The Vietnam War In The Quiet American By Graham Greene

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In his 1961 inaugural address, John F. Kennedy said, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” This statement embodies the patriotic mentality of the United States government and military during times of war, whether the nation is directly involved in a conflict or they are providing aid to a less apt nation. Although this speech was delivered after the United States’ premature involvement in the Vietnam War (1950s), it encompasses the spirit of the American forces as they fought to achieve their goal during this time. The Vietnam War (1954-75) was a struggle which pitted the …show more content…
Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy both planned to train Southern Vietnamese military forces to fight the war rather than have the United States forces battle for them (Vietnam War). Driven by their American exceptionalist beliefs and the idea that it was their civic duty to help the Southern Vietnamese government battle, the American forces were able to become involved in the Vietnam War. The Quiet American by Graham Greene provides fictional examples of American exceptionalism and the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. Set in 1950s Vietnam, this novel addresses the war in its early stages. The character of Alden Pyle appears as a symbol for the American government and military forces in Vietnam at that time as he preaches his solutions to halt the spread of communism. However, the novel challenges American aptness as Pyle is constantly contradicted with the idea that himself (and the United States) are inappropriately involved due to their lack of knowledge of the conflict at …show more content…
He inaugurates General Thé as his new associate, presuming that he will be the best leader to halt communism in Vietnam. Thé adopts the practice of guerrilla warfare, a fighting tactic that endorses quick, aggressive ambushes on the enemy, without care for innocent bystanders. Guerrilla warfare causes an abundance of nonessential deaths of “disposable” people. While this is true of other types of warfare, guerrilla warfare is brutal as the excess deaths are not personally accounted for by the attacker. These deaths are simply grouped into one category of the annihilation of the enemy. Historically, the principalities of this tactic further developed into Operation Rolling Thunder in 1965: an aerial bombardment campaign that targeted specific parts of Northern Vietnam one at a time. The campaign was designed to force the communist government to abandon their hopes of invading South Vietnam and to encourage the South Vietnam forces to keep fighting by boosting morale. However, the designers and supporters of this campaign never considered or account for the cost of lives that would result from such plans (Schlight). This lack of accountancy resulted in a multitude of deaths of innocent citizens. One fictional example of this from The Quiet American is the bombing in the marketplace that occurs in Section One of Chapter Two in Part Three. Everyone who was visiting the marketplace at that time on that

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