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The Vietnam War, History Today


Photo curtesy of the National Archives

The history of the United States can be simplified into a few key events, one of these events in recent memory being the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was preceded in the early 1950s by the succession of the colony of Vietnam from the French through backing by the Chinese government which just prior to this had undergone a civil war in which the Communist party had taken power. Through the backing from the Chinese government, Vietnam won its independence splitting the country into 2 similar to the split Korea had undergone with the communist bloc controlling the north and the democratic south under the control of the allied powers. In 1954 plans were made for an election to be held in 1956 for the unification of the country known as the “Geneva Conference”. In wake of this, another agreement was made known as the “Passage to Freedom” where over 500 thousand civilians of north Vietnam migrated to the south and 52 thousand moved from the democratic south to the communist north. In 1956 the election would not be held as the last french troops withdrew from the country leading up to the north Vietnamese invasion of Laos 2 years later, an event that would spark what is mostly known as the start of the Vietnamese War.

Shortly after this in 1960 a Coup (military overthrow of the government) was attempted by the north Vietnamese army followed by the founding of the Viet Cong on December 20th, 1960, A south Vietnam military group under the control of north Vietnam which through the war would become a major threat to South Vietnamese and American forces. 400 soldiers of the US special forces were sent to Vietnam to train soldiers of the country now under attack, this number would rise to 900 as JFK took power in the united states and was quickly increased to 16,000, the same month that this number had been reached JFK was shot and killed in Dallas texas bringing the conflict in the US to a boiling point where in 1965 the now president Lynden B. Johnsen would officially send 3,500 troops to aid South Vietnam which in a short time would be increased to 125,000. Following the Presidential election of 1968 the winner, Richard Nixon, would over time begin pulling troops from Vietnam in the thousands until 1973 when the last troops were drawn from Vietnam resulting in a Viet Cong victory. The next year President Richard Nixon would be removed from office over the watergate scandal.

The Vietnam war is an interesting piece of history that started with 100 events and led to a thousand more. Through this war a fear of communism was founded and strengthened in the united states and would be seen as one of the highest points of the cold war, one proxy war of many between the United States and the Soviet Union however of all the wars fought through the cold war the Vietnam War is the biggest in recent memory and affects us to this day.


Leian is a Junior at Poudre high school who is in his first year at the Poudre Press and runs a blog called History, Today.



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