How effectively did the USA contain the spread of communism?

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How effectively did the USA contain the spread of communism?
Large island 160km from Florida.
American ally.
Americans owned most of the business and had a large naval base there.
American recreation ground.
1959 ­ after three year guerrilla campaign ­ Fidel Castro overthrow the American-backed
dictator Batista.
Pro-Communist state ­ in its own `sphere of influence' ­ test to containment.
Early Attempts:
Cuba and USA avoided confrontation.
Castro took over US owned businesses but let the USA keep naval base.
Assured Americans in Cuba that they were safe.
Said he wanted to run Cuba without interference.
1960 ­ receiving arms from Soviet Union ­ US spies knew this.
January 1961:
USA broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Cuba expected an invasion.
US didn't invade but it was clear they wouldn't tolerate a Communist state in their
`sphere of influence'.
April 1961: Bay of Pigs:
President Kennedy supplied arms, equipment and transport for 1400 anti-Castro Cuban
exiles to invade Cuba.
Landed at the Bay of Pigs.
Met by 20,000 Cuban troops armed with modern weapons ­ invasion failed disastrously.
Castro captured and killed them all within days.
Cuba and Soviet Union ­ failed invasion meant that the USA was unwilling to get directly
involved in Cuba ­ Khrushchev was scornful of Kennedy's attempt to eradicate
Communism from Cuba.
Encouraged spread of Communism ­ showed Kennedy's weakness ­ also made Castro
and Khrushchev suspicious of US policy.
Soviet Union:
1962 ­ after Bay of Pigs ­ announces it's supplying Cuba with arms.
Cuba has strong army ­ thousands of Soviet missiles, patrol boats, tanks, radar vans, missile
erectors, jet bombers, jet fighters, Soviet technicians to maintain weapons.
USA ­ alarmed ­ ready to tolerate conventional arms but not nuclear missiles.
US Intelligence Department believed that it was too risky for the USSR to dare to do this.
September ­ Kennedy warned USSR that he would do whatever he had to to prevent Cuba
becoming an offensive military base ­ i.e. a nuclear missile base.
USSR assured the USA it had no intention of doing so.

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October Crisis:
14th October 1962 ­ American U-2 spy plane flew over Cuba ­ photos of missile sites in
Evident that they were nuclear missile sites being built by the USSR.
More photos confirmed this.
Some were already supplied with missiles ­ others were waiting for them.
Experts said that most of the sites would be ready to launch missiles in 7 days.
American spy planes reported that 20 soviet ships were headed for Cuba carrying missiles.
Kennedy's options:
1.…read more

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To get the upper hand in the arms race ­ concerned about the missile gap between the USSR
and USA.
Cuba remained Communist and highly armed but nuclear missiles were withdrawn with UN
Khrushchev had an improved reputation in his country and claimed a personal victory ­ that
Cuba remained an ally so close the USA. The fact that he had been forced to back down was
soon forgotten as his role as a peacekeeper was highlighted.…read more

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­ Americans helped Ngo Dinh Diem to set up the Republic of South Vietnam ­ he was
bitterly anti-Communist and was willing to imprison or exile Communists.
Treated peasants with no respect ­ came from landlord class.
Showed little respect for the Buddhist religion of most peasants ­ was Christian.
His regime was corrupt.
Appointed members of his family/supporters to positions of power ­ refused to hold
Americans concerned by his actions ­ Dulles said `We know of no one better'.…read more

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­ 27,000 SV civilians killed by Viet Cong.
Never gave up.
US Tactics:
1965 ­ Operation Rolling Thunder ­ bombing raids on industrial and military targets ­
trying to force Ho Chi Minh to negotiate ­ failed to do this.
Continued until 1972 ­ bombed North and South Vietnam as well as targets in Cambodia
and Laos.
US dropped more bombs on Vietnam than the allies did in the whole of WW2 on
Damaged NV war effort and disrupted supply lines.…read more

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Demonstrations and sit-ins at universities ­ 4 shot dead in Kent State University (Ohio) at a
demonstration by the National Guard.
My Lai Massacre (1968):
Search and destroy mission in My Lai ­ told there was a VC HQ there with 200 VC guerrillas.
Told that the villagers would have left for the market as it was a Saturday ­ many under the
impression that they had to kill everyone in the village.…read more

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Damaged crops ­ food shortages.
Destroyed 5.4 million acres of forest areas and the species living there.
Poisoned streams/rivers.
US Troops:
Drug addiction ­ Hard drugs available easily in Vietnam ­ heroin use by US troops at 30%.
Confusion and bitterness ­ not welcomed home like after WW2 ­ difficulty adjusting to
civilian life.
Stress ­ post traumatic stress.
Cancer ­ some soldiers who handled Agent Orange developed cancer.…read more


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