the Beginning of the 20th Century to the
page lists the wars and conflicts of the nation of Vietnam.
Included are the rebellions and uprisings against the
colonial French rulers, the conflicts involving both North
and South Vietnam as well as the conflicts fought by a
united Vietnam after 1975.
U.S. Marines in the
Battle of Hue in the Vietnam
--De Tham, a Vietnamese resistance leader, led a thirty-year
guerrilla campaign against the colonial French occupiers in
the mountains near Yen The in northeastern Tonkin. In 1909
the French launched a major offensive against his forces. De
Tham was involved in the 1908 Hanoi Uprising.
This guerrilla resistance
ended with De Tham's assassination in 1913.
uprising led to French execution of thirteen rebels and
hundreds of arrests.
16 year-old Vietnamese King Duy Tan took part in revolt and
was exiled to the French island of Reunion. In their policy
of colonial control, the French allowed the Vietnamese
monarchy to exist as a puppet government. As with most
colonial empires, the French recruited local forces to aid
them. In this case, the Vietnamese troops mutinied against
in the previous year's mutiny, Vietnamese troops rebelled in
the province of Thai Nguyen and held the town of Thai Nguyen
for several day before the French put down the rebellion and
recaptured the town.
peasant revolt with backing and support from the underground
Vietnamese Communist Party. French forces suppressed the
local soviets (A soviet is a council of peasants, workers or
soldiers in a socialist or revolutionary form of government)
which formed in local villages. Many of these
revolutionaries were arrested and at least 80 were executed
by the colonial government. (External
link on this war.)
9, 1930 A
rebellion launched by the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang, (VNQDD --
Vietnamese Nationalist Party--See
began as a planned mutiny of Vietnamese troops in the Yen
and Bai garrison. Other attacks on Son Tay and Lam Thu
failed. The French suppressed the uprising, arresting
executing many VNQDD leaders. Several villages were bombed
and shelled by French forces. (External
Second World War, while France was defeated and partially
occupied by Germany in 1940, both Japan and her ally
Thailand initiated border conflicts with the French colonial
forces in Vietnam and Indochina.
22, 1940-Sept. 24, 1940)--Soon
after France fell to Germany, Japan sought passage
through French Indochina in order to attack Nationalist
Chinese forces near the border. French authorities in
Hanoi refused, prompting Japan to launch a ground attack
on the French border forts at Long-Son and Dong-Dang. Two
days later, Japanese aircraft bombed the port city of
Haiphong and the Japanese navy landed troops at the port.
During the two days of fighting, nearly 800 French troops
9, 1941-Jan. 28, 1941)--Thailand,
then an ally of Japan, initiated an invasion of French
Indochina after early border skirmishes from November
1940. After early successes, the Thai forces were forced
back by French reinforcements. At sea, the French navy,
in the form of one cruiser, wiped out nearly one third of
the Thai navy off the island of Kho Chang on Jan. 17.
Japan arranged a cease-fire on Jan. 28. Per a written
agreement signed on March 11, France gave portions of
Laos and Cambodia to Thailand. (External
link on this war.)
Minh Resistance to Japanese
In late 1944, the Vietnamese Communists, led by Ho Chi
Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap, initiated a resistance movement
against the Japanese. The Viet Minh (Vietnamese
abbreviation for " League of the Revolution and
Independence of Vietnam") sought independence from both
Japan and France.
guerrilla war against the French culminating in the Viet
Minh victory at Dien Bien Phu.
Xuyen Suppression --April,
Vietnam government of Ngo Dinh Diem used military action to
eliminate the paramilitary power of the Binh Xuyen criminal
Vietnam government of Ngo Dinh Diem used military action to
eliminate the paramilitary power of the Hoa Hao religious
sect in the countryside around Saigon. (External
link on the
Hoa Hao religion. Includes articles on religious persecution
in Vietnam today.)
South Vietnam government of Ngo Dinh Diem used military
action to eliminate the paramilitary power of the Cao Dai
Vietnamese Peasant Uprisings of 1956--A
peasant uprising in opposition to the Communist government's
policy of forcing the rural population into collective
farms. The government put down the
so-called "Vietnam War" was really a regional and
international conflict involving not just North and South
Vietnam and the U.S. but also embroiling Laos, Cambodia,
Thailand, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Below are
some of the "smaller" conflicts that in part made up the
Second Indochina War.
American-Vietnamese War-- 1956-1975--The
Communist North Vietnamese and the southern Viet Cong
engaged in a long war to overthrow the pro-American
government of South Vietnam. The U.S. and other allied
nations sent troops to aid the Saigon regime. The last
U.S. combat troops left in 1973 and Saigon fell to the
North Vietnamese on April 30, 1975. Known in the U.S. and
much of the world as "The Vietnam War." Known in Vietnam
as "The American War."
