You will prepare and submit a term paper on Eisenhower and U.S. Policy in Southeast Asia. Your paper should be a minimum of 11250 words in length. An entire generation of anti-war protestors had emerged in response to the years of bloody fighting that had, for the first time in the nation’s history, been broadcast into living rooms across the country through the nightly news. Both civilians and military servicemen alike asked themselves this simple question: how did we get into such a mess? How was America, and France before her, defeated by a peasant army of Vietnamese Communists?
It seems that in the wake of defeat, it is most important that blame be properly assessed. And most oftentimes, it is the presiding Administration at the time of the defeat that takes the lion’s share of the blame. Is that always where the blame lies, however? Based on the policies regarding Vietnam that President Nixon inherited from Johnson, who inherited it from Kennedy, was it even possible for America to win? No. The failure of America in Vietnam was rooted in decades of flawed policy. In fact, the roots of America’s failure in Vietnam can actually be drawn all the way back to Truman, but more significantly, to Eisenhower. It is important to study the Eisenhower era because American policy in Vietnam was strongly shaped during this time, even though the actual combat occurred under Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. Indeed, it was because Eisenhower pursued a policy of containment in Vietnam that the war finally erupted.