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Many events led up to the Vietnam War The League for the Independence of Vietnam generally known as the Viet Minh was organized in 1941 as a nationalistic party seeking Vietnamese independence from France On September 2 1945 less than a month after the Japanese surrendered in World War II Ho Chi Minh leader of the Viet Minh formally declared Vietnamese independence Not until the mid 1950s did the Viet Minh become openly communist Fighting broke out between the French and the Viet Minh in 1946 and did not end until 1954 A cease-fire was then called and a truce was declared Vietnam was divided along the 17th parallel with the Viet Minh occupying the northern part and those under French command would retreat to the southern part However two years later the communist Viet Minh decided to unify South Vietnam with North Vietnam through military force America fearing the spread of communism in Asia dispatched troops to South Vietnam hoping to provide the country with economic and military assistance However the Diem regime which governed South Vietnam was extremely unpopular with the people and American involvement did not improve the situation Guerrilla warfare spread as the Viet Minh soldiers or Viet Cong returned to their homes in the South to assassinate ambush and sabotage operations of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam or ARVN In response President John F Kennedy sent more military personnel to Vietnam In 1962 the number of military advisers in South Vietnam increased from 900 in 1960 to over 11000 On August 2 1964 North Vietnamese patrol boats fired on the US destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin President Lyndon B Johnson claimed there had been a second attack on August 4th but this claim was later proved false In return Congress authorized the president to take all necessa ry measures to repel attacks and prevent further aggression In other words America was preparing itself for full-scale intervention
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