1 May 2012
American Foreign Policy and its Involvement with Vietnam
American involvement in the Vietnam War is one of the most controversial issues in our history. What many fail to realize is that the United States foreign policies had been dictating our involvement in Vietnam long before the initial deployment of our troops into Vietnam. The fear of communism and developments of the policy of containment and the domino theory were all that were needed to build up to the war that would take many American lives.
United States' involvement in Vietnam began as early as World War II, when American forces of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) invaded into the mountains ...view middle of the document...
Americans joined in the celebrations playing "The Star Spangled Banner," and planes flew over the city dipping their wings to the new Vietnamese flag (Westheider 2). These planes that were initially used in this celebration would later be used in bombing raids on the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the future. (Minh)
American support, however, became a façade for the new regime. Although President Roosevelt did not necessarily support French domination of Indochina, he did not support an independent Vietnam. Roosevelt's prevention of French colonization of Indochina died with him in April of 1945 due to President Truman being more concerned with stability in post World War II Europe rather than French colonial control of Indochina. The Potsdam conference Vietnam was divided along the 16th parallel, with Nationalist Chinese troops in control of North Vietnam, and British forces were to maintain order and disarm the Japanese in the south, which was believed to be paving the way for restoration of French self-government. In as early 1946, Chinese forces were withdrawing from the north and British forces from the south, and agreements were reached for the return of French occupying forces in Vietnam. As the French took back control they promised to keep Ho Chi Minh's government in the north as a state within the French Union. After complete withdrawal of Chinese forces from the North, Paris continued the deal, and in December of 1946 war broke out between the Vietminh and France (Westheider 3).
In the United States the development of the Cold War with the Soviet Union sparked a growing fear of communism. Communism was seen as a single massive entity controlled by Stalin in Moscow, and communist breakouts in countries like Turkey, Greece, and Vietnam were seen as attempts from Moscow to further world Communism. Revolutions such as Ho Chi Minh's were no longer seen as the embodiment of American spirit back in 1775, but as attempts of Moscow to gain communist control. So with the outbreak of the Franco Vietminh War at this time, the war was not seen as an attempt at colonial liberation, but as the pitting of the free West against the aggression of Communism (Westheider 4).
In response to this rapidly growing fear of Communism the United States formed the new foreign policy known as containment. The Soviet Union was slowly but surely attempting to gain communist domination of the world and to prevent this western democracy must remain strong and the principles implementation of communism must be contained. This theory of containment was the foundation for the Truman Doctrine which announced on March 27, 1947, promised aid to any nations threatened by communism either through internal insurgency or through external aggression (Westheider 4). This new policy was determined to stem the flow of communism and led to American aid to the French against former United States ally the Vietminh in the Franco Vietminh War.
As of 1950 Communism had won in...