Some 58, American lives were lost; billions of dollars spent. The war was protested both at home and abroad.
|The U.S. didn't lose the war militarily, but politically.||But some of you may have grown up with different versions.|
But some of you may have grown up with different versions. You should feel free to disagree with this account. But remember, historical arguments must be based on evidence.
Under President Harry Truman, the United States had established a foreign policy doctrine called "containment. This doctrine led directly to the Vietnam war. That the Soviet Union was always expansionist--the Soviet Union, "animated by a new fanatic faith," was determined "to impose its absolute authority on the rest of the world.
That any new communist governments would inevitably be part of Soviet "empire"--in the doctrine of "containment" there could be no such thing as a "nonaligned nation. It must be either part of the Soviet empire or what we would probably then have to call the "American empire.
That communism, and the Soviet Union, must be contained. The doctrine of containment argued that all-out war should be avoided, but the US should pledge itself to stopping any new communist governments, or preventing any existing communist governments from expanding.
There was clearly a simplistic, "us vs. The general premise of "containment" was that there could be no communist government which was not a tool of Moscow--all communist governments were part of the Soviet domain.
Was this a realistic assessment? The Soviet Union had certainly acted in an expansionist way in the past.
And officially, the Soviet Union was committed to the worldwide spread of communism. With a new nuclear capability and a vast army, the Soviet Union appeared to be--and often declared itself--a dangerous potential enemy of the United States.
What's much more relevant here is the assumption that all nations must be aligned with either the US or the USSR, and that there could be no communist nation which was not also a pawn of the Soviets. China was also a communist nation afterbut this had failed to override thousands of years of enmity between Russia and China, two very different cultures with a long history of struggle over their borders.
By the 50s, the Chinese were as anxious about the Russians as they were about the US. The United States feared the global spread of communism, but the doctrine of containment made it difficult to see nations as distinct, as places with different cultures, different problems, different histories.
In this respect we can see Vietnam as an example of containment's failure. Vietnam is a beautiful, highly varied country with a very long history of struggle for independence.
For thousands of years, the Vietnamese had fought to preserve their distinct language and culture against invaders--repelling first the Chinese, the Japanese, the French and then finally the US.
Few arguments about the Vietnam war, concluded the writer Nguyen Ba Chung"take into account all aspects of Vietnam's two thousand year history of hard-fought existence.
And that, I believe, is the essence of the Vietnam tragedy. French influence had been most pronounced in the South of Vietnam, especially in Saigon. But well before W.
II Vietnamese nationalists lead by Ho Chi Minh had fought and agitated for the withdrawal of the French and for Vietnamese independence. He was an avowed communist, but also a believer in western style democracy and the American virtues of free speech.
At heart he was a nationalist land reformer, primarily concerned with restoring Vietnam to the Vietnamese. Under colonial rule, land typically belongs to foreigners--to the colonizers.
The profits from farming go disproportionally into the hands of foreign rulers, and native people are generally reduced to working as laborers for the colonial government.
To nationalists--that is, people with a strong sense of their "nation" or culture--colonialism is inherently unfair and exploitative. Communist revolutionaries like Ho Chi Mihn typically focused on land reform--on getting control of land away from foreign corporations and investors and back into the hands of the local people.3) The Vietnam War generated spectacular discontent at home in the US, because for the first time in history people could follow warfare live on the television.
Not only did it trigger a national anti-war movement, but by only 1 in 3 Americans still believed Vietnam was not a mistake. The us did win the war in technically. Over all we did move out of the conflict because of domestic discontent at home, but the U.S.
lost about 58, while the communist forces in the north (aka the Vietcong/NVA) lost close to men in the fighting. It was total war against South Vietnam in that Hanoi wished to eliminate South Vietnam as an independent and noncommunist political entity, whereas the war the DRV waged against the United States was limited in that its objective was simply to .
United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College Marine Corps University South Street Marine Corps Combat Development Command Quantico, Virginia MASTER OF MILITARY STUDIES TITLE: A FAILURE IN STRATEGY: AMERICA AND THE VIETNAM WAR SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT.
This failure has led to searching questions about why and how the war was fought and whether a better diplomatic and military outcome was possible for the United States. Escalation. By , guerrilla warfare was widespread in South Vietnam. On April 30, , Saigon, capital of the U.S.-backed Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), fell to the invading military forces of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (communist North Vietnam), two years after the withdrawal of American troops in the wake of the January Paris Peace Accords.