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To what extent can the growing involvement of the United States in Vietnam in the years if 1950-68 be seen as an ideological crusade against communism?

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Introduction

Question: To what extent can the growing involvement of the United States in Vietnam in the years if 1950-68 be seen as an ideological crusade against communism? Although there are many different views as to why America got involved into Vietnam such as the economic reasons, the quagmire effect and the stalemate it is very difficult to argue that the Cold War context (ideological) was the most central and fundamental reason as to why this had occurred. All the presidents during the Vietnam War had different approaches to the war but they all had the Cold War lingering in their minds. USA under Truman had first shown a anti colonial and anti imperialist stance and always retained good relationships with Ho Chi Minh during the second world war and were very critical of Bao Dai. They were also very close with the impressive General Giap who at a rally once said that America was their friend. However this good feeling was quickly dashed by Ho when he stepped in as leader of Vietnam after overthrowing the playboy emperor Bao Dai ...read more.

Middle

They particularly helped the French because they needed them as allies in Europe and in NATO to help battle against the communists. Furthermore his need to help France against Vietnam was also reinforced by the fact that china had fell to Mao's communist party and Russia had developed the A Bomb these had intensified the fear. This was not helped by the communist hysteria drummed up by Senator Joseph McCarthy within America and the American administration, the Korean War was also another reason as to why it forced Truman's hand into helping France and intervening in Vietnam. They hoped to stabilise Europe and NATO with the help of the French. The Americans gave 2 billion dollars towards the French war effort which was 80% of the war effort; they provided them with aircrafts, patrol boats and napalm bombs. They also gave 50 million dollars as economic technical aid to the Vietnamese. The US Military Assistance Advisory Group warned that because McCarthy cleared out certain officials who had far eastern specialist acumen that America was being ignorant about Vietnam and was entering unchartered territory. ...read more.

Conclusion

this was also fuelled by Ikes belief in the domino theory which he felt was going to happen if they didn't intervene as one American advisor said if Vietnam fell then Cambodia will fall then Thailand and then India and then the whole of Asia will be under the communist rule. However who always believed in the French doing the fighting on behalf of them with the Americans still bankrolling them with the Americans adding a further 385 million dollars to the French war effort. Furthermore Ike refused to sign the Geneva accords as he felt that if any attack was made again that they would be met by grave consequences. Eisenhower mistook the 17th parallel stalemate line as a border between south and North Vietnamese. Eisenhower took this chance as a way of nation building. This was Ike's way of trying to rebuild South Vietnam into a capitalist country he wanted to rebuild it using the model of Japan. This is underpinned by the USA's open door capitalist policy. ?? ?? ?? ?? Tahmid Akthar A2 History Lecturer: P Holborrow. ...read more.

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