At the end of this war, North Vietnam was a communist dictatorship led by Ho Chi Minh while South Vietnam was all that remained of French colonial rule. Also, during that time the President of the United States declared that any country from their allies if demanded help to end communism, the US would provide it. The reasons for entering the Vietnam War no longer seemed so vital, especially when weighed against the cost of the war. The U.S. felt that it was losing the Cold War and needed to "contain" communism. Thuan delivered a letter from President Ngo Dinh Diem dealing with the Communist threat to his country. Following Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, the administration of Lyndon Johnson continued the same general policies of putting American advisers in the field beside South Vietnamese troops. Timeline of the Vietnam War (Second Indochina War), "President Warns of Chain Disaster If Indo-China Goes. Anti-involvement theorists argue that the U.S. shouldn’t have invaded Vietnam because Vietnam’s internal conflicts and political battles didn’t directly influence or affect America. Tensions escalated into armed conflict between the two sides, and in 1961 U.S. President John F. Kennedy chose to expand the military aid program. First, the Americans were an … Throughout the whole article every paragraph talks about why America did what they did over in Vietnam and how it affected us. Stewart, Richard W., editor. Maddox DD-731 was the victim of an 'unprovoked attack' in international waters off Vietnam, the Navy announced in Honolulu 8/1. France'… It gave the president broad authority to defend American troops in the region. Send the First Troops to Vietnam? But things changed with an incident in the summer of 1964. One of the main reasons it remains a source of argument is that it is difficult to say when the U.S. war actually began. The role of American advisers increased and by late 1963, there were more than 16,000 Americans on the ground advising South Vietnamese troops.. The Kennedy foreign policy was rooted, of course, in the Cold War, and the increase of American advisers reflected Kennedy’s rhetoric of standing up to communism wherever it might be found. The United States had provided funding, armaments, and training to South Vietnam’s government and military since Vietnam’s partition into the communist North and the democratic South in 1954. After Nixon left office as a result of the Watergate scandal, the administration of Gerald Ford continued to support the government of South Vietnam. Vietnam might not have become a zone of conflict for the United States had she adhered to Franklin Roosevelt’s wartime opposition to the return of French colonialists and his support for independence for Indochina once the Japanese had been defeated. Nguyyan Dinh Thuan, Chief Cabinet Minister to President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam, confers with President Kennedy in his White House office today. www.fpri.org Copyright © 2000–2021. Following the French withdrawal from Indochina, the solution put in place established a communist government in North Vietnam and a democratic government in South Vietnam. Why did the USA become increasingly involved in the Vietnam War? Japanese forces invaded Vietnam during World War II. With the vacuum caused by the defeat of Japan, an opportunity arose for the Communists to declare the "independence" of Vietnam in 1945. The U.S. involvement in South Vietnam stemmed from a combination of factors: France's long colonial history in French Indochina, the US War with Japan in the Pacific, and both Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong's pledge in 1950 to support Ho Chi … Robert J. McNamara is a history expert and former magazine journalist. The military suffered over 58,000 casualties, and America withdrew in defeat. In 1954, the French lost and Vietnam was divided between north and south. The U.S.S. Winston Churchill, and later Harold Wilson, may be thought of as having kept Britain out of Vietnam, but in actual fact, that was only once it had begun to escalate.. The main reason for the United States of America to become apart of the Vietnam War was to end communism and since the Soviet Union was involved already, it seemed more inviting for them. The Americans began supporting the South Vietnamese with political and military advisers in the late 1950s. No nation recognized the new regime and the French returned and swept it away, with remnants hiding in the mountains. Should we trace it back to the 1940s when President Harry Truman authorized U.S. financial support of the French war in Indochina? It was against this backdrop that the first U.S. military advisers were sent to help the French battle the communists of Northern Vietnam in 1950. The French were fighting in Vietnam to maintain their colonial power and to regain their national pride after the humiliation of World War II. But there was still considerable support for the war, and Nixon had campaigned in 1968 pledging to bring an "honorable end" to the war. The role of the United States in the Vietnam War began after World War II and escalated into full commitment during the Vietnam War from 1955 to 1973. It marked the first time combat troops were inserted into the war. His vice-president, Hubert Humphrey advised him against it. But did his government listen? "Military Health History Pocket Card for Health Professions Trainees & Clinicians." The U.S involvement in Vietnam had started as early as 1950 when Harry Truman sent military advisors to aid the French. The Gulf of Tonkin incident appeared to be a provocation for war. The United States government viewed involvement in the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam and part of their wider strategy of containment. This stated that if one country fell to communism, then its neighbour would and then the neighbour to this country. The President is shown here standing before a map of Cambodia. In March of that year, US troops landed in Da Nang. Learn why a country that had been barely known to most Americans came to define an era. What for? By 1972, the idea that Vietnam posed a threat to Cold War America was so discredited, it sometimes sounded as if America’s only