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Vietnam War Study Notes Essay

939 words - 4 pages

I.Origins.Vietnam began as a "small war" - in the pattern of all the other small wars since the 1880s, US military forces engaged another nation at the discretion of the President - though this time on behalf of French colonists (rather than US corporate interests) but steadily under the misguided notion, the Domino Theory.b.After WWII, US restores Vietnam to France as colonyi.Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese struggle for independence from France1.Ho Chi Minh writes to Truman asking for help as he was inspired by US myth of revolution after WWIIa.Ho trained as French colonial soldier and lead the resistance to Japanese occupation during WWIIb.At the end of WWII, as an ally of the US - Ho declared Vietnam independent 9/2/1945 - his speech used such familiar phrases asi."all men are created equal, they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness."c.Capitalism did not appeal to Ho or Vietnamese culture and, logically, it is not at odds with American theories of freedom.2.The French had no intention of letting Vietnam go and, as with the Dutch, France used US aid to fund its reassertion of control.a.1947 US paying for French military occupation of Vietnami.French control of air = Truman loan of air power from 1950 and by 1954, US aid = 3 billion. US paid 80% of French costs. Airpower has limited use against guerilla army.b.Facing France and seeing that the US backed France, the Viet Minh had no choice but to seek aid from the only power in the world viewed as possibly standing up to the US. Until their falling out, Viet Minh bridled at commands from Beijing and the Soviet Union TO NOT antagonize the US.3.1954 France defeated by Vietnamese at Battle of Dien Bien Phu - first time west defeated by South-Eastern communist countrya.siege lasted 55 daysb.More volunteers in last days of siege than planes to take them in. Absurd - it was suicide and French had lost. French artillery commander commits suicide. French lost 1500 dead, 1000s wounded, 10,000 captured. (Cronkite)c.Dulles gave a prophetic announcement - pays tribute to defender that US may honor them by living up to their spirit of defense to defend "serious commitments and vital interests" ie domino theory. One falls, all falls. Ike understood it, McNamara did too. (Cronkite)4.North Vietnam is liberated by independence movement led by Ho Chi Minh after 7-year strugglea.French lost 44,967 dead and 79,560 woundedb.John Foster Dulles, secretary of State, 1953-1958 (died in 1958)i.Born into privilege, isolated from worldii.His interests were those of his clients - the most powerful corporations of the timeiii.A lawyer - he viewed the world in adversarial termsiv.Admirer of Hitler, especially for Hitler's views of a world dominated by Aryans1.He was one of many American lawyers who helped US firms do business with...

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