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Explain why the United States became increasingly involved in the war in Vietnam.

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Introduction

Explain why the United States became increasingly involved in the war in Vietnam. Vietnam is a country in South-East Asia and was a part of the old French colony known as Indo-China. During the Second World War Vietnam was captured by the Japanese from the French and a Vietnamese resistance organisation was formed, they were called the Vietminh. The leader was Ho Chi Minh who was a devout communist. After the Second World War had ended, France was part of the victorious side, therefore they wanted to reclaim Vietnam back from Japan (a losing side) and France succeeded. However, the purpose of the Vietminh was to prevent this from happening by fighting a Guerrilla war against the French. The French went to war with the Vietminh in 1946 and this war was becoming increasingly unpopular in France, as there had been 90000 casualties. There was no sign of victory for France and it drained their weak economy after the war. The French people didn't even understand why they had control over Vietnam in the first place. In 1954, France was defeated in the penultimate battle of Diem Bien Phu, thereafter asked U.S president Eisenhower to intervene who refused. ...read more.

Middle

This was evident in the South Vietnam election where his ballot papers were red (colour for good luck) and his opponents were green (colour for bad fortune). Also, at the polling stations voters were actually told to vote for Diem and if they refused were roughed up. He achieved 98.2% of the votes and he published this figure against the advice of the USA and as they predicted undermined his authority. When told about a general election for the whole country Diem began arresting his opponents. He was a devout Catholic and rejected other religions and their beliefs, especially Buddhism. He refused to repeal an anti-Buddhism law and six monks set themselves on fire in protest. Diem wasn't affected in any way by these events, however, this convinced President Kennedy of Diems' unpopularity and that he couldn't unite South Vietnam. Soon after in November 1963 a group of South Vietnamese generals (with aid from a CIA member) carried out a military coup against Diem and he was killed. In June 1954 a group of American Military Advisers were sent to South Vietnam under the command of Colonel Lansdale. Their job was to mount a propaganda campaign for President Diem and against the Vietmihn. ...read more.

Conclusion

He ordered the bombing of Hanoi in the North of Vietnam in an attempt to cease supplies reaching the NLF. The North continued to supply the guerrillas, so Johnson launched 'Operation Rolling Thunder' where intense bombing raids were to take place regularly to try and destroy the North Vietnam economy. Bombings were also carried out against NLF controlled territory in South Vietnam. This operation was planned to last eight weeks but lasted for the next three years. However, in July 1964 the Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred when two American ships were attacked by North Vietnamese gunboats whilst in international waters. The Vietnamese boats were destroyed but this gave America the excuse needed to declare full scale war against North Vietnam. On March 8th 1965 the first American combat ground troops landed in South Vietnam and by December there were 150000 stationed throughout the country. At the height of American's presence there were 540000 US troops in Vietnam. Three million US soldiers served in Vietnam between 1965 and 1973 and only a quarter were involved in direct combat with the NLF. The USA's involvement went from appearing at the Geneva conference, aiding France and Diem against the Vietmihn, training South Vietnam soldiers to fight the NLF to Bombing North Vietnam and ultimately fighting a war themselves to prevent spread of Communism. ...read more.

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