The Vietnam War was new ground for America in many ways. It was at the time, and still is to this day the most deadly war we have ever participated in with over 58,000 US Military casualties. The way this war was fought by American’s was new territory, facing guerrilla warfare and Vietcong tunnels and traps created much difficulty and altered the way we approached our attacks. America was forced to use what was known as the most heavy handed air attack ever on the Ho Chi Minh trail and adopt the use of chemical warfare such as napalm which was a chemical agent that would catch on fire on impact. This kind of war was nasty and gruesome, and is the only war to date in which the United States can’t claim victory.
In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson, after the assassination of Kennedy, asked congress to move forward with involvement in the Korean War. President Johnson was given approval by congress to take any action needed to stop any aggression towards America. This approval of this was known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution after Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked US Naval ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. On March 6, 1965 troops landed on the northern coast of South Vietnam to aid in the war against the spread of communism.
During the first part of the Vietnam War, the Men of the United States were asked to fight for our country in this fight against communism, and all were expected to help except for men with families or those who were going to college. Those particular men were offered pardons to not fight in the war. Going to war with Vietnam was not something that everyone supported, in the 1960’s young people and civil rights minded populations were responsible for a large group of anti-war activist.
The time frame on the Vietnam War seemed to be a particularly interesting one to me. I understand why we as a country went to war; the stopping of the spread of communism was a very important factor in the mid 1900’s. I however find myself to be one who during this time frame would have been an anti-war activist. The act of going to war for others interests, pouring money and lives towards a cause that was simply act of fear for the domino effect of communism. The stories I have heard in the past of people such as Muhammed Ali being incarcerated for refusing to go to war is something to me that seems appalling. As much of a piece of history as the Vietnam War was to America, I think the two most important things that came out of this particular war were anti-war activism and the War Powers Resolution. I believe no single man should have the authority to take a country to war, and the War Powers Resolution was indeed an act that needed to be followed through on during the Vietnam War when presidents were acting out militaristic actions based on saving face and stopping communism.