Essay by bosindy2University, Bachelor's May 2004

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The war in Vietnam during the 60's was one of the most shocking and unpredictable times in American history. America's involvement in the war is still as heavily debated today as it was over thirty years ago. Much of the controversy concerns the actions of the U.S. government during this period. Vietnam marked the first episode in American history where a great number of people in America gathered together to speak out against a government action. Never before had Americans ever been so passionate about bringing a particular action to a halt. Everyone from college students to decorated GI's spoke out against U.S. participation in Vietnam, but the government turned a deaf ear and continued their involvement until 1975.

As the soldiers entered Vietnam they were faced with a completely different perspective on American imperialism and on the American way of life. The Vietnamese people viewed the Americans, not as a powerful country attempting to protect weaker territories with its army, but rather as Defense Minister Lin Piao calls them, "a vicious wolf ...

bullying and enslaving various peoples, plundering their wealth, encroaching upon their countries' sovereignty and interfering in their internal affairs." The Vietnamese interpreted the Americans' involvement in their countries' civil war as an attempt to force the American ideals upon the rest of the world. They viewed America as their great oppressor who was dedicated to suppressing the power of not only the Vietnamese people, but people in countries across the world. Revolution against the Americans was the key point expressed by Lin Piao and he believed that if the U.S. did not cease to involve itself in other countries' business, it would "be burned to ashes in the blazing fires of the people's wars."

These drastically contrary viewpoints of the Vietnamese had an indisputable effect...