The war began in 1955 between the communist Northern Vietnam, its allies and the non-communist southern Vietnam along with the USA and the rest of SEATO as its allies. The conflict went on until April 30th, 1975 during which millions of people died from both regions of Vietnam and between fifty to sixty thousand American soldiers. The USA intervened in the early days during the 1950s in favor of southern Vietnam as part of their ‘containment strategy. The involvement slowly increased during the late 1960s. But is it justified for one school of thought to intervene and tries to ‘contain’ the other from spreading? Does the same containment rule apply to the capitalists?
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Whether or not the US intervention was justified has been a controversial issue for decades. Many believe that the communists were supposed to be stopped before they slowly took over nearby regions and gained more power. That if not contained, the communists could pose a serious threat towards the capitalist group, namely the USA. Those in favor also say that the bloodshed was justified as well; that war is not an easy time and lives are lost on both sides, however unequal the distribution may be. But what happened? Was the campaign successful? The Americans had to finally give up their support and exit, leaving South Vietnam at the mercy of the communist north. After years of battling with the north with support from the US, the south had nowhere to escape after the fall of Saigon. (The United States and Vietnam, 2005)
In my opinion, the campaign was a mistake and a failure. It cost the country 58,000 American lives. Not only was it costly and useless, but it also left the innocent people of Vietnam affected for years after the war. The massacre for them did not end there. After surrendering to the North, many southern Vietnamese people were left homeless and thousands killed in addition to the 2 million killed during the war. Chemical warfare caused disabilities and diseases in children born years afterward. But what if something similar happened to a country like the USA? All for the sake of containing capitalism; a system that is taking a downturn today. No school of thought has the right to overpower and force another to be contained or change its ways. But many argue that the communists could pose a threat if spread more. (The United States and Vietnam, 2005) The same can be said about the US from the perspective of countries like Vietnam in those days, China, Japan, Korea and today, countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. It seems there is no easy way for the US to learn that they cannot occupy a region that does not want to be occupied. The lessons are being learned today in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The Vietnam War, 1999)
There is no difference between a communist country invading the US and cause 2 million people to lose their lives and what happened in Vietnam. Invading mindlessly without a proper strategy and then having to exit, only knowing that years of the campaign had gone to waste and cost 58,000 of your own lives and a few million more that left the country devastated for decades, is never going to be a smart justifiable move. Not only is it a mistake, but a stupid mistake that instead of learning from, the US made and is still making it again today.
(1999) The Vietnam War. The History Place. Web.
(2005) The United States and Vietnam. Macrohistory and world report. Web.