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. Maddox incident, marked the formal entry of the United States into the Vietnam War. 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. His strong anti-communist stance was popular with the Americans who helped him rise to power. It caused the death of millions of Vietnamese and Americans. The main cause for the Vietnam War was the United States’ desire to halt the spread of communism. CAUSES OF THE VIETNAM WAR. Ho Chi Minh used the U.S. Firepower comes to naught. Try The struggle between French colonial forces and native Vietnamese citizens supported by Chinese communists was one of the root causes of the Vietnam War. 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 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. Hello, Sign in. 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. 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. The Vietnam War was caused by many factors that contributed to the warfare in Vietnam during the years of 1959 to 1975. The Vietnamese civil war began in 1959. The U.S. role grows. 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. While the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war was deadly, Vietnam… Chemical warfare polluted much of its farmland. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, also known as the U.S.S. The first major meeting of US and North Vietnamese troops resulted in a two part battle that raged across the La Drang valley in Southern Vietnam. The North was supported by communist countries such as the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. causes of the Vietnam war; why was the Vietnam war fought? The collapse of the South Vietnamese government in the spring of 1975, resulting in a communist takeover of the South. Vietnam became a French colony in 1877 with the founding of French Indochina, which included Tonkin, Annam, Cochin China and Cambodia. “In the summer of 1964 the Johnson administration was laying secret plans for an expansion of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. Frank Scherschel/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!”. During the Second World War, Japan invaded the country. 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. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The French lost control of their colony briefly during World War II, when Japanese troops occupied Vietnam. Causes of the Vietnam war Since the 19 th century, Vietnam had been under colonial rule. 6 billion dollars in financial support from the United States between 1945 and 1954. In 1965, the United States officially entered the war in response to North Vietnam's attack on a U.S. military ship. A French colony, Indochina (made up of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) had been occupied by the Japanese during the war. The war was fought between the North Vietnamese and the South Vietnamese throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Here are six events that led to the Vietnam War. More specifically, the war took place from 1955 until 1975 but it didn't escalate for until the 1960s. 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. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Battle of Dien Bien Phu. The Vietnam War was the longest war in the United States history because it lasted for nearly twenty years. The United States enters the war. The Vietnam War was a horrific war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. In 1941, a Vietnamese nationalist movement, the Viet Minh, was formed by their leader Ho Chi Minh (1890–1969) to resist the occupiers. They decided they should invade to spread their form of government. The conflict deepens. After the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, the North Vietnamese began to massacre thousands of Vietnamese from the South. 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. “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. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. De-escalation, negotiation, and Vietnamization. Before this disagreement was a war between Vietnam and the French. 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. America’s war in Vietnam had officially begun. The Vietnam War was a military campaign launched by North Vietnam against South Vietnam. Maddox reported that they had been ambushed, though the Turner Joy’s account has since been called into question by historians. When the French left, the Americans fought the war alone. Vietnam received 2. United States forces entered the conflict in support of the French in order to fight communism. 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. On August 4, the U.S. destroyer Turner Joy and the U.S.S. (Laos was added in 1893.) For more than a decade, the U.S. had declared that it would not let Vietnam fall to the communists. The Vietnam War is also known as the Second Indochina War. 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. When the French rejected his plan, the Viet Minh resorted to guerilla warfare to fight for an independent Vietnam. In May 1963, eight Buddhist protestors were killed by government officials in Hue. The Vietnam War started soon after that in 1945 when the communists and the democrats started fighting. During the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the communist North and anti-communist South (Spector). During the Cold War, the U.S. practiced a policy of containment. 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.”. That November, the United States backed a military coup in which Diem and his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, were murdered. The war started in November 1946, when the French bombarded the port of Haiphong and killed 6,000 people. Learn why a country that had been barely known to most Americans came to define an era. what started the Vietnam war? 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. 