2. Why did the Vietnam war take place? Who were the major stakeholders in this war? What happened in its aftermath? Discuss. (10 Marks)
वियतनाम युद्ध क्यों हुआ था? इस युद्ध में प्रमुख हितधारक कौन थे? इसके बाद क्या हुआ? चर्चा कीजिए।
Students are expected to write about the Vietnam War write about the stakeholders and reasons for Vietnam War. Also highlight the aftermath consequences of the Vietnam War.
Vietnam War (1950s to 1970s) was the longest and most polarizing conflict in the history of United States. This conflict was basically a proxy war but it took life of some 58,000 American soldiers and 1.5 million Vietnamese. For United States, the war was a complete disaster.
- US President Eisenhower (1953-61) was a supporter of the Domino Theory. After China, North Korea, South Vietnam will also goes the communist way sooner or later the communist revolution would reach all other Southeast Asian nations. This will threaten huge US investments in Japan.
- Vietnam was divided during the Cold War, when tensions between the U.S. and The Soviet Union were at an all-time high.
- The Geneva Accords were signed in July of 1954 and split Vietnam at the 17th parallel. North Vietnam would be ruled by Ho Chi Minh’s communist government and South Vietnam would be led by emperor Bao Dai.
- The Collapse of French Indochina and Rise of Ho Chi Minh. When the French rejected his plan, the Viet Minh resorted to guerilla warfare to fight for an independent Vietnam.
Stakeholders in the war:
- Soviet Union, China, and all communist allies backed North Vietnam, while the US and all other anti-communist allies backed South Vietnam.
- It was a conflict that raged in three countries: Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
- Both Japan and France had mobilised forces to take control of the region by 1938.
- Vietnamese nationalists, particularly Ho Chi Minh inflamed nationalist feelings in Indo-China. He encouraged Vietnamese to oppose the Franco-Japanese occupation of their country, with the support of the communist group Viet Minh.
Aftermath of Vietnam war:
- Although the United States’ direct involvement in the war ended, fighting between the two Vietnamese forces continued. Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, fell to northern forces on April 30, 1975, and the country was unified as a communist country.
- Around 3 million Vietnamese people, 300,000 Cambodians, 60,000 Loatians, and 58,220 American military personnel were estimated to have died.
- In 1976, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
- In 1986, the communist country began political and economic reforms that helped Vietnam gradually integrate into the global economy. In 2007, it became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
- Loss of prestige for US and her allies – both domestically and internationally
- Start of the proxy Mujahedeen war in Afghanistan by the US to counter Soviet Union without direct confrontation and possibility of a disaster like Vietnam
The struggle between the different camps led to a Cold War which unlike a conventional war lasted for over four decades, worsening economy, growth and life for humanity as the opposing camps fought for geostrategic influence in various continents.