USA Involvement In The Vietnam War

Part Of The Vietnam Question

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  • Created by: CassieMcP
  • Created on: 01-06-09 21:40

Why Did The USA Get Involved In The Vietnam War?

  • The Vietnam War had started a war of independence, A war of future direction of the Country.

For the USA however, the war was less to do with the Vietnam but more to do with the Conflict between Communism and the Capitalist free world.

  • The US governent had provided the money to finance 80% of the French war effort, But when France withdrew from Indochina the USA transferrred its support to stop the Dominoe effect.
  • USA's role to uphold those freedoms was so cherished in the free world, that would be denied by communism, Where else South Vietnam's regime was not a good advert for freedom.
  • And it was now clear that South Vietnam could not survive without massive amounts of aid, without loosing the support of public opinion in the USA for the war.
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How Did Americans Involvement In The War Escalate?

  • Massive ammounts of economic aid and over 16,000 Military Advisors were supplied to South Vietnam to help takle the growing Guerrilla warfare.
  • US troops would train the South Vietnamese army in counter-insurgency tactics, However, US tatics were not always applicable to Jungle Warfare.

However, They did no relise that success would only come from Winning over local population.

  • Kennedy believed that another victory for Communism would be intolerable.
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Part 2: Why Did The USA Get Involved In The Vietna

  • In 1962 an attempt to provide security in the countryside was set up the USA developed a policy of creating Strategic Hamlets Nearly 3000 of which were made.
  • As the situation detertiorated, Kennedy agreed to send in more military support.
  • 1963 saw the otherthrow of Diem and the start of military goverment,

...However, by 1965 there were 60,000 communist Guerrillas operation in the South supplied by the Ho Chi Minh Trail. And by 1964, 35% of South Vietnam was in Vietcong hands.

  • Kennedy, still hesitated to make a commitment to send armed US troops to fight in the South. In order to increase the commitment of the USA in the war, some form of convincing justification was need to carry the support of US.
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Part 3:Why Did The USA Get Involved In The Vietnam

The Gulf Of Tonkin Incident

  • US boat Maddox was destroyed by North Vietmanese in the Gulf of Tonkin, Two days later it was alleged that futher attacks took place.
  • US was to use these attacks a a justifaction to increase US commitment to the war, and in the end US Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
  • Johnson was now free to send US soilders to Vietnam
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Part 4:Why Did The USA Get Involved In The Vietnam

Operation Rolling Thunder

  • When the Vietcong launched a series of attacks in the early 1965 Johnson had just been elected again and was now confident enough to take decicive action, He went on to decide to launch bombing raids of North Vietnam.
  • Operation Rolling Thunder was involved in a selection of strategic targets in North Vietnam in order to put pressure on the North to stop supplying the Vietcong, in hope this would bring the conflict to an end.

However, This operation became more and more extensive but made no impact it was ineffective, as Vietnam was a largely agricultural country so it lacked military and important structual targets.

  • The USSR and China were quick to offer replacements for supplies that were damaged, MiG fighter were also used which enabled the North to shoot down upto 700 US planes, and in fact supplies to the Vietcong increased.

However, It did see the first arrival of US combat troops in Vietnam and many more numbers.

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Part 5:Why Did The USA Get Involved In The Vietnam

The Ground War

The USA took over the running of the war, Troops increased rapidly, reaching 385,000 in 1966 and 535,000 in 1968, and it was under the command of these new troops that the first move was made to secure the coastal areas and build up a base from which the Vietcong could be attacked.

  • Search and Destroy: Missions were organised to find and stake out Communist bases, used against villiages suspected of harbouring Vietcong Guerrillas.
  • Air Attacks: Provided support for ground troops used to destroy enemy supply routes and bases. Many areas in South Vietnam were made 'Free bombing zones' where large numbers of Bombs, rockets and Napalm were dropped with little regard for the possible target.
  • Helicopters: Used to provide mobility for the US troops.
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Part 5:Why Did The USA Get Involved In The Vietnam

Part 2: Ground War

  • Operation Ranch Hand: Involved the use of chemical warfare to strip the Vietcong of their Jungle cover, Killed over three million acres of Vegetation in the South.

When it came to ground war the Americans relied on superiror military technology, in contrast to this was the Vietcong who adopted Mao's Army Code where land areas reform was organised when land was in there power to illistrate the benefits that would come from thorwing of the US.

But to citizens in the South it had little effect, Pacification Policy was attempted, involving setting up schools and introducing land reform.

There was beliefe among US military leadership that the war would be won by military means alone: With the US superior resources, The US would defeat the Vietcong.


They were mis-guided to think that conventional warfare would win a so unconventional war.

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  • Determination to contain the spread of Communism had drawn the USA into the conflict in Vietnam
  • Which had escalated from a supporting adviosory role under Eisenhower and Kennedy to a large-scale commitment of resources and troops under Lyndon Johnson.
  • US relied to much on making use of it's superior military tech: The beliefe that by thowring in enough resources the problem would be solved.
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Former Member

Good but grammar difficult to decipher 

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