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Vietnam War

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The Vietnam War was the longest war ever fought by military forces in the history of the United States. The War against the North Vietnamese lasted more than 15 years, spanning from 1959 to 1975. Although it was the only conflict where the outcome was not very clear, there are mixed views to this day whether we should have taken the military course of action.

The United States entered Vietnam for many reasons, however the one that seems clear cut was fear. The US government feared the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia. Government of- ficials feared the North Vietnamese forces would gain control of Vietnam, take control of the gov- ernment, and implement a Communist dictatorship. As said in A Compromise Solution in South Vietnam:

"So long as our forces are restricted to advising and assisting the South Vietnamese, the struggle will remain a civil war between Asian peoples. Once we deploy substantial numbers of troops in combat it will become a war between the U.S. and a large part of the population of South Vietnam, organized and directed from North Vietnam and backed by the resources of both Moscow and Peiping."

It was believed that, afterwards, many nations would fall. In 1954, a war was fought in order to gain independence from France that split the nation in two. When the French forces where forced out of Vietnam, Vietnamese Communists seized control of North Vietnam under the command of Ho Chi Minh. Although the government in South Vietnam was non-Communist, it was weak. However the United States supported it in order to try and stop the spread of Communism.

Before military action was taken, the United States supported South Vietnam only with money and military strategists and advisers. The United States had roughly 800 advisors in Vietnam prior to 1960, however, in 1961 that number was calculated to be more than 17,000 when John F. Ken- nedy began to take Vietnam by the reins. Shortly after President Lyndon B. Johnson was elected in 1964, he reported that North Vietnam had attacked U.S. Navy ships along Vietnam's coast.

By the end of 1965, nearly 80,000 US troops had been deployed to South Vietnam to ensure their defense. The main strategy in Vietnam was airfare superiority against North Vietnam. In one year, the United States had conducted more bombing missions on North Vietnam than had been done in all of World War II. By the end of 1969, the United States had roughly 543,000 troops in Viet- nam; the average age of these troops was only 19 years old.

Although President Richard Nixon increased the bombing of North Vietnam, he began to pull US military forces out of South Vietnam and when that happened, the government collapsed. In 1975, North Vietnam had conquered South Vietnam and won the war and Vietnam was reunited as a Communist nation.

As for why the US failed in the war effort, it was not just one simple reason. The main problem was that it is hard to win a war when

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