President Richard Nixon’s Incursion of Vietnam BY Eddyi 994 For over 6 decades the French had colonial control of Indochina . In 1954, the French suffered a critical defeat at Dien Bien Phu, the French having no options had to pull out of Vietnam. At the Geneva Conference of 1954, an agreement was met called the Geneva Accords, it stated the French would draw all military forces out of Vietnam and temporarily divide Vietnam along the 17th parallel; which spilt the country into communist North Vietnam which was supported by Russia and China and non- communist South Vietnam supported by the United States.
The communist overnment in North Vietnam was led by Ho Chi Minh; he sought to unite Vietnam under communist rule. The United States feared the spread of communism would prove the “domino theory” which stated that if one country in Southeast Asia fell to communism then surrounding countries would also soon fall. Tension between North Vietnam and South Vietnam began to rise as leader of North Vietnam Ho Chi Minh set his agenda to reunite Vietnam under communist control. In 1955, a civil war in South Vietnam erupts.
Highly trained guerrilla troops under Ho Chi Minh known as the Viet Cong were gunning down South Vietnam’s ilitary, in an attempt to cripple South Vietnam’s army and force unification. In response, President Lyndon Johnson sends military advisors to train South Vietnamese military . As the fighting between the Viet Cong and the South Vietnamese continued for several years, U. S involvement in Vietnam was only to train the South Vietnamese military so they could fght the war themselves. On August 2, 1964 the North Vietnamese fired directly upon two U.
S. ships in international waters claiming it was mistaken of identity at Gulf of Tonkin. Congress responded with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This resolution granted greater authorization of U. S. involvement in Vietnam, and in March 1965, President Lyndon Johnson used that authority to order the first U. S. ground troops to Vietnam. The United States officially entered the Vietnam War. The United States had a heavy presence in the Vietnam War. Under Commander General William Westmoreland, U. S aircraft began unleashing bombs over North Vietnam; U.
S won many victories over the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces. Knowing that fghting head on against U. S military would only result in heavy casualties, the North Vietnamese used a “hit and run” surprise tactics; they engaged U. S troops in small units in the Jungles of South Vietnam. This method proved to be very successful because in January 1968 when the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong launched the massive Tet Offensive. This surprise attack on U. S forces at South Vietnam was unsuccessful in the fact they couldn’t take over and maintain control in any part of South Vietnam.
Even so, the strategically well planned out Tet Offensive shook the confidence of the American people and media who had thought the war was going well. As a result of the Tet Offensive, President Lynden Johnson’s did not un for another term and was succeeded by Richard Nixon in 1969. President cnar NIxon created a plan to ena u. s Involvement In Vietnam Known as Vietnamization. This plan would build up the ARVN forces so they wouldn’t rely on American support in the war. As this process began, U. S military forces would slowly be removed and brought back to the U. S.
North Vietnam kept advancing their forces along the eastern Cambodian border, the Cambodian’s week military and neutrality towards the war efforts made it essentially an effective safe zone where their communist forces can establish military bases, as well as conceal mass weaponry. On May 18, 1969, President Nixon gave orders to bomb Cambodia under the codename “Operation Menu”. Its first set of bombings were named Breakfast, followed by a series of several secret air raids unapproved by Congress, these bombings were codenamed: Lunch, Snack, Dinner, Supper, and Dessert.
These secret bombings were an attempt to suppress the North Vietnam supply route into South Vietnam known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The news of these secret bombings along with the massacre of hundreds of civilians in South Vietnam by U. S soldiers , and U. S ground forces moving up to Cambodia, were viewed as expanding the war rather than slowing it own. On April 30, 1970, President Richard Nixon appeared on prime-time television to tell the American public that the U. S Army would be entering Cambodia in an “incursion”, not an “invasion”; his reasons were to capture and eliminate enemy headquarters stationed in South Vietnam.
President Nixon’s speech in 1970 about U. S soldiers entering Cambodia sparked an uproar in the U. S, many citizens felt a sense of betrayal from the government. There were many key elements to Nixon’s speech, he mentions the role of the United States to be dominant, and he also mentions other key elements outlining his true intentions for the “incursion”. Nevertheless President Nixon decision to enter Cambodia might not appear to be his true intentions, as he mentions “It is not our power, but our will and character that is being tested tonight. “Does the richest and strongest nation in the history of the world have the character to meet a direct challenge by a group which rejects every effort to win a Just peace”. In sending hundreds of thousands of U. S soldiers to Cambodia, President Nixon contradicted his previous plan to remove all U. S soldiers from Vietnam. Nixon’s justification was to eliminate all potential communism spread to South Vietnam that ould potentially cross over to other South East Asian countries. l would rather be a one-term president and do what I believe was right than to be a two-term president at the cost of seeing America become a second-rate power and to see this nation accept the first defeat in its proud 190-year history. ” . This statement made in his speech shows how Nixon’s is willing to Jeopardize his presidential campaign before costing the U. S their first defeat. It clearly shows the emphasis on U. S been the super power that it is. At this point, Nixon disregard all political advises and proceed on arrying his “incursion” without support from Congress or the people.
President Richard Nixon’s decision to send troops to Vietnam proved to a feeble attempt not to restore peace, Justice, and freedom to the Vietnamese people, but to show the United States, “the world’s most powerful nation” , will not show pity to forces of evil and communistic governments, that it will indeed fght against those forces at any cost and defend the establishment of a freedom and Justice. Nonetheless U. S involvement in Vietnam would become a benchmark for what not to do in all future U. S. foreign conflicts.