The Vietnam War. Essay

3446 words - 14 pages

1. IntroductionIt was supposed to be a South Vietnamese war with the U.S. advising those who were frightened in their freedom. But the U.S. would end up doing much more than just advising. The Vietnam War was supposed to be a demonstration of how willing the U.S. was to battle communism, but ended up a personal vendetta against North Vietnamese as the U.S.A. escalated its commitment in Vietnam infinitely greater than it had ever intended. At the end over fifty thousand casualties were recorded on the American side.But why did this happen? Why did the Americans intervent in this war? Was the White House and its policy really prepared for this kind of war? What were the causes of the defeat? What had the soldiers to deal with in Vietnam?These were all quetions when I started to deal with the Vietnam War. In this paper I would like to answer those questions as good as I can!2. American Intervention through poor politicsWhen former President John F. Kennedy was shot, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson took over office in Washington. He was pressured to follow through on the late President's programs and policies on Vietnam which involved the demonstration of America's strength and responsibility. It is believed that American intervention in Vietnam was caused by structural weakness in the National Security Council and not enough attention to long- range policy planning. In addition, Johnson's inexperience and naivety regarding foreign policy and the positive belief of creating a perfect world.A main cause of American involvement was the weakness of the mechanism for determining the framework of foreign policy. " The establishment of the National Security Council came about in 1947. It was to bridge the gulf between considerations of foreign policy and considerations of the military force which was to conduct external relations."1 Apparently, the U.S.A. had had no central authority that linked the organizations of the Military Services and the State Department. As a result, the government decided that in order to be successful in international affairs the two groups had to basically work together. " The NSC ensured detailed coordination of all major factors of U.S. foreign policy decisions."2 It was odd that both President Truman and Eisenhower had success with this organization and when Kennedy came to office he decided to change it. Hepreferred to rely on small groups to be responsible for policy formation and execution therefore, he was more " comfortable...with a broad knowledge of foreign affairs and a strong distaste for being hemmed in by too much organization"3 . This informal system carried serious dangers "...of insufficient coordination, as the travesty at the Bay of Pigs soon showed and Johnson was unfortunate to inherit it."4 Lyndon Johnson had many extremely important decisions to make when he was in office. The fragmented NSC was not an efficient instrument since he had to conclude whether or not to continue supporting Vietnam militarily...

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