The Viet Minh took power in Vietnam in the August Revolution .  The Viet Minh, downplaying their Communist agenda and stressing nationalism enjoyed large popular support (Vietnamese independence being popular at the time),  although Arthur J. Dommen cautions against a "romanticized view" of their success: "The Viet Minh use of terror was systematic….the party had drawn up a list of those to be liquidated without delay."  After their defeat in the war, the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) gave weapons to the Vietnamese, and kept Vichy French officials and military officers imprisoned for a month after the surrender. The Viet Minh had recruited more than 600 Imperial Japanese soldiers and given them roles to train or command Vietnamese soldiers.  
During the opening stages of World War II, the Soviet Union laid the foundation for the Eastern Bloc by invading and then annexing several countries as Soviet Socialist Republics , by agreement with Nazi Germany in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact . These included eastern Poland (incorporated into two different SSRs ),  Latvia (which became the Latvian SSR ),   Estonia (which became the Estonian SSR ),   Lithuania (which became the Lithuanian SSR ),   part of eastern Finland (which became the Karelo-Finnish SSR ) and eastern Romania (which became the Moldavian SSR ).  
That same month, Kennedy himself was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. His successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, inherited the Vietnam situation. Johnson wanted to focus on instituting “Great Society” programs at home, but Vietnam was a snake he did not dare let go of. His political party, the Democrats, had been blamed for China falling to communism; withdrawing from Vietnam could hurt them in the 1964 elections. On the other hand, Congress had never declared war and so the president was limited in what he could do in Southeast Asia.