Why Did the US Get Involved In the Vietnam War
Sources A-C gives us some insight into why the USA fought and got involved in Vietnam and reveals a number of reasons about Vietnam. I shall be reviewing each source from which I have stated above. Sources A, B and C.
Source A is a primary public speech made by President Johnson (Lyndon Baines Johnson) in April 1965 just one month after the start of ‘Operation Rolling Thunder’ helping to stop communism according to the provenance. In the speech Johnson is stating in the source, I quote “We fight in Vietnam because we have a promise to keep”. By this statement indeed Johnson did want his opinions to be heard and notified by his fellow American citizens, so they shall believe every word that comes out of Johnson’s mouth.
This was due to a promise being made by President Eisenhower when he was elected president in the year of 1953. Lyndon Johnson wishes all the Americans to trust in what he is saying to be 100% truthful and is trying to carry on regarding the promise made by Eisenhower and earn everyone’s respect. The ‘Truman Doctrine’ was also mentioned about. This is a list of every American President who had been elected in year 1948 to agree with a various amount of promises which they written then had to sign. Truman Doctrine was a promise they were fighting for “promised to help when there are any threats of communism”. So Johnson decided he wanted to do the same thing, so he signed and agreed once president.
In the year of 1954, President Eisenhower and JFK started transporting “advisers” as the first president Kennedy would have wanted. From the tone of Johnson’s words in the speech, you can tell he jus maybe talking in a religious manner and might even be a religious person within the speech.
President Lyndon Johnson wants to reassure every single American citizen about the “Domino Theory”. This was a theory of a mid-20th century foreign policy theory. The title ‘Domino’ is given to this theory because it can end up like a stack of dominos. This is because if you let one country fall to communism then each over country around that county would then soon follow falling one to another and become communism itself and Johnson was petrified of this happening. Lyndon Johnson is trying to make everyone go and fight in the Vietnam War. As most of the American citizens believed this is what would eventually happen if just one country did fall to communism and it’s why Johnson is trying to justify himself.
In the year of 1945 nearly all of all the American leaders all offered to help and give their own support of the Vietnam War. President Eisenhower was a well respected and great general of the war. There was one thing which was expected to be achieved or aimed said by President Johnson in the speech, I quote
“the independence of the South and the freedom of the people of South Vietnam to guide their own country in their own way’.
The Americans also think that they’re available to strengthen “world order” because the U.S.A as democratic wanting to stop communism. Although there were two countries that relied on the Americans if they were at any point attacked which were ‘Thailand’ and ‘Berlin’. If Vietnam was left to fight for itself, then it would increasingly look terrible on some of the promises which the Americans agreed with, due to American’s believing it was their duty and their own right to fight for Vietnam. Johnson implied, I quote “to leave Vietnam to its fate would shake the value of an American commitment and in the value of America’s word. The result would be instability and unrest, and even wider war”.
I could say this source is being very biased, due to because Johnson is only giving his own opinion on what the American citizens want to hear, whilst he is keeping his real thoughts inside and not expressing his personal opinions. The source can be seen quite useful, but has limitations, as I have stated, it’s a public speech where Johnson isn’t really voicing his truths about what he thinks of Vietnam. To look at Johnson’s person views, then I can begin to study source B.
Source B is a private primary speech made by President Johnson in May 1964 according to the provenance. At this point in time, Lyndon Baines Johnson was only just elected president. With Johnson being V.P. (Vice President) he knew a lot regarding Vietnam and knew how everything worked. Lyndon Johnson became the thirty-seventh Vice President in the years from and to 1963-1965. Johnson was one of the major leaders of the ‘Democratic Party’. Also Lyndon Johnson was the one who were in charge of creating the “Great Society”.
President Lyndon Baines in this private speech is discussing a number of things which includes criticizing most of his very own American citizens. I quote “I don’t think the people of our country know much about Vietnam, and I think we care a hell of a lot less”. From Johnson stating these words, he is blatantly calling most of the American citizens dumb, thick and lack of knowledge about the Vietnam. With Johnson saying this, he has a very low profile on the American citizens and implies that the U.S.A cannot win the war.
In public no-one would use the word “hell” like Johnson did in the speech, due to it being a southern religious Texan society which always stayed faithful and don’t appreciate foul language such as swearing. Speaking in Private Johnson doesn’t care what he is implying and doesn’t have to bite his tongue to try and stop himself from voicing his very own opinions like he does when speaking out in public. As Johnson knows that none of the American citizens shall hear what he really thinks about them.
In this source President Johnson is really voicing his opinions. You know this by Johnson saying, I quote “I don’t think we can fight them ten thousand miles away from home, I don’t think it’s worth fighting for. What the hell is Vietnam worth to me?” Johnson is agreeing that the U.S.A need to stand up to communism, as Johnson is terrified of communism. Although, he is trying to get his personal views across which is stating Vietnam is not worth anything at all. It’s like Lyndon Johnson isn’t really concerned and couldn’t care less about his people and about the Vietnam War.
It’s showing us that Johnson is scared and has fears of communism taking over the world as states and that the political consideration “Let’s move on, let’s go into the North” are just being selfish.
We have to be very suspicious within this speech, as it hasn’t been edited or tampered with and indeed if it’s all whole trustworthy. Possibly was it taped? As it has been to believed that since President Johnson been president in the white house his office was monitored by everything that had been said by recorders. But is this really reliable and exactly what U.S.A. President Lyndon Baines Johnson really said? As I have stated before it can be edited in various ways making things sound different from what has actually been said, which could make this source a limitation.
Source C is a secondary speech of a modern writer interview with Professor Noam Chomsky, an American critic of the war in October 1982 according to the provenance underneath the extract. The interview is talking about political reasons of the U.S.A and how they went to war which was to dominate Vietnam. Also to discontinue South Vietnam from independence and indeed there was an attack on South Vietnam from the U.S.A. Professor Noam Chomsky says, I quote, “The U.S. did not want an independent South Vietnam that was no longer dominated by America. It feared that South Vietnam might be able to reform and improve itself – develop it’s economy- and that might work”.
Chomsky is being biased due to him being an anti-American, and is therefore being biased towards the American country.
To sum up the conclusion of sources A-C all have value and limitations. In my view source B is most useful as it’s a private speech where Johnson is criticizing most of his own American citizens by using negative comments and is saying what he really thinks about Vietnam along with the citizens plus America. Once this private speech with Johnson’s personal opinions and views about Vietnam, the tape was then exposed to everyone. Therefore source B is definitely the most useful out of them all.