From the outset, the Vietnam War manifested itself as a conflict that could only be settled by prolonged engagement. Because the war was fundamentally an ideological struggle between the democratic, capitalist United States and the Communist bloc of the U.S.S.R. and China, the strategy formulated by both democratic and communist advisory forces in North and South Vietnam conformed to accepted Cold War military practices. However, while initially similar to the war in Korea, the war in Vietnam soon outgrew and exceeded the expectations of U.S. strategists, evolving into one the longest and most bitterly contested campaigns in U.S. history. The reasons for this relative loss of control on the part of the American executors of the war were manifold, but perhaps the most influential forces can be attributed, firstly, to the obduracy of the North Vietnamese and their allies in the South in the face of perceived American imperialism and, secondly, to the respective international policies of five successive American presidents in regards to U.S. military action in Vietnam and neighboring Laos and Cambodia. In the following essay I will provide a relatively brief but concise outline of the ways in which these distinct yet interrelated factors contributed to a protracted U.S. military presence in Vietnam.
In his monograph, Lyndon Johnson’s War, Michael Hunt converses the different verdicts, choices, faults and actions which lead up to the Vietnam War. Hunt exploits documents from both American and Vietnam archives to explain in full the actions taken by many American leaders and the potential thought process of our counterpart the Vietnamese and other European and Asian countries and their leaders. In each and every one of these archives he makes a point of it to explain how the United States came to be drawn into the conflict in Southeast Asia and several times through this book Hunt makes the silent argument that the Unted States of America fought the war as if it were “fighting a conventional war.”(Hunt, pg. 53) Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of further American involvement into the war.
Many believe that America's involvement in the Vietnam War was a disaster. The majority of the men and women fighting in the war had little or no idea why they were there in the first place. The staggering number of lives that was lost cannot and will not be overlooked. The importance of this war was decimated, and the actions of political leaders were scrutinized by there own people as well as other countries. One question that comes to mind when thinking about the Vietnam War is our reasoning for entering the war and what our enemies thought about America's intervention in the war. America's intervention in Vietnam changed the lives of many people and families in our country today.
The purpose of this paper is to better understand the political dynamics that were in play at the very beginning of the Vietnam crisis that eventually lead to the disastrous war in Vietnam. It will examine the historical record from various viewpoints and hope to discover those instances where a failure in communication lead to a cascade effect of fear and uncertainty that set into motion those events that drew the political leaders of the United States deeper and deeper into the quagmire of Vietnam and south-east Asia. How did the Logic of Fear dominate the thinking and policies at the time? The hypothesis of this paper is to show that those failures in communication and signaling could plausibly have been avoided with more adept diplomacy, and subsequently the war in Vietnam could have been averted.
As part of his campaign, Linden B. Johnson directed his efforts toward the improvement of life of those in poverty, focusing little attention to the Vietnam War. Yet once elected, he brought upon “the escalation of the Vietnam war to an intensity that few Americans expected when they cast their ballots for him” (Walsh). Johnson’s increased interest and support for the war created a major issue of misrepresentation, his election came from his ideas aimed at the “Great Society,” yet he authorized the increase of the original “20,000 U.S. troops to more than a half million” to serve in Vietnam (Walsh). The policies that the former president was elected under was what the general public hoped would come from his stay in office, yet his legacy would go on to be almost entirely regarding his involvement in the war. Not only did he bring the United States deeper into the war, he also failed “to honestly discuss how badly the war was going and to reveal the true costs of the conflict” (Walsh). This duplicity on the part of the former president, forged for a severe difference in preference and policy between him and the majority of United States public that had elected him into office for his first official presidential term in
The 36th president of the United States was Lyndon B. Johnson aka LBJ. He was born August 27, 1908 in Stonewell, Texas. When Lyndon was a teenager his family owned a farm. He would help his father out on the farm. He was married to Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson. He has two daughters, Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Bird Johnson Robb. Lyndon B. Johnson went to college at Southwest Texas State Teachers College, which is now Texas State University. He participated in debates and campus politics. When he graduated, he taught school for a brief period of time. Before becoming president, LBJ was asked by John F. Kennedy to be his Vice President. LBJ accepted the offer. On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
Lyndon B. Johnson, famously known as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States who was in power when the Vietnam War took place. Though Johnson made many controversial decisions while in office, his goal was to ensure the security and welfare of the United States. LBJ once said, “If we quit Vietnam tomorrow we’ll be fighting in Hawaii and next week we’ll have to be fighting in San Francisco” (Important People). This is one outcome of many that could have resulted if he didn’t send 500,000 American troops to Vietnam.