remaining war aim was to … "Military Advisors In Vietnam: 1963." Ho Chi Minh helped initiate the First Indochina War, which took place from 1946 to 1954. However, the US started direct military action in Vietnam in 1964 until 1973. The McCarthy Era was marked by dramatic accusations that communists had infiltrated the highest levels of American society as part of a global conspiracy. McGovern lost in a historic landslide, which seemed, in some part, to be a validation of Nixon’s avoidance of a speedy withdrawal from the war. The conflict between the French and the Viet Minh came to a head at the … During World War II the Japanese occupied Vietnam and disarmed the French. That same year, the Korean War began, pitting Communist North Korean and Chinese forces against the U.S. and its UN allies. During the Vietnam War, there were a variety of reasons why USA became increasingly involved. America’s involvement in Vietnam, that was to lead to a full-scale military attack on North Vietnam, was all part of the Cold War scenario that had enveloped world politics. One reason included how they thought it would be an 'easy' war to fight and for that reason, they would be able to easily win and the war would not go … ", “The U.S. Army in Vietnam: Background, Buildup, and Operations, 1950–1967.”, "Military Health History Pocket Card for Health Professions Trainees & Clinicians.". In the article “The Causes of the Vietnam War” Andrew Rotter talks about all kinds of reasons why America went to war with Vietnam along with things that promoted America to get involved with Vietnam. Under the Party’s leadership, Vietnam fought wars against Japan (1945), France (First Indochina War, 1946-1955), and America (Second Indochina War, 1954-1975). Why the United States Went to War in Vietnam, https://history.state.gov/milestones/1953-1960/seato, https://millercenter.org/president/eisenhower/foreign-affairs, https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/Vietnam-Conference-Washington-DC_19560601.aspx, https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/Ready-Reference/JFK-Quotations/Inaugural-Address.aspx. The country spent much of the 1950s under the influence of the Red Scare, led by the virulently anti-communist Senator Joseph McCarthy. Taken to its extreme, the Domino Theory suggested that other nations throughout Asia would become satellites of either the Soviet Union or Communist China, much like nations in Eastern Europe had come under Soviet domination. The sentiment, especially among conservative voices in America, was that the sacrifice of so many killed and wounded in Vietnam would be in vain if America simply withdrew from the war. Related to this, the U.S. was adamantly against providing any aid to France that would in any way prop up France's … Internationally, following World War II, country after country in Eastern Europe had fallen under communist rule, as had China, and the trend was spreading to other nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia as well. One reason America went to war was because President Harry Truman authorized a military aid to the French. In the 1972 presidential campaign, Democratic nominee George McGovern campaigned on a platform of withdrawing from Vietnam. Throughout the late 1960s, the mood in America transformed. Since the 19 th century, Vietnam had been under colonial rule. During the Second World War, Japan invaded the country. On 23 July 1962, fourteen nations, including China, South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, North Vietnam and the United States, signed an agreement promising to respect the neutrality of Laos. “The U.S. Army in Vietnam: Background, Buildup, and Operations, 1950–1967.” American Military History: The United States Army in a Global Era, 1917–2008, II, Center of Military History, pp. Why did the U.S. go to war in Vietnam? One American crawled for three days to take a single shot that would change the course of the war. Vietnam war facts are also ones of remarkable feats of courage, determination, and sacrifice. Vietnam unfurled a massive celebration on Thursday to mark the 40th anniversary of the end of its long war with the United States. Under the Party’s leadership, Vietnam fought wars against Japan (1945), France (First Indochina War, 1946-1955), and America (Second Indochina War, 1954-1975). The first wave of U.S combat troops invaded South Vietnam on March 8, 1965. Basically because the Vietnamese wanted to win more than the Americans did. His reference to Southeast Asia becoming communist was major news the following day. In March 1965, President Johnson ordered U.S. Marine battalions to defend the American airbase at Da Nang, Vietnam. One was the Civil Rights War within the country, the other was the Vietnam War and another was the Cold War. The United States government viewed involvement in the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam and part of their wider strategy of containment. Kallie Szczepanski contributed to this article. It began to send military advisors to help train and support the South Vietnamese army . On April 22, 1971, speaking of losses in Vietnam and the desire to remain in the war, Kerry asked, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”. Photo of Senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy saw communists everywhere in America and encouraged an atmosphere of hysteria and distrust. ” It was a scary thing and the U. S. ealized what it was up against and why they needed to go to war with Vietnam. This stated that if one country fell to communism, then its neighbour would and then the neighbour to this country. National Archives. Ho Chi Minh helped initiate the First Indochina War, which took place from 1946 to 1954. The United States had provided funding, armaments, and training to South Vietnam’s government and military since Vietnam’s partition into the communist North and the democratic South in 1954. After decades of conflict, more than 2.7 million Americans served in Vietnam and an estimated 47,424 lost their lives; and still, the reasons why the U.S. entered the Vietnam War to begin with remain controversial.. Top Essentials to Know About the Vietnam War. The United States backed France and its puppet emperor Bao Dai.