Vietnam War – Causes and Consequences Essay


The paper analyzes the causes behind the Vietnam War and the role-played by United States in the war. It attempts to show that the nations like US and France had ulterior motives of containing communist forces. This is the main reason why US participated in the long war despite all protests form the people. The paper also studies the various consequences of the war, which led to mass protests and campaigns against it. The paper concludes to show how the communist forces of North Vietnam won over the US forces and finally united the two part of Vietnam. Therefore the idea is to reflect the power and motivation of Communist forces in fighting back the war.


The history of the Vietnam War can be traced to the fall of Japan at the end of the Second World War. French and the United States army tried to gain control over the region to defeat the communist forces but were stopped from doing so by two emerging constraints. The first one accounted for the peace accord signed in Geneva in 1956 and the second more crucial the division of the country in North and South Geneva. United States of America’s War forces lent a strong defense for the cause of saving South Vietnam from the fangs of communism. However, America’s forces were bound to retreat from the Vietnam soil owing to a treaty signed with North Vietnam in 1973. North Vietnam the communist regime that had earlier promised not to gain control over South Vietnam finally invaded it on December 1974. The North Vietnam forces surpassed South Vietnam’s efforts of defense as they gained control over Saigon and other parts of the South on April 1975.  In this context, the paper aims to trace the main reasons, which led to the Vietnam War and the effects generated by the prolonged war. 

Reasons and Results of the Vietnam War

During the period of the Second World War, the Japanese forces occupied a region owned by the French forces known as Indochina consisting of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. In Vietnam Ho Chi Minh opposed the Japanese invasion through the formation of Viet Minh in 1941. Viet Minh later took the picture of a Nationalist Movement in the Vietnam soil. Ho Chi Minh sought America’s support in fighting against the Japanese, which later gave independence to Vietnam. However, after the end of the Second World War the French forces endeavored to gain their control over Vietnam. The Nationalist Party of Vietnam, Viet Minh led by Ho Chi Minh strongly opposed the French invasion. Agreements between the French forces and Viet Minh led to no results following which French invaded the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi. Strife broke out between the French forces and Viet Minh that led to the defeat of the France in 1954. This war was settled through the signing of the Geneva Accords in 1954. The Geneva Accords settled the war crisis by dividing the country into two parts. The Northern Vietnam created was to be managed by communist forces under the wings of Viet Minh. Non-communist forces under the leadership of Ngo Dinh Diem managed Southern Vietnam. However, the nationalist movement of Viet Minh did not stop being only in the North Vietnam region. They tried to take control over the Southern Vietnam province also. To this end, America intervened by sending French Forces and defense finds at the beginning of 1950 to Southern Vietnam for combating against the communist invasion of Viet Minh. The French army in South Vietnam was deputed by America for training the armed forces of the newly created Republic of Vietnam. However, the performance of the Army of Republic of Vietnam was seemingly inconsistent to fight the invasion of the red army. 

The leader of the Southern Province of Vietnam Ngo Dinh Diem turned hostile not only to the communists but also encouraged activities concerning criminal acts and assaults of the Buddhists. This led to Diem being not regarded as a nationalist leader of Southern Vietnam. However, Diem continued to reign and with the declaration of the Republic of Vietnam also identified Saigon as the capital. In spite of the notorious image of Ngo Dinh Diem America went on rendering support to the South Vietnam army. America’s continual support was because to oppose the communist movement from gaining further ground in Asia. However, in 1959 some communist groups residing in the Southern Vietnam province started making way for the Viet Minh forces to invade the region. The southern faction of the Viet Minh movement proactively made the way for letting in military supplies and formed the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam to help commence the war. However, the situation of the Southern province of Vietnam went on deteriorating with the inhuman policies of the Diem government. Further, the failure of the Army of Republic of Vietnam (AVRN) in putting a strong defense to the Communist forces led to the fall of the non-communist government at the hands of the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam or Viet Cong. Later under the leadership of John F. Kennedy more defense and financial supplies poured in South Vietnam. The Kennedy administration also helped the moving away of the Diem regime with the support of the Army for the Republic of Vietnam. 

Unfortunately, for South Vietnam United States of America started withdrawing from its soil transferring the responsibility to combat the communist forces to the Army of Republic of Vietnam (AVRN). On January 27 1974, a peace process was agreed in Paris to end the Vietnam War. The Northern Vietnam forces agreed to the peace process and remained silent for some period. However, during the beginning of 1975 it gained its hostile power and invaded South Vietnam once again. The American forces totally left the region made the Army for the Republic of Vietnam all the more weak. They succumbed to the invasion following which the North Korean army conquered Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975. The Vietnam War led to huge casualty figures in South Vietnam killing around 230,000 and wounding 1,169,763. In United States the casualty figures rose to claim 58,000 lives and an increasing rate of wounded around 350,000. 


The Vietnam War, which began in 1959, ended around 1975. Countries like United States of America and France in their acts of restraining communism forces to gain ground capitalized this long period of regional strife between the North and South Vietnam regions. However, the Communist forces in North Vietnam under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh proved stronger in administering the war front to capture South Vietnam a non-communist territory. South Vietnam due to its weak administration and incapable army base failed to counter the combat even at the cost of military support and training provided by America. Thus, North Vietnam regained the capital of South Vietnam and united the country.  

Works Cited

Errington, Elizabeth Jane. The Vietnam War as History, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1990

The book helps in giving a detailed account of the causes behind the war. It takes into account the incidents preceding the war in South East Asia during the 30 years span after 1945. It also gives an account of the consequences and attempts to clarify certain wrong perceptions and myths surrounding the war. 

Kissinger, Henry. Ending the Vietnam War, Simon & Schuster, 2003

Being the foreign policy advisor of Nixon, Kissinger is able to give a detailed account of the period and the process in which America’s effort was put off. He gives a factual account of USA’s involvement in the war. This helps in getting a clear idea about both the factors and consequences.

Hall, Michael. The Vietnam War, Pearson Longman, 2007

This book helps in giving a broad and basic idea about the Vietnam War and its consequences. It provides an in-depth analysis of the war and the vents leading to the war. It looks into the social and economic prospects of the war and how it affected the people of US.  

“Learn About the Vietnam War”, Digital History. N.d. Accessed on October 25, 2010  

The website gives an introductory account of the Vietnam War and lists some of its consequences. the site is helpful to begin the research with and get an outline about the aspects of the war.