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In early 1961, President Kennedy secretly sent around 400 Green Beret soldiers to help educate the South Vietnamese how to fight against Communist guerrillas in South Vietnam, which is known as counterinsurgency war. After Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, there were over 16,000 U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam. Lyndon B. Johnson made the decision to commit the United States fully to the war in Vietnam. The United States became involved in the war for a few different reasons. First and foremost, the government of North Vietnam was viewed as an agent of global communism. Most Americans and U.S. politicians believed communism was the direct opposite of everything they believe and hold dear. Communism promoted military aggression, closed state economies, and violated human rights. Many people believed that if this nation fell to communism, other nations would soon follow suit. After the Communist Party took over China in 1949, Truman decided to help aid the French in their efforts to fight the Vietminh (Vietnamese Communist-led organization). Truman also thought that if the U.S. assisted the French, it would help all of Southeast Asia overcome the domino effect and not fall to communism. The American government also hoped that Japan would be able to establish a free world and the two countries could rebuild their relationship after the Pacific War. Next, if the U.S. entered the war, it would reassure the British that their rubber and tin industry in Malaya would blossom. Finally, with U.S. assistance, the French would be able to focus on recovery at home. This would allow them to help oversee the rearmament of West Germany, which was a Cold War measure according to the United States.
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