A Brief History of Vietnam


The first time I heard about Vietnam when I encountered the term Viet Cong from a Jackie Chan movie. Upon reading further I got introduced to a country that not only defeated capitalism but emerged victorious in a war against the all powerful USA. Vietnam came under the rule of the Imperial China in the years between 111 BC and 938 AD. After their independence the Vietnamese imperials rose to power and eventually fought against the French colonization in southern Vietnam. The country was then divided into two, namely North and South Vietnam. The Vietnam War began in 1954 when the Viet Cong launched a guerrilla campaign against the southern half. The attacked was backed by the Soviet Union and the Republic of China and a couple of other communist allies.


Despite of the heavy US interference in the war, the Northern Vietnam side emerged victorious and the country was unified under a communist government. The Vietnam War has been referenced in several works of arts like movies, posters, and books and is probably the only thing that most people know about Vietnam. Despite of several economic reforms by the government, Vietnam remains a developing economy with its fair share of problems like economic inequality, healthcare and gender inequality.


If I remember correctly, the doctrines of the Vietnamese soldiers were explicitly showcased in the Hollywood movie First Blood Part II which starred Sylvester Stallone. After President Kennedy’s assassination, the US became lesser involved with the war and finally retreated. The war not only changed the fates of Vietnam but also the US. With the growing anti-war sentiments in their own country for majority of the 60’s and the 70’s, US government saw several political reforms that followed through the end of the cold war between the US and the Soviet Union. The fact that the highly trained US marines were outmatched by a group of ill equipped guerrilla soldiers exemplifies the fact that ‘there’s always a bigger fish’.