Lyndon B. Johnson’s assumption of the presidency was dedicated to the continuation of Pres. Kennedy’s Vietnamese policies and the protection of the RVN for both internal and external “enemies”. In the middle of 1964 Pres. Johnson received Congress’s permission to protect the RNV by “all necessary measures” after northern Vietnamese torpedo boats allegedly attacked US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. American soldiers poured into Vietnam and unleashed Operation Rolling Thunder, (the largest sustained bombing campaign in warfare’s history), artillery attacks of the villages of Vietnam, established “free fire” zones (any Vietnamese was a potential target), carried out countryside search and destroy missions, and helped set up a series of authoritarian governments (Buzzanco,2010). In the time between Diem’s assassination and the arrival of US ground troops in March 1965, there were over a dozen of those governments established.
The war was characterized as a vitally important competition between Communism (represented war opponents), North Vietnam, and the Vet Congo by then, foreign policy makers of the US. It was also viewed as a Vietnamese civil