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Write an essay on Vietnam war with primary sources from jstor.

Background of the Vietnam War

According to the American history, the Vietnam War lasted longer before the war in Afghanistan. The involvement and the presence of the United States in the war were strongly felt by the citizens as a memorable gesture. In that case, this essay critically explores the Vietnam War defining its causes, America’s involvement, catalysts, military tactics and the domestic responses. Regarded as the only fight the USA lost, this war was over when the country withdrew its forces in the early 1970s following a seizer of Saigon by the communist party in 1975 (Alva 70). Referring to the second Indochina War, the Vietnam War took place from 1954 to 1973, in which the United States and the SE Asia Treaty Association members scrapped with the Southern Republic of Vietnam.

The Communist Force that included the Viet Cong was contesting with South Vietnam. The Cong was a group of Vietnamese army in the north and the guerillas. Hence, the war was a consequence of the initial war of the Indochina, which lasted from 1946 to 1954; whereby France ended up trying to claim Vietnam a colony before meeting an opposing force from the communists (Copper 73). The vital issues over the causes of the Vietnamese War started from the Second World War with an invasion of Japan claiming occupancy in Vietnam. During that time, Vietnam was under the rule of the French dating in the late 1800s. The presence of the Japanese led to collaboration of between the Chinese communists and the Soviet Union, under the influence of Ho Chi Minh to form the league for Independence in Vietnam or the Viet Minh.

The Second World War was a catalyst to the war in Vietnam. The fundamental purpose of the Viet Minh was to partition for both the French administration and the Japanese to formulating a communist league in Vietnam. Resultantly, the Viet Minh were able to force Japan to withdraw its activities in 1945 (Edwards 125). The aftermath of Japan’s withdrawal led to a Viet Minh’s rise and control over Hanoi to declare Ho as the Vietnamese Republican’s president, as the French were now the remaining colonizers to eliminate. However, the French continued to take the leadership of Vietnam from 1949 and launched the South Vietnam declaring Saigon as its capital. This meant that the country was now under the control of two groups (the Viet Minh and the French) which struggled for control until the Dien Bien Phu battle ended in 1954 with the French leading (Starr 241). Therefore, this formed a Geneva agreement that meant independence for Laos and Cambodia who had been under the colony of France.

When the Vietnam War was becoming more ferocious, the United States (under the leadership of President Kennedy) got involved by sending a team to analyze and report on the exact condition of the war. Moreover, the American troop from the president came to Vietnam to offer technical and economic assistance in the battle over the Viet Cong. The American president increased the count of troops sent to Vietnam to 9,000 compared to the number sent in the previous decade (Gates 340). This military step was due to the fear of the Domino Theory effect, which meant that when SE Asia was subjected under the communist control, and then many other nations will be rule thereafter. Unfortunately, President Kennedy was assassinated and his successor (Lyndon Johnson) and Robert McNamara, the defense secretary decided that more soldiers will be deployed in the Vietnamese war. On August 2, 1964, two torpedoes in the Northern Vietnam attacked the American destroyers in Tonkin. In reaction, the American congress approved the resolution of the Gulf Tonkin hence broadening and power of the president in battle making.

America’s involvement in the Vietnam War

By the end of 1964, 23,000 United States troops had occupied the Southern Vietnam, which resulted in constant bombing of raids until the end of February, the following year. Both the forces in Northern Vietnam and the American Military Troops came to a pursuit of a common goal i.e. a firm escalation of the Vietnam War to assure victory. The military tactic of increasing the troop’s count and assuming the rule was American form of ending the battle. Meanwhile, the Northern Vietnam believed in American casualties to decreasing assistance of America’s involvement hence forcing the withdrawal of its military forces. About 82,000 American troops were posted in Vietnam by June 1965, whereby 100,000 of them were dispatched a month later and the same amount by 1966. In 1967, Vietnam had stationed about 5,000 US military members, whereas death toll had exceeded 15,000.

