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Vietnam 1954-1961 The Beginning of Direct Intervention L/O • •

To summarise reasons for American involvement and examine orthodox and revisionist reasons To create a timeline of the key events under the Eisenhower administration


1945

Ho declares independence Fights break out between Vietminh and released French soliders – START of INDOCHINA WAR? “Ho – “The White man is finished in Asia”

1946

French commit to staying in Vietnam – open warfare with the French Request aid from the USA, stating that Ho was a “puppet of the Kremlin”.

1947

Truman Doctrine – We will “support free peoples and resist aggression” – New period of US foreign policy begins – containment.

1947-48

American disagreement internally – Was Ho a communist or a nationalist? Truman was a fevered anti-communist.

1949

Communist takeover in China – Truman attacked by Republicans for “Losing China” – Dean Acheson (left - Sec of State) encourages Truman to increase aid to the French.

1950-1953

Korean War – North Korea invade the South – The USA and the UN fight the Chinese. Convinces Truman that communism is on the march. A defence dept official warns “these situations have a way of snowballing”.


• • Check your “reasons” for American involvement in Vietnam – Now cross reference these with those on page 20 – Make a note of these and label which are “revisionist” and which are “orthodox”. • Three interpretations to summarise reasons for US intervention; • Orthodox - Shaplen (1966) – believes that the US had to back the French in Asia as they needed their support in Europe. • Revisionist- Kolko (1985) – Believed that the US priority was control of Asian markets. • Post Revisionist – Anderson (2005) – Believes it was “geopolitical strategy”(economic/political/domestic issues) all combined. • A nice summary from Byrnes (2000) says that although Truman did not directly get the US involved in Vietnam, they created the “mind set” of Indochinese intervention.


1954 – Dien Bien Phu • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tG3mifrpGp0


Reasons for US involvement • Check your “reasons” for American involvement in Vietnam – Now cross reference these with those on page 20 – Make a note of these and label which are “revisionist” and which are “orthodox”. • Three interpretations; • Orthodox - Shaplen (1966) – believes that the US had to back the French in Asia as they needed their support in Europe. • Revisionist- Kolko (1985) – Believed that the US priority was control of Asian markets. • Post Revisionist – Anderson (2005) – Believes it was “geopolitical strategy”(economic/political/domestic issues) all combined. • A nice summary from Byrnes (2000) says that although Truman did not directly get the US involved in Vietnam, they created the “mind set” of Indochinese intervention.


Main Task • Divide yourself into three groups – You need to create a timeline covering three key areas in the period 1954-1961. • • • • • • • • • • • •

The Geneva Accord

The Presidency of Diem (South Vietnam)

The Role of Ho Chi Minh We will come together and share what we have done. Extended research for assessment next week; Was Eisenhower to blame for US involvement in Vietnam?


Vietnam 1954 1961