Vietnam by Tony Hong Autumn, 2004
Independence, freedom, liberation; these became the primary objectives of the South Vietnamese. The Vietnam War proved to be a milestone in the history of Vietnam and greatly impacted the dynamics of the United States as well. This horrific event was an obstacle blocking the path of the natural rights that were granted to the South Vietnamese at the time of their birth. It was the single-most important factor which resulted in the division of Vietnam and influenced the migration of its people to the US. The war itself paved the way for the freedom that Vietnam is experiencing today and on US diplomacy in international affairs. The US’s intervention during Vietnam’s campaign to free itself from Imperialism and in its efforts to become a recognized country worldwide, led to a hostile relationship between Vietnam’s current leader, Ho Chi Minh, and the US. Ho Chi Minh’s strong influence on his people made the US’s decision to bear arms and join the war all the more controversial. With the events of the past, the cause of the Vietnam War will slowly be revealed. Using the US’s involvement in Vietnam politics, the measures that the US had taken in these foreign affairs will provide the necessary evidence to prove that the war could have been prevented. By analyzing these accounts, it will gradually uncover the US’s accountability and obligation to enter the war.
The roots of the Vietnam War show the first signs of the rising conflicts and revolutions created by the Vietnamese. The time of Colonial rule became a very critical event that would later lead to a liberation known as the Vietnam War. It all began in the 1860’s with the French seizing Saigon and gaining control of Vietnam. By 1885, the Vietnamese soon realized that the French had split Vietnam into three territories: Tonkin, Annam, and Cochin China. (Duiker) The Vietnamese became outraged at the French’s treatment of their people. In order for the French to keep disciplinary rule over the Vietnamese, the French routinely held public executions. As a sign of extreme disrespect to the Vietnamese, the French captured the decapitated heads of the Vietnamese and printed them on postcards. This inhumane act caused a great stir among the captive Vietnamese.
It was not an easy victory for the French to obtain rule of Vietnam because many of the people were resistant to French rule. When a group of people are subjected to rule by a foreign nation, there is a natural tendency to oppose this force. It was more than 20 years later before the French had finally taken control of the Vietnam, which led to the first era of colonialism. (Duiker) The economics of the country faced turmoil as the French reconstructed their normal workloads as well as trade patterns. As soon as the French inhabited the country, they began to open up factories and expanded mines, and forced the Vietnamese to work in these dangerous jobs. Trade relations with other nations expanded greatly as the French had exported rice to over 30 different countries nearly exhausting Vietnam’s resources. During the times of bad harvest seasons, the French would still continue to export the same amount of rice to countries, causing a great shortage of rice and starving its “supposed” people. With the rice famine leaving the Vietnamese with little to no food, a rise in hostility towards the French developed.
Low wages, bad working conditions, famine—all contributed to revolts initiated by the Vietnamese. The majority of the revolts were led by people who were educated under the Western Education system, which I find is ironic. One man, who had been a very important figure to the Vietnamese, was a man named Ho Chi Minh. He did not receive this name at the time of his birth, but rather he chose it for a purpose, because it means, “He who enlightens.” Ho Chi Minh was born on May 19, 1890 under the name Nguyen Tat Thanh. In 1911 at Marseilles, Nguyen That Thanh made a request to the Ministry of Colonies that he wanted to go to the Colonial Training school, but was rejected. In order to help his country, he would follow the Vietnamese saying, “If you want to catch a tiger, you must first go to the gate of its lair,” which led to his travels to France, where he had taken up various jobs to make a living. (Huyen) One job, which displayed his compassion for Vietnam, was when he worked for a paper, “Le Paria,” where he revealed in a cartoon that he was really worried about how the French were treating the Vietnamese.
Under the identity of Nquyen Ai Quoc, Ho became interested with Vietnam’s freedom, so he attended the Versailles Treaty Conference where his fame spread throughout the Vietnam provinces. He went to this conference attempting to draw attention from the Western powers with his plea for Vietnam autonomy. (Huyen) The Western powers ignored his request because they believed that Vietnam was just a small Asian country that could be left alone. This infuriated Nquyen Ai Quoc and drove him towards the path of communism.
