Vietnam Essay, Research Paper

The individual most of import factor in understanding the United States engagement in Vietnam is fear. In the old ages taking to the Vietnam Conflict the United States was immersed in paranoia toward Communist Russia and the communist motion as a whole. This paranoia has its roots in the depression of the 19 mid-thirtiess and was fueled by the feats of work forces like MacCarthy and other politicians who saw this as an chance to foster their callings or push policies. This paranoia was the most of import factor in the entryway of the US into the struggle in Southeast Asia.

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During the old ages continuing World War II the United States found itself one of the two most powerful states in the universe. This place placed Americans at odds with their rival state, the Soviet Union, on about all foreparts. These two states now found themselves locked into a inactive struggle non merely of military might, but of societal and ideological values.

There are now two great states in the universe, which get downing from different points, seem to be progressing toward the same end: the Russians and the Anglo-Americans & # 8230 ; . [ E ] ach seems called by some secret design of Providence one twenty-four hours to keep in its custodies the fates of half the universe.

Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

The rise of these two states as leaders and challengers was seen every bit early as Tocqueville, but was this vision was non realized until the terminal of WWII where the two states developed as ideological antonyms. Now because of these ideological and cultural differences, and the turning equality of the military might of the tow states, the American people began to fear the Soviets as a menace the American civilization and our manner of life.

The American misgiving of the Soviet Union starts during the last yearss of the March on Berlin during the war. In a missive to Stalin from President Roosevelt on February 6, 1945 he wrote:

You must believe me when I tell you that our people at place expression with a critical oculus on what they consider a dissension between us at this critical phase of the war. They in consequence say that if we can non acquire a meeting of heads now when our ground forcess are meeting on the common enemy, how can we acquire an apprehension on even more critical things in the hereafter.

It was the turning misgiving of this comparatively new communist state that led to the eventual fright of a planetary struggle between the two political orientations. This fright that was get downing to grip the American populace was non merely due the increasing military menace of the Soviet Union but besides for fright of another internal economic crisis. The bulk of the American population during this period straight experienced the great depression of the 19 thirties the prosperity that proceeded it. Now America was in a province of postwar prosperity once more and the criterion of life had dramatically increased for the bulk of the American populace over the past 20 old ages. This lifting in-between category now saw their improved economic independency being threatened non merely from a domestic economic catastrophe but besides from a new outside force, Communism. Communism to the American people was a menace to the American dream, the American manner of life, and most of import to the basic freedoms and values that this state was founded upon. This new force made its presence felt both at place and abroad, attesting itself in the Soviet Union and the American Communist Party.

Communism was now seen as a menace to our national security but to the American manner of life. This fright was so played upon by politicians, and solidified by the USSR & # 8217 ; s weaponries build up and consolidation of new soviet-bloc states, every bit good as propaganda portraying the Sovietss as & # 8220 ; Goddless Commies & # 8221 ; that are seeking to govern the universe and free it of freedom and faith. Politicians at place played upon this fright with rhetoric and addresss such as the 1950 Republican Party Slogan & # 8220 ; Liberty vs. Socialism. & # 8221 ; This sort of political development of the public & # 8217 ; s frights is non uncommon among and democratic state, but in this peculiar instance it became much more than that.

The usage of the frights of the people in this instance became a serious affair. The tallness of this paranoia came when Senator MacCarthy began hearings on communism and he consistently hunted down those who he felt were Communists populating and working in the US in authorities and in the private sector. In his celebrated address he stated:

I have here in my manus a list of 205 & # 8212 ; a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist party and who however are still working and determining policy in the State Department. & # 8221 ;

n Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, Feb. 9, 1950, Wheeling, W. Va.

This marked the beginning of what Democrats of the clip called MacCarthyism. These inves

tigations and tests ruined the repute of many and even destroyed the callings of some guiltless civilians in. Ethan Bronner of the New York Times writes:

It is one of the most ill-famed addresss in American political relations. Delivered merely months after the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic device & # 8212 ; a reproduction of the American bomb right down to the bolts & # 8212 ; and months before the Communist North invaded South Korea and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were charged with selling atomic secrets to Moscow, Senator McCarthy & # 8217 ; s words set off a period of political craze. It would be some clip before the state grasped that he non merely had no consciences but that he besides had no list. By so, many honest Americans whose sentiments leaned to the left & # 8212 ; among them, instructors and histrions, journalists and Government officials & # 8212 ; had lost their occupations in a enchantress Hunt.

This shows the earnestness with enchantress this panic was taken. The fright that gripped the American populace now had influenced authorities to the point where guiltless people were being deprived of occupations and holding their reputes ruined. It was at this clip in American history that merely the intuition of left-of-center positions could lose you your occupation. If one were simply accused of holding associated with known or suspected communist so, that would be plenty in some instances to trip an probe. This utmost action on the portion of the federal authorities reflected the attitudes of the bulk of the American populace. This is will non be the last clip that the authorities will utilize fright to rock public sentiment.

This fright of communism spreading and destructing the American manner of life manifested itself in things such as the Domino Theory. This theory holds that if one state falls to communism so the others will follow like dominoes. This theory was a creative activity of the paranoia that pervaded the times. To many the Korean War and the rise of communist China were supports to the Red Scare and the Domino theory.

It was during the tallness of this political craze and national hysterical over the turning fright of communism and the menace of a full graduated table atomic war, that a revolution was staged in a small splinter of southeast Asiatic jungle. This little state was known as Vietnam. This revolution was waged against a failing Gallic colonial authorities that was unable to supply for its people. The leader of this revolution was a adult male by the name of Ho Chi Min, a adult male with great regard and esteem for the West. Min openly asked for the support and acknowledgment of the United States and the full western universe. The Fundamental law of the new democracy proposed by Min was modeled after the US Declaration of Independence, and held to most of the ideal and values of the West.

This revolution could hold been seen as a manner to halt or confute the Domino theory, and derive an ally in the bosom of what was going a communist part of the Earth. Alternatively the people of the United States in their paranoiac craze and with a authorities merely to happy to pacify this fright, saw this as an onslaught on a friendly power ( France ) . And Promised assistance to the Gallic in an effort to recapture the state. Ho Chi Min who wanted to do the US and ally now finds himself their enemy. He so declares his state a communist state in order to beg support for his cause and authorities in the Soviet Union and now communist China. This now little difference becomes a planetary struggle where the United States ends up holding to draw out without making the coveted military ends, all because the people of the US were to afraid of losing what they had fought and worked so difficult to accomplish, that they turned what could hold been a immense success of US foreign policy into one of the greatest defects on the united provinces authorities in over a century.

The clip that straight proceed the 2nd universe war was one of prosperity and growing for the people of the United States every bit good as for the state as a whole. The experience of the depression combined with the now looming menace of the Communist Soviet Union and the possibility of all-out atomic warfare, caused a mass terror in the Black Marias of the American people. By the 19 1950ss this began to attest itself in authorities and the American foreign policy. It was this foreign policy created by the American paranoia of some at hand day of reckoning, whether in the signifier of domestic economic catastrophe, foreign infiltration of our civilization, or the onslaught of war, that caused the United States entryway into the Vietnam War.

Rethinking MacCarthyism, non MacCarthy

Bibliography

www.cc.columbia.edu/acis/bartley/inaugrual/press59.html

hypertext transfer protocol: //cwihp.si.edu/cwihplib.nsf/l & # 8230 ; a925f8256689006fl9d0?

goffer: //wiretap.spies.com/00/Gov/US-History/Vietnam/shite-paper.txt

The New York Times, Ethan Bronner