The United States' Involvement in Vietnam
Vietnam is a country in South-East Asia and was a part of the old
French colony known as Indo-China. During the Second World War Vietnam
was captured by the Japanese from the French and a Vietnamese
resistance organisation was formed, they were called the Vietminh. The
leader was Ho Chi Minh who was a devout communist. After the Second
World War had ended, France was part of the victorious side, therefore
they wanted to reclaim Vietnamback from Japan (a losing side) and
France succeeded. However, the purpose of the Vietminh was to prevent
this from happening by fighting a Guerrilla war against the French.
The French went to war with the Vietminh in 1946 and this war was
becoming increasingly unpopular in France, as there had been 90000
casualties. There was no sign of victory for France and it drained
their weak economy after the war. The French people didn't even
understand why they had control over Vietnam in the first place.
In 1954, France was defeated in the penultimate battle of Diem Bien
Phu, thereafter asked U.S president Eisenhower to intervene who
refused. In April of that year foreign ministers from the U.S.A,
Soviet Union, Britain and Francemet in Geneva to attempt to bring
peace to the conflict. This conference decided 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 (opponent to communism). Also
French and Vietminh troops would withdraw from each others land and
the Vietnamese people would be able to choose to live in the north or
south. Finally an election was to be held in July 1956 to unite the
country and Ho Chi Minh was confident of victory in the election and
so the communists would take over.
America considered Vietnam such an important issue and threat that
they decided to fight a war there (9000 miles from their mainland).
The U.S.A felt this way because of the fear of communism spreading.
Americans believed communism was taking over the world and needed to
be halted, due to events such as the communist take-over of China, the
Korean War and the communist victory in Vietnam. After the USA's cold
war with the USSR they had pledged to follow the Truman Doctrine and
'Containment' which meant they would not allow any more countries to
turn communist (in other words meant they would contain the expansion
of communism). So, when President Eisenhower made a statement
explaining that "if an election had been held in Vietnam during the
time of fighting 80% of the people would have voted for the
communists", Americans were alarmed.
As I mentioned earlier, after the Cold War, America was trying to
contain communism as they feared a Domino effect. President Kennedy
stated that if South Vietnam fell to communism the whole none