The Vietnam War


Bullets cut through the air with blazing speed. Cutting skin as it sped through the air. Piercing cries of pain followed. It seemed like the terror and violence wouldn’t end. What could men do against such reckless hate ? So what was the Vietnam war all about, and why did the United States feel they had to get involved ?


President Harry Truman established a foreign policy doctrine commonly known as “Containment”. This new doctrine was intended to prevent the spread of Communism. The containment doctrine simply stated that any new communist government had to be either part of the “American empire” or the Soviet empire. It also declared the United States pledge to stop any new communist government that was seeking to expand it’s boarders. However Harry Truman had no idea this new foreign policy would be one of the reasons that would lead the United States into Vietnam in 1965.


Then in 1954 Ho Chi Mihn after defeating France in several battles decided to form a National Liberation Front (NLF). This new armed force would fight to the death just to obtain a free and independent Vietnam. This increase the Vietnamese people’s respect for Ho Chi Mihn, especially in the North region. However in America this seemed a bit suspicious.


Later in 1954 the Geneva Accords treaty was drafted. The Geneva Accords divided Vietnam in half, creating North and South Vietnam. It also stated that free elections had to be held to decide Vietnam’s fate. Except this was ignored, and South Vietnam announced themselves as ant-communist. This assured the United States support which would provide aid and protection from the communists in the North.


South Vietnam’s new president was Ngo Dinh Diem. Diem had once resided in the United States where he caught the attention of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower reasoned that the communist take-over risk of Southeast Asia had heightened, so he sought to use Diem as a nationalist capable of countering the Communist Viet Minh.


Diem however showed his true colors and was an embarrassment to the United States. So in 1961 John F. Kennedy increased the supply of weapons and soldiers sent in Vietnam. But on November 2, 1963, Diem was assassinated. So John F. Kennedy planned his ideas for the withdrawal of soldiers from Vietnam. But 20 days later President Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. So around 3 am the following morning Lyndon B. Johnson was announced as the 36th president of the United States.


Besides being president, Johnson had big plans for Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson wanted to go the distance and get the job done. He wanted to prevail where his predecessor had faltered. So in 1964 two American destroyers were torpedoed by North Vietnamese boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. Johnson broadcasted live on both radio and television where he distorted the facts about Vietnam. As a result he received an approval from Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This virtually gave him total freedom to increase U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. Therefore in 1965, U.S. air strikes begin and ground troops began to enter Vietnam.


Since then several battles were fought in Vietnam. The first battle occurred at Chu Lai. A deserter from the Viet Cong army revealed that a major attack could be expected at Chu Lai. Using this information the marines decided to attack first. However it wouldn’t be that easy for the reason that the Viet Cong were fierce fighters. They appeared suddenly with barbaric attacks. The first attack of the Viet Cong was successful. But the marines used their air power to repel and defeat the Viet Cong.


One battle won, but there was no sign that the North Vietnamese were weakening. In fact the American units at times could not even find the enemy. The VC Guerrillas used the jungles to hide during the day, then at night they would come out to unleash their anger on the American troops. As George W. Ball, wrote:


“We can’t even find the enemy in Vietnam. We can’t see him and we can’t find him. He’s indigenous to the country, and he always has access to much better intelligence. He knows what we’re going to do