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Of all countries, Vietnam witnessed the sharpest blade of the cold war during the Vietnam War of 1955-1975. After the Second World War, two countries: America and the Soviet Union rose to be the world superpower. At this time, most colonies too struggled for independence from their colonial masters. Vietnam struggled for independence from France and it succeeded. However, France was not ready to grant freedom to this country and the two superpowers: America and Soviet Union spread their ideologies to most countries across the world. On one front, Soviet Union spread communism and on the other front, the United States spread capitalism. The spread of these ideologies was very serious that in some areas it led open war.
In Vietnam, northern side was for communism and the southern part of the country was for capitalism. The only problem that arose was the north wanted to unite the Vietnamese people under one communist government and to see its ambitions come true, the north sent its guerilla fighters to spread their ideology. At this time, Soviet Union succeeded in spreading communism in China, communism was moving to Vietnam, and success was close. This scared United States, which feared collapse of capitalism and the only way to maintain capitalism, was to support the Army of republic of Vietnam, which was pro capitalism. By 1954, France was losing Vietnam to the citizens and it was less concerned about capitalism. Therefore, it allowed Vietnam the freedom. However, upon the freedom, the northern Vietnamese people wanted to impose communism ideologies on the entire Vietnam.
America was not happy about this and the signs of fall of capitalism in Asia countries. Thus, when there was an opportunity in to restore capitalism in the south, America funded those soldiers to rebel the northern communism. Later in 1959, America issued an incentive to open fire in case the communist guerilla shot them. Eventually, America was involved in what it termed as protection of the capitalism. This claimed thousands of civilian and soldiers’ life with almost 550000 American troops fighting in Vietnam. This was the longest war that America has ever fought in its history. All this presidents supported the Domino theory.
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During this period, all American presidents participated in the Vietnam War starting from John Fitzgerald Kennedy who felt it was essential to contain communism. In his speech, Kennedy said, “Pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, and support any friend…to assure the survival and success of liberty”. This showed how far President Kennedy was willing to go in order to protect capitalism. After President Kennedy’s assassination, President Lyndon Johnson took over and swore to support capitalism in Vietnam. He also believed in He was once quoted saying, “If we quit Vietnam tomorrow we’ll be fighting in Hawaii and next week we’ll have to be fighting in San Francisco.” Therefore, he considered communism a threat to America. His administration increased air bombings of communism Vietnam and prepared several operations including ‘operation 34B’ and ‘operation rolling thunder’, which were supported by the congress. This saw Lyndon lose most public support when his term ran out. After his term, President Nixon took over. Though President Nixon administration did not want to involve in the war because he felt it was expensive, it cost almost 1000 lives per month and he wanted to gain public support. He also participated in the war through bombings in Cambodia. At one time, President Nixon told the public, "I would rather be a one-term President and do what is right than to be a two-term President at the cost of seeing America become a second-rate power and to see this Nation accept the first defeat in its proud 190-year history."
With such sentiments from its leaders, America entered into war to defend communism from doing away with capitalism. This entry was to prevent communism from spreading southwards and protect capitalism from destruction by the northern communists because America considered the south its allies. The Domino theory made them belief that communism will take over the entire world. The communists’ success in China and Saigon instilled Americans with the fear that it was true communism was taking over. Therefore, America entered the war to stop further spreading of communism. American president signed a bill that allowed America to come to aid of any country that did not want communism. At first, America began by funding the southerners before sending them the advisory team. The US army advisory trained the Ngo Diem military apart from supplying them with military infrastructure. However, the advisory team on war matters was not enough. The military committee allowed American soldiers to shoot back in case the communist soldiers attacked them.
After this, the American troops started participating in open fights in the field before the congress allowed several presidents to use air attacks on the communists military. On the communists’ front, the Soviet Union financed thousands of its militaries. The communist side had thousands of military men on foot. The cavalry knew the terrain well and combated the US forces. During the war, the American troops suffered from typhoid and malaria, which killed most soldiers and slowed others down. With time, some Americans fell out of favor of the Vietnamese war and went on protest throughout America. The protesters were mostly college and university students who also got support from other human rights activists. These public demonstrations placed so much pressure that President Nixon employed policies that led to the end of the war. With assassination of Diem, the Vietnam War ended with all Vietnamese citizens uniting under one communist government as the US soldiers drew from the war in the Vietnamization process. The war claimed lives almost 1.1 million Vietnamese soldiers and death of about 58,000 US soldiers. The countries also spent heavily on military infrastructure. Apart from that, it also increased civilians suffering and massacre of innocent citizens.
Consequently, the United States of America lost in the Vietnam War. Some Americans still feel that the American war America was not defeated. However, the fact is very clear that America lost in its purpose that made it engage in the Vietnam War. Communism won over Vietnam even after US air force bombed and killed the communist soldiers. The US lost the war because America undermined the persistence of the communist soldiers from northern Vietnam. The soldiers were persistent and knew the terrain and they never gave up. It took a superpower 16 good years before it was finally defeated in a humiliating battle. The US used air bombing but the soldiers understood their terrain well. Thus, they kept fighting until victory came their way. The other factor that led to the defeat of the American soldiers was the Vietnamese culture of belief in unity and struggle until death. The American soldiers were unable to lure most of the Vietnamese people to support its troops.
The Vietnamese soldiers on the north also had constant supply of military infrastructure that they used to bomb down American planes and kill the inexperienced teenage soldiers from the Southern front. America also got criticism from its citizens back at home apart from President Nixon designing the Vietnamization policy that left capitalist soldiers of the south vulnerable to defeat. Finally, the assassination of Diem Ngo, the leader of the Southern group, greatly demoralized the southerners from struggling for capitalism.
The US did should never have fought this war. The question of capitalism and communism should never have crossed the diplomatic boundary. The US entry into this war only considered the countries ethnocentrism and overlooked Vietnam’s sovereignty. The US only focused on spreading capitalism and forgot to check on the demands of the majority. Diem Ngo was a lunatic and a dictator who did not deserve support military support just because he favored capitalism over communism. This leader was not worth support of America. In fact, he was not different from the communism that America was opposing. How could America support a man who goes butchering other humans? It is true that in war there is no justice but bombing and killing thousands of civilians was very wrong for America. In fact, America used more bombs on Vietnam compared to total number of bombs that it used in the world war. This was very cruel of the force even if it was a display of military supremacy. Military supremacy is not misuse of public funds and butcher of innocent children and women. Russia was true threatening but what need was it to waste American bullets, bombs and live on lunatics? The communism was thought to be corrupt and failure of most governments.
If I were in charge, I would guard life of every citizen and hold my money from killing of innocent people. I would have allowed countries to choose between communism and capitalism without going into war. In this case, I would have avoided shading the blood of the innocent and wasting of time and resources. After the entire struggle, America still lost to communism, thus the war was unnecessary.
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