Name: Deniz Atlı
Instructor: Mr. Kevin Nawn
Due to: November 26 2001
People can show different reactions to similar facts. This is caused because of their political opinions and social conditions. Now I am going to compare two facts that took place in the second part of 20th century.
USA’s involvement in Vietnam and USSR’s involvement in Afghanistan.
Vietnam lays in the south of China along the South China Sea side. Vietnam resisted against the colonisation policy of European countries, which started in 16th century till 1883, when they were forced to recognise French protectorates over the north and centre. In 1897 they lost their independence and accepted French rules. During the Second World War Germany occupied France and Germany established a ‘puppet government’ in France. This government invited Japan to Vietnam to use it as a military base in South eastern Asia. Following this local freedom movement was organised under the name of Viet Minh. After Japan’s defeat in World War 2, the French had returned to Vietnam as colonial administrators but Viet Minh declared independent State in September 1945. In December 1946 Indochina War started between France and Viet Minh. USA supplied France with economic and military aid. The war ended in 1954 and France established a state in south Vietnam. In the Geneva Agreement it is decided to divide Vietnam along the 17th parallel. In South Vietnam there were reaction from communists and religious groups against the government.. In November 1963 government was overthrown and the president was killed. It is thought that this military-coup was organised by CIA. New government invited USA army to fight against Viet Cong ( a group that wants to join North Vietnam) guerrillas. In 1965 USA began to step up its participation in the war.
Afghanistan is located in north western Pakistan. First Afghan state was established in 1736. They were the biggest Muslim state after Ottoman Empire in 18th century. In 1809 cause of the Russian spread, they got military support from Britain forces but Britain tried to occupy Afghanistan two times. In 1880 Abdurrahman Khan established modern Afghanistan. Russia and Britain accepted Afghanistan’s independence because they wanted free authority between British India and Russia. In the first quarter of the 20th century Afghanistan became social and modern country as western world countries. Soon after the conservative religious groups created a political unrest. In 1933 Afghanistan became a kingdom under the control of Zahir Shah. Following forty years Afghanistan turned to a Middle-age country. There were pressures over people and education level was very low. This coercion brought social explosion. The monarchy was overthrown in July 1973 by a military group and republic was founded. Different groups supported this revolution but they had problems between each other and leftist groups organised another military-coup
with the support of USSR in 1978. Religious groups resisted leftist government and the government invited USSR in 1979.
USA was invited to Vietnam by Southern Vietnam’s government which held the government after the USA supported Military-coup one and a half years ago. USA sent consultants to help the government but then they had to send soldiers. After the war which continued for ten years, USA left Vietnam. USA lost %10 of the soldiers who were sent to Vietnam. Vietnam lost %3.2 of its population.
USSR was invited to Afghanistan by the leftist government to support them in civil war. This government gained their power via USSR supported military-coup one and a half years ago. In the begging USSR sent consultants but then they also had to send soldiers. The war also continued ten years and in the end USSR left Afghanistan. USSR lost %12 of the soldiers that were sent to Afghanistan. Afghanistan lost %9 of its population.
As we see both imperialist countries followed the same military strategy during the wars. Both of them were unsuccessful. They lost many soldiers and give harm to the local countries.
Vietnam and Afghanistan have different geographical characteristics. Vietnam has a very long seashore and wealthy land. It has resources because of that its population density is high. In the other side Afghanistan has rough land and deserts. Their agricultural land is limited and it doesn’t have resources so its population density is low. Although their geography and population densities were very different, they both fought for their independence against the most powerful countries of the world and defeated them.
Main subject of the wars was expansion of the communism. USA tried to prevent communism from spreading in Vietnam and reach south Asia according to ‘‘Domino Theory’’. USSR tried to expand communism in Afghanistan. Both of them lost the war but USA reached its aim and communism couldn’t spread other South Asian countries.
The western world supported USA’s involvement in Vietnam at first but after the high cost as deaths and money, they criticised that war. USSR was opposite of USA’s involvement. The western world didn’t accept USSR’s involvement in Afghanistan and they give economical and political support to religious groups in Afghanistan.
These show us that similar acts can have different commands depending on benefits. Both USA and USSR did the same thing but criticised each other because they had opposite aims.
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