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The USA became involved in the Vietnam War in the 1950's and 1960's because of a mixture of long-term and short-term reasons.

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Introduction

History Coursework, Vietnam, Objective 2 Stephanie Mae da Roza, 11F, 02307 1) The USA became involved in the Vietnam War in the 1950's and 1960's because of a mixture of long-term and short-term reasons. One major long-term reason was America's fear of communism. The USA is a primarily Christian population, they as well as people of some other religions felt that communism was "godless" because they were atheists. Many lived isolated from the outside world, they feared communism and were not open to it's ideals. America was also a democracy where everyone had the right to vote. Communists had a dictator, the American's were opposed to this. A second reason was the cold war, the Soviets were taking many countries in Europe and turning them into communist states or satellite nations. Despite having worked as allies in WW2 the US was opposed to this and started the cold war with Russia. They feared the spread of communism and created the Truman Doctrine where they made an agreement to draw a line between the communist side of Europe and the capitalist side of Europe. They created this line along Greece, Turkey and the Berlin wall because Turkey and Greece were allies of the US; they called this line the "iron curtain". The situation in Europe looked more stable but soon China fell to communism. This was a huge blow to America because they had supported the Guo Min Dang against the communists. Many other countries in Asia were falling to communism as well. America, of course, didn't want this so they sought to draw another line, this time across Asia. They fought in Korea and drew the line between the North and the South, across Taiwan, the Philippines and Thailand. They then saw the insurgency of communism in Vietnam; this was the rise of the Vietminh, an army lead by the communist leader Ho Chi Minh. ...read more.

Middle

They also used Napalm, this was jellied petroleum, which stuck to the skin and burned through to the bone. This was used in the South for suspected enemy forces and supply lines. Helicopters were used extensively, especially to deploy ground troops, they didn't require a runway as planes did so they could deploy the troops quickly in remote places. At the end of the 1960's the USA realised that their tactics weren't working, they moved their military tactics to Pacification, this was going back to winning the hearts and minds of the people, they provided entertainment, food, medical aid and clothing. This worked, villages became more peaceful, and just before the Tet offensive in 1968 it looked as if America had been through the worst of the war and were eventually going to win. Another factor was that the US was defeating the Vietcong in the battlefield. This was because the Vietcong was becoming more conventional. The USA was more adept at fighting conventional wars because they had well made modern weapons and troops that were trained for that type of fighting. Before this America responded to the war with soldiers because they recognised it as a conventional war, they didn't see it was a people's war. 3) The American people had different reactions to the military involvement of America in Vietnam. There are millions of people living in the U.S.A. and because they are individuals - they will not all act in the same way. Many were supportive of the war and many protested against it. There were many reasons why there were different views, a major one was age. The youth in America were the 'baby boomers'. After the war there were a huge amount of babies being born because of an improving economy. They were the first to enjoy the benefits of this economy, such as good housing, plentiful food, better entertainment and especially education. ...read more.

Conclusion

The communists had tried to attack the US again, this time with 225,000 troops and heavy artillery supplied by the Soviets and. This time their offense lasted longer, more than two months, but they were still defeated by well-supplied ARVN and American bombing. In 1972 Nixon visited Beijing and Moscow, he met with leaders and built stronger relations with them and their countries, this is important because both were allies and suppliers of weapons to Vietnam. China and the Soviet Union were huge countries and the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons, the US didn't want to be enemies with these two nations and tried to strengthen relations with them. By this time the US had successfully put more pressure on Hanoi by bombing. By October 1972 Kissinger and a major member of the North Vietnamese government, Le Duc Tho, reached an agreement to place a cease-fire in South Vietnam. There was a delay when President Thieu saw the agreement as a sell-out by the US but the US threatened to stop aid and Thieu agreed. The Americans then took a long time over the conditions of the cease-fire, this made Hanoi cautious and Le Duc Tho stop the negotiations but the US bombed Vietnam again and showed that their support and aid for Vietnam would not waver. On 23 January 1973 North Vietnam and the US finalized the cease-fire. The conditions of the cease-fire were the removal of foreign troops from Indochina, the dismantling of military bases and the return of all US prisoners of war and that the Vietcong, the North Vietnamese Army and the ARVN stay in their positions. This is why the US forces were withdrawn in 1973. In conclusion, the US withdrew from Vietnam because of widespread opposition on the population of America, the low moral of soldiers in the battlefield and fear of making enemies with the Soviet Union and China. To withdraw they bombed Vietnam to persuade their leaders into come to the negotiating table. The conditions of the cease-fire allowed the US to leave Vietnam while still providing aid. ...read more.

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