In 1920, Nquyen Ai Quoc became the founder of the French Communist Party, and was sent to Moscow, in 1923, to attend a training session. This setting was where he had learned a form of Revolutionary Vanguard—a small group of dedicated revolutionaries could seize power and mobilize a nation. 1940, had marked the end of the French rule, but had brought on the rule of the Japanese. (Halberstam) In 1941, after 30 years of exile, Nquyen Ai Quoc returns to Vietnam, under the pseudo name Ho Chi Minh. Ho Chi Minh attempts to overthrow the Japanese rule by forming the League of Vietnamese Independence (Viet Minh). He had many followers because the people had soon discovered that he was there beloved Nquyen Ai Quoc, whom they respected and trusted. The Viet Minh trained under the tactics of guerilla warfare, which were taught to them by the United States. (Halberstam) The US agreed to help the Vietnamese because the Vietnamese had rescued US troops that had fallen and had informed the US about Japanese actions. The US began bombing the Japanese holding, Saigon, which had stirred up fear in the Japanese. This led to the August Revolution, when the Viet Minh marched on to seize Hanoi and declared Vietnam Independence.
Under the cover of Nquyen Ai Quoc, the passport photo on the left, portrays Ho Chi Minh as a younger man who is not yet ready to lead a nation. However, once the Vietnamese people discovered that he was the man they loved, they quickly pledged their allegiance to his cause. The photo on the right, is a more mature and disciplined Ho Chi Minh, ready to lead his nation to freedom. This image of him will forever be instilled in the minds of both North and South Vietnam.
September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared that Vietnam was now the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. On this day, Ho Chi Minh made a historic speech on Vietnamese independence that rallied the country. He had read the following, “All men are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” This opening address was an idea taken from the United States Declaration of Independence. On this day, 400,000 people heard this speech and responded to Ho Chi Minh’s cry, “Compatriots, can you hear me.” And the people replied in unison, “Yes, we hear you.” (Huyen)
Left, Ho Chi Minh is giving an addresss on Vietnam’s Independence taking place on Sept. 2, 1945. Crowds of people watched as their leader pronounced them free men. On the right, Ho Chi Minh, is meeting with officials from France in 1946, recognizing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam as an entity.
Ho Chi Minh sent several letters to the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, concerning freedom for Vietnam, but these letters were left unattended and unanswered. During this time, communism was spreading quickly through Eastern Europe as well as Asian powerhouse, China. (Doyle) The underlying reason the United States did not initially seek to assist Ho Chi Minh in his efforts to liberate Vietnam was in their belief that Ho Chi Minh was closely linked to communism. The US carefully analyzed Ho Chi Minh’s communist background and came to the conclusion to not allow the communism to take over Vietnam. Through further negotiations with the French powers, the US’s only solution to this problem was to allow the French to regain sovereignty over Vietnam.
In 1946, the US warships ferried elite French troops to Vietnam where they quickly regained control of the major cities, including Hanoi, Haiphong, Da Nang, Hue, and Saigon, while the Viet Minh controlled the countryside. The Viet Minh had only 2000 troops at the time Vietnam’s independence was declared, but recruiting increased intensely following the arrival of the French troops. By the late 1940’s, the Viet Minh accumulated hundreds of thousands of soldiers ready to fight for their cause. In 1949, the French set up a government entity to rival Ho Chi Minh’s, instating Bao Dai as head of state. These conflicts gave rise to the first Indochina War, which lasted from 1946-1954. (Isaacs) The most memorable battle between the French and the Viet Minh was the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. The Viet Minh called forth a massive offensive on Dien Bien Phu; they quickly shattered the French defensive and soon ended the war. As a result of the defeat, the French were forced to reach a peace agreement in Geneva on July 20, 1954, where they relinquished control over North Vietnam. (Isaacs) This led to the division of Vietnam into two territories: North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh and his communist government ruled North Vietnam, while Emperor Bao Dai headed South Vietnam.
