help Diem's
government was used to bribe Diem's friends. The USA sent arms too;
some of them...