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The Vietnam Years

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The Vietnam Years by Herminne Tonita -

One of the landmarks of Washington DC is massive building of white marble. It is a memorial to Abraham Lincoln. Close by, almost hidden in the ground, stands another memorial. This is not to one man but to many. It is along wall of polished black marble and on it are carved many thousands of names. The names of those young Americans who died in the Vietnam War.

Vietnam had been ruled by France until 1954 when the French were driven out by the soldiers of a communist leader named Ho Chi Minh. Like Korea, Vietnam was then divided in two. Communist ruled the North and non- communist the South.

The next step was supposed to be the election of one government for the whole country. But the election never took place-mainly because the government of South Vietnam fear ed that Ho Chi Minh and his communists would win. Ho Chin Minh set out to unite Vietnam by war. He ordered sabotage and terrorism against South Vietnam. As part of their worldwide plan to contain communism, the Americans had already helped the French against Ho. Now they sent weapons and advisers to the government of South Vietnam.

By the early 1960s it was clear that the government of South Vietnam was losing the war. Ho Chin Minh had a guerrilla army of 100,000 men fighting in South Vietnam by then. These guerillas were called the Vietcong. By 1965 the Vietcong controlled large areas of South Vietnam.

By now the United States had a new leader, President Lyndon B. Johnson who had to face a difficult choice. He could leave Vietnam and the communist to take it over or he could send American troops to try to stop them. By 1968 500,000 men were fighting in Vietnam.

A guerilla war meant that often the Americans had no enemy to strike back at. American soldiers grew angry and frustrated. They sprayed vast areas with deadly chemicals to destroy the Vietcong's supply trails. They burned down villages which were suspected of sheltering Vietcong soldiers.

Film reports of the suffering in Vietnam were shown all over the world on television. People far away from the conflicting areas were able to see the terror and the cruelty of the war in their homes. Millions of people started to believe the Americans were cruel and bullying monsters.

President Johnson saw that the war was destroying the country's good reputation and was also setting his people against one another. The end ended in 1973 with the redrawing of the American troops from Vietnam. The war ended with the victory of Ho Chin Minh, who gave the city of Saigon its name.
The Vietnam Years written by Herminne Tonita for FamousWhy.com
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The Vietnam Years Image Source : This image is now in the public domain because its term of copyright has expired in Vietnam. According to copyright laws of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, all photographs enter the public domain fifty years after they were first published, and all non-photographic works enter the public domain fifty years after the death of the creator.



Tags: vietnam, washington dc, abraham lincoln, vietnam war, ho chi minh, 1960



Category: Education  - ( Education Archive)

Date Added: 23 June '07


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