Following the Geneva agreement, there was a stipulation to ensure that Vietnam would once again be whole. An election would be held in 1956, where the North and South Vietnam would vote for their chosen government and would officially become the government of Vietnam entirely. The United States knew that the election would be in favor of the communist government because of the increase in population of North Vietnam, thus, the US refused to sign the Geneva Accords. They presented the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, which had extended the allies protection over the Southeast Asian countries, in case of a communist takeover. This became a major factor in the US’s involvement in the Vietnam War. (Isaacs)
In order to complete this all-out prevention of communism in Vietnam, the US replaced Emperor Bao Dai with a more promising rule, Ngo Dinh Diem. The US persuaded Diem to withdraw form the elections with North Vietnam, causing greater hostility between the North and South Vietnam. Rather than being in the North Vietnam election, Diem easily swept all opposing candidates in the South. As ruler of South Vietnam, Diem renamed South Vietnam, the Republic of Vietnam. The decision made by the US to put Diem in power had been a big error that allowed North Vietnam to increase its power. (Summers) Diem’s corrupt ruling had shamed the US and his own people. Almost immediately after being elected, Diem claimed that his newly created government was under attack from Communists in the north. Diem argued that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam wanted to take South Vietnam by force. Diem should be held accountable for the cause of the Vietnam War because the US had taken part in advising Diem on certain issues that had caused problems with his people. (Summers) In late 1957, with American military aid, Diem began to counterattack. He used the help of the American Central Intelligence Agency to identify those who sought to bring his government down and arrested thousands. Diem passed a repressive series of acts known as Law 10/59 that made it legal to hold someone in jail if s/he was a suspected Communist without bringing formal charges.(Isaacs) The outcry against Diem's harsh and oppressive actions was immediate. Buddhist monks and nuns were joined by students, business people, intellectuals, and peasants in opposition to the corrupt rule of Ngo Dinh Diem. The more these forces attacked Diem's troops and secret police, the more Diem complained that the Communists were trying to take South Vietnam by force. This was, in Diem's words, "a hostile act of aggression by North Vietnam against peace-loving and democratic South Vietnam."
Towards the beginning of the Vietnam War, the people who had once been loyal to South Vietnam were now outraged as a promise of a unified Vietnam was broken. At this point, Diem now refers to the Viet Minh as Viet Cong, meaning “Commies.” (Isaacs) Diem passed many new policies alienating the rights of the peasants which in turn, increased the Viet Cong resistance over the Diem government. From 1956-1960, the Communist Party of Vietnam desired to reunify the country through political means alone. Accepting the Soviet Union's model of political struggle, the Communist Party tried unsuccessfully to cause Diem's collapse by exerting tremendous internal political pressure. After Diem's attacks on suspected Communists in the South, however, southern Communists convinced the Party to adopt more violent tactics to guarantee Diem's downfall. In order to keep the Diem government in power the US created the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). (Doyle) This group had the task of preventing the communist party from spreading south. Under the authority of Diem, the ARVN took away the land of the peasants and returned them to their former owners. Diem felt that the land distribution determined by the Viet Minh would lead to a rise in communist activities, so he reversed the land distribution plan in hopes of containing the communist activities.
A rise in Viet Minh followers in South Vietnam gave way to a higher risk in communist overthrowing the government. These Viet Cong formed the National Liberation Front (NLF), who was plotting to overthrow Diem. (Isaacs) They began to train under guerilla tactics and became known as the People’s Liberation Armed Forces. Fear of US involvement in South Vietnam’s affairs, the NLF held back their rebellion, under the strict orders of their North advisors. While the NLF was waiting patiently for the moment of reunification of Vietnam, the US had plans to build up the forces of South Vietnam. The US secretly placed spies in the North Vietnam territory to spread rumors that the communists would begin their persecution of the Catholics. This resulted in over 1 million Catholics joining the South Vietnamese party. As a result of the Catholics move into South Vietnam, demonstrations by Buddhists caused an alarm in the government. Diem’s government was beginning to fall apart.
As the Saigon war began in January 1963, South Vietnam’s allies suffered a great loss. Even though this battle was a victory for the allies, they endured a greater defeat. The ARVN troops had gone into the battle with 2000 soldiers against the NLF’s 350 troops. The ARVN had more advanced machinery and weaponry, but suffered 61 casualties to the NLF’s 12 casualties. This brought on a public outcry, which questioned the involvement of the US. To relieve the people of this burden, President Kennedy declared that he would send the United States Special Forces to occupy South Vietnam and help train the ARVN infantry. To make matters worse, Diem again attempted to cut off the peasant recruitment strategies of the NLF by forcing his people in villages with secure government surveillance. (Summers) This left the administration power to Diem’s brother, Nhu. Nhu abused his power by convicting peasants with outrageous charges, which forced these peasants to abandon the ARVN cause and ally with the NLF. President Kennedy saw that the policies made by Diem had been the catalyst in the increasing NLF recruitment. In his attempt to preserve South Vietnam, Kennedy allowed General Dong Van Minh to conduct a coup d’etat against Diem. This resulted in a November 1, 1963, murdering of Diem and Nhu. (Summers)
Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded as President of the United States following the assassination of President Kennedy. Johnson believed that North Vietnam directed the Southern communist rebellions in South Vietnam, but his theory was not concrete. The consequences of Johnson’s actions had been the one factor that escalated the war between the US and North Vietnam. (Summers) Ordering bomb raids, commando raids, and navy surveillance, Johnson had the idea that this would scare North Vietnam and force them to back down their offensives. To his dismay, these actions had only escalated the hostility North Vietnam felt towards the US and brought on a full-scale war with the US. The first sign of North Vietnam’s rebellion was in August 2, 1964, where North Vietnam fired on a US destroyer. Tensions rose in the US, and Johnson made the decision to continue a US offensive on North Vietnam territory. One major air strike on Hanoi that strengthened North Vietnam’s army occurred while Russian Premier Aleksey Kosygin was visiting North Vietnam. After this incident, the Russians pledged their support for the North Vietnam campaign against the US.
