The exact dates of the interwar period between Korea and Vietnam are difficult to define since the United States was involved in Vietnam at different levels, at different times. Although the Vietnam War dominated American foreign policy and domestic affairs after 1964, before that time American interests abroad were wide ranging. For example, US foreign policy was still dominated by concern over the relationship with the Soviet Union. From 1953 to 1964, under both Eisenhower and Kennedy, the US government continued to wage a Cold War with the other major superpower. While Eisenhower was responsible for getting the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) involved in far-flung regions such as Iran and Guatemala, his major focus was on the Soviet Union. The continuing arms race throughout the 1950s and specific incidents like the shooting down of an American U2 spy plane while over the Soviet Union in 1960, kept the White House focussed on the communist threat. This focus continued under Kennedy, after his election in 1960, with major encounters with the Soviets taking place at both Berlin and Cuba. The construction of the Berlin Wall and the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba in 1961 did little to enhance Kennedy’s reputation or to remove the tarnish from the Democratic Party that they were soft on communism.
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