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The Vietnam War Case Study

Essay by   •  October 28, 2012  •  Case Study  •  1,736 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,155 Views

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The Vietnam War began in 1954 but the conflict started back in the 1940s. The conflict was initially between the French and the Vietnamese. After France's colonial rule over Vietnam, France was forced to leave Vietnam. France's allied forces were defeated in Dien Bien Phu. France determined they would no longer be able to their interests in Indochina. In the summer of 1954 France and Vietnam signed a peace treaty called the Geneva Peace Accords.

The Geneva Accords stated that Vietnam would hold an election in 1956 to reunify the country. The seventeenth parallel where the country was divided would become non-existent after the election. Not everyone agreed with the Accords. Secretary of State John Dulles feared it gave the Communists too much control.

In 1945 Japan withdrew its military after World War II. This left Emperor Bao Dai leading an independent Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh had formed military guerillas to take control of Vietnam. They quickly took over the city of Hanoi and declaring Ho president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV). When the Geneva Accords were signed it left Vietnam with Ho Chi Minh leading the North and Ngo Dinh Diem leading the South, the Government of the Republic of Vietnam (GVN).

As the Cold War grew President Dwight Eisenhower tightened policy against allies of the Soviet Union. President Eisenhower showed support for South Vietnam. With training and munitions from the U.S., the GVN was able to arrest 100.000 Vietcong insurgents.

The united front was used against the anti-French forces and brought together Communists and non-Communists. This formed the National Liberation Front (NLF) on December 20, 1960. Those who joined the front opposed Ngo Dinh Diem and wanted a united Vietnam.

There was much debate of the character of the NLF and Communists in the city of Hanoi. Since the inception of the NLF, leaders in Washington believed that Hanoi lead the attacks by the NLF against the DRV. In 1961 President John F. Kennedy sent a team to report on the conditions. He was advised to send in troops to provide economic and technical aid against the threat of Vietcong in the south. This was known as the "December 1961 White Paper". There were some in Congress who believed the cause was dead end and the U.S. should remove the troops. President Kennedy decided on a different approach, the middle road.

Instead of sending a large scale of military personnel to aid Diem, President Kennedy decided to send a small contingent with additional advisors. President Kennedy and Diem came to a limited accord. Basically, President Kennedy would send military personnel and advisors but would not intervene. This was not a good idea.

Washington received reports from Vietnam verifying further NLF victories. Washington and Saigon worked together to come against the NLF. This was called the Strategic Hamlet Program; a military effort against the rural areas of the GVN to round up villagers who were a part of the NLF, its main support. This tactic had limited results and further alienated the villagers.

A rebellion by some of his own military leaders succeeded in overthrowing and executing Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu. This happened just three weeks before the assassination of President Kennedy. Due to the political upheaval in the GVN convinced President Lyndon B. Johnson to increase military and financial support. President Johnson ordered retaliation against DRV after they torpedoed two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which Johnson the means to apply more manpower. United States military planes were ordered to begin regular bombings.

President Johnson decided to send U.S. military combat soldiers into battle in Vietnam in March of 1965. This decision was made with firm backing of American citizens. In June 1965, 82,000 troops were stationed in Vietnam. General William Westmoreland requested 175,000 more troops to be deployed by the end of 1965 to aid in the weakening GVN army. Even though President Johnson was advised about the concerns of the war efforts and the anti-war movement growing quickly, he still ordered 100,000 soldiers to be deployed immediately and an additional 100,000 in 1966.

"One of the greatest ironies in a war rich in ironies was that Washington has also moved toward a limited war in Vietnam. The Johnson administration wanted to fight this war in 'cold blood.'" (Bringham, Hoffman, n.d.) This belief meant the war in Vietnam would be done "with the precision of a surgeon" (Bringham, Hoffman, n.d.) with life in America going on with no or little notice of the war. This never occurred. Inevitably hit where there were not enough volunteers and the government created the draft. This caused a huge anti-war movement that started on college campuses and large cities. Eventually citizens were all across the country were outraged on the war efforts.

In 1968, the Communist leaders decided on a counter offensive against the United States in the hope that the U.S. would give up and go home. It was decided 70,000 DRV troops attacked under

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