France refused the declaration and returned to Vietnam, driving Ho’s forces into North Vietnam. In 1954 a cease fire was declared and Vietnam was officially divided in two, with the North ruled by Ho and communist forces, and the South under a French backed Emperor. The dividing line was the Seventeenth Parallel. Because of the domino theory, the theory that if Vietnam fell to communism it would spread to the rest of Southeast Asia, the USA began to support the anti-communist politician, Ngo Dinh Diem. With assistance from the USA, Diem took control of the South Vietnamese Government in 1955 and declared the republic of Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh, the principal leader of the Viet Minh, was even made a special OSS agent. Eventually, the Japanese signed their formal surrender (on September 2, 1945), and Ho Chi Minh used the occasion to declare the independence of Vietnam, which he called the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV). However, although Emperor Bao Dai resigned the throne, the French refused to acknowledge Vietnam’s independence, and later that year drove the Viet Minh into the north of the country. Ho Chi Minh wrote over eight letters to Truman (while he was president) asking him for the U.S support. However, after the Cold War, the United States and Truman feared support of communism in any form.
After WW2, in South East Asia there was a high risk of spread of communism. In America's opinion, South East Asia countries were like dominoes: if one of them turned communism, others would follow its example. This is why in 1954 President Eisenhower decided to support South Vietnam in order to stop the spread of communism. By 1963 there were 17000 US advisors in South Vietnam. At that time the president of Vietnam was Diem, disliked by the most of the population, especially Buddhists which were persecuted because of their religion (Diem was catholic).
United States' Involvement in Vietnam Vietnam is a small country in the south of china (Vietnamese means "non-Chinese people of the south"). In the 17th century French missionaries arrived in Vietnam. The catholic priests began to convert the Vietnamese people to Catholicism and in the process rid themselves of their Buddhist ways and pledge their loyalty to god and not their Emperor. This led to the Vietnamese feeling hostility towards the Christian missionaries and there were several cases of priests being murdered. Some Vietnamese adapted to the French way of life and worked with the French government to control the 30 million people living in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, an area that France now called Indochina.
The ruler at the time of South Vietnam was Ngo Dinh Diem who was anti-Communist. Also at the Geneva Conference of 1954, Laos and Cambodia became independent states. North Vietnam disliked the division of Vietnam, and wished to unify North and South Vietnam. Since the United States feared the spread of communism in Asia, John F. Kennedy provided military support and economic relief to South Vietnam to prevent a takeover by North Vietnam. At this point in time, Vietnam is in the midst of a civil war, so the United States was not officially involved.
This group was engaged in the training of South Vietnamese troops in the use of U.S. weapons. In the spring of 1954 the Vietminh won a big battle against the French at Ðien Biên Phu. Even with the help of America, France was unsuccessful, and they gave up the fight. Vietnam was partioned at the 17th parallel between North and South Vietnam. The north became a communist republic, while the south became a republic under the right wing dictator, Ngo Dinh Diem.
The US became slowly embroiled in war in Vietnam by firstly trying to support the South Vietnamese fight the Communists of the North. As this became more entrenched, the US became more involved. The policies of the South Vietnamese and Americans were unpopular with the South Vietnamese. At first President Kennedy merely supported the South Vietnamese government The South Vietnamese President Diem, was catholic and the Buddhists resented this influence. President Kennedy approved a coupe d'etait and Diem was to be replaced by his brother Nhu.
Oppressive regimes are generally the cause of a national liberation movement, Vietnam being a perfect example. The Vietnamese people have been struggling for independence from France ever since the First Indochina War, which resulted in a temporary division of Vietnam into Northern and Southern sections. Northern Vietnam became controlled by Vietnamese Communists, opposing France, whose long term goals involved a unified communist rule of Vietnam. The United States did not favor this plan, in fact, it feared that Communism would gain popularity and eventually spread into all of Southeast Asia, a belief known as the “Domino Theory.” U.S. troops were sent to South Vietnam to prevent the collapse of the government, but ultimately, this effort failed, and caused the death of 3.2 Vietnamese, 1.5-2 million Lao and Cambodians, and nearly 58,000 Americans. In the beginning of the Vietnam war, the United States troops were only sent in to keep the South Vietnamese government from collapsing, but with the fall of Diem, the new ruler who had deposed Bao Dai, the former emperor, a more active involvement was required of the U.S.
As a result, the Geneva agreement was set up to try and keep order in Vietnam, the north would be ruled by communist Ho Chi Minh and the south by Ngo Dinh Diem. This was temporary, Ngo was meant to hold elections to unite Vietnam, but he never did and the Americans, scared that Ho would win, didn’t force him to. His Tyrannical policies made him very unpopular and the communists in South Vietnam rebelled and formed a guerrilla group, the NLF(Vietcong) to overthrow him. The Americans pumped in more money, this time into the South Vietnam army (A.R.V.N) to combat the Vietcong. Ngo’s worsening, corrupt regime caused the growth of the Vietcong and president Eisenhower, noticing this, sent in advisors.
The North was Communist, led by Ho Chi Minh and the South was Capitalist, under Ngo Dinh Diem. Diem was a fanatical Catholic and as communism hated religion, Diem hated all that communism stood for. This is why he got America’s support and one of the reasons why America got involved with Vietnam. Diem’s rule was in the era of the Domino Theory and anyone who was anti-communist in the Far East was far more likely to receive American backing. The Domino Theory was the creation of America’s Secretary of State and he believed that if one country was allowed to fall to communism, the country next to it would be the next to tumble just as when one domino falls, the rest go with it if they are connected.