Analysis of America's Longest War: the United States in Vietnam

1873 words 8 pages
The reports in this novel are prefaced with a quote by Robert Shaplen, which sums up the feelings of those Americans involved in the Vietnam conflict. He states, "Vietnam, Vietnam . . .. There are no sure answers." In this novel, the author gives a detailed historical account of the happenings in Vietnam between 1950 and 1975. He successfully reports the confusing nature, proximity to the present and the emotions that still surround the conflict in Vietnam. In his journey through the years that America was involved in the Vietnam conflict, Herring "seeks to integrate military, diplomatic, and political factors in such a way as to clarify America's involvement and ultimate failure in Vietnam."
<br>Herring begins his account with a
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When he was done with his terms as President, John F. Kennedy assumed power, only to face the ultimate failure in Vietnam. As the new president, John F. Kennedy had to choose between abandoning what he had called "our offspring" and significantly increasing the American commitment in Vietnam.
<br>Herring moves forward with Kennedy's belief that America's survival depended on its ability to defend "Free" institutions. Herring quotes Kennedy as saying, "Our problems are critical. The tide is unfavorable. The news will be worse before it is better"(81). This was the theme that surrounded Kennedy throughout the 1960 campaign, and it set the tone for his administration. As reported in this novel, it seems as though Kennedy was not prepared for the problems that he inherited. In the summer of 1961, some of Kennedy's advisors pressed for escalation in Vietnam, however; Kennedy remained cautious. Therefore, he opted for the safe, middle of the road approach. This did not last for long though, and in 1961 instituting their new partnership, the United States and Diem "entangled themselves more tightly in their fateful web"(94).
<br>Their differences placed on the backburner, the United States and South Vietnam launched a two-pronged plan to contain the insurgency. Supported by an large increase in supplies and advisors from the US, the South Vietnamese army took the offensive against the guerrillas of the Vietminh. During this time, the