How did the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution affect U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War?

1 Answer
Aug 11, 2016

It allowed a rapid escalation of US military involvement.


The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was based on allegations that a series of unprovoked attacks had been carried out by North Vietnam on US ships in international waters.

Johnson asked Congress for permission to take all necessary steps to respond. Only two Congressmen voted against. This gave Johnson a free hand to escalate military involvement in Vietnam with needing to declare war, which, in turn would have needed Senate support.

It was subsequently shown to be the case that much of the allegations were false. This was revealed in the Pentagon Papers.