• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10
  11. 11
    11

Introduction - US policy to Southeast Asia in general

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Introduction - US policy to Southeast Asia in general In 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a trusteeship principle, in which the subjugated nations of Asia would prepare themselves for self-government, under the supervision of the imperial nations. FDR had 'genuine humanitarian principles'1 and was aware of the conditions under which colonial people sometimes lived. He also realised that the colonial system was detrimental to US interests. According to Robert McMahon, FDR altered his thinking in late 1944. 'This policy shift reflected the President's essential pragmatism in the face of a complex amalgam of crosscutting interests.'2 Most historians are agreed that, in the immediate post-war years, the USA's main concern became the protection of war-torn Western Europe from the possible spread of Soviet communism. The USA's view of the world becoming two polar opposites was exemplified in George Kennan's 1946 "Long Telegram". Sami Abouzahr: 'at this stage, Indochina itself was of little importance to the US state department.'3What was important was the rebuilding of Western Europe on US terms - politically stable, economically vibrant and militarily resilient. The Communist takeover of China in 1949 and the start of the The Korean War in 1950 exacerbated this fear and heralded a new intensification in US involvement in all of Southeast Asia, as the Truman administration became convinced that the whole region had become a battlefield in the wider Cold War, its countries perceived to be threatened by Chinese / Soviet communist expansion. This heightened alarm was not helped by the unexpected Soviet atomic bomb test in 1949. Nationalist activity had intensified in the period following the Japanese invasion, which exposed the weaknesses of the Imperial powers, convincing many that they were not invincible. Further reading reveals that The USA appeared to adopt differing, seemingly dualistic strategies of involvement in the region, especially after 1950. By this time, The Philippines, Burma, Thailand and Indonesia were independent, with new nationalist rulers. ...read more.

Middle

Short: 'A Threat was perceived [by the US]: a co-ordinated, Kremlin directed offensive.'25 In reality, far from receiving directions from the Kremlin as the Southeast Asian section of a global communist collaboration, Ho's relations with China and the USSR were 'often fractious'26and far from being a Soviet controlled singular offensive, the different insurgencies, whose objectives varied, were actually homegrown in their respective countries. But from around 1950 - and from this "black-and-white" perspective - the US could view their actions in South East Asia not as supporting colonialism, but as implementing a pre-emptive containment policy, protecting vulnerable nations from the encroachment of global communism not only in Western Europe, but also in South East Asia, protecting trade links and US military bases in the area. Also, the USA's 'first line of defence in the Pacific', i.e. Japan and the Philippines, appeared threatened by a "communist" victory in South East Asia. The region, therefore, needed defending against this menace, and Indochina was regarded as key to that defence. The domino theory 'quickly became an article of faith'.27In 1950, after assessment of all this, US neutrality - such as it was up to this time - was effectively ended. US intervention was requested at Dien Bien Phu, but despite Dwight D. Eisenhower being 'no less inclined than Truman had been to see the French struggle as an extension of America's Cold War effort', this was turned down by Congress, although seriously considered by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Instead, Congress 'insisted that France had to pledge to move swiftly to grant Vietnam independence'.28 Dulles would have preferred the French to continue fighting. Indonesia There was a marked difference in US policy between Indonesia and Indochina, mainly because Sukarno's Indonesian Republican movement was "anti-communist". This was in contrast to the Viet Minh which, if not a dyed-in-the-wool communist organisation, was certainly coloured with communism. This and their links with China, plus the fact that their leader had visited Moscow was enough to convince the Americans, who as we have seen, regarded Ho as a Soviet agent. ...read more.

