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Explain why America became increasingly involved in the affairs of Vietnam between 1954 and 1965’

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Introduction

Christian Hamilton-Smith Burnley Habergham High School History Syllabus B (Modern World History) Assignment 2 (Question 1) 'Explain why America became increasingly involved in the affairs of Vietnam between 1954 and 1965' In 1939, Vietnam was part of an area known as French Indo-China. French Indo-China consisted of three countries, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The French had added these countries to their empire in the 19th Century. Indo-China was home to 25 million people of which around 80 per cent of these lived in Vietnam. The French ruled Vietnam directly but the royal families of Laos and Cambodia ruled in these areas under French control. The people of Indo-China were unhappy due to French rule. The French imposed their language, laws and exploited their economic system. They also spread their religion amongst the people of Indo-China. The French suppressed the people with Catholicism, when their religion was of the Buddhist faith. Indo-China was an attractive country, in that it was rich in natural resources. This is one of the reasons why it was sought after so much. It was rich in coal, rice, corn and also rubber. After the South of France had been taken by the Germans, in June 1940, it became hard for France to remain in control of their valuable empire. ...read more.

Middle

This broke out into a conflict between the two sides in December 1946. The French began to back Bao Dai and they set up their own state, (South Vietnam) creating the new capital at Saigon. America began to recognise the Saigon government, and began to assist it. The American President at the time was, President Harry Truman, who dispatched military advisory groups to help South Vietnam. He felt strongly about communism, as he helped to set up the Truman Doctrine (The Truman Doctrine helped non-communist countries financially and also protected them from the spread of communism.). Both sides were building up there troops until in the spring of 1954, the Vietminh attacked the French at Dien Bien Phu. The Vietminh surrounded the French at the camp so that they could not gain supplies and thus the French surrendered after a 55-day siege (May 8 1954). America under the direction of President Eisenhower, began to get more involved in the war as they wished to stop the spread of communism. America was against communism as they had completely different political and economic views. America believed that communism was taking over and that they had to stop it. They didn't believe in how a communist state acted. Mostly everything in a communist country was owned by the government, newspapers, industries and businesses etc. ...read more.

Conclusion

Johnson began to deepen US involvement by ordering jets to bomb military targets in North Vietnam as a retaliation. A halt was ordered on the regular bombing raids in the hope of initiating peace talks, but the North Vietnamese just rejected all negotiations. This meant the bombings were resumed. While these raids were taking place America began to build up their troops again in South Vietnam. A Brigade of American marines landed at D( Nang, bringing the total of US military forces in Vietnam to around 27,000. By the end of 1965 American combat strength was up to nearly 200,000. While America was continually building up their forces they halted the bombing once again, in an attempt to end the war. Again this was turned down, and so the raids resumed. President Johnson again announced that more troops would be sent in if peace was not achieved. Once again Hanoi rejected the offer of peace talks. The casualty figures and cost of the war were mounting for America and they seemed to be getting nowhere. Johnson announced on March 31 that he would not be seeking re-election as president. In May 1968 peace talks began but got nowhere. It seemed to America that they had made a big mistake becoming involved in Vietnam. America did not stop the spread of communism in Vietnam, they lost many lives and also wasted billions of dollars trying to stop the North Vietnamese from obtaining their goal. ...read more.

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