Social Studies - 2018-19
VUS.12d - Korea, Vietnam, and China
The student will apply social science skills to understand the United States’ foreign policy during the Cold War era by
d) analyzing the changing role of the United States in Asia, including Korea, Vietnam, and China;
UNDERSTANDING THE STANDARD
The United States involvement in Asia during the Cold War led to a foreign policy of interventionism rather than isolationism.
The Korean War
• American involvement in the Korean War in the early 1950s reflected the American policy of
containment of communism.
• The United States military maintains a presence in South Korea.
The Vietnam War
• American involvement in Vietnam also reflected the Cold War policy of containment of
• Beginning in the 1950s and continuing into the early 1960s, the communist government of North
Vietnam attempted to install through force a communist government in South Vietnam. The United
States helped South Vietnam resist.
• The American military buildup in Vietnam began under President John Kennedy. After Kennedy’s
assassination in 1963, the buildup was intensified under President Lyndon Johnson.
• The scale of combat in Vietnam grew larger during the 1960s. American military forces
repeatedly defeated the North Vietnamese forces in the field, but fought a limited war.
• America became bitterly divided over the issue. While there was support for the American
military and conduct of the war among many Americans, others opposed the war, and active opposition
to the war mounted, especially on college campuses.
• After Johnson declined to seek reelection, President Richard Nixon was elected on a pledge to
bring the war to an honorable end. He instituted a policy of “Vietnamization,” withdrawing American
troops and replacing them with South Vietnamese forces while maintaining military aid to the South
• Ultimately “Vietnamization” failed when South Vietnamese troops proved unable to resist
invasion by the Soviet-supplied North Vietnamese Army. In 1975, North and South Vietnam were merged
under communist control.
• While negotiating an end to the Vietnam War, President Nixon, along with his Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger, instituted the Cold War policy of détente which led to Nixon’s visit to China and
the United States’ formal recognition of the communist-controlled People’s Republic of China.
• Due to this relaxation of tensions between the United States and China, the Soviets sought to
improve relations with the United States, which led to the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty
(SALT). President Nixon was forced out of office by the Watergate scandal.
Terms & Events
Free Market Economic System
“Bay of Pigs” Invasion
Cuban Missile Crisis
Kennedy’s Inaugural Address
American Space Program (NASA)
“…One Small Step…”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
Senator Joseph McCarthy
Post WWII Europe
Division of Germany and Berlin