Good Vietnam War Thesis Statements

Anti-War Movement During the Vietnam War Essay

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Anti-War Movement During the Vietnam War

As the Vietnam war heavily covered by the media, the devastating images were broadcasted across the globe. People were able to watch the war from their armchair and many American people were disgraced by the images of children dying and innocent people being shot dead in villages. A perfect example of this, is the My Lai massacre which took place in 1968. The images appalled people all over the world, especially American people who felt ashamed of their country's soldiers. 'Middle America' began to realise the harsh consequences of the Vietnam War.

I believe that the media coverage sparked the protesting across America, however there were individual…show more content…

"Soldiers were most likely to die in the first month". I think that this would spark protest because as soldiers were dying within the first month, it meant that even more soldiers had to be sent to Vietnam, who would also be likely to die within the first month. I think that this would have led to protesting of students, as they were strong believers of free will. "The tour of duty in Vietnam was one year", "Just as a soldiers began gaining experience he was sent home". These two statements suggest to me that the death rate of American soldiers would increase. Just as a soldier has adapted to the jungle and the way of life in Vietnam, he would be sent home and an inexperienced soldier, not used to the jungle would be sent to Vietnam and the chances are that he would not survive the first few months. I think the veterans sent home from Vietnam, would have a huge impact on the protest movement, as many had lost limbs and were scarred, some even emotionally scarred. The veterans would have told many stories about the awful conditions of the jungle and the terrifying images that will never ever leave their minds. This source definitely has sufficient evidence to explain why there was anti-war movement in the U.S.A.

Source B, is a photograph of napalm victims during the Vietnam War. This source shows how

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The attacks began on January 31, 1968 during Vietnam’s most important holiday, the first day of the Lunar New Year. It took weeks for the United States and South Vietnam to retake all of the captured cities. The “offensive” was a military success for North Vietnam communist, it was a victory for them because it caused the United States government to claim that the war was over. The series of all the North Vietnam attacks drew more United States troops away from the cities. In late January 1968, first day of Tet, North Vietnam attacked five of South Vietnam cities, most district and provincial capitals. In Saigon, they attacked the presidential palace, ARVN headquarters, airport, and fought their way into the United States embassy grounds. Within a week the United States and ARVN forces recovered most of the lost territory. The city of Hue was retaken on February 24, thousands of civilians were executed and 100,000 residents lost their home. It is known as the “Massacre at Hue”. Since the “Tet Offensive” attack was broadcasted on television, Americans realized the power North Vietnam has was greater than they thought and that South Vietnam didn’t have much control over its own territory. The “Tet Offensive” was a turning point in the Vietnam War. Although North Vietnam and South Vietnam have different beliefs about having a communist or anti-communist Vietnam country, this compelled the United States to interfere and allied with South Vietnam because of the US domino theory, if one state went communist then the other states in the region will follow. The US government viewed American involvement in the Vietnam War as a way to prevent communism to takeover South Vietnam, the legacy and causes of Vietnam War changed America’s perception of the country.

The Vietnam War took place from 1954 until 1975. It was the struggle between nationalist forces attempting to unify the country of Vietnam under a communist government and the United States with the help of South Vietnamese attempting to prevent the spread of communism.  Ho Chi Minh, a Vietnamese communist revolutionary leader, was prime minister and president of the Republic of Vietnam who wanted to overthrow the Mandarin System and turn his country into a Marxist Leninist “paradise” to free Vietnam from foreign domination. He was convinced that it would be the best system for the country he loved. (Edmonds) Americans who served in the Vietnam War would see him as a cruel and vicious leader since “ he caused the elimination of leading members of opposing non-communist groups in 1946 and caused the deaths of thousands of innocent people in 194-1956” (Edmonds). The United States and South Vietnam opposed, this caused them to go to war. The United States and South Vietnam allied to stop communism because they believed that if one country fell to communist, the countries surrounding it would too (Image 1).


South Vietnam citizens protesting to stop Ho Chi Minh from turning Vietnam communist.

There had been fighting in Vietnam before the Vietnam war began, the Vietnamese had suffered under French colonial rule for nearly six decades when Japan invaded Vietnam in 1940. Once Ho Chi Minh arrived back in Vietnam after years of travelling, he established headquarters in Northern Vietnam. Viet Minh’s goal was to get rid of French and Japanese who were in Vietnam and established an Independent Vietnam with a government called the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The French did not want to give up their colony so they fought back. As shown on the Newspaper, Prospects in Indo-China, M. Tran Ngoc Danh the head of the permanent Vietnam delegation in Paris announced the proposals for an immediate truce between France and Vietnam. This treaty would recognize the right of the Vietnamese people to political independence within the framework of an Indo-Chinese federation. For years, Ho Chi Minh had wanted the United States to support him against the French but the United States was dedicated to their Cold War foreign policy of containment, which was to prevent the spread of communism. This fear increased by the US Domino Theory. The United States decided to help France to defeat Ho Chi Minh by sending them military aid in 1950 to prevent Vietnam from becoming a communist country. (Pierre) In 1954, after the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu they decided to pull out of Vietnam. At the Geneva conference of 1954, nations met to determine how the French could peacefully withdraw. The United States helped South Vietnam to carry out the election.  Ngo Dinh Diem regime was elected,  they made a campaign of Gruella warfare aimed at bringing the collapse of the Diem regime and reunification of Vietnam under the government headquarters in Hanoi, the campaign was effective and after the Cold War concerns prompted John F. Kennedy administration to dispatch American military advisers to train South Vietnamese armed forces. John F. Kennedy died wanting to prevent the fall of South Vietnam to communism and Lyndon B. Johnson became the new president.

