Geography <ul><li>Southeastern Asia, South China Sea, alongside China, near Laos, and Cambodia </li></ul><ul><li>Tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (May to September) and warm, dry season (October to March) </li></ul>
People <ul><li>Population : 87,000,000 </li></ul><ul><li>People live there : Kinh (Viet) 87%, others 13% </li></ul><ul><li>Buddhist is the most practice in the country </li></ul><ul><li>Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language) </li></ul>
Economy <ul><li>Vietnam is a densely-populated developing country that in the last 30 years has had to recover from the ravages of war, the loss of financial support from the old Soviet Bloc, and the rigidities of a centrally-planned economy. </li></ul><ul><li>The global financial crisis, however, will constrain Vietnam's ability to create jobs and further reduce poverty. </li></ul><ul><li>Exports - commodities: crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee, rubber, tea, garments, shoes </li></ul><ul><li>Exports - partners: US 21%, Japan 14%, Australia 8%, China 7% </li></ul>
<ul><li>1940: Invasion of Indochina by Japan . The French administrations collaborate and continue to run the government. </li></ul><ul><li>1941: Ho Chi Minh starts the Viet Minh . Leninism is thought of as an ideological weapon to serve Vietnamese nationalism against French colonialism. </li></ul><ul><li>1945 (March 9): The Japanese end up French authority. (Sept 23): The French authorities reoccupy the South. </li></ul><ul><li>1946: After the failed Fontainebleau conference between Ho Chi Minh and the French government, notably about the question of the status of Cochinchina, and the bombing of Haiphong (6000 civilians killed), the war between the French troops and the Viet Minh for the control of Vietnam begins. </li></ul>Timeline part 1 Ho Chi Minh
Timeline part 2 <ul><li>1954: The French army is defeated at Dien Bien Phu. This is the first time in history a colonial power is militarily defeated, a massive decolonization follows worldwide. </li></ul><ul><li>1955: Refusing to implement the Geneva accords, Ngo Dinh Diem proclaims himself president of the Republic of South Vietnam with backing from the West. </li></ul><ul><li>1959: The communist party decides to start military operations in the South. Construction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. </li></ul><ul><li>1961: Kennedy increases US military aid to South Vietnam , first in the form of military advisors (16000 by 1965). </li></ul>
Timeline part 3 <ul><li>1963: Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated in a US-initiated coup. </li></ul><ul><li>1964: Although elected as a dovish candidate against Goldwater, Johnson escalates the war. All but two US senators pass the "Tonkin Gulf resolution", which gives blank checks to US presidents over Vietnam. </li></ul><ul><li>1965 (Feb): First US aerial raids against the North . The tonnage of bombs, including chemical arms, used during the US intervention (mostly against civilian targets) in Vietnam exceeds that used during the whole WW II. </li></ul><ul><li>1968 (Jan 31): The Viet Cong's Tet offensive , although a military failure, stuns the West and becomes a psychological turning point as it makes the public aware of the nature of the war and the impasse. </li></ul>Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (from left) greet South Vietnam's President Ngo Dinh Diem at Washington National Airport, May 8, 1957
Timeline part 4 <ul><li>1973: After the ratification of the Paris accords, the US military withdraws. </li></ul><ul><li>1975 (April 30): Viet Cong troops enter Saigon, after a two-month campaign in spite of the Paris accords. </li></ul><ul><li>1976: The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is officially proclaimed. </li></ul><ul><li>1978: Vietnam joins the USSR-lead Comecon . The tragedy of the Hai Hong, old cargo boat overloaded with refugees brings to the world attention about the "boat people" fleeing the new regime. </li></ul>A North Vietnamese tank crashes through the gates of the Presidential Palace in Saigon on April 30, 1975. The taking of the palace marked the fall of the U.S.-backed south and the end to a decade of fighting.