In 1965, America’s fight against communism had spread to Southeast Asia, where the United States became involved in the Vietnam War to stop communism. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson were all involved and helped aid the Vietnam War. Truman believed in a policy of containment and sent money, Eisenhower also sent money but believed in the domino theory. He sent advisors to help train the South Vietnamese troops and Johnson also sent troops and money. Westmoreland’s strategy was to fght a war of attrition. This meant to break the enemy’s morale, body ount, use Agent Orange and Napalm, and perform search and destroy missions.
The tactics they used were guerilla warfare, hit and run, and home field advantage (knowledge of Jungle terrain). The U. S. on the other hand, also used Agent Orange and Naplam. The United States burned villages and killed livestock, and the chemicals used caused diseases and cancer. The United States did not win the “hearts & minds” of the Vietnamese people. The war led to the suffering of the economy, including tax increases, inflation, and Great Society programs were cut. Americans began to distrust the government which was known as the credibility gap.
Following the My Lai Massacre and the Kent State incident, people began to protest . Students at Kent State University in Ohio led a protest on May 4, 1970. The protest got out of hand when students burned the ROTC building. Support for the war eroded even further when the Pentagon Papers were leaked. For many Americans, the Pentagon Papers confirmed their belief that the government had not been honest about its war intentions. In March of 1972, the North Vietnamese launched their argest attack on South Vietnam since the Tet Offensive in 1968.
President Nixon responded by ordering a massive bombing campaign against North Vietnamese cities. The bombings halted the North Vietnamese attack. It was after this that the Nixon administration took steps to finally end America’s involvement in Vietnam. On January 27, 1973 after bombing the two largest cities in North Vietnam, the United States signed an agreement to end and restore peace in Vietnam. The agreement stated North Vietnamese troops would remain in South Vietnam. On March 29, 1973 the last U. S. combat troops left for home.