Chapter

Eisenhower and Dulles Exploit U.S. Dominance in Vietnam

Gareth Porter

in Perils of Dominance

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780520239487
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940406 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520239487.003.0003
Eisenhower and Dulles Exploit U.S. Dominance in Vietnam

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This chapter provides a reinterpretation of the Dwight Eisenhower administration's policy toward Vietnam before and after the Geneva Accords of 1954. It illustrates how the imbalance of power created the opportunity and therefore the incentive for Secretary of State John Foster Dulles to ignore and effectively undermine the Geneva framework for a settlement through free elections. The chapter also argues that both Eisenhower and Dulles were determined from the start to avoid actual military intervention to save the French. Dulles and Eisenhower rejected both of the proposals from the national security bureaucracy. The Geneva Accords consisted of a cease-fire agreement and a “Final Declaration of the Geneva Conference.” Dulles and Eisenhower had been prepared to let South Vietnam go if Diem could not handle a domestic insurgency and both had assumed that an overt invasion by North Vietnam would be met with a swift U.S. military response under SEATO.

Keywords: Dwight Eisenhower; John Foster Dulles; South Vietnam; North Vietnam; Geneva Accords; U.S. military; power; free elections

Chapter.  17390 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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