• 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 in the 1950’s and 1960’s?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

David Gray Why did the USA become involved in Vietnam in the 1950's and 1960's? The USA became involved in Vietnam in the '50s and '60s because of their fear of communism. On of the underlying theories that supported their belief was the domino theory. This was stated by President Eisenhower in 1954, 'You have a row of dominoes set up. You knock over the first one. What will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. Asia has already lost some 450 millions of its peoples to communist dictatorship. We simply cant afford greater losses.' This was re-iterated by President Kennedy in 1956, 'Vietnam represents the cornerstone of the Free World in Southeast Asia, the keystone to the arch, the finger in the dike. Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the red tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam'. The USA wanted to maintain a policy of containment, trying to contain Communism and prevent it spreading. ...read more.

Middle

After World War Two, the USA and USSR emerged as the superpowers and Britain and France were 'second division', not big enough, rich enough or strong enough to exercise real international leadership. The US was aware that there was responsibility attached to being a superpower. At the beginning of the 1950's, Presidents Truman and Eisenhower as well as many US citizens believed that the USSR wanted the whole world to become communist, although they did not approve France fighting to get its colony back, they were willing to supply money because they believed in the 'domino theory'. In the statement policy towards Indo-China made in 1948, the United States had 4 long-term objectives, two of which were: ' (1) To eliminate so far as possible Communist influence in Indo-China and to see installed a self governing nationalist state which will be friendly to the US and which, commensurate with the capacity of the peoples involved, will be patterned upon our conception of a democratic state as opposed to the totalitarian state which would evolve inevitably from Communist domination. ...read more.

Conclusion

The anti-communist government in the South was very corrupt and many of the South Vietnamese supported Ho Chi Minh because they saw him as an effective representative of the peasants and a 'fair' leader unlike President Diem whose rule was harsh and corrupt. Diem persecuted Buddhists and they protested against their persecution in extremely inhuman ways. In 1960, the NLF (National Liberation Front) was set up to oppose Diem. Its members consisted mainly of communists and received aid from North Vietnam. Diem was assassinated in a military coup in November 1963, supposedly with the approval of the approval of the CIA. The Vietcong, who were being supplied by Hanoi and communist China, occupied several rural areas of South Vietnam. President Kennedy was assassinated 3 weeks later, and US policy had reached a crisis. The new president Lyndon Johnson already had plans to escalate the war, but was unable to carry them out unless he could show that there was a reason to do so. The US navy was patrolling the Vietnamese coast, looking out for NLF soldiers. The North Vietnamese retaliated towards this and attacked an American Destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin. This incident gave Johnson the excuse he needed to escalate the war. ...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. Why did the USA become involved in Vietnam in the 1950s and 1960s?

    It was supposed to boost US army morale and also to lower communist morale, but it didn't really work. The communists were prepared to suffer high casualties, and sometimes the body count was very low anyway because the communists tried to take their dead with them.

  2. 'To what extent had the USA become two different societies by the eve of ...

    on imports, whereas the south were strongly opposed to any form of protectionism and tariffs because the whole southern economy was based on exports of goods such as cotton and tobacco. The south believed that the imposition of tariffs led the south to be economically exploited by the north, showing

  1. Explain why there were such different reactions in the USA to the country’s involvement ...

    The political divide lied with the left wing and right wing views of the American senate. The left wing was known as the "Doves". As the nickname suggests, they were against the fighting and insisted that the war was morally wrong.

  2. Why did the USA become involved in Vietnam?

    President Eisenhower developed a foreign policy based on the idea of the domino theory. Since North Vietnam was led by Ho Chi Minh, the USA's support obviously fell to Ngo Dinh Diem, who hated all that communism stood for, just like America.

  1. Explain why there were such different reactions in the USA to the country’s involvement ...

    He could not however, contemplate America being seen as weak to its communist enemies and once he had committed ground forces, refused to consider a pullout, which would leave him vulnerable to conservative attack. Most Americans during the early 1960's had their eyes fixed on the 'American dream.'

  2. Describe the Military Tactics used by both the USA and the Vietcong Forces In ...

    They also then redistributed the land equally between people; landowners were also punished for previous crimes. This meant that peasants would feed and hide the NLF soldiers from the ARVN and the Marines. They motivated the people telling them that if retaken by the Americans or ARVN then the land would be taken back and given to the previous landowners.

  1. In what ways, for what motives, and with what consequences did the USA become ...

    They aimed to promote the German economy in order to stimulate productivity, trade, and more importantly allow Germany to export producer goods to revive the rest of Western Europe. The Marshall Plan of 1947 was declared by US foreign secretary George C.

  2. Ho Chi Minh

    issues in the Marxist periodical Le Paria (The Outcast), and contributed articles to the newspaper L'Humanit´┐Ż. He attracted a lot of attention as a fiery Vietnamese nationalist and tried to get Woodrow Wilson at the Versailles Peace Conference to support his cause.

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