The Vietnam War: Causes And Consequences

Read Complete Research Material

The Vietnam War: Causes and Consequences

The Vietnam War: Causes and Consequences


It was supposed to be a South Vietnamese war with the U.S. advising those who were frightened in their freedom. But the U.S. would end up doing much more than just advising. The Vietnam War was supposed to be a demonstration of how willing the U.S. was to battle communism, but ended up a personal vendetta against North Vietnamese as the U.S.A. escalated its commitment in Vietnam infinitely greater than it had ever intended. At the end over fifty thousand casualties were recorded on the American side.

American Intervention through Poor Politics

A main cause of American involvement was the weakness of the mechanism for determining the framework of foreign policy. The establishment of the National Security Council came about in 1947. It was to bridge the gulf between considerations of foreign policy and considerations of the military force which was to conduct external relations. Apparently, the U.S.A. had had no central authority that linked the organizations of the Military Services and the State Department. As a result, the government decided that in order to be successful in international affairs the two groups had to basically work together.

There was no indication that Johnson gave the subject of foreign policy much serious attention before 1964, until finally he had no other option. Americans were aware of this type of presidential leadership and apparently they were unhappy by this. Philip Geyelin, in his perceptive book of mid-1966, said of President Johnson that, political background, by temperament, by personal preference he was the riverboat man...a swash buckling master of the political midstream-but only in the crowded well-traveled familiar inland waterways of domestic politics (Roger 2001 12-37). He had no taste and scant preparation for the deep waters of foreign policy, for the sudden storms and unpredictable winds that can becalm or batter or blow off course the ocean-going man. He was king of the river and a stranger to the open sea.

Communist expansionist efforts would move toward a concentration on stimulating prolonged conspiracy and guerrilla warfare throughout the underdeveloped world (Kevin Laurie 2008 318-419). It appeared that the U.S. believed that military intervention was to stop the Communists who were professing radical doctrines which led to violent and dangerous activities. When Johnson took over office his principal foreign policy advisers were Kennedy men. [They] all carried in their veins the implicitly unlimited commitment to global struggle against Revolutionary Communism which had grown out of our total immersion in World War II...[hold the] view of what the world ought to be and of how it ought to be organized (Bruce 2008 45-199).

Advisors in the U.S. were convinced that the situation prevailing in Vietnam was not to be taken lightly since it resembled World War I & II. Dean Rusk's thesis stated that Communist China was promoting aggression in Vietnam, Asia seemed to be Europe and China seemed to be either Hitler Germany or Stalinist Russia.17 Johnson's response to this theory was, if we don't ...
Related Ads