The American invasion of Vietnam on March 8 1965 and the developments occurring in its aftermath wielded a serious impact on global geopolitical events in an era of ideological bi-polarity. Indeed, the war waged in Indochina throughout the 1960's captured the planets attention as it became apparent that neither side was willing to concede in the jungle; the planet lay at a crossroads of ideology. In such an atmosphere it is not surprising that Vietnam became a defining moment in the decade of increasing military tension for the Cold War superpowers. Accordingly the case of Vietnam is one that necessitates further explanation as it serves to reveal a great deal about the nature of Cold War relationships. As such, the goal of this paper is essentially twofold. First, to provide a reasonable synopsis of the events leading up to and including the Vietnam war in the context of U.S. and Soviet/Chinese relations. The aim here is to develop an adequate background in which to discuss the influence of Communist Ideology in the region at this time. Second, to reflect on, how the war in Vietnam may have potentially gone differently if the Soviet Union and China had not intervened in the incident. Ultimately, this paper seeks to discuss the Vietnam War in a broader context of East/West relations throughout the mid twentieth century.
[...] As is the case most often in geopolitical affairs, the Vietnam War was a product of years of prior tensions and contradictions across the international community. Long before March 1965, ideological hostility was felt around the globe. From an American point of view, the communist threat was very real. In 1950 Washington feared that the Vietnamese city of Hanoi was a pawn of Communist China, and by extensions, Moscow. These fears were reaffirmed later that same year with the outbreak of the Korean War. [...]
[...] In this light, although the United States was physically fighting the Vietnamese, they were actually waging a war against the ideologies of Communist China and the Soviet Union. Despite its international position, the United States stood by and watched the rather bloody overthrow of President Diem in November of 1963. Prior to the Coup, South Vietnamese protestors organized a wave of demonstrations. Although U.S. intelligence confirmed the plot to overthrow the Southern government, President Kennedy refused to intervene, citing sources that U.S. [...]
[...] As history reveals, the north did not respond as had been hoped and the United States was forced to continue with a war that would later represent the longest military conflict in U.S. history. The situation in the South worsened as Viet Cong attacks continued. It was at this time that President Johnson was convinced that without the support of a massive American army, South Vietnam was doomed. Inevitably, the two armies met head on in the first major battle of war in the La Drang valley in the Central Highlands. [...]
[...] In the summer of 1962, Mao Zedong agreed to supply Hanoi with 90,000 rifles and guns and between 1965 and 1970 over 320,000 Chinese soldiers served in North Vietnam (Cold War, 1998). Additionally, in 1965 China sent anti—aircraft units and engineering battalion to North Vietnam to repair the damage caused by American bombing. In light of such information, it would seem that the Chinese government played a very influential role in the war in Vietnam. Without the funding, military might and man power donated by China, one inevitably begins to question whether the war on the ground was America's to win, or lose. [...]
[...] In this light, the influence of China and the USSR on the war in Vietnam begins to appear both necessary and integral to the eventual defeat of the Americans in Indochina. The beginning of the end for the United States in the south pacific began on May 7th 1954 at the battle of Diem Biem Phu, as the French Union Garrison surrendered inadvertently bringing the Americans into the war. At the Geneva Conference, the French negotiated a ceasefire agreement with the Viet Minh. [...]
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