United States' Involvement in Vietnam
The end of World War Two was the beginning of America's worries about
Communism. They feared that it would spread throughout the countries
of the world. Because of this President Truman made the Truman
Doctrine. This said that America would help any nation threatened by
Communism. He said that he would lead 'containment' in the spread of
Communism and the Soviet Unions expansion. The doctrine came from the
USA believing that Eastern Europe was forced into Communism by the
Soviet Union. Therefore America saw it as their duty to help and
protect the other countries, which could be in the threat of
The Vietnamese had not liked living under foreign rule. They are
Nationalists and their communist party leader had formed the Vietminh,
so called after his name "Ho Chi Minh". They later became known to the
world as the Vietcong.
In 1945 the war ended and with Japan being weaker now the French
influence returned to Vietnam.
We now see the United States first bit of involvement with Vietnam,
where the USA sent money and supplies to boost the economy in France.
They did not, however, help in any other way as they thought France's
presence would be enough to stop the spread of Communism.
The Vietminh didn't like having the French influences back again and
Guerrilla warfare was used against the French. Guerrilla warfare is
like general jungle warfare, however the Vietminh dressed as peasants
to disguise themselves and used their local knowledge to make it
difficult to detect attacks in the jungle.
In 1954, the battle of Dien Bien Phu took place and the Vietminh
achieved a great victory over the French, so the French decided to
leave Vietnam. Until now the USA had only provided money and equipment
to France to help with the Vietnam problem.
The USA backed up a Geneva Conference, which took place. This said
that Vietnam be divided up into the Communist, North Vietnam and South
Vietnam under the rule of the Ngo Dinh Diem. The USA became involved
here to avoid the Domino Theory that President Eisenhower had, as I
The USA then sent 17 "advisors" to South Vietnam to train the South
Vietnamese army for fighting the Communists in the North.
So we are seeing the USA slowly advancing into Vietnam and becoming
more and more involved with what is going on there.
In 1956 Vietnam was to have an election to decide how the country
would be ruled - either Communist or Capitalist. The USA thought that
Communism would be voted for due to Ho Chi Minh's popularity. This
popularity coming from him being a Nationalist and for getting rid of
The Capitalist South Vietnam decided not to take part because they
thought their regime would lose out. Because of this, Communists in
South Vietnam started to revolt, as they wanted the election to take
place. They were now called the Vietcong.
They sent spies from the North and were just generally causing trouble
and carrying out acts of sabotage.
The ruler of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, was a Catholic and he
persecuted Buddhists, so many of the South Vietnamese didn't like him.
They also didn't like him because he seemed to favour many of his
family by giving them all the good jobs.
We are seeing increasing problems occurring in Vietnam at this time,
many involving the election. These problems caused the USA to become
more involved and they sent in more advisors. President Eisenhower's