Harry Truman is an important figure in relation to Vietnam as it was him who made the decision to oppose communism throughout the world. In relation to US support for France, the Truman administration concluded that the French were invaluable allies against Communism in both Indochina and Europe, and therefore deserving of American assistance. However, many articulate Vietnamese were unhappy with French rule, which resulted in a small Vietnamese nationalist group in espouse of Communism grown up in exile under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh. Consequently, Truman offered $10 million to support the French military effort, and established a US Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) in Saigon. This assistance then increased, as by the end of the year, the US had given France $100 million, along with aircraft, patrol boats, napalm bombs and ground combat machinery.
America, as Harman describes, was seemingly invincible, until its involvement in the Vietnam War. In the 1950s, France had already been at war which divided Vietnam into the North and South. France was backed by the U.S. who funded a majority of the war effort and helped take over South Vietnam. But according to Harman, “The US was trapped in a war of attrition from which there was no easy way out,” (Harman 572). He sees the Vietnam War on the whole as not only a waste of time, men, and resources for the Americans, but also a cause of “huge fissures …in US society” (Harman 572).
A People’s History of the United States: Reflection Chapter 18 The Impossible Victory: Vietnam This chapter summarizes the Vietnam War and focuses mainly on the United States’ involvement. Zinn zeroes in on the horrors done by the US to the Vietnamese people. The war’s outcome in terms of US involvement was described by the New York Times very well, as it stated, “’The U.S. emerges as the big loser and history books must admit this…Successive American governments were never able to muster the necessary mass support at home,’” (Zinn 501). The Americans entered the war seemingly unnecessarily, officially declaring war after the unprovoked attack in the Gulf of Tonkin, which was later discovered fake. Zinn’s attitude throughout the entire chapter leads me to believe that he disapproves on extreme levels of the actions taken by the US during this time.
This occurred some years after 1950. In the 1960s and 70s, the American public became very angry and frustrated with the military-industrial complex. The protest against the Vietnam War had reached its very highest. In President Eisenhower‘s farewell address, he warned, “ In the councils of government, we must guard against acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” The American public should refrain from gaining any negative or unauthorized influences by the military-industrial complex.
President Kennedy was entirely responsible for American involvement in Vietnam? How far do you agree with Carters interpretation of Kennedy’s foreign policy? I disagree that John Kennedy was entirely responsible for American involvement in Vietnam, as before Kennedy even came into power, by the end of his presidency, Eisenhower had already got the United States involved, by giving support to the French military attempts, and by injecting billions of US dollars into the unpopular Diem government. This huge commitment had already made it harder for the USA to pull out; they had made obligations to prop up a democratic government, and this obligation would follow onto Kennedy and Johnson. Charles de Gaulle said in 1961 "The more you become involved out there against Communism, the more the Communists will appear as champions of national independence… you will sink step by step into a bottomless military and political quagmire, however much you spend in men and money" Eisenhower had already begun the sinking process, and Kennedy would act as a catalyst for a further descent.
Americas politics, America used Diem as a way to stop to spread of communism in Vietnam, they supported him in becoming Vietnams first president and to set up an Anti-Communist government at the same time, this was another way for the us government to stop the spread of communism the American government also stopped a Vietnam vote for either capitalism of communism America when to extreme measures to stop this from happening. In 1964 the us navy reports of an incident involving two American destroyers and several Vietnamese gunships, this is what lead to the us declaring full out war on Vietnam and the Viet mihn, it stated that Viet gunships fired
The U.S. had learned its lesson from Vietnam, showing American young men fighting and dying too explicitly was no way to keep public support for a war. It is obvious because of the many attempts at peaceful diplomacy prior to the fighting that America needed to win a quick and decisive victory. Some military experts have even referred to the coalition's invasion of Iraq as a “Blitzkrieg.” As a result, the military payed special attention to limit what the media could see in an attempt to portray the war as “bloodless.” Images of Iraqi vehicles being blown to bits by the coalition air forces were broadasted into the homes of ordinary Americans. These images did just that, the unprecedented nature of the intense, precise, air raids portrayed the war as a one sided
One group of people felt that there were good ideas for getting involved in the conflict, however they thought it would be a useless battle with too much burden on the economy. The other group of people thought the United States had to get involved in Vietnam and that we needed to stay until we got the job done. The United States finally started pulling the troops out in the early 1970’s. Student unrest was a key aspect of the Vietnam War. Student activists brought about antiwar ideals and protested their opposition to the war.
Nixon’s main argument is that he won the war in Vietnam but Congress lost it by cutting off aid to South Vietnam. Nixon says his plan all along was to give South Vietnam the tools to their own victory because American combat troops could not win the conflict for them. This would also enable the withdrawal of American troops already stationed in Vietnam. Soon afterwards once the Paris Peace Accords were signed and all troops were out of Vietnam, Nixon felt confident in his strategy. Soon enough though, the North broke its agreement and the U.S had to determine whether or not to start helping the South once again.
It has hurt our credibility across the world and caused a loss of faith in government by its citizens. Although the necessity of the war is argued by many, it is only done in an analysis of its occurrence. Had it not happened and the world possibly fell under Communism, then we would be arguing the exact opposite. The United States did what it felt it had to do at the time, given the information it had. To go to war in Vietnam was a risk the US felt it had to take in order to contain Communism, thus securing its economic prosperity and worldwide dominance.