Causes of Americas War in Vietnam Description Understanding the Causes of America’s War in Vietnam
11 font in Calibri Be sure to read
The Tragedy of Vietnam
The Vietnam War: A History in Documents
to develop a sound knowledge of the topic.
These are to be your only sources for the paper
draw evidence (short quotes and specific data) from them and cite where you found it.
Focus Questions—be sure to answer these in preparation for writing your paper.
1. What sort of history had the people of Indochina had with foreign invaders/occupiers when the
The United States stepped into Vietnam?
2. Who was Ho Chi Minh and how would you describe his commitment to independence for the
people of Vietnam?
3. How would you describe Ho’s relationship with the COMINTERN and/or commitment to the
ideal of global communist revolution—expansion of communism?
4. What do you make of Ho Chi Minh’s declaration of independence in 1945?
5. What was the U.S. view of the reassertion of French colonial rule in Indochina in 1945?
What had served to change this view by 1950?
6. What was decided in the Geneva Agreements of 1954—at the end of French rule? Why were the
elections scheduled for 1956 never held?
7. Who was Ngo Dinh Diem and how would you describe his rule in South Vietnam—1955-63?
8. How did the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations view the situation in Vietnam/S.E?
9. How concerned were American leaders about what Eisenhower called the “domino theory?”
10. What led Lyndon B. Johnson to take the U.S. to war in Vietnam 1964-65?
For the formal paper:
In essence, one by one in the paragraph from within your paper you should address the questions above
. But read below for another way to think about your task here.
What central aspects of the historical context (the who, when, where, what) does your reader
need to consider before understanding this important historical subject? Explain.
What were the central causes of this conflict in Southeast Asia—how would you explain
America’s involvement in Vietnam leading to the Vietnam War?
Your job is to undertake an informed analysis (drawing heavily from the documents) of how one
can best understand this historical issue. The vast majority of the American public know little or
nothing about the origins, policies, events, decisions that led to this conflict—your paper should
seek to present essential aspects to an informed understanding of this important topic.
There is the important matter to consider regarding Ho Chi Minh’s bottom line convictions. You
must decide what you think makes the most sense here. Was Ho Chi Minh a COMINTERN
agent first and Vietnamese nationalist leader only second—the spread of Communism had to be
stopped and thus the U.S. response? Or was Ho a Vietnamese nationalist first and foremost and
therefore much less inclined to have a goal of furthering the spread of communism beyond
Vietnam’s borders? Or did it really matter either way to U.S. policymakers who were inclined to see it through a Cold War lens anyway? (recall the “domino theory” advocated by D.D.
Eisenhower, JFK, and LBJ—as well as Containment Policy at the base of U.S. foreign policy