Cold War


Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.57

     challenging words:    Vietnamization, communism, communist, countryside, wartime, combat, advisors, vice-president, ally, military, dominoes, invest, enemy, advantage, various, government
     content words:    Cold War, Domino Theory, United States, Then Vietnam, North Vietnam, President John F., South Vietnam, North Vietnamese, President Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson

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By Sharon Fabian

1     If you set up a row of dominoes just right, and then you tap the first one so that it falls over, the whole row of dominoes can fall in a chain reaction. During the Cold War years, there was a theory that this could happen with countries just like it could happen with dominoes. It was called the Domino Theory.
2     The Domino Theory said that if one country became communist, or "fell" to communism, then all of the countries around it would fall too, just like dominoes. This theory was used to convince people in the United States that we needed to go to war in Vietnam.
3     Vietnam is a small country in Asia. It has a long history of fighting off occupying forces. At various times, China, Japan, and France had occupied Vietnam. For a while Vietnam was an ally of the United States. Then Vietnam, especially North Vietnam, began to turn towards a communist form of government. Leaders in the United States began to worry. What would happen if Vietnam became a communist country?
4     Would communism spread to the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia? Would it spread like a disease across all of Asia? Would it cross the sea to Japan? The Philippines? Australia?
5     In the early 1960's, President John F. Kennedy decided that the United States needed to stop the spread of communism. He began sending support to a new government in South Vietnam to fight the communists from North Vietnam. At first, he sent money and weapons. Later, US troops were sent in as military advisors.

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