The war was a twenty year war starting in 1954 and ending in 1975. The Vietnam War, a long war between North and South Vietnam over communism, impacted all generations by changing the way Americans viewed war and by hurting the Vietnamese people; furthermore, the U. S. presidents during the Vietnam War had many different views, which affected U. S. polices and the country for many years after. The United States supported Diem and wanted him to win the election. The Vietnam War began as a result of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong wanting all of Vietnam to be communist.
The United States was worried that he would make the entire Southeast Asia communist. The U. S. was worried that Ho Cho Minh would win the election (Benoit 9). In order to stop Ho Chi Minh, the United States wanted to support Ngo Dinh Diem. America thought Diem would be a better president, but Diem preferred Catholics over Buddhists, which upset the people of Southeast Asia, and that caused them to not support him. Diem would not let the Buddhists hang the flags of their religion.
Buddhists were protesting and wanted to be treated fairly, but the Vietnam army shot some of the protesters because they were getting out of hand, which caused Buddhist monks to protest the shootings by setting themselves on fire. Because there wasn’t a strong government in Vietnam that took control Diem made himself President even though he was losing support. The United States was trying to stop communism from increasing throughout the world. The U. S. didn’t support Diem anymore because of his unfairness towards Buddhist. And not treating everyone fairly.
Finally, United States President John F. Kennedy stepped in to help remove Diem from his presidency, and later, the Vietnam army kidnaped Diem and killed him. The Vietnam War was an aggravating war for the United States because people were torn and did not know whether to support the war or support the people affected by the war. Many Americans were drafted, which is a system to require people to go to war. There were a number of American’s that decided to move to Canada or other countries, so that they would not be drafted into the war.
People wanted there to be a draft but then it happened and many people were mad because it was forcing them into the war and dragging them away from their families. Many Americans supported those that thought it was unfair to be drafted, and several Americans thought being forced to fight in a war they disagreed with was un-American and took away their American rights to choose whether or not they decided to fight. At the end of 1965, many people started to give up on the war and were against it. In 1968, there were fighting’s in Paris against the war.
In 1969, Americans got mad at the United States military for the Vietnamese army killing innocent women and kids that were just in the way of the War (Goldstein 8). Americans were angry because they did not want U. S. troops killing civilians who were not involved in the fighting. Americans were becoming against the war because they did not like seeing pictures and videos on T. V. of the death of the war (History. com staff). “On November 15, 1969 the largest anti-war protest in American history took place in Washington, D. C. as over 250,000 Americans gathered peacefully, calling for withdraw of American troops from Vietnam” (History. com staff). There were protesters that fought and got out of control. Some Americans said they would not pay taxes because they did not want their tax money going toward the war. When some soldiers were able to go back home to America, it made the ones that had to stay upset.
Other countries were against the Vietnam War and thought that America should end the war. In the 1960’s, some people in Germany said, “Stop the U. S. war. Peace in Vietnam, now! ” (Lowe 30). In October 1968 about 10,000 people in London, Britain, marched against the Vietnam War” (Lowe 37). In 1970, many of the U. S. soldiers were frustrated because so many people were dying and it felt like the war was never ending (Goldstein 12). Since the Vietnam War was so long it caused many people to want to end it and they began to disagree with the way the U. S. was fighting the war. Even though public opinion eventually favored ending the war, some of the U. S. presidents did not want to look foolish because their goal was to stop communism so they continued the fighting.
The different Presidents during this time had many different views on the war. Several presidents held office during the conflict in Vietnam. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford had different opinions on how to handle the war. President Eisenhower supported intervening in Vietnam while the Cold War was getting harder. President Kennedy decided to have around nine thousand U. S. troops help in the war (Benoit 23). President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas (Benoit 25). Just two weeks after Kennedy was killed, Lyndon B.
Johnson became the president of the United States of America. “In March 1965, Johnson made the decision – with solid support from the American public – to send U. S. combat forces into battle in Vietnam” (History. com staff). President Johnson wanted to stay with the same plan of action that President Kennedy had. He was consistently moving the United States deeper into the war by land, air, and sea. At this time, he seemed to feel like he had to fight hard in order to win. In 1965, President Johnson fought hard by air, and there was a great deal of damage.
The South Vietnamese did not trust the United States. In 1968, Lyndon B. Johnson was worried about what people thought of him but he did not want to look like a loser so he made America stay in the Vietnam War. According to Goldstein at the end of his term, instead of running for President again he just quit (Goldstein 11). He cared more about what people thought of his decisions than what was going on in Vietnam. President Nixon promised during his presidential campaign to end the war, but after he won the presidency he did not make any efforts to end the war.
After more U. S. protests against the war some were being killed by police, Nixon pulled back. The war seemed to get out of hand in Vietnam, which caused some Americans to be in conflict with each other about not agreeing with some parts of the war. In 1971, the United States began to pull out of Vietnam. Nixon eventually decided to reduce the number of troops in the war (History. com staff). Even though Nixon was reducing troops in Vietnam, he ordered the last and biggest bombing of North Vietnam on Christmas of 1972.
President Nixon stepped down from being president because of the Watergate scandal and Ford took over. The war ended while President Ford was in office, after South Vietnamese people joined the U. S. embassy. The United States safely removed thousands of Vietnamese people and Americans. After a great deal of money and many lives lost, the war was finally over. Because there were five different administrations in the White House during the Vietnam War, politics played a large role in extending the war.
Even though the war was over there was still a lot that needed to be solved. But the suffering did not simply end. When the veterans came home, they were treated badly. A lot of people who served in Vietnam went through divorces, many also suffered from stress disorders, developed drug and alcohol addictions, and many committed suicide (History. com staff). The United States had spent a great deal of money on the war and several Americans were angry, which caused fights between people who did and people who did not support the war. The suffering also continued in Vietnam.
Many of their people were dead, leaving some children orphans, cities were destroyed as well as their country side and forests from the chemicals used, which is believed to still cause bad health effects. Many of the people of Vietnam were left homeless and it has affected their economy in a negative way. Many survivors escaped Vietnam by boat and many died while on their boats from drowning, starvation, and some were killed by pirates. Some that did survive where then turned away by the countries they fled to. The country was in very poor shape (Lowe 12).
As a result of the war, millions of Vietnamese died and their country was left in shambles. Bombing destroyed buildings and roads while chemicals used during the war destroyed crops and forests. These chemicals also caused illnesses for many years after the war. Because the Vietnam War was so long and complicated it affected the way people feel about war and has forever changed people’s views. “On January 27, 1973, U. S. participation in the Vietnam war officially ended when the Treaty of Paris was signed by each of the parties to the conflict” (“Vietnam War”).
People no longer had confidence in the government, they felt that the United States should support their disagreements about the war and not turn against their own people. This was the first time that the United States felt like they truly lost a war and that all of their sacrifices felt like they were for nothing, especially since it did not change the outcome and since all of Vietnam became and remains a communist country any way. Overall the Vietnam War left a negative impact on people even today.