The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War

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The Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was the longest one in America’s history and it does not have a clear beginning. America got involved in the internal affairs of the country gradually. It began by supporting France by offering financial assistance. Vietnam was divided between the north and south in the 1950s, following their independence from France. The north was communist while the south was non-communist. The US wanted to contain communism and it ended up supporting South Vietnam by sending military assistance. Troops from the northern part of the country fired at a US ship. Following the attack, America increased the number of its troops in the country and fighting between the two groups escalated. The number of American troops and draftees increased significantly by 1965 (Saldin, 2010)

The goal of the US was to stop the spread of communism in Asia (Anderson, 2013). It believed that communism would spread to other countries in the region. It wanted to spread the democratic ideals, which guaranteed freedom to the people. However, the US was not able to achieve its goals. The US failed to succeed in its objective for it lacked awareness of the people and the land. Lack of awareness led to poor decisions. It supported Ngo Dinh Diem, who was the leader of South Vietnam (Saldin, 2010). Although he was opposed to communism, he was not concerned with the welfare of the people. He ended up using brutal force on the people and practicing favoritism. He did not implement a democratic regime as the US had hoped. Despite the challenges experienced in the north, the leader was able to motivate the people to continue fighting in the war. The leader showed concern for the people. The north used their knowledge of the land and guerilla tactics when attacking the Americans and the south. The Vietnam War was one of the most unpopular wars in the US. People protested and held demonstrations, urging the leaders to end the war.

The war led to loss of property and life. Almost 60,000 Americans lost their lives in the war. Those who survived suffered physically and psychologically. Some had become permanently disabled. Others were harmed by chemicals used during the war, and others suffered from posttraumatic stress disorders. Some of the people who had fought in the war were draftees with little education. They found it difficult to cope with life after the war, since they could not get jobs (Sitikoff, n. d.). Vietnam experienced more losses as the country lost close to two million people. Other people were displaced from their homes. The war changed legislation and the way America handled matters. Following the war, the passing of the twenty-sixth amendment reduced the voting age to eighteen. Prior to the war, people were eligible to vote when they turned 21. Many Americans had fled the country to avoid being enlisted. After the war, congress changed the military draft and it became a volunteer army (Digital History, 2013).

Despite being involved in the longest war, Vietnam and America have managed to reestablish their relationship over the years. The relationship between the two countries is strategic and is meant to benefit each of them in some way. The two countries relate with each other well. They have friendly diplomatic and trade ties. They have a bilateral trade agreement and this has increased economic partnership between them. The US has become the largest foreign investor in Vietnam. It also makes up the largest export market for Vietnam. The US takes advantage of Vietnam’s strategic position in Southeast Asia. The two countries also cooperate on defense matters. The two countries usually hold discussions concerning defense strategies. Although relations between the two countries have improved over the years, the US is still concerned about human rights abuses in Vietnam. On the other hand, Vietnam is wary of satisfying all the demands made by the US, as some of them appear to be advocating for regime changes (Tran, 2013).

References:

Anderson, L. D. (2013). The Columbia guide to the Vietnam War. New York, NY: Columbia University Press

Digital History. (2013). The Vietnam War. Retrieved from http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtid=2&psid=3455

Saldin, P. R. (2010). War, the American state, and politics since 1898. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press

Sitikoff, H. (n. d.). The postwar impact of Vietnam. Retrieved from http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/vietnam/postwar.htm

Tranm L. A. (2013). US and Vietnam: Gradually becoming bittersweet partners? Retrieved from http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/commentary/us-vietnam-asean-saigon-trans-pacific-trade

 

 

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