«The Legacy of Vietnam» - Free Essay Paper

The Legacy of Vietnam

The final drama of America’s failed intervention in Vietnam foresaw a symbolic scene, when over the last three decades the last helicopter clattered away from the roof of the embassy in Saigon. For more than thirty years, the legacy of the Vietnam War and the various impacts it had on the politics of America and its society has been a subject of controversy and enduring fascination (Roper 38). The relevance of Vietnam as a reference point for culture is clearly seen in the context of the current debates over the ‘war of terror’ on America and the continuing war in Iraq.

Experienced soldiers often formed the forces that were sent to Vietnam. The ranks were, however, filled with thousands of young men through the progression of the war. Individuals from a lower socio-economic standards often comprised of the group of people sent to Vietnam. The notion that students were in a position to acquire deferments to avoid drifts, forms a tracing point of this fact.

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Various strategies applied in the war hampered the applied efforts. A small percentage of the militant sent to Vietnam comprised of the combat. Seasoned troops were replaced by new recruits. These recruits served for a period of one year in the Vietnam duty.

The costly and long military involvement in Indochina, that was also unsuccessful, has left most Americans in a dilemma, in relation to where they should clarify it. This is evident in the various decades that followed the departure of the last U.S. combat troops that departed from Vietnam in 1973. In addition, it is also evident after the fall of the Saigon. The fall was to the communists of the Vietnam forces that resided in the North during April 1975.

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The Vietnam War was a crime to some Americans. Those who perceived the war as a crime foresaw it as an attempt by the U.S. to suppress the Vietnamese national liberation movement. The movement had driven the France colonialism out of its country. Others perceived the war as being forfeit. They perceived it as being a form of war that policy makers lost. The policy makers were timid (West 101) and the media was biased. The war was a tragic mistake, especially to those who studied the subject on foreign affairs that the U.S. leaders brought. These leaders underestimated the pore that nationalism bound. They also exaggerated the influence of communism.

The fourth interpretation, which forms the recent form of interpretation, has emerged. The interpretation claims that since the war is a history, it is in a position to be dispassionately studied by scholars. Emerging strategies interpret the war in a wider international scope. This is the context that cold war lasted the period from the aftermath of the Second World War. From this war, the context goes on to argue that it lasted the period of the fall of Berlin war that transpired in 1989, in addition to the dissolution that happened in 1991. Therefore, from this point of view, a conclusion can be laid down to show that the Vietnam War was not a crime and neither was it a tragic mistake (West 125). The beginning and the end of the war did not attract a direct military conviction. This was different from both the first and the second world wars. However, cold war was indirectly fought through the usage of economic embargoes, propagandas and arms race. In the face of the three different forms of war that took place in Indo China, the Americans viewed the Vietnam War as the second one (Roper 56). There were shifts in the different enmity patterns and alliances during the cold war. This was through the intervention carried out by U.S. and the Republic of China.

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It cannot be proved if the people’s Liberation Army would have directly fought the U.S. troops if the United States had invaded the North of Vietnam. However, the depth that China had involved herself in the war lays a suggestion emphasis that the U.S. policy makers were prudent when they speculated that China would send troops to directly fight in Vietnam, as she had done in Korea.

Psychological Effects of the War

The communist party leadership of Vietnam is preoccupied by the conflict and war museums are routinely being shown to school children. However, despite the conflicting propaganda, individuals have little animosity towards the West or America (West 96). However, it is important to remember that a large percentage of the Vietnamese population has been born since (Roper 75) the US left in 1973. As such, they do not remember the American occupation. The most visible and lasting effects that the war has, is in the number of middle aged women who never married or the elderly widowed women.

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A deeper source of antagonism is in the continuing division that is evident between the North and the South. The predicted attack on the forces of the North attacking the South did not materialize and, therefore, formed a basis of relief for many.

An influencing factor on the failure of the U.S. in Vietnam was caused by the lack of support from the public. Johnson Broad was voted against by two congress members of the United States. This was in relation to granting him the relevant authority, necessary in waging war in Vietnam.


As a historical event, the war is an unchanging part of the past. It will continue to evolve symbolically, thus, reflecting on the values and priorities of later generations. Thus, forming my opinion, the war brought about a terrible experience for both sides. The lives of both the civilians and the troops were lost.

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The greatest effect that the war brought was on the American citizens. The people had portrayed a huge sense of distrust on the issue from its very commencement. An example is in the disaster that occurred in the State of Kent on National Guard shooting. This showed the feelings and attitudes of the people. Distrust between the government and the people was greatly invented.

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