The United States and Vietnam

  • David L. Anderson
Part of the Problems in Focus: Manchester book series (PIFM)


From the Geneva conference of 1954 to the withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam in 1973, the United States sought to provide an American solution for a Vietnamese problem. Vietnam’s problem was to define its post-colonial identity as an independent state in the context of a world divided by cold war hostility. If Vietnam became united under the socialist leadership of North Vietnam, the presumption in Washington was that this success by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) would strengthen the world’s communist ranks, which were headed by the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). If, however, the pro-Western regime in Saigon could maintain its separate existence then South Vietnam would remain a cold war bastion like those in other divided countries — West Germany, South Korea and Taiwan. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon shared this belief in South Vietnam’s vital strategic importance to the United States, and each in his own way sought to guarantee the survival of the Saigon regime.


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Notes and References

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Copyright information

© Tom Wells 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Anderson

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