The Vietnam War And The Long Arms Of American History

920 Words Jan 22nd, 2015 4 Pages
The Vietnam War is a sore spot in the long arms of American History. Nearly 60,000 Americans died and estimated millions of Vietnamese. It was considered to be the longest war in American history as well. Many questioned the motives and causes of the war calling it an atrocity. Others say that it may have been a terrible effort to defend a noble cause, the spread of communism. The years precluding the Vietnam war, there was a war taking place in Vietnam. It was known as the Indochina War, where the Vietnamese waged war against the colonial rule of France. The French were defeated in the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Following this defeat, there was a peace conference in Geneva, which resulted in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to receive …show more content…
Shortly after the death of President John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson stepped in and honored Kennedy’s commitment to the war. In 1964, Johnson received approval to deploy U.S. troops as necessary as stipulated in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Operation Rolling Thunder started and shortly thereafter there were 400,000 troops in Vietnam by 1966. Johnson called this the “Americanization” of the war.
The U.S. was not accustomed to the tactics of the Viet Cong and the “guerilla” style of fighting. Although the U.S. deployed thousands and used heavy artillery and planes, it proved ineffective to the backwoods, clandestine style of the guerilla. The U.S attempted to use napalm and the herbicide Agent Orange to make headway, but they failed. In 1968, the Tet offensive occurred. The Vietcong attacked nearly 30 U.S. targets and many other cities at the same time. Although the United States won the battle, the media portrayed the battle in dramatic negative fashion. United States public support for the war and morale amongst U.S. troops fell to an all time low. Within the United States students, hippies and protestors denounced the war. In May of 1970, four students were shot by Ohio National Guardsman who opened fire on a crowd. This was later known as the Kent State Massacre. In spite of the public protests and mass dissent for the war, President Edward Nixon, Lyndon

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