Indochina


Indochina is made up of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. It was colonized by the French in the
late 1800’s and given up in 1939. Japan tookover France’s loss after that. After Japan’s
defeat in 1945, Vietnam’s patriot and communist, Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh declared
Vietnam independent. After that, France came to claim their loss. The US supported France
fearing the “Domino Theory” would take affect after in 1949 China fell to communism. In
1950, the US sent troops to South Korea to prevent the dominos from falling. The
Vietnamese took fort Dien Bien Phoo in May of 1954, so then the French finally pulled out.
That set up 2 nations North Vietnam and South Vietnam split at the 17th parallel.

Ho Chi Minh was in the North and was a Communist
Ngo Dinh Diem was in South and disliked communism.

He argued that if there was an election to choose a leader of 1 unified nation, that Ho
would not permit fair elections.
Viet Cong Rebellion
In 1956, Diem closed all elections, and appointed local officials. That gave him less of
support. Also he didn’t win the support of the peasants, that was a major mistake… in
the south Vietminh members who were located in South Vietnam formed their own communist
party. Diem called them the Viet Cong meaning Vietnamese Communists. North Vietnam
supported the rebellion in the early parts. In 1959 the Vietminh set up a supply route to
South Vietnam through Laos and Cambodia. They were then named the Ho Chi Minh trail. Also
in 1959, the first American advisors were killed during a battle. By 1960 the Vietcong had
about 10,000 troops and were threatening to overthrow Diem. Then the US sent
15,100(WorldBook) more US advisors in from 1961 - 1963. The Buddhist’s also had a hard time
with Diem, they felt he did not give enough religious freedom. The Buddhists also held the
better part of Vietnam’s population. On June 21, 1963, an old Buddhist Monk Quang Duc lit
himself on fire as a form of protest. Diem who was a Roman Catholic and his brother,
performed massive arrests on Buddhists and raided Buddhist temples. Kennedy urged Diem to
improve relationships with Diem, but he didn’t take his offering. Then a group of generals
who were against Diem formed. On Nov. 1, 1963, the generals overthrew Diem and his
brother, and Diem and Nhu were murdered. Kennedy was not for that to happen. After that,
South Vietnam’s governments kept changing, and then in 1964 The Vietcong controlled 3/4 of
South Vietnam. In 1964, 2 American destroyers sitting in the Gulf of Tonkin were blown up,
the boats were The Maddox and C. Turner Joy. The attacks were never proven, and probably
will never be proven either. By that time, Kennedy was assassinated and Johnson took power,
and he sent in troops and had congress pass a bill to let him to fight back if he was first
attacked. By August 7, 1964 Congress had passed the bill and the Gulf of Tonkin
resolution, the US did not declare war, but sent troops over. In 1965 the first US ground
troops were sent to Vietnam. By 1969 the Americans had 543,000 men in, 800,000 south
Vietnamese and 69,000 from other countries. The Vietcong had around 300,000, but in their
techniques of Guerrilla warfare and just hit and run, that number was sufficient.

1965-1967
During this time, there was a very heavily fought war going on. The US bombed out Vietnam,
but still didn’t decrease the enemy’s will to fight. Also, the USSR and Red China aided
them. Whenever a ground encountement came up, the US usually won, but still didn’t change
the willingness to fight. They would put in a new round of troops to pay for their loss,
usually to prevent loss, the enemy would flee to Cambodia or Laos. At home the country was
split into two sections The Hawks & The Doves. The Hawks were the people who supported the
War, and the Doves who disliked the war. The Hawks though disliked LBJ’s of the slowly
sending in the troops. When LBJ ran higher taxes to support the war, his public support
sharply fell.

Tet offensive
In late January(January 30, the Vietnamese new year, Tet) the Viet