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The Influence of The Cold War Concerns on The Vietnam Policy of President Kennedy

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The Vietnam War was way beyond a conflict between the North and South Vietnamese governments. With the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China’s very involving role in the war, it became necessary, in the eyes of Kennedy and the United States to have an equally inclusive, cooperative role in Vietnam. In Suri’s China, the Soviet Union, and the Vietnam War” she emphasizes the importance of Soviet and Chinese influence by stating: “The strong Chinese and Soviet influences in Vietnam embedded the nation's struggle for independence within an international communist movement” (Suri). In this essence, with the North Vietnamese essentially in the pockets of the Soviets, North Vietnam, along with Ho Chi Minh would soon seem to become another vehicle to spread the word of communism. Kennedy was a strong proponent and believer of Eisenhower’s Domino theory. At this point, the biggest concern of the United States was the idea that had Vietnam fallen to the scope and influence of Communism, other Asian countries would follow suit, essentially leading to a “falling of dominoes” that would dramatically change the entire Eastern front to a Soviet-influenced communist bloc. Being that the Soviets were the main opponents of the Cold War, Kennedy would thus instigate and continue a foreign policy that would remain consistent to suppressing the spread of the Soviets, and thus many proxy wars were fought as a result, including Vietnam.

Kennedy’s rhetoric can be seen to communicate this message to ultimately squashing the Soviets. In regards to Vietnam, Kennedy declares: “"In the final analysis, it is their war. They are the ones who have to win it or lose it. We can help them, we can give them equipment, we can send our men out there as advisers, but they have to win it, the people of Vietnam, against the Communists… But I don't agree with those who say we should withdraw. That would be a great mistake… [The United States] made this effort to defend Europe. Now Europe is quite secure. We also have to participate—we may not like it in the defense of Asia" (Kennedy). When Kennedy states that he United States made an effort to defend Europe, this was in regards to their Marshall Plan, in which they economically developed Eastern countries in order to prevent them from succumbing to communism. Similarly, Kennedy addresses the same sentiment in regards to Vietnam. He is suggesting that they must participate in the defense so that they do not fall under the scope of communism. These concerns thus became very proactive in influencing Kennedy’s Vietnam policy.

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The Influence of the Cold War Concerns on the Vietnam Policy of President Kennedy. (2018, July 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 2, 2023, from
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