Explain the USAs policy of containment. How successful was this in Korea, Vietnam and Cuba?

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Explain the USA’s policy of containment. How successful was this in Korea, Vietnam and Cuba?

Containment was a  policy using numerous strategies to prevent the spread of  abroad. A component of the , this policy was a response to a series of moves by the  to enlarge , , , and . It represented a middle-ground position between  and . The basis of the doctrine was articulated in a  by U.S. diplomat . In all three areas, Korea, Vietnam and Cuba the policy of containment was mainly unsuccessful as in each area USA was unable to prevent the spread of communism and USSR’s influence over them. However USA was able to achieve some positive aspects and in each case stood up to the USSR, even though after each crisis the countries still remained communist, or under USSR influence.

        The tension between North Korean and South Korean began after the Second World War, with the Soviets in control over the north as far as latitude 38 degree north and the USA had influence over the south of Korea. The United Nations Organisation requested elections however no elections were allowed in the North which was taken over by the communist leader Kim ll Sung. A republic government was set up in the south however both governments claimed authority over the whole country. Both USA and USSR armed their own client states with weapons. The Orthodox view of how the Korean War broke out is that Kim was acting on Stalin’s orders and that USSR had encouraged the North to invade the South. However the revisionist view claims that it was not just one invasion from the North but continuous border clashes which gave USA the excuse to use force against North Korea through the UN at a time when the USSR would be unable to veto such a decision.

        As well as the USA fourteen other countries sent troops into Korea, therefore it could be argued that the policy of containment was not only followed through by USA but other UN troops. Furthermore it is thought that Truman wished to establish a united US dominated Korea as a foothold on the Asian landmass. This is seen through General MacArthur’s actions as although China has warned US not to invade further than the Yalu River, MacArthur continued to take his troops across the river and began invading China. This cannot be defended by the policy of containment, and therefore shows that USA had changed the supposed goal of the war from containment to a rollback strategy.

        The USA’s strategy of containment could be seen as a success in the Korean War, because after the North invaded the south which was able to defeat the South who only held a small area in Pusan in September 1950. Therefore this an example of USSR trying to spread communism therefore USA under the policy of containment felt obliged to aid South Korea. As well as USA fourteen other countries sent troop, to a certain extent this could be seen as further success of containment as USA were able to ask the help from other UN countries to give a united front. On September 15th, US and Southern Korean troops commanded by General Douglas MacArthur made an amphibious landing, which forced the North Korean army to retreat and by the end of September the South had been recaptured. This shows how USA were successful with their policy of containment as if they had stopped here they would have been able to successfully prevent the spread of communism in South Korea. However, despite being warned by China that if they went on to invade the North China would go to its aid the Allied forces invaded North Korea. The forces continued and in some places reached the Yalu River. This lead to huge retaliation attack from China which pushed allied troops to the 38th parallel. This shows how USA’s policy of containment failed, as they changed this policy from containment to a rollback strategy. Due to this another communist country, China, had managed to beat America and illustrate America as the aggressive state. This meant that China was able to have a huge propaganda victory showing China as military inferior. Perhaps if USA had not continued to go on and invade North Korea or China then there would have been no retaliation from China and USA would have been able to win the propaganda war by having prevented the spread of communism into South Korea.

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        After China was able to push back Allied troops to the 38th parallel, General MacArthur demanded the authority to blockade China and bomb Manchuria with atomic weapons.  This further shows how the USA was unsuccessful with their policy of containment in this incident, as this indicates how desperate the USA were and the extent to which they were struggling against the Chinese forces. Also it could be also show how no longer this was about containing communism but more about removing communism from these countries all together. This was in breach of the terms by which the United Nations Force had ...

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