During the Second World War, Japan invaded the country. In response, Buddhist monk Thích Quang Duc set himself on fire in the middle of a busy Saigon intersection. During the Cold War, the U.S. practiced a policy of containment. Thesis statement: Although the Vietnam War caused by the U.S. desire to stop the spread of communism had negative consequences on Americans, including social, economic and political consequences, this event helped to shape Modern World History. The U.S. role grows. Maddox incident, marked the formal entry of the United States into the Vietnam War. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. “In the summer of 1964 the Johnson administration was laying secret plans for an expansion of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. 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.”. The north had the support of communist allies … 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. The Maddox fired what it described as warning shots and was met by torpedo and machine gun fire. The United States lost the Vietnam War. “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. Here are six events that led to the Vietnam War. (Laos was added in 1893.) Firepower comes to naught. The main cause for the Vietnam War was the United States’ desire to halt the spread of communism. Vietnam became a French colony in 1877 with the founding of French Indochina, which included Tonkin, Annam, Cochin China and Cambodia. The Vietnam War was the longest war in the United States history because it lasted for nearly twenty years. United States forces entered the conflict in support of the French in order to fight communism. By war’s end, North and South Vietnam would be reunited, but at great cost. More specifically, the war took place from 1955 until 1975 but it didn't escalate for until the 1960s. In order to assess the role of the Vietnam War in shaping the Modern World History, it is necessary to refer to the causes, consequences and solutions to the military conflict. The Causes of the Vietnam War Callum Pastuszak The Vietnam War was one of the bloodiest conflicts post WWII, it is important to understand how it started and learn from our mistakes so nothing like this happens again. The Vietnam War is also known as the Second Indochina War. That November, the United States backed a military coup in which Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, were murdered. For all of the self-satisfied voyeurism surrounding the Vietnam War, it’s hard to find a concrete idea about why the U.S. lost. 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 Cold War had been waging since the end of World War II with the United States and its Western allies pitted against the Soviet Union and China. Battle of Dien Bien Phu. 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 … 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. The Vietnam War was fought between communist North Vietnam and the government of Southern Vietnam. 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 South was supported by anti-communist countries, primarily the United States. Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images. On August 2, 1964 the U.S.S. The United States negotiates a withdrawal. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! (U.S. President John F. Kennedy would be assassinated less than three weeks later.) Tet brings the war home. The Vietnam War has been widely discussed in the media and academic sources. The French lost control of their colony briefly during World War II, when Japanese troops occupied Vietnam. The war caused complete destruction of its infrastructure and thousands of its people were killed. He established the League for the Independence of Vietnam, better known as the Viet Minh, in May of 1941. For more than a decade, the U.S. had declared that it would not let Vietnam fall to the communists. Vietnam received 2. 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. The war was fought between the North Vietnamese and the South Vietnamese throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. It caused the death of millions of Vietnamese and Americans. The Vietnam War started soon after that in 1945 when the communists and the democrats started fighting. “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. Why?The absence of a clear explanation is not an accident. Key Takeaways: U.S. Involvement in Vietnam During the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the communist North and anti-communist South (Spector). Ho Chi Minh used the U.S. The Vietnam War started as a disagreement between communist North Vietnam and anti-communist South Vietnam. Paul Schutzer/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, also known as the U.S.S. The United States supported the South, while China and Russia supported the North. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. 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. The Vietnam War had its roots in the French colonial conquest of Indochina in the mid-19th century and in the nationalist movements that arose to oppose it. 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 discrediting of the U.S. theory that the emergence of a unified, communist Vietnam would produce a " domino effect " involving the spread of … At the end of the Second World War , on 2 September 1945, nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam an independent country. An election was scheduled in two years’ time to unify Vietnam, but the U.S., fearful that a national election would lead to communist rule, ensured it never took place. There were also many emotions during the war for United States citizens, Vietnam citizens and soldiers of the war … Ho Chi Minh, North Vietnam’s leader during the loathsome conflict, led his country into war with the goal of reuniting both Vietnamese nations under one rule: his own. A French colony, Indochina (made up of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) had been occupied by the Japanese during the war. In May 1963, eight Buddhist protestors were killed by government officials in Hue. None of the institutions that led the U.S. into the President Harry S. Truman’s Truman Doctrine pledged political, military, and economic assistance to democratic nations facing threats from communist forces. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. Main causes 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 … Maddox encountered three Soviet-built North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. The question of who would rule Vietnam and how drew the interest of world superpowers, who watched the situation in Vietnam with growing unease. The bloody conflict had its roots in French colonial rule and an independence movement driven by communist leader Ho Chi Minh. North Vietnam would be ruled by Ho Chi Minh’s communist government and South Vietnam would be led by emperor Bao Dai. Hello, Sign in. There is no question that few conflicts have been as violent, long lasting and complex as the Vietnam War. Causes of the Vietnam war Since the 19 th century, Vietnam had been under colonial rule. The Vietnam War: The Causes Of The Vietnam War. His strong anti-communist stance was popular with the Americans who helped him rise to power. