The struggle between French colonial forces and native Vietnamese citizens supported by Chinese communists was one of the root causes of the Vietnam War. Vietnam was divided during the Cold War, when tensions between the U.S. and The Soviet Union were at an all-time high. The Vietnam War started as a disagreement between communist North Vietnam and anti-communist South Vietnam. Did you know? The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, also known as the U.S.S. Vietnam became a French colony in 1877 with the founding of French Indochina, which included Tonkin, Annam, Cochin China and Cambodia. A French Colony, Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, & Cambodia) had been occupied by the Japanese during the war. Peaslee, Amos J. Brito-China Factor Although Minh declared Vietnam a free and independent country in 1945, the British and the Chinese were instrumental in helping France regain control over Vietnam. The Vietnam War (1955-1975) was fought between communist North Vietnam, backed by the Soviet Union and China, and South Vietnam, supported … Fact Check: Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe? As the Vietnam War dragged on, soldiers began to see the war as unjust and unwinnable, leading to openly mutinous behavior.By way of a “fragmentation grenade,” from which the term “fragging” was Did the Vietnam War meet jus ad bellum criteria? Before this disagreement was a war between Vietnam and the French. The USSR (and PRC) backed the takeover of Southeast Asia by the Vietnamese Communists with economic … Despite being a world superpower, the United States was not able to defeat a small, third-world, Asian country. Maddox reported that they had been ambushed, though the Turner Joy’s account has since been called into question by historians. Together, they were considered to be the strongest military power, way more powerful than the U.S. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. Maddox encountered three Soviet-built North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. Millions of life were lost, and thousands went missing during the 20-year conflict. Active military action was carried out for almost 20 years, from 1 November 1955 to 30 April 1975.The Vietnam War is also referred to as the Second Indochina War, due to the involvement of all three countries previously constituting the French territory of Indochina. Vietnam received 2. Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images. “In the summer of 1964 the Johnson administration was laying secret plans for an expansion of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. Technically, the Vietnam War was never a war, at least not for the United States. (1985). One cause had to do mainly with the Vietnamese and one cause had mainly to do with the Americans. The French lost control of their colony briefly during World War II, when Japanese troops occupied Vietnam. From the Vietnamese side, the main cause of the Vietnam War was the desire of the Vietnamese to have a country that was free from excessive foreign influence. The United States officially entered the war in 1965 when the North Vietnamese attacked the USS Maddox, backing South Vietnam. The Vietnam War started soon after that in 1945 when the communists and the democrats started fighting. Although the history of Vietnam has been dominated by war for 30 years of the 20th century, the conflict escalated during the sixties. First of all, there was not a just cause or reason for the United States (us) to get involved in the war. U.S. involvement in Vietnam began with Eisenhower. As Japan and France fought over Vietnam, an independence movement was forming under Ho Chi Minh, a revolutionary leader inspired by Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution. Any such wider action should have congressional support, officials determined, and the Gulf of Tonkin incident provided the opportunity to secure this authorization,” says Fredrik Logevall, Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Why Vietnam invaded Cambodia: political culture and causes of war. O'Dowd, Edward C. (2007). However, the countries began to dispute during the war. Our war, the Vietnam War, was not just for many reasons. The Vietnam War (Vietnamese: Chiến tranh Việt Nam), also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America (Vietnamese: Kháng chiến chống Mỹ) or simply the American War, was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. NOAA Hurricane Forecast Maps Are Often Misinterpreted — Here's How to Read Them, Terry Fincher/Hulton Archive/Getty Images. United States forces entered the conflict in support of the French in order to fight communism. The Vietnam War was a civil war that North Vietnam launched against South Vietnam in 1959. The Vietnam war was caused by the false flag operation known as The Gulf of Tonkin incident. How Does the 25th Amendment Work — and When Should It Be Enacted? Vietnam also became a communist nation as the result of the war. Just war thinking provides clear ethical guidelines for going to war, most notably the three principles of sovereign political authority, just cause, and right intention. Many U.S. soldiers noted the large size of the rats in South Vietnam, believing they became so big because they fed on the flotsam of war. North Vietnam would be ruled by Ho Chi Minh’s communist government and South Vietnam would be led by emperor Bao Dai. causes of the Vietnam war why was the Vietnam war fought? When the French left, the Americans fought the war alone. His successor, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, put forth the Domino Theory that a communist victory in Vietnam would create a domino effect in Southeast Asia… and therefore must be prevented at all costs. