The Origins Of The Vietnam War Essay

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The Origins Of The Vietnam War Essay, Research Paper The origins of the Vietnam War stem from the end of the Second World War. To defeat Hitler, UK, USA, and USSR all joined forces to help defeat him. The “big three‚s” relations although on the surface portrayed a co-operative alliance, were actually very uneasy. Problems arose from differing ideas on how to win and keep peace after the war, but also fundamental principles such as communism and capitalism were to prove difficult to agree on. After the war relations worsened, the UK and USA became increasingly suspicious of USSR motives and each side interpreted the others‚ movements as being aggressive. This started the beginnings of the Cold war. The Korean War turned the cold war into a global issue rather than a

European one and worsened tensions between the East and West. Russia flooded aid into China and consequently the two communist giants became less trusted and more feared. After the war America immediately set up “SEATO” (South East Asia Treaty Organisation), and America actively supported Nationalist China. America was very committed to a theory called the “Domino Theory” and the Truman doctrine of containment. America believed that Communism was likely to spread very rapidly if left, and if just one country fell to it then many others would follow, just like a game of dominos. When America decided that the threat now came from the Chinese Communists they acted by isolating them from the UN by cutting off trade; this left China with only one alternative and so relied more

and more on the USSR, the bond between communist USSR and communist China became stronger and so the likelihood of communism spreading throughout the rest of Asia was increased. After World War II the French tried to hold on to their colonies that ran from North Africa to Vietnam. They believed their country and colonies to be one and were not willing to give independence to any of them. During the twentieth century opposition to French rule in Vietnam had increased. The French would take all the good jobs and the peasants were forced to work for low wages in the French interests. The first active protests were set up by the Vietnam Nationalist party when in 1930 they led a revolt to “destroy French colonial authority” this was stopped by the French. This party was replaced

by the communist party who set out a series of strikes and armed uprisings, these also were stopped by the French military. The Second World War replaced the French government with the Japanese, although the French still in paper owned Vietnam, the Japanese were in control. After the war the Vietminh under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh called for people to get rid of the weakened French rule. The war left the Vietminh in the right situation to gain support, the French troops were spread out to watch the Japanese not the Vietminh, and people were in the right frame of mind to listen to any solutions people said they had, and so the support among the peasants grew rapidly. In 1944 Ho Chi Minh led a revolt that was to liberate the North of Vietnam above the 16th parallel. Below this

line the British were able to impose order and released the French who were being held by the Vietminh. The French then assumed power and pushed back the Vietminh. The country was then ruled in the North by the Vietminh and in the south by the French. The French then decided because talks with the Vietminh were not going in their favour, and because they wanted all of Vietnam to control, that a display of military might would persuade the Vietminh to co-operate. Unfortunately they underestimated the Vietminh‚s military strength, which, with the aid of the Chinese attacked the French, targeting their power stations. These actions started the war between the French and the Vietminh. Soon after the outbreak of the war it became clear that neither side had the winning edge. France