HUMN415: Vietnam and the 20th Century Experience
Spring A 2010
Lessons Learned from the American Experience in Vietnam
The Vietnam War was a war that seems to have thought the American Military and Government officials a lot about diplomatic negotiations, presidential leadership, and cultural/social contexts. Each American involved most likely has a different story to tell about the War from the ground soldiers all the way up to the President. Each American most likely has varied options about the lessons learned from the Vietnam War. I will discuss what I feel we Americans have learned. Including the good, the bad, and they ugly related to diplomatic negotiations, presidential leadership, and cultural/social contexts. Diplomatic negotiations are defined as negotiations between nations. I feel diplomacy and presidential leadership go hand in hand as each president and their cabinet members had varied positions on the best way to properly negotiate with North Vietnam and its leaders such as Ho Chi Minh. However, all presidents involved except Nixon and Johnson towards the end of his presidential term believed in continued attacks on North Vietnam to ensure the halt of communism. It started during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, with a small U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), providing training and logistics assistance to the ARVN. The MAAG never numbering more than 740 uniformed soldiers (Anderson, 1999). When Kennedy was elected president his administration felt that the US military would be required to step up forces in North Vietnam if the American supported Diem government would survive. Kennedy added 400 Green Beret Special Forces to assist with the training of South Vietnam forces. Kennedy raised to the stakes in South Vietnam due to Diems continued decline in popularity (Moss, 2010 p.90). Whit Kennedy’s assassination President Johnson...