Logical Intervention in Vietnam
American military intervention in Vietnam has always been a highly controversial issue. Many Americans were against intervention in Vietnam. Many Americans question rather the United States should have ever sent troops to Southeast Asia, and if intervention was the correct action, based on foreign policy and bipartisan ideas. After observation of these ideas, it is safe to say that foreign policy and bipartisan ideas justified American military intervention.
First of all the United States stance on foreign policy needs to be observed. After World War II the United States became the most powerful nation, it had ever been. The United States had ideas of spreading the American values of liberty, equality, and democracy throughout the world.1 During this time the Soviet Union was less focused on spreading their Communist ideas, and more focused on rebuilding there country, which was demolished during World War II.2 As unthreatening as this seems now, the United States had a great distrust of Russia. The American people s anti-Nazi sentiments, of World War II, began to be anti-Soviet. The United States and the Soviet Union s conflicting aims and equal distrust were two of the main reason the Cold War began. All Americans, Democrats and Republicans, were allied against the Soviet Union. The Democratic president Truman and his predecessor Eisenhower, a Republican, were both anti-Communist and anti-Soviet.
Another policy at this time was containment. The policy was defined by George F. Kennan.3 In a nut shell, the policy stated that Americans should try to stop the spread of Communism. This policy, directed mainly at the Soviet Union, used by the all of the Presidents, though given different monikers, from 1946 until after the Vietnam War.
During these times, from about 1945 to 1954, the Vietnamese were fighting a war against France. The Vietnamese sought independence while the French wanted to keep Vietnam as a colony. The United States felt that Vietnam was taking orders from Moscow and began to aid the French monetarily. Finally the French lost their fortress in Dien Bien Phu and Vietnam divided at the 17th parallel. The north was communist held and, the south was democratic.3
In 1956, an election planned to unify Vietnam would decide if Vietnam would be Communist or Free . At this time, the leader of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, was very unpopular among his own people. The United States felt this could be detrimental to their interest so they agreed not to object to coup. So a coup and assassination lead to new leadership of South Vietnam.
The election, of 1956, never took place. America began inserting troops in South Vietnam. At first, only a few advisors were sent but gradually more and more Americans were sent. The number of United States troop finally topped out at about 600,000.
Should the United States had sent troops to Southeast Asia, and was intervention the correct action, based on foreign policy and bipartisan ideas. Yes, based on the ideas of the time and events that took place. America Firmly believed in containment and stopping the spread of Communism, and if South Vietnam fell to the North Communism would have spread. America did lose the war, for all practical reasons, and it can be debated that we should have never been in Southeast Asia, but the question at hand was whether or not the reasons the United States were based on bipartisan shared ideas and foreign policy of the time. The answer is clearly yes.