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The End of the Vietnam War - Essay Example

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The End of the Vietnam War Name Instructor Class May 21, 2012 Introduction When President Richard Nixon stepped into office, he inherited a war from erstwhile President Lyndon Johnson, the Vietnam War. Nixon held secret negotiations with Vietnam in the spring of 1968 in Paris and soon the public knew that Americans and Vietnamese were discussing how best to end the protracted and expensive war…
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The End of the Vietnam War
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Download file to see previous pages Nixon declared in 1969 that he would prolong the American involvement in the Vietnam War, in order to conclude the conflict and acquire “peace with honor” for the United States and for its partner, South Vietnam (U.S. Department of State, no date). Nixon defined his policy as “Vietnamization,” where the South Vietnamese aimed to attain greater combat functions, as Americans slowly withdrew from Vietnam (Simon, 2002). Vietnamization needed time, however, and to buy time, Nixon convinced the American public that the war had to be extended to attain peace. His popular vote margin in the 1968 election was “razor thin,” but to his advantage, the Democratic coalition was devastated in 1968 and political opportunities abounded (Simon, 2002). The administration maximized these opportunities through a “politics of polarization,” where they tapped the “silent majority,” while trying to isolate opponents and categorize them as different forms of extremists (Simon, 2002). This included defining the efforts of the anti-war movement in negative ways and maligning the media, whose role in influencing the support for the war had increased. America prolonged the war through bombing North Vietnam after failed negotiations efforts. Communist North Vietnam's leaders believed that they had time enough to delay the negotiations, which they did. In March 1972, they tried to sidestep negotiations altogether with a full-scale incursion of the South (U.S. Department of State, no date). The United States called it as the Easter Offensive and the North Vietnamese seemed to win. By late summer, nonetheless, Nixon's used American air power to dent the offensive. In response to this air power, the North Vietnamese started to negotiate once more (U.S. Department of State, no date). In early October, American and North Vietnamese representatives had a meeting in Paris. By October 11, they generated a peace agreement. The key components included a cease-fire in place 24 hours after signing the agreement; U.S. forces and all foreign troops would pull out from South Vietnam no later than 60 days after signing the agreement; and American prisoners would be released concurrently with the pulling out of American and foreign forces. On October 22, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu stopped the talks. He did not support the cease-fire agreement, because it left thousands of North Vietnamese soldiers in South Vietnam, who could strategically continue the war, as the Americans departed (U.S. Department of State, no date). To get Thieu’s support, the Americans restarted negotiations with the North Vietnamese. The North Vietnamese got offended and negotiated other issues too and by December, the talks caved in. The War Raged On Nixon argued that with failed diplomacy, only force can be used to force Hanoi to negotiate with the United States. The President instructed his military commanders to mine Haiphong Harbor and to begin a nonstop air campaign in the Hanoi-Haiphong region. On December 26, the North Vietnamese decided to renegotiate with the U.S. on early January. On January 1973, the Americans and North Vietnamese reached a settlement and all parties signed the final agreement in Paris on January 27. America, however, was the only one who ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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