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Describe and explain the changes in the involvement of United States in Vietnam between 1950 and 1970.

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Introduction

Describe and explain the changes in the involvement of United States in Vietnam between 1950 and 1970. Vietnam was a big part of the foreign policy for America and it was a major issue for all five presidents, it was dominant from 1950 to 1975. The American involvement in Vietnam split US opinion. During the 1950's President Eisenhower was determined to stop South Vietnam falling to communism, he believed in the domino theory and since China, North Korea and North Vietnam were already communist he didn't want the whole of South East Asia to fall to communism as well. To prevent this the USA decided to 'prop up' South Vietnam with money, supplies and military equipment, altogether 1 billion dollars was given to the South Vietnam government by Eisenhower, which was led by Diem. Many people considered Diems government to be a 'puppet' government. ...read more.

Middle

Kennedy also used the tactic of strategic hamlets; he knew that South Vietnams peasants supported the communist group the NLF so advisers thought that the US had a better chance of winning if they stopped the peasants making contact with the NLF. They took the peasants out of their villages and put them in the strategic hamlets that were surrounded by barbed wire and were controlled by Americans, around 40% of the Vietnamese population was moved in this way. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and he was replaced by Lyndon Johnson. Johnson decided to escalate US involvement in South Vietnam, when a US ship was attacked in the gulf of Tonkin by the North Vietnamese in 1964 he used this as his excuse to launch a full scale war on Vietnam. This was called the Tonkin Resolution. Johnson's tactic was to use bombs; he believed he had to stop the North Vietnamese getting supplies to the NLF so the air force bombed strategic targets in North Vietnam such as army bases and bridges. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nixon started to remove US troops but he continued to supply the South Vietnamese with money and arms, but he decided to let the South Vietnamese themselves do the fighting, this policy was called Vietnamisation. Nixon didn't want the communists to win so he continued to bomb North Vietnam, America were also bombing Laos and Cambodia secretly; he wanted 'peace with honour'. An armistice was finally signed in 1973 at Paris and the American soldiers went home. An agreement had been made but fighting dragged on for another 2 years with the communists winning and in 1975 the NLF captured the Southern capital Saigon and renamed it after their leader Ho Chi Minh who died in 1969. The US had to change their tactics so often because they couldn't deal with the North Vietnamese, they were unable to catch them with their use of hit and run style guerilla tactics, the Vietnamese had the advantage of knowledge of the local area and they could mingle in with the peasants because they had no uniform. GCSE History Kevin Mc Anena 12F ...read more.

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