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Old 11-08-2006, 12:59 PM
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The History Of The Viet Nam War

START'S ON NOV. 9,2006
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Old 11-08-2006, 06:08 PM
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Vietnam War Overview

Vietnam War Overview



Fearing the spread of communism, President Kennedy committed the people of the United States of America to defending the fledgling democratic government of South Vietnam. Despite its arguably noble intentions, the war in Vietnam would prove the greatest challenge to American democratic idealism since the Civil War.

During the ten years of America's commitment to the Vietnam war, 55,000 servicemen would be killed or listed as missing; the presidency would change hands three times; and the American people would wage their own war at home against the United States government.

The conflict's roots took shape in July 1954, when France was forced out of Vietnam after one hundred years of colonial rule. In the peace process, the country was partitioned into northern and southern sections, with a U.S.-supported government in the south and a communist republic in the north. On December 20, 1960, the northern Communist Party formed the National Liberation Front (NLF), with the ultimate goal of reunifying the country. In response, U.S. President John F. Kennedy began supplying military equipment and advisors in 1961.

Matters escalated when North Vietnam launched an attack against the C. Turner Joy and the U.S.S. Maddox, two American ships on call in the Gulf of Tonkin, on August 2, 1964. In the U.S. Congress, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed, allowing for an expanded war effort. Despite hopes for a limited, "controlled" war, the conflict would drag itself out for another decade.

In early 1965, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson ordered the first of many sustained bombing missions over North Vietnam , which would be known as Operation Rolling Thunder. In March of the same year, the first U.S. combat troops were sent to Vietnam.

Despite superior U.S. firepower and technology, the North Vietnamese forces were successful in fighting a protracted, guerilla-style conflict. American fortunes changed for the worse with the Tet Offensive in 1968, in which major South Vietnam cities were attacked. Historians disagree on the literal success of the offensive, but it proved to be a huge boost for North Vietnamese morale, and had the opposite effect on the South Vietnamese and U.S. forces.

As American servicemembers fought in Vietnam, a different kind of war was taking place for American citizens back home, where the struggle was between the American people and their opposition to the fighting in Vietnam; and the American presidency's (beginning with J.F.K.) determination to halt the spread of communism. Incidents such as the police riot in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention became more common, and even became tragic with the shootings of Kent State University student protestors in 1970.

Ultimately, lacking a credible plan for winning the war, the American government was forced to give in to the wishes of the American people and withdraw its troops from Vietnam. In early January 1973, the Nixon administration, the Paris Peace Agreement ended open hostilities between the U.S. and North Vietnam. However, the South Vietnamese continued to battle the Communists from March 1973 until the fall of Saigon and the capture of the South Vietnamese presidential palace on April 30, 1975, which brought the war to a close.

So divisive was the conflict in Vietnam and America's involvement that relations among the government, the people and the military would be strained until they were reunified by the Gulf War 25 years later. As evidenced by numerous documentaries, books and films about the war, the hard lessons the U.S. learned in Vietnam are still very much in the public consciousness.
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Old 11-09-2006, 05:12 AM
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Geneva Conference

Geneva Conference
Any of various international meetings held at Geneva, Switzerland. Some of the more important ones are discussed here. International conference held April-July, 1954, to restore peace in Korea and Indochina. The chief participants were the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, the People's Republic of China, North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam, the Viet Minh party, Laos, and Cambodia. No agreement was reached on transforming the Korean armistice into a permanent peace, but three agreements were reached providing for an armistice and political settlement in Indochina. The so-called Summit Conference, held in July, 1955, was an attempt to restore mutual trust between East and West. President Dwight D. Eisenhower (United States), Premier Nikolai Bulganin and First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev (Soviet Union), Prime Minister Anthony Eden (Great Britain), and Premier Edgar Faure (France) discussed German reunification, European security, disarmament, and cultural and economic interchange. Although no substantive agreements were reached, the meeting closed on a note of optimism. Directives were issued for a meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries to be held later that year to reach agreement on German reunification, disarmament, and other issues. For the Geneva conferences of foreign ministers in 1955 and 1959. Conference beginning Oct., 1958, between Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union, held in an attempt to reach an accord on banning tests of nuclear weapons. Since then, most international meetings held at Geneva have concerned the basic problems of the limitation of nuclear arms and provisions for international inspection and control. The UN Disarmament Commission, which began meeting in Geneva in 1960, has met there permanently since 1962.
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:37 PM
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Ho Chi Minh #1

Ho Chi Minh
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:38 PM
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Ho Chi Minh #2

Ho Chi Minh
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Old 11-09-2006, 03:40 PM
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Causes and Early Years

Causes and Early Years
In part, the war was a legacy of France's colonial rule, which ended in 1954 with the French army's catastrophic defeat at Dienbienphu and the acceptance of the Geneva Conference agreements. Elections scheduled for 1956 in South Vietnam for the reunification of Vietnam were cancelled by President Ngo Dinh Diem. His action was denounced by Ho Chi Minh, since the Communists had expected to benefit from them. After 1956, Diem's government faced increasingly serious opposition from the Viet Cong, insurgents aided by North Vietnam. The Viet Cong became masters of the guerrilla tactics of North Vietnam's Vo Nguyen Giap. Diem's army received U.S. advice and aid, but was unable to suppress the guerrillas, who established a political organization, the National Liberation Front (NLF) in 1960.

