Why War?

Questions about the cause of the Vietnam War.

~What made people from the north want to send their children into a war to fight?

~What  made the US help South Vietnam try to fight North?

~If Kennedy hadn’t of died, would there be a Vietnam War? Could Oswald shoot 3 bullets in less than 6      seconds.

~Why do people who could affect change get killed near war time? (Martin Luther King & Robert Kennedy)

Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was also known as the Second Indochina War.

It was the longest war in American history and the most unpopular American war of the twentieth century. It resulted in nearly 60,000 American deaths and an estimated 2 million Vietnamese deaths (9).

There are many causes of the Vietnam War.

The Vietnamese was in a big war with the French in the year of 1946. In 1954, the French suffered a decisive defeat at Dien Bien Phu, so they decided to pull out of Vietnam. The Geneva Accords, a peace conference, followed after French pulled out. A number of nations met to decided how the French would pull out peacefully. During the conference Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos recieved their independence. It was agreed that in 1956 a general democratic election was to be held that would reunite the country under one government. The agreement was broken when South Vietnam did not call for elections(10). South Vietnam carried out an election only in South Vietnam rather than countrywide. Ngo Dinh Diem won the election. In 1963, Diem was overthrown and executed.

Since Diem had alienated many South Vietnamese during his time in office, communist sympathizers in South Vietnam established the National Liberation Front (NLF), also known as the Viet Cong, between 1955 and 1960. The year after Diem was assinated, the North Vietnamese with the assistance of the Viet Cong, China, and Russia began a big drive to conquer the government of South Vietnam. They used guerilla warfare against the South Vietnamese (11).

The US feared that if Vietnam fell to communism, then the bordering countries like Laos and Camobodia would also fall to communism. So the US was determined to stop the spread of communism in Vietnam. Although the US wanted to stop the spread of communism, they were afraid that an attack on North Vietnam would create tensions with China and Russia that would, in turn, lead to a bigger conflict and possibly WW III (12).

By 1950 the US began sending their first troops, firstly in an advisory role, which slowly escalated into a full blown commitment.

Gulf of Tonkin: On August 2 1964, North Vietnam fired directly upon a U.S. ship in international waters. Another U.S. ship was hit on the 4th of August. This was known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. In response to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the U.S. made a Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. In the resolution, the President had autority to escalate U.S. involvement in Vietnam. In March of 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the first U.S. ground troops to Vietnam (13).


The causes of the Vietnam War is a collaboration of North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and other outside countries, and their desires to do what they believed was right.

The Vietnam war existed due to their desire for independance and the involvement of many outside countries in their political affairs.

Global Perspective:

I’ve tried to email and facebook some people to get their perspective on why they thought the war started. The only person who got back to me is Giang who owns the Zhangpro blog. But he said he couldn’t answer my question…

Us: Giang,
For our project, we are suppose to get perspective from some person from North Vietnam, someone from South Vietnam, and someone from the US on why they wanted to go to war. So just to begin. Where do you live or where do your parents or relatives live. Do you now live in the US or do you live somewhere in Vietnam. If you know are able to contact  your family or relatives on why they wanted to start a war please tell me. Thanks so much!

Giang: Kathryn,
I now live in Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam. But, Kathryn, it’s very difficult to simply answer: Why they wanted to start a war.  On the other hand, war is not my major, knowledge as well as my understanding.
Sorry Kethryn
Giang Dang


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