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;


Adopted: 2015

BIG IDEAS

UNDERSTANDING THE STANDARD

The United States involvement in Asia during the Cold War led to a foreign policy of interventionism rather than isolationism.

ESSENTIALS

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 

communism.

•   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 

Vietnamese.

•   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.


China

•   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.


KEY VOCABULARY

Terms & Events

Marshall Plan

Communism

United Nations

Containment Policy

Cold War

NATO

Warsaw Pact

Korea

Vietnam

Truman Doctrine

Massive Retaliation

Free Market Economic System

Socialism

Korean War

Vietnamization

Watergate Scandal

“Bay of Pigs” Invasion

Cuban Missile Crisis

Bomb Drills

Bomb shelters

McCarthyism

Kennedy’s Inaugural Address

Glasnost

Perestroika

Berlin Wall

American Space Program (NASA)

 “…One Small Step…”

People

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Richard Nixon

John F. Kennedy

John Glenn

Neil Armstrong

Alger Hiss

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

Senator Joseph McCarthy

Fidel Castro

Mikhail Gorbachev

Ronald Reagan

Lyndon Johnson

Places

Post WWII Europe

 Division of Germany and Berlin

Iron Curtain

Soviet Union

North Korea

South Korea

North Vietnam

South Vietnam

Vietnam

China

Cuba

Hampton Roads

Pentagon

Updated: May 18, 2018