• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How useful are Sources A to C to explain why the United States became involved in Vietnam

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How useful are Sources A to C to explain why the United States became involved in Vietnam? All 3 sources give different point of view on why America entered the war in Vietnam and they all have value, however there are limitations as well. Together they help us to explain why America got involved in the war. Source A is an extract of a speech made by President Johnson a month after Operation Rolling Thunder therefore it is a contemporary source. Because of this, the source is more than likely to be bias as Johnson has already made his decision about Vietnam therefore he is going to be defending that decision. Johnson is addressing the public thus the speech becomes rhetoric and persuasive. This is a limitation and does not provide accurate understanding. Johnson is speaking to defend his actions and this is clear from the content of the source. He talks about an 'Even wider war' which links in with the domino theory and the spread of communism to neighbouring countries of Vietnam. We know that free elections were not allowed in South Vietnam however Johnson says one of their objectives was 'freedom of the people,' this was clearly not one of them. ...read more.

Middle

President Johnson doesn't mention why he wants to 'contain' Communism and why he does not like this system, which is partly because it means that the country cannot be as productive. In addition, he does not mention the Truman Doctrine or what his opinions are on it when he explains the only reasons they should go into war. This makes it less useful because historians will not be able to see whether Johnson thought it was worth sending supplies into Vietnam, because from what he says, he does not appear to think that Vietnam is a worthwhile country to get involved with. Johnson does not explain how he would feel about going into war against Vietnam if the Vietnamese caused a threat to America, other than the spread of Communism, like they did in the Gulf of Tonkin. Therefore, historians cannot justify whether he is saying Vietnam is not worth fighting for because they have been no real threat to America yet and whether he would actually change his mind if they became a threat. Johnson does not comment on why the public and politicians agree to get involved in Vietnam, which makes this statement less reliable because there is no evidence to back up this point. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, historians don't know what he is a professor of, and he could be a Professor of Science for example. Therefore he may not have studied the war in great depth, which makes the source slightly less trustworthy, and many US intellectuals were opposed to the war anyway so this source will not be as useful, as he will be making the same points as a lot of other US intellectuals. The source is trustworthy because Chomsky would have had access to more sources due to the interview being after the war. He will have been able to look at sources like a private conversation President Johnson was having, as well as photos of the destruction that was caused to South Vietnam. However Chomsky is anti-war and is known to be an extreme radical. Chomsky refers to these sources as being 'official' and includes quotes around the word, which might suggest they are not. Nevertheless there is same justification in believing that the USA were not just defending the South Vietnamese against communism but protecting its own interests in the Far East. Chomsky states 'The U.S. did not want an independent South Vietnam.' This is justified by the fact that South Vietnam did not have free elections. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Cross-referencing of Sources (3.3.2) Vietnam

    There seems little reason to disbelieve what they are saying. This source may be reliable because they seem to want to tell it how it really was. This source could be reliable because they were admitting that what they did wrong wrong.

  2. Do the Writings of Clausewitz have contemporary relevance?

    I feel that the following quote sums up nicely the relevance of Clausewitz to this day: "Of course not all of Clausewitz's military thought has remained relevant. His vision of war did not include its economic, air, sea and space dimensions for example.

  1. Why Did the United States of America Become Involved In Vietnam?

    then this would shake the value of an American commitment and in the value of an American word. Also the battle would become renewed in one country and then another, this referring to the domino theory, from President Eisen Hower, the Americans want to stay in south East Asia as the Americans did in Europe.

  2. I will be looking at how the U.S became increasingly involved Vietnam, the problems ...

    that they had to keep increasing the amount of troops, money and firepower they were putting into war so they could destroy the communists. The USA was also fighting against it's own people - the protestors. The US government had to increase involvement so they could get a result and

  1. How Useful are Sources A to C to Explain Why the United States Became ...

    However, the source also has its limitations, as the speech was spoken by President Johnson and so is going to be biased in order to get all of the American public to support his ideas. President Johnson is talking to the public and as a result of this is going

  2. How useful are sources A to C to explain why the United States became ...

    The aggressive momentum of this expansion of Communism in Europe and Asia echoed the swift and steady progress Nazi Germany had achieved just years earlier, first with its conquest of Poland, followed rapidly by conquests of Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.

  1. Coursework on discussing whether television was an important reason why the United States lost ...

    The USA would use cluster bombs (the Vietnam gave them the name mother bombs) they exploded in the air and released 600 smaller ones when they hit the ground and exploded into metal pellets which would wound people. Eventually the USA went on to using fibre glass so it would not be detected by X-ray.

  2. History Coursework - How useful are sources A, B and C in explaining why ...

    I believe it could be unreliable because in most cases speeches are not written by the speakers but by somebody who is specifically employed to do this. This means that what we are being told is not necessarily true as the messages being conveyed are probably not the presidents actual feelings.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work