“The Vietnam War was a long, costly armed conflict that targeted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies. The North Vietnamese, known as the Viet Cong, fought against South Vietnam and its ally, the United States. The divisive war, increasingly unpopular at home, ended with the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1973 and the unification of Vietnam under Communist control two years later. More than 3 million people, including 58,000 Americans, were killed in the conflict.” (Vietnam War) The Vietnam War was very controversial in the United States, and many Americans disagreed with getting involved in the war. What were the reasons for the United States getting involved with the conflict in Vietnam? How did the conflict in Vietnam start?
When trying to research what questions I wanted to base this paper on, I used many websites such as History.com and Sparknotes.com. Going through these websites and reading the introductions, I wanted to find out how and why America got involved. To be able to get involved, the conflict had to start somehow, and I also wanted to find out how the beginning of the war started before the United States became involved. There is a lot of content on the Internet, so I went and asked a history teacher for a history book with a unit on Vietnam. The textbook was very helpful in finding facts.
The Vietnam War started as a result of U.S strategy of containment during the Cold War, which aimed to prevent the spread of communism throughout the world. “After the Second World War, the Soviet Union with its major role in the war emerged as a superpower with strong influence over Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria and East Germany, and parts of Asia, including China and Korea.” ( The History Place Vietnam
“The U.S and its Western allies considered Communism in form of the USSR as the greatest rival and postwar threat to their democracies and capitalism.” (Vietnam War)
The turning point in Asia came in 1949, when China became a communist country after Chinese communist rebels won the civil war and took control of the mainland China. From 1950, the U.S started to support South Korea in the war against the Communist North backed by China and USSR as well as send military aid to France in its war effort in French Indochina with the goal of containing communism spread. The U.S. government viewed American involvement in the war as a way to prevent a Communist takeover of South Vietnam. This was part of a bigger containment strategy, with the goal to stop communism. China had fallen in 1949 to Communism and US president, Lyndon B. Johnson, said: "I am not going to be the president who saw SouthEast Asia go the way China went." (“Why Did the U.S. Get Involved”) The U.S. used the Domino Theory for their reasoning to get involved and found it crucial to stop communism in Vietnam. “The domino theory was a theory prominent from the 1950s to the 1980s, that speculated that if one state in a region came under the influence of
communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect.” (“Domino Theory”)
Vietnam was a French colony until 1954 when they signed a treaty at Geneva conference, which temporarily separated the North communists from the South anticommunists, after the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. The French lost control in Vietnam about the time the Korean War ended, which had left the country partitioned into North and South Korea with China and USSR actively supporting the North communist government. “Then US President Eisenhower regarded Vietnam as Korea all over again and feared the whole Southeast Asia including Laos, Cambodia, Thailand would fall to communism in a domino effect as similar as what had happened in Eastern Europe (Domino Theory).” The loss of that essential regional trading area would encourage Taiwan, Japan, Australia and New ...
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