U.S. Bombing Of North Vietnam Essay

1372 words - 5 pages

On February 24, 1965, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson authorized Operation ROLLING THUNDER to commence against North Vietnam. ROLLING THUNDER, the longest bombing campaign ever conducted by the United States Air Force, lasted from 1965 to 1968. (Tilford, “Operation ROLLING THUNDER”) There were several reasons why President Johnson chose to begin an all-out bombing campaign against North Vietnam at this time. The United States wanted to prevent the spread of communism by enforcing the containment of communism via President Harry S. Truman's Domino Theory. (Cunningham) The United States wanted to support South Vietnam's right to self-government, free elections, and freedom from religious persecution. (Fasanaro) President Johnson felt forced to retaliate against the increasingly aggressive communist North Vietnamese forces, as per the Tonkin Gulf Incidents which occurred in July and August of 1964, and the attack on the Pleiku U.S base on February 7, 1965. (Tilford, “Strategic Bombing”) President Lyndon B. Johnson was justified in ordering the United States military to bomb North Vietnam.
The U.S bombing of North Vietnam was mainly to prevent the spread of communism in Southeast Asia. The United States’ fear of communism was steeped in history and historical documents. After World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, the United States began a foreign policy constructed to contain the spread of communism. On March 12, 1947, President Harry S. Truman announced the Truman Doctrine to support any country facing “armed minorities or outside pressures.” The Truman Doctrine led to the containment policy toward communism and became a primary part of the United States foreign policy. (Pieroaoli) President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first to mention the Domino Theory at an April 7, 1954, press conference. President Eisenhower compared the countries of Southeast Asia to dominos with the idea that if one country fell to communism, the rest would soon fall as well. The countries of Asia including Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos were considered to be important pieces in the domino theory. (Stevens, “Domino Theory: Cold War”) To further prevent the spread of communism, President Eisenhower created the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), in September 1954. (Ross: Stevens, “Containment: Cold War”) A total of eight countries, including the United States, Britain and France, pledged to defend Southeast Asia and restrain communism as the goal of SEATO was the security of the member nations. (Kislenko)
The United States bombing of North Vietnam was also in support of South Vietnam's right to self-government. In 1950, under President Harry Truman, the U.S Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG), Indo-China was established. MAAG, Indo-China (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos) was a vehicle to offer U.S military assistance against the Communists. It consisted of inspection teams, with the primary mission being...

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