On September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh, the most important and popular leader in the French colony of Indochina, announced the creation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. After writing President Harry S. Truman for assistance, and after patterning Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence after America’s Declaration of Independence, he invited U.S. military and political officials to attend a celebration in honor of Vietnam’s freedom. Later in the day, Ho Chi Minh ordered “The Star Spangled Banner” to be played in their honor.
Several weeks later, though, Ho Chi Minh and his Vietminh guerillas were beset by over 200,000 British and U.S. backed Nationalist Chinese troops. Instead of unification and freedom, Ho Chi Minh and the tattered Vietminh were forced to continue their fight for liberty. One month later, several U.S. officers were killed in action. Years later, on May 7, 1954, the French were defeated at the Dienbienphu. Even though the Geneva Conference had scheduled elections to occur to reunite the country, the U.S. intervened.
The U.S. also increased military and economic aid, igniting a civil war between North and South Vietnam. By 1961, 8000 U.S. troops had arrived in South Vietnam. By 1963, there were 16,000 military personnel, and 24,000 in 1964. After the Gulf of Tonkin debacle, the U.S. initiated massive bombing campaigns against North Vietnam. By 1968, there were over 500,000 U.S. troops in South Vietnam. The TET Offensive, My Lai Massacre, and kil… >>>