325 Indochina 2

325 Indochina 2 - The Second Indochinese War(vn2 1 The"Domino Theory The Second Indochina War as the American phase of the conflict is often known

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
The Second Indochinese War (vn2) 1. The "Domino Theory" The Second Indochina War, as the American phase of the conflict is often known, had its roots in the Americans' decision after 1954 to apply the "domino theory" to the RVN. The domino theory argues that nations resemble a line of dominos. If one nation becomes Communist, this will create a chain reaction that will eventually topple the rest of the dominoes. Lyndon Johnson foresaw dominoes falling from Vietnam to Hawaii. Ronald Reagan applied the same logic in Central America to conjure up visions of Communists on the Rio Grande. The primary problem with the domino theory is that it implies that revolution is externally imposed (from the fall of the adjoining domino) and ignores the internal causes of revolution. For the US, the domino theory implied that it should devote its efforts to propping up the weakest link in the chain of dominoes. The US exhausted its economic, political and moral capital in the 1960s and 1970s trying to prop up the corrupt and ultimately unsalvageable RVN. Underlying America's tragic experience in Vietnam was the effort to use military means to solve a political problem--the fundamental absence of widespread support for any of the various RVN regimes. Far from building the basis of a non-Communist Vietnam, American intervention contributed to the destruction of the nation it set out to save. 2. The Nature of U.S. Intervention in the War The NLF's success in organizing the countryside in the early 1960s led the US to pour military material into Vietnam. In 1963 the Americans tacitly supported a coup which overthrew and murdered Diem and resulted in establishment of the first of the military-controlled governments which governed the RVN until the end of the war. The change in government did not make the war effort go any better. Whatever the Americans' good intentions, they became the successors to the French, a foreign power supporting a corrupt and unpopular regime. American intervention cemented the nationalist credentials of the NLF. Remembering the Korean War, the US did not invade North Vietnam for fear of bringing the neighboring PRC into the conflict (China maintained 300,000 troops in Vietnam until 1968, probably less out of love for the Vietnamese than to protect the buffer around its own borders. In February 1965 the Americans began to bomb North Vietnam; in less than three years, one-half million American soldiers were in Vietnam--
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
four times more soldiers than the DRV deployed in the South at any point during the war. The US dropped three times more bombs in Vietnam--a country the size of Texas--than it had used in all theaters during World War II. Yet efforts to cripple the infrastructure of North Vietnam were doomed to failure precisely because the nation was so poor. The Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara noted in mid-1967 that bombing had knocked out 85% of DRV capacity to produce electricity--but since the whole DRV produced only one-fifth the power used in Alexandria, Va., it was able to make up for losses with diesel generators.
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 12/10/2009 for the course HIST 151 taught by Professor Hunziker during the Spring '07 term at UNC.

Page1 / 6

325 Indochina 2 - The Second Indochinese War(vn2 1 The"Domino Theory The Second Indochina War as the American phase of the conflict is often known

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online