US History AP
23 April 2010
The Vietnam War
With the end of World War II in 1945, many Americans hoped to head toward an era of prosperity and renewal. However, this was made impossible as the anti-communist tensions of the Cold War between the United States and the USSR sparked almost immediately after the destructive world war. The tensions between anti-communists and communists eventually led to one of the most controversial events in American history: the Vietnam War. Historians have still left many unanswered about this infamous war. Was the war avoidable? Why did the United States engage in a war that did not directly affect them? Was the war moral? However, perhaps this is the biggest question of all: could the war have been won or should the war have been won?
When the Vietnamese finally successfully overthrew the French colonial power in 1954, the fragile country was separated into two partitions: a communistic republic in the North and a US-backed governmental regime in the South. In an attempt to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam by Communist North Vietnam, the United States joined forces with Britain, France, Thailand, Pakistan, Philippines, New Zealand, and Australia to for the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) on September 8, 1954. However, this had very limited success. Unfortunately for the Americans, situations became messy when the Led by Ho Chi Minh, the Northern Communist Party formed the National Liberation Front (NFL) on December 20, 1960, in hopes of reuniting the divided nation. The American-backed corrupt Diem government was vulnerable to the communists. Following the 1947 Truman Doctrine, the United States felt obligated to impose the “containment policy” by halting the “spread of communism.” Therefore, in the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy and his administration, devoted to defend the Southern Democratic government, began to American boys into the perilous jungles of Vietnam.... [continues]
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