Why was USA involved in Vietnam War?

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Why did the USA become involved in the conflict in Vietnam?

Vietnam was a country 9000 miles away from the United States. Yet America felt that its national interest was threatened sufficiently to fight a war there. The explanation lies in the policy of “Containment”, which aim was to prevent the spread of Communism in South East Asia. The communist take-over of China in 1949, the Korean War and the communist victory over the French in Vietnam 1950-1953, all led many Americans to fear that other countries will fall into communism like tumbling dominoes. Therefore, in 1950’s USA became involved in Vietnam War starting with just a financial support from 1949, ending with military involvement in 1965.

The US government believed that by helping the South Vietnamese government to resist the attacks of the communist North they were helping to prevent the spread of communism throughout the world.  1949 was bad years for USA in the Cold War, not only did USSR explode its own atom bomb, which meant that USA was no longer the only nuclear power, but also China became communist. Due to the fear of communism, USA started to financially support Viet Minh and they gave 520 million dollars support to French government in 1949 every year.

In 1954 French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu. In 1956 Vietnam was supposed to have elections to reunite the country; however in 1954 USA applied the rule to prevent the elections from taking place, because they knew that communists would win. Because of the Geneva agreement Vietnam was divided into Communist North Vietnam, lead by Ho Chi Minh (with support from China) and anti-communist South Vietnam, lead by Ngo Dinh Diem (with support from USA). Responding to the defeat of the French by the Vietminh at Dien Bien Phu, in 1954 President Eisenhower outlined the Domino Theory: "You have a row of dominoes set up. You knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly." The idea was that the countries of South East Asia (and elsewhere) 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.

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Ngo Dinh Diem was a fanatical catholic. As communism hated religion, Diem hated what entire communism stood for. This is why he got America's support - he had a poor record on human rights but his rule was in the era of the US desire to ‘contain communism’ and anybody who was anticommunist in the Far East was likely to receive American backing, regardless of their less than savory background. Ngo ruled as a dictator along with his brother - Nhu. Their government was corrupt and brutal but it was also backed by America.

In 1960 The National Liberation Front ...

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