What is gulf of Tonkin attack

Although Kennedy had at least the comforting illusion of progress in Vietnam (created by Harkins and Dime), Johnson faced a clear picture of the rapidly growing Viet Kong chaos, inequality and turmoil in Saigon and the countryside.  Those who had hoped that the removal of unpopular NGOs would lead to unity and a more serious investigation into the war were further discouraged. The unstable dictatorship was formed in January 1964 after a short military rule led by General Nguyen Khan.

In Hanoi, communist leaders, believing victory was imminent, decided to make a major military commitment to conquer the South. Troops and later entire units of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) were sent through Laos along the Chi Minh Trail, by which time it had become a modern road network that could handle truck traffic. Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong strongly supported the North Vietnamese invasion and promised to supply arms and technical and military personnel. The Soviet Union, although now openly hostile to China, also decided to send aid to the north.

As the South Vietnamese government was in turmoil, the Americans seemed to be the only option to hit the against the North. American advisers are already working with South Vietnamese on small maritime raids and parachute drop agents, destroyers and commandos in North Vietnam. These have had mixed success and are too weak to make a real impact in any case. By the summer of 1964, the Pentagon had developed a plan of air strikes against selected targets in North Vietnam, designed to support the war in the north and possibly the  war in the south. To illustrate America’s commitment to South Vietnam, some of Johnson’s advisers called for a congressional resolution that would give broad powers to protect American interests in Southeast Asia. However, Johnson preferred to postpone the Vietnam dispute until the November elections.

An unexpected turn of events in August 1964 changed the timetable. On August 2, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the Destroyer United States Maddox while electronic surveillance was patrolling the Gulf of Tonkin. The previous day, South Vietnamese navy patrol boats had carried out covert raids on the islands of Han Mi and Hon Niu off the coast of North Vietnam, and North Vietnamese Maddox were thought to be involved. However, no damage was done to the American destroyers, and the North Vietnamese boats were shot down by planes based on Maddox and nearby carriers.

President Johnson responded to news of the attack by announcing that the US Navy would continue patrolling Belo by sending a second destroyer, Turner Joy, to join Maddox. On the night of August 4 two ships reported a second attack by torpedo boats. Although the Maddox captain soon warned that the evidence for the second incident was incomplete, Johnson and his advisers chose to believe those who insisted that the second attack had actually taken place. The president ordered retaliatory airstrikes on North Vietnamese naval bases and sought congressional support for a comprehensive proposal to deal with future threats to U.S. forces or U.S. allies in Southeast Asia. Empowers to take action. The measure, soon to be known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, was approved by the Senate and House on August 7. Some who voted for the resolution on the second resolution were skeptical and knew little about the relationship between the North Vietnamese attacks and the US-sponsored attacks on the North or the Maddox Intelligence Mission. Although Johnson's deception was later blamed by many for the problems, the immediate result of the president's actions was to remove Vietnam from the election campaign. Johnson was re-elected by a landslide in November.

How United States entered in the war

Between the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in November 1964 and the US presidential election, the situation in Vietnam worsened. Since September, the Khan government has followed a series of surprising factions and coalitions, some of which have been in power for less than a month. Even the best ARVN units in rural areas were unable to defeat the major forces of the Viet Cong. The communists are now deliberately targeting U.S. military personnel and targets, launching a mortar attack on a U.S. air base at Bean Hoa near Saigon in November.

Many Johnson advisers have now begun to argue for some sort of retaliation against the North. He argued that airstrikes against North Vietnam would boost the courage of the unstable South Vietnamese and guarantee that the US commitment would continue. They would "pay a price" to Hanoi for the war on Saigon, and they could actually reduce the north's ability to supply men and equipment for military operations in the south. All civilian allies and chief military advisers to the president, with the exception of Under-Secretary of State George Ball, believed in the effectiveness of the bombing campaign; They disagreed only on how it would be handled. The Army supported a small and rapid campaign aimed at North's combat capabilities. On the other hand, National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy and Assistant Secretary of Defense John McNaughton have argued for a number of graduate airstrikes that could gradually become more damaging until North Vietnam decides that the cost of war in the South is too high. In the administration, both Ball and the Vice President. Hubert H. Humphrey warned the president that a major bombing would lead to commitment in America and political problems at home. But Johnson was more concerned about the need for immediate action to stop the slide in Saigon. In mid-February, without public announcement, the United States launched a campaign of continuous airstrikes over the North, codenamed Rolling Thunder.

