United States Containment Policy During the Cold War

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During the Cold War, America's basic policy was that of "containment" of the Soviet Union. The policy of containment was based upon several principles. First, the Soviet Union wanted to spread socialism to all areas of the world. However, it was felt that the leadership of the Soviet Union felt no particular rush to accomplish their goal. "The Kremlin is under no ideological compulsion to accomplish its purposes in a hurry. Like the Church, it is dealing in ideological concepts which are of a long-term validity, and it can afford to be patient. (Hook and Spanier, 42)." In other words, the Soviet leadership believed that, since their ideas were the correct ones, they would eventually prevail, and thus, no direct confrontation would be…show more content…
According to the terms of the ceasefire negotiated between the French, a free election would be held in 1956, and the temporary demarcation line would be abandoned once the countries reunited following the election. However, it became clear that the communist leader of the north, Ho Chi Minh, would win the election, and the United States provided economic support and weapons to the regime governing South Vietnam, and ultimately prevented the elections and began a new war between the North and South Vietnamese (Hook and Spanier, 118). This lead to one of the largest changes in America's policy of containment: the "domino theory". The thought was that if communism won out over capitalism in Vietnam, other nations throughout Indochina, the Middle East, and finally Africa would follow, much like a row of dominoes falling. To prevent this, the United States entered into the conflict, known as the Vietnam War. The domestic result of the Vietnam War is one of the most compelling arguments for the validity of the containment policy. The horrors and loss of American life caused by that war led to widespread protest in America, especially amongst those young enough to fear being drafted into the military, and started the peace movement of the sixties and early seventies. Ever since that period, Americans have been more conscientious of the effects of American foreign policy, especially where that policy
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