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Perception of The Vietnam War - Essay Example

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Perceptions of the Vietnam War Class: Days/Times of Class: Date: The Vietnam War occurred between North and South Vietnam, with the North Vietnamese being inferior in terms of firepower, and instead balanced the tables through the use of guerrilla tactics…
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Perception of The Vietnam War
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Download file to see previous pages However, America’s involvement in Vietnam began long before the decision to send troops into the region. Near the beginning of 1950, the Ho Chi Minh regime in Vietnam had been recognized as the governing body by Communist China, and the Soviet Union3. Thus, the Truman administration was faced with the decision of whether to allow communism to extend throughout Vietnam, or to attempt to fight it. Three key sources will be examined as part of this discussion, which take different perspectives and approaches to discussion on the war. These are, Vietnam Wars 1945-1990, A Rumor of War and the movie Platoon. This article focuses on the perceptions of the Vietnam War as portrayed in these three sources and argues that to understand the way that the Vietnam War occurred, and its true cost, it is important to examine many different perspectives. The first aspect of this argument is to understand the way that Vietnam veterans were treated, and the attitudes of the country to war. Because of the high controversy that surrounded the Vietnam War, many veterans felt ostracized and mistreated on their return to America. To help mitigate this, some books and movies, such as the ones being discussed in this article, attempted to portray the Vietnam War in a different light. Platoon attempted this by showing harsh reality of the war from the American perspective, without glamorizing the events through propaganda. The film tells the story of a young, naive soldier, Chris Taylor, who enters the war full of high hopes and the desire to serve his country. The director uses the experiences of Chris to enlighten the audience about the confusion that soldiers felt during the war, and to create a connection between the people that viewed the movie, and the soldiers. The approach of personalizing the soldier that was used in Platoon, was also used in the book A Rumor of War, which is a war memoir written by Philip Caputo about his own experiences in the war. Both of these sources take a highly personal and emotionally charged approach to explain the difficulties that soldiers faced during the war. In addition, this perspective helps viewers to sympathize with the soldiers, and to better understand the role that they played in the war. One of the biggest contentions about Vietnam is the politics, specifically, whether the United States should ever have become involved in the war. This approach is considered differently in the sources. In Platoon, Stone does not address the morality of the presence of Americans in Vietnam. His characters do discuss the desire to go home, it is not because of the morality of the war, but because of how bad it is for them. As Chris comments “Someone once wrote: “Hell is the impossibility of reason.” That’s what this place feels like. Hell.” Thus, for the soldiers, the politics of the war matter little; they are all involved in their own personal, and deadly, hell. In A Rumor of War, the author expressly states “This book does not pretend to be a history. It has nothing to do with politics, power, strategy, influence, national interests or foreign policy”4. In contrast, The Vietnam Wars 1945-1990 focuses almost exclusively on the political aspect. This is indicated by the fact that the author opens the introduction with the question “Why are we in Vietnam?”5 This question suggests a very different focus to the book, one that is expanded on throughout the introduction and then the rest of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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