• 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 1950s and 1960s?

Extracts from this document...


Why did the USA become involved in Vietnam in the 1950s and 1960s? The Vietnam War, like any other war, was extremely ugly. But unlike other wars, there were many soldiers involved in the fighting who opposed it. There was also a tremendous cross-section of the American public that came to oppose it - not on the grounds that they were going to lose - but on the grounds that it was immoral and just plain wrong. This gathering of people from all walks of life and economic backgrounds together in cities all across the country to oppose immoral governmental foreign policy was, a fantastic exercise of real democracy, and may well have been the most blatant exercise of democracy to occur in this century. The reason repeatedly given to the American people was the "domino theory" - if Vietnam fell to Communism, countries across Southeast Asia down through Australia and New Zealand would fall like dominoes. ...read more.


The U.S. backed government in the south (not a national government yet, just a bureaucracy to take care of necessary business) refused to sign the Geneva Accords (France and the Viet Minh did). Thus, because they did not sign, the southern Vietnamese leaders felt (with U.S. encouragement) that they were not obliged to live up to the terms of the Accords. Then, with U.S. military and economic help, a U.S. picked southern Vietnamese leader, Ngo Dinh Diem, assumed the leadership of a U.S. sponsored Republic of Vietnam The U.S. even wrote the constitution for the new "country." All with the idea that they were saving at least a part of Vietnam from falling to the communists. From 1956 until his assassination in 1963 (just weeks before John F. Kennedy's assassination) Diem ran South Vietnam (SVN) as a tyrant, with the U.S. backing his every move. The U.S. also kept increasing the numbers of U.S. ...read more.


erroneously misread the Communist world as united, and tragically misread the Vietnamese desire for independence from all exploiters including the Chinese. Tuchman does not condemn all war, but says some wars seem just or inevitable - America's entry into World Wars I and II, for example. And she refrains from using hindsight to judge the US involvement in Vietnam. Rather, she finds compelling evidence that the five Presidents ignored the advice of many respected experts who strongly opposed U.S. intervention in Vietnam - including Army Chief of Staff General Matthew Ridgeway, Marine Corps Commandant General David Shoup, Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and Edwin O. Reischauer (Asia expert and future U.S. Ambassador to Japan.) Many experienced leaders believed strongly at the time that this was a vital and necessary war. Hindsight, of course, is always clearer than sight during the heat of battle. In his 1995 book, Robert McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defense under both Kennedy and Johnson, makes the devastating admission that the U.S. involvement in war with Vietnam was a mistake. He writes, "Yet we were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why." ...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. Free essay

    Why did the USA become involved in Vietnam in the 1950's and 1960's

    it was also a war of ideology. Both sides were trying to make up the better weapons, aircraft, trying to be the first do something etc. The Cold War was basically a rivalry of 2 nations and included events such as The Truman Doctrine (March 1947)- a statement made by

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

    Each side used to broadcast 'Propaganda' to there and other counties around the world. The two countries had to have every opportunity to find out what the other was up to so they both used to spy on each other, the USA had the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)

  1. How did the poets and the songwriters of the 1960's react to the Vietnam ...

    The Americans were guilty many a time of 'friendly fire' but they will 'always say sorry' 'Been crapping jelly petrol' refers to the horrendous 'situation' that the poor little girl (Lin Phuc)got into in the late 60s because the Americans 'accidentally' dropped Napalm onto her village, even though they knew it was not a VC village.

  2. Why did the USA become involved in Vietnam?

    Diem had quickly become very, very unpopular with the people of Vietnam, and turned out to be not quite what the USA had hoped for. Diem was a passionate catholic, and purely because he despised communism he won America's support.

  1. Why did the USA become involved in Vietnamin the 1950s and 1960s?

    This is one of the reasons why the USA got involved in Vietnam. They feared the spread of communism. This is stated in the dominos theory. This theory basically explains that if Vietnam were to turn communist then it would spread to Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand turning the whole of South East Asia communist.

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

    In 1954, when the French knew they were going to lose, they asked the US for American troops to be sent in and even for nuclear weapons to be used, but Eisenhower decided against both, the US was not ready for that kind of involvement yet.

  1. Why did the united states become increasingly involved in Vietnam in the 1950s and ...

    The French got this help by persuading the Americans they were combating communism. A 8-year guerrilla warfare occurs between the French and the Vietminh. 1954 The French make a heavily fortified base Dien Bien Phu they waited for Giap (general of the Vietminh)

  2. Why did the United States become involved in Vietnam in the 1950's and 1960's?

    This was important as after World War II in September 1945 Ho Chi Minh, who in 1930 had founded the indo-chinese Communist Party, declared Vietnam's independence. This took place in the country's capital Hanoi. The Vietminh (Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh i.e. the League for the Independence of Vietnam)

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