Vietnam War Essay

Submitted By Sparklenfade
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A Time for Rebellion
APUSH Research Paper

Kathleen Meier
AP US History
Mr. Hicks Block 3
A great amount of patriotism resounded among the nation at the end of WWII. The victory over Hitler left the United States feeling confident, so when the issue of Vietnam arose, it seemed as if it would not be too difficult to handle. The Vietnam War caused the United States attitude of loyalty to change into rebellion, which was greatly reflected in the anti-war movement, the drug and sexual revolution, and several public figures which resisted the war. The major seeds of conflict for the war began when Japan invaded Vietnam during WWII. In response to this Ho Chi Minh created the Viet Minh, also known as the League for the Independence of Vietnam, to fight Japan and the French. Japan withdrew its troops in 1945, leaving French leader Bao Dai in control of Vietnam. Bao Dai became the leader of the French colony in Vietnam during World War II. Ho and the Viet Minh would not have this, so they took action and seized the northern city of Hanoi forming the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, with Ho Chi Minh as president. However, Ho Chi Minh was a communist leader. France came to Bao’s aid, and formed the state of South Vietnam in 1949. In 1955 anti-communist leader Ngo Dihn Diem took Bao’s place as leader, and became president of the Government of the Republic of Vietnam. President Eisenhower supported Diem by providing training and equipment. Diem ended up abusing this support by arresting 100,000 people, the majority of whom were tortured and executed (Hillstrom, 2001). The Democratic Republic of Vietnam, also known as Viet Cong (standing for Communist Vietnam), began to fight back through various attacks on government officials. Those in opposition of Diem’s leadership formed the National Liberation Front, which was organized opposition to his regime. John F. Kennedy was a strong believer in the “Domino Effect”, and believed that if one country fell to communism, others would soon follow. Therefore Kennedy sent troops into Vietnam in 1961 to assess the situation; the troops believed it was necessary to send in military and technical aid to avoid threat from Viet Cong. In 1963 South Vietnamese generals assassinated Diem and his brother Ngo Dihn Nhu, which was supported by the CIA and the National Government. This political instability gave President Lyndon B. Johnson reason to send further military support to Vietnam. Soon after in August, Johnson was responsible for ordering the first bombing of North Vietnam Military targets, which was in response to two torpedoes belonging to the Viet Cong attacking U.S. ships at the gulf of Tonkin. In 1965 a decision was made to send in U.S. forces into battle in Vietnam (Layman, 1995). Combat in Vietnam was brutal, and soldiers were not even trained for some of the strategies which they encountered. The Viet Cong soldiers fought in guerilla warfare, an irregular form of warfare in which there were ambushes, sabotage, raids, and much more. As the brutal war went on, the body count continued to rise, and soldiers began to question the judgment of their government. As the war got worse, the television soon became flooded with horrific images, which created a spark that became the anti-war movement. Finally receiving news about the war caused citizens to realize how intense the war really was, which came as a shock since it was expected to be fairly easy due to the outcome of WWII. The Military Service and Training act was passed in 1947, reintroducing the draft to America. Veterans of WWII tended to be more patriotic, and supportive of the war and the draft. However, the younger generation formed an opinion of their own and began to oppose the draft. Many young men searched for ways to resist the draft by running away, protesting, and giving themselves minor injuries. Avoiding the draft was illegal, and those whom did so could be punished. However, laws weren’t…