Presentation on theme: "Vietnam War By Lauren Spears. Overview -The war began in 1954, when South Vietnam refused to take part in an election that would unify the country, with."— Presentation transcript:
Vietnam War By Lauren Spears
Overview -The war began in 1954, when South Vietnam refused to take part in an election that would unify the country, with both the communist North Korea and the democratic South Korea together as one. War broke out between the two, with the Soviet Union backing the North with military supplies. -The United States, fearing that the fall of Vietnam to communism would trigger a domino effect in Eastern Asia, quickly got involved. -They began by sending supplies and soldiers to train the South Vietnamese military, and eventually got fully involved in the war. -The United States, after struggling for 13 years, took their soldiers out of Vietnam in Not only did they lose the war, but they abandoned the South Vietnamese after the damage had been done. -The North won, and the country was taken over communists. The Vietnam War is known as one of the bloodiest wars in history, with countless Vietnamese and American deaths. I intend to analyze the reasons why the U.S. should never have taken part in the war, and why their initial reasons for going were not justified.
Questions Being Addressed What prompted the Americans to first get involved with Vietnam? What threats did the U.S. feel would be imposed if South Vietnam was taken over by the communist North Vietnam? Why did the United States fear communism? Why were so many Americans against the war, and why did the government not take into consideration the opinions and views of its’ own people? Was it unrealistic and ignorant of the U.S. to believe they could win a war half way around the world in a foreign country? Did the U.S. properly train their soldiers to defend and fight against the guerilla tactics of the North Vietnamese? Were there other forms of action the U.S. could have taken rather than going to war? Was it worth it to go to Vietnam?
Thesis The United States was wrong to get involved in the Vietnam War as they were at a crucial disadvantage because Vietnam was a foreign and politically unstable country, the American home front was widely against the war, and they were not willing to fully commit to the war.
Argument #1 U.S soldiers were prepared to fight a conventional war, were very set back by the foreign guerilla tactics of the Viet Cong (no distinct battle lines) They fought in thick jungles, swamps, mountainous terrain, insufferable humidity/heat (major struggle to adapt and fight at full potential). In this way the VC had a clear advantage Americans did not know the language or culture, leading to difficulty distinguishing friend from foe South Vietnam devastated economy, destroyed traditional and political order, made up of conflicting ethnic, religious and political forces Ngo Dinh Diem (South leader) was more popular with the American politicians than the Buddhist peasants (large population of South Vietnam) The U.S. administration’s strategy was to gradually increase military pain until Vietnam saw the costs as too great, did not know Vietnam could withstand more loss than Washington could inflict
Argument#2 Government and political leaders failed to provide a convincing explanation and justification of American involvement to their own country Spoke of light at end of tunnel while troops were dispatched and casualties steadily increased As volunteers for military decreased steadily in numbers, conscription for the war was introduced How could a war be won when men who did not believe in the cause were being forced to fight Public morale in the U.S proved to be a crucial “dominoe”, influenced poor military spirits on the field, sped up disengagement of the war North Vietnam took advantage of anti-war protests ”conflict in the U.S generates impatience in the States. Unfortunately it also generates patience in Honai”
Argument#3 U.S did not want to invade North Vietnam (never officially declared war) as this could have led to war with communist Russia/China They fought a limited war, with limitations beyond borders of South Vietnam For North Vietnam the war was total Many American military leaders who look back, blame the U.S.’s failing military strategy on the geographic restraints imposed For example, If the military had taken action in Laos and Cambodia, blocking the Ho Chi Minh Trail, then they could have cut off North Vietnam’s main supply routes
Counter Arguments The United States, under the Truman doctrine, believed it was their duty to protect all countries from communism Policy of containment “Truman used disease imagery not only to communicate a sense of impending disaster in the spread of communism but also to create a "rhetorical vision" of containing it by extending a protective shield around noncommunist countries throughout the world.” The “Dominoe Effect”. If Vietnam fell to communism, many other south eastern Asian countries would soon follow. There is no real evidence, as history cannot be changed, that proves that if the U.S had used different military strategies, they would have been more successful in winning against the North
Sources Berman, Larry. Planning a Tragedy: The Americanization of the War in Vietnam. U.S.: Penguin Books Ltd., Grant, Reg. Atlas of Conflicts: The Vietnam War. Milaukee: Arcturus Publishing Ltd., Cavendish, Marshall. The Vietnam War: People and Politics.Long Island, NY: Marshall Cavendish Ltd., Lomperis, Timothy J. “To a Baghdad Victory via Saigon”. World Affairs (2006):147
Sources O’Malley, Michael. The Vietnam War and the Tragedy of Containment Sep. 2006