US involvement in Vietnam

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French involvement and Diem Bien Phu

French colonialism in Vietnam lasted more than six decades. By the late 1880s France controlled Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, which it referred to as Indochine Francais (French Indochina).

The battle of Dien Bien Phu was the first indochina war (1946- 1954.)

The French forces had occupied the Dien Bien Phu valley in late 1953. With added chienese aid the Viet Cong leader placed heavy artilery in caves to overlook the french camps and took part in assults on the french strong points.

The French had been surounded by the Vietnmese and got reduced to airdrops for supplies and reinforcement and were unable to evacuate their wounded, they were under constant artillery bombardment, and at the extreme limit of air range, the French camp’s morale began to fray.

Viet Minh forces overran the base in early May, prompting the French government to seek an end to the fighting with the signing of the Geneva Accords of 1954.

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Geneva Conference

Representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, France, and Great Britain came together in April 1954 to try to resolve problems related to Asia. One of the most troubling concerns was the Vietnamese nationalist forces, under the leadership of the communist Ho Chi Minh, and the French, who were intent on continuing colonial control over Vietnam.

The United States had been supporting the French as they feared a victory from Ho Chi Minh would cause communism to spread throughout Southeast Asia. When America refused France’s requests for more direct intervention in the war, the French announced that they were including the Vietnam question in the agenda for the Geneva Conference.

In July 1954, after the Vietnamese had captured the french, the french signed the Geneva Agreement. As part of the agreement, the French agreed to withdraw their troops from northern Vietnam. Vietnam would be temporarily divided at the 17th parallel, pending elections within two years to choose a president and reunite the country.

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Domino Theory

The Domino Theory was a theory that states that if one country in the region came under the influence of communism then the countries in the surounding area would follow- in a domino effect. It was used by the US president at that time, Presiedent Eisnenhower, and was quite oftenly used in 1950-80.

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Gulf Of Tonkin

On August 2 1964, shortly after a clandestine raid on the North Vietnamese coast by South Vietnamese gunboats, the U.S. destroyer Maddox was fired on by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. Two days later, in the same area, the Maddox and another destroyer reported that they were again under attack. Although these reports now appear to have been mistaken, Johnson proceeded quickly to authorize retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnam.

The US president accused the North Vietnamese of “open aggression on the high seas.” He then submitted to the Senate a resolution that authorized him to take “all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.” The resolution was quickly approved by Congress; only Senators Wayne Morse and Ernest Gruening voted against it. Later, when more information about the Tonkin incident became available, many concluded that Johnson and his advisers had misled Congress into supporting the expansion of the war.

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Before and During WW2

For Europe the war began in september 1939, this was when Germany invaded Poland under command of Adolf Hitler. Both Britain and France went to war on Germany but offered little action for a short while of time.

Although the war began with Nazi Germany's attack on Poland in September 1939, the United States did not enter the war until after the Japanese bombed the American fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. Between those two events, President Franklin Roosevelt worked hard to prepare Americans for a conflict that he regarded as inevitable.

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Supporting and Overthrowing Diem

President Eisenhower approved a National Security Council paper titled “Review of U.S. Policy in the Far East.” This paper supported Secretary of State Dulles’ view that the United States should support Diem, while encouraging him to broaden his government and establish more democratic institutions. Ultimately, however, Diem would refuse to make any meaningful concessions or institute any significant new reforms and U.S. support was withdrawn.

Diem was subsequently assassinated during a coup by opposition generals on November 2, 1963. The death of Diem resulted in some celebration among the South Vietnamese but also lead to political chaos in the nation.

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Military Advisors and Strategic Hamlets

Military advisors are soldiers sent to foreign nations to aid that nation with its military training, organization, and other various military tasks.

In the early 1960s, elements of the U.S. Army Special Forces went to South Vietnamas military advisors to train and assist the South Vietnamese Army. United States Marines also filled a significant role as advisors to Vietnamese forces.

The Strategic Hamlet Program was a plan by the governments of South Vietnam and the United States during the Vietnam War to combat the communism by pacifying the countryside and reducing the influence of the communists among the rural population. In late 1950s, the Communists began to increase their activities in the South Vietnam. In December 1960, the National Liberation Front (NLF) was formed and rapidly controlled large sections of South Vietnamese countryside.

After Ngo Dinh Diem was overthrown (1963) the programme was cancelled.

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