Eisenhower and U.S. Policy in Southeast Asia - Essay Example

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Eisenhower and U.S. Policy in Southeast Asia

Vietnam policy under Eisenhower can be summed up with two headings. First, a reluctance to actively go to war in Vietnam using the full power of the American military attack force, in spite of the fact that Eisenhower acknowledged the Communist threat from China in Southeast Asia. This reluctance created domestic political friction within the Republican Party and cause a split between those who fiercely opposed Communism and favored full-scale war with Vietnam and Eisenhower, who held back for both external and internal reasons.Secondly, Eisenhower’s precedence led future Administrations to the focus on air attacks rather than directing the attack on land forces. Once the U.S. finally invaded militarily, this policy created initial setbacks in the war as the Vietnamese showed their superior land power that later led to the defeat and withdrawal of American forces. Because the Vietnamese were able to hide in the jungles and sustain minimal damage, air attacks were ineffective and the policy to send in limited land forces – a policy rooted in the Eisenhower era -- proved unwise because the strength of the Vietnamese was in their guerilla land forces and they would very clearly demonstrate to the Americans – just as they had to the French – that the Vietnamese would not be defeated on land.Eisenhower’s policy on Vietnam is best revealed by two significant events. The first event established the political framework for his policy and that was Eisenhower’s famous domino theory. ...Show more


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