Sunday, July 4, 2010
Vietnam War (contd-10)
Lyndon B. Johnson took over the presidency after the death of Kennedy. He considered " no bigger than a man's fist on the horizon."
On Nov 24, 1963, Johnson said that the battle against communism must be taken with strength and determination. Johnson had reversed Kennedy's disengagement policy from Vietnam in withdrawing 1,000 troops by the end of 1963, with his own method of expanding the war.
On Aug 2, 1964, USS Maddox on an intelligent mission along North Vietnam's coast fired upon and damaged several torpedo boats that had been stalking it in the Gulf of Tonkin.
A second attack was reported two days later on the USS Turner Joy and Maddox in the same area.
The second attack led to retaliatory air strikes prompteed congress to approve the gulf of Tonkin resolution, and gave the president power to conduct military operations in South East Asia without declaring war. In the same month , Johnson pledged that he was not "....committing American boys to fighting a war that I think ought to be fought by the boys of Asia to help to protect their own land.
From the strength of approximately 5,000 at the start of 1959 the Viet Cong's ranks grew to about 1,00,000 at the end of 1964 and it increased from 850,000 to nearly 1 million upto this date.
After several attacks upon them , it was decided by the US air force bases needed more protection.The South Vietnamese military could not give such protection. On 8 march 1965, 3500 United States marines were dispatched to South Vietnam This marked the beginning of the Ground war . Ho Chi Minh warned that if the Americans want to make war for twenty years then we shall make war for twenty years.If they want to make peace, we shall make peace and invite them to afternoon tea.