GCSE Vietnam Coursework Context

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Background to Vietnam
Vietnam Coursework Background
When and how did the USA get involved in the Vietnam War?
The giving of aid (money) began in 1945, when France resumed control cover Indo-
China from Japan; they did this so as to support the containment of Communism.
This was also to stop the ,,domino theory. In 1954 France pulled out of Vietnam, as it
was becoming too costly and damaging. The Americans invaded also to fill this void
that the French had left when they surrendered.
What was the `domino theory', put forward by Richard Nixon?
The ,,domino theory was the theory that once one Communist country fell, they all
would, and in quick succession. The countries which were surrounding Vietnam were
all susceptible to the uprising of Communism, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia,
Indonesia etc. This is kind of the worst case scenario when it came to the Truman
Doctrine, it is exactly what America had been trying to avoid for 30 years.
Notes on Ngo Dinh Diem
Ngo Dinh Diem was the first President of South Vietnam, and he was an anti-
communist. So of course the USA would give him their full support. Diem was to
receive aid for 4 years, and a total of four billion dollars. He was a brutal dictator who
imprisoned and executed any opponents, and he persecuted the main religious
group of the country, Buddhists. As a response to this Communist guerrillas set up a
National Liberation Front, also called the Vietcong, and by 1961 60% of the country
was under their control. In order to help Diem, the USA sent in so-called "military
advisors" with equipment and helicopters, even though these "advisors" did not help
in combat.
Who or what were the Vietcong?
The Vietcong were a group of Communist guerrillas set up to oppose Diems brutal
leadership, and they gained a massive amount of support with most of the country,
including Buddhists, as they were those who were under the most oppression.
What happened when Diem died?
Nothing much changed when Diem died, and he was just followed by a string of
incompetent leaders who would not introduce any positive regime change. For
example in 1964 alone there were 4 pointless changes in government. In fact this list
of leaders helped the Vietcong, they provided the stability that the Vietnamese
people seemed to want, and the government didnt seem to be providing. This civil
unrest, and leaning to Communism caused the then President Lyndon B. Johnson to
think that greater USA involvement was necessary in Vietnam.
Ben Farren

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Background to Vietnam
What was the Tonkin Resolution? What caused it?
The Tonkin Resolution was passed by Congress in order to allow President Johnson
unlimited power when he thought it was necessary to "halt aggression". It came
about, as in 1964 North Vietnamese naval ships open fired on a US warship USS
Maddox, in the Gulf of Tonkin. As retaliation, the US Navy bombed certain targets in
North Vietnam.…read more

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Background to Vietnam
Vietnam. The Americans and the South Vietnamese did eventually push the
Communist forces back, but they then began to realise how this was a war which
would not be won. Richard Nixon thought it would be best at that moment to get
out of Vietnam.
Why couldn't Richard Nixon get out of Vietnam quickly?
This would make him and his army looked defeatist, and it would look like they were
weak and surrendering.…read more


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