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Wars Of National Liberation And The End Of Colonialism

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Wars of National Liberation and the End of Colonialism

National liberation is a concept that has been justly and unjustly idealized for many generations. Freedom and independence are rights that every person deserves, and, sadly enough, war is often the only means by which to obtain these basic human needs. Most Americans living today know close to nothing about dictatorships, tyranny and how many people don't have these rights, which most American people commonly ignore. National liberations are a defensive measure taken by people of a nation against an imperial power who have/are moving in on their nation. Oppressive regimes are generally the cause of a national liberation movement, Vietnam being a perfect example.

The Vietnamese people have been struggling for independence from France ever since the First Indochina War, which resulted in a temporary division of Vietnam into Northern and Southern sections. Northern Vietnam became controlled by Vietnamese Communists, opposing France, whose long term goals involved a unified communist rule of Vietnam. The United States did not favor this plan, in fact, it feared that Communism would gain popularity and eventually spread into all of Southeast Asia, a belief known as the "Domino Theory." U.S. troops were sent to South Vietnam to prevent the collapse of the government, but ultimately, this effort failed, and caused the death of 3.2 Vietnamese, 1.5-2 million Lao and Cambodians, and nearly 58,000 Americans.

In the beginning of the Vietnam war, the United States troops were only sent in to keep the South Vietnamese government from collapsing, but with the fall of Diem, the new ruler who had deposed Bao Dai, the former emperor, a more active involvement was required of the U.S. So under president Johnson, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) was formed, but was proven to be less and less effective against the National Liberation Front, the NLF. The NLF was assumed to be the communist in South Vietnam therefore the US took drastic measures to subdue this group.

For instance, In January 1963, 2,000 ARVN encountered a group of 350 NLF soldiers at a village called Ap Bac, south of Saigon in the Mekong River Delta. The U.S. was far better equipped and prepared, yet the losses suffered by the ARVN were over 20 times that of the NLF. Despite all this



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