Replacing France: The Origins of American Intervention in Vietnam


Replacing France: The Origins of American Intervention in Vietnam

Access Type

Online access to this book is restricted to the University of Kentucky community.


Access this book

Download Full Text


Using recently released archival materials from the United States and Europe, this book explains how and why the United States came to assume control as the dominant Western power in Vietnam during the 1950s. Acting on their conviction that American methods had a better chance of building a stable, noncommunist South Vietnamese nation, Eisenhower administration officials systematically ejected French military, economic, political, bureaucratic, and cultural institutions from Vietnam. This book examines diplomatic maneuvers in Paris, Washington, London, and Saigon to detail how Western alliance members sought to transform South Vietnam into a modern, Westernized, and democratic ally, but ultimately failed to counter the Communist threat. Abetted by South Vietnamese Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem, Americans in Washington, D.C. and Saigon undermined their French counterparts at every turn, resulting in the disappearance of a French presence by the time Kennedy assumed office. Although the United States ultimately replaced France in South Vietnam, efforts to build South Vietnam into a nation failed. Instead, it became a dependent client state that was unable to withstand increasing communist aggression from the North.

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY




978-0-8131-7251-4 (pdf version)


978-0-8131-3732-2 (epub version)



Vietnam, United States, Communism, South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, Saigon, Washington, D.C., Kennedy


Military History | United States History