I make no secrets or apologies for my passion of History, but what is history? How do we define it.
History is all about studying changes overtime, it covers all aspects of human life & behaviour, important events, political and social interactions, religion, technology, wars and culture beliefs. So where do we start with our learning, I would like to tell you about one of my favourite parts of history which is the wars and I have chosen to talk about the Vietnam war.
This war started on the 2nd August 1964 and ended on 30th April 1975 when the North Vietnamese army invaded the presidential palace in Saigon, but the roots of it goes back to 1949 when China had become a communist country and they influenced North Vietnam, America was concerned that communism would spread to south Vietnam and the rest of Asia so they sent money, military advisors and supplies to south Vietnam to assist the government.
One of the major events that happened during this war was in late January 1968 it was a major escalation and occurred during the lunar new year (or “Tet”) holiday, which is why it was called the tet offensive, North Vietnamese and communist Viet Cong forces launched a coordinated attack against a number of targets in South Vietnam including the US embassy building in Saigon. The U.S. and South Vietnamese militaries sustained heavy losses before finally repelling the communist assault.
One of the worst events that took place was the My Lai massacre it was an horrific incident of violence committed by a company of American soldiers who brutally killed 500 people in the village of My Lai. US army officers covered up the carnage for a year before it was reported in the American press sparking shock and outrage. All the soldiers were acquitted except for Lieutenant William Calley who led the soldiers into the village.
Could America have won the war
In my opinion the war was a waste of time, money and more importantly lives.
2.7 million people were sent to Vietnam, it solved nothing and cost 168 billion dollars, 58’000 Americans died, 300,000 were wounded and 75,000 were severely disabled. The cost of this war continues today in medical and burial cost paid to the veterans. The US army were ineffective against Vietnam who had an army that used gorilla tactics and the dense jungle for cover. Victory was not in reach from the beginning.
This is just a brief outline of the Vietnam war I could write about it for pages and pages but it is a lesson from history that we should have learnt never to repeat, ignorance, arrogance and absence of an ally.
Remember History isn’t there to offend us, embarrass us, shame us and we should not try to rewrite it, it is there for us to learn from. As the philosopher George Santayana said and was repeated by Winston Churchill in 1948 in a speech in the House of Commons – “Those who fail to learn from History are doomed to repeat it”
The nameless onion.