Why did the US become involved in Vietnam?
France colonized the country Vietnam in the mid-19th century.
By 1945, the United States became concerned about the nationalist movement led by the Viet Minh and began actively supporting the French colonization of Vietnam as a means to avoid the establishment of a communist strong hold. When, after World War II the nationalist movement led by Ho Chi Minh tried to take down the French government, President Truman assisted France by providing military equipment to help reestablish the French presence and power in Vietnam. Despite the support of the United States, the Vietnamese were able to defeat France in 1954. As a result, the country divided into North and South Vietnam.
After the division of Vietnam, the United States supported South Vietnam and its efforts to establish a representative government. With the approval of President John F. Kennedy, South Vietnamese generals led a coup against communist leader Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963. The removal and murder of Diem started a period of political instability in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese and supportive rebel communists in South Vietnam, called the Viet Cong, started fighting.
The crisis between the United States and North Vietnam intensified when North Vietnam attacked the U.S.S. Maddox off the coast of North Vietnam. President Johnson authorized the launch of air strikes and Congress approved military force against North Vietnam but he did not declare war. The United States sent troops in 1965 to contain the spread of communism into South Vietnam, to support the efforts of the South Vietnamese forces, and to prevent the collapse of the government of South Vietnam. By the end of 1968, the United States had sent more than 500,000 troops to South Vietnam.
In 1968, communists launched the Tet offensive, a massive attack against the United States and South Vietnam. The north hoped to cause the South Vietnamese to lose faith in their government and to deal a blow to United States forces. The north also wanted the attack to persuade the United States to begin peace negotiations with North Vietnam. Although the attack did not have the impact North Vietnamese leaders expected, it did stun the American people and demoralize war managers. This eventually led to President Johnson cutting back on sending troops. Johnson later called for peace negotiations.
In July of 1969, United States troops began withdrawing from Vietnam, and on May 29, 1973, the last of American ground forces left the country. Soon after, peace talks broke down between the north and south and the war resumed. However, American troops did not return. The United States eventually began to reduce their military aid to South Vietnam. By 1975, North Vietnam and the Viet Cong won the war. This was the first war in a foreign country where American combat forces did not achieve their goals of stopping the spread of communism.
If you like this essay, you can order a unique custom paper on this topic: “Vietnam War Essay”!