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Causes and Impacts of the Vietnam War

1188 words (5 pages) Essay in History

18/05/20 History Reference this

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During the Vietnam War we must not forget the fact that roughly 5.7 million lives was lost.  Just in our United States military we lost around 59,000. During the war, there were two different sides which included the North and the South.  This was lasted for an extremely long time.  It is estimated that the war lasted from November 1955 to around April 1975.  This war had the South Vietnam and the United States to fight against North Vietnam which had the support of the China and the Soviet Union.

 In 1959, the Vietcong proclaimed they were stronger than South Vietnam due to they believe they had wicked commanders from high class families.  In May of 1959 the North Vietnamese began construction a route from Cambodia and Laos to South Vietnam in hopes of supporting the guerrilla attacks.  Around July of 1959, the first of many soldiers were killed in South Vietnam due the guerrillas attacked the villages near Saigon.  In 1960 our own U.S. military began training and learning new war tactics in efforts to ready for anything that came their way.  We were also provided with weapons to be better equip to defend our territory.  Then came the attack on our USS Maddox in 1964 by the North Vietnam Army.  With the attack, the U.S. declared war and sent it troops to fight and defend.  The U.S. main goal here was to create as many deaths and casualties as they could.  They wanted to wear down their enemies and force them to surrender.

 From 1961-1971 the US created history by using Agent Orange as a weapon.  The “orange agent”, the main defoliant used in Vietnam, had a high dioxin content, which resulted in the direct death of numerous wild or domestic animals and very serious effects on the health of farmers who have spread to the present through congenital deformations in their descendants.
Antipersonnel mines cause the death of large animals (bears have been documented in Croatia) and, when accidentally exploded, cause damage to surrounding soils and plants although these damages are very limited. On the other hand, by eliminating human stressors from large areas, they allow the environment to be governed by natural laws and make possible the conservation or regeneration of local ecosystems. In some areas of the world, the best representations of “natural” environments coincide today with mined areas.

Agent Orange is a chemical weapon used to kill more than 400,000 people.  The Agent Orange chemical was made from 2.4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2, 4, 5 trichlorophenoxyacetic acid.   The effects also spread to children with the numbers totaling over 500,000 born with birth defects and at least 1 million people who suffered from other serious health problems.  Reports has stated to believe that the US used more than 80,000 million liters of herbicides.  Often the US had to respray the herbicide to be effective.  They used backpacks to carry on the boat and sprayed the herbicide along the banks of the river.  They used aircrafts as well to deploy the chemicals.  This health crisis was caused by the herbicide and defoliant in the chemical.  The US never gave any compensation to the Vietnamese for their actions.  It has been well documented that 50 years later after they stopped spraying, there are still highly toxic remains of the defoliant in soils and sediments, from which they enter the food chain.

In 1965, is where that American and the Vietcong began The Battle of the Drag Valley.  The U.S. deployed and air strike which proved to be very effective in which to be victorious for the United States. During the airstrikes, we used B-52’s that could carry up to about 10,000 kilos of bombs that was directed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.  With the U.S. performing air strikes, the Vietcong began building and using tunnels to strike.  There were two notable fights that come to mention which was the war with the green berets and the second was the Tet offensive launch.  The battle with the green berets lasted for approximately 77 days.  The Tet offensive launch in the South Vietnamese land was a devastating loss for the North Vietnamese and guerrilla forces.  This battle was named the Battle of Hue which lasted from 1969 to approximately 1972.  It has been noted on record to be the bloodiest and longest fight that spread through Laos and Cambodia.  There were a lot of bombings in this territory.

 In 1968 the U.S. was led by President Richard Nixon.  Nixon wanted the war to end and by 1969 to 1972 he began pulling back the troops in South Vietnam.  However, he did keep the air forces ready as most of the ground troops were sent back home.  With this war starting to come to end, there were about 60,000 North Americans killed, 1 million North Vietnamese and Vietcong, 2.5 million killed in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, and 250,000 South Vietnamese.

 Around 1975 the Vietnam War came to an end with the North defeating the South and the U.S. began returning troops home.  The liberation of Saigon which is now called Ho Chi Minh City began the reunification process from the country.  It is well know that the U.S. air strikes was the largest in the military history when it comes to bombings.  During the attacks, the US Air Force used 8 million tons of explosives.  The only other bombings that were close were in World War II but Vietnam had almost tripled that amount.  During the end of the war many fled by boats to safer countries.  It is estimated close to 800,000 people fled. The people were called boat people.  More than half of them came to the United States and the others went to France, Canada, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

 Often we tend to forget the effects that war causes on our country.  There are so many deaths associated with our military trying to defend our country.  Many families have been affected.  There has been many husbands and wives that go to war only to be killed in the line of duty.  Even though death is a part of defending the country it still is something that is hard to come to grips with.  In Vietnam, we lost a great deal of military and civilian personnel.  We will be forever grateful to the men and women whom had served.

Works Cited

  • Appy, Christian G. “Last Days in Vietnam.” Journal of American History, vol. 102, no. 3, 2015, pp. 968-970.
  • Cirafici, John, U.S.A.F. “The Vietnam War: An Intimate History.” Air Power History Spring 2018: 57-8. ProQuest. Web. 29 Aug. 2018.
  • Frankum, Ronald B. Nixon and the American Failure in Vietnam. vol. 47, Center for the Study of the Presidency, Washington, 2017.
  • Schuler, Paul. Vietnam 1946: How the War Began. vol. 14, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2014.
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