Why did the USA become increasingly involved in the war in Vietnam?The Vietnam War is one of the most controversial wars of the last century. Public opinion in the USA, and elsewhere across the world, was mixed as to whether the USA should have been involved at all. The main reason for the mixed views was that there didn't seem to be much justification as to why the USA was there at all. The USA had never pledged to help Vietnam, but decided, on many occasions, to help South Vietnam. As we all know, though, the USA did get very involved with the war in Vietnam, so now I aim to examine what the USA did in Vietnam and, more importantly, why.
First, the USA got involved in Vietnam using the Truman doctrine. This was only short-term, but did cost the USA a lot. The Truman doctrine was where the USA gave money to any country under threat of communism, to help them defend themselves. The USA spent billions on this, but they were in no way simply doing this just to be kind. They believed in the domino theory. When one domino gets knocked down, another gets knocked down and so on until all are knocked down. They used this as a metaphor for communism - one country becomes communist, then its neighbour etc until the world is communist, including the USA. The USA government were terrified of communism spreading there, so they had the policy of containment - basically not letting communism spread. So, they spent billions on it. Stopping communism was number 1 on their agenda, so they put everything into it, starting with money. Part of this money went to Vietnam, and this was where the USA first started to get involved with Vietnam - trying to stop communism by giving them money to defend themselves against it.Secondly, only a few years prior to Vietnam, the USA had fought a war - in Korea. This, in the beginning, was a factor which dissuaded them from going into Vietnam, but their mind was changed by their public. The American public, if anything, was even more against communism than its government. The American people wanted a communism crack-down - the toughness they had seen with Truman, they now wanted to see with Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson. So, these presidents all had to keep up to his standards, as the thing most important to them was public support. Those 3 presidents each stepped up the USA's involvement in Vietnam simply because they knew it was what their people wanted - this is what would keep them in power. So, they got more involved in Vietnam to keep the public happy - the public wanted a communism crack-down. This American's hatred of communism lasted a long time and did influence the involvement in Vietnam many times.
Next, we come to the Geneva agreement. The USA helped to plan the agreement, which basically consisted of 3 things. The first was that Vietnam was guaranteed independence. The second was that elections would be held, under international supervision. The third was that Vietnam would be divided along the 17th parallel. The North would be controlled by Ho Chi Minh (communist) and the South by whoever won the elections.
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