How far did the role of the USA in South East Asia change in the years 1950 – 1963?
The USA were involved in South East Asia between the years 1950 to 1963 mainly because of the growing threat of communism spreading through Indo-China (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Malaya, Thailand). This thirteen-year period saw two changes in Presidency and increased military involvement in Southern Vietnam.
The ‘Domino Theory’ was a speculation many presumed would occur in Eastern Europe and South East Asia; Harry S. Truman was a particular believer in this and was prepared to stop it at any cost. In 1950, Indo-China saw the first U.S supplies sent to the French in Vietnam; France was fighting for its colony after loosing their share of South East Asia to the Japanese. Despite U.S ideology being against colonialism, Truman believed that helping France with their fight was the ‘the lesser of two evils’ compared to loosing Vietnam to the Communist Vietminh under control by Ho Chi Minh. The U.S were supplying more and more as the French were desperate after the situation that left them almost penniless after WW2. This increased interest from the U.S sparked confusion and question as of their role in the British Empire and how their reluctance to assist in the need of colonialism was high on their beliefs.
1952 saw the start of the Eisenhower administration, and as a Republican, on the surface they were more anti-communist than the Democrats. Eisenhower’s approach to policy was very similar to that of his predecessor, Truman. He was determined to continue the policy of ‘containing’ communism but this did not involve launching a crusade to roll back communism. In 1953, John Foster Dulles was appointed as secretary of state, he was a devout Christian and firm hater of communism. The humiliating defeat of the French at Diem Bien Phu in 1954 saw the occurrence of the Geneva Conference and Accords. The USA was not to get everything it desired. Half of Vietnam was to be...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document