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The Vietnam conflict began in the late nineteenth century The French conquered Vietnam and made it a protectorate For nearly forty years Vietnam had not experienced settled peace The League for the Independence of Vietnam Viet Minh was formed in 1941 seeking independence from the French On September 2nd1945 Ho Chi Minh proclaimed it independent of France The French opposed their independence from 1945 to 1954 The first representatives of de Gualles government landed by parachute in Saigon and Hanoi on August 23rd 1945 The French wanted to reestablish their rule in Vietnam but were beaten at the battle of Dien Bien Phu on May 7th 1954 The French Expeditionary Force tried to prevent the Viet Minh from entering Laos and Dien Bien Phu was the place chosen to do so The French were not very careful and this allowed the Viet Minh to cut off their airway to Hanoi After a siege that had lasted for fifty - five days the French surrendered Ho Chi Minh led the war against France and won After the war there was a conference in Geneva where Vietnam was divided into two parts along the seventeenth parallel North Vietnam was mainly Communist and supported Ho Chi Minh while the south was supported by the United States and the French were based there There was still some Communist rebels within South Vietnam These were the Viet Cong The South Vietnam ruler was Ngo Dinh Diem who was anti - Communist At the conference Laos and Cambodia became independent states North Vietnam wished to unify North and South Vietnam through military force Since the United States feared the spread of communism in Asia John F Kennedy provided economic and military aid to South Vietman to prevent the takeover by North Vietnam At this time this was still a civil war The United States were not yet officially involved The North Vietnamese resented the little intervention
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