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An illustration of the Domino Theory that American leaders believed in

         "The United States, has decided to change the character of the war by a unilateral declaration from a South Vietnamese civil war to a war of `foreign aggression.'" Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965

Why the Domino Theory and Containment Policy Weren't Accurate...

      The Domino Theory, when applied in Asia, stated that if Vietnam was lost to Ho Chi Minh and the Communists, the rest of Asia would follow. This was part of the broader American policy of containment, which was that America wanted to stop Communist governments from expanding, and to stop new ones from being formed. Since America's main Communist enemy was Soviet Russia, American leaders viewed any and all Communist governments as satellites of the Soviets. This was not right, and this thinking is what killed the United States' interests in the region.

     The United States had a chance for an ally in North Vietnam

       Ho Chi Minh had viewed the United States as an ally, and even modeled the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence on the American Declaration and Constitution.  However, after the American support of the French in their fight against the Vietnamese Minh denounced the Americans as an ally. The United States had a chance to have an ally in the region, but because they were Communist they didn't.

There was no evidence for the Domino Theory

     Vietnam had been fighting for independence for a thousand years, so of course a US-sponsored South Vietnam would receive no support. There was no reason for North Vietnam to invade neighboring countries to install a Communist leader or support Communist revolutions.  Vietnam had an incredibly complex history and culture, but the Containment Policy and Domino Theory ignored that important decision making element in Southeast Asia and Vietnam.