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"Explain Why The United States Became Increasingly Involved In The War In Vietnam During The Period 1954 1965

1582 words - 6 pages

Explain Why The United States Became Increasingly Involved In The War In Vietnam During The Period 1954-1965.Between 1946-1954 French authorities ruled Vietnam. Many people in Vietnam did not like the French having an influence in the way their country was ruled. The Vietminh began to take action against the French. The Vietminh were a Communist organisation. In 1950-1951, the French looked to America for assistance against the Vietminh. Despite not getting directly involved, America paid for most of the cost of the war. This did not satisfy the French. The French saw the war as a battle between Imperialists and Nationalist. Whereas the Americans saw the conflict as a battle against the worldwide spread of communism. This is why I believe the Americans decided to aid the French in their conflict against the Vietminh. In 1954, at the battle of Dien Bien Phu, the Vietminh attacked the French garrison of 15,000 troops. By mid March, the surviving 10,000 troops were made to surrender. This was a humiliating defeat for the French. They then turned to America for more physical aid such as troops and a possible nuclear strike. The Americans declined as they had only just ended the war in Korea and did not wish to risk losing more American troops. After the battle of Dien Bien Phu, Britain, France, China, The Soviet Union, The United States and Vietnam agreed to meet in Geneva, Switzerland. The Vietminh wished to have an early election in order to elect a government for the whole of Vietnam. Due to their fear of Ho Chi Minhs popularity, America, France and Britain wished to have a long delay before the election. At the convention, its was agreed that Vietnam would be divided along the 17th parallel with the North ruled by Ho Chi Minh and the South ruled by Ngo Dinh Diem. It was also agreed that Vietminh forces for would withdraw from the South and French forces would pull out of the North.President Eisenhower had a theory, which he called 'The Domino Theory'. This was his idea about the spread of communism. He said, "If one country were to fall, its neighbouring countries would also fall, just like a row of dominoes." This is one of the reasons why I feel America became increasingly involved in the war in Vietnam; it was scared of the spread of Communism. In a bid to contain Communism, President Eisenhower, along with South Vietnamese Officials, formed the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation. (SEATO). To make sure that Diem remained anti- Communist, he decided poured economic aid, modern weapons and sent military advisors into Vietnam. This began when Eisenhower sent 17 military officials with sealed orders to Saigon. When Eisenhower left office in 1961, there were 685 military advisors in South Vietnam. However they were not there to fight, but to train the ARVN. (Army of the Republic of Vietnam). During this period, the Vietnamese Communists continued to gain strength. They began to renew the tactics of Guerrilla Warfare.The Americans did not want to...

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