Why did USA become involved in Vietnam in the 1950's and 1960's?

Essay by keenzyA+, May 2004

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Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia near China. Vietnam was an important country because it is crucial to the free world. Its economy is essential to the economy of all Southeast Asia. Vietnam's political liberty is an inspiration in all parts of Asia. We know this because source A written by John F Kennedy tells us. Before the 2nd World War Vietnam was part of the large French Empire in Indo-China. During the war the Japanese occupied the country. At the end of the war Ho Chi Minh organised a guerilla force called the Vietminh. He wanted to drive out the Japanese so that Vietnam would unite. But the French refused to give up their former Empire, and sent in forces to reclaim Indo-China.

Many Vietnamese were unhappy after the war, as the French wanted to rule over Vietnam again. France was miles away, so they didn't see the point of the French ruling them.

Ho Chi Minh was the leader of the Vietminh party who wanted independence. He was a communist and would have brought communist into Vietnam if he ruled over them. The Vietminh was Ho Chi Minh's army and they wanted to rule themselves. They didn't want any involvement with other countries. The French wanted Vietnam back under their rule because it was rich in minerals. Fighting broke out between the French and the Vietminh, and the French asked America for financial help.

The Truman Doctrine was that if any country was under threat from communism the U.S.A would help. The U.S.A wanted to help the French to stop communism spreading. The U.S.A gave the French $3 billion. This was the first time America had involvement in Vietnam. At Dien Bien Phu the French suffered a major loss of 8000. Despite the help from U.S.A the...