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The American Experience In Vietnam War

1014 words - 4 pages

The book covers information from the early years of the war in 1954 to the end in 1975. It is written by Grace Sevy, who is a freelance teacher at Stanford University. For most of the part, she narrates the story from a neutral and third person standpoint. The book contains 5 parts in a chronological order that analyze the major battles, the role of media and the aftermath and importance of the war. America was able to make full use of the latest developments in the war against North Vietnam. B-52 bombers flew at heights that prevented them from being seen and dropped 8 million tons of bombs on Vietnam. Another infamous bomb was the napalm. It had a sticky gel that attached to the skin and an igniting agent that burnt skin. The pineapple bomb was made up of 250 pellets inside a small canister. One of the major problems faced by the US forces were the Vietcong, who hid in the forests in Vietnam and launched surprise attacks. They sprayed a chemical, Agent Orange, in the air that destroyed forests and also caused chromosomal damage in people. Chemicals such as Agent Blue were sprayed on crops so that would cut the supply for the Vietcong. All the chemicals were responsible for serious health problems and disease outbreaks. The Gulf of Tonkin incident led to the escalation of US involvement in Vietnam. On August 2, 1964, the Maddox was conducting a "DeSoto patrol", referring to an espionage mission. The purpose of this mission was to collect intelligence on radar and coastal defenses of North Vietnam. However, the North Vietnamese torpedo patrol boats attacked the Maddox. The U.S.S. Ticonderoga sent aircraft to repel the North Vietnamese attackers and sunk one boat while damaging other enemy vessels. In an attempt to possibly lure the North Vietnamese into an engagement, both the Maddox and the C. Turner Joy were in the gulf on August 4. The captain of the Maddox had interpreted his ship's instruments as saying that the ship was under attack or had been attacked and began an immediate retaliatory strike into the night. The two ships began firing into the night rapidly with American warplanes supporting the showcasing of the American firepower. By 1967, USA was issuing optimistic statements about weakening of the Communist forces and the likelihood that war would be won in a few months. However, this fact was highly underestimated. In 1968, a series of crucial battles in the Vietnam War known collectively as the Tet Offensive contributed to the turning point of the war. On Jan. 31, 1968, the first day of the celebration of the lunar new year, Vietnam's most important holiday, the Vietnamese Communists launched a major offensive throughout South Vietnam on numerous provincial and district capitals including like Saigon and Hue. In the past years, the two sides declared a truce for a few days during Tet so that people could spend time with their family for a few days. Most of the South Vietnamese units were at...

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