The Vietnam War and the Domino Theory
The Americanization of the war in Vietnam was inevitable because of the prevailing belief of the “domino theory” that could take effect. The Domino Theory, which President Harry Truman first articulated in the1940’s, is the belief that the fall of one noncommunist state to communism would precipitate the fall of other neighboring noncommunist states (Shabecoff). This theory is the identical strategy that Communist China planned to achieve, with Vietnam as on of their first targets.
Mao Tse-Tung’s 1953 proposal to the Soviet Union brought to life the very fear that the domino theory foreshadowed. The plan entitled, “Memorandum on a New Program for World Revolution”, was a detailed plan for world conquest, in which every country, except the United States, would be communist-controlled by 1973 (Rivera). The first phase was to be completed by 1960 and called for Korea and Indochina to be under Chinese control. The Korean War of the early nineteen-fifties can be viewed as proof that these were serious plans China intended to follow. The end of the war resulted in a divided Korea in which China, along with the USSR, aided in establishing North Korea as a communist state where American support influence democracy in the south.
The “domino theory”
became popular belief in 1954 when President Eisenhower applied its premise to the ongoing struggle in Vietnam. Eisenhower stated in a news conference “…The possible consequences of the loss [of free countries in Southeast Asia] are just incalculable to the free world.” The loss Eisenhower speaks of is more than just the loss of a country to communism, but the loss of major resources and trade that the entire world receives from the Southeast Asian countries. Materials such as tin and tungsten, which is used to make light bulbs and such, are located in this region. The President goes on to predict that it would only be a matter of time that Japan and Australia would be...
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“The Battle for Vietnam.” New York Times [New York]22 Mar 1964: E8.
Eisenhower, Dwight. "Domino Theory Principle." Presidential News Confrence. Washington. 7 Apr 1954 .
Rivera, David Allen. "Communism Comes to Asia and Cuba." The 7th Fire. 1 Oct 2006 .
Scheer, Robert. How the United States Got Involved in Vietnam. New York: The Fund for the Republic, Inc, 1965.
Shabecoff, Philip. “Ford Sees Proof of Domino Theory.” New York Times [South Bend ]1 Mar 1975: 1.
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