Vietnam War (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: U.S. involvement in a costly, prolonged, and ultimately futile war has a profound impact on Americans’ social and political attitudes, as well as U.S. foreign policy.
Summary of Event
Early in 1954, representatives of nineteen nations gathered in Geneva with hopes of settling a revolutionary war that had been plaguing French Indochina since 1946. Before a truce could be concluded, Vo Nguyen Giap’s insurrectionary guerrilla army overran a vital French outpost at Dien Bien Phu. France had gambled its hopes on the staying power of this one garrison; when it fell, French power in Indochina fell with it. By the middle of the year, the Geneva Accords had ratified France’s withdrawal from Southeast Asia and divided French Indochina into Laos, Cambodia, and a Vietnam divided at the seventeenth parallel. The communist-oriented Viet Minh revolutionary forces, led by Ho Chi Minh, controlled the northern half of the country, while the remnants of the French colonial regime, now headed by Ngo Dinh Diem, controlled the southern part.
Aside from France, the country most interested in the fate of Vietnam and Southeast Asia was the United States. Since the inception of this colonial war, U.S. money and materiel had found their way into the Asian jungles in support of the counterrevolutionary French Union Forces. At the conclusion of the French phase of the war, U.S. aid to Indochina totaled billions...
(The entire section is 1909 words.)
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Vietnam Conflict (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Control of South Vietnam. Result: North Vietnam victory; communist takeover of South Vietnam.
The Vietminh victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 led to the withdrawal of the French from Vietnam, which they had colonized and controlled for more than a century except for a brief period during World War II. The 1954 Geneva Conference split Vietnam into North and South and recommended elections be held within two years. However, South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem rejected the Geneva agreement, proclaiming himself president of the Republic of Vietnam. The United States, which refused to sign the Geneva agreement, supported the Diem regime with funds and, by 1960, with 900 American military personnel.
The incoming presidential administration of John F. Kennedy, Jr., approved a counterinsurgency plan for Vietnam early in 1961. The Kennedy White House likewise sought a cease-fire in Laos, where communists also sought to gain a foothold. South Vietnamese President Diem requested an increase in the U.S. presence in his country, which rose to 3,205 advisers by the end of the year.
In 1962, the United States established the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), under the authority of General Paul Harkins. Changes were also made in the army’s joint chiefs and chief of staff positions. In order to gain the support of the...
(The entire section is 2025 words.)
Vietnam War (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Vietnam War was a 20-year conflict in Southeast Asia (1955975) between the government of South Vietnam and the Communist government of North Vietnam. The North Vietnamese sought the reunification of the two countries under its form of rule. The United States, determined to prevent Communist aggression, supported the government of South Vietnam and in the early 1960s became increasingly involved militarily in the conflict. By 1965 U.S. involvement had escalated, and U.S. armed forces had been introduced. Opposition to the war in the United States grew steadily, resulting in one of the most divisive periods in U.S. history. The United States ultimately withdrew its forces in 1973. Within two years the North Vietnamese defeated the South Vietnamese armed forces and took control of the country.
(The entire section is 3180 words.)