Explain the meaning of the statement at the beginning of the background reading: "The American road to Vietnam began in early 1947 in the villages of Greece and in the mountains of Turkey." We are reading our packet from: WWW.CHOICES.EDU WATSON INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, BROWN UNIVERSITY CHOICES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY EDUCATION PROGRAM

The meaning of this statement is that the United States's Cold War strategy developed out of its concern for Greece and Turkey in the aftermath of World War II. The US's strategy of containing Communism began with these two countries and eventually resulted in the Vietnam War.

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"The American road to Vietnam began in early 1947 in the villages of Greece and in the mountains of Turkey." This sentence illustrates the fact that America's strategy for the Cold War began with Washington's concern over the fate of Greece and Turkey after World War II. Alarmed by the...

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"The American road to Vietnam began in early 1947 in the villages of Greece and in the mountains of Turkey." This sentence illustrates the fact that America's strategy for the Cold War began with Washington's concern over the fate of Greece and Turkey after World War II. Alarmed by the expansion of Communism, President Harry Truman decided to block it by buttressing "free" countries around the world. The American strategy of containment started with Greece and Turkey, and it became the basis for Washington's eventual debacle—the Vietnam War (1957–1975).

After the victory of the Allies in WWII, trust between the West and Moscow evaporated. There was a civil war in Greece between pro-Western and Communist forces. Turkey was pressured by Moscow to open up the Dardanelles and make other concessions. The Truman Doctrine was proclaimed in 1947 to help those two nations, and $400 million was sent by Washington to support them.

Containment was predicated on the simplistic belief that Communism was a monolithic entity directed by Moscow. It ignored the importance of nationalism and other factors. The Vietnamese, for example, wanted to be free of foreign domination, so they did not accept French colonialism after WWII. In addition, the Vietnamese had a long history of fighting against Chinese domination of their nation. American leaders did not understand the potency of Vietnamese nationalism, and the Vietnam War was a disaster for Washington. In the end, Vietnam became united, but only after a terrible and protracted war.

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