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The United States stumbled into a shaky government inthe 1950s and the unvarying policy of every subsequent administration was to do what was necessary to prevent the collaspse of that government. They were doing so not because they anticipated victory but because they saw no alternative. However high the costs of intervention , they believed the cost of not intervening, of allowing South Vietnam to fall, would be higher. Only when the national and internationalp political situation had shifted to the point where was possible for American policymakers to reassess the costs of containment to conclude that the cost of continuing the commitment-was it possible for the United States to begin disengaging.
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This solution offers an explanation as to the background of the US intervention into Vietnam.
U.S. intervention into Vietnam grew out of cold war commitments [i.e. containment] made in the 1940s and 1950s by Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. The idea of containment refutes the statement that the U.S. merely stumbled blindly into a conflict in Southeast Asia. The cold war prior to 1949 had been one between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. However, after China "fell" to communism in 1949 under Mao Tse-tung, the cold war spilled over into Asia where China directed the activities. A test of Truman's view of containment and war against communism was tested when communist-supported North Korean troops invaded a semi-Democratic South Korea in 1950. Eventually communist forces were pushed back across the 38th parallel but not without great loss. President Eisenhower continued to support containment as did President Kennedy. In 1961, JFK took on these commitments and promised new and forceful efforts to defeat communism. During his inaugural address in 1961 he declared, "Let every nation know . . . that we shall pay any price, bear an burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty." This type of attitude and commitment to fight communism everywhere can be seen in the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, and intervention into Vietnam.
<br><br>Only a few advisors were sent at first, but as Ho Chi Minh grew stronger, American leaders feared that a communist takeover in South Vietnam might cause bordering nations in Southeast Asia to fall to the communists like a row of "falling dominoes." The U.S. was determined to live up to the commitment of containment and not to let communism spread into Southeast Asia. President Kennedy became frustrated with the South Vietnamese government of Ngo Dinh Diem and he authorized the overthrow of Diem's corrupt government. The U.S. had hoped that ...
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