The Vietnam War

Topics: Vietnam War, South Vietnam, Cold War Pages: 6 (2399 words) Published: July 21, 2013
War is always a controversial topic whenever it is discussed in a political setting, or even a private conversation between friends. No War has ever been a more controversial than the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was the longest War the nation has ever engaged in. The United States entered the war in 1961 and pulled out in 1975. Although the death toll did not reach as high as the civil war, or either World War One, or World War two. The Nation still lost over fifty thousand soldiers in the deadly conflict. After World War two the French returned to controlling Indochina, but democracy in all areas of Indochina were not welcomed. Ho Chi Minh tried to downplay the tension to Washington, and show his respect for democracy, but a resistance was formed against the French. The French army and their American advisors seriously underestimated the Vietnamese Independence League and thought a victory would be easy. In 1953, President Eisenhower sent military aid to the French along with military advisors to Vietnam to prevent a Communist victory. However, a year later in 1954, around 10,000 French soldiers surrenders after a crucial battle at Dein Bein Phu at which around 8000 Viet Minh and 1500 French soldiers died. After this crucial loss the French decided to pull out completely after eight long and bitter years of fighting. The Americans at this point, had already invested billions of dollars in aid to the French and decide to enter and to step up their presence in Vietnam heavily. The U.S. main objective upon entering the war was to stop the spread of communism and to put a halt to the “domino” theory. In 1961, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev called the Vietnam War a ‘wars of national liberation’ and greatly supported communist in North Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh. Heavy volumes of U.S. troops began to arrive in South Vietnam in 1961, as well as economic aid. The Americans showed their support to the President Ngo Dinh Nheim and joined forces against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. By 1961, The United States were heavily involved with the war both in military and in economic support. John F. Kennedy became president and virtually inherited this new war. Kennedy saw the Vietnam War as another by product of the Cold War. Kennedy became excited about using his military, and his “flexible response “military strategy. The Army began a new training program in counter insurgency called Special Forces. Like a kid with a new toy, Kennedy was eager to use his new elite, unconventional small armed tactical soldiers named the Green Berets in the jungles of Vietnam. “Despite American aid, the corrupt and repressive Diem regime installed by Eisenhower in 1954 was losing ground”. (Henretta, 830) The North Vietnamese had formed a revolutionary movement called the “National Liberation Front”. (Henretta, 830) The National Liberation Front (NLF) had their own specialized guerilla warfare soldiers known as the Vietcong, and they were fighting in their backyard. Once again, the Americans had not fully realized what they were up against. We had not learned the lesson from the French, and even with more troops on the ground and Special Forces Green Berets in the fight, the North Vietnamese were collecting one small victory after another. This was an unconventional type of warfare that America was not prepared for in more ways than one. When talking about guerilla warfare this is one rule that must be followed to have a successful guerilla campaign. When a smaller force is going up against a larger force, and are outnumbered and out gunned they must follow this rule to have any sort of real success. Guerilla warfare is primarily composed of shoot and move, hide and seek tactics. These tactics will work very well if you have support from the surrounding civilian populous. “The NLF’s guerilla forces-the Vietcong –found a receptive audience among peasants alienated by Diem’s strategic hamlet program, which uprooted whole villages and moved...
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