Thirty-eight years have passed and the Vietnam War is still a controversial topic. While some Americans believe that Indochina was of no strategic value to the United States, others argue that civilian leaders have undermined the war effort. My paper will help analyze the different viewpoints for U.S. involvement in Vietnam and the overall assessment of each. Almost all the sources utilized came to the consensus that the chief purpose for U.S. intervention was to stop Communism from spreading. Nevertheless, while some believed that the developed country had reason to fear the “Iron Curtain,” which fell upon Asia in 1954 with the armistice in Korea and the Geneva Accords, others did not see this as an act of upholding freedom and democracy.
Why did the United States get involved in the Vietnam War? Ask this question to a cross section of Americans, a housewife like Bobbie Lee Pendergrass who wrote a moving letter to President Kennedy looking for answers not about the death of her brother, but the reason why he fighting in Vietnam. Most Americans couldn’t even tell you where Vietnam was on a map much less why we sent so many soldiers to fight a civil war half way around the world because most Americans did not think that communism was not an immediate threat. The United States government’s reason was that they wanted to stop the spread of Communism and the expansion of nuclear weapons so they supported a military government in South Vietnam which was under the leadership of Ngo Dinh Diem who was not in favor of free elections because this might unify the country under communist rule. Looking back it is easy to say that the decision may have been wrong, but what is the pint now, except to learn from the mistakes made during the Vietnam War, The decision to aid Vietnam was a difficult one that all five Presidents struggled with but it was in 1961 when Kennedy sent a team to Vietnam to report on conditions in the South and to assess future American aid requirements (Rorak, 1,065).
America, from the onset of the war did not have any precise strategies to achieve their goals. Vietnamese leader, Diem noticed this stating, “It was as if the United States could never quiet decide what policy to pursue.” The official reason for US entry was to defeat the Communist threat. President Kennedy stated, “The enemy is the Communist system itself-implacable, insatiable, unceasing in its drive for world domination…” There were two significant faults with this objective. Firstly the Americans assumed that, without evidence, the Vietnamese people would be swung by the power of democracy. Secondly, disputes occurred between the major Communist nations during the Vietnam war: the Sino-Soviet split destroyed the idea of a unified world-wide takeover by Communist nations.
Vietnam, now, was becoming an American issue, due to a substantial support in the North for a Communist regime. A plan of action would then have been deemed necessary to keep communism out of the Southern, American friendly, sector of Vietnam. I, therefore, submit the American test case for containment in Vietn... ... middle of paper ... ...erican troops. Therefore, the major reasons for an American military failure found its genesis in a weak ally and a strong, empowered Northern force. Although it is safe to state that, though the problem within Vietnam created a fiasco in itself, American arrogance in their military superiority and complete ignorance of the recent history of the Vietnamese, similarly, produced a circumstance where failure was inevitable.
The impact of the antiwar movement was clearly substantial, by the time the war had ended; the last Gallup poll recorded in May 1971 indicated that public approval of the war was at an all-time low of 28 percent. The movement provoked doubts about the war’s merits among the American public and elites, including in congress and the media, who, in turn influenced other Americans. The threat the movement posed to domestic social stability also promoted public and elite ... ... middle of paper ... ...rations and American Public Opinion on the War in Vietnam." The British Journal of Sociology 27, no. 2 (1976): 225-236.
No war that the United States has ever fought has drawn so much heart-rending criticism than the Vietnam War. This war divided the United States as no war since the Civil War ever has. Citizens that favored the participation in Vietnam still argue their point of view with those that opposed the United States involvement in Vietnam. The Vietnam conflict started as civil war in the country of Vietnam, one that lies very far away from the United States in Indochina. Why did Americans sacrifice so many lives and so much money for a country so far away?