Essay Example on the United States Involvement in Vietnam

Published: 2019-09-20
Essay Example on the United States Involvement in Vietnam
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Politics United States War
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1548 words
13 min read

What is known about United States involvement in Vietnam?

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U.S. foreign policies have compelled it to be involved in the governance of foreign political, social, economic matters. Apparently, the involvement of the United States in foreign political and economic governance is done with respect to its superpower status in the international scene. It is for the same political and economic reasons that U.S. got involved in the political and economic matters in Vietnam. Through its involvement in the Vietnam, America was able to subdue the French Rule and Japanese Rule in the region. Before the America launched a war in Vietnam, Vietnam was considered to be French Colonial Territory. It is apparent that Vietnamese had gotten tired of the French rule in the region, making them form a working alliance with the United States as their only way of ousting French Colonial Rule in their country.

Research questions: What needs to be known from the Research?

It is apparent that there were various motives behind the involvement of the United States in the Vietnamese. This research seeks to unravel the factors that forced the United States into joining forces with Ho Chi and Viet Minh in trying to topple French Rule in Vietnam. These questions are considered to the baseline of this research.

Responses to the research question (Answers)

The involvement of the United States in Vietnam began at the onset of the World War 2. This marked the escalation of the American interests in Asian politics, especially after the Japanese Planes carried out attacks on the Pearl Harbor. Washingtons response to these attacks was to declare war on Japan as a retaliation to their earlier attacks, on 1941 (Alpha History 1). In the same year, America attacked Japan witnessed the formation of the Viet Minh which was strategized to be an underground movement that was expected to show resistance to not only to French rule but also to the Japanese rule in the region.

By the end of 1944, various bodies of United States such as Office of strategic Service (OSS) as well as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had intensified their operations in the Northern Vietnam as well as Southern China. The OSS agents, under the guidance of the CIA operatives, saw the need of forming a working alliance with Ho Chi Minh (Alpha History 2), together with Viet Minh. Through this working alliance, Ho Chi Minh and Viet Minh were expected to help American pilots who had been downed over the territory of the Vietnam by safeguarding and repatriating them safely. As a way of returning the favor, the OSS agents were also compelled to supply Hos men with weapons and other equipment that were to be used in their pursuit of ending the oppressive French Rule in Vietnam.

This mutual relationship between the Vietnam (under Ho Chi Minh) and the United States (through OSS agents) was on the basis of the wartime expediency and on the basis of the political similarities between these two nations (Rational Revolution 2). However, Ho Chi Minh harbored hopes their alliance with America could act as a platform for the U.S. under the Washingtons presidency once the Vietnam War was over. This can be attested to the Hos dependence on the American ideologies when they were pursuing their independence from British colonialists. For instance, in 1945, on initiating Vietnamese Independence, Ho Chi Minh based his ideologies and values on the nationalism, popular sovereignty as well as self-determination; which are core elements in the declaration of the independence by the United States. Through this move, the Viet Minh leader was able to depict that their political values and ideologies had a close link with those of the United States, who was considered to be their major ally in the pursuit of the Vietnamese independence.

Cold War in 1945 was the main strategy used by the United States when it came to its involvement in the Vietnam. During this time, American foreign policies were mainly defined by the Truman Doctrine of 1947. This doctrine had contended that it was imperative and a must to contain communism and that there was the need of helping those governments that were deemed to be vulnerable to the infiltration and takeover of the communist (Alpha History 4). The Truman doctrine of 1947 reveals that anti-communist were in fear that unless communism was contained, it was likely to be spread globally, spreading from one nation to another. Asian countries were considered to be most vulnerable to the communist infiltration due to their weak governments as well as poorly controlled borders.

In 1947, it was understood that America was indirectly supporting the return of the French in Vietnam. Most Americans were against this move (Rational Revolution 5). Many Americans thought that the Asian countries should be given an opportunity to govern themselves independently. This made America be in a dilemma situation: whether to support French colonialism in Vietnam or fail to support them which will mean the spread of communism in this region, which is against Americans foreign policies. They opted to support the second return of the French colonialism, especially in Indochina, which was perceived to be lesser evil and detrimental than the Vietnam that is led by a communist. Partly, America supported the second return of the French in Vietnam because France was a democratic capitalist nation as well as a vital ally in the Cold War during this period.

The other reasons that led to the Americas shift of support from Ho Chi Minh and Viet Minh to French return in Vietnam are that the two groups were not being respectful to the U.S. demands. President Washington had realized that Ho Chi was unreliable: in public he could be seen to be a supporter of nationalism but in a real sense he was a communist. These claims were attested by Hos work within the Soviet Union as well as his support of the Chinese Communist Party. Washington also found it hard to trust Viet Minh. It was apparent that their movement was inclined to the communists ideologies and values. This made their motives as well their political royalties to be questioned by America. These reasons contributed largely to the Americans support to the second French colonialism in Vietnam, which they had initially opposed.

Interview From the national public radio.

Part of this research involved an interview done on the national radio pertaining U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The interview was based on the historian who was well conversant with the events that took place in Vietnamese War. From the interview, it is was revealed that by 1968, Vietnam was languishing from the war that was taking place (Gitlin 7). The conflict in the Southeast Asia had ensued immediately after the Second World War. The interviewee revealed that the North Vietnam had embarked on the efforts of trying to unite the country through the imposition of the communist governance in the South Vietnam. The war had led to the deaths of much Vietnamese as well as Americans, who had also been involved in the war.

At some juncture, ordinary Americans started withdrawing their support to their nations involvement in the Vietnamese War. Through Tet Offensive, many Americans were discouraged that the enemy was still much alive in Vietnam (Gitlin 11). As the war progressed, many were involved in protests in America against the countrys continued involvement in the Vietnamese War. Their worries were that U.S. involvement in Vietnamese war was costing the country a lot of fortunes as well as the lives of its citizens. The protests forced President Johnson to be more cautious when it came to the direction he was undertaking regarding Americas involvement in Vietnamese War. The American Policy, especially on Vietnamese War in the 1950s and 1960s focused on avoiding direct military when it comes to the Americas involvement in Vietnam.


From the findings of this research, it can be contended that Americas involvement in Vietnam was on the basis of various factors, which were dynamic. Before the inception of the American involvement, Vietnam was a French colony. The Vietnamese people were yearning to see the end of the French Colonialism which was considered to be oppressive. Ho Chi and Viet Minh opted to form a working Alliance with the United States (Beatrice-Camelia 10). After French withdrawal from the Vietnam, America became concerned that Vietnam was at the risk of being absorbed by communism, which was against Americas foreign policy, as defined in the Truman doctrines of 1947. This forced America to support the second return of the French Colonialism in Vietnam. France, which was a capitalist democratic nation was seen by America as an appropriate force to contain the spread of communism in this region.

It is, therefore, imperative to acknowledge that Americas involvement in Vietnam was motivated by the countrys pursuit of exerting its dominance in the Asian region. This forced U.S. to use various tactics, with the help of its foreign policies, to control and govern the politics of Asian region, as depicted through its involvement in Vietnam.


Alpha History. "US involvement in Vietnam." Alpha History (2001): 1-9. print.

Beatrice-Camelia, Arbore. An Overview of the US Involvement in the Vietnam War. Editura Digital, 2016. print.

Gitlin, Martin. U. S. Involvement in Vietnam Essential Events Set 4 Series Essential Events. ABDO, 2010. print.

Rational Revolution. "The American involvement in Vietnam." Rational Revolution (2004): 2-9. print.

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