The History Of Vietnam

Submitted By harvinder12
Words: 1278
Pages: 6

Geneva Accords, 1954.

Conference held to end the fighting between Viet Minh and France because:

- France was losing and wanted out - China wanted to avoid involving USA further in Indochina - USSR prepared to make compromises to try to gain support of France

• Ho resisted conference as it meant compromise when he was winning. • Diem – new Prime Minister of S. Vietnam – didn’t trust Ho and didn’t want to negotiate. • Eisenhower thought France might concede too much to Communists.


• Vietnam temporarily divided at 17th parallel into North and South. • France to withdraw from the North, Viet Minh’s from the South. • Democratic elections to be held in 1956 for all of Vietnam. Vietnam to be unified. • Military alliances with foreign posers not allowed for North and South. • France to help organise 1956 election.

USA didn’t sign the agreements as they believed it gave Viet Minh too much.

The agreement is between France and Viet Minh only. Diem (S.V.) vows to fight North Vietnam.

After the Accords.

Vietnam and Eisenhower.

Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAGG) sent by the USA to support Diem’s regime.

Diem holds corrupt elections in S.V. in 1955 to oust Bao Dai. Diem becomes leader of S.V.

USA and S.V. do not hold elections to unite Vietnam, knowing Ho would win.

USA is doubtful of Diem’s abilities – ‘a messiah without a message’ – and Nixon (Vice Pres) says that S.V. cannot govern or fight a war by itself = S.V. a weak ally.

MAGG acts as advisor on land reform (1% of the pop. owns all S.V. land) and give Diem hundreds of millions of dollars.

US flattery on Diem’s state visit to the USA makes him resistant to US calls for change. He is unpopular and repressive at home. He represents Catholics in a Buddhist country and is a wealthy landowner rather than a man-of-the-people like Ho.

Many S.V. begin to support the North even if they had previously been wary of Communism.

Ho’s desire to be seen to follow the Geneva Accords leads to lack of support for S.V. Communists before 1959 = Diem arrests and executes thousands.

By 1960 Ho’s supporters in S.V. have formed the National Liberation Front (NLF) but Diem calls them Vietcong (Vietnamese Communists). Their aim is to unite Vietnam.

Diem further alienates his people by forcing some peasant farmers to leave their villages and ancestral graves, and work in special army-controlled villages. He also resists calls for moderate reform and becomes more repressive. MAAG supports this but US diplomats do not.

1961 - $1 billion given in aid by the USA since 1954, and 1500 advisers sent. “We bet pretty heavily on him.” – Eisenhower. “A puppet who pulled his own strings – and ours as well.” – US State Department official.

Diem’s US supporters saw the situation in Vietnam as one that could be solved by the military. Other US advisers saw it a one that also involved nationalism and popular support.

The USSR was less committed to Ho, suggesting in 1957 that both South and North Vietnam be admitted to the United Nations. Limited support was given by both China and USSR.

Summary: Eisenhower promised to roll back Communism but failed in Korea, failed also in Vietnam – N.V. became official communist state. His desire to keep this election promise prompted his significant support of S.V. The loss of China to Communism in 1949 and the subsequent McCarthyism in the USA added to the pressure to resist Communism in Vietnam. However, he resisted calls to use atomic weapons and military personnel for moral reasons and to avoid bringing China and USSR more fully into the conflict.

“Eisenhower left Kennedy a policy of unequivocal support for Diem that had kept the domino from falling, but had not produced a self-sufficient nation in the South. The Eisenhower administration trapped itself and its successors into a commitment to the survival of its own counterfeit creation (a