ctsy Arlington National Cemetery


The long conflict between France and Vietnam came to an abrupt end in July, 1954, when the French were soundly defeated at Dien Bien Phu. The United States felt it was there duty to interfere in the Geneva accords to reunify the war torn country. President Eisenhower created a Government of South Vietnam. Controversial from the start, the U.S. intervention accelerated when in 1961 President Kennedy sent "advisers" to straighten things out. The U.S. involvement was doomed from the start. Buddhist Monks staged massive protests, President Diem and his brother were assassinated, and President Kennedy himself was assassinated. At that time there were 16,000 "advisers" in Vietnam. With the bungled handling of the situation by President Johnson and Sec. of Defense Robert McNamara conditions continued to deteriorate. Next came the controversial Gulf of Tonkin incident. McNamara advised President Johnson that we could send 30,000 troops and the war would be over in 30 days. With no clearly defined objectives, in 1965 Johnson sent the first combat troops to Vietnam. This was the beginning of the end. American anti-war sentiment erupted with the entire country against our intervention in Vietnam. Eventually American troops were defeated badly in the Tet Offensive and a disgraced Lyndon Johnson declared he would press the communist to end the war. President Nixon actually expanded the war into Laos and Cambodia and increased the bombing. In the meantime campus protests over our staggering losses were having a terrible effect on our country. On April 30, 1975, communist forces captured the Presidential Palace in Saigon, and the war ended. In 1978 Vietnam invaded Cambodia defeating the Khmer Rouge. In Nov. 11, 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, "The Wall", was dedicated.

The war tore our nation apart. Was it worth losing 58,202 good men? Does anyone know what our policy was? Most Americans and 82% of Vietnam combat veterans strongly believe the war was lost because of lack of political will.

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