Fighting between Viet Cong, the military arm of National Liberation Front (NLF) and South Vietnam continued, the United States sent advisers to South Vietnam but the worlds largest communist powers the Soviet Union (USSR) and the Peoples Republic of China also lent logistic, moral,  and military support to North Vietnam. The North Vietnamese created Viet Cong to escalate the armed struggle in South Vietnam. The USSR nor China were open or frank about the logistic and material support they gave Hanoi.  On August 1964, North Vietnamese fired two patrol boats in Gulf of Tonkin which is the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. This made the Lyndon B. Johnson administration order strikes against the North. The United States Congress believed that Soviet Union and china were responsible for “communist aggression” against South Vietnam, so they passed the Tonkin Gulf resolution that gave President Johnson authority to whatever was necessary to counter the communist threat to the government and South Vietnamese (Pierre). He ordered the first US troops to Vietnam on March 1965 and provided advisers and military supplies to full combat because he worried that Americas allies would fail to help so he wanted to make sure the United States had obtained every soldier out of every country. President Johnson’s goal for the United States involvement in Vietnam was not to win war but for the US troops to support and strengthen South Vietnamese defenses until they could take over. ”Johnson feared that if he lost the Vietnam War everyone would see him as an appeaser that is unable to accomplish major domestic goals” (Edmonds).  The United States wanted fighting to be limited in South Vietnam, their forces could not conduct a ground assault into North Vietnam to attack communist directly.

The attacks started on January 31, 1968, US troops fought against Viet Cong who would attack in ambushes, set up booby traps, and escape through underground tunnels. Viet Cong would periodically launch hit and run attacks on government installations and military outposts in South Vietnam. In every village the United States troops had a difficult time determining which villagers were the enemy since they wore no uniforms, dressed in the same type of clothing as the local peasants, and blended into the landscape when their mission was complete. This made the US soldiers get frustrated with the fighting conditions and many of them became angry or used drugs. During the war South Vietnam used American technology, which destroyed the people United States wanted to save since the civilians were hard to identify. “With his trigger finger at the ready and rifle aimed, a Vietnamese soldier flushes a man and a boy — suspected of being Viet Cong — from a paddy where he found them hiding. Night-fighting Guerillas look like any of the region’s calico-clad peasants by day” (Image 2). The United States tactics caused the deaths of those who were not enemies (Edmonds).

A man and a boy where found hiding by a Vietnamese soldier suspected of being Viet Cong

During Vietnam’s most important holiday, the first day of the Lunar New Year, this war caused the United States government to claim that the war was over but the US military involvement ended August 15, 1973 after the Church Amendment was passed by the United States government. This was North Vietnam’s most celebrated victory, they attacked villages, towns, and cities in the South. The United States leaders lost the American public support for the war.  The capture of Saigon by North Vietnam army on April 1975 marked the end of the war, North Vietnam and South Vietnam were reunified. The remaining Viet Cong were integrated into the PAVN, the Peoples Army of Vietnam. The type of support given to North Vietnam is a major factor in the success of its military and insurgency operations. A decade later after the war, a group of military figures believed that it was a mistake for America to enter Southeast Asia and suffered military defeat there. “The commander of Vietnam forces, blames politicians in Washington, who followed a “no-win” policy for American failure”. The Vietnam War is what not to do in the future US foreign conflicts, they committed two errors during the war. Concentrating military policy on counterinsurgency doctrine which limited America’s strategic options and the Gruella Warfare which was not a decisive factor in the war (Buzzanco).The type of support given to North Vietnam is a major factor in the success of its military and insurgency operations. Even after the war political, economic, and social consequences are still being felt today.


Works Cited

  • second-most-famous- buddhist will head to vancouver retreat; Thich Nhat Hanh lobbied to stop Vietnam War, January 18, 2011,,270077,11059,8411&hl=t&hv=t&hnsd=f&hns=t&hgn=t&oc=00240&perma=true
  • Anthony O. Edmonds, The War in Vietnam. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1998
  • Pierre, Asselin, Hanoi & the Americanization of the War in Vietnam, Pacific Historical Review: University of California Press, August 2005.
  • “Prospects In Indo-China.” Times [London, England] 7 Feb. 1947: 5. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
  • Buzzanco, Bob. The American Militarys Rationale against the Vietnam War. Political Science Quarterly. The Academy of Political Science. 1986
  • Cosgrove, Ben. America in Vietnam, 1963:Deeper into the war. LIFE magazine. 7 Jan.1963




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