As US involvement in the Vietnam War increased, North Vietnam felt the need to fight back. North Vietnam was now fully engaged in the war with the US. The growing numbers of troops supporting the South Vietnamese posed a threat to the North. By 1969 the US had stationed 543,000 soldiers in South Vietnam. (Isaacs) The communists in North Vietnam and the NLF joined to fight for a common cause: they did not want a foreign nation to takeover Vietnam. They quickly realized that the US were using South Vietnam as a puppet, as the French had done, and wanted Vietnam to fall into the hands of a foreign nation. This led to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and NLF rally to once again unite Vietnam.
On October 1965, the battle in the la Drang Valley, became a major battle during the course of the Vietnam War. This battle set a stage for new war tactics for the North Vietnamese since they had suffered major casualties. The war had been the cause of many unnecessary casualties. The new war tactics of North Vietnam required a complex strategy: fight at times of choosing, hitting rapidly, surprise attacks, and then withdrawing just as quickly to avoid the impact of American firepower. This tactic changed the US’s offensive battle plan as well. The US must now rely heavily on air strike tactics in order to take advantage of the war. This new war tactic was quickly put to rest as the US feared Chinese and Russian involvement in the war; both ruled by a communist regime would lend a massive support of North Vietnam. However, without the application of air strikes, the war appeared to be at a stalemate.
The aggressiveness of the Viet Cong led to the North Vietnam iniating the Tet Offensive to try and secure a victory in the Vietnam War. The Tet Offensive began on January 31, 1968, on the beginning of Tet, a Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration. This was the time when all the ARVN troops rallied home to be with their families, thus prolonging the war. The US troops had also taken a leave from war placing them in a vulnerable position. This was when the NLF and North Vietnam decided to launch their attack on South Vietnam. (Summers) Over 85,000 NLF troops attacked the unarmed ARVN and US troops stationed in camps. They had invaded the US Embassy in Saigon and had taken it over. It took over 8 hours for the US to retake the complex from the NLF, but the damage was done. During the Tet Offensive, many lives were claimed, whether they were innocent or not, none of that mattered. The NLF was held responsible for the murders of the South Vietnamese, who have been affiliated with the US. In response to these innocent deaths, the ARVN killed the NLF members who were linked to these killings. The US was given strict orders to search through every house and home ensuring that no NLF troops remained alive.
In retaliation to this attack, the US planned a mission with the primary objective of searching and destroying the My Lai town of Son My village in the Quang Ngai Province of South Vietnam. What wasn’t clear was what to do with any civilians who might be encountered at My Lai. On March 16, 1968, Charlie Company, a unit of the US Eleventh Light Infantry Brigade, was ordered into combat by Captain Ernest Medina. The 150 soldiers, led by Lt. William Calley, stormed into the village, and four hours later more than 500 civilians— unarmed women, children, and old men— were dead. (Summers) Charlie Company had not encountered a single enemy soldier, and only three weapons were confiscated. The only American casualty was a soldier who shot himself in the foot. It was a massacre that would forever haunt the conscience of the US Army and the American people.
These photos depict the grueling deaths suffered by villagers in My Lai. During the My Lai Massacre, over 400 unarmed men, women, and children were unjustly murdered by the US Army. While the first image shows a group of deceased individuals, the second image is a little more revealing of the true horrors that developed. As you can see, a child and his mother were returning from the market with a basket in hand, when unknowingly they were ambushed and immediately killed.
