The AmericanVietnamese War Essay Research Paper The

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The American/Vietnamese War Essay, Research Paper The American/Vietnamese War By Kelly Reynolds, Year 12 Despite the defeat of the French in 1954 by the Viet Minh, America was still confident that they could win the America/Vietnam war. During this time Americans believed that America was the protector of the “free” world and it was their duty to contain communism. To add to this was the Domino Theory, which was introduced by Eisenhower during his presidency. This was the unshakable belief that if one country fell to communism its surrounding countries would soon follow. It was this over-confidence and fear of communism, which was the initial reason why America became involved in Vietnam. However, as the war went badly, restoring American prestige and credibility replaced

the immediate goal of establishing a free and independent South Vietnam. Initially, there were two reasons why America became involved in Vietnam. In general terms this was due to over-confidence and fear of communism. In 1952 America was “sucked in” by the French because the French enticed the U.S by calling it a war against communism. Of course America, being the great power it was, complied. Eisenhower began to accelerate aid to France to fight the Viet Minh. This was to no avail. In 1954 the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu. Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) reluctantly signed the Geneva Agreement in 1954 which meant a ‘temporary’ division by a demilitarized zone along the 17th Parallel. The Americans refused to sign the agreement because they claimed it was a failure of

the policy of containment because it had surrendered North Vietnam to communism. Ho agreed to sign the agreement because he was promised elections in the next two years and was confident that he would win. These elections to reunify North and South Vietnam were never held. The Vietnamese had no one to turn to for help or even a leader they could identify with. The President of South Vietnam at the time, Ngo Dinh Diem, was an anti-French, rich, catholic in a population of poor Buddhists. Diem was notorious for corruption and discrimination. Under Eisenhower the U.S began to build up Diem’s military forces in the south and, at the same time, North Vietnam began sending extensive aid to the Viet Cong. Successive American presidents escalated the war and devised useless tactics to

contain communism in Vietnam. In 1961 President Kennedy came into power. His attitude towards to war and America’s current global status is summed up in his inaugural address on January 20, 1961. “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty”. During this time he escalated the war by increasing American “advisors” in Vietnam from 800 to 17,000. He also formed the Green Beret to fight the Viet Cong through guerilla warfare; however, the Green Beret lacked the local support that the Viet Cong obtained. A tactic called the Strategic Hamlet was introduced; this was to separate the Viet Cong from the

people. This was a huge failure because the Viet Cong were indistinguishable from ‘real peasants’. JFK was assassinated in 1963, just 2 weeks after Diem. President Thieu became Diem’s successor. By this time half of the population in South Vietnam supported the National Liberation Front. President Johnson intensified combat and deceived the people, which led to many turning against the war. He developed the ‘quick kill’ strategy to put a stop to communism quickly without worrying about any implications this might have. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave LBJ a “blank cheque” to do whatever necessary to prosecute the war. This resulted in the ‘carpet bombing’ of North Vietnam, which was later escalated by Nixon. U.S ground troops were increased dramatically in