The Vietnam Conflict And Its Effects Essay

This essay has a total of 1568 words and 5 pages.

The Vietnam Conflict And Its Effects

The Vietnam conflict began in the late nineteenth century. The French conquered Vietnam
and made it a protectorate. For nearly forty years, Vietnam had not experienced settled
peace. The League for the Independence of Vietnam ( Viet Minh ) was formed in 1941,
seeking independence from the French. On September 2nd,1945, Ho Chi Minh proclaimed it
independent of France. The French opposed their independence from 1945 to 1954. The first
representatives of de Gualle's government landed by parachute in Saigon and Hanoi on
August 23rd, 1945. The French wanted to reestablish their rule in Vietnam but were beaten
at the battle of Dien Bien Phu on May 7th, 1954. The French Expeditionary Force tried to
prevent the Viet Minh from entering Laos and Dien Bien Phu was the place chosen to do so.
The French were not very careful and this allowed the Viet Minh to cut off their airway to
Hanoi. After a siege that had lasted for fifty - five days, the French surrendered. Ho Chi
Minh led the war against France and won.After the war there was a conference in Geneva
where Vietnam was divided into two parts along the seventeenth parallel. North Vietnam was
mainly Communist and supported Ho Chi Minh, while the south was supported by the United
States and the French were based there. There was still some Communist rebels within South
Vietnam. These were the Viet Cong. The South Vietnam ruler was Ngo Dinh Diem who was anti
- Communist. At the conference, Laos and Cambodia became independent states.North Vietnam
wished to unify North and South Vietnam through military force. Since the United States
feared the spread of communism in Asia, John F. Kennedy provided economic and military aid
to South Vietman to prevent the takeover by North Vietnam. At this time, this was still a
civil war. The United States were not yet officially involved.The North Vietnamese
resented the little intervention by the United Sates and so, three Vietnamese torpedo
boats fired on the U.S. destroyer, " Maddox " on August 2nd, 1964. The " Maddox " had been
in the Gulf of Tonkin ( international waters ), thirty miles off the coast of Vietnam. On
August 3rd, 1964, Johnson gave the right " to attack with the objective of destroying
attacking forces " ( Pimlott 1982, 36 ). Retaliation air attacks began on August 3rd.
Their aim was to destroy North Vietnam's gunboat capability. As two more United States
destroyers were supposedly sunk, more air and sea forces were sent ( Wicker August 5,
1964, 1 ). Up until now, the U.S. had refrained from direct combat. This is when the
United States formally entered the Vietman War. The U.S. did this for two reasons. We
wished to maintain the independence of South Vietnam and we had to prove to allied nations
that we would help them resist Communist overtaking. As Congress was about to vote whether
or not to allow the combat to move into North Vietnam, the North Vietnamese attacked a
major U.S. airbase at Bein Hoa. On February 7th, 1965, Johnson ordered retaliation bombing
on North Vietnam. Rolling Thunder was the name of this operation. It's purpose was to put
pressure on Hanoi and convince them that Communism could not and would not win.At the end
of 1965, one hundred and eighty thousand Americans were in South Vietnam under General
William S. Westmoreland (Encyclopedia Britannica, 12, 361 ). The U.S. mainly depended on
superior firepower and helicopters. The Viet Cong and North Vietnamese depended on
surprise attack and concealment.The United States soldiers realized that the war would
last for many more years and wondered if the U.S. war effort could succeed. At the end of
1968, The number of American troops in South Vietnam reached it's peak of 542, 000 men (
Pimlott 1982, 53 ). The Viet Cong and North Vietnamese launched a major invasion against
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