How and Why the United States Got Involved The conflict in Vietnam which is also called the Ten Thousand-Day War was an ongoing battle from 1945 to 1975. In the 30 years of fighting, the United States would lose over 57,000 men while Vietnamese dead numbered two million (Maclear 2). The Vietnam War is very interesting because many people have wondered how and why the United States got involved in a war that really didn't seem to concern them. American involvement officially began in 1950 when the US government recognized the Bao Dai government and began sending the French aid to fight off the communist backed Viet Minh led by Ho Chi Minh (Scheer 10). The French lost the war because it was not fully committed to a "win" policy (Scheer 10). The Bao Dai, anti-Communist nationalist alternative, whom the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations had backed, had failed to undercut the appeal of the Viet Minh (Scheer 11). The price of peace involved the surrendering of some portion of the country to the Communists, and the United States could not oppose since it had not become deeply involved (Scheer 12).
The United States instead placed its hopes on a "new anti-Communist nationalist alternative" and his name was Ngo Dinh Diem. Diem accepted the offer and on July 7, 1954 his government was formally organized. This started a new phase of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Senator John F. Kennedy recommended, in order to prevent the further spread of communism in Southeast Asia, that the French grant independence to South Vietnam, support the government's army, and "whenever necessary...[make] some commitment of our manpower" (Scheer 15). The settlement at Geneva in July, 1954, did three things: 1) it ended the war; 2) divided Vietnam in half "temporarily"; and 3) called for peace and reunification of the country (Scheer 16). Diem's government believed in tight central control to divert the natio...
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