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The Vietnam War and America's Involvement - Research Paper Example

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Name Instructor Course Date The Vietnam War: American Involvement The Vietnam War remains one of the most humiliating military debacles in the history of the United States. Its roots go back to the 1850s, when Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos made up French Indochina…
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The Vietnam War and Americas Involvement
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Download file to see previous pages The Vietminh engaged in guerilla warfare against the Japanese, aided by the supply of arms from the Soviet Union and the United States. On the defeat of Japan in 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s unilateral independence and announced the formation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Minh sought American support. In spite of substantial Vietminh collaboration during World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt failed to respond to Minh’s appeal (Simkin). American involvement and defeat in the Vietnam War was the result of America’s Cold War ideology, support for Ngo Dinh Diem, and anti-war public sentiment. After World War II, fearing communist China’s influence over Vietnam, America rejected Minh’s appeal for support in his bid for independence. As France sought to re-establish dominion over Vietnam, Minh again appealed in vain for help. America desired French support in Western Europe. President Eisenhower explained the link between Vietnam's status and that of the rest of Southeast Asia through the “Domino Theory”: “If one country fell to communism, the rest of them would follow” (“Milestones (1953-1960)”). America gave France massive aid, while Minh was supported by the Soviet Union and communist China. Vietnam, thus, became a theatre of the Cold War. In July 1954, Vietnam overthrew France’s colonial rule with the decisive victory at Dien Bien Phu. At the subsequent Geneva Peace Accords of 1954, the United States was influenced by “the strains of the international Cold War” (Brigham), having suffered heavy losses in the fight against communism in Korea. Vietnam was pressurized by China and the Soviet Union to accept the temporary partition of the country at the seventeenth parallel, with the understanding that reunification would follow the general election scheduled for 1956. Fearing that the elections would result in the consolidation of power by the communist Ho Chi Minh, America, under President Eisenhower, mounted a covert anti-communist campaign in the South (Simkin). This anti-communist stand led to active American involvement in the quagmire of Vietnam. The United States established a puppet regime in South Vietnam led by Ngo Dinh Diem, who was unpopular, corrupt, and autocratic. Diem brazenly opposed reunification and unleashed state terror on all opposition. In spite of widespread Vietnamese opposition, the United States continued to prop up Diem’s regime with military, economic and political aid, as a bulwark against the Communist North. Diem’s American advisers set about training the South Vietnamese army (ARVN) and connived in the rigged election of 1955 to keep Diem in power. Diem then rejected North Vietnam’s call for general elections in 1956 and indulged in an orgy of arrests of political dissidents including communists, socialists, journalists, religious leaders, and even children. Growing opposition to Diem led to the formation of the the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF), or the Viet Cong, in 1960. It was supported by Ho Chi Minh. John F. Kennedy continued to support Diem, quoting the importance of the “Domino Theory,” and supplied South Vietnam with money and military advisers. The American sponsored “Strategic Hamlet Program” of isolating the peasants from the NLF in villages with stockades increasing dissent. American military advisors and soldiers increasingly became involved in the fighting. Diem, a Catholic, went on to unleash force against the Buddhist ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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