Topic – The Vietnam War: Why did the United States get involved?

Thesis: Critics often cite the Domino Theory, Munich Analogy, and Vietnamese independence as reasons why the United States engaged in the Vietnam War. Make an argument that the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War was purely driven by a desire to avoid suffering a humiliating loss and to hide its imperialist objectives.

Summary: Critically examine the ongoing discussion of why the United States entered the Vietnam War. Identify long-term and short-term elements that influenced American participation in Vietnam. Determine why the United States left the war without winning and how this served imperialist objectives. Explore how moral outrage over the conflict’s carnage and violence was a significant factor in why many Americans opposed the war. Some were against the conflict because they believed it had clear objectives and was utterly hopeless. Others, on the other hand, thought it was an attempt to interfere in a foreign civil war or a battle against Vietnamese independence.

The timeframe for this research is limited to the period 1957-1963, the latter part of the Eisenhower Administration and the Kennedy Administration. Explore information on Truman’s containment policy (Truman Doctrine), the Munich Analogy, the Domino Theory, George Kennan, Dean Acheson (Truman’s Secretary of State), and Dean Rusk (Secretary of State for Kennedy and Johnson). John Foster Dulles (Secretary of State for Eisenhower). Also, the influence of anti-Communism and Joseph McCarthy in the late 1940s and early 1950s and American public opinion in the 1950s about communism and belief in a “world communist conspiracy” expanded worldwide.


Vietnam The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945-1975 by John Prados. University Press of Kansas ISBN 9780700619405

The Vietnam War An International History in Documents by Mark Atwood Lawrence, Oxford University Press, New York, 2014  ISBN: 9780199924400

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