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In what ways did the Cold war lead to crisis in Latin America and Southeast Asia?

As the Cold War pressed on the US tried to enforce its policy of containment. Sometimes it was successful, other times it was not. The policy of containment brought US troops to the far edges of the world.

I. Teetering on the Brink

A. What was the Korean war

1. In 1950 the United States acted swiftly to protect the South Koreans who had been attacked by the Soviet backed North Koreans.

2. US troops stalemated the North at Pusan and then invaded further north at Inchon. The Inchon invasion led by MacArthur split the North and chased them back to the Yalu River at which point the Chinese attacked and pushed us back.

3. The US held at the 38th parallel. A treaty was then signed.

B. Why did the US help the South Koreans?

1. Contain the spread of Communism.

C. What was the Vietnam War?

1. The US slowly sent advisors beginning in 1960 to South Vietnam to aid them in their war against the North Vietnamese Communists.

2. There was never a declaration of war. President Johnson used an attack on a US ship in the Gulf of Tonkin as an excuse to send large amounts of troops. Congress then passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which gave President Johnson expanded powers to wage war. This was later withdrawn during the Nixon administration with the passage of the War Powers Act that only allows the President to commit troops for 60 days without Congressional approval.

3. The jungle war in Vietnam was difficult to fight and the US withdrew in 1972 without having achieved her strategic objective.

D. Why did the US fight these wars?

1. We were afraid that if one nation fell to communism then others would fall to communism. This was called the domino theory.

2. US and Soviet Union competed in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa for support. Usually it was about money and aid.

E. The Bay of Pigs Invasion

1. In 1959 Communist forces led by Fidel Castro came ousted the US backed dictator Batista.

2. Castro's presence in Cuba alarmed Americans because of Cubas proximity to the US.

3. US sends unsupported Cuiban exiles to create a revolution to oust Castro.

4. The invasion is a disaster and we are thoroughly embarrassed.

F. The Cuban Missile Crisis

1. In 1962 United States spy planes took pictures of Soviet missiles in Cuba. In reaction to that threat President Kennedy demanded their removal and for Soviet ships steaming towards Cuba to turn around.

2. U.S. and Soviet ships steamed towards each other for the first time. It was like a giant game of "chicken."

2. Both Kruschev and Kennedy appeared willing to go to war.

3. At the last minute Kruschev ordered his ships to turn around.

4. Kennedy is remembered for his strength and skill in the diplomatic game known as "brinkmanship."


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