Gulf of Tonkin Essay
Was President Johnson’s decision for retaliatory acts against North Vietnam after the Gulf of Tonkin incidents justified? Or an even better question to ask is, did both incidents ever really happen? To answer these questions it;s necessary to look at some of the historical background of the region.
For much of Vietnam’s history it has been under foreign rule, primarily by the Chinese. In 1860, France began its domination of the area and had, by the late 19th century, had several colonies in a number of regions around the Gulf of Tonkin. During WWII, the Japanese government took control of much of the area and set up a "puppet regime" that was eventually forced out by the Vietnamese at the end of 1945.After WWII and until 1955, France fought hard to regain their former territories in the region, their effort was wasted. The French were finally defeated at Dien Bien Phu on the 8th of May 1954 by the communist general Vo Nguyen Giap. The communist regime set up its headquarters in Hanoi under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh. Many North Vietnamese left the country and fled south where the self-proclaimed president, Ngo Dinh Diem had formed the Republic of Vietnam.In the 1950’s, the United States began to send troops to Vietnam, during the following 25-year period; the war would create some of the strongest tensions in US history. Almost 3 million US men and women were sent thousands of miles to fight for what was a questionable cause. In total, it is estimated that over 2 million people on both sides were killed.
On August 2, 1964, three North Vietnamese patrol boats attack the American destroyer U.S.S. Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin ten miles off the coast of North Vietnam. They fire three torpedoes and machine-guns, with no resulting causalities. U.S. Navy fighters from the carrier Ticonderoga, attack the patrol boats, sinking one and damaging the other two.At the White House, it is Sunday morning (twelve hours b…