Vietnam is the most controversial events to ever divide the US aside from the Civil War. Although throughout history the US is known to be very isolationalist, this time they took charge. As time passed and the threat of Communism spread to Vietnam, the US gradually became more and more involved between 1954 and 1975.
In 1954, the US was in the process of shrugging off the Great Depression, WWII, and the Second Red Scare and suddenly another conflict presented itself. By May, Dien Bien Phu fell into the hands of Vietnam from the former local power of France. As a temporary arrangement, Vietnam was divided into a north (controlled by communist Ho Chi Minh) and a south (still controlled by France and anti-communists).
In 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected into the office of the presidency. He was a steadfast believer in the containment policy and wanted to stop communism at the regional level, but without missiles. The Domino Effect must be stopped before all of South-East Asia falls. Soon into his presidency, he sent 16,000 military advisors to South-East Asia to train the South Vietnamese military to fight the North. His initial plan was to merely train the south to fight and keep US military troops out.
By 1963, the situation worsens with the assassination of the South Viet. President. Not long after, JFK himself is assassinated and Lyndon Johnson comes into office. Johnson had many issues (such as the Great Society) that he wanted to tackle at home and did not put full effort behind international or internal affairs.
The turning point of the war occurred in August 1964 with the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. North Vietnamese patrol boats attacked U.S. naval vessels in neutral waters. The Americans promptly launched retaliatory air strikes. The US Congress overwhelmingly passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized all actions necessary to protect American forces and to provide for the defense of the natio...