Vietnam War - Essay Example

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The dynamics of the Vietnam War make it one of the most complex wars ever fought by the United States. Every element of the war was saturated with complexities beyond the previous conceptions of war. From the critical perspective, for the first half of the twentieth century, Vietnam was of little strategic importance to the United States and, even "after World War II, Vietnam was a very small blip on a very large American radar screen" (Herring, 14)…
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Vietnam War
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Download file to see previous pages In U.S. eyes, the Vietnamese were a passive and uninformed people, totally unready for self government" (Herring, 13). A survey of New York Times articles published during the First Indochina War revealed that the U.S. foreign policy analysis, media and public overwhelmingly concentrated on the French perspective of the conflict. Little attention was given to the Vietminh perspective or to the perspective of the French backed government of South Vietnam. This viewpoint continued until 1949 when China's civil war ended and the Communist took control of China. Shortly after taking control Mao Zedong, the Communist leader acknowledged the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) and the Soviet Union quickly followed suit. After that, the U.S. media placed a greater emphasis on Cold War rhetoric when dealing with Vietnam. As noted, the Cold War mindset permeated much of American culture during this time period; "it was an age of ideological consensus, and this was true above all in foreign policy" (Hallin, 50). At the conclusion of the First Indochina War, the U.S. ...
From 1957-1961 the U.S. attention shifted heavily on Vietnam's fate in relation to the turmoil in Laos and Cambodi as well as to the Soviet threat. This perception dominated the public opinion, media and U.S. foreign policy well into President John F. Kennedy's Administration.
THE VIETNAM WAR (1955-1975): ANALYSIS OF EVENTS
On August 5, 1964, Congress considered the Southeast Asia Resolution, commonly called the "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution" (Johnson, 118). After two days of debate it passed the Senate by a vote of 88-2 and the House by a resounding 416-0 (Johnson, 118). It was a resolution to deliberately allow the United States a broad hand in protecting peace and security in Southeast Asia. A second section asserted that "peace and security in southeast Asia" was vital to American national security and therefore the president, acting in accord with the Charter of the United Nations and as a member of the South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), would "take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force," to assist member states of SEATO "in defense of [their] freedom" (Young, 109). Finally, the resolution would expire when the president determined "peace and security had returned to the area" (Young, 109). It could also be terminated by a subsequent congressional resolution.
On March 8, 1965, 3,500 Marines landed at Da Nang. In May the first United States Army units arrived (Westmoreland, 124). With air attacks against both North and South Vietnam being launched from bases in the South, airfields were a logical target for forces from the National Liberation Front, the Communist guerrillas fighting against the South Vietnamese, and no one placed much confidence in the protection from the forces of the Army of the Republic ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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