...nd engaging in full scale military engagement in Vietnam was a rash decision as it contained little investigation and inadequate research on the battle techniques of the Northern Vietnamese before engaging. Altogether, President Johnson’s response and executed action towards the events occurring in Southeast Asia were rash, rushed and researched. His elitist attitude towards the power that the United States held compared to the “guerilla” forces of the Viet Cong created a mentality that the United States would easily suppress the opposing forces as they were the dominant world power; however Johnson neglected major elements of geopolitical situations and warfare style needed to be successful. President Johnson had a chance to withdraw from Vietnam after Kennedy’s assassination but chose to escalate the situation that had been brewing since the Truman administration.
Because the United States government did not wish to barter with communist countries, they did everything in their power to prevent the spread communism in counties (Faber and Faber 234). This was the main cause of the Vietnam War. Under many circumstances did Johnson attempt to negotiate peace with Ho Chi Minh, the president of North Vietnam at the time, however all endeavors failed. Instead purusing peace, the United States military dropped bombs on North Vietnam in February of 1965. Instead of engaging in more violence, Johnson chose to consult for peace with the Vietnam government in April of 1965 (Faber and Faber 233). Since all attempts of peace failed once again, Johnson proceeded to send thousands of troops to Vietnam. The Vietnam was the reason why Johnson became such a controversial president. After sending a great deal of young soldiers across the sea to never return truly infuriated thousands of people. Johnson’s strong leadership skills were of no help during the foreign policies because he spent most of his time on building the Great Society (Faber and Faber
From the year 1955 when the United States vowed to help support the South Vietnamese fight off the Northern communist, a total of about 60,000 soldiers dead and 300,000 wounded. The soldiers who offered their lives were on average the age of 23 meaning many gave up education and a family to fight for the lives in the bloody massacre we call the Vietnam War. At the beginning the United States only gave minor assistance to South Vietnam, but as the years continued and the Northern Communist began crippling the South, the United States offered more military aid. In 1961 after President John F. Kennedy sent a group of officials to assess the progress of preventing the spread of communism. It became evident that more military support was needed. “Working under the "domino theory," which held that if one Southeast Asian country fell to communism, many would follow, Kennedy increased U.S. aid, though he stopped short of committing to a large-scale military intervention”(History 1). After a group of generals over threw Ngo Dinh Diem the president of the government of the public of Vietnam the South Vietnam government become very unstable. Three weeks later President John F. Kennedy was assassinated befo...
The Vietnam war is such a controversial topic in America’s history. Some veterans that served in the war won’t even talk about it still to this day. The Vietnam war was a war that started in 1954, and lasted for about 20 years until 1975. America decided to join this war because they did not like the spread of communism and wanted to stop it at all cost. During this war, America had 4 different Presidents, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Many people believe that the United States should have gotten involved in the war, while other people believe that the United States should not have involved themselves in the war. The three topics this essay will discuss are the problems that the United States created in Vietnam and also the
Mark Atwood Lawrence’s study, The Vietnam War: A Concise International History, is about the changing of the French-Indochina conflict to America’s involvement in the war from 1954 to 1975. This book also went through each President of the United States that had to deal with the Vietnam War starting with Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
saw a high political cost in the conclusion of the Vietnam War, as the long and weary conflict also brought light onto the distrust of the government and officials. Events such as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which lead to U.S. troop deployment in Vietnam, the secret invasion of Cambodia, and the tragic Kent State shooting had put America in a crisis of faith and confidence in its own government. To the American people the ones that lead that nation were no longer credible, and this was further confirmed with the resignation of president Nixon along with the Watergate Scandal. Because of these factors, the Vietnam War changed the views of a generation as they became more and more skeptical in their own government in the wake of the Vietnam War. After the war the U.S. and it’s people were wounded and humiliated. Over 50,000 thousand men gave their lives for a pointless cause: to contain the spread of communism. America’s defeat undermined its superiority, confidence, and ultimately its commitment to internationalism; as future leaders would be wary of any involvement in foreign countries, they were afraid of being stuck in another Vietnam. This reluctance to commit overseas was known as the “Vietnam Syndrome”, were leaders would not send troops to foreign land unless it was in national interest or when there is strong public support. Gradually this syndrome would be shrugged off as America regained its status as a superpower and won relatively quick wars such as the Gulf War shaping the nation we know
Today I have more updates on the war in Vietnam. In May Vice President Lyndon Johnson went to visit the President of South Vietnam, President Diem. Johnson deemed President Diem as the “Winston Churchill of Asia”. That same month of Johnson’s trip to South Vietnam, we decided to send in forces, known as advisory forces, to train and prepare South Vietnamese soldiers for battle in case something happened, we want them to be prepared just as much as we are. Unfortunately, on November 2, President Diem and his brother were kidnapped and killed by a group of soldiers, when this happened we as the United States felt that we needed to become more involved in Vietnam because we wanted to help them fight against the communist rebels and their increasing