Vietnam War: Sample Essay
The Vietnam War was the second longest war in American history. It sparked controversy both in the United States and abroad, it had a very strong impact on the American culture and was called the only war America ever lost. In 1973, the United States left Vietnam, and two years after, the communists took control over Saigon. This is a sample essay about the Vietnam War. If you need a similar original essay, you can order it on College-Writers.com.
Causes of the War
The Second Indochina War began in 1954 and ended 19 years later when Americans withdrew their military forces from Vietnam. The United States and its allies (the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) fought against the communist forces that tried to seize the Republic of South Vietnam. The communist forces included the North Vietnamese Army, the Viet Cong, and South Vietnamese guerillas.
This war was a result of the First Indochina War (1946-1948) when France attempted to claim Vietnam its colony and faced the resistance from the communists.
However, this war was also a product of World War II. Japan invaded Vietnam, and as a reaction to the Japanese occupation, Ho Chi Minh, backed by the Soviet Union and China, founded the Viet Minh, also known as the League for the Independence of Vietnam.
World War II as a Cause of the Vietnam War
Vietnam was subject to French control since the 1800s. After the Japanese invasion, Ho Chi Minh decided to stand up against both French and Japanese regimes and founded the Viet Minh. The Viet Minh managed to push Japan out of Vietnam in 1945 and quickly gained control over the country. Ho Chi Minh became the president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
France reacted to such events by setting up the state of South Vietnam with the capital in Saigon. Two governments kept fighting for the total control until 1954 when France was defeated after a battle at Dien Bien Phu. After this, the Geneva Agreements granted independence to Laos and Cambodia ере also had been controlled by France.
Vietnam remained divided into the Republic of South Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The elections that should determine the future of Vietnam didn’t take place because South Vietnam resisted and so caused an attack from the north. In 1959, North Vietnam launched a socialist revolution in Vietnam.
United States in Vietnam
Given that the battles became more and more brutal, President Kennedy decided to send a team to Vietnam to get more information on the situation in the country. Kennedy decided to send American troops in Vietnam in 1961, suggesting that they will provide South Vietnam with the necessary aid and help it fight against the north. The United States government was always afraid of the communists ruling Southeast Asian countries, so it decided to increase the number of American soldiers in Vietnam up to nine thousand, which meant more than eight thousand of new troops arriving in Vietnam.
After the assassination of President Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, along with the Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara decided to send even more soldiers to Southeast Asia. The president’s powers were expanded after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This resolution was a reaction to North Vietnam attacking two U.S. destroyers.
America’s Policy During the War
At the end of 1964, the United States had 23,000 troops in South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese forces were constantly bombed. The American government and North Vietnam were equally sure that the further escalation of the war may bring them victory. North Vietnam believed that America will be forced to slowly withdraw its forces from the country, while the U.S. has chosen another tactic, increasing its forces to control more territories.
In 1965, there were 82,000 American troops in Vietnam, and this number increased by another 200,000 troops during 1966. In 1967, the number of American troops in Vietnam exceeded 500,000. To that moment, more than 15,000 of American soldiers were dead.
It became difficult to maintain military discipline among soldiers. They often attacked their officers. Many soldiers were using drugs, and the reputation of the U.S. abroad was permanently damaged.
Lack of Support
In 1968, North Vietnam attacked more than 100 southern cities. South Vietnam and the U.S. managed to strike back, making the north unable to take control over new territories.
American military forces, facing new attacks, requested 200,000 more troops to be sent to Vietnam, but the United States government didn’t provide the necessary support. President Johnson vowed to stop the bombing of the communists and stated that he will dedicate his remaining term to achieving peace.
Many Americans started talking about the possibility of peace between the U.S. and North Vietnam. However, when Nixon was elected the president, he stated that the ‘silent majority’ of Americans supports this war. He started withdrawing troops but ordered to increase aerial and artillery attacks. The control over ground operations was taken by South Vietnam. North Vietnam continued to insist that the U.S. should withdraw all its forces, so peace negotiations were far from achieving success.
In the U.S., thousands of protesters around the country stood up against the war. In 1972, numbers discharged soldiers rapidly increased due to desertion. More and more troops were choosing to dodge the draft, so Nixon had nothing to do but to end draft calls.
By the end of 1972, North Vietnam expressed its will to find a compromise but then rejected the initial peace agreement, which gave Nixon the reason to continue bombing North Vietnamese cities. American troops were withdrawn a year later, however, the war between the north and the south didn’t end. In 1975, Vietnam had been unified. It became the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
More than 58,000 American troops were killed during the war. This number was nothing compared to 2,5 million of slaughtered Vietnamese soldiers. This war became the bloodiest war in the history of the United States.
Military Tactics and Innocent Lives
Viet Cong has its own tactics. The most common type of warfare was guerilla warfare, which consisted of stealthy attacks.
Most often, North Vietnamese soldiers sneaked up on the enemy and silently killed American soldiers, being able to escape before their opponents realized what happened. Viet Cong soldiers often disguised themselves as civilians and innocent farmers, which was a reason why thousands of civilians were massacred by American soldiers.
Viet Cong soldiers collected undetonated American mines and also managed to get more than 20,000 of explosives from dud U.S. bombs in one year. They shot down American helicopters using machine guns and forced the U.S. Army to change its tactics. Though Americans were used to fighting for the land, now the troops were ordered to eliminate as many northern soldiers as possible.
Domestic Response to the War
The U.S. government claimed that its involvement in the Vietnam War was dictated by the request of South Vietnam that was trying to fight the communists. However, Americans were not sure about the necessity of America’s presence in Vietnam. Some people believed that America can quickly win this war by simply increasing the number of soldiers, while others claimed that this conflict is civil, so the United States shouldn’t be involved in it.
After American soldiers slaughtered the entire village of innocent civilians, anti-war demonstrations erupted in different states. Peaceful demonstrations quickly escalated to violence. Brutal clashes between the police and protesters had become commonplace.
More and more Americans distrusted the government. The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights organizations stated that the United States must withdraw the military forces from Vietnam. By 1973, the American society was dissatisfied with the government more than ever before.
Even though some Americans supported the Vietnam War, most citizens realized that veterans became victims of the government’s policy. Thousands of Americans were forced to die in somebody else’s war, while millions of Vietnamese were massacred.
The initial intention of the American government was to stop the Asian communists, but this agenda quickly resulted in the bloodiest and longest war the United States had ever seen. The consequences of the Vietnam War should serve as a reminder for the future administrations and a lesson of what this country shouldn’t do when pursuing political goals.