American Involvement In Vietnam War

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Beginning around 1876, the French occupied Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, naming it “French Indochine Française” or French Indochina. However, one year into World War II, France fell to Nazi Germany, spiraling into a perfect series of events that led the “age of decolonization” (Fogarty). Ho Chi Minh, a communist/nationalist revolutionary leader, declared Vietnam an independent nation after Japan collapsed in the WWII in 1945. His brother, General Vo Nguyen Giap, won the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 that drove the French out of Vietnam. The following Geneva Conference was an attempt to settle the dispute similar to Korea. By splitting Vietnam at the 17th parallel, they hoped they could achieve temporary peace. Active American involvement …show more content…

He wrote the names of the deceased and how they died in battle in large books, and at the end of the day he would write the total body count on Colonel Wheeler's scoreboard. The dedication to body count would get out of hand, as seen by Captain Anderson ordering Viet Cong bodies to be left out for days as proof of productivity in the war. The effects of hearing endless names and seeing countless dead bodies made him hallucinate: “Asleep and dreaming, I saw dead men living; awake, I saw living men dead” (Caputo 201). The body count and loss of close friends had many soldiers on edge, quick to find a scapegoat, and when Chaplain Ryerson confronted Caputo during an evening meal, Caputo noted that Ryerson’s tone sounded accusing, as if Caputo was the reason for all of those deaths. Ron Carver, a peace activist, states that “It was part of the culture of the war that had been created and fostered and was largely a product of the Pentagon's insistence on high body counts in order to justify their continued war effort…” (Goodman). This idea is reinforced by Captain Neal’s new rule: “any marine in the company who killed a confirmed Viet Cong would be given an extra beer ration and the time to drink it” (Caputo 309). Soldiers inevitably became increasingly on edge and further desensitized their feelings toward death, and McKenna admits that “the thing that bothers me about killing her is that it doesn’t bother …show more content…

Caputo regrets not making room in his bags for books because there were so many hours of waiting that he spent bored. Punaro felt cut off from “the real world”, he lost track of time and the jungle became a surreal setting. Caputo would routinely talk about him and others losing track of time after attacks, making remarks about how it felt longer than it actually was. Punaro talked about the many funerals he has had to attend due to the effects of Agent Orange, a herbicide used to eliminate forest cover, on fellow soldiers, which Caputo never seemed to mention. At night, soldiers would sleep in foxholes filled with orange water. Punaro and other soldiers had no idea as to why the water was orange. Ultimately, the abundance of obstacles in the war are all commonly reported by other veterans and historians. Historians, however, do not focus on how these factors hurt their bodies, they study how it affected their

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