Cold warriors in Vietnam: Mike Mansfield's role in American foreign policy

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Following his election to the United States Senate in 1952, Michael Joseph Mansfield (D-MT) exerted tremendous influence on American foreign policy in East Asia, particularly in Vietnam. Throughout the 1950s, his unwavering support of Ngo Dinh Diem, president of South Vietnam, directly influenced the unfolding drama that became another conflagration of the Cold War, eventually claiming the lives of over 58,000 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese. Through his tireless efforts to advise three consecutive U.S. Presidents, Mansfield tried to moderate our presence and avoid full-scale war. After Lyndon Johnson escalated the conflict, Senator Mansfield spared no effort to bring the belligerents to the negotiating table. Using an array of secondary sources and extensive research at the Mike Mansfield library in Missoula, Montana, this paper explores the agency and impact of a genuine statesman on the evolution of Cold War policy in Vietnam.




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