Vietnam War - Essay Example

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Abstract The Vietnam War that was fought between the American backed South Vietnam and the Communist North Vietnam lasted for over two decades. Before the Second World War, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, together known as French Indochina, were a French colony…
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Download file to see previous pages Instead, the Americans entered the war in Vietnam to counter the growing clout of a communist group known as the Viet Cong. Although the Americans had superior firepower, the Vietnamese, with their knowledge of the terrain and their guerilla tactics, finally forced America to withdraw after two decades of a long drawn and costly war. The cost to America in terms of economic and political losses, as well as loss of lives and humiliation at the hands of an enemy that seemed small and insignificant, was immense. Today, after over three decades, there is still no consensus among scholars and historians about whether America should have ever entered the war. Vietnam War The war in Vietnam was a long drawn out and costly conflict between South Vietnam, which was backed by America, and the communist regime of North Vietnam. The war began in 1954 with the rise of the communist party of Ho Chi Minh in North Vietnam and escalated into a war of ideologies against the backdrop of the cold war between the Soviet Union and America. It is estimated that more than three million people died in this war, of which a great majority were innocent civilians. The war that America invested in so heavily has been a cause of dissent and divisions among Americans, and by the time president Richard Nixon ordered withdrawal of troops in 1973, America had sacrificed thousands of her young men to this war. Finally, in 1975, Saigon fell to the communist forces and ended the war that had stretched over two decades. Dr. John Guilmartin, in his book America in Vietnam, remarks “The United States of America became deeply involved in Vietnam and that involvement had serious consequences” (Guilmartin,1991). The origins of the Vietnam War can be traced to the end of the Second World War. Before the war, Indochina or French Indochina, as it was then known, was a French colony consisting of today’s Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. In 1940, the Japanese invaded and occupied the northern part of Indochina and a little later the rest of it. In 1941, Ho Chi Minh, a communist leader, formed a nationalist movement called the Viet Minh to repulse the Japanese invasion. Soon after, the French began to encourage nationalism in Vietnam and gave them nominal independence. However, at the end of the war, when the Japanese surrendered, the French renewed their claim on Indochina. Ho Chi Minh assumed power in the north and proclaimed himself the leader of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In his address in Hanoi, he proclaimed, "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. In a broader sense, this means all the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free. Those are undeniable truths" (Ho Chi Minh, 1945). In the months after the end of the Second World War, Chinese soldiers began the looting of Vietnamese villages as they came down to North Vietnam from China. In the South, the French soldiers, released from Japanese camps, went on a rampage, killing and looting both innocent civilians and Viet Minh soldiers. In 1946, Chiang Kai Shek of China agreed to withdraw his troops from North Vietnam in exchange for French ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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