It is a well-known fact that the U.S.A goal in the Vietnam war was to stop the spread of Chinese communist influence, as part of the cold war.
But what was the North Vietnamese goal? – Did anyone ever bother to ask them?
In `𝐖𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐅𝐨𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐖𝐚𝐫: 𝐄𝐥𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐑𝐨𝐛𝐞𝐫𝐭 𝐌𝐜𝐍𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐚’, Mcnamara – the US former secretary of defense – describes a meeting he held with top Vietnamese officials in 1995, some 20 years after the war ended. Mcnamara initiated the meeting to explore whether there was a chance for each side to achieve its objectives without the terrible loss of life.
In that historic meeting the former Prime minister of Vietnamese, Mr. Phạm Văn Đồng, summarized the Vietnamese point of view: We were fighting for independence, not for the Chinese, you were fighting to enslave us!
The unconvinced Mcanamera remained firm in his position that the whole thing was orchestrated by the Chinese in cahoots with communist Vietnamese; to which Văn Đồng replied:
“Mr. Mcanamera, have you ever read a history book in your life? We’ve been fighting the Chinese for a 1000 years. Why would we let them in now? We were fighting for independence”.
The Vietnam War death toll amounted to 3,812,000 Vietnamese and 58,209 men and women; and apparently, it was all “just” a huge misunderstanding….
Bonus fact: In Vietnam, the Vietnam War is called the American War.