Historically, the Vietnam War is identified as the most prolonged struggle that lasted from 1959 to April 30, 1975 in which the United States took part. At that time, Vietnam was divided into parts, such as North Vietnam that was under control of a communist regime, and South Vietnam that was a non-communist territory. Historians pointed out that this war was the second stage of fighting in Vietnam. The first stage goes back to 1946 when the Vietnamese army was fighting with France in order to get the control of Vietnam, a small country located in Southeast Asia. During that time, Vietnam was a part of French, known as Indochina. Consequently this struggle ended with the victory of the Vietnamese and division of Vietnam into two parts: North and South Vietnam. During this war President Harry S. Truman declared to help any nations that are suffering from communist regime. The next governments of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and John F. Kennedy adopted Truman’s policy in order to protect Asian nation from the Communists.
The causes of the Vietnam War go back to the Cold War when the thermonuclear opposition between the United States of America and the Soviet Union occurred. On the one hand, some scholars believe that this war arose due to the sharp American criticism of communist government in North Vietnam. American government was afraid that domination of a communist regime in the Asian part of the world could lead to beginning of the third world war. On the other hand, other scholars pointed out that the Vietnam War appeared before American involvement, since there always was a struggle between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. Consequently, the main cause of this war is a foreign involvement in the government of Vietnam. Furthermore, historians emphasize other causes of the Vietnam War, such as a containment policy extended amidst Europe and Korea; unsuccessful Truman’s administration and his fear to lose control in the world; and international desire to control Vietnam as the main channel of air and sea routes between Australia and the Middle East.
The national disorder in Vietnam was evident in 1940 when the French colony of Indochina was established. During 1939-1945, Japan controlled the territory of Indochina. In 1945 France tried to establish its own government in Indochina after Japan’s defeat. However, at that time the national revolt was organized by Ho Chi Minh, a Vietnamese Communist, who wanted to gain independence for Vietnam. Consequently, in 1946 a war between France and the Vietminh began. During that time, the Communists developed a successful cooperation with China and earned its support in the struggle against France. However, in 1950 the USA provided the French army with the large amounts of war materials in order to conquer Vietminh. In May 1954, the Vietminh won the struggle at Dien Bien Phu (French fortress) in northwestern Vietnam. In July the war ended by the signing of agreement at Geneva, Switzerland concerning to which Vietnam was divided into North and South Vietnam. After 1954, fundamental changes were evident in North Vietnam, since Ho Chi Minh established a Communist government there. In 1955 the Republic of Vietnam was established by non- communist Ngo Dinh Diem, who totally opposed Communist control.
The Vietnam War is divided into three periods. The first period is dated from 1957 to 1965, at that time there was a big struggle, commonly known as the Viet Cong that arose between the South and the North Vietnamese army. During this period, North Vietnam government developed a supply route known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail to South Vietnam through Laos and Cambodia. Furthermore, the first causalities of the Vietnam War were recorded, since two American military advisers were killed in 1959. By 1960, the disorder between the Diem government and the Viet Cong was evident. In 1961, the Viet Cong threatened to overthrow Diem's government. Consequently, President John F. Kennedy considerably increased economic and military aid to South Vietnam. The second period is dated from 1965 to 1969. During that period, the US military forces were involved in the struggle. There were fundamental changes in military forces. For instance, American troops significantly increased in number (approximately 540000 soldiers). During the second period of war, the two opposite sides developed their own strategies in order to gain victory. South Vietnam was supported by the US army that used modern weapons. Furthermore, the USA provided its allies with B-52 powerful bombers for the main air strikes against North Vietnam. On the contrary, North Vietnam developed a defensive strategy. The main weapons of North Vietnam were guerrilla tactics that consisted of ambushes and hand-laid bombs. The third period goes back to 1969-1975. This period is famous for adoption of Vietnamization and the end of the war. According to the definition, Vietnamization is a policy for stepped-up operations for South Vietnamese army that came into force on June 8, 1969. The key figure during Vietnamization was President Richard M. Nixon who reduced American involvement in the war. The end of the Vietnam War goes back to March 29, 1973, when the U.S. military forces left Vietnam. During this year, Congress completely reduced aid to South Vietnam. However, the expulsion of the USA for the Vietnam War considerably influenced the expansion of Communist regime in North Vietnam. Consequently, in 1974 the ruthless struggle between North and South Vietnam arose and thousands of civilians died. Moreover, North Vietnam forced the South Vietnamese troops to withdraw from a territory known as the Central Highlands. This retreat is determined as the Convoy of Tears. Finally, on April 30, 1975 the Vietnam War ended by surrender of South Vietnam.
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All in all, the Vietnam War united North Vietnam and South Vietnam into the one single nation of Vietnam. Moreover, this war is remarkable to the worldwide history, while this war is the first war in which the USA did not achieve its goals. The Vietnam War is associated with the cruelest internal struggle amid citizens who belong to the same ethical group. Consequently, peace was achieved; however, by tremendous casualties of the civilians. It is estimated that more than 2 millions of people died during the Vietnam War.
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