This paper posits to address the issues surrounding the Vietnam War during the reign of John F. Kennedy. Much of the information has been derived from a careful review of the available literature that has been written on the same field. To support this information, it has been imperative to conduct a research that brings about the first hand information on the same issue.

Research questions

v  What caused the Vietnam War?

v  What happens during the time of John F. Kennedy presidency during the war?

v  What was the outcome of the war?


Vietnam War involved was a military conflict in form of a cold war which took place in Vietnam between the years 1955 to 1975. The participants in the war were North Vietnam with some significant support from their communists' allies against the South Vietnam government who had the support of the United States together with the rest of the anti-Communists countries.

According to the perception of the government of the United States, the war was taken as an avenue of blocking a communist takeover in the South Vietnam along with the containment strategy. On the other hand, the perception of the North Vietnam in as far as the war was concerned was that one of colonial war whose first culprit was France with a backing of the United States and consequently against the South Vietnam which is also the puppet state of the United States. The arrival of the military advisors from the United States side was documented in 1950, with a further escalation of the involvement of the United States in the early stages of 1960. The levels of the United States troops tripled in 1961 and tripled for another time in 1962. And in the year 1965, the combat units from the United States were deployed (Gibbons, 2003).

Literature review

One of the presidents in office during the time of the Vietnam war was John F. Kennedy and in 1961, a new team was deployed by John F. Kennedy to accomplish the investigations of the conditions that prevailed in the South Vietnam, an investigation that was called the "December 1961 White Papers". The contents in the "December 1961 White Papers" were some humble requests for additional aid to Vietnam. The decision of Kennedy led sending of additional advisors together with machinery but no troops were sent. The support from John F. Kennedy was put in to a coup in the year 1963 (Coleman, 1988).

John F. Kennedy happened to be an enthusiastic believer that the issue of communism must be contained at all costs. He was keen to make it clear to the public that he was supporting the policies laid down by Dwight Eisenhower, who was the former president before him. He was also emphatic on his support for Diem government that hailed in the South Vietnam. Also John F. Kennedy was also emphatic on his staunch support for 'Domino Theory' and due to all these virtues that he held, it was as per his believe that on succumbing of the South Vietnam to communism, then there was all the possibility for the rest of the states in the entire region to consequently fall suite. This was an issue that John F. Kennedy was not ready at all to contemplate.

John F. Kennedy was given some advice that was in conflict in as far as Vietnam was concerned. One of the advisors asserted that the issue of Vietnam and the war had all potentials to trap the United States in to the bottomless swamp in consideration of the Us military as well as political set up. The basis of this advice was the experience that was gained by French at the time of Dien Bien Phu whose consequences were leaving a psychological scar that was sizeable in as far as the foreign policy of French was concerned for an appreciable extent of time.

John F. Kennedy however maintained some contacts to the Washington DC 'hawks' on a daily basis, which had a strong believe that the forces of the Americans was equipped in a better way and also prepared to face the conflict that was facing Vietnam as compared to the French. They were for the opinion that a marginal increase in the support offered by the United States to the Diem could be a potential source of success in as far as Vietnam War was concerned. The Washington DC 'hawks' particularly opted to support in the strongest terms the 'Domino Theory'. It was also the perception of John F. Kennedy for the Americans to "Pay any extent of price, bear any weight of burden, meet any form of  hardship, support any potential friend to ascertain that the success as well as the survival of liberty were forthcoming (Coleman, 1988).

Causes of Vietnam War

The roots of the war may be traced from the termination of the Second World War. This was the time that Indochina, being a French colony was under the occupation of Japanese. This led to the formation of a nationalist movement by the Vietnamese aimed at resisting the inhabitants and a Guerilla type of war against by the Japanese was initiated by a communist Ho Chi Minh, who had the full support of the United States. As the war came to an end, a tendency developed among the Japanese of promoting the Vietnamese nationalism. This consequently brought about nominal independence in the country.

