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Homework Help: The Vietnam War & Communism

  1. Feb 13, 2005 #1
    I'm doing an essay on the poem Norman Morrison by Adrian Mitchell. I'm wondering if anyone can help me with some questions I have:

    1. There was a President who said "Think not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country." Also, did this President lead during the Vietnam War.

    2. Did the Vietnam War have a draft?

    3. Communism was seen as threatening the individual rights of people; however, I haven't found any information suggesting that Communist governments do anything but promote social and economic equality. Was there a misconception of what Communism is about, or did the U.S use lies and propaganda to justify the war?

    4. What was the real reason for the war, oil or protecting democratic capitalism since the Chinese wanted to spread Communism?

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 13, 2005 #2


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    Hey dude, this is a physics forum... :confused:
  4. Feb 13, 2005 #3
    Number one is JFK I believe.
  5. Feb 13, 2005 #4


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    yes, but this is a home work help section.

    1) that prosident was JFK, John F. Kennedy.
    he was spresident from 1961-1963.
    He did lead during the beggining of the vietnam Police action/war, but not in the sense that you are probably thinking about. he was there when the decision was made to send in advisors to help train the south veitnamese, not when actual troops were commited into battle. mostly the president most associated with vietnam is LBJ, Lydon Johnson (we americans love abreviations for out presidents).
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/jk35.html [Broken]

    2) YES , the veitnam was had a draft! A very umpopular one, but then again so did WWI and WWII and many other wars. there was alot of sentiment about the war, and many people decided to flee to Canada to excape it or just plain burn their draft cards and dont show up for duty, then again, some people joined up on thier own free will too.

    3) Communism is great, in theory, but in practice it is terrible for human rights, the leaders oppress the people, take away individaul rights and, as history shows, pretty much destroys the country in the long run (with few/slight exceptions). The US wasnt using propaganda so much as it was just trying to follow its own docrine of spreading freedom and democracy to to the world. There is a docrine (i forgot what it is called) but it says that if a country wants to move toward democracy, the US will help it, even if that means bringing in the army and overthrowing the powers that be.The US wa suinder the inpression that is veitnam went the way of korea (ie, north turned communist) than the whole lot of asian countrys over there would fall prey to communism, called the domino effect, and most/all presidents to that time bought into it.

    4) The reason for the war was that the US wanted to help out allies (south vietnam) to get a freely elected democracy going (and so we would have a strong partner in stopping the spread of communism in asia), also to prevent the USSR and other communist countried from gaining any more allies and power. Then it became more of pride thing in my opinon, the US didnt want to loose a war/police action, how could we, the USA who have all this technolgy, nukes, ... loose to these gorilla fighters who live underground and farm rice paties. we wanted to show that were were strong and we were not just going to admit defeat, bnut atleast in the beginning we had a "noble" reason.
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  6. Feb 13, 2005 #5
    I'm going to agree with jtbell on this one, but you'll just get inferior answers if you ask here.

    1. The line is "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country" and is from one of JFK's State of the Union speeches. Given vietnam lasted from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, I'd say he lead during that time since he was assassinated in office in 1963.

    2. Short answer yes. Our current president was criticized in the past for essentially dodging the Vietnam draft by joining the national guard, which generally stays in the US. I think that was shot down though.

    3 and 4 can probably be answered by reading the poem carefully as I think they're opinionated. I can't tell you why exactly Vietnam started but I can tell you that if certain sections of the US government feels threatened at all by actions around the world, they will essentially stage, provoke or make up causes to go to war - In the case of Vietnam the US put people in South Vietnam, called them "ambassadors" or something else ridiculous sounding, and waited for them to be shot at and thus giving them a reason to enter the conflict. There's the argument that the US was trying to protect democracy though. Just depends on how negative a person you are.
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  7. Feb 13, 2005 #6


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    OK, so the next time I need help with German and my wife isn't around (she teaches it), I'll ask here. :wink:

    Indeed. The draft was very much on people's minds when I was in high school. There was a lottery system in which 19-year-old men were called up according to their birthdate, with the date order being chosen by a random lottery. In a given year, men born on July 16 might come first, then September 2, then February 23, etc. The day on which the numbers were chosen was obviously a big event.

    People who were called up could "defer" their service if they remained full-time students. It gave an incentive for high-school graduates to go to college, and for college graduates to go on to graduate school. Imagine the extra pressure at exam time: if you flunked out of school, you could end up getting shot at in Vietnam!

    By the time I graduated from high school in 1971, the draft had ended, as I recall. I had always planned on going to college, so I would have gotten a deferment if the draft had still been going on. Besides, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have been accepted for military service for medical reasons anyway. So I don't even remember what my lottery number was.
  8. Feb 14, 2005 #7


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    1) Kahlil Gibran --- http://4umi.com/gibran/ --- "borrowed" by Kennedy.

    2) Draft, plus enlistments, plus reserve and National Guard call-ups, plus several thousand Canadian volunteers.

    3) Joe Stalin loomed large in every mind in those days --- died in '53, but left a "legacy" of fear.

    4) You've got a lot of reading to do if you really want to know the answer to this question.

    If this isn't due Monday, you can take another approach --- rather than the "Yank bashing" you're obviously expected to be doing, you can compare Quaker reactions to Morrison's act to reactions to another Quaker, Nixon --- or Quaker attitudes toward war during the Amer. Civil War (get a quick synopsis of "Friendly Persuasion" --- http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0049233/ --- ) to attitudes in other wars.
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