Please give me your opinion on the war between the US and Vietnam

Jul 2019
102
Pale Blue Dot - Moonshine Quadrant
There is more American history with Ho Chi Minh than is usually considered. At the age of 21 in 1911, apparently limited by imperial French control of his homeland, he left from French-occupied Vietnam to see the world – which he did. He spent about eight years working and traveling, mostly as a cook or a baker, but also as a dishwasher. First in France, then the UK, then in the US before heading back to France. It is known that he worked at the Parker House Hotel in Boston during this period.

It’s not clear what he thought about the bitter party politics in Progressive Age America of that era, but he was apparently an admirer of American ideology – which had a better global reputation than it does today.

Despite the recently acquired Asian Empire, the U.S. whole narrative and reputation at the time was still one of resistance to a foreign tyrant — Great Britain. If any nation was a champion of other colonial underdogs like Vietnam, it was the United States, at least in the popular imagination.

Having returned to in Paris in 1918-19, Ho Chi Minh and other Vietnamese nationalists were encouraged by President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points as a basis for a peace settlement and one of those points was the principle of self-determination. They petitioned Wilson when he came to France for the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. They wanted help to get their freedom from France.

Unfortunately they were ignored. In truth, the idealism of Wilson's Fourteen Points was more in the President's mind than anywhere else.

Like other oppressed people frustrated with western imperialism, Ho Chi Minh was attracted to communist political ideology and became a communist in the 1920’s. When the Japanese occupied French Indochina during World War II, he again looked to America for help. It made sense. President Franklin Roosevelt had opposed Japanese expansion from the earliest days of his Presidency (he froze Japanese assets when Japan reached for Indochina resources) and FDR indulged in anti-colonial rhetoric as well. FDR died before it could be seen if his post-war policies would match his rhetoric.

Agents of the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services were parachuted into the jungles of North Vietnam in early 1945 to make contact with Ho Chi Minh.
Apparently, a U.S. medic actually helped nurse him back to health from dysentery and malaria. It seems that the initial US intelligence assessment of Ho Chi Minh was that he was more nationalist than communist and was thus an acceptable partner. So, the US provided him with weapons and training teams.

Ho Chi Minh's admiration for the basic U.S. principles was seen in the language he wrote in Vietnam’s declaration of independence, which he issued on Sept. 2, 1945, just as the Japanese empire was crumbling. The first line of that declaration is a direct quote from the American version: "All men are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

Maybe that could be integrated with pure communist political theory – but the practical application has proven to be a different matter, especially in its economic aspects. Maybe it was just to try and get more resources - I do not know.

After World War II, cooperation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union broke down over problems in Eastern Europe. The U.S., flush with victory over their own non-interventionists, worried about expanding communist influence, committed to Empire, and feeling wealthy, adopted a global financial and military resistance to communism everywhere and worried about the Domino Theory. At the same time under Presidents Truman and Eisenhower it inherited the residue of the British and French Empires – something the Ho Chi Minh naturally resisted.

Historian Carroll Quigley phrased the result this way:

Opposed to the French effort was Ho Chi Minh, a member of the French Communist Party since its founding in 1920, who had subsequently studied in Moscow and had been leader of the anti-colonial agitations of the Indochinese Communist Party since 1931. Ho had set up a coalition government under his Viet Minh Party and proclaimed independence for Vietnam (chiefly Tonkin and Annam) in 1945, while French troops, in a surprise coup, seized Saigon in the south. Unfortunately for Ho, he obtained no support from the Kremlin. The French Communist Party was at that time a major element in the French coalition government, with its leader, Maurice Thorez, holding the office of vice- premier. Stalin had no wish to jeopardize the Communist chances to take over France by his support for a remote and minor Communist like Ho Chi Minh. In fact, Thorez signed the order for military action against Ho's Republic of Vietnam. At first Ho sought support from the United States and from Chiang Kai-shek, but, after the establishment of Red China in 1949, he turned to that new Communist state for help. Mao's government was the first state to give Vietnam diplomatic recognition (January 1950), and at once began to send military supplies and guidance to Ho Chi Minh. Since the United States was granting extensive aid to France, the struggle in Vietnam thus became a struggle, through surrogates, between the United States and Red China. In world opinion this made the United States a defender of European imperialism against anti-colonial native nationalism.

