One of the most puzzling questions future historians will have to deal with is why the United States ever got involved in the contemporary struggle for Indochina that has been going on since 1945. Did the considerations that determined the course of American foreign policy after World War II make this involvement inevitable or could it have been avoided in spite of the tensions that arose after 1945 between the West and the so-called Communist bloc? On this point, opinions will probably always remain divided, but those who believe that no other course could have been chosen without damage to the West or the United States would do well to consider the following:
(1) no Indochina war would have taken place if France had not insisted on reestablishing its control over Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos after these countries had gained independence following the Japanese surrender in 1945;
(2) it is questionable that the United States would ever have reached the point of even considering intervention in Vietnamese affairs if it had refused from the beginning to support the reestablishment of French rule in Indochina....
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