The Vietnam War was never, at any stage of the conflict, popular with the American public and, indeed, the strikes and protests against this war are as much a part of US history as is the war itself. Given the undeniable unpopularity of the war, one can only assume that the United States' leadership had a rationale for involvement in this conflict. Accordingly, in order to arrive at an objective conclusion regarding the United States' involvement in this war, the political and historical context of the conflict shall be considered, following which the two alternate points of view shall be presented for determination of their respective strengths and weakness.
The Vietnam War has its roots in the Viet Minh's struggle for the independence of Vietnam from Japanese control during the Second World War. The leader of this struggle, Ho Chi Minh, was a communist national who, although independent of USSR control, maintained friendly and cooperative relations with Moscow. Despite alliance with the Soviet Union, however, the United States actively supported Ho Chi Minh's bid for independence and, in assertion and affirmation of its support, the United States even trained Ho Chi Minh's guerilla fighters, preparing them for the seizure of their country and the declaration of Vietnam independence following World War II.
Following Following the surrender of the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II, several factions emerged, demanding control over an independent Vietnam. The Japanese, however, awarded the Viet Minh control over the country and, on 2 September 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared his country's independence from French colonialism, expressing his confidence and hope in US support. There were several reasons for Ho Chi Minh's confidence. The first was the support which the United States had extended him in the training of Viet Minh guerillas. The second was the United States' opposition to European colonialism and support for independence. In other words, there was a string foundation for Ho Chi Minh's belief that the United States would support his government.
The United States' international relations' priorities and agenda, however, underwent a significant shift following World War II and it did not support the Viet Minh. The Cold War had begun and the United States, who perceived of the world as being divided into two camps, the communist and the capitalist camps, was determined to curb the power of the Soviet Union. It saw the Soviet Union as a real threat to the West, to the United States and was utterly convinced that should it allow Vietnam to fall to communism, it would be directly contributing to the growth of Soviet Union and would be facilitating the domino effect, wherein one country after the other would fall to communism. The United States did not simply change its strategy vis--vis Vietnam and its earlier support of Ho Chi Minh, but went to war in order to ensure that Vietnam did not fall to communism, hence Soviet influence.
Leadership of Vietnam became indeterminate. The United States was opposed to ho Chi Minh and Moscow supported him. Eventually, in the Geneva Conference of 1954, the country was partitioned until such a time hen national elections could be held and decides upon leadership. The United States chose Ngo Dinh Diem, an avowed anti-communist as the leader of