The Bundy campaign followed the graduate path that Bundy mentioned, but was constantly expanded to include more targets and frequent attacks. The White House directed that the Chinese or the Soviet Union be provoked by actions such as attacking ports where Soviet ships were docked or hitting targets near the Chinese border. However, it soon became clear that the bombing would not have a direct impact on the conflict in South Vietnam, where communists were gaining strength. By mid-March Westmoreland and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were advising the White House that the United States must commit its army to war to prevent communist victory. Tragic memories of the Korean War, American soldiers engaged in an expensive indecent battle for three years, Johnson and his ancestors were reluctant to send troops to fight in Asia, but the choice now faces the president. It looks like it was among the soldiers. Or permanent defeat.


By June 1965, Westmoreland had predicted a possible collapse of the South Vietnamese army and recommended the rapid deployment of American troops to launch offensive operations against the Vietnamese and North Vietnamese anywhere in South Vietnam. During a visit to Vietnam in early July, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara confirmed the need for additional forces. In late July, Johnson took the final steps toward a full-scale war in Vietnam: in 1966 he immediately authorized the deployment of 100,000 troops and an additional 100,000. The president finally announced his decision at a news conference. Of July. No declaration of war was made - not even addressed to Congress - and no attempt was made to bring the country economically on a war footing. The National Guard and Military Reserve were not called for active service, although such a measure was part of the Army's mobilization plans.

Firepower becomes nil

Although Johnson and his advisers considered the question of sending troops to Vietnam very carefully - how many should be sent and when - they did not give the slightest thought to the question of what the troops could do once they arrived. In contrast to the tightly controlled air warfare in the north, the land war in the south was largely left to the leadership of General Westmoreland. Westmoreland commanded all American operations in the south, but he remained a unified U.S. force despite the dubious capabilities of many South Vietnamese generals. And the South Vietnamese were unwilling to press for command. Instead, the two allies relied on "coordination" and the continuation of existing advisory relations, with each South Vietnamese army unit being larger than the company completed by American advisers. At the top of the hierarchy, Westmoreland itself served as senior adviser to the Vietnamese Joint General Staff Chief General Kao van Vian. The long-running political instability in Saigon finally ended in February 1965 with the establishment of a government led by General Nguyen Van Thiou of the Army and General Nguyen Kao of the Air Force. This arrangement, backed by the most senior military commanders, lasted until 1968, when Q was removed from power, leaving Theo in sole control.

Whatever the position of the South Vietnamese forces, they were clearly reduced to a secondary role as American forces and equipment poured into the country. In support of these forces, the Americans built 10,000-foot (3,000-m) runways, six new deepwater ports, 75 strategic airports, 26 hospitals, and four new jet-capable airports spanning more than 10,000,000 square feet. (900,000 square meters) warehouse. Until the fall of 1965, U.S. Marines and troops, along with NVA and VC Main-Force forces, fought at Cape Ba Long On (also known as the Batangan Peninsula), southeast of Da Nang, and at the IA. Drong Valley in the Central Highlands. The U.S. military has used its full firepower to inflict heavy casualties on the enemy, including airstrikes, artillery, armored helicopters and B-52 bombers. Yet the Communists believed that there were more in these wars than they did, and encouraged that any territory outside the Americans could be easily recaptured. Might be after gone.

Westmoreland's real idea is that the U.S. Army, with its vast and superior firepower, will do its best to fight strong enemy forces in the forests and mountains, away from the most populated areas. Behind this “shield” provided by the Americans, South Vietnamese forces and security forces can take on local Vietnamese elements and continue the work of re-establishing government control in rural areas. Meanwhile, regular forces of the Viet Cong and the NVA continue to suffer heavy casualties due to heavy American shelling. In the end, the communists argued that they would reach a point where they could not recoup their losses on the battlefield. Upon entering the battlefield, they agree to a friendly peace treaty.

For many Americans, the point is far from over as the war continues in 1966 and 1967. Washington declared victory in the war, but American deaths continued to rise and what people could see about the war on television seemed confusing. In vain. Since Westmoreland's strategy is based on risk, one way to estimate progress is to track the number of enemy deaths. The result was that "body count", which soldiers had to do during or immediately after the war, soon became infamous for its inaccuracy and tendency to exaggerate the numbers of American commanders. A program for the Pacific and Sustainable Development of Vietnam (PROVN), commissioned by US Army Chief Harold K. 

