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The Vietnam War happened from 1954 to a975 involving South Vietnam and the US. The US wanted to stop the spread of communism spreading in Vietnam but withdrew in 1975 after recording many civilians and the military’s casualties. The war was intensified by the conflict between the Soviet Union and the US. More than three million people lost their lives, including both Americans and Vietnamese. The US committed 550,000 troops to the war front at the height of the battle, and 58,000 lost their lives until 1973. The US conquered communist forces during the major battles. However, the US did not achieve the goal for which it got into the war, so the US is considered to have lost the war. Both the South and North united as communists in 1976, and influenced several of their neighbors, including Cambodia and Laos. The US withdrew due to the enormous cost and the loss of lives for their military and Vietnam civilians.
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At the beginning of the war, the US was determined to win and sent its troops to take over the Vietnam cities and prevent the spread of communism. The US would be able to destroy Vietnam with little effort as it had military power. However, the Vietnam military used the philosophy from Ho Chi Minh “You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose, and I will win.” Vietnam was determined to conquer regardless of the many casualties caused by the US military, citing that even if thousands would be killed, they would still win the war. Vietnam held that all people are equal and deserved equal rights. Therefore, the US had no power to dictate how the country would run its affairs. “We hold the truth that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The Vietnamese had a God-given right to pursue their own happiness, and thus if they decided to be communist, the US had no power to force them otherwise.
Therefore, the IS had lost the war from the very beginning by forcing their way in Vietnam and denying them their God-given rights and liberties.
Robert McNamara predicted that the US would win the war by citing, “Every quantitative measure we have shown we’re winning the war” The prediction was done using quantitative data quantified to predict that the war would be won in 1964. However, this was not the case as the war went on until the early 1970’s when the US withdrew its troops, giving the Vietnamese the liberty to continue their pursuit of communism. There was more to the war than the valuables that could be measured, quantified, and computerized. The US analyzed the Vietnam war front and concluded that t was a lost cause politically and had no government, and thus there was no value in continuing the war. “In my view, a deep commitment of United States forces in a land war in South Vietnam would be a catastrophic error. If ever there was an occasion for a tactical withdrawal, this is it.” The US had already engaged in war with Vietnam before leading to significant economic losses for Vietnam and casualties of both military and civilians before deciding to withdraw.
This shows failure since the US should have researched before entering to war to understand if it was worth the effort or not. However, the US defended their action by citing that “We had to burn the village in order to save it.” The US engaged in bombings, and guerrilla war, which led to massive casualties thus did not achieve the intended purpose. “We are about to fight a war we can’t fight and win, the country we are trying to help is quitting… We are sending conventional troops to do an unconventional job.” The US did not withdraw after realizing that they were losing the war since the data given by the computerized charts indicated that they would win, “No, you don’t understand, victory is very near. I’ll show you the charts. The charts are very good.” This made the country continue the fights until it dawned that they would not win a political war using the military.
The president conceded by citing, “I’m not going to be the first American president to lose a war.” The US concluded that it would have begun the war in North Vietnam and not South Vietnam as the former was the real enemy, and the military would not have to worry about shooting civilians. Nonetheless, the US was interested in overthrowing the Southern government and had no problem with the North. The Americans were convinced they were winning the war basing on the information presented by the media, while in the battlefields the country was losing. After the American troops withdrew, the Vietnamese celebrated the victory citing, “All Vietnamese are the victors, and only the American imperialists have been vanquished. If you love the nation and the people [of Vietnam], consider today a happy day.” Vietnam was considered to have won the war despite the many casualties since the US did not manage to stop them from pursuing communism, and the government was not overthrown.
Admiral Thomas Moorer, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Vietnam: A History, by Stanley Karnow.
George Ball, Undersecretary of State, “Cutting our Losses in South Viet-Nam” Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 70 D 48, Memos to the President on VN Feb. 1965- Apr. 1966. Top Secret.
Herring, George C., and George C. Herring. America’s longest war: the United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1986.
Ho Chi Minh upon declaring Vietnamese independence (later rescinded by the French), 1945
Ho Chi Minh, leader of North Vietnam, before the Franco-Vietminh War, late 1940s
Kocher, Matthew Adam, Thomas B. Pepinsky, and Stathis N. Kalyvas. “Aerial bombing and counterinsurgency in the Vietnam War.” American Journal of Political Science 55, no. 2 (2011): 201-218.
Marshall McLuhan, 1975
McGeorge Bundy, Kennedy’s National Security Advisor, in a 1965 memo summarizing the arguments of those in the Johnson administration who opposed the war
Ngo Din Diem, leader of South Vietnam, before deposing the French supported Vietnamese Emperor, Bao Dai
North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin, upon accepting the surrender of the government of South Vietnam, 1975
President Richard Nixon, Oct. 1969
Robert McNamara, American Secretary of Defence, 1962
Walt Rostow, presidential advisor, and State Departme
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