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Vietnam War Essay

I think that the Vietnam War was justified as the Americans were trying to
help Vietnam becoming communist country and they though that communism was
a bad thing not realizing that the Vietnamese had it rough to start with.

It was just some of the thing that the Americans did that mad the war

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The war never just started the US just bleed more supplies in to the French
then some CIA to do some work then by 1961 he sent some Green Berets in and
by August 1964, he secured from Congress a functional (not actual)
declaration of war: the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. Then, in February and March
1965, Johnson authorized the sustained bombing, by U.S. aircraft, of
targets north of the 17th parallel, and on 8 March dispatched 3,500 Marines
to South Vietnam. Legal declaration or not, the United States was now at

The multiple starting dates for the war complicate efforts to describe the
causes of U.S. entry. The United States became involved in the war for a
number of reasons, and these evolved and shifted over time. Primarily,
every American president regarded the enemy in Vietnam–the Vietminh; its
1960s successor, the National Liberation Front (NLF); and the government of
North Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Min as agents of global communism. U.S.

policymakers, and most Americans, regarded communism as the antithesis of
all they held dear. Communists scorned democracy, violated human rights,
pursued military aggression, and created closed state economies that barely
traded with capitalist countries. Americans compared communism to a
contagious disease. If it took hold in one nation, U.S. policymakers
expected contiguous nations to fall to communism, too, as if nations were
dominoes lined up on end. In 1949, when the Communist Party came to power
in China, Washington feared that Vietnam would become the next Asian
domino. That was one reason for Truman’s 1950 decision to give aid to the
French who were fighting the Vietminh.

Truman also hoped that assisting the French in Vietnam would help to shore
up the developed, non-Communist nations, whose fates were in surprising
ways tied to the preservation of Vietnam and, given the domino theory, all
of Southeast Asia. Free world dominion over the region would provide
markets for Japan, rebuilding with American help after the Pacific War.

U.S. involvement in Vietnam reassured the British, who linked their post
war recovery to the revival of the rubber and tin industries in their
colony of Malaya, one of Vietnam’s neighbours. And with U.S. aid, the
French could concentrate on economic recovery at home, and could hope
ultimately to recall their Indochina officer corps to oversee the
rearmament of West Germany, a Cold War measure deemed essential by the
Americans. These ambitions formed a second set of reasons why the United
States became involved in Vietnam.

As presidents committed the United States to conflict bit by bit, many of
these ambitions were forgotten. Instead, inertia developed against
withdrawing from Vietnam. Washington believed that U.S. withdrawal would
result in a Communist victory–Eisenhower acknowledged that, had elections
been held as scheduled in Vietnam in 1956, “Ho Chi Minh would have won 80%
of the vote”–and no U.S. president wanted to lose a country to communism.

Democrats in particular, like Kennedy and Johnson, feared a right-wing
backlash should they give up the fight; they remembered vividly the
accusatory tone of the Republicans’ 1950 question, “Who lost China?” The
commitment to Vietnam itself, passed from administration to administration,
took on validity aside from any rational basis it might once have had.

Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy all gave their word that the United States
would stand by its South Vietnamese allies. If the United States abandoned
the South Vietnamese, its word would be regarded as unreliable by other
governments, friendly or not. So U.S. credibility seemed at stake.

Along with the larger structural and ideological causes of the war in
Vietnam, the experience, personality, and temperament of each president
played a role in deepening the U.S. commitment. Dwight Eisenhower
restrained U.S. involvement because, having commanded troops in battle, he
doubted the United States could fight a land war in Southeast Asia. The
youthful John Kennedy, on the other hand, felt he had to prove his resolve
to the American people and his Communist adversaries, especially in the
aftermath of several foreign policy blunders early in his administration.

Lyndon Johnson saw the Vietnam War as a test of his mettle, as a Southerner
and as a man. He exhorted his soldiers to “nail the coonskin to the wall”
in Vietnam, likening victory to a successful hunting expedition.

When Johnson began bombing North Vietnam and sent the Marines to South
Vietnam in early 1965, he had every intention of fighting a limited war. He
and his advisers worried that too lavish a use of U.S. firepower might
prompt the Chinese to enter the conflict. It was not expected that the
North Vietnamese and the NLF would hold out long against the American
military. And yet U.S. policymakers never managed to fit military strategy
to U.S. goals in Vietnam. Massive bombing had little effect against a
decentralized economy like North Vietnam’s.

The Vietnam War was just as justified as the First World War; they didn’t
have to do anything about it, but they did. People thought that war was a
romantic and heroic thing to be involved in. It wasn’t until TV brought the
war into the lounge rooms of the Families that they started to see how
horrible war is.


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