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            Vietnam, a third-world country in South-East Asia was the location where the United States failed, for the first time in its history, to achieve its stated war aims. The goal was to preserve a separate, independent, non-communist government in South Vietnam, but after April 1975, the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) ruled the entire nation. .
             The a thousand year old domination of Vietnam by China influenced not only the country's religion and language but also fuelled the Vietnamese hate for foreigners and establishment of control in their country. The only success of the west was in establishing Christianity in Indo-china in the sixteenth century. From the 1600's Vietnam fell into disunity as competing clans jostled for power. In the late 1700's a prince of one of these clans, Nguyen Anh, sought support from France. The French King, Louis XIV, was persuaded to help Nguyen Anh in his quest for power. By 1858 the French were seeking to expand their colonial empire. They used the support given over half a century earlier as the pretext to establish a base in Vietnam. The French claimed a moral reason for colonising Vietnam - the civilising mission (mission civilisatrice) - the obligation of advanced peoples of modern civilisation to the primitive peoples of Asia and Africa. This was: "the white man's burden". In August 1858 the French landed at Da Nang and after three and a half years fighting under the goal of "god, gold and glory" forced Tu Duc to sign a treaty reading most of Cochin china to France. France viewed Vietnam as a land to be exploited. Under French control economic developments such as rubber plantations, mining of minerals, growth of coal fields and rice cultivation did occur but this policy of exploitation had horrific social consequences: Before French rule, most Vietnamese were landowners and the land now belonged to the French; industries such as rubber and mining were based on cheap native labour working in terrible conditions; opium production was boosted, creating a large increase in addiction.

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