As a result of the defeat of the Japanese, the French embarked on repossessing their colony. They could only access Vietnam with the permission of Viet Minh and only after assuring that, there was a possibility for the attainment of independence as a section of French union.

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With the indulgence of the Americans in this war in the year 1965, some individuals raised dome voices in dissent. A warning was raised to the effect that, the government of South Vietnam was functionally a non entity and consequently it was not just simple to sustain it with the aid of the United States irrespective what extent of effort was put in place. There was formation of protests groups that were against the war in most of the campuses in the nation. However, a dissent of significance was only to be noted after 1966. The years up to 1965 were associated by a notion that the involvement of the Americans in this war was rooted towards the suppression of communism that was evident in the Southern Asia region. Most of the people ignored the occurrences and continued with their daily activities, not being aware of the fact that the war that was first growing would in future disrupt their society (Coleman, 1988).

Research methodology

This section spells out the procedures and the methods that the researcher employed in achieving the objectives of the project. It defines location of the study, research procedures and analysis plan that were addressed in the course of the study consideration when carrying out this particular research. Success of the project was a factor of the provision of satisfying information in line with the objectives and hypothesis in the determination of causes and the consequences of the Vietnam War.

The objective of the research just as a recap is to identify the causes and the consequences of the Vietnam War.  It is important to note here that this research was mainly based on the interviews even though other research methodologies were briefly discussed.

Primary research

Primary research refers to collection of statistics that is non existent. This was considered to be achieved through numerous forms: including the use of questionnaires, making telephone conversations, surveys, etc. As pertained to this project, the primary sources were likely to be the existing literature on the causes and the consequences of the Vietnam War. The major merit with conducting primary research is that it was accurate. However, the disadvantage of primary research was that it was time consuming, as it involved dealing with people from various regions, the human sources may only become resourceful out of their own willingness, and this took them quit sometimes before making up their minds to tell what they knew or give their side stories about your questions on causes and the consequences of the Vietnam War.

Secondary research

Secondary research on the other hand is the collection of existing data, that is, in contrast to primary research. For example: research on experiments or specific subjects. The merit of secondary research is that it's not time consuming however a disadvantage is that the information retrieved may not be relevant.

Choice of research philosophy

Another aspect that is of great significance in this research was the research strategy. It's the research strategy that indicated which methods a researcher adapted to answer the research objectives or questions on causes and the consequences of the Vietnam War.

Research validity and reliability

A debate about the findings of the preceding literatures on causes and the consequences of the Vietnam War includes the discussion of the 'research', more often than not referring to the manner in which the statistics were collected". This research being a phenomenological, all questions are related to theoretical characteristics discussed in literature preview. The process would therefore be accurate in collecting, analyzing and sampling data; hence the validity of result would be quite high. Considering that there are many different aspects of validity, which influence the validity of the research in general.  

Limitations of the research

Limitations are usually present in every research and these limitations actually tarnish the results of the research. Certain limitations are also associated with this research. One of the biggest limitations of this research is lack of budget and lack of time. The lack of time given by the respondents can also be another limitation of this research. If the respondents have lesser time than it is highly probable that they might not take the research properly and ultimately the final results of the research would be affected in this scenario. Finally, certain chunks or sources of secondary research can also be treated as a limitation of the research. This is because of the fact that these sources are not valid or they are not updated therefore the data that is attained from these sources might affect the entire results of the research. Therefore, the researcher should take utmost care about all these constraints and try to minimize it

Findings: The outcome of the war

Irrespective of the side that one may opt to take with respect to the opinion pertaining the Vietnam War, it is only logical to make the conclusions that no side emerged as the winner. Over 50 000 lives were lost on the side of the Americans apart from over 35 000 casualties, the reputation of the nation as one that deserved to be trusted as an ally, financial loses as well as the unity of the people for a considerable period of time. The Vietnamese on the other hand recorded millions of deaths.

As a result of the war, the American congress decided to enact the 1973 War Powers Act. According to the provisions of the Act, any president had to be granted some congressional approval explicitly prior to the decision of committing the American forces to engage in outside war.

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