Vietnam3 Essay

This essay has a total of 871 words and 4 pages.

Vietnam3



In the early 1960ís, North Vietnam wished to unify North and South Vietnam
through military force. Since the United States feared the spread of communism in Asia,
John F. Kennedy provided economic and military aid to South Vietnam to prevent the
takeover by North Vietnam. At this time, this was still a civil war. The United States
were not yet officially involved.
The North Vietnamese resented this intervention by the United Sates and so, three
Vietnamese torpedo boats fired on the U.S. destroyer, " Maddox " on August 2nd, 1964.
The " Maddox " had been in the Gulf of Tonkin ( international waters ), thirty miles off
the coast of Vietnam. On August 3rd, 1964, President Johnson gave the right " to attack
with the objective of destroying attacking forces ". Retaliation air attacks began on
August 3rd. Their aim was to destroy North Vietnam's gunboat capability. As two more
United States destroyers were supposedly sunk, more air and sea forces were sent. Up
until now, the U.S. had refrained from direct combat. This is when the United States
formally entered the Vietnam War. The U.S. did this for two reasons. We wished to
maintain the independence of South Vietnam and we had to prove to allied nations that
we would help them resist Communist takeover. As Congress was about to vote whether
or not to allow the combat to move into North Vietnam, the North Vietnamese attacked a
major U.S. airbase at Bein Hoa. On February 7th, 1965, Johnson ordered retaliation
bombing on North Vietnam. Rolling Thunder was the name of this operation. It's purpose
was to put pressure on Hanoi and convince them that Communism could not and would
not win.
At the end of 1965, one hundred and eighty thousand Americans were in South
Vietnam under General William S. Westmoreland. The U.S. mainly depended on
superior firepower and helicopters. The Viet Cong and North Vietnamese depended on
surprise attack and concealment.
The United States soldiers realized that the war would last for many more years
and wondered if the U.S. war effort could succeed. At the end of 1968, The number of
American troops in South Vietnam reached it's peak of 542,000 men. The Viet Cong and
North Vietnamese launched a major invasion against the United States called the Tet
offensive from January 30th to February 25th, 1968. At the Khe Sanh U.S. firebase, there
was a major ground battle. There was a siege from January 21st to April 14th. It was
thought to be the " American Dien Bien Phu ". The United States turned it around
however, with their victory at Hue. By 1969, combat decreased rapidly and American
troops began to return home.
The role of Communism was extremely important in this conflict. Communism
was one of the main reasons of why the United States entered the war in the first place.
The U.S. " had " to enter the war to stop the spread of Communism in Asia since North
Vietnam was Communist. Had North Vietnam succeeded in converting Vietnam into a
Communist country, it could become very powerful and go on to " persuade " other
countries to become Communist. The U.S. believed that Vietnam could become
powerful. They were amazed that France, an Allied power, had been beaten by the
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