The Cold War
WARNING SIGN: One of the U.S. checkpoints in Cold War Berlin. A carryover
from the post-war occupation of Germany, the signs were in the languages
of the occupying forces (English, Russian, French) and German.
theme will explore the reasons for U.S. involvement in the Vietnam
War from a global perspective. Following World War II, the U.S. found
itself facing off against its former ally, the Soviet Union, in Europe.
This provoked an arms and technology race between the two superpowers.
the communists under Mao Tse-tung overthrew the Nationalist government
in China. In this atmosphere of tension, French Indochina and the rest
of Southeast Asia appeared to be falling under the spell of local communist
nationalists like Ho Chi Minh.
U.S. feared a "domino effect," suspecting that if one country
in Southeast Asia fell to communism the others would surely follow.
With the Soviet Union supporting the Vietnamese Communists, the Vietnam
War served as a proxy war between the superpowers - a means to test
weapons, readiness, and resolve - without risking nuclear war.