The Vietnam War is one of the most disgraceful periods in American history. Not only did an almost third-world nation best the greatest superpower in the world, but also the loss was a great one. Perhaps this war could have been won, or even prevented in the first place. The United States could have and should have won this war, with a combination of better weapons usage, better tactics, and better support from their home country.
Even years before the war, Vietnam was a hotly disputed territory. Many countries had taken Vietnam over, and after World War II, Vietnam was in the hands of France. Obviously, the Vietnamese wanted their own country, and their long history of being a colony prompted the oppressed people to fight for their independence in the French-Indochina war (Gregory 83). .
Ho Chi Min, a leader of the Communist party, organized the Vietnamese independence movement, Viet Minh. Asking for support from America first, Ho Chi Min did not want to have to turn to communist support for the freedom of his people (Gregory 114). Since the United States viewed helping Ho gain his independence from France as a move against their own allies, they declined. It was only after Russia and China offered to help that Ho adopted communist ideals and wanted to make all of Vietnam communist (McNamara 37).
The Vietnam war started simply because Ho Chi Min and his communist supporters wanted South Vietnam to become communist after the South split off in 1954 to become its own democratic nation (Gregory 115). The United States saw this as a threat to democracy, and using the Domino theory, successfully threw the U.S. into the one of the worst wars it has ever seen (Brooks 30).
If only the United States had looked past its petty alliances and helped another country gain its independence like we had gained ours so many years ago, this war would have been completely avoided. Unfortunately for the families of over 64,000 soldiers, it wasn't (Lomperis 64).