John F. Kennedy struggled unsuccessfully with the American position in Vietnam (and sent “advisors”), and Lyndon Johnson fought America’s second undeclared war during the 1960’s.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,755
SoCal
Although I am not a fan of communism, but the outside powers have no right to divide Vietnam or even Korea artificially against the consent of the people.
TBH, I don't think that many South Koreans actually want to live under Nork rule right now.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,755
SoCal
From France, who never studied a lot this war:
US won all his battles, but the cost to pay was too high to stay there forever. The same than French in Algeria.
Southern Vienam army seemed corrupted with poor leadership.
North Vietnam weapons (rifles) were quite effective.
What made the Vietnam War difficult for the US was its unwillingness to invade North Vietnam and finish off the Vietnamese Communists. Of course, that carried a risk of a Chinese military intervention in order to help North Vietnam just like the Chinese previously militarily intervened in the Korean War in order to help North Korea and save North Korea from conquest and destruction.
 

M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,448
appalacian Mtns
" The AK47 is a great rifle for poorly trained soldiers, but it's far outclassed & outranged by the American M16 in the hands of a professional rifleman "

no ,.... the GI despised the "barbie gun " for good reasons , it was unreliable and lacked stopping power
those defects were sorted out afterward
but during the Vietnam war only a fool would prefer an M-16 to an AK or the excellent M-14

U.S. Commandos Had a Love Affair With Captured AK-47s

a few pictures
RPD Commando Vietnam | Loadouts | Vietnam, Vietnam war photos, Vietnam veterans

When the paratroopers of the Foreign legion 2nd Regiment jumped into combat over Kolwezi , they swapped their MAS 49/56 for AK as soon as they could

swapping weapons is an old tradition
here is a picture of a lieutenant of the Totempkopf waffen SS leading his men holding a PPsh 41 , It even had a commissary nomenclature and German manufactured spares
https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/l10AAOSwS-FdRa2m/s-l500.jpg

Soviet long distance scouts used the PM38 probably for its less intrusive sound and the easier sourcing of ammo
There will always be some that like the enemies weapons. I do agree that the M14 is an excellent rifle, but to heavy for jungle warfare. The M16s initial teething problems were quickly sorted out. As far as stopping power goes, M193 ball (makes pretty horrendous wounds, much more soo than 7.62X39 (AK47 ctg). The M16 is far more accurate & lighter than the AK47. The Soviets having observed the wounding effect of 5.56 ball came out with a very similar ctg the 5.45 AK 74 ctg.
 

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,856
India
TBH, I don't think that many South Koreans actually want to live under Nork rule right now.
Yes, I agree. its not about ideology, its the division of various countries like Germany, Korea or Vietnam against the wishes of the people and force them to fight to their own kith and kin.
 
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Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,736
Australia
Hi I'm Tan from Vietnam
I am working on a US-Vietnam war topic
Now that I do a survey, I need to know your opinion about the US-Vietnam war
I do not want to be limited by the historical knowledge from Vietnam education
I hope to find American soldiers who fought in Vietnam in this forum
---> Under each answer, please let me know your country <----
I am looking forward to your comments
Thank so much
I am Australian. I was in primary/high school during the Vietnam war. I remember seeing it on the TV news almost every night while I was growing up. I joined the Navy in 1974 and when I joined my first ship in 1975 many of my shipmates had served in Vietnam. Back then I had no idea of the politics behind the war however since then I have formed the opinion (with the benefit of hindsight) that our involvement was unnecessary and resulted in unnecessary division within Australian society. The military solution was not perused properly and our political rather than military defeat caused real problems later on with bogus 'refugees' flocking to Australia and causing problems that still resonate today.
 

Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,701
Eastern PA
From the US perspective, Vietnam was a hopeless tangle of conflicting objectives, agendas and constraints. But the greatest flaw, eclipsing every other issue was that the American's were supporting an unpopular, corrupt, ineffective S. Vietnamese government that actually only represented a minority, never controlled more than half the area of their nation and was never supported by more than about a third of the population. Consequently, the American military forces were not viewed as allies, rather they were considered foreign invaders by the majority of the people of the two Vietnams. This factor, combined with the willingness of the N. Vietnamese government to accept enormous casualties in pursuit of national reunification, ensured that the N. Vietnamese would prevail.
 
Sep 2014
939
Texas
it was a waste of lives....I still hate Johnson. My father came back a different man and technically I am a Viet Nam era veteran...women didn't have to go, but many young men I knew did, and they came back with broken bodies. I actually know the history of what led up to the war and America was an idiot. We tried to prop up the French and should have stayed out of that mess. Communism scared people but as we now see communism and socialism can not exist in a vacuum. I saw something where the leader of Viet Nam's son owns a nice island resort.
 
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