History is a part of the people (Bohnstedt, 1971). It defines the norms, values and practices that are upheld and practiced within the confines of a particular society or nation. It is through history that a nation defines itself. The struggles that have been faced and overcome over time cement the current state of the nation. Therefore, it is paramount to study prior history and the experiences of the participants of that history to capture the current social, economic and political atmosphere within a nation. To a great extent, the current and the future are shaped by the former and in this case, it is history (Bohnstedt, 1971). Prior history reveals the current situation as it relates to the relation with other cultures, people, and countries. When the experiences of different participants are examined, a clear picture of their views, feeling and opinions is illuminated based on that time.
Other than just the internal affairs, history records the interaction of a nation with other nations. For example, George Moss provides a comprehensive narrative of the United States involvement in Southeast Asia as from 1942 to 1975 (Moss, 1990). The concluding section of the book Vietnam: An American Ordeal, traces the relationship between U.S and Vietnam. There is a variety of undergraduate level historical books that cover the history of the United States and its experiences in Vietnam. However, this text is a comprehensive account of the events that transpired between the two countries and provides an exclusive, in-depth account of the dimensions of the struggle. To have a thorough understanding of the relation between the two nations, the reader is presented with a detailed analysis that is not conventional diplomatic or one that provides military histories. In order to understand the participants, it is worth evaluating a number of documented evidence.
As a history student, the most valuable asset for tracking down historical events is documented evidently. Primary, secondary and tertiary sources account for helpful resources for learning history. Primary sources account for direct involvement in the situation. However, due to the passage of time, a majority of these resources are not available and are replaced by books, letters, and images. Academic manuscripts, historical books, and journals are an excellent source of quality history. Taking the example of Vietnam history, George elucidates in great detail and length concerning the complexities of the U.S and Vietnam entanglement (Moss, 1990). He illuminates the political desires of the American to control the spread of communism in Indochina and their ultimate fail. The text references outside sources which reflects expansibility in the way the author correlates different events that culminate to the history of the people. Historically, people are inclined to uphold their account practices and overlook any external views and quests for domination. It is this desire that correlates the recurrent struggle that has been documented in the Vietnamese history.
As opposed to the views of many, history, is not a story that is told in an educational and political manner. Learning the past helps understand the present as the leaders of the current are inclined to adapt the ways of their forefathers. As such the internal and external interactions of a country are dependent to a great extent with its history (Dickenson, 2008). It is through history that mistakes made in the past are learned and documented never to be repeated. Historical participants act as a source of inspiration, courage and diligence through styles of leadership.
Bohnstedt, J. (1971). Why Study History?. The History Teacher, 4(4), 63. doi:10.2307/492600
Dickenson, J. (2008). Trust: Why and How Historians Should Study It. Australian Journal Of Politics & History, 54(4), 507-524. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8497.2008.00513.x
Moss, G. (1990). Vietnam, an American ordeal. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.