Johnson and published in 1966, raises serious questions about Westmoreland policy. U.S. efforts have been proposed to focus on providing security and stability to the rural population in South Vietnam, suggesting that exile may not serve as an effective counter-intelligence strategy. At the time of its publication, PROVN was largely rejected by military commanders, and its continued emphasis on massive firepower and "search-and-destroy" missions was almost tantamount to wholesale rejection.

In the northern and eastern provinces of Saigon, some large-scale operations, such as Cedar Falls and Junction City, consisting of thousands of American troops, supported by hundreds of helicopters and fighter-bombers, were intended to destroy communist bases. . Planted and supplied. Despite providing large amounts of seized weapons and ammunition, they were eventually left unfinished because American forces would withdraw forever once their sweep was complete and the Viet Cong and NVA would return in due course. To prevent the NVA and Viet Cong from using dense forests to hide their movements and hide their supply lines and bases, the US Air Force has launched a herbicide called Agent Orange on the Vietnam border between Laos and Cambodia. Gallon sprayed. Saigon in the northwest and along major waterways. Agent Orange is effective in killing vegetation — but at the expense of causing significant environmental damage to Vietnam and exposing thousands of people to toxic chemicals can lead to serious and sometimes fatal health problems.

Along the DMZ, which separates North and South Vietnam, the Americans established strongholds extending north of Kwang-trik over the South China Sea to the western Laotian border. These bases are part of a system that includes electronic warning devices, minefields and infrared detectors, designed to check for intrusions or complete attacks from the north. The North Vietnamese, recognizing that the Strong-Point Barrier System was within the range of their artillery, launched periodic attacks by fire and ground force on American positions at Con Tian, ​​Xiao Lin, Camp Carroll and Khe San.

These large actions attracted public attention, but they were not really typical of war in South Vietnam. The "battles" of war were very fast, with very few people engaged very briefly. Most of these lasted only a few hours, often only a few minutes, but still caused heavy casualties. Overall, communist deaths surpassed American deaths, but the North Vietnamese never came to reduce their manpower. However, when necessary, the Communists could reduce their pressure by withdrawing their forces to sanctuaries in nearby Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. Hanoi, not Washington, largely controlled the pace of land warfare.


As in the war in the South, the air campaigns against the North continued their scope and destruction but were incomplete. By the end of 1966, the United States had dropped more bombs on North Vietnam than it had dropped on Japan during World War II and more than it had dropped on the entire Korean War. Yet the bombing had little effect on the communists' ability to continue the war. North Vietnam is a predominantly agricultural country, which destroys some industries. Many of the requirements for Hanoi's war effort came directly from China and the Soviet Union, who competed with each other to support Chi Minh's "heroic" war against American imperialism. The Soviets estimated military and financial aid at 1.8 billion rubles and sent 3,000 military advisers and technicians with sophisticated weapons to the north. China has spent $ 2 billion in aid to Hanoi; In its efforts, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam has 300,000 engineering, medical and anti-aircraft artillery. Although the bombings of the summer of 1966 damaged more than 80 percent of the petroleum-storage facilities in the North, the CIA reported no shortage of petroleum or disruption to transportation. As airstrikes continued, North Vietnam gradually strengthened its air defenses with the help of the latest radar, anti-aircraft guns, missiles and advanced jet fighters supplied by the Soviets and the Chinese. By the end of 1966 the United States had already lost 500 aircraft and hundreds of flight attendants had died or been prisoners of war.

Tet brings the war to home

By 1967, an increasing number of Americans were dissatisfied with the war. Some, especially students, intellectuals, academics and clergy, opposed the war on moral grounds, pointing out that large numbers of civil wars in the North and South were becoming major victims of the war and that the United States could actually do so. Support the war. Saigon is a corrupt and repressive dictatorship. Campus protests have become commonplace, and young pickets sometimes say at the White House, "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you do today?" In October 1967 at least 35,000 demonstrators staged a massive protest outside the Pentagon. Many Americans, though not part of any peace movement, opposed the war because of rising American deaths and a lack of evidence of United States victory. 

Yet other Americans believed Johnson had not done what was necessary to win the war and was forcing the military to fight "with one hand tied behind his back". By the summer of 1967, less than 50 percent of the citizens who took part in the poll said they supported supporting the presidential war.


