From the end of the Korean War to the middle of the 1960s, the Cold War dominated life in East and Southeast Asia. The immediate threat was thought to be an invasion by one of the communist countries. It was widely perceived that China, North Korea and – after the 1954 Geneva Agreement – North Vietnam, possibly in conjunction with the Soviet Union, were all capable of mounting an attack. The success of the People’s Liberation Army in taking over China and fighting the Americans to a standstill in Korea was portrayed as clear evidence of how powerful the communists had become. There was also the fear of communist subversion destroying a society from within. The communist-inspired guerrilla wars in Malaya, the Philippines and Vietnam were widely seen as evidence that communism was trying to infiltrate the region by whatever means it could. Moreover, hand-in-hand with this ubiquitous sense of threat came a sense of vulnerability and insecurity. Few wanted a return to the chaos and destruction of the fighting during the war years of the 1940s and its spill-over into the early 1950s.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- The Cold War Years
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number