The Vietnam War was the longest deployment of U.S. forces in hostile action in the history of the American republic. Although there is no formal declaration of war from which to date U.S. entry, President John F. Kennedy's decision to send over 2,000 military advisers to South Vietnam in 1961 marked the beginning of twelve years of American military combat. U.S. unit combat began in 1965 (Anderson, 1999). During this time there were many significant lessons that were learned and still affect the way that war’s are fought today. I will discuss the most significant lessons as it relates to diplomatic negotiations, presidential leadership, and cultural/social contexts. I believe that the single most significant lesson that I have learned
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He blamed the decision on the Hanoi Government, which, he said, had used the truce for “major resupply efforts of their troops in South Vietnam.” (Draper, 1967). The decision to escalate the hostilities toward North Vietnam proved to be a major breaking point for negotiations for peace. It has been questioned whether three days were long enough to wait for Ho Chi Minh’s reply, whether North Vietnam’s “resupply efforts” were sufficient reason to resume hostilities, and whether they should have been resumed without warning Ho Chi Minh how long the United States was willing to wait (Draper, 1967).
The resumption of hostilities was on not only a full but also a new scale. On February 22, United States artillery for the first time fired across the demilitarized zone into North Vietnamese territory. On February 26, United States warships for the first time shelled supply routes in North Vietnam on a continuing basis without restrictions. On February 27, United States planes for the first time began to mine North Vietnam’s rivers (Draper, 1967).
The most significant cultural/social context that had a significant impact during the Vietnam War was the impact it had on the United States and Vietnam. Since the U.S.'s involvement in Vietnam was a part of the Cold War struggle, (namely Capitalism vs. Communism), the effect it had was initially ideological. The US culture seems more prominent during the Vietnam war as opposed