The Vietnam War ● Ho Chi Minh ○ Inspired by Wilson’s call for self determination ○ Went to Versailles and asked for Vietnamese independence ○ The Viet Minh formed to fight for independence → a response to japanese imperialism after they had forced the french out (so they were actually on the same side as the US during WW2) ○ September 2nd, 1945 → Ho Chi Minh declared independence ○ Page 319: “all men are created equal, they are endowed by their creator...nevertheless for 80 years, the french imperialists have violated our fatherland...acted contrary to our ideals of humanity and justice”. ○ Vietnam is looking for the same kind of freedom and political values that exist in the US → Vietnamese nationalism is not dangerous to the west, but is aligned with their principles and goals. Expects support from the US ● During the war, FDR supported independence, but after the war he and truman wanted France as an ally and allowed france retain control of indochina ○ The french controlled most of the cities and the Viet Minh controlled the countryside ● French Objectives ○ Create a french union in southeast asia that would include cambodia, Lao, and Vietnam ○ Limited autonomy for french colonies but no real independence ○ All three countries would remain economically and politically dependent on france ● Towards american intervention ○ American decision to support france and Bao Dai ○ Fall of Dien Bien Phu ○ Importance of chinese assistance ○ Eisenhower’s domino thesis: “with respect to the first one, two of the items from this particular area are tin and tungsten. They are very important. Asia after all has already lost 450 million of its people to communist dictatorship. When we come to the possible sequence of events, the loss of burma, indochina, etc...losing millions and millions of people”. ○ If indochina falls, the rest of southeast asia will fall as well ○ Not only are there strategic raw materials in this area, losing them would threaten global capitalism. But also communist politics will prevail in the region if indochina falls. ● American assistance to Diem ○ Ngo Dinh Diem → a catholic who have been PM under Bao Dai ○ CIA helps to eliminate the opposition ○ Sends money for administrative and police training ○
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