direct U.S. military participation in The Vietnam War, the nation's
longest, cost fifty-eight thousand American lives. Only the Civil War
and the two world wars were deadlier for Americans. During the decade
of Vietnam beginning in 1964, the U.S Treasury spent over $140 billion
on the war, enough money to fund urban renewal projects in every major
American city. Despite these enormous costs and their accompanying
public and private trauma for the American people, the United States
failed, for thefirst time in its history, to achieve its stated war
aims. The goal was to preserve a separate, independent, noncommunist
government in South Vietnam, but after April 1975, the communist
Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) ruled the entire nation.
The initial reasons for U.S. involvement in Vietnam seemed logical and
compelling to American leaders. Following its success in World War II,
the United States faced the future with a sense of moral rectitude and
material confidence. From Washington's perspective, the principal
threat to U.S. security and world peace was monolithic, dictatorial
communism emanating from he Soviet Union. Any communist anywhere, at
home or abroad, was, by definition, and enemy of the United States.
Drawing an analogy with the unsuccessful appeasement of fascist
dictators before World War II, the Truman administration believed that
any sign of communist aggression must be met quickly and forcefully by
the United States and its allies. This reactive policy was known as
In Vietnam the target of containment was Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh
front he had created in 1941. Ho and his chief lieutenants were
communists with long-standing connections to the Soviet Union. They
were also ardent Vietnamese nationalists who foughtfirst to rid their
country of the Japanese and then, after 1945, to prevent France from
reestablishing its form…

The Vietnam War began in 1959 and ended in 1975. In the beginning the Communist guerrillas, Vietcong, from the South worked with the Communist forces of North Vietnam in an attempt to overthrow the government of South Vietnam. This struggle eventually grew into a civil war, and by the time it was over it had become a
conflict of international proportions.
In 1945, shortly after Japan had surrendered to the Allies, Vietminh guerrillas seized the capital city of Hanoi and forced Emperor Bao Dai to abdicate. They proceeded to declare Vietnam independent and announced the creation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam or North Vietnam.
France officially recognized North Vietnam as a new state, but the inability of the two countries to agree on certain economic and political polices led to armed conflict in early December of 1946. As a result of this conflict, the French helped Bao Dai set up the state of Vietnam or South Vietnam, where they establish the new capital of Saigon.
During the following year the US recognized South Vietnam and the Saigon government.President Truman attempted to help South Vietnam, by training them in the use of our weapons.
In the following years, both the Vietminh and the French, Vietnam’s main rivals,
were building up their military forces. Thefirst attack came in the spring of 1954,
Vietminh attacked the French fortress Dien Bien Phu in North Vietnam. After a 55-day siege the French surrendered.
On the same day that the French surrendered, North and South Vietnam met with
France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, US, Communist China, Laos and Cambodia in Geneva to discuss the future of;Indochina;. France and North Vietnam agreed to a truce. They agreed to temporarily split the country of Vietnam into North and South. The
North would go to the communist and the Saigon government would control the South. The agreement was made under the condition that elections would be held …