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Gulf of Tonkin

The Gulf of Tonkin is a body of water located off the coast of northern Vietnam and the People’s Republic of China. On August 2, 1964, a naval incident involving the destroyers USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy and North Vietnamese gunboats led President Lyndon Johnson to request authorization from Congress to respond with military force. Known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the event remains shrouded in controversy. Nevertheless, both houses of Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on August 10, 1964, giving Johnson broad powers to commit U.S. military forces to Vietnam without a formal declaration of war.

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