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America's Role In Containing Communism Essay

943 words - 4 pages

Immediately after World War II, another war emerged from the horizon. The Cold War, a battle for both political and military superiority between the Soviet Union and the United States, began soon after World War II, with Vietnam as a central issue. Vietnam, bordered by China, Laos, and Cambodia, became a colony of the French in the late 1800s, who exploited the locals for raw material, such as tin, rubber, and oil. They justified imperialism by insisting that they were protecting the Vietnamese and held power over Indochina until World War II. Desperate for resources, the Japanese conquered Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, for raw materials during World War II. While the French did naught, Ho Chi Minh took advantage of the political vacuum left by the Japanese surrender in 1945 and established the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. When China developed into a communist nation, the United States began to intervene in the First Indochina War, which resulted in the separation of Vietnam into the democratic South and the communist North along the 17th Parallel in 1954. From 1945 to 1964, American intervention in Vietnam was due to the leaders of Vietnam, the nerveless Bao Dai, the puppet Ngo Dinh Diem, and their communist rival, Ho Chi Minh.
The Vietnamese Emperor, Bao Dai, neglected his duties and vacationed in France, forcing the United States to intervene in order to give the inexperienced emperor a chance to contain communism. With the growing communist threat in North Vietnam, the United States saw Bao Dai as “the defender of ‘democracy’ and ‘independent nationalism’” (Puppets). As a supporter of freedom and equality, the United States must do all that it can to contain communism─ which the United States saw as a type of dictatorship that led to slavery and starvation of the poverty. Therefore, the American government provided about eighty percent of the French military expenditures and counter-guerilla courses to support Bao Dai. However, due to Bao Dai’s weak leadership, the democratic South could only remain independent if “aid [kept] coming at an increased tempo” (Puppets). The inexperienced emperor could do little to win the support of the majority of the Vietnamese and retaliate against the guerillas of Ho Chi Minh, forcing the Americans to intervene if democracy was to prevail over communism. As the Red pressure escalated, more aid became necessary for preventing communism from spreading to other nations.
When it became clear that Bao Dai could not expel the communists, the United States decided to support the puppet, Ngo Dinh Diem, whose brother abused government powers for personal interests, such as raiding pagodas. After refusing to sign the agreements at the Geneva Conference, the United States elected Diem, who adopted “a policy of peace” as the governor of South Vietnam (Elections). Diem became a key pawn in American attempts of stopping communism, but Diem occasionally disregarded...

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