Eisenhower and Asia – 8/4/1953

World History |

On this day, August 4th, in 1953, Eisenhower issues a warning to the rest of the world and more importantly to the citizens of the United States, who have a right to know what is going on outside of their country. Standing in front of the Governor’s Conference located in Seattle, Washington, Eisenhower issues this warning and states that what is happening in Asia and the rest of the “third world’’ is beginning to seem very ominous for the US. He detailed the importance of defending the French Indochina from communists aiming to destroy them. 

During the Cold War, most of the efforts that were brought out by the United States were to help fix Europe and keep communists out of Europe. When the Cold War ended in 1950, however, war out broke in Korea and raised even more concern. Seeing what was going on, the United States felt a need to shift their focus to Asia. Eisenhower used this to his full advantage during the presidential election in 1952, when current president Harry S. Truman seemed to ignore Asia. Eisenhower stressed the importance of shifting focus to Asia, since the war was a result of ignoring relations and communist advancements in that part of the world.

Eisenhower took office in 1953 and quickly looked to solve this issue and the Korean War. He immediately enacted a “get tough” policy towards the communists and what was going on in Korea. He hinted at going to the extreme in order to put an end to the military stalemate that was occurring between the communists and the United States. Not too long after that was enacted, they signed an armistice and the Korean War was finally brought to an end.

However, that didn’t stop Eisenhower from believing that the communists were finished and suggested at the Governor’s Conference that the worst part could be yet to come. He immediately began to shift focus towards the French Indochina land, which was the sight of the French trying to win control of Vietnam. Looking to help the French, Eisenhower issued a $400 million aid package to the French to help with their efforts in Vietnam. Eisenhower saw this as the “cheapest way that we can prevent the occurrence that would be of most terrible significance to the United States.”

Eisenhower explained the situation when he stated:

“Now let us assume that we lose Indochina. If Indochina goes, several things happen right away. The Malay Peninsula, that last little bit of land hanging on down there, would be scarcely defensible. The tin and tungsten that we so greatly value from that area would cease coming. So you see, somewhere along that line, this must be blocked and it must be blocked now.”

Eisenhower feared that losing Indochina would mean losing more nations to the communists in the coming years. This would be bad since we couldn’t let the communists grow any larger. In fact, the communists shouldn’t even exist in the first place. Because of this, the US would slowly find their way in the Vietnam War. 

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Nancy Reyes

Senior Writer

One of our top senior writers, Nancy came to us wanting to break away from the politics that comes with major news corporations. She leads our team of historical writers in creating the best engaging content out there that keeps our readers coming back for more. She is an enthusiast of all things medieval and has been a member of her renaissance fair group for 15 years. She received her degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California and hopes to one day travel the world.