Clash that triggered US entry into the Vietnam War in August 1964. Two US destroyers (USS C Turner Joy
and USS Maddox
) reported that they were fired on by North Vietnamese torpedo boats. It is unclear whether hostile shots were actually fired, but the reported attack was taken as a pretext for making air raids against North Vietnam. On 7 August the US Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution
, which formed the basis for the considerable increase in US military involvement in the Vietnam War.
The resolution allowed President Johnson to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed forces to help SEATO (South-East Asia Treaty Organization) members defend their freedom. It was repealed 1970 in the light of evidence that the Johnson administration contrived to deceive Congress about the incident.
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