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'Explain why the United States became increasingly involved in the war in Vietnam'.

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Introduction

History Coursework - Vietnam (Question 1) 'Explain why the United States became increasingly involved in the war in Vietnam' In 1954 Vietnam was divided into two countries, North and South Vietnam. North Vietnam became a communist republic under Ho Chi Minh. Ho Chi Minh's group of communists, the 'Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh Hoi' or 'Vietminh' were supported by China and Russia, also communist countries. South Vietnam became a dictatorship under Emperor Bao Dai. Elections were scheduled, elections Ho Chi Minh was confident he would win. However, Emperor Bao Dai appointed Ngo Dinh Diem as Prime Minister of South Vietnam. Diem then ousted Bao Dai and appointed himself President. President Diem refused elections and remained in South Vietnam. Diem was anti-communist and was supported by the US government whose aim was to eradicate communism. Ho Chi Minh's support in South Vietnam would have won him the election, turning Vietnam as a whole into a communist country. The US government's 'Domino Theory' stated that if communism spread from North Vietnam to South Vietnam, neighbouring countries would fall to communism like dominoes. ...read more.

Middle

The US involvement in Vietnam was increased by President Kennedy, partly because Ho Chi Minh had said it was his intention to free South Vietnam from a US backed government, and partly because the Vietcong were becoming increasingly successful in their guerrilla attacks. Kennedy, knowing that US arms and money weren't being utilised, sent advisers and by November 1963, there were 10,000 advisers in Vietnam. However, President Diem's South Vietnamese army made things worse. They executed and tortured peasants to try to contain the Vietcong, instead it increased determination. In November 1963, President Diem and his corrupt government were overthrown, Diem was killed. The US would have to step in if communism was to be contained. However, on 22 November 1963, President Kennedy, whose aim it'd been to stop communism, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. President Lyndon B. Johnson knew that Kennedy's ideas of sending military advisers had failed and that the Vietcong's guerrilla tactics would soon win the war in Vietnam. He knew that if the US didn't escalate their involvement in the war, the world would lose confidence in their promises to stop communism (the Truman Doctrine). ...read more.

Conclusion

'To increase the confidence of the brave people of South Vietnam, to convince the leaders of North Vietnam that we will not be defeated, and to reduce the flow of men and supplies from the North', were President Johnson's three reasons for the bombing campaign. Strategic bombing was replaced by blanket bombing, bombing whole cities such as previously restricted Hanoi and Haiphong. The blanket bombing began in April 1966 by US air crews using B-52 bombers, their aim to force the North Vietnamese to surrender. The planes dropped three times the amount of explosives on Vietnam as was dropped on Germany and Japan in World War Two. Soon afterwards, 3,500 US Marines were sent to South Vietnam. These Marines went to South Vietnam as US soldiers prepared to fight a war. They were to be controlled by Lieutenant General William Westmoreland and, by December 1964, there were 16,000 US Marines in South Vietnam, 268,000 in December 1966 and over 500,000 in January 1968. The sending of US Marines became known as the 'Americanization' of the war in Vietnam. By the end of 1964, through both Operation Rolling Thunder and Americanization, the US was fully involved in the war in Vietnam. Alistair Heeley 11T ...read more.

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