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Soviet and Chinese influence in the Vietnam conflict

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  1. Introduction
  2. The Soviet Union's help to North Vietnam
  3. The beginning of the end for the United States
  4. The American administration
  5. The tensions in 1960
  6. The international position of the United States
  7. Conditions after Kennedy's assassination
  8. The situation in the South Vietnam
  9. Conclusion
  10. References

The American invasion of Vietnam on March 8 1965 and the developments occurring in its aftermath wielded a serious impact on global geopolitical events in an era of ideological bi-polarity. Indeed, the war waged in Indochina throughout the 1960's captured the planets attention as it became apparent that neither side was willing to concede in the jungle; the planet lay at a crossroads of ideology. In such an atmosphere it is not surprising that Vietnam became a defining moment in the decade of increasing military tension for the Cold War superpowers. Accordingly the case of Vietnam is one that necessitates further explanation as it serves to reveal a great deal about the nature of Cold War relationships. As such, the goal of this paper is essentially twofold. First, to provide a reasonable synopsis of the events leading up to and including the Vietnam war in the context of U.S. and Soviet/Chinese relations. The aim here is to develop an adequate background in which to discuss the influence of Communist Ideology in the region at this time. Second, to reflect on, how the war in Vietnam may have potentially gone differently if the Soviet Union and China had not intervened in the incident. Ultimately, this paper seeks to discuss the Vietnam War in a broader context of East/West relations throughout the mid twentieth century.

[...] As is the case most often in geopolitical affairs, the Vietnam War was a product of years of prior tensions and contradictions across the international community. Long before March 1965, ideological hostility was felt around the globe. From an American point of view, the communist threat was very real. In 1950 Washington feared that the Vietnamese city of Hanoi was a pawn of Communist China, and by extensions, Moscow. These fears were reaffirmed later that same year with the outbreak of the Korean War. [...]

[...] In this light, although the United States was physically fighting the Vietnamese, they were actually waging a war against the ideologies of Communist China and the Soviet Union. Despite its international position, the United States stood by and watched the rather bloody overthrow of President Diem in November of 1963. Prior to the Coup, South Vietnamese protestors organized a wave of demonstrations. Although U.S. intelligence confirmed the plot to overthrow the Southern government, President Kennedy refused to intervene, citing sources that U.S. [...]

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