Why Eisenhower pursues policies of non-intervention of Dien Biem Phu

Why Eisenhower pursues policies of non-intervention of Dien Biem Phu

Advantages

  • Military and Defence feared that involvement would "divert the US's limited capabilities"
  • Intervention would likely have caused long-term involvement.
  • Some argued it was "un-wise" to become too supportive or close to the French.
  • Military victory seemed impossible in the Vietnamese jungles - VM tactics and army was too strong.
  • They did not want to appear hypocritical - they'd just removed Korean troops, hence re-placing US soliders in Asia would not be wise.
  • Britain rejected the Domino Theory and were un-supportive towards the prospect of US intervening. Churchill said it was "unwinnable".
  • Feared that defeating communism in Vietnam would lead to them having to fight communism everywhere.

Disadvantages

  • Indochina was costly and exhausting for the French - without help it could weaken a once strong ally.
  • He'd promised Rollback polices in his electoral, however had not yet delivered.
  • The democrats could attack him with claims he'd 'lost Vietnam' in a similar way the Republicans targeted Truman. Getting involved meant Eisenhower is shown to be pro-active.
  • The French were threatening to leave Vietnam to the communists, hence increasing the sphere of influence, if US do not intervene.

Evaluation

Ultimately, he followed the policy of non-intervention as Indochina was seen as a diversion of US's strength. They were weakened by Korean War and hence do not see it as military or strategic priority. They recognised they needed to maintain strong US economy, as this would allow them to effectively defeat communism. (Intervention would be costly) As a new president, Eisenhower wanted to maintain US values of anti-colonialism, and supporting France may make them appear to be supporting neo-imperialism instead. Simultaneously, being new, he did not want to go against his allies, notably Churchill and Britain who did not advocate support for US to begin intervention. 

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