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Word Count: 743
The American conception of Vietnam as a cold war battleground largely ignored the struggle for social justice and national sovereignty occurring within the country After China became a communist state in 1949 the stability of Japan became of great importance to Washington and Japanese development required access to the markets and raw materials of Southeast Asia This apprehension an overestimation of American power and an underestimation of Vietnamese communist strength locked all administrations from 1950 through the 1960s into a firm anticommunist stand in Vietnam Vietnam began with President Dwight D Eisenhower who increased the level of aid to the French but continued to avoid military intervention Following there was an international conference at Geneva Switzerland There a cease-fire was arranged which provided for a North-South partition of Vietnam until elections could be held The United States was not a party to the Geneva Agreements and began to foster the creation of a Vietnamese regime in South Vietnam to rival that of Ho in the North Eisenhower had then proclaimed the domino theory which was that if the communists succeeded in controlling Vietnam they would eventually dominate all of Southeast Asia With support from Washington South Vietnams autocratic president Ngo Dinh Diem resisted holding an election on the reunification of Vietnam Nation building was failing in the South and in 1960 communist cadres created the National Liberation Front or Vietcong as its enemies called it to challenge the Diem regime By 1963 President John F Kennedy had tripled American aid to South Vietnam and expanded the number of military advisers there from less than seven hundred to more than sixteen thousand But the Diem government still failed to show economic or political progress Finally after receiving assurances of noninterference from US officials South Vietnamese military officers had Diem murdered Diems death left a big gap open for leadership in South Vietnam and the survival of the Saigon regime was in
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