The Cold War in Vietnam

The Cold War in Vietnam

In Dak To, South Vietnam, an infantry unit moves to assault the last Viet Cong position.

The United States Army had already been in Vietnam since 1959, but they were only in leadership and training roles. The American forces didnít join the fighting until after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which occurred in 1964 when there was an unprovoked naval attack on US ships in the gulf. The attack allowed the United States to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which allowed President Lyndon Johnson to aid any Southeast Asian country against any communist invasion. There has been much disagreement as to whether or not the Gulf of Tonkin Incident actually occurred or if it was faked by the United States. Regardless of whether or not it occurred, it started the American involvement in the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam war is seen as a point in time that made the United States Army appear to have poor integrity and leadership, because of their use of the draft, the crude tactics and chemicals used in the war, and for the public distaste of the war. One very harmful chemical used in the war was Agent Orange, a tainted herbicide, that caused many disturbing illnesses in both armies, as well as Vietnam civilians. The American forces were successful in the typical combat, but they were ill prepared for the guerilla tactics used by the North Vietnam forces. They won in terms of the large scale battles, and even began diminishing the communist morale after they turned back a large scale communist forceís attack in the Tet Offensive of 1968. After the Tet Offensive, the American forces only encountered the regular North Vietnamese Army, because the guerilla forces had been severely weakened. In the end, the United States Army was forced to withdraw due to political opposition from the South Vietnamese people. When American forces withdrew in 1975, a communist government was formed by Vietnam to unify the entire country.

Article Citation (MLA format):

"The Cold War in Vietnam." Military Ranks Online. 04 Feb 2012. 21 Feb 2024. <>