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Us Involvement in the Vietnam War

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Us Involvement in the Vietnam War

United States' Involvement in the Vietnam War

Source Based

Vietnam in South East Asia had always been a desirable country. Since

the 19th century, it was ruled by France and called Indo China. Apart

form one rebellion in 1930, France had total control of the country

until they surrendered to Germany in the Second World War in 1940.

Japan, Germany's ally, took control of Vietnam and the resources in

it, such as coal, rice, rubber, railways and roads. An anti-Japanese

resistance organisation, which was called the Viet Minh and led by Ho

Chi Minh, a communist, was formed. At the end of the war, the Viet

Minh controlled the North Vietnam and had ambitions to control the

rest. Japan had gone when they entered Hanoi in 1945 and declared

Vietnamese independence. When war broke out between France and Vietnam

in 1946 because the French wanted to regain control of Vietnam, the

Viet Cong, which was a communist-supporting group against the

Americans set up in the South of Vietnam, used guerrilla tactics

against the French. These involved hit and run raids and other tactics

that the French hadn't experienced before and made them almost

impossible to beat.

To begin with, the USA was sympathetic towards the Viet Minh because

they viewed the situation as Vietnam wanting to have independence and

they did not agree with countries having colonies anyway. However in

1949, when communists took over China and began to give help to Ho Chi

Minh, the USA became afraid that the Viet Minh were the puppets of

China. The Americans then became increasingly involved in Vietnam

because they hated communism and were very much afraid of a communist

spread. They feared the Domino effect, which meant that if Vietnam

fell to communism, they expected nearby countries such as Cambodia,

Laos, Thailand, Burma and India to become communist one after the

other, very quickly. The USA had a policy known as the Truman

Doctrine, which meant that they would send money, equipment and advice

to any country threatened by a communist take over. Therefore, they

provided Ngo Dinh Diem, who was helped to set up the anti-communist

Republic of South Vietnam, with $1.6 billion in the 1950's. The other

policy that the USA had was containment, which was to prevent

communism spreading any further than it already had done in Eastern

Europe. The USA stopped the proposed elections taking place in Vietnam

for fear that the communists would win, so Vietnam was divided into

North and South Vietnam in 1954. This communist victory over the

French led the Americans to believe that communists were taking over

the world and must be stopped.

Sources A to C show two people's views towards America going into war

against North Vietnam and the Viet Cong. Source A is a speech made by

US President Johnson in April 1965, one month after the start of

Operation Rolling Thunder. He is justifying the reasons for going into

war against Vietnam, which are to keep the peace and freedom of the

people in South Vietnam. Its content can be trusted because, being the

President, he was directly involved in Vietnam so he knew what was

happening

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