Essay about Operation Rolling Thunder

1969 Words 8 Pages
Introduction Operation Rolling Thunder was an aerial bombing campaign, during the Vietnam War, conducted by the United States Air Force, United States Navy, and the Republic of Vietnam Air Force, from March 2, 1965 to November 2, 1968.
Its purpose was to demonstrate America’s air supremacy in an effort to demoralize North Vietnam's Communist leaders (Ho Chi Minh) and to reduce their ability to carry out attacks against South Vietnam, supported by the United States. The four main objectives of this operation were to destroy North Vietnam’s industrial foundation, transportation systems, and air defenses, stop the flow of troops and supplies, to boost the morale of the South Vietnamese and to sway North Vietnam’s support of communist
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These events and the United States clandestine involvement in Southeast Asia prior to the war in Vietnam set the stage for what was about to unfold.
The political instability following the military coups and assassination of President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963, led Johnson to approve an operation plan to perform psychological operations and intelligence gathering in North Vietnam. The majority of the intelligence gathering was conducted by U.S. naval ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. The U.S.S. Maddox was attacked by a North Vietnamese patrol boat on August 2, 1964, and another attack was reported two days later. In retaliation, President Johnson ordered an air strike. This became known as the Gulf of Tonkin Crisis, an led to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This resolution Congress gave President Johnson the authority carry out a “graduated response” strategy. Thus heralding the United States future involvement in Vietnam.2
In 1965, South Vietnam was on the verge of a crisis. The United States had to consider how to proceed with further involvement. The United States could continue its role of limited advisory and aid efforts, and run the risk of being humiliated if things continued to get worse for the South Vietnamese resistance. The United States could deem the situation unrecoverable and cut ties with South Vietnam. This could cause the United States to lose face with is allies and undercut other defense obligations and arrangements.

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