Vietnam had been a French colony, before World War II and after the Japanese were defeated and driven out, it went back to French control. But despite U.S. financial aid, France was driven out of the country in 1954 by communist forces led by a man named Ho Chi Minh. The country was divided in two, with the communists controlling the northern half. Elections were scheduled for 1956 to reunite the two halves. The elections never happened, mostly because South Vietnam dictator Ngo Dinh Diem was afraid he would lose. Diem was supported by the U.S. until 1963. The U.S. sent their military "advisors" who were not directly in combat. But the pressure to do more grew larger as the fighting dragged on, and more then 16,000 "advisors" were sent to Vietnam.
Shortly after taking office Johnson ordered 5,000 more U.S. troops to Vietnam and made plans to send another 5,000.
In August 1964, he announced that U.S. Navy ships had been attacked in international waters near the Gulf of Tonkin. Congress reacted by approving a resolution that gave Johnson the power to "take all necessary measures" to protect U.S. forces. A few months later Johnson ordered U.S. bombings of targets in North Vietnam. By March 1965, more the 100,000 U.S. troops were in the country. Within three years, the number had moved up to more than 500,000.
When the Vietnam War started only a small percentage of the American population opposed the war. The first march to Washington against the war took place in December, 1964. Only about 25,000 people took part but it was still the largest anti-war demonstration in American history
Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King Jr. were two of the many famous black figures who protested against the war. By 1968, the Vietnam War was...