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An Outline of the Vietnam War

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Introduction

´╗┐Vietnam Essay When Vietnam became involved in a Guerilla War against France in 1946, the USA gave the French over $1 billion over the course of the 8 year war to aid them and to stop it's fear of the 'Domino Theory' becoming a reality. However, despite the financial support, the Vietnam won. The peace talks for this war were held in Geneva. These resulted in the country being split along the 17th parellel. The North was a communist republic controlled by Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh (a resistance group established in the 19th century to protect Vietnam against foreign attack) and the South was a capitalist republic lead by President Diem who was being backed by the USA. It was planned that after 2 years an election would be held to unite the country however due to Diem's harsh rule, many of the South Vietnamese supported Minh; this meant that the elections would turn Vietnam communist in 1957. This worried the USA who then forbid the South Vietnamese people to take part in the vote. ...read more.

Middle

However the Vietminh proved to hold their own against the violent attacks so to stop people communicating with them, 40% of the population was placed in Strategic Hamlets; US controlled areas surrounded by barbed wire but still the US were getting nowhere. in March 1968, a unit of US soldiers in search of the Vietcong, shot and murdered over 300 civilians in attack they thought to be on the guerillas in what was known as 'The Massacre at My Lai'. The US population soon caught wind of this and it soon became clear that the Vietnam war was going very wrong. Although it had no aircraft, tanks or artillery, the Vietcong were winning in the fight against America. They had previous experience of fighting a guerilla war against France and they were very familiar with the land, both of which they used to their advantage. To avoid detection, they did not wear a uniform but mingled with the peasants or hid in the jungle. When China and Russia began providing Vietnam with weapons, the North Vietnamese brought them through the jungle by foot or on bicycle at night this is because they were virtually undetectable through the thick greenage. ...read more.

Conclusion

In order to achieve 'Peace with Honour', Nixon's foreign affairs minister, Dr. Kissinger held secret talks with the North Vietnamese and an armstice was signed in Paris in January 1973. The remainder of the US troops went home and thousands of South Vietnamese went with them. For the US the whole war was a disaster; the Domino Theory had happened with Vietnam , Laos and Cambodia falling into communism; 58000 soldiers died, 300000 were injured and 7000 suffered psychological effects; the war had cost America a staggering total of $120 billion and the US population had a strong anti-war feeling due to the widespread media images showing horrific images of the effects of nalpalm and the high death rate. For Vietnam the consequences were equally as bad; although the country had become united under comunism in 1976, the jungle and tropical rainforests had been reduced to scrubland, destroyed from the war; the economy was destroyed, a country that was once a major rice exporter now could not even feed its own people and it began relying on Russia heavily after its Chinese invasion in 1979. ...read more.

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