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Vietnam Essay

2296 words - 10 pages

Vietnam: A History By : Stanley Karnow | April 4
This paper is about Vietnam: A History a novel on America’s involvement on the war in Vietnam and the policies and feelings surrounding the war. | Book Report |

Works Cited
Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam: A History. New York: Penguin, 1997. Print.

The Vietnam War was not just of interest to the government but the world took great interest as a whole. It was like trying to figure out a magician’s illusion. Before reading this book I only had vague general knowledge of the Vietnam War and how the conflict transpired. I knew about ...view middle of the document...

” Around the turn of the century, America did grab Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines, but it seemed that America kept a slack approach with Asia, which the Europeans already had their hands on. There was little inclination for America to dominate foreign territories, since Americans were former British Colonial rebels.
So Cuba was granted independence, and bids by Haiti and San Domingo to become American dominions were rejected. America, unlike Europe, refrained from plundering China, however, the ‘pacification' program in the Philippines foreshadowed US strategy in Vietnam. America’s expansionism was almost evangelical, “as if the United States had been singled out by some divinity for the salvation of the planet.” (pg13) After World War II, FDR stressed that international post-war peace and stability would depend on America's global leadership, and Woodrow Wilson pledged to “make the world safe for democracy.”Meanwhile, American missionaries began pouring into China. Many prominent Americans envisioned a Christian China with crosses on every hill and valley. The idea was to cement China's ties to the US and spur democratic institutions with an Open Door policy, which would protect China's sovereignty from European imperialist intrusions.
Many Americans saw China becoming a replica of the US. Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska stated in 1940, “With God's help, we will lift Shanghai up and up, ever up, until it is just like Kansas City." Chiang Kai-Shek, the Chinese Nationalist leader, converted to Methodist, largely to improve connections with the West. Henry Luce, the proprietor of Time and Life magazines was the son of missionaries and was born in China; had a grand view of America's future as a Good Samaritan and a world power with "ever widening spheres of enterprise.”
At the end of the Vietnam War, these views changed dramatically. Daniel Bell wrote, “The American Century foundered on the shoals of Vietnam.” And Ronald Reagan vowed to rebuild the nation's strength. As Lyndon B. Johnson sent ground troops in 1965; most American's supported the commitment. After the war, an overwhelming majority of Americans viewed the war as a blunder. Opinion polls show that Americans blame the politicians for denying victory to US forces in Vietnam by providing restraints on their actions. A 1980 survey on the Veteran's Administration disclosed that 82 percent of US ground forces who engaged in heavy combat there believed that the war was not won because they were not allowed to win and 66% indicated a willingness to fight again under fewer constraints.
General William Westmoreland criticized President Johnson in a catalog of grievance memoirs. Some of his complaints were: intensifying the war too slowly, giving the South Vietnamese Army inadequate equipment, refusing to approve incursions against enemy sanctuaries in Laos and Cambodia, and failing to level with the American people. He also criticized television...

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