What Did We Learn From The Vietnam War?

1937 words - 8 pages

“Teaching the Vietnam War makes one realize how the shape of a narrative determines, and is determined by, its content” (Franklin 246). The Vietnam War was one of America’s most controversial wars. Many of its aspects are still plagued with great uncertainty. Those aspects of the Vietnam War are argued and debated about, they were argued during the time of the war and the arguing has continued. The Vietnam War was indeed a time of confusion. Why did the war start? What was the United States’ real reason for getting involved? What was the objective of the war? What were the American soldiers really fighting, or in reality, dying for? How do you explain a war to someone who has not experienced firsthand, especially if you were not around yourself? There is no real answer. You can give the facts and figures, but that leaves out the true grit of a war. The human perspective must also be given. As with any war, the Vietnam War had many perspective: the protestors, the politician, and lastly, but most importantly, the soldier (Although there are many other stories that could and should be told). Through the facts and figures and the eyes of those who were there, an individual could learn about the Vietnam War, although how many actually want to understand war is uncertain.
The facts and figures are one of the first things that should be learned about the war (Although many would argue the facts). The Vietnamese waged an anti-colonial war against France between 1945 and 1954. They received $2.6 billion in financial aid from the United States to aid their efforts. The Geneva Convention followed the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu, where Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam all received independence. Vietnam was momentarily divided into Communist North and anti-Communist South. Then in 1956, South Vietnam, with help from America, refused to hold the unification elections. In 1958, Communist-led guerrillas, eventually known as the Viet Cong, began to battle the government of the South Vietnamese. The United States then sent 2,000 military advisors t support South Vietnam’s government. This number grew to 16,3000 by 1963. The military force slowly deteriorated. By 1963 the fertile Mekong Delta was lost to the overpowering Viet Cong. The war rose in 1965, when President Johnson issued commencing air strikes on North Vietnam and ground forces, which had risen to 536,000 by 1968. The Tet Offensive by North Vietnam turned many Americans against the waging war. President Nixon, following Johnson, promoted Vietnamization, the withdrawing of American troops and handing over the great responsibility of the war to South Vietnam. Protesting of the war dramatically increased, especially after Nixon’s attempt to slow North Vietnam forces and supplies into the South by sending American forces to destroy supply bases in Cambodia in 1970, which violated Cambodian neutrality. This provoked antiwar protests on many of the United Stats’ college campuses. ...

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