The communist leadership in Hanoi was also impatient with the progress of the war. While rejoicing in their own ability against the Americans and their South Vietnamese allies who were richer and better armed, they knew that the United States had not shown signs of giving up its winning hopes and was in fact sending more troops. Continued pouring in Vietnam. 

In the summer of 1967 the Communists made a bold  decision that would permanently destroy the American hopes of making the Saigon government successful. His plan was to carry out simultaneous military strikes on cities, towns and military bases along with public uprisings across the country. The "general attack / general uprising" of early 1968 was to take place during the lunar New Year's celebration or TET.

To divert attention from their preparations and to attract US troops from major cities, the Communists launched diversionary attacks on Lok Ninh in October 1967 on the important but isolated Dok Tau and Saigon route in the Central Highlands. Finally, at the end of January 1968, two North Vietnamese units launched a lengthy offensive on a maritime base at Khe Sam in the northwestern corner of South Vietnam near the Laotian border. 

Like other bases along the DMZ, Khe Shan has been under artillery control in North Vietnam, and since January 21, the North Vietnamese have set up a massive barrage against it. News reports repeatedly drawn similarities between the siege of the French fort at Khe San and Dian Bean Fu. Both the President and General Westmoreland were convinced that Khe San was the main target of the enemy and that communist architectural signs in urban areas were only a turning point.

The complete opposite happened. On January 31, as nearly 50,000 American and South Vietnamese troops were defending or supporting Khe San and other DMZ bases, the Communists launched an offensive across South Vietnam. 

They attacked 36 of the 44 regional capitals, 64 of the district capitals, five of the six major cities, and more than two dozen airfields and bases. The Saigon headquarters in Westmoreland were attacked, and a VC squad also entered the US embassy premises. In Hue, the capital of the former imperial Vietnamese, communist forces captured more than half of the city and occupied it for nearly three weeks.

Surprisingly, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces quickly attack against poorly coordinated attacks. With the exception of Hugh, the Communists were unable to capture any cities or bases for more than a day or two, and their forces suffered heavy casualties. South Vietnamese soldiers, often defending their homes and families, fought surprisingly well, and the population grew nowhere in support of Vietnam. In fact, some communist attacks were so devastating that many of the local population, who did not like the Saigon government, became supporters of the Viet Cong.

 De-escalation & negotiation with Vietnamese

U.S. and South Vietnamese soldiers may recover quickly, but this is not true for Americans at home. Tate sent shock waves across the offensive United States, believing claims that the White House victory was imminent and reassuring those who thought the situation was worse than they had anticipated. Television coverage of the devastating wars in Saigon and Hue was extensive and graphic, leaving many with the impression that the United States and its allies were in deep tension. Many in Washington are still waiting for the big war in Khei Sanh or the big communist attacks elsewhere.

People were shocked to read the March 10 New York Times headline article that General Westmoreland had requested 206,000 additional troops for Vietnam, as criticism of Johnson's leadership was met by politicians and the media. This news is widely described as a confirmation that the US is in Vietnam. The situation must be really serious. In fact, Westmoreland saw the TET attacks as a serious defeat for the Communists, seeking additional troops to provide a knockout on a weak enemy. He was encouraged to request troops by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who eventually saw this as an opportunity to increase reserves and rebuild a strategic reserve for use in emergencies other than Vietnam.

 The president handed the request to his new defense secretary, Clark Clifford, who turned out to be a frustrated McNamara a few weeks ago. In addition to advising on massive reinforcements, Clifford soon decided that the entire war effort needed to be re-evaluated.


With the help of other advisers to the president and senior Democratic Party politicians, Clifford was able to persuade Johnson that the number of US troops currently in Vietnam (approximately 550,000) should be capped and that Johnson as chief executive needed peace. Make a dramatic gesture in a national television speech on March 31.

 Johnson announced that North Vietnam (excluding DMZ neighborhoods) was taking "first steps to reduce conflict" by halting bombings and that the United States would continue its operations. Is ready. Send delegates to any forum to discuss the end of the war. He followed this shocking announcement with the news that he had no intention of being re-elected that year.

Three days later Hanoi announced that it was ready to talk to Americans. Negotiations began in Paris on May 13 but did not take place anywhere. Hanoi has insisted that the United States stop bombing the rest of Vietnam before serious talks begin. Meanwhile, the fight continued at a brisk pace. The Communist High Command decided to pursue the TET attacks with two more waves in May and August. At the same time, Westmoreland ordered its commanders to "maintain maximum pressure" on the southern communist forces, which they believed had been severely weakened by their losses at Tate. 

