After the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II, two super powers remained in the world: the United States and the Soviet Union. These two nations had very different views about the world and their political regimes were polar opposites. During the beginning of the Cold War, which lasted until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States was viewed as the leader of the free world. The US had just defeated fascism in World War II and had begun to undertake the fight against communism. The US government received unprecedented support from both its citizens and leaders around the world in its struggle against communism.
[...] believe,” he said in his famous Truman Doctrine, “that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures. I believe that our help should be primarily through economic and financially aid which is essential to economic stability and orderly political processes.” Truman was successful in providing aid for both Greece and Turkey, which was used to save these nations from the communist threat. The President understood that he had the world's backing in his actions, and made sure he proceeded with caution, adamantly insisting on not intervening military in foreign affairs. [...]
[...] The threat of a communist takeover of free nations was best exemplified in Asia. In both Korea and Vietnam, the United States government attempted to contain the flow of communism to protect South Korea and South Vietnam. Both wars initially began as small scale actions to prevent the spread of communism, but eventually escalated into full fledged wars. The lack of Congressional control over the presidential actions, allowed both Truman and Johnson to have free reign over US policy. Presidents Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson believed that they were protecting the free world when they entered into the wars, but only worsened the already bleak state of affairs. [...]
[...] The changes that occurred during the first thirty years of the Cold War caused a monumental change in how foreign countries view the United States. Through its actions in Latin America and the Middle East, the United States alienated its closest allies. As the US escalated small scale conflicts in an attempt to contain communism, it produced a great distrust throughout the world. The blame for this change cannot be attributed solely to the leaders, even though many of the presidents failed to authorize sound judgment in foreign affairs. [...]
[...] Similar to the Korean War, the war in Vietnam began as an intervention to protect a country from communist takeover. North Vietnam controlled by communist since the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu, lay in stark contrast to their free neighbors in the south. President Lyndon B. Johnson perceived the presence of communist in the north to be a threat to South Vietnam. He wanted an escalation of United States involvement to stop any possible takeover from occurring. [...]
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