The Vietnam war has been referred to by many names, one of the longer ones was 'the cornerstone of the free world southeast Asia'. It was called that by John F. Kennedy. He was talking about Vietnam being and essential country in a non-communist world. He believed that if Vietnam became a communist country, all of the surrounding countries would also become communists. This is the main reason America was involved in the Vietnam war. Another reason was that America wanted to spread their “political ideas around the globe”. They wanted to do this so that their anti-communism stance was clear. The public also wanted to keep communism from spreading. To soldiers, the war was like a crusade, a great journey to purge the communists from Vietnam. Sadly, this is not what happened. The Viet Cong (VC) had far better tactics than the US. The VC was told to 'nibble at the enemy' so that he could 'neither eat or sleep'. This worked very well. Another demoralizing tactic the VC used was their landmines; they were designed to blow the limbs off the soldiers without killing them. This tied up hospital beds and meant the soldiers had to carry the wounded back to the base.
As you can see, the US has had better ideas than entering in this war. So why did we enter in it? Mainly because of fear, fear of communism. Communism is a socioeconomic structure and political ideology that promotes the establishment of an egalitarian, classless, stateless society based on common ownership and control of the means of production and property in general. It means the people who work hard and/or get paid a lot more, must give their money away to people less fortunate, therefore making the poor people equal to themselves. This only works in theory, as demonstrated by the many countries that have tried it and failed. The number of poor people grows and the rich people and the people in power continue to get more money.
The public was on board the war train for the first few years of the war, until they found out what it was actually like in Vietnam. Public view of the war immediately changed negatively. When the news reached the soldiers in Vietnam, reactions were mixed. While they could understand why the people didn't like the prospect of war, they were still killing-even when they didn't want to-for their country. Some soldiers didn't know how to respond. One solder wrote to his mother and told her that for one second he felt as if he was on vacation because it was so beautiful in Vietnam. Another one told his mom “not to worry, there is nothing I can't handle”. While the soldiers could handle the physical horrors happening to them, it was the mental stuff that was breaking them down.
The Vietnam war did not officially start until the 1950's. This is when the U.S. started sending in troops. Before then the French had been trying to conquer what was then called Indochina. They began their conquest in 1859, by 1888 they had turned the area that is now called Vietnam...