Essay, Research Paper
Causes and effects of the Vietnam War War is hell. Imagine how most every family in the United States waseffected some way or another during the Vietnam War. Parents lost sons, wives losthusbands, sisters lost brothers, and children lost their daddies. A total of over twomillion lives were lost, and for what? In this paper I am going to tell you why somepeople lost their loved ones for a few years and others lost them forever. Many people believed that the Vietnam conflicts started in the 1960 s. Thosemany people are wrong. The conflicts the United States had with Vietnam startedin 1946 with a sequel to the struggle between the French and the Communist-ledVietminh. The Communist-led Vietminh was also known as the League for theIndependence of Vietnam. The League was founded in 1941 and was headed by therevolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh. The League wanted their independence fromthe French. On September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh announced their independencefrom France. The French opposed their independence from 1945-1954. The FrenchExpeditionary Force tried to prevent the Vietminh from entering Laos where it ledthem to Dien Bien Phu on May 7, 1954. The French weren t very careful and thisbattle allowed the Vietminh to cut off their airway to Hanoi. After fifty five days offighting, the French surrendered and Ho Chi Minh had won the war againstFrance. In 1954 a political conference was held in Geneva and ended the period ofcolonial rule in what had formerly been the French Indochina. The conferencecompiled that Vietnam was to be divided into two parts along the seventeenthparallel. North Vietnam was mainly Communist and supported Ho Chi Minh. South Vietnam was supported by the United States and the French. SomeCommunist supporters were still within South Vietnam. These were known as theViet Cong. South Vietnam s ruler was Ngo Dinh Diem who was ananti-Communist. North Vietnam failed to respect the Geneva settlement. Theywere still trying to force Southern Vietnam to become a communist dominatedcountry. Northern Vietnam seemed unwilling to negotiate to most countries. Theydidn t want to negotiate when it seemed to them they were winning and they didn twant to end up losing. As far as Americans views were concerned, the Vietcong hadno independent standings. The responsibility for negotiations weren t the SouthernVietnam, but with Northern Vietnam. After Northern Vietnam decided not tonegotiate, the United States and its South Vietnamese allies had made plans to takea step further through a pair of heavy bombing raids on a North Vietnam supplydepot and a naval base. North Vietnam requested that they unify North and South Vietnam militaryforce. The United States feared the spread of communism in Asia so John F.Kennedy provided economic and military aid to South Vietnam to prevent thetakeover by North Vietnam. The United States were not yet officially involved. Thewar was still considered a civil war between North and South Vietnam. Americans felt that peace efforts had hit a dead end. Many wanted theUnited States to pull the forces out of Vietnam and bring their loved ones home. Many Western countries weren t interested in the spread of communism in Asia butmore with ending the war itself. The idea of starting negotiations to end the warand pave the way for American withdrawal already relieved a growing popularitythroughout most of the world. Washington had doubts about neutralizationagreements with Communist powers. In the fall of 1964, it was believed that NorthVietnam was only interested in easing the United States out of Vietnam but had nointention of lifting its own aggression or discussing a peace based on earlierinternational agreements. Throughout all of last year, the general attitude of the Communist worldwas that they might consider some devices to save the will upon South Vietnam. Out attitude was and is that we are not interested in saving face but in saving SouthVietnam. (Secretary-General Rusk) This conflict wouldn t have been so important if only 33 million Vietnamesewere included but it included all of the world. Australia had previously sent 83military advisors to work with the South Vietnamese forces announced in Januarythat this limited assistance would be increased. After declining, New Zealanddecided in to send its own artillery battery of 120 men who would cooperate closelywith the Australians. Of all the Western countries, only Australia and New Zealandhad takedn the Vietcong challenge seriously enought to join actively in combating it. Formosa (Taiwan) was being held by the Republic of China as an
anti-Communist country. The United States was not eager about the idea ofsending Chinese Nationalist troops to fight in Vietnam. The first responsibility ofthese troops was the defense of Formosa. The United States felt that the islandswere subject to regular Communist assault and could become the object of a suddeninvasion attempt. Korea had a direct appeal from President Johnson but decided tosend 2,000 troops to South Vietnam for noncombat duty. South Korea waspreparing to send a combat force of 15,000 men to South Vietnam, they had noother negotiations beside with the United States. Laos and Thailand had no position to join directly in the Vietnamesefighting had also shown an appreciation of the serious consequences that a Vietcongvictory had for them. Laos was normally a neutral government had gone so far as toobtain the assistance of U.S. aircraft in occasional bombings of Communist supplyroutes within Laos. Laos had a stable understanding with the United States. Thailand, an American ally, had welcomed a significant number of American troopsand airmen to its territory. Thailand was in almost as vulnerable a position asSouth Vietnam. Thailand was said to be lending its cooperation in theanti-Communist air war over Laos and over Vietnam as well. Even though thedetails of this activity were kept secret, the American military forces in Thailandwere said to be as many as 6,000 fighting men, together with 100 aircraft distributedamong four Thailand bases. The Vietnam Memorial is a sight that was made in memory of all theVeterans that fought and died or Veterans who were still missing in Vietnam. Thememorial got started when Jan C. Scruggs, a veteran himself, just couldn t forgetthe pain he faced. He had often wondered why the living and the dead were neverthanked or even remembered. He wanted to make the people remember the oneswho fought for their country and the country of others. His first idea for amemorial was to show the names of every American soldier who died or was missingin Vietnam. Second, he wanted something every American would accept. Then hedecided he wanted it to be built without government money. Last he wanted it to bein Washington, D.C. where he thought it would be a true memorial. Scruggs set up a place where donations could be sent. After several weeks ofreceiving donations only one hundred and forty four dollars was collected. Scruggsthought his idea was just a dream. After veterans themselves started seeing thestruggle, they even started helping. The veterans helped start the Vietnam VeteransMemorial Foundation. They set goals for their foundation. First, was to find aplace for the memorial. Then to find a design. Last was to set the dedication forNovember 11, 1982, Veterans Day. By the end of 1979, over nine thousand dollars had been raised. Even withall the money raised they knew they would never have enough to buy a piece of landfrom the government. Senator Charles Mathias introduced a bill for 2 acres for thesite of the memorial. The bill was passed on June 30, 1980 for the 2 acres betweenthe Lincoln and Washington Monuments. The only problem they faced now was their design for the memorial. Nobodycould decide on just one design. The Veterans decided to hold a contest whereanyone could send in their thoughts for the design of the memorial. Maya Ying Linwon with her design of a low, black, chevron-shaped wall. After the Veteransdecision many people fought for a design change. After a lot of controversy, theydecided to add to the wall. A statue and some American flags would be added tomake the wall less deathlike. Construction began on March 16, 1982. Scruggs had doubts that thememorial wouldn t be done on time for the dedication date they had set. Theydecided to hold the dedication to the following weekend, November 13-14. Beforethe dedication ceremony, many veterans lined the streets together again and walkedin the parade led by retired General William Westmoreland. The whole week beforethe dedication volunteers held candles outside the National Cathedral and recitedthe names of the 58,156 Veterans killed and missing in action, one-by-one. Thousands of Vietnam Veterans along with friends and families of the deadcame to help dedicate the memorial. Some veterans showed their war wounds. Some came in suits, others in combat gear. They all gathered in the ConstitutionGardens in Washington, D.C. to hopefully be able to face their pain and saygoodbye to their loved ones. Though many people will never forget their days in Vietnam, they will alwaysbe remembered for the way they helped the United States fight. Many of themcould even tell you they would be happy to fight again for our country, but thenthey might also tell you, War is hell.