The French colony of Vietnam was over taken by the Japanese in World War 2. The reaction of the Vietnamese nationalists was to form a league for Vietnamese independence. This was also known as the Vietminh. Ho chi Minh, a communist led this organisation. Ho chi Minh declared independence from French colonial rule. This was resisted by the French because Vietnam was rich in minerals.

In 1950 the French realised they needed financial support from the U.S. Truman gave $20million in 1950 and a further $2.6billion between 1950-1954. The Americans were concerned that Chinese communism would spread into Vietnam and other parts of Indo-China. This was known as the domino theory, were if one country falls to communism others surrounding it will. The French forces concentrated themselves around Dien Bien Phu, hoping the Vietminh would enter open conflict. After several weeks, the French were forced to surrender. They could not regain there former colony and at the Geneva peace talks in May 1954, they gave up their claim to Vietnam.

Each American president - hated and feared communism.

President Eisenhower of the U.S.A refused to sign the Geneva agreements. He believed communism was spreading like ''ink on blotting paper'' and Vietnam would be next. In 1955 a new president of South Vietnam was introduced, Ngo Dinh Diem. He was an anti-communist as well so the U.S.A was more than willing to help and supported them throughout the 1950's. He employed many of his relatives in high places and there was very little freedom for speech.

President Kennedy saw the threat of communism ''a threat to the free world''. He restated that to prevent the further spread of communism he would ''pay any price, bear any the defence of liberty.'' The U.S sent money and military advisers. Kennedy was...