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Should we trace it back to the 1940s when President Harry Truman authorized U. Eisenhower’s “domino theory,” the idea that if one country in Southeast Asia fell to the communists, the entire region would fall, and the ripple effects would be felt throughout the Asia-Pacific world, informed not only his thinking about U. relations with the region but the policymaking of his successors, John F. The global context is also important because Cold War tensions between the U. Did it begin in the 1950s when the Geneva Accords divided Vietnam in two and President Dwight Eisenhower offered U. aid to help establish a non-communist nation in the southern half to counter the communist north? Kennedy asserted that Americans would “pay any price, bear any burden” to support democratic nation building as a way to counter communist advances in Asia. S.-Vietnam relations and the Vietnam War did not occur in a vacuum.
S., the Soviet Union, and China saw these new nations as potential allies and hoped to draw as many as possible into their respective orbits.
As local activists and political leaders established newly independent countries out of Europe’s former colonial empires, the U.
It mattered whether the new countries established communist or non-communist governments.
Vietnam’s history offers a case study of decolonization in action.
aware only of its own history, insensible to everything which isn’t part of the local atmosphere.” Stephen Vizinczey, Hungarian-British writer, 1968“We confront the Roman Catholic Church, other Christian bodies and the synagogues of America with their silence and cowardice in the face of our country’s crimes.
We are convinced that the religious bureaucracy in this country is racist, is an accomplice in this war, and is hostile to the poor.” The Catonsville Nine, Catholic anti-war protestors, 1968“The war is simply an obscenity, a depraved act by weak and miserable men, including all of us who have allowed it to go on and on with endless fury and destruction…
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I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home… But soldiers don’t have the best opportunity to judge the war.
I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. After all they only hear one side of it.” Benjamin Spock, January 1968“You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed… They don’t want to go to school because they’re going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam.” Eartha Kitt, American singer, addressing a White House gathering in January 1968“It is unconscionable that 10,000 boys have died in Vietnam.