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. The Vietnam War started as a disagreement between communist North Vietnam and anti-communist South Vietnam. All Rights Reserved. The discrediting of the U.S. theory that the emergence of a unified, communist Vietnam would produce a " domino effect " involving the spread of … Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images. (U.S. President John F. Kennedy would be assassinated less than three weeks later.) The resulting Geneva Accords would dissolve the French Indochinese Union. “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. Vietnam was a battleground in the Cold War, when the United States and Soviet Union grappled for world domination. Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence from France on September 2, 1945, just hours after Japan’s surrender in World War II. Yet, Vietnam fell to the communists. The United States negotiates a withdrawal. 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. The conflict in Vietnam took root during an independence movement against French colonial rule and evolved into a Cold War confrontation. The war caused complete destruction of its infrastructure and thousands of its people were killed. In October 1946, the French announced their intention of reclaiming the north which meant that the Viet Minh would have to fight for it. Emperor Bao Dai was succeeded by Catholic nationalist Ngo Dinh Diem. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. The fall of South Vietnam. Hello, Sign in. 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. None of the institutions that led the U.S. into the There is no question that few conflicts have been as violent, long lasting and complex as the Vietnam War. what caused the Vietnam war? 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. Key Takeaways: U.S. Involvement in Vietnam Why?The absence of a clear explanation is not an accident. In response, Buddhist monk Thích Quang Duc set himself on fire in the middle of a busy Saigon intersection. The United States lost the Vietnam War. The Geneva Accords were signed in July of 1954 and split Vietnam at the 17th parallel. Most factors were the beliefs held by people who wanted to change or to prevent Vietnam becoming an Independent Country. 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 South was supported by anti-communist countries, primarily the United States. The Vietnam War was fought between communist North Vietnam and the government of Southern Vietnam. 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. There were many causes for the Vietnam War from both the North and South side. The coup was followed by a chaotic succession of 12 different governments in South Vietnam between 1963 and 1965. 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. There were also many emotions during the war for United States citizens, Vietnam citizens and soldiers of the war … The Vietnam War: The Causes Of The Vietnam War. 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 … Did you know? The causes of the Vietnam War trace their roots back to the end of World War II. On the Vietnamese side, the main cause of the war was the desire to have a national government that was truly independent. 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. 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. Paul Schutzer/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images. On August 2, 1964 the U.S.S. The north had the support of communist allies … President Harry S. Truman’s Truman Doctrine pledged political, military, and economic assistance to democratic nations facing threats from communist forces. 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. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. 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 … Jessica Pearce Rotondi is the author of What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family’s Search for Answers. The number of troops from South Korea was much greater than those from Australia … Vietnam was divided during the Cold War, when tensions between the U.S. and The Soviet Union were at an all-time high. By war’s end, North and South Vietnam would be reunited, but at great cost. Speci… 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 … Tet brings the war home. The Vietnam War has been widely discussed in the media and academic sources. The conflict between the French and the Viet Minh came to a head at the … But Diem’s preferential treatment of the Catholic minority led to protests throughout South Vietnam. 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. Maddox encountered three Soviet-built North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. The causes of the Vietnam War revolve around the simple belife that communism was threatening to expand all over south-east Asia. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. The reasons for the United States to get involved in the Vietnam War was to prevent a Communist takeover in the … The Maddox fired what it described as warning shots and was met by torpedo and machine gun fire. This, in turn, has fuelled antipathy towards both the regime and China and wholly failed to ease or heal the pain the conflict caused. The bloody conflict had its roots in French colonial rule and an independence movement driven by communist leader Ho Chi Minh. The United States supported the South, while China and Russia supported the North. North Vietnam would be ruled by Ho Chi Minh’s communist government and South Vietnam would be led by emperor Bao Dai. The question of who would rule Vietnam and how drew the interest of world superpowers, who watched the situation in Vietnam with growing unease. He established the League for the Independence of Vietnam, better known as the Viet Minh, in May of 1941. Try The French tried to win over the people of the North by offering th… The Gulf of Tonkin. 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. His dream of one, united, communist Vietnam was Minh’s singular mission, and at the war’s conclusion he stood victorious. N'T look right, click here to contact us by Catholic nationalist Ngo Dinh Diem they! 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