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Vietnam War

How did the Vietnam War start?

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October 06, 2014 1:29AM
  • The Vietnam war started because American president Eisenhower did not want communism to spread throughout the world and eventually to America.
  • The basic answer is that the U.S. was asked by France, via NATO, to keep the communists from "taking over" the French Territory. We sent troops over only to advise, and from there WE were in it and it just went "to hell in a handbasket" to quote a friend of mine. We left over 58,000 Brothers and Sisters there.
  • The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, also known as the USS Maddox Incident, is the name given to two separate confrontations involving North Vietnam and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. These two incidents were considered the influential starting point of actual military action by the US against the forces of North Vietnam.
  • On August 2, 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox, while performing a signals intelligence patrol as part of DESOTO operations, engaged three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats of the 135th Torpedo Squadron.[1] A sea battle resulted, in which the Maddox expended over two hundred and eighty 3-inch and 5-inch shells, and in which four USN F-8 Crusader jet fighter bombers strafed the torpedo boats. One US aircraft was damaged, one 14.5 mm round hit the destroyer, three North Vietnamese torpedo boats were damaged, and four North Vietnamese sailors were killed and six were wounded; there were no U.S. casualties.[5]
  • It was originally claimed by the National Security Agency that two days later, the second Tonkin Gulf incident occurred on August 4, 1964, as another sea battle, but instead may have involved "Tonkin ghosts"[6] (false radar images) and not actual NVN torpedo boat attacks.
  • The outcome of these two incidents was the passage by Congress of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by "communist aggression." The resolution served as Johnson's legal justification for deploying US conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam.
  • In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded[7] that the Maddox had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, but that there were no North Vietnamese Naval vessels present during the incident of August 4. The report stated regarding August 2:
  • "At 15:00GT, Captain Herrick ordered Ogier's gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 15:05GT, the Maddox fired three rounds to warn off the communist boats. This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the Vietnamese boats fired first."
  • The Gulf of Tonkin Incident occurred during the first year of the Johnson administration. While Kennedy had originally supported the policy of sending military advisers to Diem, he had begun to alter his thinking due to what he perceived to be the ineptitude of the Saigon government and its inability and unwillingness to make needed reforms (which led to a US-supported coup which resulted in the death of Diem). Shortly before his assassination, in November 1963, Kennedy had begun a limited recall of US forces. Johnson's views were likewise complex, but he had supported military escalation as a means of challenging what was perceived to be the Soviet Union's expansionist policies. After Kennedy's assassination, Johnson ordered in more US forces to support the Saigon government, beginning a protracted United States presence in Southeast Asia.
  • Also, if we are to remain non-objective and subjective only in exposing the truth in our research, we need to consider events in full exposed truthful genuine efforts to present the causes and intents reflected towards open up the war Against North Vietnam and the Communist powers influencing the north at the time. In light of that consider;
  • "A highly classified program of covert actions against North Vietnam known as Operation Plan 34-Alpha, in conjunction with the DESOTO operations, had begun under the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1961. In 1964 the program was transferred to the US Defense Department and conducted by the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observations Group (SOG) For the maritime portion of the covert operation, T-jeld-class fast patrol boats had been purchased quietly from Norway and sent to South Vietnam. Although the crews of the boats were South Vietnamese naval personnel, approval for each mission conducted under the plan came directly from Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp, Jr., CINCPAC in Honolulu, who received his orders from the White House.[10]
  • After the coastal attacks began, Hanoi lodged a formal public complaint with the International Control Commission (ICC), which had been established in 1954 to oversee the terms of the Geneva Accords, but the US falsely denied any involvement.
  • Four years later though, US Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara admitted to Congress that the US ships had in fact been cooperating in the South Vietnamese attacks against North Vietnam. Maddox, although aware of the operations, was not directly involved."
  • The US has a longstanding history of looking for justifiable if not overly-emphasized trumped up reasons for starting an actual war, often merely for the purpose of obtaining political goals such as stopping the advancement of Communism in the East Asian theater.
