- Inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution, he helped create the Indochinese Communist Party in 1930 and the League for the Independence of Vietnam, or Viet Minh, in 1941.
- At World War II’s end, Viet Minh forces seized the northern Vietnamese city of Hanoi and declared a Democratic State of Vietnam (or North Vietnam) with Ho as president.
- Known as “Uncle Ho,” becoming a symbol of Vietnam’s struggle for unification during a long and costly conflict with the strongly anti-Communist regime in South Vietnam and its ally, the United States.
American advisors in South Vietnam
In the early 1960s, elements of the U.S. Army Special Forces and Echo 31 went to South Vietnam as military advisors to train and assist the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) for impending actions against the North Vietnamese People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN). United States Marines also filled a significant role as advisors to Vietnamese forces.
In 1954, Eisenhower decided against authorizing an air strike to rescue French troops from defeat at Dien Bien Phu, avoiding a war in Indochina, though his support for the anti-communist government in South Vietnam would sow the seeds of future U.S. participation in the Vietnam War.
South Vietnam [now in Vietnam]), Vietnamese political leader who served as president, with dictatorial powers, of what was then South Vietnam, from 1955 until his assassination.
Mao Zedong, Chinese Marxist theorist, soldier, and statesman who led his country’s communist revolution. Mao was the leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 1935 until his death, and he was chairman (chief of state) of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to 1959 and chairman of the party also until his death.
Viet Cong (VC), in full Viet Nam Cong San, English Vietnamese Communists, the guerrilla force that, with the support of the North Vietnamese Army, fought against South Vietnam (late 1950s–1975) and the United States (early 1960s–1973). The name is said to have first been used by South Vietnamese Pres. Ngo Dinh Diem to belittle the rebels.
US President Lyndon B. Johnson
- As part of this effort, Johnson steadily escalated U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. The number of American troops in Vietnam soared from 16,000 when he first took office in 1963 to more than 500,000 in 1968, yet the conflict remained a bloody stalemate. As the war dragged on and American and Vietnamese casualties mounted, anti-war protests rocked college campuses and cities across the U.S.
- The conflict in Vietnam, though, brought him nothing but pain and frustration during his last months in office, and U.S. military involvement in Vietnam continued for four years after his departure from Washington in January 1969.
US President Richard Nixon
As president, Nixon’s achievements included forging diplomatic ties with China and the Soviet Union, and withdrawing U.S. troops from an unpopular war in Vietnam. However, Nixon’s involvement in Watergate tarnished his legacy and deepened American cynicism about government.
Countries and Places:
France controlled Vietnam before the Vietnam War.
Between 1946 and 1954, the Viet Minh captured and controlled most of the rural areas of Vietnam. In 1954, after the French were defeated, the negotiation of the Geneva Accords ended the war between France and the Viet Minh and granted Vietnam independence. The Geneva Accords divided the country provisionally into northern and southern zones, and stipulated general elections in July 1956 "to bring about the unification of Viet-Nam." The northern zone was commonly called North Vietnam and the southern zone South Vietnam, or, formally, the Republic of Vietnam.
South Vietnam, officially the Republic of Vietnam, was a state governing the southern half of Vietnam from 1955 to 1975. It received international recognition in 1949 as the "State of Vietnam" (1949–55), and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" (1955–75). Its capital was Saigon. The term "South Vietnam" became common usage in 1954, when the Geneva Conference provisionally partitioned Vietnam into communist and non-communist parts.
China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a unitary sovereign state in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.381 billion. The state is governed by the Communist Party of China and its capital is Beijing.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S.) or America, is a constitutional federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.[fn 6] Forty-eight of the fifty states and the federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico.
Geneva Confederence In an effort to resolve several problems in Asia, including the war between the French and Vietnamese nationalists in Indochina, representatives from the world’s powers meet in Geneva. The conference marked a turning point in the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. Representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, France, and Great Britain came together in April 1954 to try to resolve several problems related to Asia. One of the most troubling concerns was the long and bloody battle between Vietnamese nationalist forces, under the leadership of the communist Ho Chi Minh, and the French, who were intent on continuing colonial control over all a great area.
The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (August 7, 1964) gave broad congressional approval for expansion of the Vietnam War. During the spring of 1964, military planners had developed a detailed design for major attacks on the North, but at that time President Lyndon B. Johnson and his advisers feared that the public would not support an expansion of the war. By summer, however, rebel forces had established control over nearly half of South Vietnam, and Senator Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee for president, was criticizing the Johnson administration for not pursuing the war more aggressively.
The Hồ Chí Minh trail (also known in Vietnam as the "Trường Sơn trail") was a logistical system that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) to the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) through the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia. The system provided support, in the form of manpower and materiel, to the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (called the Vietcong or "VC" by its opponents) and the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), or North Vietnamese Army, during the Vietnam War.
Unlike the main troops, who saw themselves as professional soldiers, local Vietcong groups tended to be far less confident. For the most part, recruits were young teenagers, and while many were motivated by idealism, others had been pressured or shamed into joining. They also harbored real doubts about their ability to fight heavily armed and well-trained American soldiers. Initially, local guerrillas were given only a basic minimum of infantry training, but if they were recruited to a main force unit, they could receive up to a month of advanced instruction. Additionally, there were dozens of hidden centers all over South Vietnam for squad and platoon leader, weapons and radio training. To ensure that the guerrillas understood why they were fighting, all training courses included political instruction.
Napalm (naphthenic palmitic acid) is an incendiary weapon invented in 1942. It is an extremely flammable, gasoline-based defoliant and antipersonnel weapon that can generate temperatures in excess of 2,000 degrees. A large Napalm fire can create a wind system, a result of intense heat that is generated - causing vertical wind currents. Winds then feed more air into the fire, which increases the rate of combustion, thereby perpetuating itself. In some cases, that wind is called a "fire storm" and can sometimes reach up to 70 mph.
Agent Orange was a powerful mixture of chemical defoliants used by U.S. military forces during the Vietnam War to eliminate forest cover for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops, as well as crops that might be used to feed them. The U.S. program of defoliation, codenamed Operation Ranch Hand, sprayed more than 19 million gallons of herbicides over 4.5 million acres of land in Vietnam from 1961 to 1972. Agent Orange, which contained the chemical dioxin, was the most commonly used of the herbicide mixtures, and the most effective. It was later revealed to cause serious health issues–including tumors, birth defects, rashes, psychological symptoms and cancer–among returning U.S. servicemen and their families as well as among the Vietnamese population.
On January 31, 1968, some 70,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launched the Tet Offensive (named for the lunar new year holiday called Tet), a coordinated series of fierce attacks on more than 100 cities and towns in South Vietnam. General Vo Nguyen Giap, leader of the Communist People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN), planned the offensive in an attempt both to foment rebellion among the South Vietnamese population and encourage the United States to scale back its support of the Saigon regime. Though U.S. and South Vietnamese forces managed to hold off the Communist attacks, news coverage of the offensive (including the lengthy Battle of Hue) shocked and dismayed the American public and further eroded support for the war effort. Despite heavy casualties, North Vietnam achieved a strategic victory with the Tet Offensive, as the attacks marked a turning point in the Vietnam War and the beginning of the slow, painful American withdrawal from the region.