Us Involvement In The Vietnam War Essay

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Us Involvement In The Vietnam War Essay, Research Paper Although it was called the Vietnam War, the U.S. was primarily involved and participated in most of the warfare to defend democracy. South Vietnam’s government and army were not well organized. The U.S. fought most of the war, then when it turned the war over to the South Vietnamese, they couldn’t fight the North. Ngo Dinh Diem, prime minister of South Vietnam, was opposed in South Vietnam. Buddhists grew inpatient since Diem’s government had long offered benefits to Catholics, and in May 1963 protests were held in the city of Hue since Diem refused to allow Buddhists to fly Buddha’s flag on the anniversary of his birthday (Detzer 69-71). Diem’s soldiers opened fire and killed nine people, then some Buddhists

began to publicly burn themselves to death as a protest (Detzer 71). Another problem for Diem was his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu. Nhu was in charge of South Vietnam’s police and imprisoned or killed virtually anyone who opposed Diem (Detzer 69). Nhu, under the strain, started to take opium, became addicted, and became increasingly dangerous (Detzer 69). Some of Diem’s generals began to plot against Diem and Nhu and asked American representatives in Saigon to help them (Detzer 71). Kennedy would continue to support Diem if he would rid himself of Nhu, but Diem refused to even listen to the suggestion so Kennedy turned his back on Diem (Detzer 71). On November 1, 1963, Diem and Nhu were overthrown and murdered by half a dozen frightened generals (Detzer 71). Political events in

Saigon became unstable: When Diem was murdered, his successors, the junta of generals, began to replace his people with their own followers. In Saigon and out in the provinces the result was political turmoil; in the army it was almost as bad. Meanwhile, the members of the junta wrestled with one another. One of them would be ousted and another would take his place. Each time this happened, the man at the top put some of his followers in critical positions. The result, inevitably, was chaos. (Detzer 76) The U.S. did not fight for Vietnam right away. Instead it sent military advisors and goods to Vietnam. By November 1963 there were 16,000 military advisors in Vietnam and the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) was mostly helicopters and armored personnel carriers (Detzer

68-69). The help provided by the U.S. seemed to help the South, but eventually the Vietcong learned how to counter them (Detzer 69). The U.S. government wanted an excuse for going to war and in 1964 they got one. In the Tonkin Gulf the U.S. was running two operations. OPLAN 34A was a secret operation, supervised by the CIA, in which small speed boats carrying South Vietnamese went up the coast of Vietnam and attacked coastal installations in North Vietnam (Detzer 74). Desoto was an operation in which destroyers with technical equipment sailed near the coast of North Vietnam and spied (Detzer 74). On July 31, 1964, the coast of Vietnam was attacked by 4 boats part of OPLAN 34A. The Maddox, a ship part of Desoto, was only a few miles away and was attacked by the North Vietnamese

since they believed it was part of the operation (Detzer 74). Although little damage was done to the Maddox, Lyndon Johnson sent a second destroyer, the U.S.S. Turner Joy to accompany the Maddox (Detzer 74-75). Several days after the first incident, the crews of both destroyers believed they were being fired at by the North Vietnamese (Detzer 75). Evidence seems to show that the attack was just a misreading of some confusing sonar and radar signals, yet Johnson was informed of this second attack within minutes (Detzer 75). Johnson ordered an immediate bombing raid of some North Vietnamese torpedo-boat bases and asked Congress to support this action and any similar actions in the future (Detzer 75). Three days after the Tonkin Gulf incident Congress almost unanimously voted for