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Why Was the Vietnam War Started?

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The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, was a conflict that took place in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1955 to 1975. The war was fought between the communist government of North Vietnam and the government of South Vietnam, which was supported by the United States and other anti-communist allies. The conflict was one of the most significant events in world history, shaping the political and social landscape of the world for decades to come. In this article, we will explore why the Vietnam War started, examining the historical background, political climate, tensions between North and South Vietnam, and American involvement that led to the conflict.

Historical Background

The roots of the Vietnam War can be traced back to the early 20th century when Vietnam was a French colony. The Vietnamese people, led by nationalist movements, fought against French colonial rule for decades until the end of World War II. After the war, the Vietnamese declared independence from France, but the French government refused to recognize it. A war between France and the Vietnamese nationalist movement, led by the communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh, broke out in 1946, known as the First Indochina War.

The war ended in 1954 with the Geneva Accords, which divided Vietnam into two parts: the communist-led North Vietnam and the anti-communist South Vietnam. The agreement also called for national elections in 1956 to unify the country under a single government, but the elections never took place. The United States and its allies supported the South Vietnamese government, while the Soviet Union and China supported the North Vietnamese government. The stage was set for a long and bloody conflict that would last for more than two decades.

Political Climate

The political climate in Vietnam was tense during the period leading up to the war. The communist-led government of North Vietnam sought to reunify the country under its leadership, while the anti-communist government of South Vietnam, supported by the United States, sought to resist communist expansion. The United States viewed the spread of communism as a threat to its national security and saw Vietnam as a battleground in the global struggle against communism. The United States also feared that if one country fell to communism in Southeast Asia, others would follow, a concept known as the “domino theory.” This fear led the United States to become deeply involved in the conflict, providing military and financial assistance to the South Vietnamese government.

Tensions between North and South Vietnam

Tensions between North and South Vietnam were high during the period leading up to the war. The North Vietnamese government sought to unify the country under its rule and saw the South Vietnamese government as a puppet regime of the United States. The South Vietnamese government, on the other hand, saw the North Vietnamese government as a threat to its sovereignty and sought to resist communist expansion. Both sides engaged in a series of armed conflicts, known as the Vietnam War, which lasted from 1955 to 1975. The war was characterized by guerrilla warfare, bombing campaigns, and large-scale military operations. The conflict caused widespread death, destruction, and displacement, with an estimated 1.1 million North Vietnamese soldiers and civilians, 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers, and 58,000 American soldiers losing their lives.

American Involvement

The United States became involved in the Vietnam War in the early 1960s, under the presidency of John F. Kennedy. Kennedy believed that communism posed a threat to the security of the United States and that the fall of South Vietnam to communism would lead to the spread of communism throughout Southeast Asia. The United States sent military advisors and aid to South Vietnam, but the situation escalated, and in 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin incident took place.

The Gulf of Tonkin incident involved alleged attacks on U.S. Navy ships by North Vietnamese naval vessels. This incident led to the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized the use of military force in Vietnam. The United States began a massive bombing campaign against North Vietnam, and in 1965, sent ground troops to fight in the war. The war became increasingly unpopular in the United States, and protests against the war became a significant social and political issue.


In conclusion, the Vietnam War was started due to a combination of factors, including historical background, political climate, tensions between North and South Vietnam, and American involvement. The war lasted for over two decades and resulted in the deaths of millions of people. The conflict had a significant impact on the political and social landscape of the world, shaping international relations for decades to come. Understanding the causes and consequences of the Vietnam War is crucial to understanding the history of Southeast Asia and the world. For more articles on Vietnamese culture, visit Cekici News, your ultimate guide to the rich and diverse culture of Vietnam.

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