ChAPTER 39 -- Part 2: Rebirth and Revolution: -- Part 6
After nearly a decade of indecisive struggle, the Viet Minh gained control of much of the victory over the French in Vietnam in 1954.
The French were soundly defeated by the Viet Minh in 1954.
Some hoped that free elections would be held to determine who should govern a united Vietnam after the war of liberation.
This electoral contest never happened.
Vietnam became entangled in the cold war maneuvers of the United States and the Soviet Union.
During the war against Japan, the U.S. supported the French and the fame of Ho Chi Minh drove the two apart.
In the early 1950s, influential American leaders believed that South Vietnam should be protected from communism.
Diem appeared to be the political leader of South cable nationalist credentials.
He went into exile rather than give up the fight against Vietnam and became the president of the French.
He was recommended to American politicians and clergy by his sojourn in the United States in the 1940s.
The 1950s would be a bad time for these attributes because they would make him unpopular with the majority of the people in Vietnam.
He tried to make out that it was approved by the united States.
Political rivals have a name.
The suppression campaign was focused on the communist movement in southern Vietnam because they were the biggest threat to Diem's regime.
A photographer captured the image of a lone woman hurrying along a road strewn with uniforms abandoned by former South Vietnamese soldiers fearful of being identified as having fought on the losing side.
The United States and the North Vietnamese supported the warring parties as guerrilla warfare spread.
When Diem was unable to stem the communist tide in the countryside, the United States allowed his generals to take charge of the war.
The United States stepped up its military intervention when the Vietnamese military couldn't make much headway.
Over half a million men and women made up the force of occupation by 1968.
Despite the loss of tens of thousands of American lives, the Americans could not defeat the communist movement.
Their presence made it possible for the communists to convince the majority of the Vietnamese people that they were fighting for their independence from another imperialist aggressor.
The United States used chemical warfare against the South Vietnam they claimed to be trying to save, despite the fact that more explosives were dropped on tiny Vietnam, North and South.
The victors of the Vietnam were the people of Vietnam.
American involvement in the conflict ended in the early 1970s.
The unpopular military regime in the south fell apart without that support.
Vietnam was united by the communists for the first time in over a century.
The nation they ruled was shattered and impoverished by decades of civil war, revolution, and armed conflict with two major colonial powers and the most powerful nation of the second half of the 20th century.
After they united the country, communist efforts to complete the revolution by rebuilding the society made little progress.
This failure can be linked to Vietnam's isolation from the rest of the international community.