A Fatal Mistake The Vietnam War Essay — страница 2

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of Vietnam, France, however, refused to recognize any independence (Chant 25). Ho Chi Minh was a known communist at this time, and President Truman refused to recognize any independence from France (Encarta Vietnam War ). Instead, he offered France assistance in containing the communist rebellion, (Chant 22). By October of the same year, the French had returned and regained control in South Vietnam, but the Viet Minh already held strong positions throughout the North Vietnamese jungle (Chant 25). During the first French campaignsto regain control of the country, they captured most major cities, but had no control in the wilderness surrounding them (Encarta Vietnam War ). The French quickly lost all popular support from local Vietnamese, and Viet Minh recruitment skyrocketed

(Encarta Vietnam War ). With hundreds of thousands of army irregulars assisting in guerrilla attacks, the Viet Minh rivaled France s well trained and better equipped army(Encarta Vietnam War ). By March 6 of 1946, Vietnam s independence was finally recognized by the Indochinese Federation and French Union, which included Laos and Cambodia (Chant 25). That same day, however, the French launch a swift offensive campaign through North Vietnam, after landing in North Vietnam s largest port city, Haiphong (Chant 25). In a few months, France had reacquired much of the country. Until 1951, control over North Vietnam fluctuated between France and the Viet Minh, but the Viet Minh turned its focus to guerrilla warfare. Attacks on garrisoned towns and cities under French occupation became

more frequent, and subsequently, more costly for the French (Chant 25). France was losing its foothold in the North, but the slow French defeat was the catalyst for the slow escalation of U.S. involvement. The USSR and China had announced their official recognition of the Viet Minh in January of 1950, thus beginning the introduction of Soviet weaponry and Chinese military training techniques into the Viet Minh army (Chant 25). The French were being trapped inside garrisoned towns and villages, and no longer had the means for victory against their strengthened opponent. Thus, they made a plea to the U.S. to increase their assistance against the Communists (Chant 25). Increased aid started in March of 1953, with increased allocations for economic aid and more military equipment and

supplies, but not any U.S. troops or aircraft (Chant 25). By October of 1953, though, the Viet Minh had plenty of preparation to launch a major offensive which would finally end the next May at Dien Bien Phu. Dien Bien Phu was France s last stand in Vietnam (Chant 25). Of the fifteen-thousand French troops defeated there, five-thousand were killed and the other ten were captured by the Viet Minh, who themselves lost over twentyfive-thousand men (Chant 25). The French were humiliated, and back home, French citizens demanded peace (Encarta Vietnam War ). Involved in this peace would be France, Vietnam, the U.S., the USSR, China, Laos, and Cambodia, whose representatives came together at the Geneva Conference of 1954, beginning a two-month peace process (Encarta Vietnam War ). The

peace agreement allowed for the safe evacuation of all French troops in Indochina, and therefore, the French were forced to concede defeat (Chant 25). In the Geneva Accords, a cease-fire was signed, and a temporary DMZ (de-militarized zone) was established at the seventeenth parallel, with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to the north and below it, the Republic of South Vietnam (Chant 26). The Viet Minh agreed to return to North Vietnam, or the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, where Ho Chi Minh would maintain power (Encarta Vietnam War ). In the South, Emperor Bao Dai was given full control of the government, until elections were held in 1956 (Encarta Vietnam War ). These elections would be held in both North and South Vietnam, allowing citizens to decide what type of government

to reunite the country under (Encarta Vietnam War ). The Accords were signed, but the U.S. was fearful that the Communists had too much influence in both North and South Vietnam, and therefore opposed the elections and refused to sign the accords (Encarta Vietnam War ). Fearing an overwhelming Communist victory, the U.S. established the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization in 1955 (Encarta Vietnam War ). SEATO, as it was called, included South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, plus many other U.S. allies, creating an economic and defensive collaboration against the Communist Subversion (Encarta Vietnam War ). With SEATO as its justification, the U.S. continued to support South Vietnam, and later, it was justification for the involvement of U.S. troops (Encarta Vietnam War ). Also in