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United States' Involvement With Vietnam Essay

4683 words - 19 pages

United States' Involvement with Vietnam

The USA were involved in the Vietnam conflict for a number of reasons.
The first going back to what happened during World War 2 when Japan
surrendered to USA in 1945. It was decided that the Indo-Chinese
territories should be given back to the French empire. However, many
Vietnamese people wanted to be independent and free of French rule.
So, the Vietminh was founded and lead into independence by their
communist leader Ho Chi Minh. Fighting soon broke out against the
French who still wanted to keep hold of Vietnam as it was very rich in
natural resources like minerals. The French soon had an army with
around 500,000 soldiers-both Vietnamese and French, to battle the
Vietminh. The French soon went into massive debt when 90,000 of their
soldiers had been killed, wounded or captured by 1952. The French
looked to the USA for financial help, and the USA gladly helped as
they were so paranoid of the spread of communism, mainly because of
the domino theory. This was an idea devised by John Foster Dulles,
thinking that if one country fell to communism, then soon after all of
its neighbours would follow. North Vietnam had become a communist
country after the Geneva agreement was made following the French
defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Ho Chi Minh was in charge of the
North and he wanted the communism to spread to the South, controlled
by President Diem. The USA, with their belief in the domino theory did
not want this to happen. This is apparent in source A, written by John
F Kennedy in 1956. He says; 'Vietnam is the cornerstone of the free
world in South-East Asia. If the red tide of communism overflowed into
Vietnam, obviously Laos & Cambodia would be threatened….The
independence of Vietnam is crucial to a free world'. In this source he
is reinforcing the idea that the communisation of south Vietnam would
be the gateway to it spreading and taking over the whole of Asia. I f
this happened, the USA would have lost out as it would prevent them
from being able to import cheap raw materials over from Asian
countries. Kennedy, along with the rest of the world, were also very
tense due to living under the threat of the cold war. The USA were
very much against the idea of the rest of Asia going communist as it
would have been quite likely for it to join forces with the USSR thus
creating a super force able to take of the world. Although America
were very keen to go into Vietnam to do something about Ho Chi Minh,
they needed to find an excuse to do so. The 'Gulf Of Tonkin Incident'
was the excuse they needed to increase their involvement in Vietnam.
This was what happened in 1964, when US ships thought they were being
attacked by torpedoes. Johnson, the President at the time decided that
he could use a second imaginary attack to persuade congress to...

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