In what ways did the Cold war lead to crisis in Latin America and Southeast Asia?
As the Cold War pressed on the US tried to enforce its policy of
containment. Sometimes it was successful, other times it was not. The
policy of containment brought US troops to the far edges of the
I. Teetering on the Brink
A. What was the Korean war
1. In 1950 the United States acted swiftly to protect
the South Koreans who had been attacked by the Soviet backed North
2. US troops stalemated the North at Pusan and then invaded
further north at Inchon. The Inchon invasion led by MacArthur split
the North and chased them back to the Yalu River at which point the
Chinese attacked and pushed us back.
3. The US held at the 38th parallel. A treaty was then
B. Why did the US help the South Koreans?
1. Contain the spread of Communism.
C. What was the Vietnam War?
1. The US slowly sent advisors beginning in 1960 to
South Vietnam to aid them in their war against the North Vietnamese
2. There was never a declaration of war. President Johnson used an
attack on a US ship in the Gulf of Tonkin as an excuse to send large
amounts of troops. Congress then passed the Gulf of Tonkin
Resolution which gave President Johnson expanded powers to
wage war. This was later withdrawn during the Nixon administration
with the passage of the War Powers Act that only
allows the President to commit troops for 60 days without
3. The jungle war in Vietnam was difficult to fight and the US
withdrew in 1972 without having achieved her strategic objective.
D. Why did the US fight these wars?
1. We were afraid that if one nation fell to communism
then others would fall to communism. This was called the domino
2. US and Soviet Union competed in the Middle East, Asia, Latin
America and Africa for support. Usually it was about money and aid.
E. The Bay of Pigs Invasion
1. In 1959 Communist forces led by Fidel Castro came
ousted the US backed dictator Batista.
2. Castro’s presence in Cuba alarmed Americans because of Cubas
proximity to the US.
3. US sends unsupported Cuiban exiles to create a revolution to
4. The invasion is a disaster and we are thoroughly embarrassed.
F. The Cuban Missile Crisis
1. In 1962 United States spy planes took pictures of
Soviet missiles in Cuba. In reaction to that threat President Kennedy
demanded their removal and for Soviet ships steaming towards Cuba to
2. U.S. and Soviet ships steamed towards each other for the first
time. It was like a giant game of “chicken.”
2. Both Kruschev and Kennedy appeared willing to go to war.
3. At the last minute Kruschev ordered his ships to turn around.
4. Kennedy is remembered for his strength and skill in the
diplomatic game known as “brinkmanship.”