United States Intervention in Vietnam: A Critical Evaluation of Policy and Decisionmaking
Liefer, Richard P.
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SubjectVietnam War, 1961-1975--United States--Evaluation; United States--Foreign Relations--1945-1989--Evaluation; Vietnam--Politics and Government--1945-1975
The United States intervened in South Vietnam in an attempt to prevent formation of a communist state there. The intervention was a failure; the country came under communist control. This thesis describes and analyzes the goals and policies of American intervention during the period 1950 through mid-1968. "United States-Vietnam Relations: 1945-1967", the Pentagon Papers, served as the primary source for defining the goals and policies. The writings of Bernard Fall were used to evaluate them. An operational definition of intervention proposed by James N. Rosenau was a framework for discussion. Rosenau defined intervention as an action that breaks sharply with the past and is directed at a nation's authority structure. The intervention was predicated on an assumption that monolithic communism threatened to spread over all of Indochina. The fear of communism was exaggerated. A more significant factor was the potency of Vietnamese nationalism, but this was not appreciated by American policymakers. They followed outmoded concepts of containment and relied too much on conventional military tactics that were incompatible with the political nature of the internal war in Vietnam.
81 leaves. Advisor: C. Walter Clark