The Purpose of the Vietnam War
Length: 1217 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)
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The Vietnam War was the longest and most expensive war in American History. The toll we paid wasn't just financial, it cost the people involved greatly, physically and mentally. This war caused great distress and sadness, as well as national confusion. Everyone had that one burning question being why? Why were we even there? The other question being why did America withdrawal from Vietnam. The purpose of this paper is to answer these two burning questions, and perhaps add some clarity to the confusion American was experiencing.
The Truman doctrine was to stop the spread of communism and it was used to stop the south part of Vietnam becoming communists like the north So America sent in money and all the help they could to stop Vietnam becoming a communist country. Vietnam was part of the French empire. However, during World War 2 the Japanese took over .The Vietnamese communist movement Vietminh was formed to resist the Japanese. France tried to repossess Vietnam at the end of the war but the Vietminh fought back. With the United States lending its financial support to France, when the Japanese defeated France, the United States sent money and military consultants to the non-communist government of South Vietnam. ~ Other advisors however doubted that such an action could reverse the disastrous course of the war and warned the president that it could lead inevitably to deeper involvement in an Asian land war the United States couldn't win. (The Debate over Vietnam Page, 30)
By 1960 the American troops were sent in to fight a war that cost; Fifty-eight thousand Americans lost their lives. The losses to the Vietnamese people were appalling. The financial cost to the United States comes to something over $150 billion dollars. Direct American involvement began in 1955 with the arrival of the first advisors. The first combat troops arrived in 1965 and we fought the war until the cease-fire of January 1973.
The United States was not capable of winning the War because they realized too late that the real war in Vietnam was not a military one but a political one. Beginning with Eisenhower, They were fully aware that the only way South Vietnam would win is with the support of the United States troops. Kennedy restricted the U.
But after he was assassinated in 1963 American policy changed, with Lyndon Johnson decision to increase troops. In August 1964 there was an incident in the gulf of Tonkin where two American ships were attacked. Therefore the president Johnson took full advantage to order the bombings starting in North Vietnam. After the bombing of North Vietnam the Vietnamese people were intimidated and took sides with the Vietcong. President Johnson had proven himself to be the master of deceit. His spokesman had withheld critical information about the South Vietnam commando assaults along North Vietnamese coast ~ Johnson was delighted with the broad authority that the gulf of Tonkin resolution had given him." Like Grandma's nightshirt it covered everything."(The Tragedy of Vietnam Page 110)
By the end of 1965 American militarization was in full swing and troop strength was increased to over 125,000 men.
It was then that the first major American Battle against the North Vietnamese took place in the Ia Drang Valley. The events of this battle were published in the book "We Were Soldiers Once and Young" By Joseph L. Galloway and Lt. Col. Moore
Following full Military mobilization Operation Starlite was launched.
These involved numerous searches and destroy missions south of Chu Lai.
The Vietnamese then began to engage in much more effective Guerilla warfare. During the Vietnamese lunar New Year or Tet the Vietcong and NVA attack on key cities and basses. Mainly Hue, Saigon and the Military base Khe Sahn.
Though the invaders were defeated in detail the American casualties were extremely high and led to civil disturbances at home.
After a long hard defensive battle on April 29, 1970, President Richard Nixon launched a full-scale attack on Cambodia, which had an alarming impact America's involvement in this conflict. The reaction from college students across the United States was one that led into great question and heated debates. When Nixon announced his decision on the following day, many people were upset, and thousands of people protested. The end result of one particular protest was bloody, In Ohio on the campus of Kent state. Unfortunately this incident is a perfect example of what awful shape our country was in during the Vietnam era. America became divided over Vietnam in some ways it still is today.
On January 23, 1973 - President Nixon announces that an agreement has been reached which will "end the war and bring peace with honor."
Then on January 27, 1973 the U.S., North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the Viet Cong sign The Paris Peace Accords. Under the terms, the U.S. agrees to immediately halt all military activities and withdraw all remaining military personnel within 60 days. The North Vietnamese agree to an immediate cease-fire and the release of all American POWs within 60 days. An estimated 150,000 North Vietnamese soldiers presently in South Vietnam are allowed to remain. Vietnam is still divided. South Vietnam is considered to be one country with two governments, one led by President Thieu, the other led by Viet Cong, pending future reconciliation. On March 29, 1973 the last remaining American troops withdraw from Vietnam as President Nixon declares, "the day we have all worked and prayed for has finally come." The main reason we withdrew from the war was we were losing. When one is fighting for a country's freedom, and the citizens of that country cannot support the efforts, it becomes inevitable that a war is in the waiting. The South Vietnamese were not happy about U.S. soldiers being in their country, on a daily basis, thousands of South Vietnamese joined the Viet Cong, so trust became a major issue Among the American soldiers, and they had no idea who to shoot and who to help. America's longest war, and its first defeat, thus concludes. During 15 years of military involvement, over 2 million Americans served in Vietnam with 500,000 seeing actual combat. 47,244 were killed in action, including 8000 airmen. There were 10,446 non-combat deaths. 153,329 were seriously wounded, including 10,000 amputees. Over 2400 American POWs/MIAs were unaccounted for as of 1973.
In conclusion the Vietnam War was not our War to fight, we lost the war and a lot of brave men and women lost their lives. The rest came back home to an Americana divided with those who welcomed them back with open arms and those who were angry with them. This just intensified their lack of trust. We with drew from the war because we were losing, and the sad part is things pretty much stayed the same in Vietnam.
This quote by Richard Nixon "No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now". Tells the truth, no one really knows the answers, all we have our speculations as to what happen and didn't happen, but unless you were there we will never really know, why?