Origins of the Vietnam War: French Occupation, Battle of Dien Bien Phu, US involvement- Lesson plan
Origins of the Vietnam War: French Occupation, Battle of Dien Bien Phu & the Beginning of US involvement Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson

1. Describe the reasons that the US helped the French fight the Vietnamese
2. Identify ways in which the US opposed communism in Southeast Asia
3. Analyze how the US increased its involvement in Vietnam

Terms and People
Ho Chi Minh Domino Theory Dien Bien Phu SEATO
Vietcong Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

Background: A Hope for Independence:
After World War II, a spirit of nationalism and revolution spread among Europe colonies around the world. As colonial peoples strived for independence, their struggles sometimes became mixed up with the Cold War conflict between communist states and western democracies. Such was the case in French Indochina, which consisted of the lands of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Unaware of the long and bloody war that lie ahead, a Vietnamese communist named Ho Chi Minh dreamed of a Vietnam free from French rule:
“The oppressed the world over are wrestling back their independence. We should not lag behind… Under the Vietminh banner, let us valiantly march forward!”
- Ho Chi Minh, 1945
Why it Matters:
President Kennedy and Johnson shared a vision for a better America in the 1960s. They also shared a vision for a better world in which America would emerge victorious from its Cold War struggle against global communism. As part of this new strategic and ideological battle, the United States established a new line of defense against communism in Vietnam. The conflict in Southeast Asia would grow to be one of the costliest wars in American history.
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