This discussion addresses the following outcomes:

  • Compare and contrast reasons for French and United States involvement in Southeast Asia leading up to, during, and following World War II (CO#1);
  • Connect the First Indochina War to the broader Cold War (CO#1);
  • Assess available US policy options during the First Indochina War (CO#1)

After suffering a humiliating military defeat, German occupation and proxy rule under the Vichy government, and ultimately benefitting from the “rescue” offered by the other Allied countries during World War II, the French harbored ambitions of recapturing the tangible economic benefits as well as the glory and international prestige of their prewar colonial holdings. Of course, “French Indochina” was one of the most prized of these former colonies. Restoring French rule in Indochina was thought by French policymakers as key to restoring France’s place in the world. Meanwhile, US officials were publicly in favor of general decolonization in the aftermath of World War II but nonetheless ended up supporting the French position of “recolonization” from 1945 through the end of the war that France would lose to the Viet Minh in 1954.

Prior to posting to this forum, be sure to read the first chapter in the Herring text and view Disaster at Dien Bien Phu (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video File, 23 minutes], and the Module 1 Notes Presentation (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. After doing this, consider the following questions in a post of at least 250 words:

  • Why did the US ultimately decide to support French ambitions in Vietnam after the end of World War II?
  • Given the choices facing both French and US policymakers during the First Indochina War, what missteps, if any, do you believe were made by both sides?
  • After considering these questions, evaluate US options during the First Indochina War and determine whether or not US policy toward Vietnam from 1945-1954 is a classic historical example of “mission creep (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.” or not.  Be sure to explain your stance
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