The average age of soldiers in Charlie Company was twenty; they had been in South Vietnam for three months. Trained in Hawaii, the unit was considered one of the best in the army. However, William Calley was not particularly popular with the men he led. Small in stature, he was deemed too excited and nervous to be a strong leader. He was more interested in impressing his superiors than leading his men. His lack of leadership and the immaturity of this group was the primary flaw in this mission. (Summers) When the soldiers in Charlie Company invaded My Lai, they anticipated a heated gun battle with the Viet Cong army, which were believed to be stationed at this location. For nearly three months the brigade had been in no major battles, but had suffered many casualties as a result better strategic planning— expert snipers, mines, and booby traps riddled the US Army. Fed up with the inability to counter these attacks, the soldiers of the Eleventh Light Infantry Brigade sought to avenge these deaths and severely wound the enemy by being the aggressor.
Upon arrival at My Lai, Charlie Company faced no resistance; there were no Viet Cong soldiers present. Calley then ordered the slaughter of the civilians. People were rounded up into ditches and machine-gunned. They lay five feet deep in the ditches; any survivors trying to escape were immediately shot. One extreme inhumane action occurred when Calley spotted a baby crawling away from a ditch, he grabbed her, threw her back into the ditch, and opened fire. Some of the dead were mutilated by having "C Company" carved into their chests; some were disemboweled. The viciousness of the soldiers accomplished nothing for winning the war. One GI would later say, "You didn’t have to look for people to kill, they were just there. I cut their throats, cut off their hands, cut out their tongues, scalped them. I did it. A lot of people were doing it and I just followed. I just lost all sense of direction." (Summers)
In the end, the US Military attempted a coverup of this incident proclaimed that the US Army had achieved victory over its enemy at a Viet Cong base. Initial applause and recognition was received by Charlie Company for their valiant efforts to win this “battle.” But little did the American public know what really happened; the US government soon uncovered the horrors that were occurring throughout the Vietnam War. Several other villages, My Khe and Co Luy, had a similar incident occur where unarmed civilians were murdered. Once these events went public, the American people were outraged leading to many demonstrations and protests from citizens of the United States.
Demonstrations like those depicted in these images quickly became the forefront of the Vietnam War initiative. The US public no longer approved of the US’s involvement in the war and attempted to make their voices heard. Nonviolent protests helped bring about a faster end to the war.
The compassion felt for those innocent lives that were lost, created an even greater rift between the US government and its people. Although the commanding officers who ordered the killing were found guilty and eventually court marshaled, the damage was done. Millions of Americans now actively protested the war putting a lot of pressure on the US. At this point, the US did not feel that it was in their best interest to continue with the war as those actions were not representative of what the United States was fighting for. Following the Tet Offensive, the US negotiated amongst themselves and weighed all their options. The US felt that it could not gain anymore from this war and wanted to withdraw their troops from Vietnam and pull out of the war. However, with the US’s already deep involvement in the war, there was a sense of obligation for them to continue to support South Vietnam.
In domestic affairs, a new President was elected, Richard M Nixon. With this induction, Nixon promised his people that the Vietnam War would end and the US troops would be sent home. This promise was seemingly empty as Nixon did not feel that the peace agreement met in Paris with North Vietnam was fair and told South Vietnam President, Nquyen Van Thieu to refuse the treaty and follow his plan. Through many negotiations, Nixon thought up numerous different, but doubtful solutions to end the war. One such theory he presented was labeled, Vietnamization, which is the strategy of the US slowly withdrawing their troops from South Vietnam to allow the ARVN to continue the fight. (Isaacs) However, this theory failed because the NLF were too strong and proved that the ARVN were not ready to fight against the NLF, without US support. In another attempt to end the war, Nixon ordered the bombing of Cambodia and Laos, as they were both occupied by North Vietnamese and the NLF. This operation was only intended to give the ARVN time to strengthen their army. The bombing of Cambodia did not directly affect the NLF, but rather killed thousands of innocent natives. In the Laos campaign, Nixon wanted to cut off the NLF power and test the strength of the ARVN army. On February 8, 1971, Nixon sent an air strike along with ARVN troops to Laos, to stop the NLF movement. Nixon’s plan had been a failure because the ARVN lost about 9000 troops, which in turn, severely depleted their army.
