South Vietnam War Analysis

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The joint Chief’s ideology was an inflated version of the “Domino theory”: South Vietnam was pivotal to America 's worldwide battle with Communism and a defeat in Vietnam would affect the United States (Karnow 342). Nevertheless, by early 1965 after he won his first mandate as President, Johnson concluded that only direct American intervention could prevent Communism from spreading to South Vietnam, and more importantly defend him from being the first ever president to lose a war (Karnow 350). Johnson and his advisers both inherited the assumption from Eisenhower and Kennedy that an independent Vietnam was essential for the defense of Southeast Asia and America 's global credibility (Karnow 393). As much as Johnson hoped to limit America 's…show more content…
They possessed neither the will nor the capacity to resist an almost inevitable communist victory (Karnow 401). Overall, incompetence and corruption defined the political leadership in Saigon (Logevall 7). Furthermore, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam was dense with alarming rates of desertion (Logevall 15). The credibility of the United States and the reputation of Johnson were both at stake, leaving him with no choice but to Americanize the war (Karnow 402). Additionally, what made this war different was that the Vietnamese Communists would risk total annihilation rather than succumb to capitalism (Karnow 412). This concept was beyond Johnson and his advisors, who mistakenly assumed the values of the Communists (Karnow 415). The alternative of withdrawal from Vietnam was unacceptable, a powerful Cold War mindset in American opinion supported a strong commitment to defending South Vietnam (Logevall 17). Johnson took control of a difficult Vietnam problem from Kennedy, ultimately running his presidency aground (Logevall…show more content…
On August second, 1964, the destroyer Maddox reported that an attack by a North Vietnamese patrol boat (FOW). After recovering North Vietnamese bombshells from the deck of the Maddox, there was no debating its legitimacy (FOW). On August 4, two days later, both the Maddox and the Turner Joy reported that they were attacked (FOW). As a result, the Tonkin Gulf resolution was introduced. The closest the United States came to the declaration of war in Vietnam was the Tonkin Gulf resolutions of August 1964 (VanDeMark 127). Congress did not think of the resolutions as a declaration of war and did not intend it to be used as an authorization for a sizable expansion of United States forces in Vietnam from 16,000 military advisers to 550,000 combat troops (VanDeMark 127). The events in the Gulf of Tonkin involved two separate US operations: Plan 34A, and DESOTO (VanDeMark 130). Plan 34A consisted of covert operations against North Vietnam (VanDeMark 130). There were two types of operations: in the first, South Vietnamese agents were dropped by aircraft into North Vietnam to sabotage their intelligence, and the other incorporated high-speed patrol boats manned by the South Vietnamese to launch hit and run attacks against the North Vietnamese (VanDeMark 131). DESOTO on the other hand, consisted of a system of global electronic investigation, carried out by specially equipped United States naval vessels (VanDeMark 130). Their purpose was to collect radio signals from stations based
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