The Vietnam War

Essay by strongdude59High School, 11th gradeA-, March 2009

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The Vietnam WarThere is a strange irony about the US involvement in South East Asia, and Vietnam in particular. In 1941, in the "Atlantic Charter" signed by the United States and its allies, the United States rejected colonialism and supported the principle of "self-determination" for all colonized countries around the world. Therefore, one might wonder why the US decided to get involved so deeply in the political destiny of a country that was a French colony fighting for its independence. The Vietnam War is the longest war in the history of the United States, so far. The involvement, also called "the Second Indochina War" by some historians, started in the early1950s with economic and military support to French colonial forces until their defeat in 1954 after the battle of Dien Bien Phu; then, the involvement of US military advisors and small special forces in the late 50s and early 60s to finish with a full military involvement and war from 1968 to1973.

Even though called the Vietnam War, it is more of a foreign conflict than a "war" because the United States has a policy called the "Rule of Law." For the United States to be truly at war with another country, Congress must declare war on that nation. In the case of Vietnam, Congress did not declare the U.S. involvement in Vietnam an actual war thus making it more of an aid and assist against the spread of communism. How can we explain this intervention? One could argue that the Vietnam War started out of the conflict between France and its colony called Indochina that was composed by three countries, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. This era was also the Cold War era, and many historians believe that the foreign policy of the United States in other areas...