Ho Chi Minh

1890-1969, Vietnamese nationalist leader, president of North Vietnam (1954-69). His given name was Nguyen That Thanh. In 1911 he left Vietnam, working aboard a French liner. He later lived in London and in the United States during World War I before going to France near the end of the war. There he became involved in the French socialist movement and was (1920) a founding member of the French Communist party. He studied revolutionary tactics in Moscow, and, as a Comintern member, was sent (1925-27) to Guangzhou, China. While in East Asia, he organized Vietnamese revolutionaries and founded the Communist party of Indochina (later the Vietnamese Communist party). In the 1930s, Ho lived mainly in Moscow and China. He finally returned to Vietnam after the outbreak of World War II, organized a Vietnamese independence movement (the Viet Minh), and raised a guerrilla army to fight the Japanese. He proclaimed the republic of Vietnam in Sept., 1945, and later agreed that it would remain an autonomous state within the French Union. Differences with the French, however, soon led (1946) to an open break. Warfare lasted until 1954, culminating in the French defeat at Dienbienphu. After the Geneva Conference (1954), which divided Vietnam at the 17th parallel, Ho became the first president of the independent republic of North Vietnam. The accord also provided for elections to be held in 1956, aimed at reuniting North and South Vietnam; however, South Vietnam, backed by the United States, refused to hold the elections. The reason was generally held to be that Ho's popularity would have led to reunification under Communist rule. In succeeding years, Ho consolidated his government in the North. He organized a guerrilla movement in the South, the National Liberation Front, or Viet Cong, which was technically independent of North Vietnam, to win South Vietnam from the successive U.S.-supported governments there. See biographies by Jean Lacouture (1968), David Halberstam (1971), Jean Sainteny (1972), Charles Fenn (1974), and Dana O. Lloyd (1986).
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:57 AM
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Viet Minh

Viet Minh
Officially Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh [League for the Independence of Vietnam], a coalition of Communist and nationalist groups that opposed the French and the Japanese during World War II. The Viet Minh spearheaded Vietnamese resistance to French rule in the French Indochina War (1946-54). The organization was soon dominated by Communists, and in 1951 its Communist elements were absorbed by the Communist party of North Vietnam.
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:06 PM
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Ngo Dinh Diem

Ngo Dinh Diem
1901-63, president of South Vietnam (1955-63). A member of an influential Roman Catholic family, he was a civil servant before World War II and was connected with the nationalists during the war. He repeatedly refused high office with the government of Bao Dai until 1954, when he became prime minister. In 1955 he controlled a referendum that abolished the monarchy and emerged as South Vietnam's ruler. With strong backing from the United States, Diem initially made some progress, but his favoritism toward his family and toward Roman Catholics over Buddhists caused substantial criticism by the early 1960s. Opposition grew as Diem's authoritarianism increased and as South Vietnam's position in the Vietnam War deteriorated. With the apparent connivance of the U.S. government, a group of dissident generals staged a coup in 1963, and Diem was murdered during the takeover
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Old 11-12-2006, 10:07 AM
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Bao Dai

Bao Dai
1913-, Emperor of Annam (1926-45) and chief of state of Vietnam (1949-55). Born Prince Nguyen Vinh Thuy, he was the son of Emperor Khai Din and succeeded to the throne in 1926, but did not occupy it until 1932. Bao Dai cooperated with both the Vichy French and Japanese during World War II but in 1945 the Viet Minh nationalists under Ho Chi Minh forced his resignation. The emperor returned in 1949 as head of the new state of Vietnam, which included Annam plus Tonkin and Cochin China. After Vietnam's partition (1954) he accepted Ngo Dinh Diem as prime minister. In 1955 Diem engineered a referendum that abolished the monarchy and assumed control. Bao Dai subsequently lived in exile, primarily in France.
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Old 11-16-2006, 09:12 AM
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Dienbienphu

