chapter  12
20 Pages

The Vietnam Wars, 1945–79

Often overlooked in discussions about Vietnam is the obvious fact that the conflict in Indochina was much more than an ‘American’ war. After all, before American intervention there was a war between the Vietnamese and their French colonial masters, and after the United States withdrew in 1973, war continued to ravage Indochina for the next two decades. Thus, for the Vietnamese, the war that preoccupied them in the 1960s and 1970s was, at one level, only the latest in a series of struggles against foreign occupiers: the Americans were merely


following in the footsteps of the Chinese, the French and the Japanese before them. The symbol of this latest Vietnamese struggle for independence, Ho Chi Minh, was to the Americans just another communist leader, but to many Vietnamese Ho and his Viet Minh movement represented their historic hopes for self-determination.