In light of the American experience, assess the relevance of the saying that "Nobody knows Vietnam like the French." 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I believe that the statement is highly relevant to the American experience in Vietnam.  There are some significant lessons to be learned from what the French experienced with their challenges.  One of the primary reasons for this would have to be the casualty count, something that would be highly significant in the American experience in Vietnam.  Consider that the Vietnamese lost through either killing or sustaining injury over half a million of its people, while the French total barely reached 100,000.  This shows that the Vietnamese were willing to live with such numbers, ratios that should to what extent the cause of freedom was important to the Vietnamese.  The fact that the Vietnamese found it acceptable to lose five to one in lives to a foreign power in order to maintain its own sovereignty is a lesson that America could have understood and ended up being highly meaningful in the American experience in Vietnam.  For every French casualty, there were five Vietnamese.  These numbers were understood, and in the end it was the French who end up leaving Vietnam, similar to the Americans.  The casualty count is but one way in which the statement is valid, reflecting how the French understood the enemy in Vietnam clearly after its experience.  I think that America could have stood to learn much from this with theirs in Vietnam.


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