The result was a fierce battle in battle. In the eight weeks since Johnson's speech, 3,700 Americans have been killed and 18,000 wounded in Vietnam. Communists were killed by Westmoreland headquarters for nearly 43,000 people. ARVN losses have not been reported, but they are usually more than twice that of Americans.

In October, the Soviet Union secretly informed Washington that the North Vietnamese would stop their attacks on the DMZ and that the United States would begin serious negotiations with the United States and South Vietnam if it stopped bombing the north. . Assured by his military advisers that such a break would not adversely affect the military situation, Johnson announced the end of the bombings on the last day of October. There was no success in stopping the bombings, but there was a protracted conflict between the United States and its South Vietnamese allies over the rules and procedures for conducting negotiations. By the time South Vietnam joined the negotiations, Richard M. Nixon had already been elected President.

Henry A. Kissinger, Nixon and his close adviser on foreign affairs, acknowledged that the U.S. could not achieve military victory in Vietnam, but stressed that the war would end only with a "respectable" agreement that would give South Vietnam a fair chance. . Gives presence. His argument is that the hasty withdrawal of the United States will lead to the withdrawal of the United States worldwide. Credibility is weakened. While public opinion is unlikely to have more troops, Nixon believes he can end the war with a solution that suits him. He planned to achieve this by bringing pressure to bear on the Soviet Union and China, both of whom were eager to improve their relations with the United States and through a massive power threat against North Vietnam. To indicate to Hanoi that it could be punished by air, the President decided to take action on the proposal of General Cretan Abrams, who had won victory in Westmoreland in July 1968, to surrender to the Vietnamese. Bombing of a secret communist base in Cambodia. Limit


When the Communists launched another wave of attacks in South Vietnam in early 1969, Nixon secretly ordered more bombings. Cambodian Premier Norodom Sihanouk, fed up with his uninvited Vietnamese guests, secretly acknowledged the attacks and said Hanoi was not in a position to complain without violating Cambodia's neutrality. The story appeared in The New York Times in May, despite extensive efforts in Washington and Saigon to keep the airstrikes completely secret. Impressed with this security breach, Nixon initiated a series of actions to prevent "leakage" of information; They were part of a system of illegal surveillance and theft that led to the 1972 Watergate incident.

In view of the surprisingly good performance of the South Vietnamese forces in Tete and in response to the growing pressure in the United States to initiate the withdrawal of US troops, the Nixon administration decided to provide South Vietnam with high-quality weapons. Decided to speed up the program. 

And training that gradually enables them to assume the sole responsibility of fighting the Ground Wars - known as the Vietnamese. In June 1969, Nixon announced the withdrawal of 25,000 US troops from Vietnam. In September he announced that he was withdrawing more troops, and by March 1970 he announced that he would withdraw 150,000 troops in stages the following year. Abrams protested that the still inexperienced and incompletely trained ARVN could not handle the job so quickly, but home moves were so popular that the White House soon recognized them as politically unavoidable.

Despite its popularity at home, the withdrawal diminished the courage of the remaining soldiers in Vietnam, emphasizing the apparent futility of the war. By the 1970s, signs of serious problems in morality and leadership were appearing everywhere.

 These signs include an increase in drug abuse, more frequent and serious racial incidents, and even the initiation of "fogging" by their own soldiers with broken weapons, such as or hand grenades and the intentional disability of non-commissioned officers. . News of the Mai Lai massacre in 1968 by hundreds of American soldiers in Kwang Ngai Province  became public in late 1969, fueling and diminishing allegations about the religiosity of the U.S. military effort in Vietnam. . From 1965 to 1973, more than 30,000 U.S. military personnel received humiliating discharges for bravery in or out of service in Vietnam (very few were actually desert on the battlefield). When the United States withdrew from the war in 1973, another 10,000 were still on the run; Many of these have benefited from amnesty programs introduced under the President. In 1974, Gerald R. Ford and President. Jimmy Carter in 1977.

 Also during 1965-73, nearly half a million men became "draft dodgers" who illegally avoided joining the armed forces or refused to respond to their draft notices. More than 200,000 have been charged with draft evasion and more than 8,000 have been convicted. Many convicts were offered a Ford pardon or Carter pardoned.