  • So you information that covers the actual actions that led to the actual start day of the Vietnam War although the "police action" wasn't declared until the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, August 7, 1964 and finally war was never declared and hasn't been since WWII since each action the US has been involved in has been a UN led action, peace keeping force or other terminology to prevent having to use the word war as an invading army would use to label their actions of overthrowing a current government.
  • Borrowing from another's comment elsewhere...there is never really anything we can label as an "undeclared war" for everything nowadays is labeled a "police action", or "peace keepign force" or "action of UN (United Nations') coalition forces".
  • Korea was an United Nations effort and the troops there activated under the UN guidelines although we need to note that the commander was an American.
  • Vietnam-The action was partially by the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and partly in accordance with the provisions of the SouthEast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) Treaty. This is why other countries had troops in Vietnam also-it was not a solely American operation which is widely forgotten in most versions of the "history" of the conflict.
  • First Gulf War was again a United Nations theater and done under that organizational banner and resolution.
  • The Iraq operation/conflict is again authorized by Congress in a resolution and although it started as unauthorized by the UN, other countries became involved once the US had fully involved their own full military might. As mentioned, it never labeled their action as an invasion or a military effort to overthrow Saddam Hussein (which it really was come to find out since no WMDs were found or ever present but rather labeled it as a "liberating force".
  • IMHO The use of resolutions to authorize the President to do something without declaring war means the politicians in Congress delegate their power to the President without allowing fault to be placed on themselves most likely as they never like to hand full power to any president, especially in an administration that is in power from an opposing political party. Depending on the outcome they could find fault in the then current administration and presidency for incompetence, or claim a total self-glorifying success by their own wisdom and control of their guiding political party influence, win or lose they were simply playing it safe with a win-win for themselves.
  • Forgive the long-windedness and certainly not taking away from the original comments and information as it all "en toto" has worthy weight as a rather hopelessly complicated answer to a logical question...what and who started the Vietnam War?

    cont'

  • Complex answer that I will only scratch surface of: After WWII, President Truman (and the other western allies) viewed Communism (in the form of the Soviet Union) as the greatest post-war threat. The turning point for Asia came in Dec. 1949 when Chinese communist forces won the civil war in China. Now the U.S. feared all of Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand) might fall to communism.
  • France had attempted to regain control of its Southeast Asian colonies (including Vietnam) after WWII in 1945. They were fighting Ho Chi Minh and his communist rebels. Starting in 1950, the U.S. started to send military aid to France to help in its effort against the Viet Minh (the communist rebels). This was part of the U.S. goal of "containment" of the spread of communism.
  • When France pulled-out of Vietnam in 1955-56, the U.S. basically felt it had to fill the void in order to prevent Ho Chi Minh from unifying Vietnam under communist rule (the 1956 peace accords with France had divided Vietnam in half). So starting in 1955, the U.S. starting sending military advisors to assist the South Vietnamese Army. The conflict continued to escalate as communist rebels in the South gained more control of the countryside, which required more & more U.S. military advisors & equipment to prop-up the South Vietnamese army. Finally, in 1965, we sent combat troops to prop-up South Vietnam.
  • The US was part of "SEATO" south east Asia treaty org. KEY WORD "treaty"
  • Vietnam had been a French colony (French Indo-China) before the World Wars, and the French weren't about to let go gracefully.
  • As noted by the poster above, the French lost control about the time the US was fighting Communism in Korea, in the 1950's. The country was partitioned into Communist North and DEmocratic South, with China was actively supporting the Communist government of the North.
  • The US saw Vietnam as Korea all over again, and feared that the entire Southeast of Asia would be lost to the Communist block, much as Eastern Europe had.
  • However, as Korea hadn't been a screaming sucess for the US, there was a great deal of reluctance to start up a new military action immediately after the armstice of the Korean War. Eisenhower's plan was to train and equip the South with military advisors, but over time (and subsequent administrations), predictably, this led to active involvement with lots and lots of US troops. But surprisingly, no actual declaration of war. It was a "police action".
