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Impact Of Us Foreign Policy On The Vietnam War

3614 words - 15 pages

Impact of US Foreign Policy on the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War is one of the most talked about wars in history. It began in 1959 and did not end until 1975. These years saw protests, conflicts, casualties, and confusion for the United States, as well as the terms of three presidents: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon. When U.S. involvement in the war began under Kennedy, it was originally put out as a plan for the United States to only aid the South Vietnamese, but, after his assassination, Johnson was put in charge. The path that the war took under Johnson was filled with controversy and large numbers of casualties. When Johnson did not run for a second term, Nixon ...view middle of the document...

To solve this crisis, the Eisenhower Administration put forth a plan of action that eventually became the basis for Kennedy’s actions towards Vietnam. The Eisenhower Administration planned to rid Cuba of Fidel Castro, but they planned to do it using minimal amounts of weapons and invasions (Roberts). Instead of sending in numerous amounts of American troops, Eisenhower decided that we would benefit more if we instead trained anti-Castro Cubans to do their own fighting. He believed that, this way, we would “not sacrifice our own troops for an issue that was not directly involving our country” (Bergsten). When the 1960’s came around, Kennedy used this strategy of limited military action to build his own strategy to overcome the problems that he would face in Vietnam.
The problems in Vietnam originally began when it was evident that the Communist leadership in the country of Vietnam must be cleared out and replaced with a more peaceful government. Kennedy looked at Eisenhower’s strategy in Cuba, as stated previously, and went about with the beginnings of Vietnam in the same fashion. Kennedy thought up ways to enter the country in order to support the South Vietnamese government politically, economically, and militarily. To do this soundly, Kennedy first sent 800 military advisors as well as U.S. Special Forces to Vietnam, along with using such weapons as napalm, or flammable, jellied gasoline, defoliants, or chemicals that were sprayed onto areas to kill off the brush and plants, and jet planes (Roberts). The goal of the Special Forces was to train the Vietnam army to fight their own war, just as Eisenhower trained the anti-Castro Cubans during the Cuban crisis. Kennedy also sent in political advisors to talk with the South Vietnam government, and try to talk them into changing South Vietnam into an all-republic nation. Kennedy wanted to avoid putting American troops on the ground to fight, and therefore continued these more democratic strategies for as long as he could. However, he soon realized that it was unfortunately not what was needed to get the job done.
As the war the continued on, the Kennedy Administration frantically kept increasing military support, but, even with all their extra support, the South Vietnamese government could still not match up against the Viet-Minh and Viet Cong. In July of 1963, the crisis in Vietnam was officially announced. The Kennedy Administration continued to increase support through the U.S. military by advancing the amount of soldiers sent from 800 to 16,300 (Roberts). Kennedy’s strategy in Vietnam began to show successful results, with events happening such as the overthrow of the Diem government by capturing leader Ngo Dinh Diem, arresting him, and later killing him. Ngo Dinh Diem was the president of the Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, during the 1960s (Prados). The Saigon government was one of the main problems that America faced while in Vietnam. Though the US troops were...

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