America's Role in the Vietnam War

Topics: Vietnam War, United States, Cold War Pages: 4 (1313 words) Published: September 24, 2008
3. Assess America’s role in Vietnam in the 1960s:
No conflict since the Civil War more divided Americans than U.S. involvement in the Civil War in Vietnam. American involvement in Vietnam resulted in deep divisions in U.S. society and remains a dark time in history and consciousness for many Americans. There were divisions within American society over the issue of America’s participation in the Vietnam War. Because of the unsure motives for U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and strong opposition toward it, the basic concept of patriotism underwent reexamination by many Americans During the period from 1954 and 1973, United States officials from President Eisenhower to Nixon were convinced that they had to “save” Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh and his communist brand of nationalism. The pursuit of this goal proved to be damaging to national interests. Many consider American involvement in Vietnam as part of the 1960s Cold War, actually the United States was involved since foreign policy had incorporated some degree of participation in Vietnam’s nationalistic struggle since the 1940s. In the late 1940s, the U.S. had assumed a large part of the cost of France’s effort to regain control of Vietnam. The price escalated during the early 1950s and by 1952 the U.S. took on roughly one-third of the cost of the war; between 1950 and 1954 American contributed $2.6 billion to France’s war effort. Although France was aided by the US, they were unable to defeat Ho’s Vietminh, and in 1954 the war reached a crisis when the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu. President Eisenhower refused to supply military aid without the consent of Congress and Great Britain, and then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson openly opposed spending America’s money (and soldiers) to perpetuate colonialism. However, Johnson would, as President, “inherit” President Kennedy’s decision to send not only money but men to Vietnam to aid the South against the communists; this decision would lead to his...

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