  • Vietnam was a French colony until after WW2. That?s when Vietnam signed a treaty called the S.E.A.T.O treaty, which separated a north from the South. The north being the communist and the south being the democratic. The U.S. went in to try to stop the Communism from spreading to other countries. That?s when the U.S. sent weapons to the south to help protect them from rebels. That?s when the two sides started to clash.
  • Vietnam was a French colony before World War II. After the war, Ho Chi Minh asked if the war was fought for freedom, did it include Vietnam. The answer was no. France and the USA had won the war and France was not interested in giving up colonies. He then went to red China for aid and got it. The war was on.
  • That is actually a very complicated topic. But some of the salient facts are as follows: Following WWII, President Truman and other western allies perceived Communism (in the form of the Soviet Union) as the largest post-war threat. In Asia, the turning point came in December 1949, when Chinese communist forces won the civil war in China. At this point, the U.S. feared that all of Southeast ASia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand) might fall to communism (i.e., the "domino theory.") Thus, the U.S. created a policy of "containment". The French had been fighting communist rebels in Vietnam (their former colony) since 1945. Starting in 1950, the U.S. started to send military aid and equipment to the French as part of our "containment" policy. After the French withdrew from Vietnam in 1955-56, the U.S. essentially felt it had to step-in and fill the void in order to support the fledgling South Vietnamese army (the 1956 peace accords had divided Vietnam into North (communist) and South (anti-communist). Thus, starting in 1955, the U.S. started to send military "advisors" to help the South Vietnamese army fight communist rebels in South Vietnam. Starting in 1961, the U.S. started to greatly increase the number of advisors and equipment to support the South Vietnamese gov't. This was viewed as necessary b/c of the continuing growing strength of communist rebels in South Vietnam.
  • It is a complicated answer. The real beginnings started a lot early in the '20's when a young Vietnamese nationalist, who would eventually be known as Ho Chi Minh, was in the U.S. studying. He wrote letters to the U.S. presidents asking for their help in ridding his country of French colonialism. They were ignored. During WWII, this same person was contacted by the U.S. military, and told that in return for Vietnamese help in fighting the Japanese, after the war was over, the U.S. would help Vietnam achieve independence from the French. This promise was broken, and various factions of Vietnamese under the eventual command of Minh, united to fight the occupying military of France. Much of the cost of the French presence in Vietnam was borne by the U.S. from the very beginning under the guise of fighting communistic expansion. After the peace accords were signed in 1954-55, one of the stipulations was that Vietnam was to be divided into two countries with elections to be held withing two years in each section regarding total unification into one country. It was the South Vietnam portion, under the control of their U.S. backed gov't that refused to hold these elections. Thus basically the war was born again. It was not so much a war of communistic aggresion, as it was a civil war to reunite the country as a whole. The main reasons it was perceived as a communist threat, were some of the ideology's of the north, and the fact that they North turned to communist countries for the supplies and support they would need in their fight, since the U.S. would not provide them with any aid, and the U.S. clearly sided with the consistently corrupt regimes of the southern divide.
  • Vietnam was a French colony until after WW2. That?s when Vietnam called peace named the S.E.A.T.O treaty, which separated the north from the South. The north being the communist and the south being the democratic. The U.S. went in to try to stop the Communism from crossing to other countries. That?s when the U.S provided weapons to the south to help avoid them from rebels. That?s when the two sides started war.North Vietnam was a communist country, but the other countries around were not. They thought that if communism hit south Vietnam, it would have a domino effect on them. so they would all become communist countries. America teamed up with South Vietnam and tried to fight the North off. but the north had the ho Minh Chi Trail, this was a series of paths in the forests leading all the way down to the battle fields in south Vietnam. this path was to take weapons and troops down secretly. but 10% of the men died of malaria before they even got to the battle. Americas new of these paths but they were not visible from the sky, but still the Americans through three million tons of bombs on top of them, this slowed them down but did not stop them.