Explain Why the United States of America Became
Increasingly Involved in Vietnam Between 1945 & 1966.

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  • Topic: Cold War, Vietnam War, World War II
  • Pages : 7 (2863 words )
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  • Published : October 18, 2008
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In this coursework essay, I am aiming to explain why the United States of America became increasingly involved in the Vietnam conflict between the years 1945 and 1966. During this time, America had five different presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.
 Until the First Indochina War, the region was a colony of France, known as Indochina, part of the French Union – in the war, troops were drawn from elsewhere in the French Union to fight in the war against the Viêt Minh (lead by Hô Chí Minh). Later, between the years 1955 & 1965 – the Americans were supporting Ngô Đình Diêm, a puppet President they had helped install. However, the Americans didn’t realise what a problem he would become. He ran his authoritarian and nepotistic ‘government’ so poorly, he would later be double-crossed and killed by one of his Generals and a Captain of the AVRN while travelling in an armoured vehicle. After Diêm’s death, the United States were at their full involvement.

After the Second World War, and the Yalta agreement which gave control of the entire East of Europe to Stalin, Truman’s doctrine changed the United States’ attitude towards communism. The new policy was containment, and the US were worried about the progress of Stalin’s communism throughout Eastern Europe and the Far East, with Máo Zédōng’s regime introducing communism into China, and soon, Korea. Something had to be done – Soviet Russia turned into the USSR, with fifteen SFSRs, China became the People’s Republic of China – communist countries were spreading their ideals, and determined to not see another country fall to the threat of communism, the US started to carry out their self-imposed Truman Doctrine obligation: to stop the spread of communism through any means, financial or military. One of the ways that American attitudes changed is the way that Truman weighed up the belief held by many Americans that colonialism is wrong, with the threat of communism, which Stalin was spreading throughout the Eastern world. In World War II, the Viêt Minh received funding from the Americans because they were opposed to the Japanese, who were controlling French Indochina at the time, but after Stalin effectively fortified the Russian SFSR by using the rest of Eastern Europe as a buffer zone, the Americans under Truman changed their policy – fighting communism was more important that stopping colonialism. Two events before the Vietnam conflict showed that this US Policy was one that Truman intended to act on. The first of these two events occurred during the Berlin blockade, in which the Western allies decided to conduct an airlift operation to provide humanitarian aid to the citizens of Berlin. 278,228 flights were made, and 2,326,406 tons of food and supplies, including more than 1.5 million tons of coal, were sent to Berlin by literally hundreds of Allied aircraft every day, keeping a city alive, and winning a war of ideals against the communists. Alongside the Berlin airlift, the Marshall Plan led the US to provide aid to people living in poverty in both communist countries, and countries threatened by communism, to encourage citizens to question and perhaps rebel against communists in their countries. The second of the events was the Korean War. North Korea invades the South 25th June 1950. Accompanied by Soviet and Chinese support, the Northern invaders pushed so quickly southwards that the Americans felt obligated to step in at once. This point of the Cold War quickly became ‘hot’, as the Americans realised that Stalin and Mao were ready to support any communist insurgents that wanted to revolt against their governments. The US were to contain communism by pushing into the South and driving Kim Il-Sung back to the 38th Parallel. The USSR was an increasingly formidable opponent, and the US (along with other allies) set up NATO, as the USSR developed its own nuclear arsenal – just as the US had done. The fact that such a conflict was taking...
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