Analysis of America's Longest War: the United States in Vietnam

1872 Words Oct 23rd, 1999 8 Pages
The reports in this novel are prefaced with a quote by Robert Shaplen, which sums up the feelings of those Americans involved in the Vietnam conflict. He states, "Vietnam, Vietnam . . .. There are no sure answers." In this novel, the author gives a detailed historical account of the happenings in Vietnam between 1950 and 1975. He successfully reports the confusing nature, proximity to the present and the emotions that still surround the conflict in Vietnam. In his journey through the years that America was involved in the Vietnam conflict, Herring "seeks to integrate military, diplomatic, and political factors in such a way as to clarify America's involvement and ultimate failure in Vietnam."
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<br>Herring begins his account with a
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Diem's nationalism and administrative experience made him the logical choice for the premiership of an independent Vietnam, but he was lacking many qualities that were required for the challenges he would face. Herring admits that even now it is unclear how Diem became the premier of Vietnam. The US did not think that Diem was capable of controlling the nation, but at the same time, "there was no one to take his place who would serve US interests better"(55). Through his bungling of responsibilities, Diem was found to be nothing but trouble for the United States and France, therefore; officials in Saigon were convinced that he must be removed. Now the experiment in nation building assumed the form of a crusade. Private charitable agencies provided food, soap, toothbrushes and emergency medical supplies. American money and technology helped to repair the vast damages resulting from more than a decade of war. More than any other single group, American aid allowed South Vietnam to survive the first few critical years after independence. By the late 1950s it appeared as though the new nation was flourishing.
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<br>Herring reports that this was not exactly the situation. More like a downward spiral, Vietnam was becoming more dependent on the United States for support. Between 1954 and 1961, the United States came full circle in Vietnam. Through the rest of the decade it poured huge sums of money and great effort into constructing in the southern part of Vietnam a wall