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Vietnam - and Domino Theory

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The revolutionary worldwide spread of communism has always been a great fear to the USA. In the past, America has gone to many wars to psychologically protect its ideology against powerful nations. That the Ð''domino theory' and the cold war mentality held by the USA, primarily justified their involvement in Vietnam. It was after World War Two that the USA's interest in Vietnam came about. Eisenhower and Dulles contrevsial Ð'' domino theory' with the fear of a communist-dominated government in Vietnam and surrounding countries sparked an increase in America's involvement. There were also secondary factors that influence the Americans such as, political and economic interests over raw materials, etc. The USA and France had separate and completely different aims, ideas and interests regarding Vietnam and Indo-china. The US's involvement began with supplying the French with military aid to a full-scale conscript defense force, fighting battles on the ground. At a time, when the cold war was at a peak between the US and the USSR, and after the victory of stopping South Korea becoming a communist state. The USA out of all the allies in the Vietnam War was the only country involved primarily because of the Ð''domino theory'. The history of the domino theory played a significant role throughout the cold war and was America's greatest fear and motivation.

The history of the Vietnamese people is marked by their continual struggle for independence. They resisted Chinese domination for one thousand years, only to see the French gain control in 1884. For seventy years the French ruled Vietnam, and for seventy years the Vietnamese resisted. When the French, in the mid-19th century, established tentative control over the southernmost provinces of Vietnam (which they called Cochin China), Vietnamese government officials ("mandarins") withdrew and refused to serve them. When the French expanded to central and northern Vietnam (Annam and Tonkin), they were met by a forceful resistance movement led by the educated elite of the country, who mobilized peasants to fight the French in pitched battles and guerrilla raids. Even after Emperor Ham Nghi -- in whose name the Vietnamese struggled -- was captured and exiled to Algeria in 1888, the movement continued. Ultimately, sheer military force enabled the French to subdue the land, if not the people. After the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the Imperialist slowly withdrew from Vietnam knowing that they were defeated, but they still had the urge to keep the colony part of the Great Empire. Their idea of hanging onto Vietnam and keeping it apart of the empire did not coincide with that of the USA. The US wanted to prevent a communist revolution and deconolise Vietnam. Although the United States disapproved of French tactics, the desire to support its European ally, combined with a growing concern over Communist power in Asia, led first President Truman and then President Eisenhower into close cooperation with the French war effort. By 1954, when the Geneva Conference brought a temporary end to fighting in Vietnam, the United States was paying over 75 percent of the French war costs. Thus, proving that only the Americans out of all the allies involved in the Vietnam War was helping, out of fear, and through political and economic interests.

The rise in Communism throughout the past 150 years has concerned the US with the event of a worldwide communist revolution. American President Ike Eisenhower and John F. Dulles, set forth their Ð''domino theory' that weak and shaky states exposed to communist conquest collapse in groups, if any one of them falls victim to its onslaught. This chain reaction was said to be reminiscent of dominos, the momentum of the first toppling the second, and the second, through its momentum toppling the next in an unstoppable journey. The end point in this reaction was believed to be the southern countries of Australia and New Zealand. - Ike Eisenhower (American President) said in a speech on April 7, that to prevent the spread of communism, America needed allies to assist:

"But this problem could not be handled by one country alone.

There must be a concert of readiness to react in whatever way it was necessary" (p55)

The domino theory also had an influence in the Korean War, as the Americans thought that if South Korea fell to communism so would Japan and surrounding countries. With the victory in South Korea the Americans were sure they prevented a communist revolution. When the Vietnam War started, the first Americans were advisors sent to Vietnam to assist the South Vietnamese army combat the Viet Cong, who were supported by the North Vietnam. Eventually the US assigned troops to combat the Viet Cong. The Viet Cong were a frustrating group to fight, as the US could not always tell friend from foe. As morale deteriorated in the American troops, due to the mobility and guerilla tactics of the Viet Cong. John F. Dulles wrote a document titled NSC-64, which was sent to the President, and an extract is expressing his concerns on South East Asia:

"Thailand and Burma could be expected to fall under communist-dominated government" and that " the balance of South East Asia would then be in grave hazard." (p129)

The Americans also relied on resources the Vietnamese had to offer and dealt with the issue with the same priority as the first.

The Domino theory dominated as the most important issue on the agenda, but the economical and political interests lied apart as well

. On the eve of World War II the United States depended upon Indochina for 50 percent of its raw rubber. Japanese control of the area thus deprived the U.S. of its major source of this strategic resource.



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