What contribution did Vietnam have during the Cold War?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Vietnam was an extension of the Cold War in the South Asian theatre.  If anything, the Vietnam War proved how the Cold War would end up destroying nations that clung to ideology over practicality because it would embroil them into unwinnable conflicts.  After the French were defeated by Vietnamese forces at Dienbienphu, President Eisenhower suggested that Southeastern Asia would become a representation of the "domino theory," which essentially argued that if one nation in a particular region went Communist, all the other nations in that area would do the same because the ideology of Communism knew little in way of boundaries.  This was a stunningly powerful example of Cold War fears gone wild.  The paranoia and fear of Communism led the United States to enter into a conflict which was difficult to win, at best.  It prevented true understanding of the nature of the situation.  The Vietnamese were fighting for their own sense of independence, not submission to Communist Rule.  The history of the nation indicated that they sought their own autonomy and were not looking to expand that into other nations.  Cold War fears and apprehension of "the other" caused America to plunge its resources and servicemen and servicewomen into an unwinnable war.