By the end of January 1968, the Northern Vietnam started a couple of brutal attacks on the Southern Vietnamese cities (Taylor 57). Notwithstanding the invasion, the Americans and Southern Vietnamese forces started its strike backs, which forced the communists to be unable to uphold the conquest on their respective targets. The America’s support over the war plummeted upon confirmation of the attack and the addition of 2,000 military troops, which caused President Johnson to halt the bombing of Northern Vietnam and started a peace campaign over the remaining team members. This military step was fulfilled through talks between the Northern Vietnam and the United States (Hoenisch 174). Johnson’s successor (Nixon) sought after serving the ‘quiet’ majority believed to have participated in the war.

In an aim to minimize the casualties from United States, Nixon started a program that withdrew the military troops and increased aerial and artillery invasions. Resultantly, this exercise rendered more control to Nixon to operate in Northern Vietnam (Oldham 55). However, the speculated peaceful negotiations were no taking place as required since the Northern Vietnam continued its claim of America’s withdrawal as a form of peace campaign. This continued claim resulted in abundant bloodshed and carnage in the following years. At that moment, the anti-battles movements in America were taking place as countless citizens gathered to contest over the USA’s continued engagement in the battles. Individuals matched in-person and wrote reports to reflect their views on the Vietnamese War hence supporting the American protests. This forced Nixon to end the drafted calls in 1972 since a number of troops had been discharged for draft dodging and desertion, which increased rapidly.

By the end of 1972, the Northern Vietnam was ready for a compromise after rejecting the initial agreement on peace. This led to an authorization of bombings to cities in Northern Vietnam by Nixon. Aftermath, the troops from American were finally dismissed in 1973, however, the battle between the Southern and Northern Vietnamese forces still continued until the unification by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam two years later. The total count of Americans killed because of the war exceeded 58,000 whereas the count for slaughtered Vietnamese surpassed 2.5 million (Guttmann 61). Resultantly, the Vietnam War would be regarded as the United States’ bloodiest battle since its civil wars even a century later.

Military Tactics used in the Vietnam War

The military frontrunners once had a presumption that the military rules in Germany during the World War II were deceiving until Viet Cong began using their strategy tactic (Ekins 21). The Guerilla Warfare was the most prominent tactic and style of warfare in the Vietnam War. This military tactic included surprise and stealthy attacks to an opponent with an ambition to eliminate them. Completely utilized by the Viet Cong, the technique enabled the fighters to sneak into the territories of the opponents catching, killing them and escaping without causing much alarm (Harish 1505). Moreover, the fighters posed as civilians or farmers before carrying out an attacked onto the uniformed opponents.

Although the tactic was executed in favor of the Viet Cong, it led to the loss of innocent lives. Viet Cong fighters killed innocent Vietnamese settlers accidentally. The Viet Cong executed the rapid killings due to earlier access of machine guns in 1965. The guns were also utilized to shoot opponents’ helicopters from the sky. The undetonated land mines that belonged to the Americans were also stolen and utilized by the Viet Cong fighters. Over one year, the enemy forces in Vietnam had accessed over 20,000 tons of explosives that belonged to the Americans (Guan 371). Despite the fact that American troops had initially targeted to utilize traditional means of warfare, i.e. that claiming of more portions of land, it was agreed upon that the elimination of enemy troops was the only form winning the battle. This military tactic was known as an attrition warfare style.

The vital position of the American federal government and its engagement in the Vietnamese War was that the troops were to appeal to the Southern Vietnamese to withdraw communist troops that were multiplying during the Cold Wars. However, it never took long before the American citizens began feeling dissatisfied with the government’s continued availability in SE Asia. Although some Americans believed that total forces were needed to effectively defeat the opposition, there were others who believed that the battle in Vietnam was on a civil dimension and getting engaged in such fights was irrelevant (Fisher 149). When it was noticed that the United States’ troops had destroyed the civilians’ entire village, the demonstrations (both peaceful and violent ones) on anti-wars began throughout America.

