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Was the Vietnam War a civil war or an international conflict?

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  1. Introduction
  2. Analysis
  3. Conclusion

Although the conflict started in South East Asia, the Vietnam War was the lengthiest and probably one of the most polemical military conflicts in the history of the U.S. In order to understand the complexity of the Vietnam War, it is necessary to look at the context and period of history in which this conflict took place. Problems started in Southeast Asia after the Second World War, when Japan decided to invade Vietnam, which used to be part of Indochina, controlled by the French. The continued foreign occupation of Vietnam generated the creation of the nationalistic movement, Vietminh. The Vietminh emerged in 1941 with the aim of obtaining independence for Vietnam . The Japanese occupation ended with their defeat in 1945. That year, Ho Chi Minh, leader of the Vietminh and founder of the communist party of Indochina, proclaimed the autonomy of Vietnam. France refused to accept Ho Chi Minh's declaration of independence and sent troops to Indochina in an attempt to regain its control of the area.

After their loss in the battle of Dien-Bien-Fu in 1954 , the French decided to surrender. Peace talks took place in the Convention of Geneva, by which Vietnam was divided into two areas, the North and the South. The Vietcong, communist guerrilla supported by the government of the North of Vietnam, started to take active part in the opposition to the government of the South, in an attempt to unify North and South. The United States started to give military sup-port to the South Vietnamese government . This essay will argue that the Vietnam War was indeed a civil war, particularly at its start. However, the involvement of other countries in the war transformed the conflict into an international military offensive of very serious international consequences.

[...] B., The Vietnam Wars, 1945 - 1990, (New York: Harperperennial / Harper- CollinsPublishers, 1991). ----------------------- [1] R. D. Schulzinger, A Time for War: The United States and Vietnam, 1941 ? 1975 (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), p.12. [2] D. Acheson, Present at the Creation (New York and London: W.W. Norton and Company, 1969), p. 672. [3] M. B. Young, The Vietnam Wars, 1945 - 1990, (New York: Harperperennial / HarperCollinsPublishers, 1991), p. 35. [4] P. Jenkins, A History of the United States (London: Macmillan Press, 1997), p. [...]


[...] The fact that the Vietnam War was a civil war is obvious. The Vietnam was a national conflict between the communist and anti-communist factions of the country. Religion did not play a significant part, although Buddhist organization played a role at the start of the conflict. The war was not an etnic war; both factions shared the same ethnic background. The main aspect of the war is the political differences between one faction and the other. Unlike in other military conflict, like the Iraq war, where US intervention saw the start of ethnic tensions between the Shia and other factions. [...]

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