The approval of a military coup in

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The Vietnam war began in 1963 with the approval of a military coup in Vietnam. There was a generational rebellion in the Vietnam war. All three of the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations were impacted severely by the war and envisioned different ways of ending the war. Kennedy’s administration justified Vietnam war as a test, Johnson continued the war, and Nixon finally ended the war.    Kennedy’s administration was impacted by the Vietnam war. They saw the war as a test to see if the United States could prevent communist rebellions in foreign countries. The goal of the Vietnam war and all other cold war battles was to prevent the spread of communism. Kennedy started the war in 1963 with a military coup against South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem. President Kennedy did not see Vietnam as a war we were involved in, he instead saw it as a war the Vietnamese had to fight and the United States was only helping by sending troops and equipment. However, Kennedy’s involvement in the war came to a sudden end when he was assassinated.    Johnson’s administration was next to be impacted by the war in Vietnam. Johnson, the Vice president of Kennedy, came into the presidency with less to no in foreign relations in comparison to President Kennedy. President Johnson will make this war an American war, unlike the previous administration. In August of 1964, North Vietnamese patrol boats fired on an American ship. Johnson claimed this was an act of aggression by the Vietnamese. Congress, as a result, passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This resolution gave President Johnson authority to take all measures to counter the attack in Vietnam. Johnson, fearing unrest, dispatched twenty-two thousand American troops. The operation was a success, and it increased confidence in President Johnson’s war efforts. President Johnson also made a speech in regards to the war, which also helped gain public support. As time went on more and more troops were deployed in Vietnam, reaching a staggering five hundred thousand in 1968.  In 1968, the Vietnam troops issued The Tet Offensive, which was uprisings in South Vietnam that surprised the American Military. The war became brutal, with mistreatment of American prisoners by the Vietnamese. American planes dropped chemicals and more bombs than ever seen in history. The intensity and brutality of the fighting of war were now broadcasted on television, which shattered confidence in Johnson’s Administration’s capabilities to be victorious in the war. Johnson stunned the nation and decided not to run for reelection.Finally, Nixon’s administration was the final administration to endure this long war. Nixon issued a policy of Vietnamization, which he hoped would decrease the need for American troops in Vietnam. However, this did not limit the war nor end the anti-war sentiment at home. Nixon, hoping to end North Vietnamese supply lines, launched American troops into the neutral Cambodia. This failed, and in the end, brought widespread massacres and destabilized the region. As the war escalated, so did protests on college campuses. In 1970, several hundred colleges and universities experienced strikes. This sentiment was not limited to home, even soldiers carried the same mentality. They experimented with drugs, openly wore peace symbols, and disobeyed the command of their superior officers. The decline in discipline was a sign that the United States must leave Vietnam. Public support for the war was not helped by a publication that detailed the My Lai Massacre. This massacre was where American troops killed 350 Vietnamese civilians. Eventually, Lieutenant William Calley was found guilty of ordering this act of cruelty. Other publications reached the public, such as the Pentagon Papers. This report traced American involvement in Vietnam back to World War II. In 1973, Congress passed the War Powers Act, which required the President to seek Congress’s approval for the commitment of American troops overseas. The war came to an end in early 1973. The Paris peace agreement, along with the final withdrawal of American troops by president Nixon ended the war. It left the government of South Vietnam but left the government of North Vietnam in control of parts of the south. In the spring of 1975, the North Vietnamese launched a military offensive and South Vietnam collapsed. The Vietnam War was the only war America had lost. The war changed American’s confidence and beliefs. More specifically, it showed that a government under a democracy has a difficult time engaging in a war if the people are against it. At the end of the war, fifty-eight thousand American troops had lost their lives added on the 3 to 4 million Vietnamese. As a result, all three of the administrations were impacted. They were in a war that most Americans did not want to be in and saw countless numbers of anti-war protests. Post-war sentiment would also change at least the Nixon Administration, if not future administrations to come.

Categories: United States


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