The Vietnam War, the nations longest war, cost fifty-eight thousand American lives. Only the Civil War and the two World Wars were deadlier ("Vietnam War-). The U.S. Treasury spent over $140 billion on the war, enough money to fund urban renewal projects in every major American city ("Vietnam War-). The initial reasons for U.S. involvement in Vietnam seemed logical and compelling to American leaders. Following its success in WWII, the U.S. faced the future with a sense of moral rectitude and material confidence ("Vietnam War-). There were actually two phases of the War. During the first phase, which began in 1946, the Vietnamese fought France for control of Vietnam. At that time, Vietnam was part of the colony of French Indochina (Pike 373). The Vietnam War was actually the second phase of fighting in Vietnam (373). With everything going on in Vietnam and the United States, everything was falling apart including the governments, moral issues, and the cities. The fight for the U.S. was led by many famous American presidents, five to be exact. The aftermath and turmoil of this war was a catastrophe, considering Vietnam still became a Communist country.
How did the war start? Well, the French wanted colonialism throughout Vietnam. North Vietnam wanted a communist country and South wanted a non-communist - pro-American government. America just favored Vietnam's independence and supported South Vietnam, surprising Ho Chi Minh [leader of the North] ("Vietnam War-). The United States aid to France and later non-communist South Vietnam was based on a policy of President Harry S. Truman. He had declared that the U.S. must help any nation threatened by Communists (Pike 373). President Dwight D. Eisenhower increased the level of aid, about $2 ½ billion worth, just to get defeated by the Vietminh in the famous battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 (Seah 24). The U.S. had a great deal of difficulty in holding the army together in South Vietnam and saw only one solution, that was to start taking care of things for themselves ("War in Vietnam-).