The Vietnam War: Affects On America And Vietnam

2426 words - 10 pages

"No 'healing', no apologies, no memorials, nothing can possibly compensate for the damage done and the pain inflicted....The only thing we can possibly do, twenty years too late, is to try and tell the truth."Eric Bergerud, Historian UC BerkelyThe problem is though, that there is no one truth about the Vietnam War, even more than two decades after America's intervention. Critics of the intervention claim that the war was unnecessary and immoral and also policymakers in Washington dragged the country into and unwanted war. A group of scholars and military leaders have contrasting ideas, providing a strong defense for the American intervention. Although there is a multitude of facts and sources, without a framework to place them into context understanding the war would be impossible. Even after a careful examination of all the information we have today, it would reveal neither view as entirely accurate. The Vietnam War was arguably the most traumatic experience for the United States considering a whole range of events including two world wars, assassinations of two presidents, the Great Depression, the Cold War, racial issues, etc... Examining the events of the war including the Tonkin Resolution, Ho Chi Minh trail and Tet Offense while analyzing US involvement in the war can help us understand more about the truth of the war and why it was considered one of the most traumatic experiences for the United States.The background of US involvement in Vietnam extended many years into the past. For much of its history Vietnam was under Chinese control. In 1858 the French began their conquest of the area, and within thirty years had established protectorates in Tonkin and Annam in the northern sections, with Cochin-China in the sough. The Japanese took over in World War II and set up a puppet regime under Bao Dai, former emperor of Annam. The Vietnamese forced him out in 1945. Following WWII, from 1946 to 1954, the French made a determined effort to regain their former colonial possession. By late 1950, the French military was in a chaotic state. Troops were demoralized and their leaders were ineffective. The final defeat came at Dien Bien Phu on May 8, 1954 at the hands of the communists under their brilliant general, Vo Ngyuen Giap . French troops left Vietnam and elections were held to determine the form of government for the future of Vietnam, but communists took over the country north of the 17th parallel and established a communist regime with leader Ho Chi Minh. Soon, it was obvious that the Vietcong would attempt to take over the South. With arms provided by the Chinese and Russians, the Vietcong drove into the South determined to create a communist government there.US involvement began during the administration of Eisenhower. Under Ho Chi Minh, the North was lending military support to a group of Communist insurgent in the south who were attempting to overthrow the South Vietnamese government. Under Eisenhower, several hundred military advisors...

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