What Effect Did Dwight D Eisenhower Have on the Vietnam War?

Written by william brown
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What Effect Did Dwight D Eisenhower Have on the Vietnam War?
58,000 U.S. soldiers died in the Vietnam War. (arlington cemetary image by John Keith from Fotolia.com)

Dwight David Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, held office from 1953 to 1961. The United States was already involved in the Vietnam War via a mutual defence assistance agreement signed with France and its Indochina colony. America supplied money and military supplies to the French to prevent a communist takeover of the colony.

Dien Bien Phu

France conceded to the Vietminh in 1954 with the Dien Bien Phu accords. This agreement gave the communist Vietminh control of Indochina north of the 17th parallel, aka North Vietnam. President Eisenhower found this unacceptable. He increased military aid and sent military advisers to the non-communist South Vietnam government.

The Domino Theory

President Eisenhower developed the Domino Theory. Basically, it said that if one country, e.g. North Vietnam, fell under communist control, adjoining countries would soon be invaded and fall under communist control. This is why he committed U.S. resources to fighting the Vietminh.

Limited Engagement

President Eisenhower was hesitant to commit more resources and troops to the Vietnam conflict. He felt that a land war against a decentralised government such as North Vietnam's would never result in victory. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson after him would ramp up the conflict to no avail.

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