Comparison of the Vietnam War and Trojan War

Comparison of the Vietnam War and Trojan War

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The Vietnam War and the Trojan War were two separate tragedies that took place in very different time periods yet. They have many things in common such as their senselessness, the brutality shown, and the way the soldiers were treated when they returned to their homeland. In this paper we will touch on those three topics explaining the petty causes of the war and how cruelly the opposing potencies attacked the enemy. Also, we will discover the great similarity in how the soldiers were treated upon returning from the war and how the war affected their lives.
Most historians view the nature of the Vietnam War as rooted in the history of the French colonies in Vietnam and the growing ethnic, political, and economical division between Catholic and Buddhist Vietnamese. (Brigham, Robert, Hoffman, Kenneth)
At the end of World War II, Japanese forces in Indochina turned over power to Vietnamese Nationalists. Japan had created an independent Vietnamese government. Japan allowed this government to be displaced by the Viet Minh under Ho Chi Minh. (The History Place, Beginner’s Guide)
The next month, a British force landed in southern Vietnam and occupied Indochina. (The History Place)
The French eventually gained back some control over parts of Vietnam. In early 1946, the French began a series of dual negotiations with the Chinese and Viet Minh over the future of Vietnam. After failed negotiations with the French over the future of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Minh retreated into remote parts of the countryside to fight a small-scale insurgency against the French. (The History Place, Beginner’s Guide)
Though the U.S had no direct role in the return of the French to Indochina, Washington’s desire for a more uniform European economy and European cooperation on a variety of other things required French cooperation. Because successive French governments threatened to become more uncooperative in Europe if the United States refused to accede to their demands overseas, Washington committed itself to a policy of supporting the French in Indochina. (The History Place, Wikipedia)
In this way we can see that the United State’s involvement in the Vietnam War was manipulated and “arranged” by the French who needed help and knew that the United States would have no choice but to accede to their proposal.
The Trojan War was also manipulated although not in the same way. Eris or Strife, the goddess of discord, after not being invited to a wedding party for the gods devised a plan to spoil the wedding.

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She threw a golden apple inscribed “for the fairest” in the midst of the wedding guests. Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite all wished to claim the apple for themselves. Not wanting the wrath of the goddesses the gods sent them to Paris, prince of Troy, so he could chose between them. Each of the goddesses promised to reward Paris if he chose her but Aphrodite won in promising him the hand of the most beautiful woman in the world (Helen of Sparta) in marriage. Because of this, Troy won the unequivocal wrath of Athena and Hera. They plotted to destroy Troy through Greece and through Helen’s suitors’ agreement. In this way, the Trojan War was begun and manipulated by the gods. (Jimmy Joe, Cinderella, McDougal)
Both wars led to the deaths of many innocent civilians caused by the brutality and cruelty shown by the attacking potencies. In Vietnam the number of casualties is estimated to be around 1.5 million people. The casualties in the Trojan War are not recorded in numbers for the entire city, men, women, and children, were killed. (Vietnam War Info)
In the Vietnam War many innocent people were killed in such massacres as the My Lai Massacre. Fighting against an almost invisible enemy mixed in the civilian population and suffering injuries and deaths from booby traps and attacks by soldiers who pretended to be civilians could not help but lead to fear and hatred. In 1969, U.S investigative journalist Seymour Hersh exposed the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up. It came to light that Lt. William Calley had been ordered to investigate and dissolve Viet Cong control in a village that was believed to be harboring the Viet Cong. Upon arriving at the village, Lt. Calley and his men discovered that it was populated mainly by women and children. Because the U.S intelligence had declared that the village was a Viet Cong hiding place Lt. Cong viewed all civilians as Viet Cong. Lt. Calley ordered his men to execute several Vietnamese civilians including women, children, and the elderly. The massacre was stopped only after three U.S soldiers noticed the carnage from their helicopter and intervened to prevent their fellow soldiers from killing any more civilians. (Wikipedia)
In the Trojan War, the Greeks had the element of surprise to their advantage. The Trojans were totally unarmed and unsuspecting. This helped the Greeks greatly in their quest to annihilate Troy. Because the gods had predestined Troy’s destruction and even though Athena was Troy’s protectress she was angry at Paris, the Greeks inevitably won the war and totally destroyed the Trojans….every last one. (Jimmy Joe)
Another thing the wars had in common was the way the soldiers were treated upon returning home. Though time periods differ significantly, the antiphon of society to the occurrences at war were much alike.
Soldiers who served in the Vietnam War were respected by some, shunned by others. Attitudes toward U.S involvement in the war affected their treatment. Many Vietnam veterans experienced social isolation in the years following the war. On October 3, 1987 Australian Vietnam veterans were honored at a “Welcome Home” parade in Sydney, and it was then that a campaign for a Vietnam memorial began. The Vietnam Forces National Memorial in Canberra was dedicated in 1992. In recent years, emotional distance from the war and a more dispassionate view of the war have brought about a more sympathetic and respectful attitude towards Vietnam War veterans. Ten years after the war the American soldiers were finally welcomed home. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C is located on the National Mall adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial. (Wikipedia, Leuhusen, Peter)
Returning Greek warriors were both treated as heroes and shunned, just as the Vietnam War veterans. Some though were merely forgotten or believed to not be returning at all. Such was the case of Odysseus, or Ulysses. Legend has it that the Greeks back home were already fighting over Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, believing that he was not returning. (Wikipedia, Homer)
As we can see, both the Trojan War and the Vietnam War were analogous. We have been able to view how both wars were manipulated by other influences and that both were very violent, killing many. We can also compare the way the soldiers were treated. Society had similar concepts of them though slightly different. Now though, we can see that the veterans are treated as heroes, the way the Greeks revered their warriors. Both wars relate to each other in significant ways and show how history can be relative to current events.
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