The Vietnam War

What it was

The Vietnam war was a proxy war.  This is where two opposing sides don't actually fight, but let someone else fight for them.  The ARVN for the South Vietnamese for the US, and the Viet Cong for the USSR.


  • In 1880, the French began colonizing, taking away rights and turning the Vietnamese against each other so the French could get their natural resources.
  • WWII starts and in 1940 when France is taken over, Japan occupies French Indochina and use their natural resources for the war and blocking them off from China. Japan was also looking to build an empire. This brought America in because they didn’t want Japanese expansion. In 1943, Roosevelt openly supported Vietnamese independence. They began working with Ho Chi Minh to win Vietnamese independence.
  • •Ho Chi Minh founded the communist Viet Minh group. It was a group that wanted full independence from any country. In the 1940s when Japan took over Indochina, the Viet Minh started taking back territory and becoming stronger with the people. Throughout the war, they worked with the U.S. against their common enemy, Japan. By the end of the war, the Viet Minh had almost full control of Vietnam. At the end of WWII, the French wanted to take back Indochina. The Viet Minh wanted full independence, while the French wanted complete control. They came to no agreement, and went to war.
  • The Geneva Accords were an agreement that split Vietnam into the North and the South, the North Communist, and the South Democratic.  The South didn't stick to the agreement to have elections held to see whether they would be Communist or Democratic.
  • Revolts in the South

    In the late 1950s, the South Vietnamese government was corrupt and the population was angry. The Viet Minh told its supporters in the South to start carrying out assassinations of officials, but to not wage guerrilla warfare. There was to many problems in the North, and they wanted to clean up. By ‘59, the mess in the North was cleaned up, and the government allowed its communist supporters to begin guerrilla attacks. The Army of the Republic of Vietnam(ARVN) were not trained, nor did they wish to fight. By 1960, the National Liberation Front(NLF or Viet Cong) was leading the attacks against the government. While ARVN had U.S. weapons, the Viet Cong had guerrilla tactics, a tunnel system that spread for hundreds of miles, and support of the people, if not communist, or communist sympathizers, people who were sick of the Saigon government.

    US Support

    From 1963 to 1964, the U.S. had been sending troops to help support South Vietnam, although they never did any fighting. In 1965, the U.S. began bombing the parts of South Vietnam, where the fighting was going on. The troops in the area began fighting. By 1968, there were 500,000 troops in South Vietnam, but they still had little effect against the 100,000 Viet Cong with guerrilla tactics.

    The Tet Offensive

    It was an attack on the Tet holiday.  There was supposed to be a cease fire because of it, but the Viet Cong ignored the Cease fire and used it to start an attack all across the country that split the country in half.

    The attacks began in 1968 and greatly weakened the Viet Cong. Although they had many casualties, the press who were in the area at the time exposed how the U.S. had been bombing the North and how the ARVN had been torturing and killing prisoners. American support for the war was nonexistent. The Tet Offensive cost 14,000 American lives, the most that had been lost during the war. By 1972, negotiations were made that allowed the U.S. to take troops out of Vietnam. The Viet Cong did not follow the agreement and still attacked Saigon. Despite U.S. support the Viet Cong won in 1975.

    Influences on the Public

    The first time the press actually got to see the fighting.  Since the Communist sympathizers wouldn't tell the US were the guerrilla fighters were, they would kill people who they had thought were communist or sympathizers.  The US public, of course, didn't like this.  There were many revolts.  This was when the peace symbol was made.  This war caused a lot of war songs to be made.  There were also war movies and books.

    State of Vietnam now

    It is Socialist.  There are around 90 million people in Vietnam, making it the 13th most populated country in the world, and the eight most populated country in Asia.  If is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.  It is estimated that they will be the 25th largest economy by 2025.  It is a market economy, so its socialist government was little control in the economy.

    Important people.

    Ho Chi Minh

    Lyndon B. Johnson



    Comment Stream

    3 years ago

    Good information, I learned Vietnam is the 13th most populated in the country.

    3 years ago

    Great information & presentation! Seems like you really knew what you were talking about. I learned A lot.