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. The resulting Geneva Accords would dissolve the French Indochinese Union. Adonis Silva 4/30/2015 8-012 Cause & Effect Vietnam War The causes of the Vietnam War trace their roots back to the end of World War II. Belief held by America that communism was threatening to expand all over south-east Asia. By 1972, the idea that Vietnam posed a threat to Cold War America was so discredited, it sometimes sounded as if America’s only remaining war aim was to … The US fabricated a story that Vietnamese gun boats attacked US … Vietnam was a battleground in the Cold War, when the United States and Soviet Union grappled for world domination. The Vietnam War was a long, costly and divisive conflict that pitted the communist government of North Vietnam against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. In short, the Vietnam War started as a result of the U.S.’s strategy of containment during the Cold War, which aimed to prevent the spread of communism throughout the world. There were two main causes of the Vietnam War. Diplomats from the United States, the USSR, the People's Republic of China, the United Kingdom, North and South Korea, and France, as well as representatives from the Viet Minh (northern Vietnam), the State of Vietnam (southern Vietnam), Cambodia, and Laos, in session at the Geneva Conference in July 1954. Basically the reason for the Vietnam War in the first place. The Vietnam War (1955-1975) was fought between communist North Vietnam, backed by the Soviet Union and China, and South Vietnam, supported by the United States. As a matter of fact, Vietnam has a large native rodent known as the hoary bamboo rat. In May 1963, eight Buddhist protestors were killed by government officials in Hue. During the last half of 1959, VC-initiated ambushes and attacks on posts averaged well over 100 a month. It weighs up to nine pounds and grows as long as 20 inches. 6 billion dollars in financial support from the United States between 1945 and 1954. Jessica Pearce Rotondi is the author of What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family’s Search for Answers. The U.S. Supreme Court: Who Are the Nine Justices on the Bench Today? At the end of the war, Ho Chi Minh (the leader of the northern Communist faction) began agitating for independence, causing France to turn to the U.S. for aid. When the French rejected his plan, the Viet Minh resorted to guerilla warfare to fight for an independent Vietnam. Yes. The Vietnam War would kill nearly 60,000 Americans, wound more than 150,000 Americans, and leave more than 23,000 U.S. soldiers permanently disabled. Chinese military strategy in the third Indochina war: the last Maoist war. 2. The war between them went on till 1954 and later some peace talks were held at a G summit and the country was divided into north and South Vietnam. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. In August 1964, Vietnamese forces fired on an American destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin, and America retaliated with airstrikes. In the next year 2,500 government functionaries and other real and imagined enemies of the Viet Cong were assassinated. (U.S. President John F. Kennedy would be assassinated less than three weeks later.) “The Vietnam War was at once a war to reconcile issues of European imperialism in a new postcolonial space, a war between Marxism-Leninism and Democratic-Capitalism, and a war between Vietnamese parties,” says Nguyen. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! In this regard, it could be said that the cause of war in Vietnam was a result of many historical injustices that were continually subjected to the Vietnamese. On August 7, the House and Senate passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution almost unanimously to grant President Lyndon B. Johnson the power “to take all necessary measures to repeal any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent any further aggression.”. In response, Buddhist monk Thích Quang Duc set himself on fire in the middle of a busy Saigon intersection. That November, the United States backed a military coup in which Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, were murdered. On August 4, the U.S. destroyer Turner Joy and the U.S.S. The conflict was intensified by the ongoing Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. (Laos was added in 1893.) Step 2: The initial stages of the Vietnam War coincided with the start of the Cold War. Here are six events that led to the Vietnam War. Due to the time period and nature of the Vietnam War historians today consider it to be a Cold War era proxy war between the United States and Soviet Union. President Harry S. Truman’s Truman Doctrine pledged political, military, and economic assistance to democratic nations facing threats from communist forces. The struggle between French colonial forces and native Vietnamese citizens supported by Chinese communists was one of the root causes of the Vietnam War. The conflict in Vietnam took root during an independence movement against French colonial rule and evolved into a Cold War confrontation. On August 2, 1964 the U.S.S. When … Constitutions of Nations: The Americas. Mao Zedong had proclaimed the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and in January of 1950, China joined with the Soviet Union to formally recognize the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Frank Scherschel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images. Emperor Bao Dai was succeeded by Catholic nationalist Ngo Dinh Diem. Other monks began to immolate themselves in what became known as the “Buddhist crisis.” The United States lost confidence in Diem’s ability to lead. In general, historians have identified several different causes of the Vietnam War, including: the spread of communism during the Cold War, American containment, and European imperialism in Vietnam. At the beginning of the Vietnam War, China and the Soviet Union (now Russia) were allies. In total, the Congressional Research Service estimates that the U.S. spent over $700 billion on the Vietnam War, making it the second costliest war of the 20th century. The bloody conflict had its roots in French colonial rule and an independence movement driven by communist leader Ho Chi Minh. © 2021 A&E Television Networks, LLC. ISBN 978-0-203-08896-8. Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence from France on September 2, 1945, just hours after Japan’s surrender in World War II. The Vietnam War (also known as Second Indochina War or American War in Vietnam) lasted from 1 November 1955–30 April 1975, (19 years, 5 months, 4 weeks and 1 day).It was fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam.North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China and North Korea, while South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, New … The Vietnamese Diem administration was corrupt and proved ineffective in fighting the powerful and communist-supported Ho Chi Minh. United States forces entered the conflict in support of the French in order to fight communism. “The ‘temporary’ division of the country at the seventeenth parallel into two ideologically-opposed states meant that the civil conflict in Vietnam would collide full-scale with the East-West rivalry,” says Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, Dorothy Borg Associate Professor in the History of the United States and East Asia at Columbia University. When we talk about the Vietnam War (which the Vietnamese refer to as the American War), we talk about the military intervention by the U.S. that happened between 1965 and 1973. The initial cause that caused the Vietnam War was the intention to overthrow the South Vietnamese Government that was led by the communist guerrillas Viet Cong and the National Liberation Front, which had the support of North Vietnam which ended in a War between the two countries. The Vietnam War was a proxy war, which occurs when one or more opposing powers instigates a war and then uses third parties to fight on their … Ho Chi Minh used the U.S. Tensions worsened throughout the year, changing the relationship to near enemies. The Vietnam War was the prolonged struggle between nationalist forces attempting to unify the country of Vietnam under a communist government and the United States (with the aid of the South Vietnamese) attempting to prevent the spread of communism. The causes of the Vietnam War trace their roots back to the end of World War II. His strong anti-communist stance was popular with the Americans who helped him rise to power. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. All Rights Reserved. The Americans had been working with the anti-communist side in Vietnam since 1950. Ho Chi Minh, the leader of North Vietnam, was one goal, to unseat the French … By war’s end, North and South Vietnam would be reunited, but at great cost. America’s war in Vietnam had officially begun. But Diem’s preferential treatment of the Catholic minority led to protests throughout South Vietnam. The Maddox fired what it described as warning shots and was met by torpedo and machine gun fire. Vietnam War Failure Causes Introduction The Vietnam War, one of the most controversial wars in American history, has been one of the few wars where the United States was not a victor. The Vietnam War had significant cultural, social and political impacts. The conflict between the French and the Viet Minh came to a head at the decisive Battle of Dien Bien Phu, when, after a four-month siege, the French lost to the Viet Minh under commander Vo Nguyen Giap, marking the end of French rule in Vietnam. Each of these moral presuppositions is obvious in the principal war aims of US presidents during the Vietnam War. Paul Schutzer/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images. Declaration of Independence as a model for his Proclamation of the Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, writing: “All men are born equal: the Creator has given us inviolable rights, life, liberty, and happiness!”. The initial cause for the war was a battle between communist North Vietnam and its southern allies, the Viet Cong, against South Vietnam and its allies, the key ally being the United States. Vietnam War - Vietnam War - The U.S. role grows: By the middle of 1960 it was apparent that the South Vietnamese army and security forces could not cope with the new threat. He established the League for the Independence of Vietnam, better known as the Viet Minh, in May of 1941. ISBN 978-0-8047-3049-5. Vietnam was a battleground in the Cold War. A French colony, Indochina (made up of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) had been occupied by the Japanese during the war. In 1941, a Vietnamese nationalist movement, the Viet Minh, was formed by their leader Ho Chi Minh (1890–1969) to resist the occupiers. During the Cold War, the U.S. practiced a policy of containment. The only reason we went to war with the North Vietnamese was to prevent Communism from spreading to South Vietnam, which wouldn't have affected our country. President Eisenhower’s Domino Theory cemented U.S. involvement in Vietnam over the years. By 1965, the United States was fully committed in Vietnam, with over 60,000 American troops on its ground. The Geneva Accords were signed in July of 1954 and split Vietnam at the 17th parallel. The coup was followed by a chaotic succession of 12 different governments in South Vietnam between 1963 and 1965. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. Maddox incident, marked the formal entry of the United States into the Vietnam War. 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