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Historical Investigation

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on 21 September 2015

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Transcript of Historical Investigation

Historical Investigation
American Intervention is Not Justified
* American Intervention affected people's perception of the American government

Research Question
"Was America's intervention in the Vietnam War justified?"


* US presidents
* Americans
* South Vietnamese
* Experts in the field (outsiders' point of view)

Background Information
- South Vietnamese Leader: Ho Chi Minh
- Vietnam was divided

- The communist regime in North Vietnam and its southern allies (Vietcong)

- South Vietnam and the United States

- War ended in 1973 with US withdrawal

Done by:
Guo Rui Xuan (3) 203
Lee Jia Wei (10) 203
Lee Pei Xuan (12) 203
Rachel Goh (22) 203
Kuo Pei Yu (13) 206

Source 1:
Speech given by President Johnson in April 1965 at an American university
** Primary Source
Source 2:
A report of the effects of the Vietnam War written by an expert in the field
** Secondary Source

Source 3:
President Ngo Dinh Diem's Speech at Joint Meeting of two Houses of Congress in 1957
** Primary Source

Source 4:
War statement by John Kerry, an American politician
** Primary Source
Source 5:
Excerpt from President JFK's Address at U.N. General Assembly, on 25 September 1961
** Primary Source

* During the process of helping the Vietnamese, the Americans killed many people
Source 5

- Americans from Charlie Company were cruel in their deeds

- Americans were crowding around dead bodies of innocent villagers of My Lai

- In order to get rid of the Viet Congs, the Americans murdered many innocent people

- Brutal ways in order to attain their goals

Source 6:
Pictorial depiction of what happened after the My Lai Massacre
** Primary Source

- "They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart."

- Many people died due to the napalm (Agent Orange) and the bombing
Contextual knowledge
- Over 2 million North and South Vietnamese lives were lost

- Charlie Company was advised before the attack that all who were found in My Lai were Viet Congs.

- Although they saw harmless villagers , they still killed the villagers

American Intervention
is Justified

* America showed no signs of economic benefits from the war
Source 2
- "According to the IndoChinese Newsletter, Asia Resource Center (Special Issue 93 -97) the U.S government spent around $350 billion to $900 billion on the Vietnam War including Veteran benefits and Interests, which left a heavy burden on its economy".

- America's intervention was costly and affected its economy

Contextual Knowledge

- During the war, all factories in the U.S. were converted to produce military equipment

- This change caused a plunge in shopping rates, harming the economy

- Military fund spent overseas led to budget deficits which caused a weaker dollar, galloping inflation and increasing interest rates.


Source 1
- Communism would be curbed in Vietnam and prevented from spreading throughout South-East Asia

America feels:
- The danger of spreading communism (evil)

- communism would rob people of their free will

- Domino Effect

- "Weakened Americans' (and other people's) faith and confidence in (the American) government"
* America was responsible for protecting the well being and maintaining the peace and stability of other countries

Source 5
- If South-Vietnam were to be communist, "the gates would open wide"

- America believes in the domino effect
Source 1
Contextual Knowledge
- American Intervention led to heavy economic loss

affected the people greatly

- more than 58,000 American soldiers were killed while more than 150,000 others were wounded due to the high death and injury rates of American soldiers

- "To dishonor that pledge, to abandon this small and brave nation to its enemy, and to the terror that must follow, would be an unforgivable wrong. We are also there to strengthen world order. Around the globe, from Berlin to Thailand, are people whose well-being rests, in part, on the belief that they can count on us if they are attacked. To leave Vietnam to its fate would shake the confidence of all these people in the value of American commitment, the value of America's word. The result would be increased unrest and instability, and even wider war."

- Provide reassurance to other countries that they could rely on America's protection in times of danger

- They were still in dominance of the rest of the world.

Source 5
doubt in the government's choice of spending
people lost trust in the government's ability to make decisions that are best for the welfare of the people
- South-Vietnam was already "under attack", and all America wanted to do was to "protect the small and the weak".

- America was aware that South-Vietnam was in danger, and wanted to do their best to help South-Vietnam.

- "[the Americans'] and [the Vietnamese's] fight [were] one and the same" and that they "[would] continue to fight communism".

- The Americans intervened in the war to protect Vietnam from communism, which they thought would destroy the country.

- American Intervention was justified, because the intention of the Americans was good.

Source 3

- The Americans did their very best to aid South Vietnam

- President Ngo stated that "[the Vietnamese] pay tribute to the generous and unselfish assistance [they] have received from the people of the United States"

- President Ngo was very grateful for the help of the Americans

- American Intervention was justified because the intention of the Americans was to provide assistance to fight alongside President Ngo

Contextual Knowledge
- America was strong and powerful

- Saw the affairs of other countries as their responsibility

- Must help to defend the security of weaker and less developed countries such as Vietnam

Source 1 and Source 5

Target Audience: Americans

Purpose: Prevent communism and protect other countries

Intended Outcome: to convince the Americans that American intervention in the Vietnam War was justified, so as to gain support from the Americans

Hidden Agenda Biased Unreliable

- limitations to Source 6

- Did not state the way the soldiers from the Charlie Company killed residents in My Lai

- Unable to clearly see the faces of the victims

- Unable to portray the cruelty and impulsiveness of the soldiers from Charlie Company

Source 4
Source 2
reasons that show that American Intervention was unjustified outweigh reasons that show it was justified
hence American Intervention was unjustified
reason that shows that American Intervention was justified is unreliable
Full transcript