Vietnam and Asia

American soldiers are dropped off by U.S. Army helicopters to join South Vietnamese ground troops, 1965
American soldiers are dropped off by U.S. Army helicopters to join South Vietnamese ground troops to advance in an attack on a Viet Cong camp 18 miles north of Tay Ninh, northwest of Saigon near the Cambodian border, in March 1965 during the Vietnam War. © Horst Fass/Associated Press.

Vietnam was one cultural, political, and economic entity. Its people saw themselves as one country for centuries. Communist leader Ho Chi Minh led the opposition to French colonization in the 1930s. He also led against the World War II Japanese invasion and the French recolonization. 

In 1949, France allowed South Vietnam to be a separate state under an emperor but within its empire. After Japan was defeated in 1945, the United States began subsidizing the French re-colonization. The French Army was defeated in 1954. South Vietnam was declared a republic with heavy U.S. economic and military subsidies.

India opposed the U.S. intervention politically. China and the Soviet Union provided military and financial support for those who wanted to unite their country. It was expected that an election would be held where all Vietnamese would decide whether there would be one united country or two.

But the U.S. and South Vietnamese governments refused to have an election. In 1959, the Viet Cong was established in South Vietnam. To unify the country, it began conventional and guerilla warfare against South Vietnam.

The US. escalated its intervention by sending armed troops to South Vietnam after it was alleged that North Vietnam attacked two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. The U.S. sent more troops in 1965 it needed to draft and recruit more young men to fight in Vietnam. This triggered what became the biggest anti-war protests in U.S. history. 

Vietnam and Asia