This research paper focuses on the intervention of US in Vietnam after the end of WW II and the conclusion that the United States faced as a result of this intervention. The paper also discusses the role Ho Chi Minh, Tonkin Gulf resolution (1965), 1968 TET offensive, anti-war demonstrations, and the early 1970s Paris Peace Talks. The research paper concludes with my opinion on the involvement of US in Vietnam.
Trace America’s growing involvement in Vietnam after the end of WW II.
The landing of 6 June 1944 and the liberation of Paris on 25 August seem to mark the end of the WW II. It took another eight months before the conflict officially ended in Europe with the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. In the two world wars, especially after World War II, the United States used its superior political system to gradually develop its superpower economy, becoming the number one power in the world. Especially after the disintegration of the USSR, the US showed its absolute strength in the world and intervened in Vietnam (“The End of the Second World War”, 1945).
American involvement in Vietnam dates back to the early 1950s when they supported France’s efforts to keep its colonial presence in Indo-china in the face of the Vietminh’s communist forces. The French defeat at Dien Bien Phu and the Geneva Accords of 1954, which consecrated the partition of Vietnam into two, led Washington to turn its support to the anti-communist regime of Vgo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam, which faced Vietnam from Communist North, the latter supported by the USSR and China. From this moment it can be said that the American stage of the Vietnam War begins. This period was constituted by different phases, which can be distinguished from the different approaches that the North American governments had before the war (Llewelyn, 2009).
The Vietnam War, also known in the United States as “Second Indo-china War”, is a long and deadly conflict, a real civil war, which bloodied the former French Indochina, formed of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. In Vietnam, the war spread from September 26, 1959, date of the first armed action of the Vietcong against the South Vietnamese government, to April 30, 1975, the day of the fall of Saigon and the end of the nationalist regime of Nguyen Van Thieu.
By 1968, the United States had brought 468,000 troops to Vietnam, with some 30,000 soldiers killed in action. President Johnson, who has faced many protests from anti-Vietnam warriors, withdraws from the race ahead of the presidential election that year. The first US military “advisers” landed in South Vietnam since the creation of the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) in October 1955, but it will be ten years before Lyndon B. Johnson engages massively the combat units of the United States. The TET Communist offensive, launched in late January and February 1968, psychologically marks the turning point of the Vietnam War (Schreiber, 1976). Although in the end, the Vietcong guerrilla and the units of the North Vietnamese Army (ANV) involved come out virtually destroyed, this large-scale attack completely surprises the US military and causes a terrible shock wave in the press and the public opinion in the United States. Thus the administration of President Richard Nixon, seeking a diplomatic solution to get out of this “quagmire”, begins the same year peace talks with North Vietnam. 1969 marks the beginning of the military withdrawal and the “Vietnamization of the conflict”. The last American fighters leave South Vietnam at the end of March 1973 (Colhoun, 1979).
The pacifist protested against the intervention of the United States in the Vietnam War (1963-1973), together with the fight for civil rights (the marches of Luther King in 1963) and the hippie movement. The increasingly broad and heterogeneous movement cracked the moral order of American society established after the Second World War. The demonstrations against the war, first organized by small associations and parties of the left and later by pacifist associations, grew gradually, in 1967 they reached their highest point, later they came up against reality in the protests of Chicago, in August 1968, during the Democratic convention. A year later, more than half a million people went to Washington for the largest anti-war demonstration in the history of the United States (Lyon, 1967).
Despite the “Paris Agreement”, initially signed on January 27, 1973, by Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, and then by the other two parties (GRP and South Vietnam), the conflict lasted for more than two years. The North Vietnamese, learning from their previous failure of the Passover 1972, break these agreements and launch in early 1975 a final offensive lightning, long and carefully prepared, invading South Vietnam, and for it, it is the beginning of the end. The conflict ends on April 30 with the capture of the southern capital, Saigon, by North Vietnamese troops. This “dirty war” that involved more than 3.5 million young conscripts aged 19 to 23, and who was “lost” in the corridors of the White House and public opinion in the United States, is 20000 km from the theater of operations, continues to presently traumatize American society. Forty years after the end of the Vietnam War, the Communist Party remained at the helm of an administratively reunited country, but its ideological victory is half-hearted. Ho Chi Minh is a nationalist rather than a communist, and so the United States does not need to worry about “losing Vietnam”. The fact that most of the dominoes did not collapse after South Vietnam’s defeat in 1975 was the most obvious. Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist rather than a communist, and so the United States did not need to worry about “losing Vietnam”. The fact that most of the dominoes did not collapse after South Vietnam’s defeat in 1975 was the most obvious (Wainwright, 1969).
On 7th August of 1964, the Resolution of the Gulf of Tonkin was the measure that caused the expansion of the American participation in the war of Vietnam. Also known as the Southeast Asian Resolution, Gulf of Tonkin resolution was legislation passed by the House of Representatives and Senate in the congress of US. The joint resolution was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. Shortly before its introduction, a naval battle occurred in the Gulf of Tonkin on August 2, 1964, between the USS Mdox destroyer of North Vietnam and the Squron 135 torpedo navy. Although there were no American casualties, they suffered, an American plane was damaged and four sailors from North Vietnam died. This was followed two days later by an attack by the USS Mdox and the USS Turner Joy on presumed North Vietnamese ships. Although the event is collectively known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the evidence shows that the second shot attack most likely involved an imaginary enemy since no remains or bodies were ever found. Despite this fact, it was reported that the incident at the time was authentic and has become a reason to intensify the conflict (Evans, 1972).
The Peace of Paris Agreements of 1973 is armistice agreements signed on 27 January 1973 in Paris to end the Vietnam War. They were concluded between the US and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the Republic of Vietnam and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam ( Viet Cong ). The action of the negotiators, Le Duc Tho for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Binh for the FNL and Kissinger for the United States put an end to 10 years of war. The contract provided for the withdrawal of United States ground forces within sixty days. In exchange for what, Hanoi pledged to release all his prisoners. But the Vietnamese issue has not been solved: the United States withdrew from the conflict to avoid a “formal” defeat and the armed struggle continued until the unconditional surrender of the Saigon Government on April 30, 1975, Henry Kissinger’s maneuver was to retire before the final defeat, in an honorable peace for the United States. The problem with prisoners of war was that there was no war, just a step-by-step escalation from Military Aid Advisers (MAAG) to combat troops and aerial bombardment.
To me, it was a fault of the US to intervene in Vietnam. The United States missed the opportunity to win, and the North Vietnamese should not have attacked because the attack was “not as effective as they would have hoped. I argue that war is not only necessary but can be won if more strategic decisions are made. The most significant mistake was the choice of the US ambassador to South Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge to light a coup d’état over Ngo Dinh Diem, the event that broke the South Vietnamese security apparatus and caused North Vietnam launched a large-scale invasion of the South. Another blunder was Johnson’s choice not to send US ground troops into Laos to cut off the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a move that would have altered the war and decreased its necessity for reinforcements.
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