In the middle of the 19th century (1858), French colonialists began to invade Vietnam. The incompetent government of the Nguyen gradually gave in, and from 1884 French colonists established a protectorate and a colonial government that controlled the whole territory of Vietnam. In the early days of French colonisation, resistant movements of the Vietnamese people under the leadership of intellectual patriots like the literate, cultured people and scholars broke out everywhere, but they all failed in the end.
Nguyen Ai Quoc, who later became President Ho Chi Minh, travelled abroad to find a way in which to save the country. He laid the foundations for the Vietnam Communist Party, which was founded on 3rd February 1930. Under the leadership of the Communist Party, the Vietnamese people rose up against French colonization and Japanese occupation, organized the Great National Uprising in August 1945 and established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on 2nd September 1945.
Being confronted with aggressive schemes and intervention from France and the United States, the newly born Democratic Republic of Vietnam had to carry out the thirty-year war of resistance. The coming back of French aggressive troops resulted in the nine-year war of resistance (1945-1954) which was ended by the famous Vietnamese victory in Dien Bien Phu, and the signing of the 1954 Geneva Agreement on Vietnam. According to this Agreement the country was temporarily partitioned into North Vietnam and South Vietnam by the 17th parallel, which should be reunified within two years (1956) through a general election held all over Vietnam. The northern part of Vietnam (the Democratic Republic of Vietnam with its capital Hanoi) was placed under the control of the Vietnam Workers’ Party. The southern part (the Republic of Vietnam), which was controlled by a pro-French administration, and later a pro-American administration, had its capital in Sai Gon. The Sai Gon government used all its forces to prevent the election, suppressing and killing former participants of the resistance movement. The situation led to the national movement fighting for peace and unification of the country. The Sai Gon government could not suppress the aspiration of all Vietnamese people to unify the country, especially after the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam was established on 20th December 1960.
In order to maintain the Sai Gon regime, the United States increased its military aid to the Sai Gon government. Particularly, in the middle of the ’60s, a half-million American troops and their allied troops were sent to South Vietnam in direct military intervention. From the 5th of August 1964, they started bombarding North Vietnam. In spite of that, following president’s Ho Chi Minh’s teaching “Nothing is more precious than independance and freedom”, the Vietnamese people bravely and firmly stood up and won numerous victories in the northern as well as southern part of the country. In 1973, Washington had to sign the Paris Agreement on the restoration of peace in Vietnam and the withdrawal of all American troops from Vietnam.