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History of the Vietnam War

Updated on May 26, 2014

Vietnam was a time in our country that divided the country. In the beginning, America went into the Vietnam War under claims of trying to contain Communism. They began by sending in money and elitist troops to fight against the Communist half of the country. They also secretly murdered the losing president that they had at one point backed, however when Ngo Dinh Diem lost the love of his countrymen, he was useless and killed along with his brother. After that, America brought in an ineffective military regime to control their interest in the country.

After the U.S. base and South Vietnamese army headquarters in Pleiku was attacked in 1965 by Viet Cong insurgents, President Johnson ordered a retaliatory air strike referred to as Rolling Thunder. This marked a change in the way America handled the War, instead of quietly backing and killing the side they preferred, they were now being more public with their assaults. The official reason was like always, different than the actual reasoning behind the many wars this country fought. While the public was told of the atrocities of the single digit deaths of our American soldiers and the need to pressure the communist North into submission, the real reasoning was control and power. Lyndon Johnson wanted to show the power of America, as well as show China that their backing North Vietnam would not stop America’s involvement.

Shortly after Rolling Thunder, American troops landed to help protect the American military bases. For the next four months following the air strike, America bombed the North over and over again. After each wave of bombs, they offered aid to show their humanity, however the Vietnamese were not fools and refused their tainted help. More troops were needed on the ground to this now full-out war that was declared, so drafts were doubled and tripled to ensure that half a million soldiers found their way to Vietnam.

Protest began very quickly after drafting became a raging machine. Protest occurred by refusing to go to war by fleeing to Canada, as well as publically burning draft cards by many people. The government of course could not have that, so burning of draft cards were then outlawed, however prosecution of this law was limited. Anti-war demonstrations became rampant as America became more aware of their part in another war that had very little to do with America.

The United States part in the War escalated with all of the extra ground troops present. Search and destroy was a campaign made to draw out the rebellions in the North, however like many campaigns in the Vietnam War, they were highly fallible. Each time U.S. troops would sweep an area and move on, guerillas from the South and North would return to the cleared area. Another un-effective tactic of America was to use air strikes to cut-off supplies going from the North to South, however once again, the countries rebels outsmarted the Americans. With every step America took, rebel forces seemed to be to steps ahead.

Protest at home lost their civility and peace, with a more direct approach being needed. The Selective Service was the main target of the stronger protest because poor youth were usually the targets of the draft. Going to college and payments could dissuade their richer counterparts to get out of the drafting, however poorer people could not afford to buy their way out of it. The poor and lower middle class were sick of their children being sent to a war that wasn’t our countries to fight, as well as the constant inequity of who was being sent to die. As well as the poorer citizens, African Americans were sent in at a higher rate to the war.

Protesting the War became more adamant as information leaked of a massacre in Vietnam of innocent men, women and children by our American soldiers. The president of America once again attacked the protestors that fought the War abroad that was killing our soldiers and corrupting those who survived. Troops were also disenfranchised in the war and they started to lose their control and started taking drugs more heavily to deal with their personal demons of what they were doing.

Instead of ending a war that millions of Americans did not want, the government started pulling out troops slowly from one country and added a few more in near-by Cambodia. Instead of sending troops, the American government started quietly sending money and arms to Cambodia. When the American people heard of this secret war they didn’t want, more protestors were killed and injured when National Guard troops were sent in to “restore order.”

The public outrage and deaths of many finally helped to create a cease-fire in that part of the world. It also helped to make a fairer and more just way to draft American citizens to wars. All in all, America’s involvement was dicey and not backed by the American public. In the end, many Americans were killed, as well as innocents in Vietnam and Cambodia. All the deaths were for nothing, Communism was not contained and America lost their foot hold in the country.


Goldfield, D., Abbott, C., Anderson, V., Argersinger, P., Argersinger, J., Barney, W., & Weir, R. (2011). The American Journey (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.


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    • kaiyan717 profile image

      kaiyan717 3 years ago from West Virginia

      I recieved information from many family members that were in Vietnam, yet I know that each persons experiences are different. I write to tell thier stories, if there is somethingo that is incorrect or that you would like to add, please do. I want to understand the wars and why we keep fighting them. I am certainly not trying to offend anyone who gave thier life or thier health for it, as my family did.

