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Explain why the United States became increasingly involved in the war in Vietnam.

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Introduction

Assignment: Model B: Vietnam Q1/ Explain why the United States became increasingly involved in the war in Vietnam. There were a numerous amount of reasons for the US getting involved in Vietnam and then increasing its involvement. It first got involved to contain communism, a long-term cause of US involvement. They believed in the "domino theory" which stated that if Vietnam fell to communist rule, and then so would all of Indo-China. Therefore it decided to support South Vietnam financially and militarily and sent in 11,000 troops under Kennedy's presidency in December 1962. By 1965, 180,000 US troops were fighting in Vietnam - an increase of 169,000 troops in roughly 3 years! This figure increased further to 500,000 soldiers by 1968. Now that we know what happened, as historians we must ask ourselves why. I believe that the major reason for this was that the Americans underestimated the Viet Cong, supplied and supported by China and the Soviet Union, and were not ready or well trained enough to fight against them. I know this is true because the guerilla tactics used by the Viet Cong did not suit the American style of conventional warfare. ...read more.

Middle

It is an extract from a book, "Four Hours in My Lai", published in 1992. It is a secondary source, which means the writer has had insight into all the occurrences of the war and can use other resources and references to form his book or conclusions. He also had no wartime pressure and could write whatever he wanted. However, we are not given the whole book to see all his interpretations of problems faced by US troops and are only given this clip of information. Also, it is limited because My Lai is the focus of the book, so it does not show the whole picture of the Vietnam War. A British journalist who is using secondary sources to create his interpretation writes this source and he was not present in Vietnam. Therefore the source is limited as it does not show the whole picture or the full argument but only gives us one of many problems for the US. Despite the fact that I totally agree with the interpretation of the source, I feel that more information is needed to form a stable argument as to the problems faced, like photographs, newspaper articles, cartoons, extracts from encyclopedias and quotes made by various historians. ...read more.

Conclusion

There were Vietnamese people talking about how they saw their own sisters get raped and their relatives and friends were shot and their houses burnt to the ground in front of their eyes. So how would people living in the US knowing that their country is sending their friends and relatives to commit such atrocities react? This again acts as evidence as to why there were anti-war feelings throughout the globe. The source however is again limited because its focus is My Lai. Plus, we know from various sources that My Lai was hidden for a while and so the My Lai massacre would not have been the reason for anti-war movements in the US, but a reason for it. In conclusion, we can understand that the sources alone do not provide enough to explain the reasons for anti-war feeling in America. The sources show US atrocities and also US policies and lies which all draw the conclusion that the war was unjustifiable, but their limitations dhow us that more evidence is needed. Together they provide us with a clearer picture but I believe that more sources and more historical events, such as the Kent State University protest, should be cross-referenced to help us to understand why the US civilians felt the need to demonstrate their opinions by protesting. ...read more.

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