2. Discuss the origins of the Vietnam War, the course of the war over thirty years in the 1940s, and wars’ impact on the United States, both at home and in terms of foreign policy.
Since the second half of the 19th century, Vietnam was the part of the French colonial empire. But soon after World War I, the country showed the growth of national self-consciousness, and in 1941 the League for the Independence of Vietnam was founded in China. During World War II, Vietnam was controlled by Japan, but when Japan capitulated, and the establishment of the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed on September 2, 1945, France refused to accept the loss of its colony. Thus, in December 1946, France launched the colonial war in Vietnam, and in 1950 the United States started to provide military assistance to the French troops. After the sharpening of confrontation due to the inclusion of China on the side of the Viet Minh in July 1954, Geneva Agreements were signed, having completed the eight-year war and having divided Vietnam into northern (communist) and southern (anti-communist). However, after the failure of Geneva Agreements conditions, the civil war between the two regimes started (Schweikart and Allen 696-99).
Thus, the Vietnam War (1957-1975) started as a civil war in South Vietnam. Further, it involved the entire North Vietnam which later gained the support of China and the Soviet Union, as well as the U.S. and its allies (CENTO), fighting on the side of friendly to them South Vietnamese regime. In addition to the desire to establish democratic regimes in countries falling under the influence of communists, the main interest of the U.S. in the Vietnam War was represented by corporations manufacturing weapons, which were generally not interested in the quick military victory. Finally, the Vietnam War led to the death of 57 thousand Americans and the “spiritual disgrace”¯ of the USA. First, the durable war split the American society and led to the “Vietnam syndrome”¯ atmosphere, i.e. society’s opposition to any foreign operations leading to local wars. The war also decreased the inspirations of American militarism and reduced social confidence in the American ideological machine. Finally, the costs of the War exceeded the planned ones by 30 times, which resulted in the weakening of the U.S. economy, both internally and on the international market, along with the seriously undermining of the United States’ prestige in its political and military force position in the world politics (Schweikart and Allen 711-715).