American Policy and Vietnamese Nationalism: 1950-1954

Dunn, William Brothers

     This paper will examine the American attempt to cope with Vietnamese nationalism since World War II, and particularly during the period 1948-1954. America was deeply sympathetic toward the nationalist aspirations of the peoples of Southeast Asia after World War II, but was unwilling to participate in a solution of the colonial problem until expanding Sino-Soviet power offered a threat which would not be ignored. The story will tell how the effort to 'contain Communism' in its attempt to take over Southeast Asia pushed sympathies for the nationalist goals of the Vietnamese into the background. Eventually in Vietnam America went to the extent of supporting a vast military effort, assuming that forcible destruction of the Communist leadership within the Vietnamese nationalist movement would bring nationalist sentiments into alliance with the West.
     The question of the validity of that assumption will lie at the heart of the study.

Robert E. Osgood, Earl H. Pritchard, Myron Weiner, Morton A. Kaplan