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"New Perspectives On The Vietnam War" By William Schoenl

1597 words - 6 pages

"New Perspectives on the Vietnam War", written by William Schoenl deals with different stages of the Vietnam War, and how America dealt with certain issues of the time. Schoenl offers a fresh perspective on the war, with out the bias of American influence, that could possibly persuade our own ethnocentric views. This book is very interestingly placed together in an order of events, which begins with the Lyndon Johnson office, and ends with Richard Nixon. What this book clearly portrays, is that the way the world deals with war, has not changed all that much over the years. In 1964 we were trying to stop the threat of communism, and with programs like "More Flags", and a media somewhat controlled by the government, Washington was able to gain the support of Americans. Today isn't much different, the communist threat has faded, but the threat of terrorism and the spread of nuclear arms is still prevalent. The only thing that has changed, is the American state of mind. We as Americans are much more aware of the governments strategies and ways they go about getting our approval as a nation. Maybe this comes from the way the Vietnam War turned out. With media slogans today, such as "Operation Free Iraq", and coverage of all the anti-Saddam Iraqi's screaming for freedom, persuades Americans into leaning toward the side of pro-war support. One can not help but to reflect on the similarities between the perspectives in Schoenl's book, and the views as they exist today.
The involvement of other countries who sent troops into Vietnam, stemmed from a program known as "More Flags". The more countries who would back the United States, the more support they would get from the rest of the world. Schoenl's book shows how important the support of other nations was in stopping, what Kennedy, and Johnson referred to as the "Domino Effect". The Domino effect was the belief that all of South- East Asia would fall, if South Vietnam fell. The More Flags program consisted of South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand. One of the new perspectives I get from reading Chapter one, is that America used its deep pockets to pay for what it wanted. We bought the support of other nations, in the form of mercenaries, which means we also bought the American peoples' support as well. The American people thought all these countries were passionate about ending communism, when really all most of them wanted was money. Whether it was to help develop their nation, or help evade a more serious threat, it seems America was the only country who believed the protection of South Vietnam was the answer to preventing communism. Schoenl's book shows the dirty politics that take place behind the scenes, in order to take on a full scale war. We paid the Koreans with a list of their demands, ranging from military supplies, to money for the countries development. We struck deals with the Philippine government to send troops to Vietnam, but what no one knew, was that America...

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