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. The South Korean government, under the administration of Park Chung-hee, took an active role in the Vietnam War.From September 1964 to March 1973, South Korea sent some 350,000 troops to South Vietnam.The South Korean Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force all participated as an ally of the United States. Maddox reported that they had been ambushed, though the Turner Joy’s account has since been called into question by historians. The reasons for the United States to get involved in the Vietnam War was to prevent a Communist takeover in the … The U.S. entered the Vietnam War in an attempt to prevent the spread of communism, but foreign policy, economic interests, national fears, and geopolitical strategies also played major roles. 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. 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. All Rights Reserved. It caused huge casualties on both sides, and was so fluid and chaotic that both sides claimed victories for themselves.However, the battle’s importance lay not in the body count but the fact that it defined the tactics of both sides for the war. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The causes of the Vietnam War revolve around the simple belife that communism was threatening to expand all over south-east Asia. The number of troops from South Korea was much greater than those from Australia … There were many causes for the Vietnam War from both the North and South side. 6 billion dollars in financial support from the United States between 1945 and 1954. The Vietnamese civil war began in 1959. causes of the Vietnam war; why was the Vietnam war fought? De-escalation, negotiation, and Vietnamization. Vietnam was divided during the Cold War, when tensions between the U.S. and The Soviet Union were at an all-time high. Try what caused the Vietnam war? The coup was followed by a chaotic succession of 12 different governments in South Vietnam between 1963 and 1965. Emperor Bao Dai was succeeded by Catholic nationalist Ngo Dinh Diem. Before this disagreement was a war between Vietnam and the French. Speci… The resulting Geneva Accords would dissolve the French Indochinese Union. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. 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. The primary military organizations involved in the war were the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the United States armed forces, fighting against the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) (commonly called the North Vietnamese Army, or NVA, in English-language sources) and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF, more commonly known as the Viet Cong (VC) in English language … The Vietnam War was a military campaign launched by North Vietnam against South Vietnam. The Gulf of Tonkin. 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. America’s war in Vietnam had officially begun. The conflict between the French and the Viet Minh came to a head at the … They decided they should invade to spread their form of government. The conflict deepens. The causes of the Vietnam War trace their roots back to the end of World War II. The Vietnam War was a horrific war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. In 1965, the United States officially entered the war in response to North Vietnam's attack on a U.S. military ship. Did you know? When the French left, the Americans fought the war alone. The Geneva Accords were signed in July of 1954 and split Vietnam at the 17th parallel. When the French rejected his plan, the Viet Minh resorted to guerilla warfare to fight for an independent Vietnam. His dream of one, united, communist Vietnam was Minh’s singular mission, and at the war’s conclusion he stood victorious. Chemical warfare polluted much of its farmland. On the Vietnamese side, the main cause of the war was the desire to have a national government that was truly independent. On August 4, the U.S. destroyer Turner Joy and the U.S.S. what started the Vietnam war? 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. After the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, the North Vietnamese began to massacre thousands of Vietnamese from the South. Most factors were the beliefs held by people who wanted to change or to prevent Vietnam becoming an Independent Country. Vietnam was a battleground in the Cold War, when the United States and Soviet Union grappled for world domination. Try CAUSE AND EFFECTS OF THE VIETNAM WAR Cause and Effects of the Vietnam War Cause and Effects of the Vietnam War In the Vietnam conflict of the 1960s and early 1970s, both the Americans and the North Vietnamese were the protagonists of brutal war crimes, though the more advanced American arsenal took by far the utmost toll. In 1941, a Vietnamese nationalist movement, the Viet Minh, was formed by their leader Ho Chi Minh (1890–1969) to resist the occupiers. 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. Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence from France on September 2, 1945, just hours after Japan’s surrender in World War II. The war started in November 1946, when the French bombarded the port of Haiphong and killed 6,000 people. The fall of South Vietnam. The Vietnam War was caused by many factors that contributed to the warfare in Vietnam during the years of 1959 to 1975. In October 1946, the French announced their intention of reclaiming the north which meant that the Viet Minh would have to fight for it. This, in turn, has fuelled antipathy towards both the regime and China and wholly failed to ease or heal the pain the conflict caused. Jessica Pearce Rotondi is the author of What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family’s Search for Answers. The United States enters the war. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... An insurgency of communist Vietnamese (known as the, Increasing financial and military aid from the U.S. to South Vietnam as part of an attempt to contain, or limit, the spread of, A parallel increase in support to the North from both China and the Soviet Union, Allegedly unprovoked attacks on two U.S. destroyers by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the, The collapse of the South Vietnamese government in the spring of 1975, resulting in a communist takeover of the South, The discrediting of the U.S. theory that the emergence of a unified, communist Vietnam would produce a ", The deaths of as many as 2,000,000 Vietnamese civilians, 1,100,000 North Vietnamese soldiers, 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers, and some 58,000 U.S. troops. While the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war was deadly, Vietnam… But Diem’s preferential treatment of the Catholic minority led to protests throughout South Vietnam. The French tried to win over the people of the North by offering th… Learn why a country that had been barely known to most Americans came to define an era. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. The collapse of the South Vietnamese government in the spring of 1975, resulting in a communist takeover of the South. CAUSES OF THE WAR North Vietnam was under a communist government South Vietnam was under democratic government Ho Chi Minh launched a campaign with the goal of uniting the country under communist ruling. The North was supported by communist countries such as the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. Yet, Vietnam fell to the communists. 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. 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