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Essay/Term paper: Vietnamization (real version)

Essay, term paper, research paper:  American History

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Vietnam Controversy

It"s January 27th, 1973 and the Vietnam War is over. Peace agreements were signed in Paris by the South Vietnam Communist forces, North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the United States. The meeting lasted for several hours and in that time they agreed on many objectives, including: that U.S. troops would gradually withdraw from Vietnam and all prisoners of war would be released, South Vietnam had the right to choose their own future (whether or not to unite with North Vietnam), and North Vietnamese troops were given the right to remain in South Vietnam with idea that the troops could not be reinforced ("Vietnam War").

Even after the peace talks, fighting continued between the North and South Vietnamese. After the majority of American soldiers had left, North Vietnam went against all that was agreed on at the peace talks. On December 13, 1974 North Vietnam had started the invasion on the south. By April 30th, 1976, North Vietnamese tanks had occupied Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, with no trouble, and an evacuation began (see picture 1 & 2). On July 2nd, 1976, the country was united as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam ("Vietnam War"). If the U.S. had stayed to finish the Vietnamization, there might have been a South Vietnam today.

I feel that the U.S. should have never been involved in the war in the first place, however, under the unavoidable circumstances we should have stayed in South Vietnam and helped the country defend themselves on something we made them believe in. We poured so many resources into the war fighting for a cause that many Americans and people in general did not believe in, and to retreat from the South Vietnamese when they needed America"s help the most was very unfair.

The Perspectives

By comparing the views of Von Don"s Our Endless War Inside Vietnam and some views of "In Our Times", I was able to conclude that some of the views from the 1970"s and some of the views of the 1990"s are very alike. Von Don saw differently than the average American, and had incredible insight as to what went wrong towards the fall of South Vietnam. The book seemed to back up everything that Von Don seemed to have a perspective on. I can at least say that the two statements did not conflict.

Personal Conclusions

Through reviewing both perspectives I came up with several conclusion about the controversy on Vietnamization. Von Don"s view was from the 1970"s and seemed to have a very Liberal perspective. "In Our Times" is only different because of the time it was written and has a more "big picture" perspective. So, with both in mind I was able to pinpoint the problems from my own perspective.

The takeover by the North Vietnamese and the South Vietnam Communist forces were in part the faults of the US. If we had stayed and better assisted the South Vietnamese, which the US government called Vietnamization, South Vietnam might still be in existence today. Vietnamization was in a sense the process of preparing South Vietnam to be able to take care of itself mainly by building up South Vietnam"s military defenses and was supposed to prepare South Vietnam for the long term defense it needed to hold up to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Vietnamization included the giving of heavy artillery and military supplies to South Vietnam, but some South Vietnamese referred to Vietnamization as a "U.S. Dollar and Vietnamese Blood Sharing Plan" ("Vietnam War"). A South Vietnamese military general accounts the events leading to the takeover in his journal and writes: "To give an idea of our abominable condition, a unit of rangers there had no communications equipment and thus had to abandon their positions; a battery of 105-mm howitzers could not shoot because they had no sights for the guns; and the aircraft had no bombs available to drop on readily identifiable targets" (Van Don). This proving the state of confusion the South Vietnamese military was in. They were not ready as far as training in the use of weapons nor were they equipped with complete and/or working machinery.

The supplies for the South Vietnamese military were short because of President Gerald Ford"s ending of the involvement in Vietnam. He proclaimed on April 23, 1975 that the Vietnam War is "finished as far as America is concerned". What president Ford may or may not have realized in 1975, is that the South Vietnamese were dependant on the help of the US and could not possibly defend themselves against an invading North Vietnamese forces.

I learned through this report and the class studies that there were no winners in the Vietnam War. Not that I didn"t realize that before, but now I see the many mistakes and risks the powers took just to save face in the history books, the many lives lost (58,000 Americans and over 1 million Vietnamese) ("Vietnam War"), the money spent of machines to kill each other, the many years spent on war instead of progress as a human race. The world will never recover from this tragedy; only learn.

Works Cited

Brigham, Robert K. "The Fall of South Vietnam." American Journey. Online. 15 March 2000.

"Debate Between Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wisc.) And Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) over Aid to South Vietnam." U.S. Congress, 1974. American Journey. Online. 15 March 2000.

"Part Six: Vietnam." In class handout.

"Protest note from the Government of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) to the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam)." Embassy in Washington Press. Washington Press. Release No. 15/73, September 10, 1973.

Rosenberg, Norman L. & Emily S. In Our Times: America Since World War II. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. 1999.

Van Don, Tran. Our Endless War Inside Vietnam: Memoir of South Vietnamese General. 1978.

"Vietnam War." Encarta 1998. CD-ROM. Redmond, WA: Microsoft, 1993 – 1997.


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