The Vietnam War and its Subsequent Ties to the Cold War Essay

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The Cold War was a prolonged period of political and military tension between countries on the side of democracy and those on the side of communism, the major players being the United States belonging to the former and the Soviet Union belonging to the latter (Westad). While the Cold War was known as such because there were no direct wars between the two major powers, there was large scale fighting in Vietnam. The Vietnam War (1954-75) is thought of as a historical consequence of the Cold War and hence a proxy war between the socialist and capitalist blocs, although many historians provide a second perspective, which is that the war was simply a nationalist struggle for national independence and reunification. While the latter argument …show more content…
The leaders of the new struggles were the radical Confucian intellectuals who were heavily influenced by the Western theories and particularly by the reformist movements in Japan and China. They belonged to ‘the Generation of the Lasts and the Firsts’ as David G. Marr calls them: the generation of the last Confucian leaders and of the first Vietnamese who accepted Western theories (Marr). The defeat of the anti-French movements in the late nineteenth century prompted these patriotic Confucian intellectuals to analyze the reasons for their failure and to find new strategies to wage the nationalist struggle. The development of the reform movement in China, and particularly the successes of the Meiji reform movement in Japan, strongly influenced these Vietnamese intellectuals (Lawrence).
The Second World War (1939–45) radically changed the world order. It also changed the destiny of Vietnam. As war broke out in Europe, Ho Chi Minh left the USSR and quickly moved to south China. The ICP launched two armed revolts, one in the north in September 1940 and the other in the south in November 1940 (Lawrence). Like other revolts of that time, the abortive insurrections led by the communists were quickly and brutally suppressed by the French. Within a few months the ICP lost thousands of its members, and most of its high-ranking leaders,…

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