American Foreign Relations After the War

American Foreign Relations After the War

Cold War ideology after World War II fostered the developing viewpoint that the American military was invincible, even as a viable and dangerous enemy worked toward global superiority: the Soviet Union.

The practical application of this ideology was the policy of containing the expansionist intentions of global communism as attempted by the Soviet Union in locations of opportunity. The most notable of these proxy confrontations was the attempt to contain the communist threat in Vietnam – the subject of this course.

President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger labored long and hard to achieve “peace with honor” and end American involvement in Southeast Asia in the Paris Accords of 1973. The failure of that peace to endure is the story that ends our course.

Looking beyond the fall of Saigon in April 1975, we will consider how the domino theory ultimately proved false, as President Johnson had speculated: There was no global Communist surge of expansion, and the United States, with its NATO allies and its worldwide interests, did not collapse. How has American ability to act worldwide been affected by the fact that some of the most dire claims made in support of the war ultimately proved wrong?

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