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In America's history, the Vietnam War is the longest of all conflicts. From the outset, it was a vague battle, obviously a war against Communism and a war to overwhelm nationalist democracy. The war was widespread with inconsistencies that an autocratic government in South Vietnam was braced by America in the name of guarding freedom. In the name of protecting them, the United States military abolished towns. The war caused nearly 60,000 Americans to die and an estimated 2 million Vietnamese to die. An summary of the Vietnam War is given in this article.
The role of America in Vietnam is not far from the broader vision of the Cold War. From the conclusion of the Second World War, America and the Soviet Union had been at the center of the global battle for scopes of influence, each power bloc desiring to put political, philosophical, and cultural influence over several regions of the world (Hunt 282). Similarly, the USSR and America each desired to prevent other regions from obtaining such influence. In general, the South East and Vietnam specifically, were the vital domains of control in the eyes of the USSR and US leaders (Murray 71). In the year 1954, with the collapse of the Northern Vietnam to Communism, America turned out to be devoted to stopping the additional spread of communism in the country (Westheider 18).
The intensification era of the Vietnam War from the year 1955 to the year 1965, reflected the Cold War because America and the USSR evaded direct fight and the likelihood of nuclear war, by functioning via proxy forces and regimes (Murray 71). Unluckily, for America, the US-backed South Vietnam administration was corrupt and weak, while the Soviet-backed North Vietnam state was a viciously delighted and autonomous government ready to fight unceasingly against foreign supremacy and for the confederation of Vietnam (Lacouture 617). America went ahead to provoke the Northern Vietnam by taking over the power emptiness that France had left. In its enthusiasm to fight Communism, America basically assumed the responsibility of a royal master in Vietnam. Therefore, when America sent its military into Vietnam in the middle of the years of 1960s, they encountered a far-reaching condition as compared to what they had experienced during the Cold War (Westheider 17). Rather than the normal hesitant tune of brinksmanship with the USSR, America quickly encountered a rival that understood profoundly in its communist and nationalist cause and ruthlessly hated America’s intervention.
Summary of the Events
Vietnam War can be traced to the centuries of supremacy by colonial and imperial controls; first is China that dominated Vietnam, and then France that took over Vietnam towards the end of the 18th century and instituted French Indochina (Lacouture 617). In the early part of the 19th century, nationalist campaigns evolved in Vietnam wanting less of French rule and independence (Westheider 17). During the Second World War, France lost its control over Vietnam, this time, Japan took over. Viet Minh, a movement established in the 19th century resisted Japan and later declared Vietnam a self-governing state after Japan was defeated. The first Indochina War broke out between France and Ho’s declaration until the year 1954 (Lacouture 617). During this time, the Geneva agreement established a cease-fire and separated Vietnam into two; the South under France and the North under Ho and the Communists.
During the Cold War, America was controlled by the domino effect that perceived that the collapse of the Northern Vietnam would prompt all the Asian states to collapse, pulling up a kind of Communism chain response. With the support by America, Diem took over the Southern part of Vietnam (Murray 71). Diem’s administration was immoral, repressive, and was considerably hated. In the year 1963, America organized a coup to throw out Diem (Westheider 18). When the military of the Northern Vietnam attacked America’s navy ships in the year 1964, America retaliated by sending its forces to Vietnam causing war. In the year 1968, the Northern Vietnam began an enormous movement referred to as TET offensive and attacked American targets and other towns of the Southern Vietnam. America responded killing several Vietnam citizens (Mcmahon 163).
There emerged an anti-war campaign in America and a number of Americans condemned the war. Demonstrations criticizing the war escalated leading to clashes with the police (Westheider 18). During this time, four students were killed. Even though, there were protests, Nixon, the then U.S President, proclaimed that several Americans still backed up the war. However, Nixon established a strategy referred to as the Vietnamization of the war, pledging to slowly return the US forces and hand over the control of the war to the Southern Vietnam (Mcmahon 163). Despite the fact that Nixon promoted a moral pledge, he illegitimately extended the topographical space of the war by declaring the bombing of Vietnam Cong areas of Laos and Cambodia, devoid of informing the Congress. The realization of these unlawful actions together with the production of the Pentagon papers in America in the year 1971 led to a huge dishonor that compelled Nixon to call for a peace accord (Mcmahon 163).
Following undisclosed talks between the Northern Vietnam representative and America’s envoy in the year 1972, Nixon with an agreement with the USSR and China, attacked Northern Vietnam in an effort to pressurize them into a peace settlement (Westheider 18). This agreement was eventually signed in January in 1973, and America’s military forces left Vietnam in March in 1973 (Westheider 18). America continued to offer support to the Southern Vietnam, but it eventually declined. As President Nixon involved himself in the Watergate outrage, which caused his resignation, the Northern Vietnam troops launched their attack on the South strengthened their assault on the South and ultimately established an all-out attack in the year 1975 (Hunt 282). During this time Saigon, which was the capital of the Southern Vietnam, was captured by the North, and they reunited the nation under the communist rule, thereby bringing an end to the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam War caused a huge effect on the United States culture and society due to the fact that it was the initial war to be aired on television. Therefore, the United States press had a crucial function in the war, particularly in the field of public standpoint. The standpoints, photographs, and videos of American reporters together with the fact that young U.S soldiers were being killed in foreign land against an rival that was not in the actual sense affecting America, made the Americans to criticize the war. The war led to a loss of about 58,000 people and approximately 350,000 fatalities. It also led to about 2 million deaths of Vietnam citizens. It also forced American Congress to endorse the War Powers Act of 1973, necessitating any siting president of America to first obtain overt approval from the Congress prior to engaging American troops in foreign lands.
Hunt, David. "Vietnam at War". Cold War History, vol 11, no. 2, 2011, pp. 282-283.
Lacouture, Jean. "From the Vietnam War to an Indochina War". Foreign Affairs, vol 48, no. 4, 1970, p. 617.
Mcmahon, Robert J. "Remembering, and Forgetting, the Vietnam War". Diplomatic History, vol 35, no. 1, 2010, pp. 163-169.
Murray, Stuart. Vietnam War. 1st ed., DK Publishing, 2005.
Westheider, James E. The Vietnam War. 1st ed., Greenwood Press, 2007.
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