Why Did the U.S. Get Involved?

The French had returned to Vietnam to reclaim its former colony. The United States wanted to strengthen its ties with France and to stop the spread of communism. They helped the French with massive economic and military support. They did this by aiding $15 million in economic aid to the French. Soon the French surrendered because they could not retake Vietnam. Eisenhower also added that if they left Vietnam the domino theory would take place to neighboring countries. If Vietnam fell to communism, then other countries would be at risk. It was the United States' obligation to prevent this from occuring. When the French left, the United States took a more active role to stop the spread of communism. They did this by aiding the non-Communist regime in South Vietnam. Then on August 2, 1964, a North Vietnanese patrol boat fired a torpedo at an American Destroyer and returned fired. Later there was a diliberate attack on the U.S. ships by another Vietnamese PT boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. The congress had later authorised the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which gave president Johnson the ability to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression. This made it possible for Johnson to wage all out war against the North Vietnam without ever securing a Declaration of War from Congress. The attack was later proven to have never happened and was just a way to escalate the United States involvement in the region.