1940s Cold War Context: anticommunism. American moralism. superpower rivalry. 1940’s Colonialism Context After WWII Asian Colonies demanded independence from European Nations 1961 Entire Region Decolonized By 1950s Cold War Context: The Korean War: containment via confrontation. The domino theory. The U.S. as a “nation builder.”
Indochina includes most of Southeast Asia; it is a political distinction created by France to include its colonial possessions of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia (also known as French Indochina).
long history of invasion and colonization China occupied Vietnam for 1200 years (repelled in 939 AD). Vietnam independent until the 19 th century. 1800’s France invaded and occupied Southeast Asia (including the southern region of Vietnam) and for 100 years it was a French colony. While Buddhism is Vietnam’s dominant religion, the French preferred Christianity. 7
Japan invaded and occupied Vietnam during WWII. Forced out with allied effort by 1945 France, devastated by WWII, tried to re-occupy Vietnam (with U.S. support) from 1945-54 but was driven out. The U.S. stepped in to support “South Vietnam” Japanese officer surrenders to an Indian officer in Saigon, 1945. The Vietnamese hoped they had finally won their independence,
The Cold War! The U.S. needed French support for the Marshall Plan and NATO. The First Indochina War (’46- ’54) was fought by Cold War antagonists: U.S.S.R. and China supported Vietminh. The U.S. supported France.
1. The American failure to understand the effects of Western colonialism in the Third World. 2. Due to American Cold War fears, Americans misinterpreted post-1945 Third World liberation movements (nationalism) as Soviet- led communism. 3. The domino theory did not hold up if insurrections were nationalist-inspired more than communist-inspired, yet the U.S. clung to the domino theory, partly because it sold well. 10
The Indochina War was a conflict between the French imperialists, who sought to return Vietnam as a colony of France, versus the Vietnamese nationalists (most of whom were also communists) who sought sovereignty for Vietnam. 11
Leader of the Vietnamese nationalist movement to bring sovereignty he was a nationalist. This is what made him appealing to the Vietnamese. A hero during the Japanese occupation Helped British and American support, helped drive them out. 1945 When the Japanese were defeated he proclaimed independent Democratic Peoples Republic of Vietnam (NV) Viet mien- was his Guerilla Army who fought Japanese and later the French for liberation France declared they still had control of North Vietnam 12
Grateful to the American liberators and an admirer of the American Revolution, Seen in his Vietnamese Declaration of Independence. A Marxist with a proletariat background. Many communist ideals( US feared this Advocate of guerilla warfare tactics against foreign occupiers/imperialists. Not a puppet of the USSR or China. Truman and others lumped him as a puppet of the Soviets.
In 1945, Vietnam was liberated from Japanese occupation. Ho Chi Minh celebrated the Americans as liberators and sends a a letter to Truman begging him to support a Independent Vietnam Prior to end of the war-FDR caved in to French and British demands to return Vietnam as a colony of France. FDR felt he needed the French and British as allies in the emerging superpower rivalry with the Soviets. Truman carried out this policy by supporting the French in the Indochina War of 1946-1954.. 14
No possibilities of an official Independent Vietnam Vietnamese refused to give up the territories in the North 1946 France Attacks North Vietnamese territories
The U.S. supported the French, while China and the USSR supported the nationalist communists. The Indochina War was largely funded and partly supplied by the U.S. in exchange for French support for the American- desired NATO. The French and Americans sought to carve out the southern region of Vietnam and turn it into “South Vietnam” in a nation-building experiment. South Vietnam would be a pro- U.S. capitalist friend.