People talk a lot about the horrors of Vietnam. The constant state of fear was common among all soldiers stationed there in the 60s and 70s.
One can only imagine the feeling of hearing the trees speak Vietnamese, or falling into a snake pit, or running into any other booby traps. But this begs the question, why were they there in the first place. The Americans and their allies found themselves in the meat grinder that is Vietnam, but the story of how they got there in the first place is quite interesting.
After the flustercuck that was Korea, the Americans were concerned about potential Communist invasions across the world. So when the Communist-backed North Vietnamese government took control of Hanoi, the Americans tried their best to make life uncomfortable for them.
The Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 proved to be the deadlock breaker as it led to America finally engaging directly with Vietnam. On August 2, 1964, the Destroyer US Maddox, which had to be involved in its daily operations, was approached by the North Vietnamese Navy Torpedo Boats.
What followed was a battle to which led to damage on either side, but like everything else in life, nothing is equal. Vietnam stood with damaged torpedo boats, four deceased and six wounded North Vietnamese sailors at the end of the open fire. On the other hand, the USA stood with one damaged aircraft and 0 casualties.
Funny enough, according to reports, Destroyer Maddoxx was left unscathed except for the one hole made by a gunshot.
Things didn’t stop here; on August 4, 1964, it was reported that the 2nd Gulf of Tonkin incident took place, and this was enough for the US Congress to leverage the situation and take action.
Soon the US Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave US President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian countries who have suffered due to the action of Communists of Vietnam.
This event is another fluster cluck, but the point here is that this gave the Americans their excuse to ramp up their military presence in Vietnam. With the USA’s sly tactics, they justified their actions, and just like that, one of the bloodiest and most significant conflicts of the 20th century escalated. The iconic Huey Helicopters of the Vietnam War.
Something interesting which gained limelight after years of the war was that when the former Vietnam people’s Army General Võ Nguyên Giáp was questioned on what happened on August 4, 1964, he replied, “Absolutely Nothing!” and to back this up when war information was declassified in 2005 it was found that while there were records of an attack on August 1964 but there was no such record to be found for the incident which was said to have happened on August 4, 1964.
This raises questions upon decisions that were taken by the US Government in 1964, which resulted in putting millions of lives at risk. In conclusion, this is how the war began.