Politics


President Dwight Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles greet South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem  at Washington National Airport, 1957 (National Archives and Records Administration, U.S. Air Force photo)

The policies and decisions on engaging in foreign conflict that are set by our nation’s leaders have far-reaching impacts. A variety of complex motives guide the decision to participate in foreign conflicts. The decisions made by various presidents, from Truman to Nixon, regarding US involvement in Vietnam, produced a variety of circumstances and impacts which continue to influence decisions to go to war today. Click on the sections below to learn about what motivated US involvement in Vietnam, how Vietnam changed the way that wars are initiated, and more.

HOW WAR IS INITIATED

MOTIVATIONS FOR U.S. INVOLVEMENT

COALITIONS IN WARTIME

WITHDRAWAL FROM VIETNAM

LEGACY OF WAR IN VIETNAM