The Vietnam War Essay

1091 words - 4 pages

The Vietnam War Throughout the past century, there have been numerous controversial topics from suffrage to slavery. Perhaps one of the most controversial, at least in my opinion, was the war in Vietnam. Even today, right now, if you ask someone what he or she thinks about the Vietnam War, you are sure to get an earful. But, while opinions have their place, the real questions still linger. How did this war start? What was the United States involvement in the war? Lastly, was the price that the United States paid worth it? These are the questions I posed to myself, and then set out to try and answer here, in this paper.The Vietnamese War, as defined to me in the New Standard Encyclopedia, was " an undeclared war for the control of South Vietnam, starting in 1957 and ending in 1975." The war began as a Communist guerrilla campaign supported by North Vietnam, who sought control of South Vietnam. The United States feared that Communism would spread, and President Eisenhower's Domino Theory was born. By 1965 the United States assumed a major role when units of Marines became the first combat troops in South Vietnam. In April, the first North Vietnamese regular units infiltrated South Vietnam. President Johnson increased United States involvement in July of that same year by strengthening arms by 125,000 men. By the end of 1965, there were 181,000 American troops along with troops sent by South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.August of 1968 was without a doubt the bloodiest and most horrific year of the war that the American soldiers had to endure. This was the year of the Tet Offensive, which had started in January of that year with the North Vietnamese launching major attacks on more than 30 major cities. The Communists were driven out after weeks of never ending battles during which they suffered substantial losses. The onslaught weakened the newly elected South Vietnamese government, set back efforts of pacification, and brought to the forefront American outcries for peace. With all that in mind, the American government had to re-think where this war was taking us. In previous years both sides had made several attempts to explore a basis on which to negotiate a peace settlement. Following the year's Tet Offensive both sides reassessed their positions. For a little while, it seemed the end was in sight, with the United States scaling back its bombings of North Vietnam, and North Vietnam agreeing to meet with the United States in Paris to discuss peace negotiations, but the battle was far from over.Although there was a lull in the intensity of the fighting, it did continue all throughout the spring of 1968, and into 1969, when another Tet Offensive was launched by the Communist regime. By July of 1969, President Nixon announced a phased withdrawal of United States troops, gradually turning the burden of the war over to South Vietnam, in a policy that became known as "vietnamization".In 1970, despite the continued withdrawal of American troops, and...

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