A crisis was at hand in the spring of 1972. North Vietnam saw the weakened US and ARVN troops, and decided to land its last big offensive against South Vietnam in Quang Tri Province. Over 30,000 NLF troops marched to South Vietnam to destroy the US and ARVN armies. In retaliation to this offensive, the brilliant Nixon ordered the bombing of North Vietnam, which accounted for at least 100,000 dead communist troops. After this great massacre, the negotiations of peace were again brought to the attention of the US. Henry Kissinger, a US negotiator, met the agreements of North Vietnam to end the war, but when he confronted Nquyen Van Thieu; the agreement seemed to be a betrayal of the US. In an attempt to make peace with Nquyen Van Thieu, Nixon turned down the agreement, and regained the trust of the South Vietnamese people. On Christmas, Nixon launched the last bombing on Hanoi and Haiphong, in order to show Nquyen Van Thieu that he would assist South Vietnam if North Vietnam violates the peace agreement.
On January 27, 1973, four parties met to reach peace: the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and Provisional Revolutionary Government. The final terms reached by the four parties were as follows: release of all American prisoners of war from North Vietnam, the withdrawal of all US forces from South Vietnam, the end of all foreign military operations in Laos and Cambodia, a cease-fire between North and South Vietnam, the formation of a National Council of Reconciliation to help South Vietnam form a new government, and continued US military and economic aid to South Vietnam. (Isaacs) In a secret addition to the treaty, Nixon also promised $3.25 billion in reparations for the reconstruction of the ravaged North Vietnam, an agreement that Congress ultimately refused to uphold.
On March 29, 1973, the last of the US troops occupying South Vietnam withdrew; this marked the end of the war. North Vietnam did not see the peace treaty having any effect in the future, so they prepared an army in Laos and Cambodia, which directly violated the treaty. However, this was done stealthily without the US’s knowledge, preventing the US from enforcing the treaty. The set date of 1975 was the sight of the last offensive taken by North Vietnam, in one last effort to unify the country. With the US gone, North Vietnam saw an opening to overthrow the South Vietnam government. After the initial attack by the North Vietnamese in the Central Highlands, northeast of Saigon on January 7, the ARVN immediately fell apart. On March 25, the ancient imperial city of Hue fell. Then, on March 29, Da Nang was invaded and taken. (Doyle) On April 20, South Vietnam’s President Thieu resigned his position, accusing the US of betrayal. His successor was Duong Van Minh, who had been among those who overthrew Diem in 1963. On April 30, Minh issued his unconditional surrender to the Provisional Revolutionary Government. Almost 30 years after Ho Chi Minh’s historic Declaration of Independence, Vietnam was finally united.
As the people of South Vietnam soon lost their freedom, they began to migrate to the US, where they were openly welcome. As the tens of thousands of Vietnamese have traveled to America, many still hold ill-will towards the Americans that abandoned their cause in the war. While the events that led up to the Vietnam War were numerous they could have easily been avoided. Ho Chi Minh initially professes his love for his country and wanted what all people deserve: to be free from oppression and be free men. However, the US’s decline in assisting Vietnam, coupled with the immense support from his Communist allies he began to spread socialist policies. The US’s fear of the spread of Communism following the Cold War, led to a great paranoia that forced the US to refuse Vietnam’s request for liberation from their Colonial rulers during the Geneva Conference. The Kennedy Administration’s support of Diem’s withdrawal from the national election and his presidency in South Vietnam undermined the agreements set by the Geneva Accords. By prematurely ordering bomb raids and air strikes on the Viet Cong, the US counterproductively strengthened the Viet Cong army and its supports. The actions that the US had taken to resolve the problems in Vietnam only resulted in the escalation and eventual desertion of the innocent South Vietnamese people.
Doyle, Edward. The Vietnam Experience: Setting the Stage. Boston: Boston Publishing Company. 1981.
Duiker, William J. Vietnam: Nation in Revolution. Colorado: Westview Press, Inc. 1983.
Halberstam, David. Ho. New York: Random House. 1971.
Huyen, N.K. Vision Accomplished: The Enigma of Ho Chi Minh. New York: The Macmillan Company. 1971.
Isaacs, Arnold R. The Vietnam Experience: Pawns of War. Boston: Boston Publishing Company. 1987.
Summers, Jr. Harry G. Vietnam War Almanac. New York: Facts on File Publications. 1985.
The Pacific Century: From the Barrel of a Gum. Documentary. The Annenburg/CPB Collection. 1992.
Vietnam: A Television History: The Roots of War. Documentary. The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Library Video Classics Project. 1983.