Dienbienphu
Former French military base, N Vietnam, near the Laos border. It was the scene in 1954 of the last great battle between the French and the Viet Minh forces of Ho Chi Minh in Indochina. The French occupied the base by parachute drop in Nov., 1953; this move prevented a Viet Minh thrust into Laos and provided support for indigenous forces opposing the Viet Minh in that area. Although the base could be supplied only by air, the French military felt its position was tenable. Weary of inconclusive guerrilla warfare, they were willing to invite an open Viet Minh attack in an area where their superior weaponry could be used to full advantage. The Viet Minh army, under the command of Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, chose to engage the French, and by March, 1954, some 49,500 Viet Minh troops had encircled Dienbienphu, where some 13,000 soldiers, under the leadership of Col. (later Gen.) Christian de Castries, were firmly entrenched in strong positions. The first Viet Minh assault came on March 13, and by the end of April, despite massive French air bombardment, the French defense area had been reduced to 2 sq mi (5 sq km). Desperate pleas for U.S. intervention were unsuccessful, and on May 7, after a 56-day siege, the French positions fell. This defeat signaled the end of French power in Indochina.
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Old 11-18-2006, 08:51 AM
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Viet Cong

Viet Cong
Officially Viet Nam Cong San [Vietnamese Communists], People's Liberation Armed Forces in South Vietnam. The term was originally applied by Diem's regime to Communist troops (about 10,000) left in hideouts in South Vietnam after the Geneva Conference of 1954, following the French Indochina War (1946-54). Most Communist troops, according to the agreements, had withdrawn to North Vietnam. Supported and later directed by North Vietnam, the Viet Cong first tried subversive tactics to overthrow the South Vietnamese regime, then resorted to open warfare. They were subsequently reinforced by huge numbers of North Vietnamese troops infiltrating south, and aided in the reunification of Vietnam following the collapse of South Vietnam in 1975.
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Old 11-18-2006, 07:13 PM
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U.S. Involvement

U.S. Involvement
In 1961, South Vietnam signed a military and economic aid treaty with the United States leading to the arrival (1961) of U.S. support troops and the formation (1962) of the U.S. Military Assistance Command. Mounting dissatisfaction with the ineffectiveness and corruption of Diem's government culminated (Nov., 1963) in a military coup engineered by Duong Van Minh; Diem was executed. No one was able to establish control in South Vietnam until June, 1965, when Nguyen Cao Ky became premier, but U.S. military aid to South Vietnam increased, especially after the U.S. Senate passed the Tonkin Gulf resolution (Aug. 7, 1964) at the request of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In early 1965, the United States began air raids on North Vietnam and on Communist-controlled areas in the South; by 1966 there were 190,000 U.S. troops in South Vietnam. North Vietnam, meanwhile, was receiving armaments and technical assistance from the Soviet Union and other Communist countries. Despite massive U.S. military aid, heavy bombing, the growing U.S. troop commitment (which reached nearly 550,000 in 1969), and some political stability in South Vietnam after the election (1967) of Nguyen Van Thieu as president, the United States and South Vietnam were unable to defeat the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces. Optimistic U.S. military reports were discredited in Feb., 1968, by the costly and devastating Tet offensive of the North Vietnamese army and the Viet Cong, involving attacks on more than 100 towns and cities and a month-long battle for Hue in South Vietnam.
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:18 AM
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Hue

Hue
City (1990 est. pop. 211,000), former capital of the historic region of Annam, Vietnam, in a rich farming area on the Hue River near the South China Sea. Probably founded in the 3d cent. a.d. , Hue was occupied in turn by the Chams and the Annamese. After the 16th cent. it was the seat of a dynasty that extended its power over S Annam, modern Cochin China, and parts of Cambodia and Laos. The first king of Vietnam, Nguyen Anh, was crowned there in 1802, and shortly thereafter Hue became the capital of the new kingdom, emerging as an artistic and literary center. The French occupied the city in 1883. During World War II the Japanese mined iron ore in the area. In the Vietnam War, Hue was the scene of the longest and heaviest fighting of the Tet offensive (Jan.-Feb., 1968); some 4,000 civilians were killed and most of the city, including the palaces and tombs of the former Annamese kings, was destroyed. Much of the city has been rebuilt. Hue has an important airport and is the seat of the Univ. of Hue.
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:20 AM
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Duong Van Minh

Duong Van Minh
1916-, Vietnamese army officer and political leader. A military advisor (1962-63) to President Diem, he helped to overthrow Diem in 1963. He was head of government (1963-64), after which he went into exile. Minh returned in 1968, serving as an opposition leader against President Thieu. A presidential candidate in 1971, Minh withdrew, charging election rigging. He returned briefly as President in 1975, in an unsuccessful conciliation effort but was placed in detention after the Communist takeover.
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:51 PM
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JUST FOLLOW THE LINK

http://www.vietnamwar.com/warhistory.htm
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