In the early 1960ís, North Vietnam wished to unify North and South Vietnam
through military force. Since the United States feared the spread of communism in Asia,
John F. Kennedy provided economic and military aid to South Vietnam to prevent the
takeover by North Vietnam. At this time, this was still a civil war. The United States
were not yet officially involved.
The North Vietnamese resented this intervention by the United Sates and so, three
Vietnamese torpedo boats fired on the U.S. destroyer, " Maddox " on August 2nd, 1964.
The " Maddox " had been in the Gulf of Tonkin ( international waters ), thirty miles off
the coast of Vietnam. On August 3rd, 1964, President Johnson gave the right " to attack
with the objective of destroying attacking forces ". Retaliation air attacks began on
August 3rd. Their aim was to destroy North Vietnam's gunboat capability. As two more
United States destroyers were supposedly sunk, more air and sea forces...