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Why the United States Became Increasingly Involved in the War in Vietnam

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Why the United States Became Increasingly Involved in the War in Vietnam

The Vietnam conflict originated from a struggle against the colonial rule from France. Vietnam, previously known as Indochina, had been part of the French empire up until 1940, when France was defeated in the Second World War by Germany. During the German occupation of France, Japan seized control of Vietnam and it’s main resources like coal, rice and rubber. While the war was still being fought however, a strong anti-Japanese movement known as the Viet Minh emerged under the leadership of Communist Ho Chi Minh. This group fought against Japanese rule, and by the end of the Second World War, had successfully taken control of
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The war dragged on from 1946 to 1954. The French had a certain deal of control over the country however the guerrilla tactics of the Viet Minh proved almost impossible to defeat. Hit-and-run raids had cost France over 90,000 casualties by 1954. It was at this time that the decisive event came in the form of the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Well armed forces of French paratroopers were comprehensively defeated by the Viet Minh with the help of advanced weaponry provided by the USSR. France lost 3000 men in the battle with a further 8000 dying in captivity. A peace conference was held in Geneva following the defeat, at which it was decided that the country would be effectively divided into North and South Vietnam until elections could be held.

It was at this point that the United States became physically involved in Vietnam. The terms of the ceasefire stated that elections were to be held in order to decide the country’s future; however in 1954 the Americans stepped in and prevented these elections from taking place, fearing a Communist victory. The Americans did this because President Eisenhower and his government were convinced that China and the USSR were trying to spread Communism throughout Asia. Vietnam was seen as the first domino in a row, which would inevitably bring about the communist take over of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand,
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