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Politics And Film Essay

2072 words - 9 pages

The Vietnam War was the longest lasting military conflict in American History. What was originally fear of communist expansion became one of America’s most expensive and strenuous efforts, consuming over fifty eight thousand American lives. As casualties increased throughout the 1960’s, so did the domestic opposition to the war. In turn, large-scale protests and a lack of trust between government and its people rose. Today many of the war’s details remain unclear; however, Hollywood has had its hand at depicting what occurred. This paper provides an analysis of the Vietnam War, as well as its depiction in the 21st century film industry. “The Deer Hunter,” “Born on the 4th of July” and ...view middle of the document...

Ho Chi Minh’s victory against the French forced the Americans to find a new way to intervene indirectly. The United States helped fund Diem’s increasingly unpopular government and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in order to defeat the North, as they were threatened by communist expansion. As tensions were rising between capitalist and communist ideologies, the United States was not directly threatened by Vietnam, but by the possible expansion of socialism. The events that transpired were a product of the Cold War. By 1963, the conflict between the North and South was intensifying despite the United States efforts to help defeat the communists. The South’s poor military leadership was evident, and cost them many lives including that of their leader, Ngo Dinh Diem. With American support, he was assassinated in hopes that the newly selected government would prosecute the war against communism with more vigor.
American involvement in Vietnam began under the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. After a series of small encounters with the North Vietnamese, President Johnson and his Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara introduced the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This resolution allowed the President to take all necessary actions in the defense of South Vietnam and its allies. North Vietnam viewed the resolution as an unofficial declaration of war, and as a result the first real action ensued. Johnson reluctantly authorized the first bombings on 2 March 1965, in Operation Rolling Thunder. Soon after, the Marines arrived in the city of Danang. By the end of the year, the United States would have over 200,000 troops operating in Vietnam. During President Johnson’s term the anti-war movement began to grow. As the death toll grew in Vietnam, many lower class citizens and African Americans were among the casualties, civil right disputes immerged domestically. In April 1965, the first anti-war rally was held, and by October demonstrations had been held all across the country in forty American cities. An estimated five million Americans are said to have had participated in the anti-war movement, ultimately undermining President Johnson’s role during the war.
During the Battle of the La Drang Valley in 1966, the United States used its B-52 bombers for the first time. The Americans lopsided victory during this battle conveyed two very different messages to the two opposing nations. Due to the relative success of this operation, The Americans believed, it would not take many more battles to defeat the communists. In contrast, the communists felt that la Drang was a success, as they discovered their strength as well as their ability to withstand an American attack.
As death tolls continued to rise and American support was diminishing, one of the biggest battles had yet to be fought. On January 30 1968 a 3-phase operation, called the Tet Offensive, began. Vo Nguyen Giap, a PAVN officer coordinated attacks with the Vietcong in a surprise...

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