Q13. Vietnam’s struggle for independence was a Water Loo for American’s. Elaborate.
Vietnam was part of French colony Indo-China since 1880. After World War II, French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, in 1954. Vietnam was divided between North and South at the 17th parallel, communists controlling the North and planned elections to reunite the country in 1956. “democratic” South functioned under a series of American-backed dictators. Civil War erupted with North Vietnam supporting a communist insurgency known as the Viet Cong in the South.
The U.S. viewed this struggle in purely Cold War, communist vs. capitalist, terms, ignoring its more nationalist character, it saw North Vietnam as a pawn in a Chinese plot to conquer all of Asia.
It supported the government in Saigon against the Viet Cong and North Vietnam and American President Johnson heavily committed American forces and aid to South Vietnam in the 1960s.
American soldiers faced unconventional guerilla war in Vietnam’s jungles with unique supply lines known as Ho Chi Minh trail running through neighboring countries Laos and Cambodia. In ensuing combat innocent people were killed in effort to indentify to eliminate the Viet Cong which increased public support for the Viet Cong. With no apparent progress or purpose increasingly frustrated the American public.
Media’s portrayal of this battle as a defeat turned much of the American public against the war. The war’s unpopularity forced President Johnson out of the presidential race in 1968. His successor Nixon negotiated a “peace with honor” (1973), gave American forces enough time to exit Vietnam before the Saigon government fell. In 1975, North Vietnamese forces entered Saigon, thus reuniting Vietnam.