Forrest Gump: the Vietnam War Through the Eyes of a Child

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Forrest Gump
The Vietnam War Through the Eyes of a Child

In Winston Groom's Forrest Gump, the main character, Forrest Gump is involved in the Vietnam War. In the novel, he is mentally challenged and he sees everything somewhat differently then another individual might. His point of view of the events of the Vietnam War are child-like and different then what most people would see. The Vietnam War was a very tragic war. The events took place from 1954-1975 (Brigham). The Second Indochina War resulted from a long conflict between France and Vietnam. After 100 years of colonial rule, in July of 1954, France was forced to leave Vietnam. Nationalist forces defeated French troops at Dien Bien Phu in the northwest corner of Vietnam. This
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Kennedy continued to send more American money and more military advisers to boost the Diem regime. By the end of 1961, there were 3,200 American military personnel in the country (Garraty, 802). By the time Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the number had risen to 16,000, and 120 American soldiers had been killed. Before his assassination, Kennedy has professed his intent to cut back on the size of American military in Vietnam. By the summer of 1963 it seemed as though South Vietnam was on the verge of political collapse. Diem's brother had raided Buddhist pagodas claiming that they were holding Communists that were creating political instability. This caused much protest in the streets of Saigon that led Buddhist monks to kill themselves. Some of Diem's own generals approached the American Embassy in Saigon with plans to overthrow Diem. On November 1, 1963 Diem and his brother were captured and later killed. Continuing political problems in Saigon convinced the new President Lyndon B. Johnson that more aggressive action was needed. He was more prone to military involvement. In 1964, Johnson sent more troops to South Vietnam, then authorized air attacks against targets in the South and North. The uses for American troops in South Vietnam continuously changed. At first they were there to train Vietnamese troops, then they were there to defend air bases, then to assist the South Vietnamese Units. Johnson's escalation of American

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