The Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was the longest war in which the united States took part in. This heart breaking war began in 1957. Vietnam is a small country in Southeast Asia that was divided into the Communist-Democratic Republic of Vietnam, known as North Vietnam, and the non-communist Republic of Vietnam, called South Vietnam. North Vietnamese and Communist-trained South Vietnamese rebels goals were to overthrow the government of South Vietnam and to eventually reunite the country as one. The united States and the South Vietnamese armies tried to stop this but soon realize that this was a challenge.
At the time, Vietnam was part of the French colonial empire In Indochina. The united States sent France military help but the French was easily defeated In 1954. This conflict then split Vietnam Into two. The united States aided France and later on non-communist South Vietnam. The Vietnam War was a conflict between the forces of the South Vietnamese and United States military against the North Vietnamese government, army, and the Vietcong.
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This Cold War led to many casualties to both sides of the factions. President Harry S.
Truman declared that the united States must help any nation in any sort of need or being challenged y Communism, that was the United States government responsibilities. This was also adopted by the next three presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson. They feared that If one Southeast Asian nation joined the Communist, the others states would also fall into their power. As the fighting between the Viet Cong and the South Vietnamese continued, the U. S. continued to send many advisers to South Vietnam, so they can teach and provided military support for the soldiers of South Vietnam.
North Vietnam fired directly upon two u. s. hips In International waters on August 2nd and the 4th, of 1964, this was known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, Congress responded with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This resolution gave the President the authority to escalate U. S. involvement in Vietnam. President Johnson’s goal for U. S. Involvement In Vietnam was not for the U. S. to win the war, but for U. S. troops to bolster South Vietnam’s defenses until South Vietnam could then take over. President Lyndon Johnson used that authority to order the first U. S. ground troops to Vietnam in March 1 965.
The Vietnam War had several stages. From 1957 to 1963, North Vietnam aided rebels opposed to the government of South Vietnam, later know as Viet Cong. From 1 964 to 1969, North Vietnam and the united States did most of the fighting, protecting civilians, and teaching the South Vietnamese military proper training and tactics. Some countries came to the aid of South Vietnam. These countries are Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand. By April 1969, the number of U. S. forces in South Vietnam had reached its peak of more than 543,000 troops.
North Vietnam wanted to end U. S. support of South Vietnam and to reunite he north and south into single nation. China and the Soviet Union, at that time is the two largest Communist nations, they gave the Vietnamese Communists war materials but not troops. The North Vietnamese armies was manly the Viet Cong. The Vietcong were North Vietnamese guerrillas who sought to overthrow the southern 1 Communist troops left in hideouts in South Vietnam after the Geneva Conference of 1954. In 1957, South Vietnamese President Diem began to crack down on Communists and other political groups.
Whoever resisted his rule is to be described s a Viet Cong. Whether they were Communists or not, nothing really mattered at that time. The term Cong is a slang that stands for the word Communists. President Diem’s actions soon increased opposition to his rule and drove many non- Communists into an alliance with the Communists. The troops was later supported and directed by North Vietnam, the Viet Cong first tried many tactics to overthrow the South Vietnamese regime, and then finally resorted to open warfare. With North Vietnamese backing, the Viet Cong waged a successful guerrilla war against Diem’s army.
The United States, wanted to stop the spread of Communism, so they responded by sending thousands of troops to South Vietnam in 1965. North Vietnam, in turn, sent thousands of its troops. U. S. troops fought a Jungle war, mostly against the well-supplied Viet Cong. The Viet Cong would attack in ambushes, set up booby traps, and escape through a complex network of underground tunnels. For U. S. forces, even Just finding their enemy proved to be a very difficult task. Since the Viet Cong hid in the dense brush, U. S. forces would drop napalm bombs which cleared an area by causing the leaves to drop off or to burn away.
This was a tactical strategically to show the location of hidden Vietcong. In every village, U. S. troops had difficulty determining which villagers were the enemies. This was because the women and children could build booby traps or help house and feed the Viet Cong. U. S. soldiers commonly became frustrated with the fighting conditions in Vietnam. Many U. S. soldiers suffered from low morale became angry, and some became frantic. The Vietnam War soon caused widespread disruptions and sufferings to both sides, having much causality. The United States causalities in Vietnam were more than 50,000 deaths.
The South Vietnamese causalities gone up to over 400,000 people, but the Vietcong and North Vietnamese people causalities escalated over 900,000 people. As the war stretched on, some soldiers came to mistrust their government’s reasons for keeping them there. As the war dragged on, it divided many Americans into hawks and doves. The hawks supported the fight against Communism, but they disliked Johnson’s policy of slow, gradual troop increases and urged a decisive defeat of North Vietnam. The doves are the one who opposed the U. S. involvement and held mass protests.
Many doves believed that U. S. security was not at risk. While others see that their nation was supporting a corrupted and undemocratic government in South Vietnam. The growing costs of the war, however, probably did more to arouse public uneasiness in the United States than the antiwar movement did. In a television speech on May 14, in a speech before the United Nations, President Nixon set forth the government’s peace proposals in great detail. “We have offered the complete withdrawal of all outside forces within 1 year. ” “We have proposed a cease-fire under international supervision. We have offered free elections under international supervision with the Communists participating in the organization and conduct of the elections as an organized political force. And the Saigon Government has pledged to accept the result of the elections. ” -President Nixon. The U. S. has indicated that we are willing to discuss the proposals that have except the right of the people of South Vietnam to determine their own future. In the end Hanoi has refused even to discuss their proposals. The North Vietnamese arrogantly refuse to negotiate anything but an imposition.
They demand the government’s unconditional acceptance of their terms, which are that they must withdraw all American forces immediately and unconditionally and that they must overthrow the Government of South Vietnam as the troops leave Vietnam. All the North Vietnamese want is the ultimatum that the United States imposes a communist regime on 17 million people in South Vietnam. The United States found out this is a waste of time for trying to negotiate with them. The peace talks failed to produce agreement, and more and more Americans became impatient for the war to end.
The length of the war, high causalities, and the war crimes has led United States people against the Vietnam War under the leadership of President Richard M. Nixon. President Nixon soon felt he had to reduce U. S. involvement in the conflict. On June 8, 1969, he announced a new policy known as Vietnamization. This called for stepped- up training programs for South Vietnamese forces and the withdrawal of U. S. troops from South Vietnam. The U. S. troop withdrawal began in July 1969. In March 1972, North Vietnam began a major invasion of South Vietnam. Communist armies of North
Vietnam launched a massive invasion on South Vietnam; their army consists of tanks, artillery, and other advanced offensive weapons supplied by the Soviet Union. Nixon ordered the placing of explosives in the harbor of Haiphong, North Vietnam’s major port for importing military supplies. Even so North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops won an easy victory when they attacked Phuoc Long, northeast of Saigon. In March 1975, the North Vietnamese forced South Vietnamese troops into a retreat from a region known as the Central Highlands. Thousands of civilians fled and died in the gunfire or from starvation on that horrid day.
This retreat became known as the Convoy of Tears. Although some South Vietnamese army units fought on, few soldiers or civilians rallied in support of the failing South Vietnamese government. The war soon ended on April 30, 1975, when the North Vietnamese troops entered Saigon, the South Vietnamese government formally surrendered to them. Saigon was then renamed Ho Chi Minh City, but till this day many of us South Vietnamese people still call our home, Saigon. Till this day we are trying to fight for our freedom, our rights to live, treated, and free speech like a human being.