The Vietnam Conflict The Vietnam War Was A Long And

3733 words - 15 pages

The Vietnam Conflict The Vietnam War was a long and frustrating experience for the American people. Even before the United States involvement began, North and South Vietnam were in conflict with each other. ?When Vietnam was divided in 1954, many Viet Minh who had been born in the southern part of the country returned to their native villages to await the 1956 elections and the reunification of their nation?(Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99). When the elections did not take place as planned, these Viet Minh sought to overthrow Diem?s government (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99). ? The Viet Minh were greatly aided in their efforts to organize resistance in the countryside by Diem?s own policies, which alienated many peasants? (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 99).Beginning in 1955, the United States created the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in South Vietnam. Although Diem was not liked by the U.S. he was the only man that the United States had out there, so they had to back him (Karnow 214). Using these troops, Diem took land away from peasants and returned it to former landlords, reversing the land redistribution program implemented by the Viet Minh. Many villagers were moved from their homes to controlled settlements in order to stop Communist activity. Diem also drafted their sons into the ARVN. ?By the late 1950s police-state measures directed against anyone who disagreed with the prevailing edicts of the Diem Regime forced all opposition into the agonizing choice of self-imposed exile (if rich), total silence (if less fortunate and thus forced to remain in Vietnam) or armed 2 resistance? (Fall 138). By 1959, however, opposition to Diem was so widespread in rural areas that the southern Communists formed the National Liberation Front (NLF), and in 1960 the North Vietnamese government gave its formal sanction to the organization. The NLF began to train and equip guerrillas known as the People?s Liberation Armed Forces (PLAF). President Kennedy still believed the ARVN could become effective. Kennedy decided to try to increase support for the ARVN among the people of Vietnam. United States Special Forces (Green Berets) would work with ARVN troops directly in the villages in an effort to match NLF political organization and to win over the South Vietnamese people. The number of U.S. advisers assigned to the ARVN rose steadily. In January 1961, when Kennedy took office, there were 800 U.S. advisers in Vietnam; by November 1963 there were 16,700 (Battlefield:Vietnam History). American air power was assigned to support ARVN operations; this included the aerial spraying of herbicides such as Agent Orange, which was intended to deprive the NLF of food and jungle cover. Despite these measures, the ARVN continued to lose ground. ?Still, Kennedy was not quite prepared to pay any price or bear any burden to protect South Vietnam. He seemed to be persuaded from the start that he could deal inexpensively with the threat of Communism there? (Karnow...

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