The Vietnam War

By: Scarlett Mesman

Vietnam Before the War

All of the conflict started back in 1945 when nationalist leader Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam independent from France. During WW2 America had seen Vietnam as an ally against the Japanese, but now because of their communist views and the possibility of spreading those views to a weakened France they were now the enemy. In 1950 President Truman gives France $15 million worth of military aid to help them take back Vietnam. This conflict finally came to a close in 1954 when the Geneva Convention separated the small country into the North and South. In the North Ho set up a communist dictatorship and Ngo Dinh Diem set up a republic in the South.

The War Begins

As to be expected, the peace between the two sides was not long lasting. The start of the Vietnam War began with the assassination of the South's leader Ngo after, but it wasn't till the assassination of the U.S. president J.F.K. and attacks on their naval craft that America joined in to help the South. When the Americans arrived over their they were in for a tougher fight than they had expected. Through the use of guerilla warfare in territory foreign to the Americans the North Vietnamese were easily able to gain the advantage. In the end many Americans were slaughtered on those far shores, a sacrifice many in the U.S. considered unnecessary. In the U.S. anti-war rallies were held throughout the country trying to persuade the government to stop forcing them to continue fighting this war. In some instances civilians were even hurt during these protests. The most famous one was at Kent State College where a peaceful protest quickly escalated into a massacre when students were shot down by the National Guard. The country was in turmoil outside and in.

The End at Last

The U.S. government finally withdrew from Vietnam in 1973 much to the relief of it's people, but for those in the South that remained it marked the end of their struggle there because by 1975 North Vietnamese advanced to Saigon captured it, finalized their victory over America, and set up a communist regime in the South. The war was over but the effects were still felt throughout. Refugees from the South escaped to other countries if they could and America was still recovering from all the lives lost during the war. In 1982 at the Washington Mall a large stone wall in the shape of a "V" was erected to serve as a memorial to what had happened in Vietnam.