History Of The Cold War Quagmire, American, French and Australian style: Vietnam "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" —The US Declaration of Independence as quoted by Ho Chi Minh in the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence, 1945 As mentioned above, the end of the Second World War meant the colonial empires were collapsing. A particularly important case was French Indochina, i.e. the states of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The French tried to keep this area under their control with covert American help, but failed. On May 7, 1954, the French lost the Battle of Dien Bien Phu to a Vietnamese independence movement known as the Vietminh. The subsequently withdrew from the area. Vietnam was split, on a supposedly temporary basis, into two zones: the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), a Communist nation, and the State of Vietnam (South Vietnam), which was capitalist and French/US backed. The southern state was only supposed to be temporary, and
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