Vietnam Essay Research Paper The single most

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Vietnam Essay, Research Paper The single most important factor in understanding the United States involvement in Vietnam is fear. In the years leading to the Vietnam Conflict the United States was immersed in paranoia toward Communist Russia and the communist movement as a whole. This paranoia has its roots in the depression of the nineteen thirties and was fueled by the exploits of men like MacCarthy and other politicians who saw this as an opportunity to further their careers or push policies. This paranoia was the most important factor in the entrance of the US into the conflict in Southeast Asia. During the years proceeding World War II the United States found itself one of the two most powerful nations in the world. This position placed Americans at odds with their rival

country, the Soviet Union, on almost all fronts. These two countries now found themselves locked into a passive conflict not only of military might, but of social and ideological values. There are now two great nations in the world, which starting from different points, seem to be advancing toward the same goal: the Russians and the Anglo-Americans….[E]ach seems called by some secret design of Providence one day to hold in its hands the destinies of half the world. Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835 The rise of these two nations as leaders and rivals was seen as early as Tocqueville, but was this vision was not realized until the end of WWII where the two nations developed as ideological opposites. Now because of these ideological and cultural differences, and the growing equality of

the military might of the tow nations, the American people began to fear the Soviets as a threat the American culture and our way of life. The American mistrust of the Soviet Union starts during the last days of the march on Berlin during the war. In a letter to Stalin from President Roosevelt on February 6, 1945 he wrote: You must believe me when I tell you that our people at home look with a critical eye on what they consider a disagreement between us at this vital stage of the war. They in effect say that if we cannot get a meeting of minds now when our armies are converging on the common enemy, how can we get an understanding on even more vital things in the future. It was the growing mistrust of this relatively new communist nation that led to the eventual fear of a global

conflict between the two ideologies. This fear that was beginning to grip the American public was not only due the increasing military threat of the Soviet Union but also for fear of another internal economic crisis. The majority of the American population during this period directly experienced the great depression of the nineteen thirties the prosperity that proceeded it. Now America was in a state of postwar prosperity again and the standard of living had dramatically increased for the majority of the American public over the past twenty years. This rising middle class now saw their improved economic independence being threatened not only from a domestic economic disaster but also from a new outside force, Communism. Communism to the American people was a threat to the

American dream, the American way of life, and most important to the basic freedoms and values that this country was founded upon. This new force made its presence felt both at home and abroad, manifesting itself in the Soviet Union and the American Communist Party. Communism was now seen as a threat to our national security but to the American way of life. This fear was then played upon by politicians, and solidified by the USSR’s arms build up and consolidation of new soviet-bloc nations, as well as propaganda portraying the soviets as “Goddless Commies” that are seeking to rule the world and rid it of freedom and religion. Politicians at home played upon this fear with rhetoric and speeches such as the 1950 Republican Party Slogan “Liberty vs. Socialism.” This kind of