The Lost Opportunity that was Indochina

Essay by KeirHigh School, 11th gradeA+, February 2006

download word file, 9 pages 1.0

"Now let us assume that we lose Indochina. If Indochina goes, several things happen right away. The Kra Peninsula, the last little bit of land hanging on down there, would be scarcely defensible. The tin and the tungsten that we so greatly value from that area would cease coming. But all India would be out-flanked. Burma would certainly, in its weakened condition, be no defense. So you see, somewhere along the line this must be blocked. It must be blocked now. Now that's what the French are doing. So when the United States votes $400 million to help that war we're not voting for a give-away program; we're voting for the cheapest way that we can prevent the occurrence of something that would be of the most terrible significance to the United States of America. Our security!"


Having already given France more than $2 billion dollars to overcome the Communist Vietminh and continue the centennial French colonial ruling of Indochina, President Eisenhower, in 1953, had already paved the inevitable path to an American intervention in Vietnam.

The President's logic for continuing the US' involvement in Indochina is well grounded in Secretary Dulles' Domino Theory, as verified in the quote above, and implies that the US aid is not a 'give-away program'; the US will not abate until a clear victory is seen. The more the US gives, the more it binds itself to the country it is assisting, and the more it will have to spend. But to what end?

As historian George C. Herring of the University of Kentucky wrote, "Certain that the fall of Vietnam to communism would lead to the loss of all Southeast Asia, the Eisenhower administration committed itself to creating a nation that would stand as a bulwark against Communist expansion...