The demonstrations and protests intensified to violence whereas draft boards were destroyed and raided. Moreover, production facilities were also sabotaged and attacked due to the ruthless altercations between the police and the civilians that were increasing in frequency. The American citizens were assessing the war through the perspective of morality and justice with an inclusion of cynicism on the nation’s military force (Connable 98). Fortunately, the American Civil Liberties and Leaders therefore called for America’s withdrawal from the Vietnam War. During that moment, Nixon recalled the United States’ troops in 1973 when the antiwar propaganda were irresistible as the opposition of the federal government administrated. The proof for displeasure and disdain from the public on America’s involvement in warfare has never occurred as before.

In conclusion, the overall assumptions and feelings over the Vietnam War were negative despite the backing up from Americans. It was globally assumed that the veterans were the actual victims of the War in Vietnam since thousands of Americans drafted obligatorily to participate in the war. On the other hand, millions of Vietnam citizens became cast-apart casualties as a byproduct of the Vietnam War. The American troops had initially aimed at squashing the rapid increase of communists in Asia; however, they resulted in constantly participating in the lengthiest and the bloodiest battle in the history of America. Irrespective of their defense for the engagement, America continues to uphold the war as an example and a lesson for how a nation should conduct itself during wars and national conflicts. In that case, the aftereffects and memories of the Vietnam War will linger as a cue for centuries ahead.

Alva, Chittaranjan. “Ideology and the Vietnam war.” Social Scientist 1.3 (1972): 68–75. Web. 31 Oct 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/3516400>.

Connable, Ben. “Vietnam-Era assessment.” Embracing the Fog of War: Assessment and Metrics in Counterinsurgency, RAND Corporation (2012): 95–152. Web. 02 Nov 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mg1086dod.14>.

Copper, John F. “The sino-vietnam war's thirtieth anniversary.” American Journal of Chinese Studies 16.1 (2009): 71–74. Web. 02 Nov 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/44289310>.

Edwards, Peter. “The Ambassador during the Vietnam War: Keith Waller, 1964–70.” Australia Goes to Washington: 75 Years of Australian Representation in the United States, 1940–2015, edited by David Lowe et al., ANU Press, Australia (2016): 123–136. Web. 31 Oct 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1q1crhz.12>.

Ekins, Ashley. “Vietnam: A Winnable War?” War, Strategy and History: Essays in Honour of Professor Robert O’Neill, edited by DANIEL MARSTON and TAMARA LEAHY, ANU Press, Acton, Australia (2016): 15–30. Web. 02 Nov 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1dgn5sf.6>.

Fisher, Christopher T. “Nation Building and the Vietnam War.” Pacific Historical Review 74.3 (2005): 441–456. Web. 02 Nov 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/phr.2005.74.3.441>.

Gates, John M. “People's War in Vietnam.” The Journal of Military History 54.3 (1990): 325–344. Web. 03 Nov 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/1985938>.

Guan, Ang Cheng. “Singapore and the Vietnam War.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 40.2 (2009): 353–384. Web. 02 Nov 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/27751567>.

Guttmann, Allen. “Protest against the War in Vietnam.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 38.2 (1969) 56–63. Web. 31 Oct 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/1037114>.

Harish Chandola. “Vietnam War Becomes Secret.” Economic and Political Weekly 7.31/33 (1972): 1505–1507. Web. 02 Nov 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/4361657>.

Hoenisch, Michael. “1960s Documentary Film: Perceptions of the Vietnam War in the USA and in Germany.” The Transatlantic Sixties: Europe and the United States in the Counterculture Decade, edited by Grzegorz Kosc et al., Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld (2013): 174–201. Web. 31 Oct 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv1wxt2b.10>.

Oldham, Perry. “On Teaching Vietnam War Literature.” The English Journal 75.2 (1986): 55–56. Web. 01 Nov 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/817886>.

Starr, Jerold M. “Teaching the Vietnam War: A Sociological Approach.” Teaching Sociology 23.3 (1995): 241–251. Web. 01 Nov 2018 <www.jstor.org/stable/1319216>.

Taylor, Sandra C. “Teaching the Vietnam War.” The History Teacher 15.1 (1981): 57–66. Web. 31 Oct 2018. <www.jstor.org/stable/493777>.

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