U.S. Bombing of North Vietnam

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On February 24, 1965, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson authorized Operation ROLLING THUNDER to commence against North Vietnam. ROLLING THUNDER, the longest bombing campaign ever conducted by the United States Air Force, lasted from 1965 to 1968. (Tilford, “Operation ROLLING THUNDER”) There were several reasons why President Johnson chose to begin an all-out bombing campaign against North Vietnam at this time. The United States wanted to prevent the spread of communism by enforcing the containment of communism via President Harry S. Truman's Domino Theory. (Cunningham) The United States wanted to support South Vietnam's right to self-government, free elections, and freedom from religious persecution. (Fasanaro) President…show more content…
forces. (“National Security Council: Study on U.S. Policy on All-Vietnam Elections”) In addition, the United States of America, a country founded on the basis of religious freedom, had difficulty with the persecution of Buddhists in South Vietnam. South Vietnamese president, Ngo Dinh Diem, who was raised Catholic, refused to repeal anti-Buddhist laws even though Buddhism was the predominant religion in South Vietnam. The last straw for the Buddhists was when they were prohibited by the South Vietnamese government from carrying flags on Buddha’s birthday. In protest, a Buddhist monk set himself on fire and thirty additional monks were killed in a government raid. (Willbanks) President Johnson ordered the bombing of North Vietnam in part to strengthen world order. The Geneva Conference, lasting from April to July of 1954, was convened to restore peace and end hostilities in Indo-China. The Geneva Accords called for Vietnam to be split at the 17th Parallel, with the communists controlling the northern portion and the non-communists controlling the southern portion, and for an election to be held within two years to rejoin the two portions of Vietnam. The Geneva Conference also called for the sovereignty, independence, and unity of Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia to be respected. (“Final Declaration of the Geneva Conference on Indo-China”) The Geneva Accords were not signed by the United States because the U.S.
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