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Why Was the United States Unsuccessful in Vietnam?

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Essay title: Why Was the United States Unsuccessful in Vietnam?

The communist beliefs began in 1848, when Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote a book called The Communist Manifesto. This book defined the beliefs of communism, along with portraying the natural evolution of a communist utopia from a capitalist society. Marx and Engels defined communism to be a concept, or system, of society in which the major resources and means of production are owned by the community, rather than by the individuals. In theory, such societies provide for equal sharing of all work, according to ability, and all benefits, according to need. This, however, did not work because people are generally selfish and lazy. Each person wants to do the least amount possible to gain the most from it. This is where the conflicts arise.

The Soviet Union began its communist regime under Vladimir Lenin. His ideas and teachings led to mass popularity due to a poor economy in Russia at the time. Lenin was not a bad leader, however he died before he was able to see his plan take full effect. He had only one warning to the people of Russia: never to let Joseph Stalin get into power. Lenin was able to foresee the tyrant when many others were blind. The people did not realize their error when Stalin succeeded. But by then, it was too late; Stalin had turned Russia into a fascist dictatorship.

During World War II, Communism, combined with fascism, had proven to be very dangerous. The Communists saw their way to be perfect, and they had the idea that everyone should practice their beliefs. Communism had started in Asia, with the likes of Joseph Stalin and Mao Tsetung. In the mid to late nineteen forties, communism was thriving in Asia. The Chinese and the Russians had pushed the spread of Communism south into countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam. The United Stated saw this as a very real threat, and kept a close eye on the communist advancement.

Between 1945 and 1975, the number of countries under communist rule increased greatly. This is partly because of the way the victorious powers of World War II divided the world amongst themselves. This is also due to the fact that countries such as China and The Soviet Union pushed their beliefs tyrannically on other weak countries.

One of such countries was Vietnam. . From 1946 until 1954, the Vietnamese had struggled for their independence from France during the First Indochina War. At the end of this war, the country was temporarily divided into North and South Vietnam along the 17th parallel. North Vietnam came under the control of the Vietnamese Communists who had opposed France and who aimed for a unified Vietnam under Communist rule. Vietnamese who had collaborated with the French controlled the South.

The foreign policy of the United States during the Cold War was driven by a fear of the spread of Communism. Eastern Europe had fallen under the domination of the Communist USSR, and Communists ruled China. This policy was known as the "domino theory." United States policymakers felt they could not afford to lose Southeast Asia as well to the Communists. The United States therefore offered to assist the French in recapturing Vietnam.

Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from May 8 to July 21, 1954, diplomats from France, the United Kingdom, the USSR, China, and the United States, as well as representatives from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, drafted a set of agreements called the Geneva Accords. These agreements provided for the withdrawal of French troops to the south of Vietnam until they could be safely removed from the country.

They also agreed that Elections were to be held in 1956 throughout the north and south and to be supervised by an International Control Commission that had been appointed at Geneva and was made

up of representatives from Canada, Poland, and India. Following these elections, Vietnam was to be reunited under the government chosen by popular vote. The United States refused to sign the accords, because it did not want to allow the possibility of Communist control over Vietnam. The U.S. government moved to establish the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), a regional alliance that extended protection to South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in case of Communist "subversion." SEATO, which came into force in 1955, became the mechanism by which Washington justified its support for South Vietnam; this support eventually became direct involvement of U.S. troops.

On July 30, 1964, the government of North Vietnam complained that South Vietnamese ships, protected by an American destroyer, had attacked two of their islands. On August 2, North Vietnamese patrol torpedo boats attacked the American destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin but were driven off. Five days later, on August 7, Congress adopted what became known as the Tonkin Gulf Resolution.

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