In examining the United States' presence in Vietnam, I have come to the conclusion that the United States should not have fought in Vietnam.
"We fight because we must fight it [the Vietnam Conflict] if we are to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny. And only in such a world will our own freedom be finally secure" (1). Johnson's statement intended to stir up fervor for the 'cause' was nothing more than rhetoric and was far from the truth. To understand this claim, one must look back into the not so distant past. In 1954 Vietnam was given its independence from France. This country had for years been in internal conflict with a division between embracing Socialism in the north to favoring a democratic society in the southern part of the country.
During the ensuing years Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the Socialist movement in the country, was gaining popularity. The end of French colonialism in Vietnam led to the call for free elections by the Geneva Convention. The United States blocked that. Why - Quite simply because the United States knew that Ho Chi Minh would have won the free election and a Socialist leader would have established in the country. "In his memoirs, President Eisenhower explained honestly: In free elections, the socialist government of Ho Chi Minh would have won by an overwhelming margin" (Jensen, 1). Therefore, the war was not fought to defend freedom. The United States in blocking free elections in the country itself defiled freedom, merely because, in its opinion, the 'wrong' person would win the election.
The support from the White House in favor of America's entrance into the Vietnam conflict was based on deceit. As President Johnson, publicly stated the motives were altruistic in nature, "supporting freedom and free choice", and the American public, at the time, was willing to believe such. In truth, however, the motivation was not to defend freedom. It was a deliberate attempt to mislead the public because of one man's fear of appearing weak to the world. Johnson's own sense of righteousness led America into a war it neither wanted nor needed. This is exemplified in the following: "in 1964 between President Lyndon Johnson and Richard Russell, chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee. As Johnson's comment hints, ever since the United States had "lost" China to Communism in 1949, it was considered politically fatal to "lose" another country" (Schell, 8). President Johnson was not motivated to enter the war to defend freedom. He chose to enter the war because he did not want to appear weak before the world.
The Johnson Administration's decision to enter the war was politically motivated on two fronts, domestically and internationally. As I have shown, internationally, Johnson was concerned with his image as a world leader, but domestically as well, he was concerned with how the public would view his decisions and ultimately himself. This was exhibited not only prior to America's entrance into the war, but continued throughout Johnson's tenure as President. This was verbalized "in 1964 between President Lyndon Johnson and Richard Russell, chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee."I don't believe the American people ever want me to [abandon