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Overall Eisenhower increased American involvement in Vietnam compared to Truman.

In 1953 he had effectively ended the Korean War by withdrawing US troops, a very popular move back in the US. This would suggest he wanted to have less involvement in Indochina, even if only to gain popularity.

However, in 1954, France demanded more assistance from Eisenhower as she struggled at Dien Bien Phu against the Vietminh. Eisenhower gave more support than Truman had before him, though he did NOT send in ground troops. There are several main reasons for Eisenhower's increased involvement in Vietnam...

  1. France threatened that, unless she received more support from the US, she would withdraw from Indochina - that would be the loss of an important ally against Communism for America.
  2. Eisenhower's policies were that of 'rollback' - i.e. the removal, or rollback, of Communism in areas that were already Communist - and the following of the 'Domino Theory', which was that if one nation fell to Communism inevitably others would fall too. This made him likely to become more involved.
  3. Also, as part of the 'Domino Theory', Eisenhower was concerned that the loss of Vietnam would eventually lead to the loss of Japan - an important economic nation.
  4. Truman had become unpopular when he "lost China" to Communism in 1949. Eisenhower didn't want to have the same kind of unpopularity for "losing Vietnam".

His actions were not totally supported at home - some felt that Vietnam wasn't important to the prevention of Communism (it wasn't mentioned in the list of countries that should be protected in Kennan's 'long telegram' in 1946). Also, the war on Communism wasn't completely popular; his pulling-out from Korea had been well-received.

But overall, he did indeed increase involvement in Vietnam.

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2011-09-13 15:28:40
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Q: What was Eisenhower's involvement in the Vietnam War?
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