Coup Attempt-- Nov.
11-Nov. 13, 1960--Bloody
coup attempt against South Vietnam's leader, Diem. Over
300 killed or wounded. Diem would later be overthrown and
murdered in late 1963.
Civil War-- 1959-1975--North
Vietnam sent large numbers of troops into Laos to aid the
Communist Pathet Lao against the U.S.-backed Royal
Laotian government. The Pathet Lao seized power in 1975
and maintains a good relationship with
Civil War-- 1967-1975--North
Vietnam sent large numbers of troops into Cambodia to aid
the Communist Khmer Rouge against the U.S.-backed
Cambodian government. The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) had
maintained a large presence in eastern Cambodia for years
prior to the beginning of the Khmer Rouge war in 1967.
Following the fall of the U.S.-backed governments in
Cambodia and South Vietnam, the two former Communist
allies engaged in warfare between themselves. (See
resistance by several groups against the Communist Hanoi
government following the fall of Saigon in 1975. These
groups include: the Montagnard ethnic group in the Central
Highlands; the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao religious groups (who
reportedly ceased fighting in the mid-1980's); and various
anti-communist groups collectively known as chu quoc or
"national salvation." The chu quoc included the Dai Viet and
the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang, two armed nationalist (and
therefore anti-communist) organizations and soldiers from
the old South Vietnamese Army (ARVN). Further research is
needed to determine when the resistance
Rebellion in Laos--1975-Present--Armed
resistance by the Hmong ethnic group against the Communist
Pathet Lao government is really just a continuation of the
fighting between the Pathet Lao and the Hmong, who were
armed and supported by the United States in the Laotian
Civil War. The Hmong claim that the Vietnamese army is
fighting them in support of the Laotian
Third Indochina War began with the conflict between the
Khmer Rouge government of Cambodia and the Communist
government of a united Vietnam. Partially as a result of
Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia (a Chinese ally) in late
December of 1978, China launched what it described as a
"punitive" attack on northern Vietnam. This 29-day war ended
with the bloodied Chinese army declaring victory and
their war against the U.S.-sponsored regimes in Saigon
and Phnom Penh, the North Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge
were able to mask their ideological differences and
ignore the historical hostility between their two
peoples. After taking power though, these differences
turned violent. Beginning with low-level cross-border
raids and escalating into full-fledged war in late
December of 1978 when Vietnam launched a massive
conventional invasion of Cambodia, swiftly occupying the
nation within days. Vietnam set up a new government in
Phnom Penh with Khmer Rouge defectors but found itself
immersed in a long and difficult war of occupation as the
Khmer Rouge returned to the guerrilla warfare they knew
so well. Vietnamese troops left after more than a decade,
with the friendly government of Heng Samrin in control of
most of Cambodia.
17-Mar. 16, 1979--
Similar to the difficulties between Cambodia and Vietnam,
the Hanoi regime enjoyed good relations with China during
the war against the United States and South Vietnam, but
once that conflict ended, ideological and historical
differences interfered with Sino-Vietnamese relations.
Using the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia as a pretext,
China launched a massive attack along their common
border. Vietnam's border troops put up a very good
defense, causing major casualties to the Chinese People's
Liberation Army (PLA). Within a month of the invasion,
China basically declared that it had taught Hanoi a
lesson and withdrew. Results of this war include: moving
Hanoi closer to the Soviet Union, which was a rival of
China; a modernization of the PLA as China realized they
did not do very well against a smaller country; and the
beginning of a long-lasting but low-level border conflict
with between Vietnam and China. (See
After the Chinese invasion of Vietnam in 1979, continued
warfare and infiltration along the border kept these two
neighbors in a state of low-level warfare. The two
Communist neighbors now maintain cordial relations, but
further research is needed to ascertain when the
cross-border raids and artillery exchanges
the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, Vietnamese forces
often crossed over from Cambodia into Thailand in
operations against Cambodian guerrilla forces. This led
to several battles with the Thai military.
Sources on Vietnamese
History and Vietnamese Wars:
The Wars in Vietnam: 1954-1980. New York:
Hippocrene Books. 1981.
Fall, Bernard B.
Street Without Joy. New York: Schocken Books.
of Congress/Federal Research Division:
for an index of information on Vietnam.
Please cite this source when appropriate:
Lee, R. "The History Guy:
The Wars of Vietnam : From the Beginning of the 20th Century
to the Present"
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