Vietnam War started in the 1950s. The United States sent troops into Vietnam. In 1964 Vietnam tried to take over China and Russia. The United States feared a communist takeover and what Ho Chi Minh. Americans were against communism and were trying to stop further spread of it. In 1950 the first U.S. troops were sent out. President Lyndon B. Johnson had the power to stop the war in Vietnam, but didn't want to be seen as losing the war. The pressure was so much for him that he didn't run for a second term and he handed his position to Richard Nixon. General William Westmore land was top U.S. commander in Vietnam. There was huge protest against the war in the U.S. Life in the jungles of Vietnam was difficult. It was very dark and shaded which created a horrible battlefield in which U.S. soldiers were at a disadvantage. The effects of fighting in the jungles were that soldiers got a skin disease known as "jungle rot." Soldiers turned to drugs and stimulants. Since the strain of war was so intense on the soldiers, not only did they turn to drugs and stimulants, but they also turned to violence toward comrades, cock fighting, and occasionally dog fighting. Many U.S. soldiers had resisted the draft. On January 27th 1973 the Vietnam War officially ended. Vietnam became officially united at the cost of 58,000 U.S troops and the North Vietnamese army suffered a death total of 1.1 million. Along with the dead there were 1,170,000 people of both sides injured or ill.

Key Individuals:

Ho Chi Minh: He was the first primary Vietnamese nationalist and Communist leader during the twentieth history. He resisted French, Japanese, and American influence in Vietnam. He was born into poverty and traveled widely. He lived in Paris, London, and New York for a period of time where he gained some knowledge on Western ideas like Communism. When he returned to Vietnam he founded the Indochina Communist Party in 1930 and Viet Minh in 1941. From the time he founded it until he died which was in 1969, he was president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and served as the primary North Vietnamese leader throughout most of the Vietnam War.

General William Westmoreland: became top U.S. commander in Vietnam in 1964. He established many search and destroy missions. He pushed U.S. troops and requested 200 000 more troops after 1968 which shocked the American public because they thought they had been making breakthrough in the war.

Richard Nixon: was the U.S. president who organized American withdrawal from the war in the 1970s on behalf of the pleas of the American public. Nixon did authorize illegal military actions in Cambodia and Laos. NIxon started negotiating with North Vietnam, China, and the Soviet. In 1972 Nixon was re elected in a land slide, but the scandals of his actions in Cambodia soon arose. He withdrew the U.S. but resigned in 1974.

Lyndon B. Johnson: was John Kennedy's predecessor. He tried to limit U.S. commitments in Vietnam, but the war escalated after Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964. Johnson authorized the Operation Rolling Thunder in 1965 to bomb North Vietnam. After that he sent 500 000 troops and turned the conflict into a bitter war.

Henry Kissinger: His involvement in Indochina had started before he was National Security Adviser to Nixon. Along with Le Duc Tho, Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the act to ceasefire in the Paris Peace Accords on trying to end the war and restoring peace in Vietnam. Le Duc Tho rejected the award and told Kissinger that peace had really not been restored in the South. Kissinger accepted the award with humility.

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Timeline of the Vietnam War

  • Exit of the French 1950-1954
  • John F. Kennedy administration 1960-1963
  • Lyndon B. Johnson expands war 1963-1969
  • Vietnamization 1969-1972
  • Opposition to Vietnam War 1962-1975
  • Exit of the Americans 1973-1975

How this Influenced the Cold War

Vietnam was known as a Cold War military conflict.The Vietnam war was all about the United States trying to contain communism. Since the end of World War 2 the United States and the Soviet Union fought for power and influence. The Vietnam war somewhat mimicked the Cold War because the U.S. and the USSR avoided direct contact with the threat of nuclear war which did end up happening later on in the war. This war overall heightened the tension of the Cold War.