Aftermath of the War

-After the war, Korea remained divided by a demilitarized zone which still remains today (Beck 543). In North Korea the communist dictator Kim II Sung established collective farms, developed heavy industry, and built up the military. A collective farm is a farm, or a number of farms worked by the community under the supervision of the state ( After the death of Kim Il Sung his son Kim Jong Il took power. Under their new leader North Korea invested in nuclear weapons, and their economy suffered. In the meantime South Korea established free elections, growing economy with U.S. aid. During the 1980's and 1990's, South Korea had one of the highest economic growth rates in the world.

Guerilla hiding spot, These wre usually covered with grass and leaves

The Road to War

-As nationalist independence groups began to develop, a young Vietnamese nationalist, Ho Chi Minh, turned to the Communists for help in his struggle. In 1920 the French Communist party was formed and Ho was one of it's founding members. Ho's sister joined the French army and stole weapons that she hoped the Vietnamese would use to drive the French out of their land ( She was eventually caught and was sentenced to life in prison. Ho and the Communist party were inspired by the Russian revolution and fallowed the ideas of Karl Marx ( Throughout the 1930's Ho and his Communist party led revolts and strikes against the French.

The Fighting Begins
Vietcong Guerilla hiding in a man made tunnel

-The Vietnamese Nationalist and Communist fought the French army using guerilla hit and run tactics. The French people began to question wether their colony was worth the money and lives being spent on it (Beck 544). In 1954 the French suffered a major military defeat at Dien Bien Phu and they surrendered to Ho (Beck 544). The United States supported French in Vietnam and with France's defeat the U.S. saw a rising threat to the rest of Asia. President described the threat as the Domino Theory. He said that the Southeast Asian nations were like a row of dominos. The fall of one communism would lead to the fall of its neighbors.

Vietnam-A Divided Country

-After the defeat of the French an international peace conference met in Geneva to discuss Indochina (Beck 543). At this conference they decided that Vietnam and Indochina should be divided. The United States and France created an anti-Communist government under the leadership of Ngo Dinh Diem. As Diem ruled the south as a dictator, Communist guerrillas, called Vietcong, began to gain strength in the south (Beck 543). In 1963, Diem was assassinated by a group of South Vietnam generals.

U.S Troops Enter the Fight

-In August 1964, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson told Congress that North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin (Beck 546). To this day it is still debated wether or not this actually happened. Due to the presidents claims, Congress authorized the president to send U.S. troops fight in Vietnam. By late 1965, more than 185,000 U.S. soldiers were fighting in Vietnamese soil and planes began to bomb North Vietnam (Beck 546). The U.S. faced two major challenges throughout the war. First, U.S. soldiers were fighting a guerrilla war in unfamiliar jungle terrain. Second, the U.S. citizens were not happy that we were defending the South Vietnam government. At the same time Vietcong gained support from Ho Chi Minh, the Soviet Union, and China. Unable to be successful on the ground the U.S. sent in the Air Force, they bombed millions of acres of farmland and forest as an attempt to destroy the enemy's hide outs (Beck 546).

The United States Withdraws

-By 1969 the Vietnam war was becoming unpopular in the U.S.. Under pressure from the U.S. citizens President Richard Nixon began to withdraw
soldiers from the war. Nixon had a plan called Vietnamization. It allowed U.S. troops to gradually pull out of the war as South Vietnam increased their combat role (Beck 546). As
Vietnamization was taking place, Nixon began a bombing campaign against North Vietnamese military bases and supply routes (Beck 546). The U.S. also bombed Laos and Cambodia to destroy any Vietcong hiding spots. Two years after the U.S. withdrew their last troops in 1973, North Vietnam took over South Vietnam. The war ended with nearly 1.5 million Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans lives lost.


Cambodia in Turmoil

-The Khmer Rouge, Communist rebels, were under the leadership of Pol Pot (Beck 547). Pol Pot's followers slaughtered nearly 2 million people in an effort to create a Communist government. The Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in 1978. They overthrew the the Khmer Rouge and installed a less repressive government (Beck 547). The Vietnamese withdrew in 1989, and in 1993 under the supervision of the UN Peacekeepers, Cambodia adopted a democratic constitution and held free elections.

Vietnam After the War

- After the war, North Vietnam sent people to "reeducation camps" were they learned about Communism. They also renamed Saigon, the South's former capital, Ho Chi Minh City (Beck 547). They made Ho Chi Minh City a Communists nation. About 1.5 million people fled Vietnam, some settling in the U.S. and Canada. More then 200,000 people died in the dangerously over crowded boats that sent them away from Vietnam. Even though Vietnam is still run by Communism, they now allow foreign investments (Beck 547). The U.S. normalized relations with Vietnam in 1995.

Work Cited Page

ModernWorld History, Roger Beck et al. Modern World History
Wars in Korea and Vietnam, Evanston, IL, McDougal Littell, 2007. Print

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