29.1 The War Develops
Colonial Vietnam
Vietnam is a
Southeast Asian
Bordered by Laos
and Cambodia to the
west; China to the
Rich in agricultural
Early History
Because Vietnam is a country rich in
resources, it was often invaded
 China invades the Red River Delta in 200 BC;
struggle raged for centuries (1400s)
 France invades Vietnam in the mid-1800’s, gains
control by 1883
When WWI ended, Ho Chi Minh, inspired by
the ideas of self-determination outlined by the
Fourteen points hand-delivered a letter to
Woodrow Wilson asking if it applied to Vietnam
 Wilson and the American officials turned him away
A Nationalist Leader
Under French rule, many
Vietnamese were driven to poverty
The French raised taxes and gave
the Vietnamese no civil rights
These conditions helped to fuel a
growing nationalist movement in
Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh
 “He who enlightens”
When Wilson refused to meet with
Ho Chi Minh, he joined the French
Communist Party (uh oh . . . )
Changing Rulers
Vietnam would change hands at the end
of WWII, and Ho Chi Minh, who now
believed a Communist revolt was the
only answer, resisted Japanese
Minh formed a group called the League
for the Independence of Vietnam, or
the Vietminh
Independence for Vietnam
After Japan surrendered to the Allies in
1945, the Vietminh took the opportunity
to declare Vietnam an independent
On September 2, 1945, thousands of
people gathered to hear Ho Chi Minh
speak; hoping to gain American support,
he quoted the Declaration of
Vietnam After WWII
As Ho Chi Minh feared, France claimed
Vietnam once again after WWII
In December of 1946, the Vietnamese
people began to battle French rule
Truman disappointed Ho Chi Minh as
well, and supported France in their
struggle against communist Vietnam
The Domino Theory
After Eisenhower became
President in 1953, he warned that if
Vietnam fell to communism, other
Southeast Asian countries would
soon follow
The Domino Theory – “You knock
over the first domino, and what will
happen to the last one is a
The U.S. began footing 75% of the
costs for the first war in Indochina
 Despite this, the French were losing to
the Vietnamese, who used guerrilla
tactics very effectively
What is ‘guerrilla warfare’?
France is Defeated
Dien Bien Phu
 The last stand of the French against the
 40,000 Vietnamese troops surrounded 15,000
French troops
 The French commander clung to hope that the
Americans would send reinforcements. We
 On May 7, 1954, France surrendered; each side
had lost nearly 300,000 soldiers in eight years
The Geneva Conference
After the French surrendered, the
Geneva Conference was held to work
out a peace agreement and arrange
Indochina’s future
The Geneva Accords were signed in
July of 1954; a ceasefire was worked
out, and Vietnam was temporarily
divided at the 17th parallel
( Here we go again . . . )
Growing Conflict
Under the control of Ho
Chi Minh
Under the control of Ngo
Dinh Diem
Backed by Communist
Backed by the United
North Vietnam
South Vietnam
On the Brink of Civil War
Ho Chi Minh first attempted to kidnap Diem
and force him to join the Communist north;
when this failed, he attempted to
assassinate him
The U.S. originally liked Diem, but soon
Diem’s corrupt and brutal leadership began
to disappoint U.S. officials
 Rigged elections
 Torture of prisoners
 Catholic favoritism despite large Buddhist
Civil War Breaks Out
Fearing Ho Chi Minh would win the 1956
election, Diem banned citizens of South
Vietnam from participating
This led to Civil War; Vietminh hiding in
South Vietnam formed the National
Liberation Front and named their forces
the Vietcong
 Wanted to overthrow Diem and re-unite North
and South Vietnam under a communist
U.S. Involvement
In 1955, President Eisenhower decided
to intervene on behalf of the South
Vietnamese army
In 1960, when JFK became President,
U.S. involvement increased, but he was
hesitant to send in forces; instead, he
increased the number of military
Diem’s Overthrow
Diem continued to grow more and more
unpopular, especially with Buddhists
When Buddhist monks began to protest his
government by setting themselves on fire,
public opinion turned sharply against Diem in
the world community
American support for Diem began to wane, but
they continued to support the South
Vietnamese army and a secret plot to
overthrow Diem but maintain control
The Self Immolation of
Quang Duc
June 11, 1963, Buddhist Monk Quang Duc
arrived by car at a busy intersection in
downtown Saigon
Two other monks assisted Duc in dosing
himself in gasoline, seating himself in the
middle of the intersection, and setting
himself on fire
Unlike the screaming Vietnamese citizens
around him, Duc made no sound and no
movement as he burned to death in a
matter of minutes
Diem’s Overthrow
In 1963, Diem was
murdered by the South
Vietnamese; JFK
supported the overthrow
but not the assassination
His stance on sending in
troops remained guarded;
it is not known whether this
would have changed, for
three weeks later JFK was
assassinated himself
The Tonkin Gulf Resolution
President Johnson, having taken over for
Kennedy, decided that increasing involvement
was the only way to prevent a communist
The U.S.S. Maddox presented a perfect
 The North Vietnamese attacked a navy destroyer in
the Gulf of Tonkin
 Johnson claimed the attack was unprovoked, even
though we were on a spying mission
 The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed on
August 7th, allowing Johnson to use “any means
necessary” to repel armed attacks of the North
Reviewing Ideas, Terms and People (Pg. 955)
What was French Indochina?
How did French rule influence Ho Chi Minh’s decision to
embrace communism?
Do you think Ho Chi Minh’s comparison of Vietnam after World
War II and colonial America was valid? Explain.
According to the Domino Theory, what did American leaders
think might happen if Vietnam became a communist country?
Do you think the Geneva Accords eased American concerns
about a domino effect in Southeast Asia? Why or why not?
Who were the Vietcong?
What was Eisenhower’s response to the growing strength of
the Vietcong?
Do you think the United States was justified in supporting Ngo
Dinh Diem? Why or why not?
What happened to the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin?
How might the Tonkin Gulf Resolution affect the power of the

29.1 - MollyMcDuffiesPortfolio