The Vietnam War Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:26:25
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If there was anything that the era of McCarthyism succeeded in proving, it was the chilling reality that the American government would not hesitate to trample on the rights of its own people just to fight both real and perceived foes. But soon after its experience with McCarthyism, the US began an aggressive military campaign against Communism in the Third World. Such a turnout of events is no longer surprising if Washington cannot respect the rights of Americans, what more those of the citizens of other countries?

The Vietnam War is one of the most well-known military offensives of the US against Communism in the Third World. To prevent the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia, the US fought a long and costly war against the Communist regime of North Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh. A History of Struggle Ho Chi Minh formed the Viet Minh in 1941 originally to fight Japan during World War II. After the war, the Viet Minh focused on liberating Vietnam from French colonial rule. This battle for independence literally divided the nation France occupied South Vietnam, while the Viet Minh controlled North Vietnam.

France established a new government in Saigon, appointing pro-French Vietnamese to positions of authority. Ho and his allies, on the other hand, instituted a Communist regime named the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (Levy, 2004). Deadly Dominoes. Although Washington had prior knowledge regarding the developments in Vietnam, it initially did not take sides. But upon learning that China and the Soviet Union were staunch allies of Hos government, it felt compelled to support France and South Vietnam.

By the mid-1950s, the US was already shouldering about 80% of Frances expenses in the Vietnam War. When France finally left Vietnam in 1954, the US provided economic and military assistance to South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem (Levy, 2004). Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower justified US intervention in the Vietnam War by comparing the possibility of a Communist Vietnam to a row of dominoes (Levy, 2004). He argued that if Vietnam became a Communist country, all other Southeast Asian countries would rapidly follow suit like a row of dominoes.

Consequently, from 1950 to 1975, the US involved itself heavily in the Vietnam War. This participation, however, proved to be a futile effort Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese forces in 1975. Furthermore, the Vietnam War claimed the lives of about 4 million Vietnamese civilians and at least 58,000 American military personnel (Levy and Sidel, 2007). References Levy, D. (2004). The Vietnam War. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books. Levy, B. S. , & Sidel, V. W. (2007). War and Public Health (2nd ed. ). New York: Oxford University Press US. Nixons Legacy: Watergate

The Watergate Scandal is regarded as one of the most serious and far-reaching scandals in American political history. It started in 1972 a period when the American public was already disillusioned with the Vietnam War due to its costliness and the rising death toll. This disenchantment found an outlet in the antiwar movement, which had grown increasingly popular in the years shortly before Watergate took place. The Nixon administration, on the other hand, was desperate to continue the Vietnam War the former felt that giving up on the Vietnam War meant conceding to Communism.

This desperation prompted the Nixon regime to conduct a series of illegal activities, which culminated into a scandal that profoundly altered the American publics perception of government power. Anti-War Movement = Communist Sympathizer Akin to McCarthy, Nixon had fears about a Communist takeover of the US. Nixon believed that the countrys antiwar movement was actually harboring Communist infiltrators and had ties with Communist countries. Furthermore, he suspected that there were some government officials who were providing the press with confidential information about the Vietnam War.

Thus, Nixon ordered the FBI to conduct illegal wiretaps and surveillance of reporters and officials in the White House and State Department (Mann, 2002). The Smoking Gun: The DNC Break-In. On June 17, 1972, Frank Wills, a night watchman at the Watergate office and apartment building, noticed that the door lock to the offices of the Democrat National Committee (DNC) were taped shut. Alarmed, he immediately called the police. The police, in turn, arrived in time to arrest five men who had been hiding inside the DNC office.

It turned out that these five men Virgilio Gonzalez, Bernard Barker, James W. McCord, Jr. , Eugenio Martinez and Frank Sturgis were ordered by Nixons camp to wiretap the DNC office (Woods, 2005). The arrest and conviction of these five individuals eventually revealed the involvement of Nixon and several White House officials and aides in illegal activities such as political sabotage, conspiracy, bribery, burglary, surreptitious surveillance and obstruction of justice.

Despite constant public denials, Nixon was not spared from the impacts of the Watergate Scandal. Facing the likely possibility of an impeachment in Congress and a conviction in the Senate, he resigned from the presidency on August 9, 1974 (Woods, 2005).

References

Mann, R. (2002). Complete Idiots Guide to the Cold War. Washington, D. C. : Alpha Books. Woods, R. B. (2005). Quest for Identity: America since 1945. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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