During the Vietnam War era, the United States and other democratic and free nations were fearful of communism spreading to more parts of the world. They fought two world wars to protect freedom, and to contain the communist movements. The foreign policy of the United States evolved to that of a pre-emptive type strike on the possibility of communism surfacing and threatening free countries. Harry S. Truman began to theorize that if a communist nation took over a non-communist state, then neighboring countries would also fall. This became known as the “domino effect,” and was the foreign policy that Dwight D. Eisenhower applied to countries in South East Asia in the 1950s. The United States’ role in Vietnam spanned from 1955 to 1975. During the 1960’s John F. Kennedy and Johnson both used the domino theory as credible reasons for the United States to increase their involvement in South East Asia. The United States already supported the French’s ambition to reinvade Indo-China. Supporting the South Vietnamese nation against their northern communist neighbors was a natural progression of foreign policy.
The United States began involvement in 1955, although never declaring war. The South Vietnamese leader, Ngo Diem was a strong opponent against communism, although his regime lacked cohesiveness, organization, resources, and trust among its members to efficiently ward off the looming threat of the North Vietnamese Army. The United States recognized the sovereignty of South Vietnam, but not all other nations did. Both China and Russia supported the North Vietnamese with weapons and other wartime help. The United States began to aid the South Vietnamese, although they took a backseat to the American troops, training, and weapons that were provided. The “domino theory” kept the American’s belief that if South Vietnam were not protected from falling into the hands of the northern communist state, then surely surrounding countries like Laos, Cambodia,...
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