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Elina Bhagwat Blog Post 10/28

There were a few elements of Zinn’s chapter “The Impossible Victory: Vietnam” that stood out to me. The first idea that caught my attention was the important of religion in Vietnam and how Diem’s religious affiliation was important to how people reacted to his regime. I didn’t know that majority of people in South Vietnam were Buddhist but Diem was a Catholic. For these reasons, monks began to commit suicide with the intentions of opposing the Diem regime and advocate for Buddhism. It’s also interesting that Diem was closer to landlords while the country mainly consisted of peasants. I think we see similar things in the US where the political elites or those in power don’t reflect the demographic make-up or ideologies of the nation. This is seen by our long history of having white middle-aged men as our presidents, with Obama being the exception. This leads to the next point about how different movements and historical events are interconnected. I found it interesting that there are so many parallels between religion, the Vietnam War, and the civil rights movement. To me, it seemed as though the NLF or National Liberation Front and rise of the civil rights movement were similar not because of their agendas but because they were groups that would speak out against the government.

I think this time called for activism and for people to speak up for what they believe in. This is evident when looking at all the anti-Vietnam War protests and activism that initially came from the civil rights movement. The civil rights agenda was much less radical than the NLF but both groups had ideas that the government didn’t agree with for the most part. The NLF advocated for communism which is also something that we discussed Langston Hughes as being an advocate for who was also a key advocate for the civil rights movement. Going back to the idea that opposition to the war originated from the civil rights movement, and ultimately gained support from the Catholic Church shows how connected religion and ideology is. Another topic that was interesting but not surprising was how Nixon dealt with the war after he got into office. He had originally promised to get the US out of Vietnam, but as many politicians do, he didn’t actually stick to what he had promised the American people. Instead of implementing an isolationist policy, he created this policy of “Vietnamization” in which in order to ultimately remove the US from the affairs, he helped South Vietnamese forces both financially and militaristically. This seems contradictory to me in a way because he provides more support and thus gets the US more involved in the war when his ultimate goal is removing the US from the war.

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One Comment

  1. Carly Cohen Carly Cohen

    I too was not surprised at the fact that a politician lied to get elected. It is incredibly unfortunate that President Nixon went back on his word after promising the people that we would get out of the war if he was elected. In some ways he got us more involved in the war. Politicians lying for the benefit of themselves has become an unfortunate recurring theme throughout the years.

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