In the history of the United States, foreign policy has caused many disputes over the proper role in international affairs. Due to the unique beliefs and ideals democracy has instilled in Americans, they feel obligated to act as leaders of the world and help other countries in need. The foreign policies of President Eisenhower led to the involvement of the Americans in the Vietnam War, but to a limited extent. The initial involvement of the U.S. in this conflict was based on strategies to ensure a victory in the Cold War. These foreign policies led to an effective involvement in the Vietnam War from an American perspective. The policies implemented would facilitate the goal of containing communism, and also prevent the over-exertion of armed forces which would demonstrate a weak American force. Preventing Vietnam from becoming a communist state would become imperative given the state of affairs in the post World War II era. .
From the 1880's until World War II, France governed Vietnam as part of French Indochina under the control of Emperor Bao Dia. During World War II, with the fall of France to Germany, Vietnam came under control of the Japanese, as the Japanese were allies with Germany and given this area for control. At the collapse of Japan in 1945, Ho Chi Minh led Vietnamese Communists to the liberation of Vietnam. Ho, controlling the Republic of Vietnam allowed 15,000 French troops to settle in Vietnam . As time passed, the French wanted to regain control of its former colonies in Indochina. The French created plans to bring down Ho, and replace him with a leader of their own. .
The French did not find the easy victory over Ho Chi Minh as expected and were endangered of being thrown out of their colonial empire in Southeast Asia which forced them to seek assistance from their American ally. John Foster Dulles, secretary of state, and Eisenhower were convinced that if a French defeat in Southeast Asia was allowed it would begin a "domino" affect.