Why did the USA become increasingly involved

In the Vietnam War?


The Americans came up with the idea, which was to be referred to as the domino theory.  They thought that if Vietnam fell into communism then Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and possible even India would fall into communism (just like a row of dominos). They were determined to resist the spread of communism in Vietnam because this was seen to be the first domino in the row.  Their methods and policies showed their ignorance of the Vietnamese people and the region.

In 1955 they helped Ngo Dinh Diem set up the republic of south Vietnam.  This was because he was anti communist and was prepared to imprison or kill communists. He didn’t show any respect for the Vietnamese peoples beliefs and religions.

·        Kennedy said he was determined that the USA would not ‘Blunder into war, unclear about aims or how to get out again’ President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. His successor, Lyndon Johnson, was more prepared to commit the USA to a full-scale conflict in Vietnam, to stop the spread of communism.

Economic involvement:

·        In 1949 the USA started sending money to the anti-Vietcong fighters.

·        China was giving money to the Vietcong fighters

·        They feared that China was going to turn then communist and start the ‘Domino theory’.

·        They were giving 1.6 billion to support Diem’s regime in the 1950’s.


Political Involvement:

·        The USA criticised Stalin for holding free elections in Soviet controlled countries. In Vietnam in 1954 the USA applied a different rule, it prevented the elections from taking place, as they feared that the communists would win.



Military Involvement:

·        By 1962 president Kennedy was sending military personal to fight the Vietcong. 

·        11,500 troops were sent to Vietcong by the end of 1962, by the end of 1964 the were 23,000 troops in Vietnam.

·        US congress pasted the Tonkin Gulf resolution. The resolution gave Lyndon Johnson the power to ‘take all necessary measures to prevent further aggression and achieve peace and security’ (this meant he could take the USA to a full scale war).


By Twig and Stef