Conclusion

It shows anti-colonial sentiments -The US hoped that France would end their ruling of Indonesia, but are prepared to support them for the time being in the immediate goal of "restoring security", i.e. fighting communism. It is significant that Acheson mentions this first, indicating US priorities. In the longer term, "genuine nationalism" should prevail, i.e. moderate, pro-Western, "democratic" nationalism. This section of the speech also highlights the US perception that the insurgency in Indochina was part of a wider, "imperialist" strategy, controlled by the Soviet Union. Acheson's speech concerns Vietnam, but these sentiments could be applied to any country in the region whose nationalist movement contained traces of "communism". 21 Logevall: The Origins... (P. 17) 22 Kalb and Abel: Roots of Involvement... (P. 55) 23 Logevall: The Origins... (P. 20) 24 Herring: America's Longest War... (P. 13) 25 Short, A: The Origins of the Vietnam War Longman, 1989 (P. 73-74) 26 Logevall: The Origins... (P. 20-21) These US fears were almost certainly unfounded. On a visit to Moscow in 1950, Ho was given a less-than-warm reception from Stalin. Evidence indicates that the Soviet leader was much less concerned with Southeast Asia than he was with Europe at the time. Also, despite receiving Military aid and sanctuary for Viet Minh troops from the Chinese, Ho preferred to keep them 'at arms length'; he would not have welcomed Chinese interference in Viet Minh internal affairs. It could be fair to describe the Viet Minh as "nationalists first, communists second". 27 Quotes in this paragraph from: Herring: America's Longest War... (P. 16-17) 28Quotes in this paragraph from: Logevall: The Origins... (P. 21-22) 29 Rotter: The Path to Vietnam... (P. 82) 30 Adereth, M: The French Communist Party: A Critical History (1920 - 84) Manchester University Press, 1984 (P. 139) 31 Groen, Petra M. H: Militant Response: The Dutch use of Military Force and the Decolonisation of the Dutch East Indies 1945 - 50 in: The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History Vol. XXI, no. 3, (1993) (P. 32) 32 Ibid (P. 34) Also, in Marshall Aid as a Catalyst... ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Assess the strategic strengths and weaknesses of America's 'containment of communism' policy since 1945.

    would lye in the Soviet sphere of influence and not be able to aid recovery for the rest of Western Europe. The economic and political interests of the USA were deeply imbedded in the Marshall Plan. It is because the Marshall Plan was based on the idea that "...the surest

  2. Assess the view that the US Policy of Marshall Aid was motivated mainly by ...

    This meant boosting capitalism, which was ''being resuscitated'' and given a prosperity ''highly alluring to countries on the fringes of the USSR'', to encourage Cominform nations to denounce communism, a fairly forceful argument acknowledged by each interpretation. Judt implies aid was part of a ''programme to reform the European economy''

  1. Free essay

    Critically examine the factors which accelerated the decolonisation process in Southeast Asia.

    In Indonesia, the opportunities provided gave nationalists such as Sukarno experiences of a real political theatre. While in Burma, the Japanese Occupation contributed to the rise in radical student movements which made significant advancements in Burma's nationalistic movements. Furthermore the activities of the AFPFL against the Japanese made its leader

  2. The Marshall Plan.

    economy now as the Marshall Plan had between 1948 and 1952. (Most of the money was spend between 1948 and the beginning of the Korean War (June 25, 1950); after June 30, 1951, the remaining aid was folded into the Mutual Defense Assistance Program.) On December 10, 1953, George C.

  1. Armed forces.

    Republic proclaimed Cotton Gin invented by Eli Whitney 1793 Britain declares war against France; Trinidad captured from Spanish; First free settlers arrive in Australia Louis XVI executed 1794 Scottish martyrs transported to NSW Persia united 1795 The first seizure of Cape Colony from the Dutch; Mungo Park sets out to

  2. This graduation paper is about U.S. - Soviet relations in Cold War period. Our ...

    In the Soviet Union the Gulag Archipelago of concentration camps and executions was the price of failing to conform to the party line. But the United States paid a price as well. An ideological frame of reference had emerged through which all other information was filtered.

  1. Consider How Far Gladstone And Disraeli Differed In Their Policies Regarding The British Empire ...

    This was evident in the case of the Alabama ship where he accepted the ruling of the international court of Arbitration's ruling for Britain to pay compensation. In September Gladstone published his pamphlet entitled The Bulgarian Horrors, which divided the country and increased the personal hatred between the two men.

  2. Assess the importance of the Viet Cong in the Communist victory in the Second ...

    a ?total war of attrition.? This concept of ?total war?, which was described by General Ludendorff in 1935, involves ?the complete mobilization of all resources, including policy and social systems, to the winning of war.?[3] The Viet Cong fulfilled this concept for not only did they sacrifice their material possessions, but more importantly their lives.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work