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

Explain how the USA became involved in Vietnam and why the US Army experienced problems in Vietnam by 1968.

Extracts from this document...


Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Explain how the USA became involved in Vietnam and why the US Army experienced problems in Vietnam by 1968. The USA was interested in Vietnam long before the Vietnam War broke out, due to the 1947 Truman Doctrine. After China fell to communism in 1949 and signed a Friendship Treaty with the USSR in 1950, the Americans were gravely concerned about communism in Asia. Vietnam had been part of the French empire of Indo-China until the communist Ho Chi Minh attempted to seize control. France were defeated at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and Vietnam was divided along the 17th Parallel, despite $1.4 billion of US support. North Vietnam was led by Ho Chi Minh and was communist. South Vietnam was led by Diem and was capitalist. The Americans feared that the Dominion Theory would become a reality ? they were concerned that countries such as Laos and Japan would be the next to fall. In the words of General MacArthur, ?Asia is where the communists are making their play for world domination.? Therefore the USA got increasingly involved between 1954 and 1965. ...read more.


This was a hated policy and just convinced more Vietnamese to join the Viet Cong. Another problem faced by the Americans was the Ho Chi Minh trail, which was the Viet Cong supply route through the jungles of Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. In order to destroy this trail and to gain a clear view of the enemy, the US bombarded the forests with chemical weapons such as Agent Orange and Napalm, which burnt human flesh as well as foliage. Around 300,000 civilians were killed. Despite this bombing, the Viet Cong were committed to keeping their supply route open. As a result of these tactics the USA were seen as foreign aggressors rather than freedom fighters. The Americans could not tell the difference between a civilian and a Viet Cong member, so they destroyed entire villages. This was the case with the My Lai Massacre, where over 300 civilians were killed. This made the South Vietnamese resent the Americans even more. As well as this, the US troops were often young and inexperienced. By 1968 US morale was at an all-time low and drug abuse was rife. ...read more.


This allowed the Americans to withdraw without appearing to have been defeated. By 1971, the numbers of troops in the South reduced to 157,000. In his efforts to destroy the Ho Chi Minh trail Nixon began to bomb Cambodia and Laos. This expansion of the war was criticised internationally and only gained more support for the communists. Peace talks finally culminated in January 1973, when the USA and North Vietnam signed a cease fire. The US Army withdrew from the war. Soon after the North Vietnamese army attacked the South and in 1975 it recaptured Saigon. It was renamed Ho Chi Minh city, a name that remains to this day. The results of the Vietnam War were largely negative. 58,000 US troops died and over 300,000 were injured. The greatest casualties were the South Vietnamese citizens ? one million died. Many US veterans were mentally scarred. The USA?s domino theory was only partially correct. Cambodia and Laos fell to communism, but no other Asian country did. Vietnam was economically, socially and geographically wrecked by the war, and the USA also faced economic hardship after spending $120 billion on the war. The Vietnam War proved that a clever enemy could humble even a superpower. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Vietnam 1954-1975 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 GCSE Vietnam 1954-1975 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explain why the US withdrew its forces from the Vietnam War in 1973

    4 star(s)

    Tatics used by the US to try and clear out areas of rural Vietnam like Search and Destroy, in which soldiers would enter a village, search for any Viet Cong forces and, whether or not there was any Viet Cong present, they would procede to burn down everything in the

  2. Why did the USA become increasingly involved in the Vietnam War

    France could no longer afford to be involved in Vietnam. France were beaten at 'Dien Bien Phu' and they called for negotiations which resulted in Vietnam being divided into two; North and South Vietnam. The North being a communist government of Ho Chi Minh and South being capitalist.

  1. Why was USA involved in Vietnam War?

    were closely linked together. If one country fell to communism, then others would also fall, like a row of dominoes. The USA supported by sending money, supplies and military equipment. 1959 Communist government in North Vietnam ordered the Vietminh to begin a terror campaign against Diem's government. Ngo Dinh Diem was a fanatical catholic.

  2. Escalation of American involvement in Vietnam

    They were looking for ways to escape the difficulties of the war; therefore drugs became a huge problem within US soldiers. Later on, the war became also a media war, and this was not an advantage for USA as people saw the horrors of the war on TV.

  1. How useful are sources A to C in helping to explain why the United ...

    being crucial to and extent that they had to take actions and enter Vietnam whether the wanted to or not. Source B: Source B is a secretly taped conversation between President Johnson and his college/ colleges. It was then turned into a written document. It is therefore a primary source.

  2. Did the power of television force the US to leave Vietnam?

    Source E: Source E is a photograph of napalm victims. It was published during the Vietnam War. These children were fleeing from their homes in Trang Bang. This incident took place on June the 8th in 1972. A napalm bomb was accidentally thrown on this city by a South Vietnamese air force plane.

  1. History Controlled Assesment- Success' of USA military

    Although they were incredibly brave for accepting the missions, they were not welcomed as heroes by the US public. The US public opinion was mixed at the time. People with a strong sense of Patriotism, rich people and people from a high class, supported the war, others hated and despised it.

  2. How coverage of Vietnam in the USA led to demands for peace

    The Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred in 1964, fairly early on in the war, and it led to America?s ?open entry? into the Vietnam War and led to the escalation of US involvement in the war. On the 2nd of August 1964, the Maddox, the American destroyer, was attacked by three North Vietnamese torpedo boats.

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