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How useful are sources A to C in explaining why the United States became involved in the war in Vietnam?

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Introduction

How useful are sources A to C in explaining why the United States became involved in the war in Vietnam? In this essay I will assess the usefulness of sources A to C in determining the reasoning for American involvement in the Vietnamese war. Source A is reasonably useful in shoeing how the U.S government wanted the general public to view them and their reasoning for the country's actions in Vietnam. Although source A does not state to whom the speaker (President Linden Johnson) is addressing this information. However, the mere fact that it is Johnson speaking, influences the reader to assume that it an audience of the general public that he is talking to. The time upon which he gave this speech is also very significant, as it was April 1965, one month after major bombing operation "Rolling Thunder". This made the speech more significant as president Johnson was attempting to explain and justify the reasoning behind the major attacks that were taking place. ...read more.

Middle

This and other statements such as "I don't think it's worth fighting for. And I don't think we can get out," show that in may 1964 president Johnson was clearly against the war. Yet by the time of source A (approximately one year later) Johnson had ordered a mass "surgical" bombing of North Vietnam, named "Operation Rolling Thunder." Therefore by this point Johnson had either drastically altered his views on the war or had succumbed to the pressure of knowing how horrifically tainted the images of himself and his party would become if he ordered a mass withdrawal from Vietnam. It is safe to assume that the latter is correct, as Johnson talks about this pressure in source B saying "They'd bring a president down if he ran out wouldn't they?" This refers back to the reaction of the public and other politicians, which most likely be accusations of indecision towards his party (Democratic) on matters such as the involvement in Vietnam and the general "Containment" of communism. ...read more.

Conclusion

All these things contributed to the mass destruction of the South Vietnamese farms and forestation. This happened in America's desperation to locate the rebel militia the Vietcong, and stop the use of guerrilla tactics against largely unaware U.S troops. However in attempting this the U.S forces damaged much of the Vietnamese agricultural lifestyle. And on occasion, American soldiers in frustration in their inability to locate the Vietcong would burn down whole villages at the nearest suspicion that they were helping the Vietcong. Later in source C Chomsky talks of how "The U.S did not want and independent Vietnam..." He is saying that America did not want to allow Vietnam to decide their own future, and they did not want Vietnam to slip out of their strong Capitalist grip or "orbit." To conclude, I believe that source A is the most useful in showing the reasons for U.S involvement. As it show all the pressures Johnson was under. The pressure to keep "promises" and the pressure to contain communism and prevent the domino theory, But most of all it shows the lie that he was forced to tell the public simply because it was what they wanted to hear. ...read more.

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