    • profile image

      VietnamVet68 3 years ago

      You should get more facts straight, before writing an article you know nothing about.

    • kaiyan717 profile image

      kaiyan717 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Thanks for reading and all your kind words. I think history is important to learn where we came from as a country and world. I look forward to learning more about your country, our neighbors to the north.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      I am a Canadian so thank you very much for this awesome introduction and fascinating history lesson. My dad served in the Canadian army during World War II and he was in the army for 6 years during that time so my appreciation of history and culture and good writing was handed down to me from my dad and you have all of that and more here on your page - it's so nice to meet you and I will madly and gladly link and share your important hub presentation here on my FB page for all to see and read - sending warm wishes to you from Colin, Tiffy and Gabriel (my cats) from lake erie time ontario canada 6:17pm

    • ParadigmEnacted profile image

      ParadigmEnacted 4 years ago

      They won't be able to label him as right-wing, they'll just portray him as unfit for politics by being so far outside the mainstream, and that will probably be good enough. Then if he doesn't go away so easy, then the media will just make fun of wrestling so that nobody listens to him. If he gets around that, and in a best case scenario, they'll say his term as Governor of Minnesota was unsuccessful.

      He has no chance of winning, but the point is just to inject change into the system and have a memorable showing. The beauty about him as a candidate is you can't lump him in with either party. Obviously he's a big military guy, but he goes after military policy and investigates their conduct which Republicans would never do. He supports gun rights to the hilt, and a lot of Liberals can't deal with that, but he also champions plenty of Liberal causes like gay rights and women's reproductive rights.

      The point of his candidacy is to stand outside party polarizations.

    • kaiyan717 profile image

      kaiyan717 4 years ago from West Virginia

      He will certainly be marginalized and labeled a right-wing extremist. His association with Alex Jones and his Conspiracy Theory show will label him quickly. America is not ready or willing to internalize the truth, so righting individuals off like Ventura will be easy. Although we can always cross our fingers and hope.

    • ParadigmEnacted profile image

      ParadigmEnacted 4 years ago

      Well, I'm glad you find something agreeable about me. I was thinking the same thing, and there's a lot more of your stuff for me to read in the coming days.

      Ventura would be the most compelling and credible presidential candidate that we've had since there have been televised debates. You can expect the predictable sources to try and marginalize him, and you can be certain that the other candidates don't want to have to deal with him.

      Let's not forget that he was a NAVY Seal during this very War in Vietnam. Doing the "honorable" work of our faultless government. Why shouldn't he get to participate in government?

    • kaiyan717 profile image

      kaiyan717 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Thanks for reading ParadigmEnacted, after reading a bit of your writing we seems to be of like-minds. I started researching our past to discover how we got to the mess we have now and dare I say our soul has been gone a while. If only, if only. I would love to see Ventura tooken seriously in 2016.

    • ParadigmEnacted profile image

      ParadigmEnacted 4 years ago

      Way to pull no punches and not write like a hack. Very good effort and seamlessly integrate knowledge from what obviously came from extended research without sounding long-winded.

      We could debate whether or not it was during this illegitimate war that America finally sold its soul or whether that came well before. First time fighting a war over ideology as opposed to an actual attack or an imminent threat, and what a dangerous precedent that has been set because of it.

    • kaiyan717 profile image

      kaiyan717 4 years ago from West Virginia

      I couldn't agree more about much of your comment lonestar, although I believe, hope, that if more people knew of the real reasons behind all of these wars, maybe we could have peace. We are raised in this country to be proud, however I think if more people really understood our history, they may question leadership more. I am glad you didn't have to go to Vietnam, several of my uncles went and to be honest, never were the same.

    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      There are many versions to this story.

      It seems that former Secretary of Defense McNamara admitted, before he died, that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a lie. We started a lengthy and deadly war just to bolster the pocketbooks of the Military Industrial Complex.

      But awareness of the truth, while good, is nothing compared to placing our focus on what we truly want -- peace, prosperity and abundance for all. The psychopaths in government think only of scarcity and looking out for themselves. That's why 9/11 happened. That's why Mayor Giuliani committed a felony by destroying evidence at the largest crime scene in American history. That's why the top military officers responsible for the security failures on that day were all given promotions, instead of courts martial.

      I almost went to Viet Nam. Glad I didn't. I got a 4D deferment. Spiritual awakening is far more important than the greed of war.