Why did Truman get involved in Vietnam

USS Motives, US Hostility to UUSR, US Hostility to China, SE Asia, Suport for France, McCarthyism.

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  • Created by: ex-Roz
  • Created on: 02-02-15 22:28

US Motives - Overview

  • fear of commmunism spreading
  • domino theory - where every country would turn communist
  • Ho wanted the French to stay as he knew that he could defeat them
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US Hostility to USSR

  • The French appealed to a sympthatic president Truman for aid
  • Likely to lead to a Soviet domination everywhere
  • American feared and loathed communism and had long been suspicious of the soviet union
  • 1947 - Truman felt that Ho was a puppet of Kremlin - main reason why America gave increasing support to the French in Vietnam
  • Some State department specialists feared that adminstration was over-simplyifing matters and during 1948 pointed out that Ho had made friendly gestures to America
  • 1949 - Acheson said that it was 'Irrelevent' to ask whetere Ho was 'as much nationalist as Commie' 
  • Ho was always a nationalist first. Stalin recognised this, while USA did not.
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US Hostility to China

  • 1949 - Mao Zedong's communist took over China
  • Acheson persuaded Truman to give more money to help France forces in Indochina
  • Ho persuaded China and the soviets to recognise his democratic Republic of Vietnam - Jan 1950
  • In the next month USA recognised the 'Associated State of Vietnam' had been set up by the French 1949

Ho was a nationalist!

American thought Nationalism and Communism was the same.

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McCarthyism

  • Feb 1950 - Senator Joseph McCarthyism getting alot of Americans into an anti-communist frenzy
  • When communist North Korea attacked South Korea in 1950 the US mobilised the United Nations in a war to halt Communist aggresion in the Far East
  • According to America military leaders =, the world balance of power was at stake in Southeast Asia
  • American allies - Japan and Austrailia vulnerable to communist attacks
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SE Asia - "Area vulnerable to Communist attack

  • Need to keep list open
  • if the Japanese fall then so will Autrailia
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US support for France

  • Even before the war Truman administration concluded that the French were invaluable allies against Communism in both Indochina and Europe, and therefor deserving of American assisstance
  • Acheson and Truman were very consious that France was important to the stability to western Europe
  • 1950 - Truman ordered $10millon to support the French military effort - at this stage only 15 American military officers 
  • by the end of 1950, the US had given France $100 millon, along with alot of war things - aircrafts ect

They are funding the French war as they want the French support in Europe

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"These situations...Have a way of ***********!"

  • 1954 - US paying nearly 80% of the French bill for Indochina - Truman given over $2billon to the French war effort and $50millon for economic and technical aid to the Vietnamese people - alot of the Americans were not happy and thought the French were collunists
  • Bao Dai expanded most of his limited energy into a long-running dispute with the French High Commissioner over which of them should use the presidential co-operation with Ho and exile he had returned to Vietnam only because the French had promised independence - Bao Dai had no strength
  • The French unwillingness to grant real independence caused axiety with Truman administration 
  • Some critised Bao Dai and feared that France and America were being distracted from the more important issue in Europen defence against Communism by this involvement in Indochina

Some people blame Truman's policy of containment, some only think he funded it, Eisenhower, Johnson and Kenedy all esclated it further. 

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