It is said that all is fair in love and war. It’s not true, especially when it comes to million human lives that were lost during the Vietnam War, also known as Vietnam Conflict or Second Indochina War. It’s known as the longest war fought in American history, but at the same time it was the most tragic one. It plays an important role not only in history of the USA, but in Modern World History as well.
It has been long before the American involvement when the Vietnam conflict started. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, known as Indochina constituents, were under colonial rule of France. Vietminh, known as communist-nationalist of Vietnam demanded freedom and separation from France which stirred up the hatred between the two countries.
There were various reasons that rabble-roused the Vietnamese War. The main cause was due to Geneva Peace Accords, according to which Vietnam was supposed to be separated into two states: South and North Vietnam. The second cause was a Civil War between the Southern and Northern Vietnam states. The first attack against the French was made by the Vietnamese in Dien Bien Phu in May, 1954. As a result, Vietnam won this battle.
In 1957, communist activities were initiated in South Vietnam and at this point the USA decided to step in. There were a lot of reasons that led to American involvement in the war. North Vietnam government led by Ho Chi Minh, National Liberation Front (NLF) and communist adherents on the whole were all real threats for every American President. Being afraid of another communist country appearance, President of America, John F. Kennedy decided to take immediate action and sent the troops to Vietnam in order to support France in the conflict. G. Washington considered Vietnam to be the next Asian domino and G. Truman assisted in the battle against the Vietminh to develop non-Communist nations. It was only Dwight Eisenhower who restrained the involvement of the USA as he doubted America could win this war.
There are a lot of disputes as for the American part and involvement in Vietnam conflict. There are people who state that America’s main reason was to prevent a communist takeover not just of South Vietnam, but also of other countries. It was the only way to stop the further spread of communism in the world.
Opponents state that the consequences of such participation are devastating. Millions of people died and America’s involvement only escalated the conflict. This fact led to mass antiwar movements that took place in summer, 1965. Mass antiwar demonstrations started, more than seven million people took the streets, mostly among the youth.
The war began in 1955 and ended in 1975, but the losses and number of casualties in the Vietnamese war is appalling and innumerable. It is estimated that 2,408,226 people were killed, 58,000 people from which are from American troops and more than 153,000 people were wounded. In total, South Vietnam lost more than 1,250,000 troops and North Vietnam lost about 1,100,000.
To sum up, the war itself left a remarkable mark in World history and is considered to be a changing point in American history.
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- Hochgesang, J., Lawyer, T. and Stevenson, T. (2016). The Psychological Effects of the Vietnam War. [online] Web.stanford.edu. Available at: https://web.stanford.edu/class/e297c/war_peace/media/hpsych.html [Accessed 20 May 2016].
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