• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why did the USA become involved in Vietnam?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why did the USA become involved in Vietnam? America became involved in conflict in Vietnam at around the same time that the French decided that it should make attempts to pull out. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu in May 1954 saw France's total defeat. The United States of America became involved, seeing the struggle as a major part of the on-going Cold War, especially after events in Korea in 1950 - 1953, and since Mao Ze Dong had made China a Communist State in December 1949. It had a deep-rooted fear of the "Monolithic Block" of Communism and tarred all Communist countries with the same brush. America decided to supply the French with military and economic aid, with the US financing 80% of the French war effort by 1954, a total of some $800 million. Dien Bien Phu saw the Vietminh victorious and led to Ho Chi Minh taking control of Hanoi on 11th October 1954, proclaiming a National Government. Under the Geneva Agreement of 1954, Vietnam was split into two separate countries, North and South Vietnam. ...read more.

Middle

We had an expression that said, the Vietminh fighters worked among the people like fish in water."[1]. Under Johnson, the US undertook a more radical approach to Vietnam, he recognised that the conflict in Indochina was a real war, not just Cold War brinkmanship that had gone on before, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis. He stated; "This is a different kind of war. There are no marching armies or solemn declarations. But this is really war..."[2] Hover mouse over the images for a description In 1961, then Vice President Johnson had visited Saigon and from this visit, he formed a belief that Vietnam was vital to America both as an example to other Communist countries and also to other world powers to safe guard America's prestige in world politics. Johnson tried to adopt the same policies as Kennedy, but things gradually ran away from his control. William Bundy, advisor to both Kennedy and Johnson explains; "Certainly President Johnson thought he was carrying on exactly the same policy that President Kennedy had pursued..."[3]. In March 1964, Defence Secretary McNamara visited the battlefield, and from this visit, the decision to give more aid was given the go ahead. ...read more.

Conclusion

President Johnson delivered the following speech as the attack planes were in the air; "Renewed hostile actions against United States ships on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin required me to order the military forces of the United States to take action in reply."[4]. In the ensuing bombing runs, 10% of North Vietnam's oil reserves were destroyed. The Gulf of Tonkin was also responsible for the passing of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on 7th August 1964 which called a blank cheque for presidential action. President Johnson jumped to the conclusion that the Vietcong were under direct control from Ho Chi Minh and so decided to bomb North Vietnam. Thus Operation Rolling Thunder was born. March 2nd 1965 saw 100 USAF fighter-bombers cross the 17th Parallel, their targets were bridges, rail lines and supply depots. It would turn out that in the eight years of air war in North Vietnam, the US would drop eight million tonnes of ordinance, four times the tonnage used in the whole of World War Two. Operation Rolling Thunder's tactic was to hit fast and hard and then cease actions for a while, a hit and fade tactic, thus President Johnson hoped to bring Ho Chi Minh and the Vietcong to the negotiation table. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. The Battle of Dien Bien Phu

    When we received news of the Di�n Bien Ph� victory, everyone practically jumped up in the air, they were so happy about it. But Ho Chi Minh said that this is only victory of the first step: we have yet to fight the Americans.

  2. Why Did the United States of America Become Involved In Vietnam?

    It also doesn't tell us who President Johnson is talking too. Source B is a reliable source as the source I had studied "was Vietnam worth it?" the president gives his opinion of matter through this tape. From the source Johnson gives out his official opinions.

  1. History of the United States

    President Wilson went a step further, seeking not simply to maintain order, but to advance democracy and self-rule. In 1915 he sent troops into Haiti to put an end to the chaos of revolution--and to protect U.S. investments there--and in 1916 he did the same in the Dominican Republic; the two countries were made virtual protectorates of the United States.

  2. Why did the USA become involved in Vietnam?

    The group were sent to Saigon in June 1954. The plan behind them was to try and influence the people in South Vietnam not to vote for the communists in the forthcoming elections. When Kennedy became president in 1960 he agreed to send another 100 military advisers to Vietnam, but he kept this from the American Public.

  1. The Cuban Missile Crisis and the blockade

    After the invasion was completed, the United States would institute a democracy into power to run Cuba, but still maintain control of the country behind the scenes. The disadvantages to the air strike were enormous compared to the advantages. The main disadvantage was that Russia might consider this the start of a general war and launch it's nuclear warheads.

  2. Why did the USA become involved in Vietnam in the 1950s and 1960s?

    Americans tried to find large groups of North Vietnamese Army troops to fight. But often large groups of enemies could no be found, so the American troops adopted what was known as 'Zippo Raids'. These were operations where the Americans would storm villages, torching the houses of villagers suspected of helping the communist guerrillas.

  1. How did America become involved in Vietnam?

    Truman also saw the Vietnam War, along with revolutions in Burma, Malaya, and Indonesia as highlighting the "strength and explosiveness of nationalism in Southeast Asia" and not as civil wars but as communist expansion. The State Department's Far Eastern Office thought that the French would lose the war and subsequently Western influence in the region would be lost .

  2. Battle Analysis - Dong Ap Bia (Hamburger Hill).

    Even when the foliage was destroyed, the massive bunker complex was so elaborate and well constructed that the NVA still had the advantage. The NVA had very limited technology on the battlefield. They relied on primitive ways of fighting their battles.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work