Skip to main content

More On Vietnam

June 2024
1min read

Rather than asking his students to digest platitudes about Vietnam, Bill McCloud might ask them to imagine, for a moment, their feelings as Americans if, in 1860, England, taking advantage of internal friction in the United States, had recognized an arbitrary political line dividing North and South, and then, for its own reasons, sent its army to fight for the Confederacy, which it intended to influence as a “client state” after the war. The students could then fit in the facts about Vietnam: how the 1954 Geneva accords by which France at last relinquished colonial claims to Indochina established a temporary military demarcation line as a prelude to national elections to be held within two years; how the United States could not endure the realization that its own World War 11 ally, Ho Chi Minh, the most dynamic, popular politician in Indochina, would easily win the election; how the United States then converted the temporary demarcation line into an artificial boundary between North and South; and how everything else followed.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.