Why the United States Became Increasingly Involved in the War in Vietnam

3172 Words 13 Pages
Why the United States Became Increasingly Involved in the War in Vietnam

In the years after the Second World War, it became necessary for the Allies to decide the future of the French colony, Indochina, when the Japanese who had been occupying the country, surrendered. Prior to the Second World War, the French had ruled over the regions of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The French ruling was unpopular, forcing ideas of democracy upon the Vietnamese people and the French overthrew any efforts of resistance. When the Japanese invaded the French colony, to resist the Japanese rule, an organisation was founded, the Vietminh, led by Ho Chi Minh. In order to defeat the Japanese, it was essential for the
…show more content…
During the first three years of the war, the US began to finance the French and so Ho Chi Minh was ultimately forced to seek support from the Soviet Union and China, confirming US fears. Although the French were being supported by the United States, the Vietminh of the north was being equipped with weapons by China and the Soviet Union, who were both communist. The French greatly underestimated the force of the Vietminh, who used guerrilla warfare tactics against the conventional tactics of the French. In 1954, the weakening French army experienced a breaking defeat after surrendering a siege of 55 days at Dien Bien Phu. This fractured the French morale to continue fighting the Vietminh; they could not comprehend such a small nation had defeated a renowned European power. Due to pressure, humiliation and great losses of troops, the strain was clearly beginning to show and in the same year, the French pulled out of the war.

When China fell to Communism in 1949, the US treated the Chinese with suspicion as they believed that they would try to spread communism and consequently, they feared that the whole of south-east Asia would turn communist, country by country. The dominant idea in the US foreign policy was the 'Domino Theory', strongly upheld by President Truman, which outlined their fear of the whole of south-Asia falling to
Open Document