Korean War Vs Vietnam War Research Paper

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The wars in Vietnam and Korea, during the Cold War, were both attempts made by the United States to stop/slow the spread of communism in East Asia. During these two wars, the US was unwilling to partake in total warfare, yet was not prepared to lose in battle. Due to this, limited options were available for the US to remain in their position of dominant world power, achieved in their victory during the Second World War. How did the United States position as dominant power in the World coming out of World War Two modify their foreign policy, thus changing their tactics in the Korean and Vietnam wars? The United States achieved modified victory based off of foreign policy, through strategy change and ideological change to remain the dominant …show more content…
During the Korean war from 1950-1953, America continually changed their strategy in hopes of achieving their goal of a “unified, independent, democratic Korea”(Kurial, lecture 2). Initially this goal seemed attainable by casual warfare, working with South Korean soldiers, America was able to drive the North Korean army to the Yalu river; however, this river bordered the communist republic of China which feared invasion of America from North Korea, at this point, Mao Zedong ordered a Chinese backing of the North Korean army. Rapidly the North Korean army pushed back the Americans and South Koreans. America changed their strategy to favour a containment policy at this point, they no longer wanted to unify Korea, they were willing to return the land to its original arrangement. Meanwhile in Vietnam, the French were attempting to recolonize Vietnam; however, due to the Second World War, they were depleted of resources and over half of their supplies came from the US, conversely to the Korean war, at this point America was willing to avoid conflict directly with the Vietnamese Viet Minh. Nevertheless, with a failing war in Vietnam being carried out by the French, with the backing of America, a negative light was shed on America, requiring a modification of their strategy, consistent with their containment strategy for Korea, America jumped into war with Vietnam in hopes of …show more content…
The shift from desiring a “unified democratic Korea” to a free south Korea, demonstrated a drastic change in American foreign policy. While America believed they were winning in Korea, they held onto their hopes for unifying Korea; however, as things started to look more grim, they shifted their ideology to remain victorious even in the face of failure. Being the hero of the Second World War, America was viewed as powerful and a force to be reckoned with, losing a war to such a small country, experiencing turmoil, would ruin America 's reputation. Therefore they needed to find a way they could avoid loss at all costs; however, Truman was unwilling to meet MacArthur 's requests for total warfare in Korea so, instead of contributing further into the war effort, Truman changed his policy to favour the containment of the status quo before the war in Korea. Once America achieved this goal by recapturing Seoul, the capital of South Korea, they began to negotiate an armistice with North Korea, under the guidance of Mao Zedong, allowing the end of the war, without it being viewed as a loss in other 'free ' nations. As opposed to in Korea, America was more reluctant to enter a ground war in Vietnam. Despite this, they still did so to support their French allies who were losing the war against the Viet Minh. Representing a change in ideology as seen in the Korean war; however,

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