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The Vietnam War And The Tonkin Gulf Resolution

1080 words - 4 pages

Tonkin Gulf Resolution
The Vietnam War lasted from the winter of 1956 to the spring of 1975. The Vietnam War was a domesticated civil war between the communist, North Vietnam, and the democratic, South Vietnam. The North was supported by the Chinese communist, and the leader Ho Chi Minh. The Vietnam War introduced the United States to the Vietcong and Guerrilla warfare. During this time, the United States faced our own battles at home between two social groups called the Doves and the Hawks. This war was very divisive. The Doves protested and Hawks shunned them. Young men without money were being drafted while others went to college, got a medical note, or fled the country. Tensions were already high in the United States when Congress passed Public Law 88- 408, also known as the Tonkin Gulf Resolution.
On August 2, 1964 an incident happened between the USS Maddox and a North Vietnamese torpedo ships. While the Maddox was doing a casual sweep through of the Tonkin Gulf, the North Vietnamese ships began to follow. Captain Herrick ordered his men to shoot while he radioed an aircraft carrier for assistance. After feeling threated, the North Vietnamese ships each fired one torpedo. Two missed and the third failed to launch. The Maddox was barely touched, as for the Vietnamese ships, two were in bad shape and the other had sunk. Meanwhile, over in Washington D.C., President Lyndon B. Johnson was frantic about the situation he had been informed of. At first, President Johnson had no desire to hold any reprisal against North Vietnam. He proceeded to tell Russia that he had no interest in extending the conflict. However, he did warn that there would be consequences for their action. This conflict had our stationed soldiers on high alert and additional flight bombers were sent. From this point, tensions increased between the battling sides.
On August 7, 1964 Congress passed the Public Law 88- 408, also known as the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. The Law was passed 82- 2 in the Senate, and 416- 0 in the House of Representatives. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution allowed President Johnson the power to take whatever actions he deemed necessary to aid South Vietnam. This also included the use of armed forces. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution signified the United States ability to commit our forces without declaring a full, blown out war. This allowed the United States to supply or withdraw soldiers whenever we wanted (“Tonkin Gulf Resolution Is Passed."). We were never fully committed to the Vietnam War. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution gave South Vietnam the power and moral to fight against the communist, North Vietnam. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution limited the amount of force being used on the United States in order to decrease the risk of further conflicts. This allowed the President to declare any kind of attacks without the Congress approval. Congress was only there to fund the resolution. Later, Nixon began to abuse the power of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. Congress then...

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