Was Vietnam War Necessary? Essay

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In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the United States joined Southern Vietnamese forces to help combat the spread of communism from Northern Vietnam. In 1961 President Kennedy sent in helicopters to help aid South Vietnam, which marked one of the first combat missions. In March of 1965, the first troops drafted were sent to Southern Vietnam. In the following years, the number of troops on the ground had increased to over 500,000. The war ended with North Vietnam taking control of South Vietnam in April of 1975. (Berman & Newman, 2002.) The definition of “war” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “(1): a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations” ('War.”) The Vietnam War satisfies the definition of war because of sent armed forces, increased military aid from the United States to Southern Vietnam, and the impact after the conflict.

The first element of war is the men and women actively engaged in the combat. By the time Nixon took office in 1969, the United States had been involved in combat in Vietnam for nearly four years. Within those years, the United States military forces had reached 536,040, most were ground troops. The need for so many troops resulted in the US government to utilize the draft. The need for drafting troops is present during a time of need/war not in a time of peace. (Berman & Newman, 2002)

Another element of a war is the financial aid provided to certain countries and their people. Evidence: Richard Nixon was determined that he would not let the Vietnam War ruin his presidency, as did for Lyndon Johnson. His plan was to “de-Americanize” the war. The plan involved building up the South Vietnamese armed forces which means they would have a greater combat responsibility while at the same time withdrawing US combat troops. The role of the US military would shift from fighting the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to helping Southern Vietnamese and sending them a massive influx of military equipment and weaponry. (Berman & Newman, 2002)

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The impact of the Vietnam War on the United States and Vietnam was huge. According to the Paris Peace Accords, the United States agreed to provide three-point three billion dollars over five years to Vietnam to help rebuild its infrastructure. Rather than meeting its obligations, the United States extended to all of Vietnam the trade embargo against communist North Vietnam that had been ratified under the Trading with the Enemy Act passed during the early years of the conflict. The United States also halted credits and loans from monetary institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank. Vietnam attempted several times to join the United Nations, only to be halted by American vetoes. During the war, approximately twenty-seven million American men dealt with the draft; 11 percent of them served in some fashion in Vietnam. Although most veterans were not permanently damaged by the war, some 15 to 25 percent of Vietnam veterans, between 500,000 and 700,000, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some of the 11,500 women who served in the war—90 percent of them as nurses—also returned exhibiting PTSD. Reflecting on the changing mood of the American public toward both the war and the veterans, memorials and other commemorations of the Vietnam conflict began to surface in the mid-1980s. They revealed a national desire to 'welcome home' vets who had not received domestic support when they returned immediately after the war.

Although the evidence shows that the Vietnam War is a textbook definition of war, it was also a political statement. On August 7, 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This allowed President Johnson to take any measure he thought were necessary to retaliate, and to promote the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia. Johnson only used the resolution to justify his decision of sending hundreds of thousands of troops over to Vietnam. As a result of Johnson’s and Nixon’s decisions, the War Powers Resolution was presented. The purpose of that was Congress wanted to restrict the President’s war-making powers without approval from Congress. ('Tonkin Gulf,' 2010)

In conclusion, the war of Vietnam satisfies the dictionary definition of war in almost every single way. The United States feared that the spread of communism across Southeast Asia was too strong for them to just stay distant. There were hundreds of thousands of troops sent to aid the Southern Vietnamese forces. The amount of money spent by the United States to help the Vietnamese during and after the war was great. The United States learned from this event that this not the way to handle a war.

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Was Vietnam War Necessary? Essay. (2022, November 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/was-vietnam-war-necessary-essay/
“Was Vietnam War Necessary? Essay.” Edubirdie, 25 Nov. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/was-vietnam-war-necessary-essay/
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Was Vietnam War Necessary? Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Nov 25 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/was-vietnam-war-necessary-essay/
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